Chapter 3 – A summary of the group of prophecies
Prophecies of Daniel, The fall of the ancient earthly kingdoms, The persecution of the church by the Jews, The judgment of the Jews.
The first group of “last days” or “end times” prophecies were mostly those written and given through Daniel. This dealt with the rise and the fall of the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek (Macedonian) Empire, the rise of the Roman Empire and the judgment of the Jewish nation.
For the Old Testament nations and kingdoms, the coming of Christ really ushered in the last days. This is exactly what Joel prophesied and Peter confirmed in the book of acts:
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
With this statement, Peter acknowledged that they were living in the last days. And in fact, in less than 40 years (70 AD), the Jewish nation, as prophesied, was literally “wiped from the earth” by the Roman Empire, so to speak. We know that this nation seized to exist as a nation for almost 2000 years as a direct result of this judgment. Those days were in fact the last days for the nation of Israel as an Old Testament nation.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
In this verse, Isaiah prophesied the coming of the kingdom of God, referring to the birth of the church. The birth of the church explains the “and all nations shall flow to it” part of the verse mentioned above. This was to be fulfilled in the days of the kings of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image. Micah 4:1 prophesied the same thing.
In the book of Timothy Paul also warned Timothy that perilous times are coming.
2 Timothy 3:1
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
Perilous times really did come in just a few years: The Jews started to persecute Christians, the nation of Israel was exiled, the Romans started persecuting Christians, millions of people died during this time which started almost immediately after Paul prophesied this and came to an end in 315 AD.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Wherefore , behold , I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify ; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.
In Matthew 23 Jesus accused the Pharisees and the Sadducees that they will very soon persecute his disciples.
These prophecies, in the book of Daniel as well as in the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah included the coming and the visitation of Jesus Christ. He was to come to set up the Kingdom of God. He also came to judge the Old Testament nations to make way for the kingdom of God. This was the rock which was cut out of the mountain without hands. This was the Kingdom of God that was set up by Jesus Christ. This rock came down from the mountain and it destroyed the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. First it broke the image into pieces and then it became like chaff of the summer threshing-floors and the wind carried it away. For the Old Testament earthly kingdoms this was the end of the world as they knew it. The rock from heaven slowly but surely destroyed these earthly kingdoms. It was called the “last days” referring to the end of the Old Testament earthly kingdoms. A new kingdom, a kingdom that would last forever, the kingdom of God was about to be set up by God in the earth. This ushered in a new era which is the era of the kingdom of God which will never end.
And in the days of these kings (Roman Empire – especially referring to the ten kings that arose with the fall of the Roman Empire) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
This was the kingdom of God which was to include all nations, tribes and tongues.
I need to make a special reference to the nation of Israel. As a nation the Jews were to be judged first. Judgment always starts with the “house” of the Lord. As a nation, Israel rejected God right through the Old Testament but they also rejected Jesus Christ right through the New-Testament and for almost 2000 years even up to today (2015), they still do. That is why God turned to the gentiles.
There is however, a promise, or a hint of a promise, that the nation of Israel will be included in the kingdom of God, but this time as part of the church. They will no longer be regarded “superior” or “higher” than the gentiles but as equals. This fact is very clear in a number of Scriptures:
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Although God still wants to save the natural Israel, just as He wants to save any other nation who is willing to, for some reason the Christian Church still stick to the belief that Israel is still the “chosen nation” and they have and will always have this special or superior place in the kingdom of God. Galatians 3:28 clearly says that there is neither Jew nor Greek. The old dispensation is something of the past. All peoples are equal in the sight of God. Christ is all in all. Romans 10:12 says there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek. The Scripture says the Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him.
In fact, it is very clear from Scriptures that the natural Israel will not inherit the promise. It is reserved for the spiritual Israel only:
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed (of Abraham)
Galatians 3: 7
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman
I do not want to say too much about the fact that the natural Israel will not find what they seek. They will not inherit with the church. Their only hope to inherit is to become a Christian nation and then they will inherit the same as the gentiles. I have a FREE book available on my website, “The Hope of Israel” by Philip Mauro, which explains in detail how Israel will be involved in end times events. This book is a must read because it will clarify your views on Israel once and for all.
All nations are equal in God’s sight. Neither Jew nor Greek means that in the church of Christ all are equal. The repented Israel will take up their place in the kingdom of God just as all the other nations. All nations who turn to Christ, is as a nation equal to the Jews. There is absolutely no difference. Israel is not and will not be a special nation in the kingdom of God ever again. All are equal as all the above Scriptures clearly confirm.
We as Christians should love the Jews just like we love other nations of the world. We should pray for the Jews and we should extend a hand of friendship towards the Jews just as we do with any other nation of the world. We as Christians should stand with the Jews just as we are supposed to stand with any other nation who needs Christ. We should show them that they are not alone. We will pray for them and we will help them wherever we can. We should NOT turn our backs on this nation like the rest of the world.
We should however understand who and what the natural Israel really is. The natural Israel rejected Jesus Christ and they are forever lost if they do not repent. We should stay true to the word of God and to Christ Jesus our Savior. We should stay true to the Christian faith. We should NOT incorporate Jewish rituals and customs into the Christian faith. Do not believe the false doctrine that there is still a place for Judaism or that the Jewish rituals are God’s rituals. Christianity did in fact replace Judaism. Even the Jews as a nation, if and when they accept Jesus Christ, will turn their backs on Judaism. They will become Christians like us. They will replace the old with the new. They will realize and they will undoubtedly know that Christ Jesus did fulfill all those Old Testament Jewish types and shadows that pointed to Christ. They will not keep those rituals anymore for they will know that Jesus Christ fulfilled them all.
God will accept any Jew who turns to Christ. He will accept the nation of Israel if they, as a nation turn to Christ. He did not turn His back on the Jew. I believe that the nation of Israel will eventually accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. This nation will repent and they will definitely become part of the kingdom of God the same way that the gentiles became part of the kingdom of God, by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Jews will however definitely be a people equal to the rest of the children of God as the Scriptures above suggest. This is what Duane A. Garrett has to say about this:
Exile and Diaspora are the punishments God imposed on Israel for idolatry and unbelief (Dt 28:64-68; Is 6:11-12; 39:1-7; Jr 6:1-8; 19:1-13; Ezk 5:5-12; Am 8:1-12). Perhaps the primary passage on the subject is Dt 29:24-28: “All the nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land . . .’ Then people will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . . They began to worship other gods . . . Therefore the Lord’s anger burned . . . The Lord uprooted them from their land in His anger, fury, and great wrath, and threw them into another land where they are today.'”
But this is not the whole story. The prophets also claimed that God would restore David’s fallen dynasty (Hs 3:5; Am 9:11) and give Israel a New Covenant to replace the one they had broken (Jr 31:31-34). And now, while Israel is in disobedience and Diaspora, the Gentiles are brought into the New Covenant (Rm 11:25-32). The true end of exile will be when Israel turns to their Messiah, Jesus, mourning over Him whom they have pierced (Zch 12:6-14).
– Duane A. Garrett
Even today Israel is still in exile. As a nation Israel did not yet accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. According to Biblical prophecies it appears that they will. I believe that those prophecies will come into fulfillment either sometime before or during the Millennial reign. With Christ’s first coming Israel rejected him. God knew that this was going to happen. He knew that Israel will be disobedient again like so many times in the past. The nation of Israel could not surprise God. From the very start He knew that Israel would be a nation who would be very reluctant to serve Him.
But to Israel He says, “All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a disobeying and gainsaying people.”
When Christ came to judge the Old Testament nations, He had to judge Israel also. The first nation that rejected Jesus Christ and who rejected the church of Christ, was the Jews. They murdered Jesus and they persecuted and they killed the Christians. John the baptist warned the Pharisees of the coming judgment in Matthew 3:7 when the Pharisees and Sadducees approached him in the desert of Judea:
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who have warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
In verse 10 he warned that the axe is already laid unto the root of the trees and that every tree which bringeth not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
In verse 12 he said that Jesus’ fan is in His hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Although John the baptist knew that the judgment of God is at hand, and although the apostles like John knew that Israel is facing the long promised wrath of God, the Jews were totally unaware of the time they were living in. They were totally unaware of the judgment of God that was upon them.
As we are told in Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
John the-baptist was in fact Elijah who came just before the judgment of Christ referring to the destruction of Israel in 70 AD.
Jesus told the disciples that Elijah already came. It cannot be stated more clear than that:
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
The restoration that John the-baptist was suppose to do was to call the people to repentance. He did exactly that. He even started baptizing people as an outward sign that he was busy with and achieving what he was called to do. This message of restoration was and still is the core message of Christianity. Many people did repent but many Jews rejected Christ only to bring the imminent wrath of God on themselves. Within 40 years that great and dreadful day of the Lord arrived when the nation of Israel was destroyed by Titus and Hadrian.
“Elijah” is not coming for a third time. The Bible prophecies only once that a prophet will come in the spirit of Elijah and Jesus confirmed that it was John the-baptist. There is absolutely no indication anywhere in the Bible that this will ever happen again.
Do not forget that even the Jews started persecuting the church just a few years after the church was birthed. For those early Christians the tribulation started even before the persecutions of the Roman Empire. The four gospels and even the epistles of the apostles clearly indicated this fact. Jesus Christ, Paul, John, Peter and some of the other writers of the New-Testament epistles numerously warned the early church that they are in the last hour and that perilous times and tribulations are ahead of them. They were continuously warned not to quit their faith in Jesus Christ but to remain faithful. The temporary trials and tribulations of this time cannot be compared to the everlasting and wonderful blessings of the kingdom of God if they prevail. Here are some of these warnings and exhortations that Jesus Christ and the apostles wrote to the early church:
5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (Roman siege in 70 AD)
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. (Within just a few weeks after Jesus’ ascension the Jews started persecuting the Christians and a few years later the Romans joined in this practice)
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (This happened during the Roman persecutions)
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (Roman invasion in 70 AD)
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. (It was reported that the Jews ate their own children during the siege of Titus in 70 AD)
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Since 70 AD, Jerusalem was under Gentile control until 1948. In fact, the Jews even today only partially regained control over Jerusalem and only a small portion of Palestine)
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (During the fall of the Roman Empire perilous and distressful times were experienced in the empire)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (This is referring to Jesus’ judgment over the Old Testament nations. It is sometimes called the day of the Lord or the Judgment Day. Remember that the Roman Empire was in fact a combination of all the Old Testament nations as all these nations were taken up within the Roman Empire. What the Christians really saw during that time was Christ’s judgment and not Him in person. Even with the Judgment of the Jews Jesus said that they will see Him coming. He was however referring to His judgment. They will “see” His judgment)
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Jesus Christ promised here that He will soon deliver the Christians from the Jews and from the Roman Empire)
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (This generation literally saw and heard these prophecies coming into fulfillment in their time)
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Verses 5-19 is a summary of the events and the persecution of Christians by the Jews and the Romans. It therefore deals with both the Jewish and the Roman persecutions. Verses 20-24 focus on the Jews and describes the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. It therefore deals with the judgment of God over the Jews. Versus 25 to 36 focus on the Roman Empire and gives a general description of these events to prepare the Christians for this.
The judgment on the Jews was and still is very severe. Almost 2 million Jews were killed between 70 AD and 136 AD. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were dispersed all over the Roman Empire. Jerusalem was renamed to “Aelia Capitolina”. The Jewish temple was totally destroyed and a heathen temple dedicated to the god Jupiter was built in it’s place. This temple was later destroyed and the Muslim temple of the rock was built in its place. This was God’s way to prevent the Jews from proceeding with Jewish rituals or practicing Judaism again because they need the temple for that. Up to this day the Jews could not sacrifice animals again.
Did you know that after 70 AD, the Jews were driven out of Jerusalem for almost 2000 years. It was only very recently, in 1948, that the Jews officially, but only partially, regained Jerusalem and a small portion of the land of Palestine (formerly Judea). In order for the Christian faith, to replace Judaism, God had to remove Judaism. For that reason it practically did not exist for almost 2000 years. Even today, and as from 1948, it exists only theoretically because even today the Jews cannot officially practice their faith. The mere presence of the temple of the rock on the temple mount prevents that from happening.
The Jewish faith and rituals are completely rooted in the temple. The fact is, the Jews haven’t got a temple and according to Scriptures, they will never have a temple again. Yes, the belief that the Jewish temple will be built again is not Scriptural. The Jews will abandon this plan when they accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. They will turn to Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, who is, along with the church, the real temple of God. The Jews will not want a temple. Even today, and not even being repented to Christ yet, the majority of Jews do not want the temple to be rebuilt and they do not want to revert back to animal sacrifices. Apparently all the building material for the temple have already been gathered and is stored somewhere. People already have their action plans ready in order to start rebuilding the new temple as soon as the opportunity arises. My opinion however is that this temple will never be built.
Many people who have close relationship with people in Israel and who are involved in evangelical outreaches to Israel all report the same thing: They say that more and more Jews are converting to Christianity. One preacher reports that he made an invitation to accept Jesus Christ to a Jewish crowd who gathered in a big hall for a meeting. To his surprise everybody in this hall accepted the invitation and became Christ followers. It appears that the veil over their hearts are lifting. Jews are beginning to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and they are beginning to understand the Old Testament prophetic Scriptures pointing to Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
One person reports that she had a dream of Jesus Christ slowly walking past the Jewish rabbis at the Western wall in Jerusalem whilst they were praying. He was smiling at them and some of them looked back at Him. The lady reports that the look on these rabbis faces caught her attention. As soon as they made eye contact with Jesus these rabbis appeared to be suddenly recognizing Him as the Messiah. Jesus disappeared and these rabbis slowly walked away into a room. In the dream she followed them. Inside the room these rabbis looked at each other with somewhat stunned faces and then one of them said the following: “This changes everything”.
Now what did this rabbi mean in the dream with these words? My opinion is that this rabbi immediately realized that Christianity is the only true religion on earth. He immediately realized, exactly as Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews that the old must make way for the new. He immediately realized that Judaism is a dead and a redundant religion. This implies that the Jews will one day accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah exactly as Old Testament and New Testament prophecies predicted. The words, “This changes everything” is very significant. It implies that the Jews will change their plans, their faith and their ways!
I think this will leave quite a few Christians feeling very awkward that day. I can already see the red faces when the Jews turn to proper and pure Christianity while some Christians are still involved in Old Testament Jewish rituals like keeping the Jewish feasts, holidays, and all sorts of other Jewish rituals. Many Christians still believe the lie that these rituals are not Jewish rituals but God’s rituals. Although this doctrine is absolutely not Scriptural many Christians were conned and are still being conned into taking part in these orthodox Jewish rituals. They have given up their freedom in Christ for the very old bondage of legalism once again!
The crux of the matter is that Christianity was never supposed to be mixed with Judaism and should never be mixed with Judaism. The Jews broke the old covenant and God moved on to a new and better covenant. The old cannot run parallel with the new. The old actually does not exist anymore. It is only up to now being kept in place by pure human effort:
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
In this Scripture it is clear that Judaism was destined to vanish away. This is what Paul told the Jews in the book of Hebrews. Judaism was supposed to disappear when the Messiah came onto the scene. Jesus Christ and Christianity replaced Judaism. Many people do not like this statement but this is the truth. Christianity replaced Judaism. This is a fact. God could not allow this obsolete religion to carry on. That is why emperor Hadrian forbid any Jewish religious rituals to be carried out. They were killed if found circumcising babies or performing any other Jewish rituals. Not a single Jew was allowed to stay in Aelia Capitolina (the old Jerusalem) and even Palestine (the old Judea) for hundreds and even thousands of years. This is very significant; a Jew could not put a foot in Jerusalem for all those years. They could not even visit the old city. Emperor Hadrian populated Aelia Capitolina with Greco-Romans. Judea was renamed to Palestine. The Jewish religion was totally banned and the Jews were dispersed into the whole world.
The popular belief that the temple will be rebuilt is not based on prophecies but mere assumptions. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the temple will be rebuilt. Yes there is small group of Jews that want to rebuilt it but that is not proof that it will be rebuilt. Many people ask: What about the temple of Ezekiel? Contrary of what many scholars believe, this temple was not to be rebuilt in future. It was to be rebuilt by the Jews after they were released from captivity through the sanction of Cyrus and his son. The plans were available and were in fact taken into consideration with the rebuilding of the second temple. Eventually they however rebuilt Solomon’s temple. Why?
The reason for this is because there was no everlasting redemption. The Jews were not released from captivity by God because of repentance. They, in fact, did not repent. God allowed Cyrus to release them in order to set the stage for the coming of Christ. It was by then clear that the Jews will not repent and thus the old covenant was broken. He did allow them to rebuilt the temple but not Ezekiel’s temple. If Israel did repent, He would have allowed them to built Ezekiel’s temple. That however did not happen. Had they repented, Ezekiel’s temple would have been an everlasting temple. The old temple of Solomon was rebuilt instead.
It was however not even coming close to Solomon’s temple. Although it was bigger it lacked the grandeur and splendor of Solomon’s temple. And, very significantly, some very important original artifacts were missing: The ark of the covenant, the urim and thummim, the holy oil and the sacred fire. This is contrary to the prophet Haggai’s prophecy that the glory of the second temple will exceed the first. This is a very clear indication that the second temple is in fact Jesus Christ and the body of Christ. The second temple of the Jews was only rebuilt to set the stage for Christ’s coming. It was only built to emphasize the shortcomings of the old covenant.
The glory of the new will truly be magnificent. This glory far exceeds the former because God actually wants to dwell in people and not a building made of stone. Jesus and the church are filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. Jesus really is the arc of the covenant and the living God, the Holy Spirit, is also the holy oil and He will lead us and not an Old Testament method, which is the Urim and Thummim:
3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:
5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
Now we know that the temple that Zerubbabel and Joshua, the High priest, had in mind was in fact the second Jewish temple. God was however prophetically referring to Christ because the gentiles were included as mentioned in verse 7 and we all know that the second Jewish temple did not exceed Solomon’s temple in glory. It actually fell far short of that.
This is what Mike Clinton has to say about Ezekiel’s temple:
EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE IS NOT A FUTURE TEMPLE
Ezekiel’s Temple is not a future temple. It was a temple that should have been built by the Jews when they returned from the Babylonian captivity. This article gives the reasons for this conclusion.
Ezekiel describes a temple that will have: animal sacrifices, mandatory circumcision: 44:9, separation between Jews and Gentiles: 43:10&11, a return to owning slaves: 46:17, a Temple only for the Jews: 43:10&11.
Because this vision of the Temple (40-48) follows the vision of the final regathering of the Jews and the battle of Gog and Magog (36-39) it has led many to believe it is in the future; but Ezekiel 40 does not follow 36-39 chronologically. This has led to confusion about the Temple being in the future. There is a 13 year gap between ch. 39 and ch. 40, see 32:1
ANIMAL SACRIFICES HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY FOREVER
The idea that there will be a future temple with animal sacrifices is flatly contradicted by everything written in the Epistles. (The Law was still in effect in the Gospels and Acts is a transitional book.)
One of the first books of the Bible that really interested me as a young Christian was the Book of Hebrews. I have read it in excess of a hundred times and studied it through in Greek, looking up every word in its occurrence in the New Testament. The book of Hebrews is a warning to Jews who had suffered persecution because they had become Christians. They were thinking about returning to the Temple and Judaism to escape persecution. The writer of Hebrews warns them that by doing this they would be rejecting Christ’s once for all sacrifice. He tells them that the animal sacrifices have been put away forever and that Christ’s sacrifice was the only sacrifice available to put away sins. Animal sacrifices were no longer valid and the old system would soon vanish away. The Temple would soon be destroyed and the customs of Moses changed.
Here is just one example from Hebrews: 10: 6-14 “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure. Then said I, See, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do your will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From now on expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
The explanation for this problem is that the sacrifices are only “memorial” sacrifices. Yet Ezekiel plainly says they are sacrifices for guilt and sin: e.g., 43: 19-26 and 45: 17,22.
THERE IS NO MENTION OF EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Hebrews 8:8,9: ‘Behold, the days come when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.’ That new covenant has not yet been made with the nation of Israel, but only with the true Israel of God. Nor can it be made with the Jews until they say ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ But when that covenant is made, it will be ‘not according to the covenant ratified with animal sacrifices and associated with tabernacle service that I made with your fathers….’ But what Ezekiel describes is a re-institution of those very things. Therefore his code is not for Israel in the day when at last they receive the blessings of the New Covenant in Christ. “
EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUILT BY THE RETURNING JEWS
THE KEY TO THE VISION
The key to this vision of the Temple is found in these verses:
Eze. 43:9-11 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.
These verses tell us that if the Jews thoroughly repented and were ashamed of all their sins; this temple could be realized when they returned from the Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel and the captive Jews were not interested in some distant Temple far in the future. They wanted to know what kind of Temple awaited their return. The destruction of Jerusalem and the first Temple is the context of the vision. 40:1 . What about Jerusalem? What about the temple? Will they be rebuilt?
THE JEWS ENDEAVORED TO FOLLOW EZEKIEL’S INSTRUCTIONS WHEN THEY RETURNED FROM BABYLON
Rabbi Sholoma Yitzchaki
“The second ascent to the Holy Land of Israel during the time of Ezra was meant to be like the first entry through Joshua—to come about by force and through a miracle. This is what the Talmud states, bringing proof from the verse where it states twice [the words] “cross over,” “Your people cross over, O G-d, until this nation that You have acquired crosses over.”
This building would have been fit for them then, when they emerged from exile, had there been an everlasting redemption. However, their sin caused this not to happen for their repentance was not suitable. In other words, they did not resolve to stop sinning. Therefore, they were freed only through the sanction of Cyrus and his son. Some say that their sin in Babylon was that they stumbled regarding gentile women.”
Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin
“Indeed, when the Rabbis referred to the second Temple period, they would say it was a partial redemption only. For not only were the Jews still under foreign rule, but the second Temple also lacked some key components—including the Holy Ark. However, even though the second Temple did not have the everlasting quality of the Temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy, the builders did incorporate certain parts of the prophecy into its construction.”
“The temple described by Ezekiel should have been built by the new colonists; the customs and usages which he orders should have been observed by them; the division of the country should have been followed by them. That the temple did not arise out of its ruins according to his model, and that his orders were in no manner obeyed, was the fault of Israel. How far were they behind the orders of their first lawgiver, Moses? What wonder, therefore, that they as little regarded their second lawgiver, Ezekiel?”
WHO IS THE PRINCE?
There is a Prince mentioned in the Temple vision that some say is Jesus or a resurrected David, but, he has a wife and family: 46:16,17, he is subject to death : 46:17,18, he must be warned against oppression: 45:8; 46:18, goes no further than the court of the priests: 46:2, offers sacrifice for sin: 45:22; 46:10-12.
More likely, this Prince would have been a man like Zerubbabel if they had repented and followed Ezekiel’s instructions.
EZEKIEL – THE SECOND LAWGIVER
“Israel, back from Babylon, needed a new code. They had no ark, no mercy seat therefore no Day of Atonement, no holy fire therefore no sacrifice. Lam. 2:6-9.The urim and thummim used by the priests could not be found. This is a new revelation for them emphasized by 40:4; 44:5; 43:10,11. In Ezekiel’s twenty-fifth year in Babylon thirteen years after his previous prophecies about the valley of dry bones, he received a final vision. He saw a new Jerusalem and a new temple. Bear in mind, Ezekiel received this vision before the second temple was built in Jerusalem. His visions began with the destruction of the first temple; it is fitting that his visions end with the construction of the second temple.”
BACK FROM BABYLON THEY FOLLOWED EZEKIEL VERY LARGELY
The hints in Ezra and Nehemiah which connect their new temple with that described by Ezekiel are interesting and instructive.”
DIMENSIONS OF THE TEMPLE IN CYRUS DECREE IS IDENTICAL TO EZEKIEL’S
” In Ezra 6:3 the details of the decree of Cyrus include the actual dimensions as given by Ezekiel — central sanctuary 60 cubits long and 60 cubits high. These are the identical measurements which are to be deduced from Eze. 41:2,4.”
SECOND TEMPLE ACCORDING TO THE COMMAND OF GOD AND CYRUS
“Further, Ezra records that when the temple was finished, “they built and finished it according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, etc.” 6:14. What command of God is referred to here? There is none to which reference can be made except Ezekiel 40-48.”
NO PRIVATE DWELLINGS IN JERUSALEM ACCORDING TO EZEKIEL’S PLAN
“It is useful also to recall that Ezekiel’s scheme required that Jerusalem be developed as a sanctuary area one mile square — approximately the size of the ancient city. There was to be no rebuilding of the business or residential area of the city, but instead Ezekiel planned another city called Jehovah-Shammah south of Jerusalem.”
HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH, AND MALACHI RECORD THE FAILURE OF JEWS
“But the people of Israel were unable to carry the project through to its culmination. Their own efforts were halfhearted.”
When the Jews returned from their exile in Babylon, and they began to build a new temple, we see that, though initially excited to rebuild Jerusalem, had actually become worse by the time of their return from the exile. Ezra 9.6 They were more interested in their own houses than the Temple. God sent at least three prophets Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi to them, to warn them to repent, turn back to the Covenant, and build the Temple.
“They broke the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13.15-18 They married pagans. Nehemiah 13.23-27″
THE PROMISED LAND WAS DESCRIBED BUT THEY FAILED TO POSSESS IT TOO
Some say that God would not spend so much detail on a Temple that would never be built, but a large part of the book of Joshua has many details about the Promised land that was never fully realized either.
“After Moses died, God told Joshua that he would be leading the Children of Israel across the Jordan River into the “Promised Land.” God reminded Joshua where the geographic boundaries were. For a detailed description of the boundaries, from landmark to landmark, read Numbers 34:2-18. The Promised Land would encompass over 300,000 square miles.”
THEY TOO BEGAN, BUT DID NOT COMPLETE
The “Promised Land” never fully became the “Possessed Land.”
The most that the Israelites ever possessed was about 10%, a mere 30,000 square miles.
As Christians, every promise in the Bible is given to us to possess, but do we possess every promise in the Bible? How many of God’s promises have we made our own by conquest? They are given to us but we must take possession of them and make them our own.
Unfortunately, the Church, like Israel, has failed to claim the possessions given by the Lord.
– Mike Clinton
Israel did not repent during those years and the years to come. Right through history and even up to today Israel still rejects Jesus Christ. Because the Jews rejected Jesus Christ and persecuted Christians, they carried on where they left off in the Old Testament. For this reason God severely punished the Jews according to Deuteronomy 28:15-68. For this reason God allowed nations like the Germans to kill and persecute the Jews through the years. During the Holocaust more than 6 million Jews were killed. God did not help the Jews during these dark times in their history. God severely punished Israel through the years exactly as promised in Deuteronomy 28. Please read this whole chapter and you will see that this judgment are still being carried out even today. God cannot be mocked. When they rejected and murdered Jesus Christ, when they started killing the prophets of God, when they cried out in Matthew 27:25 that the blood of Jesus Christ is on them and on their children, they mocked God Almighty:
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
They again and again, right through the Old Testament and the New-testament, hardened their hearts towards God. They repeatedly rejected and ignored Deuteronomy 28:15 and they paid the price for it.
15 And it shall be, if you will not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, to observe and to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, all these curses shall come on you and overtake you.
16 You shall be cursed in the city, and cursed in the field.
17 Your basket and your store shall be cursed.
18 The fruit of your body shall be cursed, and the fruit of your land, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep.
19 You shall be cursed when you come in, and cursed when you go out.
20 Jehovah shall send on you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed, and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings by which you have forsaken Me.
21 Jehovah shall make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from off the land where you go to possess it.
22 Jehovah shall strike you with lung disease and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew. And they shall pursue you until you perish.
23 And your heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth that is under you iron.
24 Jehovah shall make the rain of your land powder and dust. It shall come down from the heavens on you until you are destroyed.
25 Jehovah shall cause you to be stricken before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a trembling to all the kingdoms of the earth.
26 And your body shall be food to all birds of the air, and to the beasts of the earth. And no man shall frighten them away.
27 Jehovah will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with the hemorrhoids, and with the scab, and with the itch, of which you cannot be healed.
28 Jehovah shall strike you with madness and blindness, and astonishment of heart.
29 And you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall always be pressed down and spoiled forever, and no man shall save you.
30 You shall become engaged to a wife, and another man shall lie with her. You shall build a house, and you shall not live in it. You shall plant a vineyard, and you shall not gather the grapes of it.
31 Your ox shall be slain before your eyes, and you shall not eat of it. Your ass shall be violently taken away from before your face, and shall not be restored to you, your sheep given to your enemies, and you shall have none to rescue them.
32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail for them all the day long. And there shall be no power in your hand.
33 The fruit of your land, and all your labors, shall be eaten up by a nation which you do not know. And you shall always be oppressed and crushed,
34 and you shall be mad because of that which you shall see with the sight of your eyes.
35 Jehovah shall strike you in the knees and in the legs with an evil ulcer that cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
36 Jehovah shall bring you, and your king which you shall set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone.
37 And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all nations where Jehovah shall lead you.
38 You shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather little in, for the locust shall eat it.
39 You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but shall neither drink the wine nor gather, for the worm shall eat them.
40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your coasts, but you shall not anoint with the oil, for your olive shall drop off its fruit.
41 You shall father sons and daughters, but you shall not enjoy them, for they shall go into captivity.
42 All your trees and the fruit of your land the locust shall possess.
43 The stranger within you shall get up above you very high, and you shall come down very low.
44 He shall loan to you, and you shall not loan to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
45 And all these curses shall come on you, and shall pursue you and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you.
46 And they shall be on you for a sign and for a wonder, and on your seed forever.
47 Because you did not serve Jehovah your God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart for the abundance of all things;
48 therefore you shall serve your enemies which Jehovah shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in the lack of all things. And he shall put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.
49 Jehovah shall bring a nation against you from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flies; a nation whose tongue you shall not understand,
50 a nation fierce of face who shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young.
51 And he shall eat the fruit of your cattle and the fruit of your land, until you are destroyed. He shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your livestock, or flocks of your sheep, until he has destroyed you.
52 And he shall besiege you in all your gates until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down, throughout all the land. And he shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land which Jehovah your God has given you.
53 And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, which Jehovah your God has given you, in the siege and in the anguish with which your enemies shall distress you.
54 The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his sons which he has left;
55 so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his sons whom he shall eat, because he has nothing left to him in the siege and in the anguish with which your enemies shall distress you in all your gates.
56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not have ventured to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,
57 and toward her young one who comes out from between her feet, and toward her sons whom she shall bear. For she shall eat them secretly for lack of all things, in the siege and anguish with which your enemies shall distress you in your gates.
58 If you will not observe to do all the words of this Law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, JEHOVAH YOUR GOD,
59 then Jehovah will make your plagues remarkable, and the plagues of your seed great and persistent plagues; with evil and long-lasting sicknesses.
60 Also, He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid. And they shall cling to you.
61 Also, every sickness and every plague which is not written in the book of this Law, Jehovah will bring them on you until you are destroyed.
62 And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of the heavens for multitude, because you would not obey the voice of Jehovah your God.
63 And it shall be, as Jehovah rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so Jehovah will rejoice over you to destroy you and to bring you to nothing. And you shall be plucked from off the land where you go to possess it.
64 And Jehovah shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other, and you shall serve other gods there, which neither you nor your fathers have known, wood and stone.
65 And among these nations you shall find no ease, neither shall the sole of your foot have rest. But Jehovah shall give you there a trembling heart and failing of eyes and sorrow of mind.
66 And your life shall hang in doubt before you, and you shall fear day and night, and shall have no assurance of your life.
67 In the morning you shall say, Oh that it were evening! And at evening you shall say, Oh that it were morning, for the fear of your heart with which you shall fear, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see.
68 And Jehovah shall bring you into Egypt again with ships, by the way of which I said to you, You shall see it no more again. And there you shall be sold to your enemies for men-slaves and women-slaves, and no man shall buy you.
Deuteronomy 28 is not really a prophecy. It is the promises of blessings and the warnings of curses. Blessings if Israel will listen to the voice of God and if they do observe and carry out His commandments and His statutes which he commanded them. Curses if they will not listen to the voice of Jehovah their God, to observe and to do all His commandments and His statutes which he commanded them. The latter part of Deuteronomy 28 describe the siege of Jerusalem, exile and dispersion.
The first was the exile of the Israelites of the northern kingdom (Samaria) carried out by the Assyrians. It occurred in two phases, first in 734 b.c. under Tiglath-Pileser III (2Kg 15:29) and then, climatically, in 722 under Shallowness and his successor, Sargon II, when the city of Samaria was destroyed and the northern kingdom ceased to exist (2Kg 17:5-6). The next (second) major exile involved the destruction of the southern kingdom (Judah) and the city of Jerusalem. It, too, took place in several phases, all under the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (Jr 52:28-30), the most terrible of which was in 586 b.c. (Jr 52:29). This was when Solomon’s temple was destroyed and the dynasty of David came to an end.
The third major exile of the Jews took place under the Romans and also was in two phases. In 70 AD the Roman general (later emperor) Titus destroyed Jerusalem and Herod’s temple. A second Jewish rebellion (called the Bar Kokhba revolt after the name of its Jewish leader) took place under emperor Hadrian in the years a.d. 132-136. This was a bloody struggle, and at the end the victorious Romans decreed that no Jew would be allowed to live in Palestine. All of these events involved exile, the forcible deportation of Jews from the Holy Land by their conquerors.
Exile and Diaspora are the punishments God imposed on Israel for idolatry and unbelief (Dt 28:64-68; Is 6:11-12; 39:1-7; Jr 6:1-8; 19:1-13; Ezk 5:5-12; Am 8:1-12). Perhaps the primary passage on the subject is Dt 29:24-28: “All the nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land . . .’ Then people will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . . They began to worship other gods . . . Therefore the Lord’s anger burned . . . The Lord uprooted them from their land in His anger, fury, and great wrath, and threw them into another land where they are today.'”
– Duane A. Garrett
Jesus Christ did prophecy the fall and the destruction of the Jews and of the nation Israel. It happened in 70 AD and it continued right through the history of the Jews. They never had peace again until this day. They are still hated by many nations. People still shake their heads and laugh at them and mock them. They were murdered and trampled upon right through history. All the curses of Deuteronomy 28 were literally poured out on them through the ages.
After they were killed or exiled by the Romans, the Jews experienced troublesome and hard times during the ages:
In 315 AD, Constantine the Great established “Christianity” as the State religion throughout the Roman Empire; and he issued many anti-Jewish laws. In 379 – 395 AD, Theodosius the Great expelled Jews from any official gate position or place of honor. Permitted the destruction of their synagogues if by so doing, it served a religious purpose. In 613 AD, persecution of the Jews occurred in Spain. All Jews who refused to be baptized had to leave the country. A few years later the remaining Jews were dispossessed, declared as slaves and given to pious “Christians” of position. All children 7 years or over were taken from their parents and given to receive a “Christian” education.
In 1096, bloody persecutions of the Jews occurred in Germany at the beginning of the First Crusade. Along the cities on the Rhine River alone, 12000 Jews were killed. The Jews were branded second only to the Muslims as the enemies of Christendom. In 1121, Jews were driven out of Flanders (now part of Belgium). They were not to return nor to be tolerated until they repented of the guilt of killing Jesus Christ (Let His blood be on us and on our children). In 1146-1147, renewed persecution of the Jews occurred in Germany at the beginning of the Second Crusade. The French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews as an introduction to the Second Crusade. It was only because of the intervention of emperor Conrad who declared Nuerenberg and a small fortress as places of refuge for the Jews, and that of Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, that the result was not quite as devastating as at the time of the First Crusade.
In 1181, French King Philip banished the Jews from his domain. They were permitted to sell all movable possessions, but the immovable such as land and houses reverted to the king. In 1189, at the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted, unexpected persecution of the Jews broke out in England. Most Jewish houses in London were burned, and many Jews killed. All possessions of the Jews were claimed by the Crown. Richard’s successor alone, relieved the Jews of more than 8 million marks. In 1215, At the IV Lateran Church Council, restrictions against the Jews by the church of Rome were issued. In 1290, Edward I banished the Jews from England. 16000 Jews left the country.
In 1298, persecution of the Jews occurred in Franconia, Bavaria and Austria. The Nobleman Kalbfleish alleged that he had received a divine order to destroy all the Jews. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed, and more than 100000 Jews were mercilessly killed. In 1306, King Philip the Fair banished the Jews from France. 100000 Jews left the country. In 1320, In France, 40000 shepherds dedicated themselves for the Shepherd Crusade to free Palestine from the Muslims. Under the influence of criminals and land speculators, they destroyed 120 Jewish communities. In 1321, Jews were accused of having incited outlaws to poison wells and fountains in the district of Guienne, France. 5000 Jews were burned at the stake.
In 1348, Jews were blamed for the plague throughout Europe, especially in Germany. In Strausberg 2000 Jews were burned. In Maintz 6000 were killed in most gruesome fashion, and in Erfut 3000; and in Worms 400 Jews burned themselves in their homes. In 1370, Jews were blamed for having defiled the “Host” (wafer used in the Mass) in Brabant. The accused were burned alive. Again, all Jews were banned from Flanders and until the year 1820, every 15 years a feast was kept to celebrate the event.
In 1391, persecutions occurred in Spain again. In Seville and 70 other Jewish communities, the Jews were cruelly massacred and their bodies dismembered. In 1394, the second banishment of Jews occurred in France. In 1453, The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to withdraw all citizens’ rights of the Jewish people. In 1478, There was a Spanish inquisition directed against the Jews. In 1492, The banishment of Jews occurred again in Spain. 300000 Jews who refused to be “baptized” into the Church of Rome left Spain penniless. Many migrated to the Muslim country, Turkey.
In 1497, Banishment of the Jews occurred in Portugal. King Manuel, generally friendly to the Jews, under pressure from Spain instigated forced baptism to keep the Jews. 20000 Jews desired to leave the country. Many were ultimately declared slaves. In 1516, the first Jewish Ghetto was established in Venice. Jews were forced to stay inside encamped areas called ghettos. In 1540, the Jews were banished from Naples and 10 years later, from Genoa and Venice. In 1794, Jewish men were forced to serve 25 years in the Russian military. Many hundreds of thousands of Jews left Russia.
In 1846-78, all former restrictions against the Jews in the Vatican State were re-enforced by Pope Pius IX. In 1903, renewed restrictions of Jews occurred in Russia. Frequent pogroms (massacres) of Jews occurred and the general impoverishment of Russian Jewry were common. In 1933, the persecution of Jews in Hitler Germany commenced. Six million Jews were killed throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.
This list was just the main events in terms of the persecution of the Jews over the years.
As a nation they reaped what they sowed. Although these nations who persecuted the Jews were ruthlessly cruel, this is exactly what God promised will come over them if they harden their hearts towards Him and his statutes. These nations’ actions were not to be approved and my opinion is that the nations and people involved in these ruthless actions against the Jews did pay for their sins. It was however also the judgment of God on the Jewish nation.
God even put a veil over their hearts to prevent them from understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ so that they could not repent! God wants everyone to repent because of true remorse and not because of understanding the gospel. For this reason, many Jews did repent and did accept Jesus Christ through the years because of true remorse and because they really wanted to follow Christ. God only prevented those who were hypocrites not to understand the gospel so that they could not see that they need to repent in order to be saved. They would have done this even though they did not really want to follow Christ. The reason for this was that the Jews, unlike other nations, completely understood the sacrificial system in order to obtain forgiveness and redemption. Without the veil over their hearts all Jews would have made the calculations and would have accepted Jesus Christ even if they not really wanted to.
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
17 Then faith is of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes indeed, their voice went out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses says, “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who areno people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”
20 But Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became known to those who did not ask after Me.”
21 But to Israel He says, “All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a disobeying and gainsaying people.”
37 But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they did not believe on Him,
38 so that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again,
40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they should not see with their eyes nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
41 Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.
John the baptist and Jesus Christ prophesied the judgment of God on the nation of Israel. At that time, when Jesus prophesied this, it was actually less than 40 years away. When it actually happened Jesus’ words were still ringing in their ears when the Jews saw Jerusalem besieged and destroyed by Titus. When they saw the temple ruins they remembered His words. Jesus Christ orchestrated this judgment. He came to judge Israel. Jesus was serious when He said the following to the disciples in the book of Matthew:
But when they persecute you in this city, flee into another; for truly I say to you, In no way shall you have finished the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
This was literally true! The apostles really did not finish preaching the gospel in all the cities of Judea when Jesus came to judge Israel. He was referring here to His coming in 70 AD as the judge of Israel. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the disciples did return to Israel to proceed with the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 11 He made the following statement:
20 Then He began to upbraid the cities in which most of His mighty works were done, because they did not repent.
21 Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the powerful acts which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes!
22 But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to the heaven, shall be brought down to hell. For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the sophisticated and cunning, and revealed them to babes.
That day of judgment came in 70 AD. That is why Jesus made the following statement in Matthew 16:24-28 (Analytical Literal Translation – I am using this translation because it translated the words of Jesus exactly as He said it)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, he must deny[or, disown]himself and take up his cross and be following Me.
25 “For whoever shall be desiring to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26 “For what is a person benefited if he gains the whole world, but his soul is forfeited? Or what will a person give in an exchange for his soul?
27 “For the Son of Humanity is about to be coming in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his work.
28 “Positively, I say to you,[there] are some having stood here who will by no means taste of death until they see the Son of Humanity coming in His kingdom.”
That judgment came in 70 AD. There were literally people there, who listened to these words that Jesus spoke, that were still alive when Jesus came with his angels to judge Israel in 70 AD. The “Afrikaans” 33/54 translation also translated this verse correctly:
(Want die Seun van die mens staan gereed om met sy engele in die heerlikheid van sy Vader te kom, en dan sal Hy elkeen vergeld volgens sy dade)
The Old Testament actually numerously prophesied that the Son of God will come to judge the nations.
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
6 0 thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Isaiah 11:1-4 is very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ also came to judge the nations:
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
What exactly is the judgment of God?
Most people do not know when and how the judgment of God comes on people. We all know what happened to the rich man and Lazarus when both of them died. Lazarus was a good man. He died as a just man and he went straight into the bosom of Abraham. On the other hand, the unrighteous rich man died and he went straight to Hades where he was immediately tormented. He immediately paid the penalties for his sin.
22 “Now it happened, the poor man died, and he was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. Then the rich[man]also died and was buried.
23 “And in the realm of the dead[Gr. Hades], having lifted up his eyes, being in torments, he sees Abraham from a distance, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “And having cried out, he said, ‘Father Abraham, be merciful to me, and send Lazarus, so that he shall dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame.’
25 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you received your good[things]in your life, and Lazarus likewise the bad[things], but now here he is comforted, but you are in agony.
26 ‘And besides all these[things], between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that the ones wanting to cross over from here to you are not able, nor can the [ones]from there cross over to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to the house of my father—
28 for I have five brothers— in order that he should urgently warn them, so that they also shall not come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham says to him, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear[or, pay attention to]them.’
30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham! But if someone goes to them from[the]dead, they will repent.’
31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from[the]dead.'”
Judgment and the punishment of sin cannot be postponed! Judgment comes with death! If someone dies today without Jesus Christ, he goes straight to hell (Hades) where he will immediately be tormented forever, just like the rich man. At the end of time, when all peoples and nations appear before the white throne of God, if his name is not found in the book of life, only then will he be thrown into the lake of fire. That will however be a continuation of the judgment and punishment of God which started years ago or even ages ago when such a person died.
11 And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and a place was not found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, having stood before the throne, and scrolls were opened, and another scroll was opened, which is[the Scroll]of Life. And the dead were judged by the[things]having been written in the scrolls, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead, the[ones]in it, and death and the realm of the dead[Gr. Hades]gave up the dead, the[ones]in them. And they were judged, each one according to their works.
14 And death and the realm of the dead were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Scroll of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The judgment of God on a nation usually involves ways or methods of the mass destruction of human beings. When Christ came with the angels of God in 70 AD, he used the Roman Empire to kill the Jews (war). Sometimes God uses earthquakes, plaques, famine, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters to kill people. The killing of people is Gods judgment on a nation. The moment people die during these times of mass destruction, they immediately descend to Hades to be tormented for their sin or their works of iniquity. This is God’s judgment. It is also obvious according to Isaiah 65:20 that the moment when we die without Christ, the curse of the law, which is the judgment and punishment of God, immediately comes on us. It suddenly hits us and we are immediately tormented for our sins in Hades.
There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
There are three places where people and fallen angels are tormented for their iniquities:
Hades: The place under the earth where the souls of dead men wait for resurrection. In the Old Testament Hebrew it is “Sheol”. This is however not just a waiting place. Those who died without Christ are continuously tormented for their iniquities in this dreadful place.
Tartaroo: The dark abyss under the earth where angels who sinned are kept for the White Throne judgment, after which they are cast into the Lake of Fire (2nd Pet. 2:4). These were angels who didn’t keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place. Having incarnated themselves in bodies as men, they lived among men as though they were men, marrying the daughters of men, and producing a mongrel race of giants.
Gehenna: A name for the Valley on the south side of Jerusalem where the city’s trash was burned, and where the Canaanites, and later Israel, sacrificed their children alive to the fire-god Molech (Lev.18:21, 20:2-5; 1st Ki.11:7; 2nd Ki.23:10; Jer.32:35). Within the context our Lord Jesus used this as a figure of the Lake of Fire, or a place of eternal burning.
It is very obvious that we live in a time of grace. Even the sinner will live to be a hundred years of age if he did not live a reckless live. When he dies however, the curse of God will suddenly come on him. He will immediately descend down into that awful place called Hell or Hades where he will immediately be punished according to his works.
That is exactly what happened to Sodom and Gomorra and other cities in the Old Testament. The judgment of God suddenly came on them and they were and are still being punished according to their works. One day they will be thrown into the lake of fire with the final judgment of Christ.
When Jesus told His disciples that He is ready to come or is about to come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his work, He was really serious about it. This was going to happen within 40 years. In 70 AD Jesus and the angels of God came, obviously using the Romans to fulfill the physical part of the prophecy! In the spirit realm however, these ungodly Jews, as with the rich man, were thrown into Hades to be punished for their sins. Since then, about 2 million Jews died up to 132 AD, 6 million during the German Holocaust and who knows how many Jews were relentlessly persecuted and killed during the years in between? This was and still is God’s judgment on the Jews.
Why is Jesus Christ and the angels of God so prominent when it comes to the judgment of God? If God uses war, earthquakes, plaques, famine, volcanic eruptions and other disasters to kill people, what is Jesus Christ and the angels doing?
Remember, in a spiritual sense, only a God can punish because only a God can make laws and only a God can enforce punishment. As already mentioned in this book, God ordained Jesus Christ to be the judge of the nations and this world. Psalm 2 and other Scriptures clearly confirm this fact. Jesus Christ can judge people because He is God.
Secondly, God is very involved in terms of when, how and where specific judgment should be carried out. Jesus and the angels ensure that everything is carried out according to God’s will and according to God’s time. Angels carry out task like breaking seals, blowing trumpets and pouring out bowls of judgment.
Angels are also very much involved in ensuring that only certain people die and ensuring that others are protected during judgment. Through the ministry and work of the angels, God has control over the death of each and every individual. With each and every judgment of nations throughout the history of mankind, this principal was thoroughly carried out by the angels. There was a decision made in terms of each individual even when a whole nation or a whole lot of nations are to be judged.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
During the judgment of Israel between 70-135 AD, Jewish Christians were supernaturally removed out of Jerusalem and out of Judea so that they could escape the judgment of God. Christians received prophecies about this judgment just before it started and they had time to leave Jerusalem and Israel. It was also the work of the angels to make sure that the Jewish Christian were protected against the Roman soldiers during the punishment of Israel.
The same thing happened during the judgment and punishment of the Roman Empire. The angels looked after God’s children when all sorts of war, earthquakes, plaques, famine, volcanic eruptions and other disasters killed more than seven million Roman citizens. This was about a third of the population at that time.
It is not just Christians that are protected. Even those unrighteous people who would accept Jesus Christ were also protected. God knows every person who ever lived and who will ever live. He knows everything about each one. There is actually nothing that He does not know. Yes, make no mistake; the angels are quite busy during times of judgment.
Judgment on those unrighteous people who do not die serves another purpose. It is there for unrighteous people to see and to experience in order for them to repent and turn to God. It is also there to remove excessive cruelty and unrighteousness so that God’s children can live in peace. What a wonderful God we serve.
People who still think that this wonderful God of love that we serve is not capable of judgment, then they do not yet realize who God really is. He is the creator of everything that exists. He has the right to submit His creation to His will. He has the right to give them a choice and a free will. He also has the right to judge and to punish his creation. He is a just God and He is absolutely fair in all He does. Nobody will ever be able to accuse God of anything unfair or unjust.
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