The Top 10 Reasons I will Vote for President Donald Trump

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

1 Timothy 2:1-4

For years I despised the corrupt partisan politics of American government and purposefully avoided anything to do with it. I even sat out several elections, believing that my vote wouldn’t make a difference anyway.

As I have matured over the years, my disdain remains for politics in general and for most politicians themselves, but my appreciation for representative government and our constitutional republic far outweighs my political frustrations.

Just as there is no perfect political system in a fallen world, there certainly is no perfect political candidate. Case in point — President Donald Trump.

We are all aware of Trump’s sordid past, including multiple wives and affairs. Many of us cringe when Trump goes on the offensive and starts name calling and publicly insulting his opponents. He has been accused of being divisive, chauvinistic, arrogant, boastful, crass, impulsive, tactless, and flat out rude.

I can understand how many Americans — including followers of Jesus Christ — are hesitant to endorse Trump. The most common objection to voting for Trump is on the grounds of his moral character — whether real or perceived. And although I do wish President Trump were a better moral example for the rest of us, I tend to see things a little differently.

First of all, how can any of us really “know” the true moral character of any president or politician? Unless we personally know someone at the local level of government, it is almost impossible to really know who our government leaders are behind closed doors.

Secondly, we are electing a president, not a preacher. Men of God who seek the office of pastor must meet the Biblical qualifications to oversee the church [see 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Peter 5]. But men and women who seek the offices of government are not held to any such standards,. Although God ordains all authority, including government officials, He is always working with severely flawed individuals.

With that being said, I believe every person must vote his or her convictions and conscience and be willing to live with that choice. For a good article on this very issue, read Dr. Michael Brown’s thoughts here.

Here are the top 10 reasons I will be voting for President Donald Trump in this election.

#1 — Pro Life

Since the landmark decision Roe v. Wade in 1973, it is estimated that the innocent lives of over 60 million babies have been murdered in the name of abortion in America. The sanctity of human life and the protection of the unborn is always THE PRIMARY ISSUE in any election! As long as politicians and judges have the power to regulate laws on abortion and use taxpayer dollars to fund organizations like Planned Parenthood, then I will always cast my vote for the most pro-life candidate.

Sadly, neither of the two primary political parties have done anything to end the shedding of innocent blood in our land. This present Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris has been rated as the most pro-abortion ticket in American history, supporting the slaughter of innocent babies up unto birth. The Republican Party platform is uniformly pro-life, however, they have done little to nothing in my lifetime to end abortion.

Yet from the very first day President Trump stepped in office, he has been the most pro-life president in American history, taking immediate measures to fight for the life of the unborn. If you don’t believe me, here is an article with some of Trump’s pro-life accomplishments during his first term.

If it were this reason alone, I will vote for Donald Trump.

#2 — Friend of Israel

Ever since President Harry Truman cast a deciding vote in the United Nations which gave Israel the right to be recognized as a sovereign nation in 1948, America has been an ally to the state of Israel and a friend of the Jews. Not only are there theological implications in blessing and supporting Israel [see Genesis 12:3], but there are significant geopolitical implications as well.

Israel is the only true bastion of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, and yet it is surrounded by hostile, enemy nations who overwhelmingly refuse to recognize Israel’s legitimacy to govern herself in her own land. If America withdrew her support from Israel, the Jews would be threatened again with extinction.

President Trump has proven to be a faithful friend of Israel and has taken Middle Eastern relations to a historical level of peace.

First, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel — which is what God says in His word — and in an historic move, Trump relocated the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

Psalm 132:13-14

Furthermore, Trump has since reached peace deals between Israel and other Middle Eastern nations — such as United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan — normalizing relations between these countries for the very first time in history.

#3 — Border Security

Trump campaigned on building the wall in 2016, promising to secure our southern border with Mexico and to stop the influx of illegal immigration and trafficking into the country. Not only is border security necessary to protect America from potential terrorists attacks, but also it will prevent overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants from entering the country and potentially placing irreparable stress on our economy.

As of October, the Trump administration has built or reinforced over 300 miles of border walls, with over 500 miles to go. Here are the latest figures on the Trump Wall Construction.

#4 — Fighting Human Trafficking

One of the primary plagues of our present day is the epidemic of sex trafficking and the human slave trade. It is estimated that some 25 million human slaves are being held against their will around the world any given day, most of them women and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation. This is another reason border security is so important, knowing that thousands of children are trafficked into the U.S. each year to be sold into a lifetime of slavery.

President Trump and his administration have been intentionally fighting against human traffickers and will continue to do so if elected. Just recently, the U.S. Department of Justice pledge $100 million to combat human trafficking, and Trump just released his comprehensive plan to continue this fight if reelected.

#5 — Conservative Judges

With so many policies and major decisions being decided by both federal and Supreme Court judges, I will vote for the candidate who is committed to appointing conservative justices who uphold the Constitution of the U.S. and who do not attempt to legislate from the bench. So far President Trump has appointed 220 conservative federal judges, including his latest nominee who was confirmed to the Supreme Court — Justice Amy Conny Barrett.

#6 — Economic RESOLVE

Before Covid-19, the American economy was running at record strength, with unemployment rates at historic lows. In spite of the unprecedented economic fallout created by this Covid “crisis,” the economy has held its own and is making a much faster recovery than expected. Read the latest here at the Wall Street Journal.

Few will debate that economic acumen is one of Trump’s greatest strengths, and his ability to make business deals has helped the American worker more than anyone else. Trump has been working to bring overseas manufacturing jobs back home and to keep energy costs low, among other things. Trump also is committed to putting America’s best interests first and is not afraid to stand up to foreign powers like Russia, China and the EU.

#7 — Non-Partisan

Although Trump again is running on the Republican platform, I appreciate the fact that he is not a career politician and is not tethered to partisan politics. He is more pragmatic than partisan. There are many in Trump’s own party who publicly despise him for this very reason.

This is one of Trump’s most appealing aspects to me. Most politicians spend a lifetime making political favors and padding their pockets with special interest lobby groups, so by the time they reach the top, their hands are tied like puppets. Most politicians enter the game with modest incomes only to become multi-millionares by the time they’re through.

President Trump, on the other hand, made his own fortune in private business, put up much of his own money, and did not depend on the millions of dollars from special interest groups, which gives him the freedom that few presidents have ever had.

If you think about it, what would motivate a man to give up a life of wealth and comfort, risk financial loss, suffer relentless public scrutiny, and willingly put himself and his family in the direct aim of character assassination? Unless … he really wanted to make America great again.

#8 — Military Strength and Morale

President Trump has rebuilt the morale and strength of the U.S. armed forces, while at the same he is bringing more and more troops home from overseas. I agree with Trump’s policy to avoid senseless foreign wars while bolstering our military and protecting our homeland defense.

#9 — Law and Order

Trump supports our police and men and women in uniform and will not stand for civil unrest and the violent riots that have marred our country over the last 6 months. While Trump has acknowledged that there will always be individuals that misrepresent our law enforcement agencies and abuse their powers, the overwhelming majority of our police officers in this country are loyal, honest, men and women of integrity who desire to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe for society.

I believe that our law enforcement agencies will be supported, well-trained, and properly funded under Trump’s administration, as opposed to the socialist cries of “defund the police” that have become all too common from other political leaders.

#10 — Promise Keeper

My final reason for voting for Donald Trump is simply because, by and large, the man does what he says. Last time I checked, this is rare among politicians. Most will tell us what we want to hear until they are elected and then do what they want for the next four years.

Not Trump. He has kept virtually every promise that he has made to the American people. If we are going to measure the morality of a political candidate, how about we start with this simple standard.

Have they done what they said they would do?

If I a measuring Trump by this standard, then he has kept his word, and I can live with a president that at the very least, keeps his word to the American people.

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 21 — The Time of Jacob’s Trouble

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”

Daniel 12:1

We are now entering into the final chapter of Daniel’s prophetic testimony — chapter 12. Despite the convenience of Biblical chapter and verse, it is always worth noting that the book divisions were not in the original text of Scripture but were added by scribes much later. The unfortunate consequence of these man-made divisions is that many times the reader fails to read the Scripture through chapter divisions to see the contextual connections between chapters.

Daniel 12 is a perfect example. Instead of interpreting this passage independently of chapter of 11, we must read it as the natural extension of chapters 9-11 and the culmination of the entire book. Chapter 11 sets the context for the first three words in chapter 12 — “at that time.”

At what time?

At the time of the rise of that evil prince to come, the “little horn” — the king of the North. We learn that the little horn — Antichrist — will exercise authority for 3.5 years, or 42 months [Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:5].

At the time of the great tribulation on the earth and fierce warfare among the stars in heaven. This time of unparalleled distress is also called Jacob’s Trouble [Jeremiah 30:7]. Daniel plainly tells us that this time of unprecedented travail will begin with the abomination that causes desolation in the holy sanctuary [Temple], revealing the man of lawlessness and initiating the final kingdom of Antichrist — the Beast.

Daniel also repeatedly framed this time of Jacob’s trouble as a period of a “time, times, and half a time” — which is 3.5 years, or 42 months. This is precisely the same amount of time that is given for the ministry of the two witnesses, the trampling down of Jerusalem [Revelation 11] and the satanic persecution of the saints.

So when Daniel says “at that time,” he is referring in general to this unique and final 7-year period in the future — the 70th week — but more specifically to the final half of the week.

More significant still is the culmination of the great tribulation — aka Jacob’s Trouble. Jesus says that it is immediately after the great tribulation of those days when the Son of Man will return in power and great glory [Matthew 24:29-31] to destroy the Beast and judge the ungodly in wrath. Furthermore, the return of Yeshua — King of Israel — will signify the final deliverance and divine reward for all of God’s people — both Jews and Gentiles — and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom on earth.

MICHAEL THE GREAT PRINCE

“The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. 7Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

Revelation 12:6-9

Daniel again mentions Michael — the archangel who has been assigned by God to have charge over His people Israel. As the time of Jacob’s trouble begins, the LORD will send Michael to engage the heavenly front and thwart Satan’s plan to annihilate the Jews. In the same way that I see the 144,000 sealed servants supernaturally protecting and providing for the remnant of Israel on the earth, I also see Michael and his heavenly host protecting Israel in the unseen heavenly realm.

Michael is one of the “chief princes,” who came to help the angel Gabriel in spiritual conflict against the adversarial princes of Persia and Yavan. Jude also tells us that he disputed with the devil over the body of Moses [Jude 1:9].

Other than that, we know relatively little about this chief prince and archangel over God’s people. When the LORD allotted the nations according to the number of the sons of God after Babel [Deuteronomy 32:8-9], He at the same time chose Jacob for His portion — Israel as His allotted inheritance. It was likely at this time that God put Michael in charge of His people.

A Wilderness Place Prepared by God

As Michael defeats the dragon and casts him and his angels to the earth, the dragon — aka Satan — will begin thrashing his tail in a fit of rage. Many have speculated if this heavenly expulsion of the devil is connected to the abomination of desolation on earth and the revealing of the Antichrist — the son of destruction.

I believe this makes the most sense, as all the satanic forces from heaven, the earth, and under the earth are unleashed upon the world. The great tribulation will be the ultimate culmination and concentration of evil the world has ever seen. Once the dragon is cast down to earth, he will be infuriated with God and God’s people. Satan will know at that point that his time is short — namely 3.5 years — and therefore he will waste no time venting his wrath at the holy people.

First the dragon will pursue the Jews, pouring what is described as water like a rive to sweep them away in a flood. Since Revelation 12 is pregnant with symbolism, I interpret this raging river to be a flood of Gentile armies who will invade Israel, sweep across the land, and surround Jerusalem. For this reason, Jesus warns those living in Jerusalem and Judea in those days to flee to the mountains to escape the reach of the Beast.

At the same time, God will provide supernatural assistance to the Jews in order to get them to safety in a place prepared by God in the wilderness.

“But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”

Rev 12:14

Although I am not certain, I have reason to believe that the “two wings of the great eagle” could be a reference to Michael the archangel supernaturally swooping down to carry the children of Israel to their wilderness refuge. There is another “eagle” mentioned in Revelation 8:13, who announces the coming three woes of the trumpet judgments 5-7. “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!’

Here in Revelation 12, John mentions a “loud voice in heaven” making a similar announcement concerning the coming woes on the earth. “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” [Revelation 12:12]

Of course the voice of the archangel is also connected to the triumphant return of Jesus to earth at the last trump, so my speculation is that these announcements and actions are directly connected to Michael the archangel in charge over God’s people.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16

Once again, the duration of Jacob’s trouble is provided as a time, times, and half a time — or 3.5 years. The remnant of Israel will be delivered and supernaturally protected and nourished in the wilderness during the great tribulation. Many have speculated about the location of the “wilderness” as either Petra in southern Jordan or Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia. My guess is that it will be in the wilderness of Sinai where the Lord will supernaturally provide for Israel just as He did in their 40 years of wilderness wanderings.

Once the dragon realizes that God has frustrated his plans and supernaturally delivered Israel from his hands, he will turn his rage toward Christians, which is why the Lord consistently calls his disciples to endure to end.

“Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the seaAnd the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation.”

Revelation 12:17, 13:5-7

Believers are called to endure the great tribulation and will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony — the gospel of truth. True believers will not be ashamed of Christ or His gospel and will not shrink back from Satan’s wrath in the last day, as we are called to love not our lives even unto death.

In closing I will leave you with some thoughts to ponder. Since Gentile believers are grafted in to Israel and brought into the commonwealth of Israel through Christ, then do we enjoy the covenant blessings and promises to Israel?

And what does it mean when Daniel says, “at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book?”

I will attack these questions next time.

Until then … Maranatha!

Tishah B’Av — A Day of Bitter Mourning

“But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you … The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.”

Deuteronomy 28:15, 25

Today marks the 9th Day of the eleventh month of Av on the Jewish calendar, also known as Tishah B’Av. Apart from the Day of Atonement, Tishah B’Av is the most solemn day of the year for the Jewish people. It is a day that is associated with immense suffering and historical tragedy.

Therefore, it is a day to remember. To reflect. To mourn. To Repent.

Many can argue that historically no other people group has ever collectively suffered more than the people of Israel. Although persecution and tragedy is no respecter of persons and affects us all, the history of the Jewish people tells a unique story that is unequalled among the nations.

Tishah B’Av is a significant day in that story.

For example, both the first and second temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on the 9th of Av. In 586. B.C., the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, breached her walls and destroyed the city and the holy Temple on this fateful day.

Fast forward to Tishah B’Av in 70 A.D. Roman legions from the Middle East did the very same thing to the 2nd Temple, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews. The likelihood of both temples being destroyed by Gentile invaders on the exact same day some 650 years apart is beyond probability. It sounds more like divine conspiracy to me.

But it only gets more interesting from there. The 9th of Av is also connected to some of the most tragic events in Jewish history. Here are some of the most notable.

  • The 9th of Av is associated with the bad report of the 10 spies sent in to the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses [see Numbers 13-14]. Because of the lack of faith of these spies, the entire generation of Israelites were punished by God and ultimately died in the wilderness, except Caleb and Joshua.
  • 586. B.C. — the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar, resulting in the first Jewish exile.
  • 70 A.D. — the destruction of the 2nd Jewish Temple by Roman General Titus, leaving an estimated 1 million dead.
  • 135 A.D. — The Bar Kokhbah Revolt was crushed again by the Romans, resulting in another 600,000 deaths in Judah.
  • 1099 A.D. — The pogroms of the First Crusade (1096-1099) massacred tens of thousands of Jews in Germany, France, Italy and Britain.
  • 1290 A.D. — The Jewish expulsion from Britain.
  • 1492 A.D. — The Jewish expulsion from Spain.
  • 1914 — The eruption of the First World War
  • 1942 — The beginning of the Nazi deportation of Warsaw Ghetto Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp, resulting in the death of over 6 million Jews.

All of these tragedies are connected to one day on the Jewish calendar — the 9th of Av.

Clearly this is more than a strange coincidence, but the question remains … why? What is God’s purpose in allowing His chosen people to suffer perpetually in such tragic ways?

Disobedience Brings Cursing

The covenant that the LORD established with the children of Israel at Sinai was a conditional covenant that depended upon obedience to His commandments. The LORD told Israel through Moses that their relationship would be established upon love and faithfulness — much like a marriage covenant. God promised to remain forever faithful to Israel, and at the same time He expected His people to love and obey Him.

As long as Israel obeyed in faith, God would bless, protect and provide for them, but also He warned them about the severe consequences and curses that would come for spiritual adultery (idolatry) and disobedience. Unfortunately, the historical pattern of Israel has been one of overwhelming disobedience and spiritual apostasy, resulting in the tragic consequences for their sin. Moses, Joshua, and all the prophets referred back to the covenant at Sinai when warning the people of the dangers of disobedience.

“Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. 25When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. 28And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.”

Deuteronomy 4:23-28

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” 21And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD.” 22Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.” 24And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” 25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem.

Joshua 24:19-25

The 9th of Av is in many ways a validation of the covenant that the LORD made with Israel at Sinai, and more specifically God’s promise to keep His word. Every generation of the people of Israel that has forgotten and forsaken the LORD has also been held accountable to the conditions of the covenant that defines their relationship with the LORD.

The Jews historically have been a stubborn and rebellious people, forsaking the LORD God for other gods and even denying belief in God altogether, as many atheistic Jews do to this day. For this reason, the perpetual suffering and persecution of the Jewish people has been a result of unbelief in the One True God and in His Son Jesus Christ.

The spirit of Antichrist

“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”

1 John 2:18

From a spiritual perspective, the Jewish people also have suffered immensely because God’s people always have been the direct object of satanic hatred and hostility. Whether it was Pharaoh murdering the Hebrew children in Egypt, or Haman convincing King Xerxes to exterminate the Jews, or Hitler’s holocaust, or the everlasting hatred that has existed among Israel’s Muslim enemies, the spirit of antichrist has been working relentlessly to eliminate God’s people from the face of the earth.

It’s bad enough when God’s people forsake Him and leave themselves exposed and vulnerable to their enemies, but it’s even worse that there have always been demonically-charged enemies who are looking for the opportunity to destroy the Jews. A thorough investigation to the events of Tishah B’Av will lead to the supernatural forces behind them. We must see everything through spiritual lenses to understand the entire picture.

We know that this spirit of antichrist remains strong in the world today and will only grow stronger as the appointed time of the end draws near.

Jacob’s Trouble

“Thus says the LORD:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
7Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.

Jeremiah 30:5-7

In the same way that the 9th of Av has been a day of tragedy for the Jewish people, there is one more day appointed for Israel that will top them all — the day of Jacob’s trouble. The bad news is that this will be the time of unprecedented tribulation for all of God’s people — both Jews and Christians — prior to the return of Jesus Christ. If I had to guess, I believe the 9th of Av will have at least one more significant, yet tragic, event associated with it.

The good news, however, is that God has promised to deliver His people out of the Great Tribulation, preserving for Himself a remnant of faithful believers who will not forsake Him during this time of Great Tribulation. Along with this promise, the LORD has promised to turn the hearts of the Jewish people back to Him in the last days and pour out His Spirit of grace upon the children of Israel.

Even Moses prophesied about this turning back to the LORD in the last days.

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. 31For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Deuteronomy 4:29-31

This is the good news of the gospel! God is faithful. God is merciful. Come to Jesus and believe in Him, and you will be saved. That is message for the Jewish people and all the nations of the earth.

My prayer is that on this 9th of Av, all of God’s people will turn their hearts back to God and believe the promises of God. There is hope for all people in the Messiah — Yeshua. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, we are awaiting our Deliverer — our Blessed Hope — the appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:25-27

Maranatha!

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 13 — God’s Holy Hill

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.”

Daniel 9:24

The prophecy of 70 weeks revealed to Daniel is one of the most intriguing yet intimidating in all of Scripture. Like most prophetic passages, there is enough ambiguity to create room for interpretive diversity and yet enough clarity to bring some level of continuity. Over the next several posts, I will do my best to unpack and hopefully shed some light on this fascinating prophecy.

After Daniel humbled himself in prayer, confessed sin, and pleaded to God for mercy, the angelic messenger Gabriel was sent to give insight and understanding concerning the vision and prophecy. One of the first keys to understanding the meaning of the 70 weeks is found in Daniel’s own words. Let’s take a closer look.

“While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.”

Daniel 9:20-21

To my detriment, I have read past this critical detail so many times. Daniel’s plea and prayer specifically was “for the holy hill of my God,” which means that the historical context and future fulfillment of the 70 weeks pertains to God’s holy hill.

So what exactly is God’s holy hill?

Zion –The Holy Mountain of God

Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised

in the city of our God!

His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,

is the joy of all the earth,

Mount Zion, in the far north,

the city of the great King.

Psalm 48:1-2

Daniel is speaking, of course, of ZION — God’s holy hill — His holy mountain and desired dwelling place for all time.

The Bible is comprehensive in it’s distinction of Zion as the holy mountain of the LORD our God. Yahweh has chosen one unique plot of real estate on earth to be His dwelling place forever [see also Psalm 132:13-14]. Israel is the epicenter of the earth. Jerusalem is the epicenter of Israel. Zion is the epicenter of Jerusalem. And the universal throne of Jesus Christ is the epicenter of Zion.

Zion is connected to the most significant events in human history. Let’s recall how important this mountain in Jerusalem truly is.

  1. Zion is where Abraham offered his beloved son, Isaac, in faith before the LORD intervened and provided a substitute. [Genesis 22]
  2. Zion is the mountain that David captured and claimed for Yahweh as the capital city of Israel and the royal throne of the king of Israel. [2 Samuel 5]
  3. Zion is the site of the threshing floor that David purchased from the Jebusite Ornan to stop the plague sent by the Angel of the LORD. [1 Chronicles 21]
  4. Zion is where Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh. [1 Kings 8]
  5. Zion is where our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified as the perfect sacrifice for sin.
  6. Zion is where the Lord Jesus was buried and on the third day was raised from the dead.
  7. Zion will be ground zero on the Day of the LORD when Christ comes to judge His enemies and take His place on His throne to rule forever as King of kings.

As you can see, Zion has been set apart by the LORD for His eternal purposes, and Daniel of all people understood this.

With that in mind, everything that pertains to the vision of 70 weeks revolves around God’s holy mountain — the city of our God! Gabriel revealed six purposes that will be fulfilled within these 70 weeks of years [70 x 7 years] = 490 total years.

1. to finish the transgression
2. to make an end of sin
3. to make atonement for iniquity
4. to bring in everlasting righteousness  5. to seal up vision and prophecy
6. to anoint the most holy place

These were fulfilled in part at the first coming of Jesus, but they will not be ultimately fulfilled until Christ returns to strike down His enemies, crush Satan, save His people and establish His kingdom.

Next time we will take these in order to gain a better understanding of the 70 weeks of Daniel’s vision.

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 11 — The Daily Sacrifice will Cease

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Daniel 8:13-14

Before diving into the complexity of Daniel’s vision in chapter 9 concerning the 70 weeks, I need to back up and drill down on some important details provided in Daniel 8. Although it is easy to get lost in the proverbial “weeds” of this vision, there are several key details that can be identified and rightly interpreted concerning the last days and what Jesus calls the “abomination of desolation.”

For time’s sake, I will acknowledge that the historical archetype of the Antichrist is most prominently portrayed in the person of Seleucid Tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes, about which you can read here. While Antiochus provides a type and shadow of the coming son of destruction, he is nothing compared to the last days Antichrist.

Daniel 8 must be interpreted with Antiochus in the forefront of the vision — partially fulfilling the prophecy in history — but also by seeing the Antichrist in full view during the future appointed time of the end. The little horn described in Daniel 8 is the coming man of sin, and this chapter provides key clues about his campaign in the Holy Land of Israel.

“Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel.”

Daniel 8:9 — NLT

Antichrist will Cause the Daily Sacrifice to Cease

In A.D. 70, hoards from the Roman legions in the Middle East laid siege to Jerusalem and turned it into rubble. Although Roman General Titus commanded his soldiers to preserve the Jewish Temple, the enlisted Syrian and Arabic soldiers defiantly set fire to the Temple, burning it to the ground. Once Titus realized that the Temple complex was lost, he ordered his troops to cast down the massive stones in order to salvage as much gold as possible.

Jesus had predicted this very thing some 40 years earlier.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Matthew 23:37-39, 24:1-2

The Roman siege of A.D. was devastating, leaving the city of Jerusalem and the holy Temple desolate. The Jews were slaughtered, carried into captivity, and dispersed as a people for over 1,850 years. The Levitical priesthood was abolished, the ceremonial rituals ended, and the daily sacrifices ceased. To this very day — despite the miracle of the rebirth of Israel in 1948 — there is no Temple in Jerusalem, which means there is no sacrificial system.

So the obvious line of logic is … without a Temple in Jerusalem, there is no sacrificial system, and without a sacrificial system, then how will the “little horn” cause the sacrifices to stop?

The simple and logical answer is that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem and resume their ceremonial system of worship, according to the law of Moses. A third Temple in Jerusalem is not just possible, it’s not merely probable, it is prophetically promised. The stage is already set for the reconstruction of the Temple, it will only take the right political players and conditions to give the green light.

Jesus Himself said the sign of the end of the age would be the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel. He said that when we see the Antichrist standing in the holy place — the inner sanctuary of the Temple — then we know the clock for the great tribulation has begun.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Matthew 24:15-16

Now consider how the Scripture connects the activity of the Antichrist with the prohibition of the sacrifices in the Temple. Once the Temple is rebuilt and the regular burnt offerings are permitted again in Jerusalem, the Antichrist will eventually put an stop to it and defile the sanctuary with his abominations.

“It (the little horn) became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper.”

Daniel 8:11-12

“And he (Antichrist) shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

Daniel 9:27

“Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.”

Daniel 11:31

“And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.” 

Daniel 12:11

So from the time that the regular burn offerings begin to the end is 2,300 days, and the time from when they are cut off and taken away is 1,290 days. These give us some parameters for the tribulation period.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Daniel 8:13-14

The Day of the LORD — Cleansing the Land from the Spoils of War

“So that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord GOD.”

[Ezekiel 39:10]

Once the great Day of God’s wrath is finished and the last wicked warrior falls to the ground at the battle of Armageddon, the LORD will roar from Zion and all the saints will shout for victory! As King Jesus takes His seat on His glorious throne, the administration of His government will begin.

One of the most practical details about the Day of the LORD that often is overlooked involves the spoils of war. The Lord Jesus will put an end to the war of all wars at His coming, and the aftermath will leave the earth desolate in ruins, scattered with countless dead bodies and weapons.

The spoils will be for the taking, but the task of cleaning up will be overwhelming. Interestingly enough, the Scriptures provide details about the aftermath of the war and the process of cleansing the land.

There is a Stench in the Land

I have written extensively about the catastrophic loss of life on the Day of the LORD. As Jesus comes to tread the winepress of God’s wrath upon the nations, untold millions will die, leaving a river a blood in His wake. These horrid details are often difficult to process and just as easily ignored altogether.

But the reality of death on that Day will be inescapable. Not only will the wild beasts and birds gather to feed on the carrion (Revelation 19:17-21), but also a foul stench will arise, filling the air with the repulsive odor of decaying flesh.

Both Joel and Isaiah spoke of this Day.

“I will remove the northerner far from you,
and drive him into a parched and desolate land,
his vanguard into the eastern sea,
and his rear guard into the western sea;
the stench and foul smell of him will rise,
for he has done great things.”

[Joel 2:20]

“For the LORD is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter. Their slain shall be cast out, and the stench of their corpses shall rise; the mountains shall flow with their blood.”

[Isaiah 34:2-3]

7 Months for Burial

Cleansing the land of these dead bodies will be no small task. Ezekiel provides exclusive insight about how long this process will actually take.

“On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord GOD. They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land.”

[Ezekiel 39:11-16]

Although I can’t be certain, this passage seems to designate this grueling job to “the house of Israel,” which I understand to be the survivors from Israel who turn to Jesus in repentance and faith at His coming and are saved [see Zechariah 12-13, Joel 2].

The cleansing of the land will be one of the very first steps of restoration in the Millennium.

7 Years of Fuel

In a future post, I plan to emphasize how all the nations will pay tribute to the LORD in Zion and bring their treasures to Israel during the Millennium. The nations will flow to the mountain of the LORD each year to honor the King of kings. But Zechariah seems to imply that there will be some immediate spoils of war in the aftermath of the Day of the LORD.

“And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever beasts may be in those camps.”

[Zechariah 14:12-15]

Ezekiel also indicates that the immediate spoils of war will provide enough fuel to sustain the land during the first seven years of the Millennium!

“Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord GOD.”

[Ezekiel 39:9-10]

This passage reinforces the idea that there will be many survivors from both Israel and the nations that will enter the Millennium in natural bodies and will have the same basic needs that we do in this present age, such as food and shelter. Only those who receive resurrected bodies at the return of Christ will enter the Kingdom in a glorified state like that of Jesus Himself.

As I begin to shift my focus to the Millennial Kingdom, I will do my best to address all of these issues from a Biblical perspective.

The Day of the LORD — All Israel will be Saved {Part 2}

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”

[Romans 9:27-28]

In Part 1 of this post — I established the case that Israel will be saved in the end on the Day of the LORD. In this post I will attempt to explain what “all Israel” really means from the perspective of God’s word. The Biblical record is Israel-centric for a reason. The territory of Israel is that defined portion of ground on this earth where the Most High God has staked His claim and placed His name forever.

Just consider … Yahweh — the God of Israel — will save His people Israel by the Sword of the Warrior King of IsraelYeshua the Messiah. The LORD is coming on the clouds to strike down the enemies of Israel. He is coming to establish the Messianic Age — when the Kingdom of Israel is the crown jewel among the nations and the glory of the LORD will shine forth from Zion.

It is impossible to tell the story of redemptive history without Israel. These represent some of the key promises that the LORD made to His People Israel.

God’s Covenant Promises to Israel Stand Forever

Yahweh made unconditional promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their natural descendants (offspring), and He intends to keep them. God always makes good on His Word to Israel, even though the children of Israel historically have been a rebellious and obstinate people who were faithless, God will remain faithful and keep His word to the children of Abraham according to the flesh.

The important distinction here is that Yahweh did make a covenant with the ethnic descendants of Israel and the nation of Israel — which represents a corporate/collective group. But as we will see in a moment, these covenant promises only are realized and applied to those who believe.

Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD of hosts is his name:

“If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”

[Jeremiah 31:35-36]

In this passage from Jeremiah, the LORD uses comparative language to emphasize His everlasting faithfulness to ethnic/national Israel. In other words, as long as the celestial order of universe remains, Israel will continue to be a nation before the LORD — His portion forever.

Furthermore, there are certain promises that the LORD made to Israel that have not yet been fully realized. These include …

  1. A nation and kingdom on earth
  2. A clearly defined territory and full restoration to the Promised Land
  3. A final victory and rest from all enemies
  4. An inclusion of the Gentiles into the commonwealth of Israel
  5. A King — a descendent of David — upon the throne forever
  6. A Messianic Age of peace and righteousness
  7. A Reunification of Heaven and Earth

As you can see, these promises were to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they have yet to be fulfilled. That is why the Day of the LORD is so very significant. It is the Day that all of God’s promises to Israel will come true!

Only a Remnant will be Saved

What does the Scripture mean when it says, “all Israel” will be saved?

First let’s try to clarify what it doesn’t mean.

It is not Universal

All Israel does not imply that every natural descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who have ever lived are automatically awarded eternal life and included God’s eternal kingdom. Many, if not most, of ethnic Israel seem to have perished in idolatry, gross immorality, rebellion and unbelief. As Paul reminds us, not all who are descended from Israel in the flesh belong to Israel.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” [Romans 9:6-8]

It is not Allegorical

All Israel is not meant to represent an allegorical symbol of the Gentile church. Some want to paint Old Testament Israel as a mere poetic picture of the New Testament church. Some believe God effectively disinherited Israel for its unbelief, and the church since has taken its place to inherit all the covenant promises. In other words, “all Israel” is only a metaphor for the church, who will be saved in the end. But there is one glaring problem with replacing Israel with the church. You are cutting your legs out from under you … literally. Israel is the root, and the church is the fruit hanging off its branches! The Gentile church doesn’t replace Israel. It is supported by Israel.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” [Romans 11:17-18]

It is not Dispensational

While replacement theology is on one extreme of the spectrum, dispensational theology is on the other. Most dispensationalists believe the great tribulation does not apply to the church because of the assertion of a “pre-tribulation” removal of the church. Supposedly the church secretly is raptured to heaven prior to the last 7 years of history, which sends the earth into chaos. Dispensationalists believe that the greatest hour of trial — the time of Jacob’s trouble — is a special period of testing for Israel [aka the elect], not the church. The glaring problem with dispensational teaching is that Jesus and the Apostles clearly taught that the church — along with Israel — both will be present on the earth during the great tribulation. If not, then the prophetic teachings concerning the end times would be of no consequence or benefit to Jesus’ disciples. The elect refers to all believers who are in covenant relationship with God.

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” [Matthew 24:21-22]

It is not National

All Israel does not mean that the entire nation of Israel will be saved in the end. Throughout the great tribulation, or Jacob’s trouble, many national Jews will be deceived by the Antichrist and will be judged for idolatry and unbelief. Passages like Luke 21, Ezekiel 38, and Zechariah 14 remind us that Israel will be invaded and Jerusalem surrounded near the time of the end. Many Jews are expected to die by the sword or pestilence or be taken into captivity. Furthermore, passages like Isaiah 22 and Jeremiah 25 identify Jerusalem and Judah as suffering divine judgment in the last days along with the other Gentile nations. Although the God of Israel has promised again to turn His attention to Israel, once the fullness of the Gentiles is complete, the nation of Israel will not all be saved in the end.

This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from My hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. And they will drink and stagger and go out of their minds, because of the sword that I will send among them.” So I took the cup from the LORD’s hand and made all the nations drink from it, each one to whom the LORD had sent me, to make them a ruin, an object of horror and contempt and cursing, as they are to this day—Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and officials. [Jeremiah 25:15-18]

It is a Conditional Promise to those who Believe

When the Scriptures speak of Jacob being delivered out of his trouble and all Israel being saved in the end, there is only one way to explain it Biblically. Salvation has always been and always will be by God’s grace through faith. The righteous shall live by faith.

So … “all Israel” will be saved by faith in Jesus Christ. The natural descendants of Israel who are able to survive the great tribulation and endure to the end will be saved. Those of ethnic/national Israel who turn from their unbelief and trust in their King and Messiah — the Lord Jesus — will be saved.

This is what is meant in Romans 9:27 that “only a remnant will be saved.” The Scriptures are clear that from among the people of Israel, God always has preserved for Himself a remnant.

In Paul’s day, as in every generation, God had preserved a believing remnant in Israel. He says, “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” [Romans 11:5]. Paul goes on to clarify the reason so many of his fellow Israelites were “cut off” from God — unbelief. The condition for salvation and for remaining in right relationship with God is faith alone — both for Jews and Gentiles. There is no distinction.

In speaking of the last days, following the full inclusion of the Gentiles, Paul adds, “And even they [Israelites], if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again” [Romans 11:23]. Again, the condition is belief.

Paul reinforces the necessity of faith alone in Christ in his letter to the Galatians.

“Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith…. for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

[Galatians 3:7-9, 27-29]

They Will Look upon Him whom They Pierced

I have established that “all Israel” does not represent a universal, national, allegorical, or dispensational portrayal of Israel. Only the believing remnant of Israel will be saved by grace through faith in the end. The LORD had always preserved for Himself a faithful remnant, and it will be no different on the Day of the LORD. Many who have descended from Israel according to the flesh will not be saved on that Day, but the true Israel — the believing Israel — will be saved.

In one respect, there is only one people of God for all time and at any given time in history, and these are the people who are in a convent relationship with the Most High through saving faith. Israel is a unique and distinct people and nation, chosen by God for special purposes, yet only believing Israelites will be saved.

The Bible may refer to God’s people by different names, such as saints, children of God, remnant, the redeemed, elect, the church, kingdom of priests, citizens of heaven, family of God. There is only one true body of believers, regardless of ethnicity, and in the end every believer from all time will be incorporated into the commonwealth of Israel and inherit all the covenant blessings promised to Israel.

But how will “all Israel” be saved in the end?

The following passages paint a clear picture of the events on that Day. God will pour out His Spirit on Israel, and just as the Lord Jesus is seen coming in the clouds from heaven, Israel will weep and mourn and realize that Jesus is indeed their Messiah and true Savior of the world. In that grace-filled moment, all from Israel who believe will be saved.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

[Zechariah 12:10]

For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome;
who can endure it?

“Return to the LORD Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster… And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

[Joel 2:11-13, 32]

Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

“Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD,
nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, I will save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
For I am with you to save you,
declares the LORD;
I will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
I will discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”

[Jeremiah 30:7-11]

The Day of the LORD — All Israel will be Saved {Part 1}

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

[Romans 11:26-27]

Israel

A name that spans some 4,000 years of human history and yet remains as relevant today as when it first was spoken.

Both Israel’s supernatural origins and purposes of election can be found in its name. Israel literally means God conquers or overcomes, which also speaks to the destiny of Israel.

All Israel will be saved in the end.

But what does that really mean? How are we to understand this concept? For example …

  1. Does this mean that every natural descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) automatically are saved as God’s elect?
  2. Or does this mean that the church has replaced Israel and therefore represents all who are saved in the end?
  3. Or does this mean that only the true believing remnant of ethnic Israel will be saved in the end?
  4. Or does this mean that all national/ethnic Israelites that survive the Great Tribulation will be saved when Christ returns?
  5. Or does this mean that true Israel represents the universal, corporate body of believers of all time who will be saved in the end?

As you can see, it’s easy to find yourself in deep waters really fast when considering the eschatological destiny of Israel.

As always, the Scriptures provide the answers we need to discover the truth about Israel and its interaction with the Day of the LORD.

The Deliverer will Come to Zion

The Apostle Paul in commenting on Isaiah 59 declares that all Israel will be saved “in this way.” Determining what is meant by “in this way” is the key to the interpretation. It is worth noting that the Old Testament connects the deliverance of Israel with the Day of the LORD. I will start with Isaiah 59.

“He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds, so will he repay,
wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies;
to the coastlands he will render repayment.
So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun;
for he will come like a rushing stream,
which the wind of the LORD drives.

And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who turn from transgression
,” declares the LORD.

[Isaiah 59:17-20]

The prophet Joel agrees with Isaiah that Jacob will be delivered and saved on the Day of the LORD.

“The LORD utters his voice
before his army,
for his camp is exceedingly great;
he who executes his word is powerful.
For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome;
who can endure it?

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.”

[Joel 2:11-13, 30-32]

Daniel also agrees.

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”

[Daniel 12:1]

Jeremiah 30 provides one of the clearest descriptions of Israel’s future fate.

“Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.

[Jeremiah 30:6-7]

There is no shortage of parallel content from the O.T. prophets, but I think Zechariah’s testimony is critical.

And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

[Zechariah 12:9-10]

“Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.”

[Zechariah 14:1-3]

Now that it has been clearly established that Jacob {Israel} will be delivered by Yahweh on the Day of the LORD, it is essential to determine who “Israel” is in this context and how the LORD will save them.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this installment.

Iran — Another Important Piece in the Prophetic Puzzle

“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia.”

[Daniel 10:13]

Obvious attention has been given to the escalating tension between Iran and the United States. Iran has carried out numerous acts of war through military aggression, terrorism, espionage, and piracy in the Middle East. Not to mention Iran’s direct involvement with mercenaries and proxies throughout the region, including Iraq, Yemen, Syria, the Gaza Strip [Hamas], Lebanon [Hezbollah], and the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has been working relentlessly to acquire and develop nuclear weapons — if they don’t have them already — brandishing ballistic missiles with intercontinental range. Let’s not forget Iran’s irrational hatred for Israel. Not only does the Holy Land sit basically in Iran’s own back yard, but Israel considers Iran its most-serious and imminent threat to survival.

Iran’s most recent act of war was a strategic attack on our U.S. Embassy in Iraq. The U.S. military wasted no time and carried out a precise drone strike on Iran’s top general — Qassem Soleimani — killing him and his entourage outside the Iraqi Airport on New Year’s Day. The swift response by President Trump somewhat stunned Iran, who vowed revenge by raising the notorious red flag of war over the country.

But now Canada, France and Ukraine are demanding answers after a passenger jet leaving the Iranian Airport allegedly was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile — killing everyone on board. While an investigation is pending at this time, it is difficult to believe that this latest act of terror was in any way accidental or coincidental.

For good reason, the world is taking notice to the mounting tensions in the spiritual epicenter of the world. Many have a sense that this latest exchange somehow is different, perhaps providing the spark that will set many unpredictable and consequential fires into motion.

But regardless of the potential geopolitical dynamics and regardless of how the media machine will spin the truth and redismisinate misinformation, we must be able to view everything through the lenses of Scripture to see the whole picture.

As followers of Christ and students of the Word, we must grasp the deeper, more substantial issues with Iran, which include the historical, the spiritual and the prophetic.

Historical Persia

From the original table of 70 nations in Genesis 10, the ethnic and geographic roots of modern-day Iran can be traced back to Elam — the son of Shem and grandson of Noah. After the dispersement of the nations at Babel, Elam settled in the territory northeast of the modern day Persian Gulf and eventually rose to prominence as a world power in the 6th Century B.C.

From a biblical perspective, Media/Persia provides a critical historical backdrop for many of the Old Testament authors, including Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Ester, Haggai, and Malachi. As we will see, Persia represents both the historical kingdom contemporary with the likes of Daniel and Esther, and the future territory of ancient Elam/modern-day Iran, which plays a key role in the end times and is a key piece to the prophetic puzzle.

Through decades of military conquest and expansion, the Persian Empire [circa 550-330 B.C.] absorbed one of the largest imperial land masses in the ancient world, including Media, Babylon, Egypt, Asia Minor, Assyria, and parts of India. Finally in 330 B.C., Macedonian King Alexander the Great conquered Persia and brought the dynasty to an end.

http://mapsofwar.com

Daniel refers to Persia — like the other major world empires — in cryptic and apocalyptic language. Yet using the context, the external data and the internal witness of the Scriptures, we can be confident in the historical reliability of Daniel’s vision and also in the prophetic accuracy of things to come. Here are some examples.

  1. Persia is the second kingdom represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, as described by its chest and arms of silver. You can read Daniel’s interpretation in Daniel 2:31-45.
  2. The 2nd beast kingdom in Daniel 7, as described as a bear raised up on one side [Daniel 7:5].
  3. The ram with two horns in Daniel 8.

After Javan (Ancient Greece/Macedonia) conquered Persia, it has remained somewhat on the periphery of the geopolitical main stage and Biblical timeline until just recently. Inspired by radical Shia Islam, the Iranian regime has emerged once again as a significant player in the Middle East.

These most recent developments also force me to wonder if Iran has started down a path of defiance and has passed the point of no return?

Spiritual Persia

The Persians historically are known for embracing pagan idolatry and polytheism — like virtually every Gentile nation that was established after the tower of Babel. Later at the height of the empire, Zoroastrianism officially was the most highly regarded and widely practiced religion in Persia. Zoroastrianism would dominate Persian spiritual and cultural life for over 1,000 years, until Islam brought jihad to Persia in the 7th Century A.D. and subdued the land under Shariah.

Historically, the spiritual complexion of Persia has been very dark and oppressive. Persia is not known for being a spiritual beacon of light and hope to the rest of the world. Persia has not been known for being a haven of spiritual liberty. Persia certainly is not known for worshiping and honoring Yahweh — the Most High God. Quite the contrary. Persia is one of Israel’s great traditional enemies.

Furthermore, Persia — aka Iran — has been one of the most restrictive nations of the gospel of Jesus Christ in recent memory. Since the revolution and regime change in the 1970s, Iranian followers of Jesus have been systematically purged by the radical Muslims.

That is … Until NOW!

In the midst of all of this chaos, conflict and confusion, the Word of the LORD has broken free in Iran, the Spirit of God has been poured out on the people or Iran, and Iranians are turning in faith to Jesus Christ in record numbers.

We are witnessing at this time one of the greatest revivals on planet earth. Many are receiving the gospel message from the resurrected Jesus Himself in dreams and visions. The underground church is growing like wildfire, and it has much to do with the relentless courage and obedience of the faithful women of Iran, who are unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ even unto death! [discover more here]

Of course this reminds us of the testimony of both the prophet Joel and the Apostle Peter.

 “And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit … before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”

[Joel 2:28-29, 31b]

It is through Messiah — the Lord Jesus Christ — that the Most High God is reclaiming the nations as a people for His own possession, so that everyone who calls in faith upon the name of the Lord Jesus — whether Jew or Gentile — will be saved and will become heirs of God’s kingdom.

This is why Paul makes a direct connection between the promised “seed” of Abraham and the blessing of all the nations on the earth (Genesis 12:1-3). We know that the promised “Seed” is Jesus Christ — the son of Abraham — who would eventually bring into fulfillment all that Yahweh promised the nations.

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith … for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith … There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

[Galatians 3:7-9, 26, 28-29 ]

It is by grace through faith in Christ that any of us inherit the promises God made to the patriarchs. So today, may we give God all the glory for demonstrating His grace and power among the Iranian people by redeeming those who at one time were not His people. Through Christ, God is including the Gentiles and bringing them into the commonwealth of Israel and the family of God, incorporating them into His body and calling people from every nation His beloved bride.

While we rejoice with God for His saving grace for the people of Iran, we also must recognize the spiritual component of evil resonating and influencing the kings and rulers of Iran. Although the Son of God ultimately reigns supreme over every nation, there remains an ancient spiritual principality and power controlling the Persian regime, and this supernatural prince of Persia will not surrender quietly.

The PrincIPALITY OF PERSIA

According to the Biblical testimony, the Most High God — Yahweh — effectively disinherited the nations in response to their rebellion at Babel and relinquished the nations over to rebellious sons of God, called princes. These divine princes at one time were included in God’s heavenly council and sat alongside Yahweh on thrones. These princes were given authority by Yahweh to participate with Him in accomplishing His will and purposes in heaven and on earth.

The rebellion of the divine council and Babel episode are the only Biblical explanations sufficient to explain the presence of the supernatural prince of Persia in Daniel 10. As Gabriel resisted and contended with the prince of Persia for 21 days, the reader is given a glimpse behind the scenes into the spiritual battles taking place between the principalities and the powers in the heavens and on earth.

Both Moses and Paul agree that the Babel episode is the exact moment in history when God divided up the nations and set their boundaries according to the number of the sons of God, while claiming Israel as His own portion on the earth.

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”

[Deuteronomy 32:8-9]

“You should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways.”

[Acts 14:15-16]

 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.”

[Acts 17:26-27]

Instead of honoring Yahweh and submitting to His authority, these sons of God rebelled and set themselves up as the heathen gods of the Gentile nations, introducing to mankind all forms of evil, idolatry, violence, astrology, sorcery, divination, occult ritual, human sacrifice, moral debauchery, and pagan superstition. All the nations of the earth universally have been vassal nations for the heathen gods. These dark princes and supernatural rebels have been working relentlessly behind the scenes for millennia to disrupt God’s plan and destroy God’s people.

That is precisely why the LORD has pronounced judgment on the gods of the nations. They have dealt corruptly with mankind. They have sought worship and power and glory above the One True God. They have abused their power and kept the people in darkness. They have abandoned their loyalty and allegiance to Yahweh.

God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

[Psalm 82:1-5

The New Testament categorizes these supernatural spiritual forces as the cosmic rulers, principalities and powers, thrones, dominions and authorities in the heavenly places. Satan is the chief prince of the demons and has been given the authority over the kingdoms of the world [Luke 4:5-8]; therefore, the Devil is at the head of the enemy hierarchy.

More than demons — who primarily torment individuals — these evil princes have substantial control over national and international affairs in the world.

Just as God has promised to judge the nations, all human rebels and all the ungodly on that Day when Christ comes, He also will judge the divine rebels on that Day, when He inherits the earth and takes His seat on His throne as King and LORD!

This leads us to the last aspect of Persia — the prophetic.

Prophetic Persia

The Prophets Daniel and Ezekiel provide the most comprehensive account of the prophetic destiny of Persia/Elam. We will first consider Daniel 8 and then Ezekiel 38-39.

Daniel is visited by the angelic messenger, Gabriel, and given a prophecy about a regional conflict in the last days. Gabriel emphasizes three times to Daniel that his vision was concerning the time of the end [Daniel 8:17, 19, 26]. Many scholars believe Daniel 8 has already been fulfilled through the historical exploits of Alexander the Great, and although the prophecy may partially have been foreshadowed by these past events, it is clear that it involves two nations in the last days — Javan — the goat –and Persia — the ram.

“As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. And the goat is the king of Greece (Javan). And the great horn between his eyes is the first king.”

[Daniel 8:20-21]

According to Daniel’s vision, we can expect a regional conflict between modern-day Javan (Turkey) and modern-day Persia (Iran) at the time of the end. This prophecy predicts that Iran — the ram — will grow in power and prominence in the last days and then will be confronted by Turkey — the goat — who will defeat Iran and shift the power in the Middle East.

As you can imagine, with the instability and turmoil in the Middle East and a political vacuum existing in Iraq and Syria, it is not difficult to see a conflict erupt between Turkey and Iran for control of the region.

More importantly, we discover that the Antichrist himself — the little horn — will begin to emerge on the political scene following this coming conflict and transfer of power.

Now to the other prophetic passage in Ezekiel that outlines the role Persia will play in the final battle of Armageddon. According to Ezekiel 38, Persia is one of the primary nations that aligns itself with Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I have written extensively about why Gog is the end-times Antichrist, so I will not spend time defending that here.

As the false prophet sends our demonic spirits to the kings of the earth in the last days to gather them for what is known as the Battle of Armageddon, Persia will fall in step [Ezekiel 38:1-6, Revelation 16, Zechariah 12-14].

“Elam is there, and all her multitude around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised into the world below, who spread their terror in the land of the living; and they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit.”

[Ezekiel 32:24]

It will be at this unequaled moment in time that the Lord of Glory will return from heaven to strike down the nations, judge the Antichrist and his armies, and punish the evil principalities and powers in heavenly places.

And how will the rebel sons of God be judged? What will it cost the supernatural princes who declared treason against Yahweh?

They all will be cast down and die like a men. Every prince will be thrown down to the earth and die a mortals death. Let us finish Psalm 82.

I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!

[Psalm 82:6-8]

Isaiah adds …

“On that day the LORD will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.”

[Isaiah 24:21-22]

Even so come quickly Lord Jesus.

Reflections from the Holy Land — No Peace in the Middle East

“Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.”

[Galatians 4:28]

The ancient city of Jerusalem was built on a mountain called Moriah, which remains to this day. Mt. Moriah is significant on many different levels because it holds the key to understanding the age-old conflict in the Middle East between two people groups — Jews and Arabs.

We are first introduced to Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22, when the LORD tests Abraham’s allegiance and faith by asking him to do the very last thing he could have possibly imagined — sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac.

Abraham, unwavering in his faith in the LORD, took his son Isaac and journeyed to the foot of this sacred mountain. It was there on that rock that God would demonstrate one of the greatest foreshadowings of the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ.

Later King David and his son Solomon would choose that very same rock to build the Temple for the LORD. This is where sacrifices were made for atonement and where the high priest of Israel would mediate for his people. This was the place where sinful man could meet with Holy God and seek restoration. The Temple is where God manifested His glory before the people and where they would worship Him in reverence.

“Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”

[2 Chronicles 3:1]

It is evident that the LORD has chosen that mountain as His own resting place for His name to be remembered forever. Consider what the LORD told Solomon at the dedication of the Temple on Mount Moriah.

And the LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”

[1 Kings 9:3]

Abraham and Isaac

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

[Genesis 22:1-2]

Picture Abraham, an old man by this time, deliberately climbing the rough terrain of Moriah with his beloved son Isaac by his side. Picture him marching the son of promise to the place of his imminent death. Isaac bearing the wood for his own sacrifice on his back, submitting to his father’s will. Abraham had waited years to finally see the LORD provide this son of promise against all odds, and now the LORD was asking Abraham to lay his beloved son down on that rock and offer him as a sacrifice. Would Abraham be willing to give the one thing he loved the most back to God?

Abraham’s faith proved remarkable. Consider what the Scriptures say about his trust in God.

Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”

[Genesis 22:5]

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together

[Genesis 22:7-8]

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”

[Hebrews 11:17-19]

The obedience displayed by Abraham and his son Isaac and the provision of God on that sacred mountain should deeply resonate within every believer because it effectively foreshadows the Person and redemptive work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The chart below shows how this one event is perhaps the greatest picture of the gospel in the Old Testament.

Abraham and Ishmael

The Arab people living in the Middle East are direct descendants from Abraham’s son, Ishmael, and to a lesser extent Isaac’s son, Esau. While waiting for the LORD to deliver on His promise for a son, Sarai became anxious and took matters into her own hands, suggesting that Abram sleep with the maidservant, Hagar. Abraham foolishly succumbed to his wife’s persuasion and a son was born to Hagar named Ishmael.

Although Abraham loved his son, Ishmael, this one act of disobedience caused perpetual turmoil and dysfunction in the home, and the LORD rebuked Abraham by reminding him that His covenant would not be established though Ishmael, who was illegitimate, but through Isaac, the son of promise. God still had compassion for Hagar and Ishmael and promised to make Ishmael into the father of a great nation (i.e. Arabs), but He unequivocally established his covenant with Isaac, not Ishmael. This is very significant in understanding the ongoing conflict between the Arabs and the Jews in Israel.

“And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.21But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

[Genesis 17:18-21]

The reason this land is so fiercely disputed is because the Arabs, and more specifically the Muslim Arabs, claim Abraham as their father and therefore claim the land for themselves as his rightful heirs. It is true that Arabs are physical descendants of Abraham, but it is also true that the LORD did not establish his covenant with Ishmael, but rather Isaac. That is why He repeatedly calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — not Ishmael.

Although many Muslims today will claim that it was Ishmael who was carried up to Moriah to be sacrificed by Abraham, there is little historical support for such a claim in the Quran and the Muslim Hadith. As a matter of fact, there is actually more support in the Muslim writings that Isaac was the son Abraham took up on the mountain. You can read more here.

We must remember, that Islam emerged on the scene in the 7th Century A.D., which is over 2,600 years after the life of Abraham and over 2,000 years after Moses wrote the Torah. Anything the Muslim traditions add to the Scriptures of outright change must be categorically rejected.

This disagreement about the offspring of Abraham is at the heart of ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and unfortunately as long as Islam and Judaism exist and both live in that land, there is little hope for a resolution.

Which is why we must proclaim the truth to both unbelieving Jews and Muslims alike that they both are missing the True Son who made the ultimate sacrifice on that mountain — God’s beloved Son, the One and Only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ! And only in Christ will there ever be peace — peace with God, peace with mankind, and ultimately peace eternal in God’s kingdom!

Jesus Christ — the Prince of Peace

Perhaps no one has said it best than Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias. Ravi at one point had the unique opportunity to speak with Sheikh Talal Sider, one of the founders of Hamas, and inspired by the Holy Spirit Ravi said the following.

But the last day, I saw one of the leaders of Hamas, one of the four founders. I went there for one reason; I had one question for him. He gave us a great meal, told us of eighteen years he’d served in prison, some of his children had been lost in suicide bombings, and this and that. And I had a question. I said, “Sheik, I may never see you again and forgive me if I’m asking you the wrong question. Please tell me, what do you think of suicide bombing and sending your children out like that?” I didn’t like his answer. I couldn’t say much. The room was full of smoke.

After he finished his answer, I said, “Sheik, you and I may never see each other again, so I want you to hear me. A little distance from here is a mountain upon which Abraham went 5,000 years ago to offer his son. You may say the son was one; I may say it’s another. Let’s not argue about that. He took his son up there. And as the axe was about to fall, God said, ‘Stop.’” I said, “Do you know what God said after that?” He shook his head. I said, “God said, ‘I myself will provide.’” He nodded his head. I said, “Very close to where you and I are sitting, Sheik, is a hill. Two thousand years ago, God kept that promise and brought his own Son and the axe did not stop this time. He sacrificed his own Son.” 

I said, “Sheik, I just want you to hear this. Until you and I receive the Son God has provided, we’ll be offering our own sons and daughters on the battlefields of this world for many of the wrong reasons.”

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