Dit geslacht van 70 jaren … ‘This Generation’ – editorial

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Jan 012013
 

Zowel in Matth. 24:34 als in Luk. 21:32 spreekt de Here Jezus in zijn profetische rede over … ‘dit geslacht zal geenszins voorbij gaan, voordat dit alles geschiedt.’ De vraag is nu, is de duur van een geslacht dan 40, 50, 70, 100, of 120 jaar. De tijdsduur van een ‘jubeljaar naar jubeljaar’ omvat 50 jaren.

De uitdrukking ‘dit geslacht van … this generation’ heeft niet altijd betrekking op een bepaalde tijdsspanne, maar geeft ook iets van het karakter aan. We lezen zestien keer over ‘dit geslacht’ in de evangeliën, daarbij ook over ‘een boos en overspelig geslacht’ en ‘een overspelig en zondig geslacht’. Met betrekking tot ‘dit geslacht’ lezen we bijvoorbeeld: ‘De mannen van Ninevé zullen in het oordeel opstaan met dit geslacht en het veroordelen’ (Matth. 12:41). Blijkbaar wijst deze uitdrukking hier op meer dan slechts de generatie die leefde gedurende de tijd dat de Here Jezus op aarde was. In Hebr. 3:10 zegt de Here een afkeer te hebben van ‘dit geslacht’, waarover in het O.T.   veel overeenkomsten gevonden kunnen worden. Verder spreekt Kol. 1:26 over het geheimenis dat ‘eeuwen en geslachten lang’ verborgen is geweest. Het woord ‘geschiedt’ in vers 34, zou beter vertaald zijn met ‘beginnen’ of ‘misschien beginnen te geschieden’. In de voorgaande verzen van Matth. 24:29-31 zien we wat er mogelijk zou beginnen te geschieden, … ‘de zon zal verduisterd worden, de maan haar glans niet geven, de sterren zullen van de hemel vallen en de machten der hemelen zullen wankelen.’ Sommigen zullen zeggen dat deze dingen nog niet hebben plaatsgevonden, … maar zij begónnen wel te geschieden; alleen dit proces zette niet door vanwege het feit dat Israël zich toen niet bekeerde. In de vergelijking van Joel 2:10 en 28-31 met Matth. 24:29 gaat het over wonderen aan de hemel, die voorafgegaan worden door dingen die zich op aarde afspelen. Ook gaat het over de uitstorting van de geest, … ‘en uw zonen en uw dochters zullen profeteren; uw ouden zullen dromen dromen; uw jongelingen zullen gezichten zien. Ook op de dienstknechten en op de dienstmaagden zal Ik in die dagen Mijn Geest uitstorten. Ik zal wonderen geven in de hemel en op de aarde, bloed en vuur en rookzuilen. De zon zal veranderd worden in duisternis en de maan in bloed, voordat de grote en geduchte dag des Heren komt‘ (Joel 2:28-31).
Petrus zegt op Sjawoe’ot dus met Pinksteren dat het uitstorten van de geest zoals dat toen gebeurde, voorzegd was door de profeet Joel (Hand.2:16). Daarbij citeert hij Joel niet alleen met het oog op de geestelijke gaven, maar noemt hij ook wat Joel zegt, m.b.t. de zon, de maan en de sterren.
Bedenk daarbij ook dat deze dingen geschiedde in de 63e jaar week, nadat de Messias in de 62e jaar week als de Gezalfde in de 63 jaar week werd uitgeroeid (Dan.9:25-26).

De profeet Joel spreekt in totaal over veertien onderwerpen, waarvan er zeven zijn vervuld en zeven nog op de vervulling wachten. In Hand. 3:19-21 lezen we dat deze tekenen vervuld zullen worden als Israël berouw toont, en het zijn deze tekenen die aan de komst van de Zoon des mensen voorafgaan. Het ‘geslacht’ van Matth. 24:34 is hetzelfde woord als dat wat genoemd wordt in Hand. 2:40 ‘laat behouden uit dit verkeerde geslacht‘ (gr.genea). Dit ‘geslacht’ dat leefde tijdens de bediening van de Here Jezus en tijdens de Handelingenperiode, is niet voorbijgegaan, zonder dat ‘deze dingen beginnen te geschieden’, maar zullen voortgaan met ‘geschieden’, zodra het de tijd daarvoor is! Vandaar ook dat we kunnen zeggen dat waar Handelingen 2 en 3 aanvangen omstreeks het jaar 30 A.D. en de 70 jaarweken uit Dan.9:24 doorliepen tot op Hand. 28:26-28, ofschoon dan ook abrupt worden afgebroken in die 67e jaar week omstreeks het jaar 62/63 A.D., het Openbaring 1 vers 1 is wat dan ook opent met de woorden ‘om zijn dienstknechten te tonen hetgeen weldra geschieden moet‘, dit dan tevens ook het begin zal moeten zijn waar de laatste 3 jaar weken van de 70 weken weer hun loop krijgen! In de Handelingentijd waren de apostelen ervan overtuigd dat een spoedige terugkomst van de Here Jezus nog in hun ‘generatie’ (geslacht) zou plaatsvinden, zie: (1 Petr. 4:7; Jak. 5:7-9; Hebr. 10:37; 1 Joh. 2:18; 1Cor. 1:7; 7:29, 10:11; 16:22; Rom. 13:12, 16:22; 1Thess.4:13-18). Dus de realiteit in acht nemend moest die hoop op een spoedige terugkomst omstreeks het jaar 70 A.D. gerealiseerd kunnen worden! Een tijdsspanne van ongeveer 40 jaar gerekend vanaf Sjawoe’ot/Pinksteren in het jaar 30 A.D. Deze eerste eeuw van onze jaartelling noemt men ook wel het ‘keerpunt in de geschiedenis’ rond het gebeuren in Hand. 28:26-28 en is moeilijk te overschatten. Hier houdt eigenlijk de ‘Bijbelse geschiedenis’ op, en bijna tegelijkertijd houdt Israëls zelfstandige bestaan op. Het voorspel van de val van Jeruzalem in het jaar 70 A.D. zette vrijwel gelijktijdig in. Daarmee begon een ‘ballingschap’, met allerlei vervolging, die al de vorige overtrof. Men mag gerust spreken van een wereldramp. Israël was als heilskanaal, tot zegen der volken, onbruikbaar geworden. Wat het christendom hier tegenover heeft gesteld in de loop der geschiedenis, weegt toch niet op tegen het heil dat gekomen zou zijn, indien Israël niet gefaald had (Joh.4:22).

Jeruzalem werd grondig verwoest en de puinhopen heetten voortaan ‘Aelia Capitolina’, daar de Romeinen elke herinnering aan Israël van de aarde wilde wegvagen en het land vanaf die tijd ‘Palestina’ werd genoemd (land der Filistijnen). Aan het eind van de 19e eeuw keren de eerste ‘Zionisten’ weer terug naar het land wat hun ‘onvoorwaardelijk is toegezegd (Gen. 12:6,7; 13:14,15; 26:2,3,24; 28:13,14).
Het is Theodor Herlz die in 1897 op het eerste Zionistencongres in Bazel een profetische uitspraak doet als hij zegt dat er over 5 jaar en zeker over 50 jaar er een Joodse Staat zou zijn. Een naar gevoel bekruipt mij als men van christelijke zijde zo afgeeft op die Zionisten van het eerste uur, als zouden zij geheel ontdaan zijn van alle Bijbelse pprofetie en in ongeloof hun ideaal hebben willen verwezenlijken. Juist ook Herlz heeft in zijn overwegingen aan het eind van de 19e eeuw contact gezocht met een aantal ‘Christen Zionisten’ waaronder ds. William E. Blackstone die aan de grondlegging van het zionisme gestaan heeft, ook was dr. Ethelbert W. Bullinger bekend om z’n -Dispensational Truth’s- een ware vriend van Herlz, samen hebben zij in London en op het Europese Continent Israëls Profeten bestudeerd. Ook hier kunnen we spreken over een ‘geslacht’ dat zich op 14 mei 1948 realiseerde dat de Joodse Staat Israël na 50 jaar een feit was! ‘Laat de berg Sion zich verheugen; laat de dochters van Juda juichen om uw gerichten.
Gaat rondom Sion en trekt eromheen, telt haar torens, richt uw aandacht op haar voormuur, doorwandelt haar paleizen, opdat gij het aan het volgende geslacht kunt vertellen’ (Ps.48:12-14). ‘Gij zult opstaan, U over Sion erbarmen, want het is tijd haar genadig te zijn, want de bepaalde tijd is gekomen … dit worde opgeschreven voor een volgend geslacht, en het volk dat geschapen zal worden, zal de Here loven … want mijn dagen verdwijnen als rook, mijn gebeente gloeit als in een vuurhaard’ (Ps. 102:4,14,19). Doet dit niet denken aan de concentratiekampen gedurende de dagen van Nazi-Duitsland! Onlangs nog heeft Israëls premier Benjamin Netanyahu voor een gehoor van Europese leiders bij de herdenking 65 jaar na Auswitz in Polen verklaard dat de -profetie uit Ezechiël 37 zich vervuld heeft- in de ‘geslachten‘ vanaf het eind der 19e eeuw toen de eerste Joodse immigratie (aliya) plaatsvond!
Het was generaal Edmund Allenby die op 9 december 1917 op de eerste dag van ’t Chanukafeest, voor Jeruzalem stond, en opdracht gaf om alle bestaande vliegtuigen te laten opstijgen om boven Jeruzalem op 10 december pamfletten te laten strooien met de opdracht ‘geef je over’! ‘Als vliegende vogels, zo zal de Here der Heerscharen Jeruzalem beschutten redden en sparend bevrijden’ (Jes.31:5). Zo werd Jeruzalem bevrijd van de Turkse overheersing, en was het lot van het Ottomaanse rijk bezegeld! ‘Bewaar mij als de appel van het oog, berg mij, in de schaduw van uw vleugelen’ (Ps. 17:8). Een vergelijkbare situatie deed zich voor in 1967, waar 70 jaar na 1897 en 50 jaren na 1917, we óók hier kunnen spreken van één ‘geslacht’, dat na bijna 2000 jaar bij de ‘Klaagmuur’ en op het ‘Tempelplein’ uit de Thora rollen reciteerde, zong en bad tot de ‘Eeuwige’. ‘God zij ons genadig en zegene ons, Hij doe zijn aanschijn bij ons lichten; opdat men op de aarde uw weg kenne, onder alle volken uw heil. Dat de volken U loven, o God; dat de volken altegader U loven. Dat de natiën zich verheugen en jubelen, omdat Gij de volken in rechtmatigheid richt, en de natiën op de aarde leidt’ (Ps.67:1-5). De hereniging van Jeruzalem op 7 juni 1967 wordt door veel Israëli’s gezien als vervulling van de profetie die gevonden wordt in Ps.122:2-3, ‘Onze voeten staan in uw poorten, o Jeruzalem. Jeruzalem is gebouwd als een stad, die wél samengevoegd is’, … en dat -de tijden der heidenen-, een profetie door de Here Jezus uitgesproken … ‘de stad Jeruzalem door de heidenen vertrapt zal worden, totdat de tijden der heidenen vervuld zullen zijn’ (Luk. 21:24). Sinds die historische ‘Zesdaagse Oorlog’ van 1967 hebben de Israëli’s hun hoofdstad Jeruzalem als ondeelbaar en eeuwig beschouwd!
Zo zien we dat het voortdurend om een tijdspannen gaat van 50 en 70 jaren overeenkomend met een ‘geslacht‘ of ‘jubeljaar‘; ook de apostelen uit de Handelingentijd hadden hun verwachtingspatroon daarop gebaseerd als het ging over een spoedige terugkomst van hun Here en Heiland, Messias Jezus.
Opnieuw wil ik duidelijk maken dat het mij hier niet gaat om het berekenen van de komst van Israëls Messias en onze Here Jezus Christus, want dag en uur van Zijn komen worden ons niet geopenbaard, wel gaat het er mij om te laten zien dat het hier op z’n minst om een ‘Schriftuurlijk’ gebeuren gaat, in de ontwikkeling van Gods heilsplan met Israël, de Volken en de Gemeente! De ‘tekenen‘ geven een sterk vermoeden dat er wel degelijk iets aan de hand is, en indien deze dagen niet worden ingekort ter wille van ‘this last generation er geen mens behouden zal worden (Matth.24:22). Het gaat mij om de feiten die voor zichzelf spreken, en niet om een enkeling die zomaar een visioen of iets dergelijks ontvangt en dan daar een heel theologische raamwerk omheen bouwt.

Eén ding is wel duidelijk dat God in deze tijd ‘ijvert voor Zijn volk’, om het zowel in materieel opzicht als in ‘geestelijke zin’ terug te brengen aan Zijn hart. ‘Zie, Ik verlos mijn volk uit het land van de opgang en uit dat van de ondergang der zon; Ik breng hen terug en zij zullen binnen Jeruzalem wonen. Zij zullen Mij tot een volk en Ik zal hun tot een God zijn, in trouw en gerechtigheid’ (Zach.8:1-23).

Het zijn dus weer de ‘geslachten‘ die binnen Jeruzalem zullen wonen. Vandaag de dag zien we weer mannen en vrouwen op de pleinen van Jeruzalem zitten, en jongens en meisjes die daar spelen op de pleinen der stad. Is dit niet het wonder van deze 21e eeuw! ‘Zou het dan ook in Mijn ogen te wonderlijk zijn’? Het boek Prediker zei het al, ‘wat geweest is, dat zal er zijn, en wat gedaan is, dan zal gedaan worden; er is niets nieuws onder de zon’ (Pred.1:4-9). Het verleden zal onvermijdelijk terugkeren in de toekomst. Zo is er een vergelijking te maken met het Jeruzalem in de dagen van Ezra en Nehemia en het Jeruzalem van nu! We hebben gezien dat de jaar weken zo abrupt werden afgebroken in die 67e jaar week aan het eind van Handelingen 28 omstreeks het jaar 62/63 A. D. Met als conclusie dat er nog 3 van de 70 weken zijn overgebleven. Zo konden in die dagen van Ezra en Nehemia de 70 jaar weken uit Dan.9:24-26 niet eerder beginnen nadat Jeruzalem herbouwd, Tempel en muren ingewijd waren, hetgeen een voorbereidingstijd had van 7 weken van 7 jaren en dus 49 jaar duurde! Israël was in die voorbereidingstijd nog ‘lo-Ammi’, niet mijn volk!
Zo bevindt Israël zich nu in een zelfde situatie als vóórheen, toen na de 49 jaren dus in het 50e de 70 jaar weken begonnen te lopen. Zoals ik al eerder heb aangetoond ‘verklaart het verleden ons de toekomst’! Dus is enige vergelijk mogelijk.
Als men de profeet Jesaja vraagt naar de afloop van de geschiedenis antwoord hij met de woorden, ‘geeft te kennen, hoe het vroeger was, opdat wij het overdenken en kennis nemen van de afloop’ (Jes. 41:22, 23; 46:9-10; 1Cor. 10:11). Nu doet zich het bijzondere feit voor dat als we het ‘duality principle’ toepassen op de situatie van nu, we vanaf 7 juni 1967 toen de stad Jeruzalem haar ‘re-unification’ beleefde en 49 jaren dus 7×7 jaar verder rekenen, we dan ook nog aansturen op een ‘Jubeljaar’ het 50e en wat dan ook nog valt op Yom Kippur (Grote Verzoendag) de 10e dag van de zevende maand Tishri in het jaar 5776, of 23 september 2015! Ook dan zijn we alweer één generatie verder dus 67 jaar gerekend vanaf de oprichting van de Staat Israël in 1948!
De dagen onzer jaren, daarin zijn 70, en indien we sterk zijn 80 jaren. Mozes was 120 jaar (3×40) toen hij stierf. Na de ‘Shoah’ van 1938-1945 en 68 jaar na Auschwitz is het genocidale antisemitisme en de bijbehorende onverschilligheid nog steeds aanwezig. ‘We bevinden ons opnieuw in een tijdperk waarin het Joodse volk onder een genocidale dreiging moet leven’, zegt de auteur van het recentelijk verschenen boek ‘A lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquite to the Global Jihad’ tijdens een interview in zijn Jeruzalem kantoor. ‘We hebben ons lang niet in zo’n situatie bevonden. Dit kan weleens de eerste keer sinds de ‘shoah’ zijn, dat de Joden dit gevaar zo duidelijk voelen.’ Hij wijst dan vooral naar de bedreigingen aan het adres vanuit de Islamitische wereld, en dan vooral van Ahmedinejad uit Iran. Robert Wistrich geeft toe dat de Israeli’s dit na de oorlogen van 1967 en 1973 ook zeiden, maar de huidige dreiging is nu veel ernstiger.

Dit geslacht vanthis generation van Israeli’s die al de ‘voorzeggingen der profeten’ omtrent herstel in materieel als straks in geestelijk opzicht ervaren, zullen naar de woorden van de Profeet Jezus Messias geenszins voorbijgaan voordat dit alles is geschied (Deut. 18:15; Hand. 2:22-23). De sleutel tot het verstaan van deze tijd waarin wij leven, en die tot grote veranderingen in de geopolitieke wereld zullen leiden, is m.i. de invasie van ‘Gog’ in Israël (Ezech.38-39). Deze roofoverval op Israëls natuurlijke gas en -oliebronnen, met goud en zilver, zal dan tevens tot de periode van de Apocalyps leiden, waar de laatste drie jaar weken zullen aanvangen, met de ruiter op het witte paard, (Openb.6:2), die uit zal monden in -de grote verdrukking- hetwelk dan tevens de laatste jaar week zal zijn. In dat opzicht zou je kunnen spreken van het ‘laatste geslacht’, gerekend vanaf 7 juni 1967 tot aan het ‘jubeljaar’ 23 september 2015 waar dan nog minimaal 21 jaar overblijven om tot die 70e jaarweek te komen!

The seven Sevens (weeks) from the War Day Three – 7th June 1967 – and the three Sevens (weeks) from the Yom Kippur – 23 September 2015 – is the completion of a generation 0f 70 years … (Psalm 90:10; Luke 21:24,32).

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De actualiteit gebiedt te zeggen, dat Iran onder het toeziend oog van Rusland, haar nucleaire installatie uitbreidt, en met de toenemende invloedsfeer in de Kaukasus en de radicale opstelling van Turkije naar Israël toe is dit op z’n minst gezegd verontrustend!

Sinds hun terugkeer naar het land vertrouwen de Israëli’s op hun militaire kracht de (IDF=Israel Defense Force) en wonen zij nu in gerustheid in het land. Vergelijk hiermee het woord ‘betach‘ wat veiligheid of gerustheid betekent met het modern hebreeuwse woord ‘bituhon’, wat staat voor ‘militaire zekerheid’. Dus m.a.w. gezegd een ‘gewapende vrede en welvaart’ is het hoogst haalbare voor de Israeli’s in deze tijd, tot op de invasie van ‘Gog en Magog’ en de spectaculaire vernietiging van deze radicale Islamitische macht door God; vandaar ook dat Israel zal weten van die dag af en voortaan, dat God de Here is, en wellicht het moment zal zijn aangebroken dat Hij Israël van Zijn Geest zal schenken (Ezech. 39:8,22). Deze profetie past helemaal in die ‘laatste generatie’ die de komst van Jezus Christus zullen meemaken in het stramien van de heilshistorie, vergezeld gaande met o.a. valse Christussen, oorlogen, aardbevingen, hongersnoden en pestilentiën, en tekenen (eclipsen) aan zon en maan voordat de grote en geduchte Dag des Heren komt.

Shemittah Year Hebrew Calender - zon en maan eclipses 2014-2015

Het is een Dag om te ‘verderven de geslachten die de aarde verderven’, als in de dagen van Noach, -waarbij het wiel een gehele omwenteling gemaakt zal hebben, bij het bazuinen van de zevende engel- (Opb. 11:18).
Tenslotte, de vraag stellen is haar ook beantwoorden. In Genesis 6:3 vertelt God Noach iets wat zeer interessant is namelijk als Hij zegt: ‘Mijn Geest zal niet altoos in de mens blijven, nu zij zich misgaan hebben; hij is vlees; zijn dagen zullen 120 jaar zijn. Tussen de 40 en 120 jaar (3×40) zitten de 50 en 70 jaren, die ik benoemd heb in dit artikel. Vanaf 1897, het jaar waarin Theodor Herlz een profetische vergezicht ontvouwde, wordt de klacht vandaag opnieuw gehoord, -nu zij zich misgaan hebben-, en tikt de profetisch tijdklok ons opnieuw naar een jaar wat 120 jaar verder ligt, waar donkere wolken zich samenpakken, voor Israël een ‘must’ om te overleven, en daar laat de ‘Eeuwig Trouwe’ geen enkele twijfel over bestaan, maar wee hen die het veronachtzamen! Bij hen is het motto -Israël moet van de landkaart verdwijnen- gedeeld of ongedeeld, dat is hun streven en de oorzaak van het komende gericht, over Mijn erfdeel! (Joel 3:2). Het is dit jaar 40 jaar geleden dat daar zes jaar na de ‘Zesdaagse-Oorlog’, op zaterdag 6 oktober in het jaar 1973 op een ‘grote Sabbat’ toen Israël op ‘Yom Kippur’ de Grote Verzoendag vierde een grote invasie aan het voltrekken was toen het Egyptische en Syrische leger het land binnentrokken en men werkelijk dacht dat de ‘Gog-Magog’ oorlog (Ezechiel 38-39) begonnen was op het moment dat men in de Synagoge aan het bidden was. Vanaf die dag zijn het nog slechts 42 jaren die hen scheiden van een andere ‘Yom-Kippur’ die zal plaatsvinden in het jaar 2015 op 23 september (Lev. 25:8-10) waarbij ook nog een ‘jubeljaar’ m.b.t. de herovering (re-united) van de stad Jeruzalem geproclameerd zal worden en het ‘t eerste jaar (5776) zal zijn van de volgende 7 jaar die dan weer afgesloten wordt met een sabbatsjaar!
Denk hierbij ook aan de 42 geslachten (3×14) die uitliepen tot op de geboorte van de Messias, en de 42 pleisterplaatsen die Israel passeerde voordat het beloofde land werd ingenomen door Jozua (Matth. 1:17; Num. 33:1-49) en is het moment spoedig aangebroken dat deze planeet die aarde heet door de Rechtmatige Erfgenaam, de Leeuw uit de stam van Juda, de wortel Davids, Messias Jezus heroverd zal worden.

Uit de visioenen in de Apocalyps valt op te maken dat er in de hemel als de tijd ‘vol’ is, de voorbereidingen getroffen worden in het manifest worden van Jezus Messias, die de Losser (Goel) van de wereld is. In het boek Leviticus wordt op een bijzondere wijze gesproken over het ‘Jubeljaar’, dat 50e dat ná de 49 jaar [7x7x360], de zeven jaar weken (7×7 sabbatsjaren) manifest wordt in de ‘volheid’ van de tijd. Het is juist daar waar op een wonderbaarlijke wijze aangaande een stuk Mozaische wetgeving wordt weergergeven, dat ook in het stramien van het verlossingsproces voor wat betreft Israel en de volken zoals beschreven in het boek de ‘Openbaring van Jezus Messias’ (de Apocalyps) dit wordt verduidelijkt, en waar tevens het lot van het gehele bestaan van de wereld en het mensdom in de waagschaal ligt, (Lev. 25:8-10; Openb. 5:1-14).

Het gaat om die met 7 zegels verzegelde ‘Lossersakte’ (boekrol) waarvan gezegd is dat niemand deze kan openen of inzien, … het Johannes is die een LAM ziet staan als geslacht, maar Die tegelijk de Leeuw uit de stam van Juda is en de Spruit van David blijkt te zijn, hetgeen in die zin ook alles te maken heeft met de nog steeds vacante troon in Jeruzalem, de ongedeelde hoofdstad van Israel (Luc. 21:24; Psalm 2:8; 72:8); en juist Hij het is Die waardig is om de boekrol te nemen en zijn zegels te openen (Openb. 6:1). Volgens Joodse traditie wordt er 10 dagen na Rosh Hasjana (Joods Nieuwjaar) het oordeel over de mens verzegeld aan het eind van Jom Kippoer en begint volgens het boek Openbaring de voltrekking van dat oordeel.

Zoals voorheen in de jaren 30 A.D. – 70 A.D. ofschoon die bijbelse geschiedenis daarvan aan het eind van Handelingen 28:23-31 in het jaar 63/64 A.D. zo abrupt werd afgebroken met die 67e jaar week, is het eschatologische aspect daarvan van die tijd opnieuw waarneembaar in deze 21e eeuw, waarbij die nog ‘onvoltooide’ Handelingentijd, … het jaar 2014 zich aandient als het surplus van de ‘Feesten des Heren’, en met de constellaties van maan en zon in 2014 en 2015, de aanvang kunnen betekenen van de 68e jaar week, om dan vervolgens met de 7 zegels (68e), de 7 bazuinen (69e) en de 7 schalen (70e), op een totaal van 70 jaar weken deze bepaling te voleindigen zoals de profeet Daniel heeft voorzegd (Dan. 9:24-27), en dan tegelijkertijd zijn aanbeland met als finale patroon, –de twee Beesten, Babel, Jeruzalem, de Tempel, de 144.000 verzegelden uit de stammen van Israel, bij de wederkomst van Jezus Messias (Openb. 6:2-19:21). Dus aanvangende met het begin der weeen (68e), waarvan gezegd wordt dat dit nog niet het einde is (69e), er vervolgens een periode van grote verdrukking (70e) zal zijn in Israel en in de regio van het gehele Midden-Oosten.

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Daarbij genomen heeft ook het geheimenis waar de apostel Paulus van spreekt, en dat ‘eeuwen en geslachten’ lang verborgen was gebleven in God ook zo z’n afmetingen in de tijd en zal dit geheimenis op een bepaald moment in de tijd ook geopenbaard worden, … in de dag van Christus Jezus (Filip.1:6).
Het is deze hoop der heerlijkheid die ons voor ogen staat, een dimensie die werkelijk alles te boven gaat, om in de toekomende eeuwen (aionen) die overweldigende rijkdom van zijn genade ten toon te spreiden naar zijn goedertierenheid over ons in Messias Jezus (Efz. 2:7; Kol.1:26-27; 3:1-4).
Gerard J.C. Plas

Apr 012011
 

By Joel C. Rosenberg / June 2011

Land of Israel

Land of Israel

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Part Five: A Message of Warning to the Nations: Do not Divide the Land of Israel

The Bible is crystal clear: the Lord Almighty will judge all nations who divide the Land of Israel.

In Joel 3:2, the Lord says: “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” (3:2)

Nevertheless, international pressure on Israel to carve up the Holy Land like a Thanksgiving turkey continues to build following President Obama’s May 2011 speech calling for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders. Nearly every world leader — and certainly every American president since the Six Day War — has demanded Israel give up significant amounts of territory within Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights in order to create a sovereign Palestinian state and make peace with Syria, but never this much territory. The Obama plan would force Israel to give it all up, to divide Jerusalem, and return to indefensible borders. This would be a grave error. It would severely jeopardize Israeli national security. It would do so in direct defiance of the Holy Scriptures. And it would draw the judgment of the Lord Almighty against the United States and all other countries involved in the process.

Historically, we know that the nations have repeated divided the Land of Israel. Prophetically, we know they will continue to do so until the Day of the Lord comes. We cannot necessarily stop our countries from making foolish errors of Biblical proportions. But we can loving, gently, but firmly and clearly warn them. And we must. That’s why at the 2011 Epicenter Conference, I taught the last chapter of the Book of Joel, focusing specifically on the implications of this passage warning the nations. You can watch that message and the others at www.epicenterconference.com. Today, I am also posting the notes from my message at the conference. I hope you find them helpful.

A MESSAGE OF WARNING TO THE NATIONS: Book of Joel, Chapter Three

The Book of Joel is a wake up call and a trumpet call to Israel and the Church. It is also a message of warning to the nations – and a very sobering message at that.

Joel 3:1 – “in those days and at that time” – what time?

  • The last of the last days
  • The time of the physical, literal, actual Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • The end of human history as we have known it and the dawn of the Millennial Kingdom, the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the throne of David in Jerusalem
  • The time when God is going to fully and completely and graciously “restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem”
  • The time of the end of the nations crushing Israel and the Jewish people

Joel 3:2 – the Lord is going to gather all the nations – not some of the nations….not a few of the nations….the text says “all” of the nations….true, the Lord singles out a few specific nations with whom He is angry…..among them:

  1. Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon)  Joel 3:4
  2. Philistia (Gaza) 3:4
  3. Greece 3:6
  4. Egypt  3:19
  5. Edom  3:19

But let there be no doubt – He is going to judge “all” the nations…He will gather them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat….the valley of judgment…what we know today as the Kidron Valley right here in Jerusalem….“Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance Israel whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” (3:2)

The Lord is going to judge the nations for at least six reasons:

For scattering Israel and the Jewish people among the nations (Joel 3:2)
For dividing up the land of Israel, which the Lord describes as “My land” (3:2)
For selling the Jewish people into slavery (3:3,5)
For engaging in sex trafficking (3:3)
For stealing treasures from the Lord (perhaps from the Temple), and from Israel (3:5)
For murdering Jews and shedding Jewish blood (3:19, 21)
Some of these are atrocities that various nations and empires have committed against Israel and the Jewish people over the centuries. Yet some of these are atrocities that will be committed against Israel and the Jewish people during the “time of Jacob’s troubles” (30:7), also known as the Tribulation.

  • The Bible teaches us, for example, from the Book of Daniel that the Antichrist will invade the Beautiful Land and set up his reign of power here in Israel. (Daniel 11:41-45)
  • The Hebrew Prophet Zechariah tells us that under the reign of the Antichrist and his global, one-world, tyrannical government that two-thirds of the Jewish people will be murdered. (Zechariah 12:8-9)
  • As horrifying as this is, Jews will not be the only ones to suffer terribly during under the Antichrist’s global reign of terror. Anyone who resists the Antichrist will suffer. Many will perish. Indeed, the Bible reveals that this includes people who have become followers of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation and refuse to bow to the Antichrist. They will be beheaded. They will be martyred. En masse. [Read Revelation 6:9-11 – how long, O Lord, until you avenge….]

The good news is that Joel tells us a day of reckoning is coming….the Day of the Lord is coming….surely it is near.

  • “I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, for the Lord dwells in Zion.” (Joel 3:21)
  • Psalm 9:11-12 – “Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; declare among the peoples His deeds. For He who requires (or avenges) blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.”

Amen.

And then comes more good news – the Millennial Kingdom….during this time:

  1. The Lord will make Jerusalem holy and pure…..there will be no “strangers” there, Joel tells us in 3:17….only those who have been born again and made righteous by the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross for the remission of sins….only those who have been adopted into His family by receiving Jesus as the Messiah
  2. The mountains of Israel will drip with sweet wine (3:18)
  3. The mountains of Israel will nourish cattle who flow with milk (3:18)
  4. The land of Judah will always flow with springs of water (3:18)
  5. A spring will actually burst forth underneath the Temple and flow into a river down to the Dead Sea, which will be resurrected (3:18 – see also Ezekiel 47)
  6. Israel/Judah/Jerusalem will be inhabited forever (3:20)
  7. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will dwell in Zion (3:21)

The Hebrew Prophet Joel gives us a great hope…that God is sovereign and He will reign from this city and make all things new and beautiful by His grace and power.

There is so much richness to each and every verse of chapter three. I’ve taken most of the last year to study it and I’m still finding treasures I didn’t see before. But given the moment that we are in I want to focus on verse two.

“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” (3:2)

Consider these words carefully and completely….and let the United Nations be warned….let the United States be warned….let the European Union be warned….let the Arab League be warned….let the Palestinian Authority be warned….let Hamas be warned….let the Government of Israel, too, be warned.

It may look like a brilliant idea to divide the City of Jerusalem….to divide Judea and Samaria – a.k.a., the West Bank – away from the State of Israel….to give away the Golan Heights….as it seemed brilliant to some to give away the Gaza Strip in 2005….but let there be no mistake: the Word of God warns us in no uncertain terms that judgment is coming for all who divide Israel….and divide Jerusalem….and scatter, oppress and mistreat the Jewish people.

As I say this, the United Nations is preparing to hold a vote in the next few months to divide Jerusalem and the rest of Jerusalem and unilaterally declare a sovereign Palestinian state. For many, this seems wise and fair and just…..but willfully disobeying the Word of God is never wise….never fair….never just….and it comes with consequences.

I recognize that these Scriptures can be difficult for many Palestinian Arabs and many Israeli Arabs to read and accept, especially if they are Muslims and nominal Christians without a personal relationship with Christ….but even if they are born again brothers and sisters in the Lord. Most Palestinians long for a sovereign state of their own…many have been deeply hurt during the rebirth of the State of Israel and throughout the past 63 years….I am sympathetic with this pain and this longing.

The Bible indicates that Jews would be a sinful people when they return to the Land in the last days. Only after they return, the Bible teaches, will the Holy Spirit be poured out upon the Jewish people in an increasingly significant way (Ezekiel 39:29 and Joel 2:28-32 — or Joel chapter 3 in Hebrew Bibles). Only then will a growing number of Jewish people will repent and return to a personal relationship with the Lord. Jesus said in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 that there would be “wars and rumors of wars” and “revolutions” and “lawlessness” in the last days. Certainly, the rebirth of Israel — while prophetic and God-ordained — has come with wars, rumors of war, revolutions, sins, and even crimes committed by some Arabs as well as some Jews.

The Bible doesn’t teach this period of the last days will be easy, and the Bible is right…..that said, while these are painful facts, they are facts nonetheless…..and each one of us must be true to the revealed Word of God….we do not please the Lord — or do our Arab brothers any favors, or do the nations any favors — if we ignore, deny or try to explain away the plain meaning of these verses, that Israel would be prophetically reborn and the Jews would come back to the Land that the Lord promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendents.

Genesis 12:1-3 tells us that the Lord will bless those who bless the children of Abraham, and He will curse those who curse the children of Abraham. Those who have cursed Israel have, sadly, found themselves facing great pain and suffering. Those who have tried to divide the Land again and again have found themselves both causing but also experiencing great pain and suffering.

For many, these are not easy truths to hear or to hold…..but God in His love and fairness puts us on notice that there are consequences to rejecting these truths.

At the same time, we who accept by faith what the Bible teaches about God’s divine love, plan, purpose and Land for Israel and the Jewish people must remind ourselves and each other of two other truths:

  1. First, how we communicate Biblical truth – how we say what we say in light of the Word of God – matters to God.
  2. Second, how we live out Biblical truth – how we do what we do in light of the Word of God – also matters to God.

What do I mean? Allow me to explain.

First, our communication — consider John 12:49 (NIV), where Jesus said, “the Father commands Me what to say and how to say it.” What we say matters to God….but so does how we say it. It’s not enough just to communicate what is Biblically true….we must also examine how we communicate it….are we speaking the truth in love?….are we being gentle?….are we being humble?

  • Proverbs 12:18 – “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
  • Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
  • Proverbs 15:28 – “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer”
  • Proverbs 21:23 – “He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards his soul from troubles.”
  • Proverbs 25:11 – “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.”

Yes, the Day of the Lord is coming….Yes, God is going to bless and save the nation of Israel….Yes, the nations are going to be judged for dividing the Land and shedding Jewish blood and for committing atrocities against the Jewish people….These are truths….they are from the Lord….they are just and true….But we must be careful in how we communicate these truths because they are so difficult for so many to hear…..especially our Arab brothers and sisters….Let us be wise and humble and respectful in how we teach what we teach lest we inadvertently sin with our callousness or insensitivity….lest we cause additional pain or even create a new stumbling block to our listeners being able to hear and truly receive the truth.

Second, our actions — Are we living out the fullness of the implications of Biblical truth, especially when it comes to the Book of Joel? Today, those of us who believe in the Abrahamic Covenant that God gave the Land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants as an “everlasting possession” and who agree with the Apostle Paul that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29) are at risk.

At risk of what?

At risk of being outflanked on the justice issue….at risk of being – and/or being perceived around the world as being – insensitive to the charges that we are blind to or callous towards injustice suffered by the Palestinian people….“Justice” can be a politically loaded word…..and it can be wielded for unscriptural ends. But it is a Biblical word….it is an important word….and we must embrace it and passionately pursue its true Biblical meaning.

As the Hebrew Prophet Micah taught us, “He has told you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)

You and I are passionate advocates of justice for Israel because of what the Bible teaches. We must also be passionate advocates of justice from Israel because of what the Bible teaches. This does not mean Israel should divide the Land. This does not mean Israel should ignore her real and serious security needs. But too often, Christians who love Israel are not aware of — or sufficiently concerned about and responsive to — the plight of the Palestinian people, and particularly the struggles of the Palestinian believers.

  • Are some of the political, moral and historical charges of the Palestinians against Israel overblown? Yes.
  • Is some of the rhetoric of the Palestinians against Israel, Jews and Christians who love Israel hyperbolic and unfair? Yes.
  • But are the Palestinian people struggling in real and very painful ways? Yes – the truth is they are. And we should care because Jesus cared.
  • Much of this struggle has been caused by the unwise and ungodly choices of their leaders….and their Arab and Islamic allies in the region….and by the terror groups in their midst.
  • But is some of this pain sometime caused by – or exacerbated by — Israeli mistakes….excesses….and even sins?  Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Again, this does not mean the Land should be divided…That does not mean a sovereign Palestinian state should be created….It does mean that followers of Jesus Christ should care about justice and mercy – for the Jews and for the Palestinians, and for all of Israel’s neighbors who are suffering in this fallen world….After all, while the Bible clearly explains that the Lord will bring the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel and allow them to reclaim their God-given ownership of the Land, nowhere in the Bible are Jews (or any group of people) given a license to commit injustice.

  • To the contrary, the Bible teaches Israel to love her neighbors (Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 19:19).
  • The Bible also teaches Israel to love her neighbors and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44).

The Jewish people do have rights to the ownership of the Land, but they also have responsibilities to govern justly and compassionately, in accordance with the Scriptures.

  • In Leviticus 19:13, for example, the Lord says: “You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.”
  • Leviticus 19:15 — “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.”
  • Leviticus 19:33-34 — “When a stranger [non-Jew] resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to  you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.”
  • Exodus 22:21-24 – “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry and My anger will be kindled….”

Those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ need to not just preach but also to practice sound Bible doctrine regarding Israel and the Palestinians….We need to love both….bless both….pray for both….We need to stand with and encourage our brothers and sisters in the Messiah whether they are Jewish or Arab….The Bible gives us no freedom to ignore, deny, or oppose our brothers and sisters on either side….Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

We need to be pro-actively building relationships with Israelis and Palestinians….we need to be faithful ambassadors of Christ….we need to be true agents of reconciliation whenever and wherever possible….We do not have to agree with everything that our brothers and sisters believe — especially if those beliefs are unscriptural — but we are commanded to love them unconditionally and sacrificially….We are commanded to see struggle and suffering and respond in love and compassion, whether it’s a Jewish person in pain or an Arab.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus loves the Jews….Jesus loves the Arabs….Jesus loves the Iranians….Jesus loves the Druze, the Bedouins, and all who live in the epicenter….Jesus died for all….Jesus rose again for all….Jesus is coming back again to this city for all…The Day of the Lord is coming….surely it is near….Joel teaches us that the Day of the Lord is a day of great sadness and judgment for those who reject the Lord and disobey His Word….But Joel also teaches us that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”

Which leads me to my final point.

In addition to praying for Jews and for the Palestinians….

In addition to seeking real and practical ways to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus….

In addition to providing food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to the poor and needy on both sides of the security fence….of caring for widows and orphans….of caring for Holocaust Survivors and victims of war and terrorism….We need to make sure everyone from Tel Aviv to Tehran hears the good news of God’s amazing love and grace as revealed through Jesus Christ.

Let those of us who love Israel also love Israel’s neighbors and enemies enough to make sure they hear the gospel….to strengthen the Church in the Arab and Iranian world….to help them train pastors and plant churches and fulfill the Great Commission.

Precisely because the Day of the Lord is coming….surely it is near.

As the Apostle Peter taught us, “the Day of the Lord will come like a thief” and “the Lord is not slow about keeping His promise , as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:10,9)

Amen.


Joel: A Call to Action

Joel: A Call to Action

Part Four: A Call to Action

The Hebrew Prophet Joel indicates a day of severe and unprecendented judgment is coming upon the world. The question is: How should mankind in general – and the people of Israel in particular – prepare for such judgments before they come? Beginning in Joel 2:12, the Lord is very clear and specific. His people are to:

  • Blow a trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm on His holy mountain in Jerusalem
  • Consecrate a fast
  • Proclaim a solemn assembly
  • Gather the people
  • Sanctify the congregation
  • Assemble the elders
  • Gather the children and the nursing infants
  • Gather brides and bridegrooms
  • Urge the priests, the Lord’s ministers, to weep and ask the Lord to spare His people and not let them be a byword among the nations
  • Return to the Lord with all our heart
  • Return to the Lord with fasting
  • Return to the Lord with weeping
  • Return to the Lord with mourning
  • Rend our hearts and not our garments
  • Return to the Lord because we believe He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil
  • This is not just a call to a generic, run-of-the-mill prayer meeting — this is a call to get on our faces and beg and plead with the Lord to have mercy on us as individuals, as families and as nations

Two observations:

  • It’s interesting to me that the specific sins of the people are not enumerated — the Lord is concerned about all sin, not just a few certain types
  • It’s also intriguing to say that nowhere in the text is there a call to take up arms and fight against the enemy invaders — this isn’t to say Israel or America or other countries shouldn’t defend themselves against enemy nations or terrorist organizations; but when it comes to sin and judgment, there is no political or military solution; our only hope is to turn away from our sins and seek the Lord’s forgiveness; He will save us when we ask with humble, repentant hearts, and He’s the only One who can

Clearly, chapter two of the Book of Joel is a trumpet call — a call to action

  • To Israel – a national call to turn back to the Lord
  • To the Church – a global call to turn back to the Lord
  • To all of mankind — a personal call to repent, to get right with the Lord, before it’s too late, before judgment comes

The bad news: the Scriptures are clear that a terrible time of judgment and devastation is coming, worse than at any other time in human history.

The good news: The Scriptures are also clear that when individuals repent and return to the Lord – and by God’s grace when the nation of Israel repents and turns back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – then…..

  • “the Lord will be zealous for His land” (2:18)
  • The Lord “will have pity on His people” (2:18)
  • The Lord will send His people “grain, new wine, and oil” (2:19)
  • The Lord will defeat the enemies ofIsrael, notably attacks from the North (2:20)
  • The Lord will do “great things” (2:21)
  • Israel will turn green again (2:22)
  • The fig tree and the vine will yield its fruit again in full (2:22)
  • The Lord will send “the teacher of righteousness” (the Hebrew translation in 2:23)
  • The Lord will make up to those who have repented for the years the locusts have eaten (2:25)
  • Those who have repented (“My people”) “will never be put to shame” and they will know that the Lord is in the midst ofIsrael, that “I am the Lord your God, and there is no other” (2:26)
  • The Lord will pour out His Holy Spirit “on all mankind,” Jews and Gentiles alike (2:28)
  • Sons and daughters will prophesy
  • Old men will dream dreams
  • Young men will see visions
  • Men and women of all classes and stations will be able to receive the Holy Spirit
  • “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered” (2:32) – Jew or Gentile.
  • NOTE: this another critical point in the text: in the last days (beginning with Pentecost/Acts 2 but accelerating as we get closer to the Day of the Lord), we’ll see the Holy Spirit moving more powerfully and publicly and personally and persistently than ever before in human history…..this requires us to develop a much better, deeper, richer Biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role, how He works, how to be filled with the Spirit, how to walk in the Spirit, how to be careful not to grieve the Spirit, how to be more discerning of spiritual deception, etc.
  • The Lord will display wonders in the sky and on the earth (2:30)
  • The sun will turn to darkness (2:30)
  • The moon will turn to blood (2:31)
  • All these things will happen “before” the “great and terrible Day of the Lord comes” – that is, before the final of the judgments of the Great Tribulation (2:31)
  • This judgment is sure and certain – it is coming, it cannot be stopped, and many will suffer horrifically if they are not followers of Jesus Christ with the seal of the Lord on their foreheads

That said, the Lord will use these terrible judgments to shake people all over the world – and particularly in Israel – and cause Jews and Gentiles to deeply reconsider what they believe and what they are following.

This is how God works at key moments in history – He literally and figuratively shakes the world

  • Haggai 2:6-7 – “….in a little while I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations….”
  • See also Haggai 2:21-22 – “….I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations….”
  • Many will come to faith in Jesus during these times. Whoever will repent, whoever will return to the Lord, whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
  • Why not make that decision today, before these traumas come?
  • Yes, Jews are the Chosen People. But according to the Scriptures, it is not enough that the Lord chose the Jews — Jews must also choose the Lord.
  • Yes, God loves the Gentiles. But according to the Scriptures, it is not enough that the Lord loves Gentiles — Gentiles must also love the Lord with all the heart, soul, mind and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves.
  • The Lord said through Moses said in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”
  • Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
  • Now is the time to call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

 

Part Three: A Trumpet Call for Israel and the Church

A trumpet call for Israel and the ChurchBoth the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament teach that in the “last days,” severe military threats will mount against the State of Israel, yet the Jewish state will become more and more isolated internationally. Ultimately, the Bible indicates that no country will come to the defense of the Jewish people when the major prophetic battles unfold and Israel’s enemies attack. Rather, Israel will find herself all alone in the world. This makes recent headlines all the more troubling, for international pressure against — and isolation of — the modern State of Israel seems to be intensifying this year. Consider the latest key stories from the epicenter from just the past few days and weeks:

In light of such disturbing trends, I am posting some of my notes covering chapter two of the “Book of Joel.” In his second chapter, the Hebrew prophet gives us so much vital information about the future of Israel and how to live in the last days that I won’t be able to cover it all in one posting. But I hope you will find these notes helpful as you study the writings of this important minor prophet and teach them to others. I would also encourage you to watch the message delivered at The Joshua Fund’s 2011 Epicenter Conference by Pastor Ray Bentley, who taught on Joel 2:1-17. In a few days, Lord willing, I will post my notes covering the rest of chapter two.

Note: In case you missed the previous postings, here are the links:

Now, let’s begin….

Chapter Two: “A Trumpet Call for Israel and the Church”

  1. As the “Day of the Lord” approaches in the last days, those who know the Lord, follow the Lord, listen to the Lord, study the Word of the Lord, and teach the Word of the Lord are supposed to do a series of things:
  2. Understand that danger is coming and thus  “blow a trumpet in Zion” and “sound an alarm” on God’s holy mountain — that is, call people to action (2:1)
  3. We are to alert “all” the inhabitants of the land of Israel that the “Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near” (2:1)
  4. We are to let Israel know that the “Day of the Lord” will be a day of judgment, “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness”
  5. We are to let Israel know that that the Day of the Lord will be historic….”there has never been anything like it” – even the previous apocalyptic plagues of locusts described in Joel chapter one – “nor will there ever be again after it” (2:2)
  6. We are to explain that the Day of the Lord will come with devastating fire that consumes everything in its path (2:3)
  7. We are to explain that the run up to the Day of the Lord will be traumatic — the land of Israel will suffer an invasion unlike anything in its history….the text indicates that the land of Israel will be completely overrun and will suffer serious devastation, far beyond the locust invasion that described in chapter one.
  8. What’s interesting is that in the first 24 verses of chapter two, the word “locust” is never mentioned. Rather, we have images that are similar to a classic locust invasion, but far more devastating.
  9. The appearance of the invaders is “like” the appearance of horses (2:4)
  10. And “like” war horses (2:4)
  11. They run “like” mighty men (2:5)
  12. They climb the wall “like” soldiers (2:7)
  13. So the invaders aren’t exactly locusts – they’re “like” locusts
  14. The invaders aren’t human soldiers – they’re “like” human soldiers
  15. Over the years, some Bible expositors have suggested that what we are seeing play out in the Book of Joel is the “War of Gog and Magog,” as prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39. There are several reasons for teachers to suggest this:
  16. The Hebrew Prophet Joel describes events that will happen in the last days, as does Ezekiel
  17. Joel seems to describe a land of Israel that is fertile and fruitful, like a Garden of Eden (Joel 2:3), and Ezekiel describes a land that has essentially recovered from devastating wars and is secure and prosperous (Ezekiel 38:8, 12)
  18. Joel describes a threat to Israel that is unprecedented in her history, as does Ezekiel
  19. Joel describes the Lord saying, “I will remove the northern army far from you” (Joel 2:20), and Ezekiel 38-39 describes the main threat to Israel coming from the north but destroyed by the Lord
  20. Joel describes the Lord pouring out His Spirit after defeat of the enemy (Joel 2:28-29), as does Ezekiel (Ezekiel 39:29)
  21. I certainly believe that the”War of Gog and Magog” described in Ezekiel 38-39 is real, serious, and coming sooner that many people think. That said, despite some similarities, I do not see the primary prophetic events described in the Book of Joel as being focused on Ezekiel’s “War of Gog and Magog.” I say this for several reasons:
  22. The Hebrew Prophet Joel describes Israel as being fully invaded and completely overrun by enemy forces, like a locust invasion; this is not, however, what is described in Ezekiel 38-39 where the enemy comes against the mountains of Israel but is then supernaturally destroyed, unable to completely invade and overrun the land.
  23. Joel describes the land of Israel being devastated by fire (from the enemies), whereas Ezekiel describes the enemies of Israel being devastated by fire (from heaven)
  24. Joel describes the judgment of “all the nations” (3:2) occurring after the enemy is defeated, whereas Ezekiel describes a limited coalition of nations being judged during their defeat.
  25. Joel singles out Egypt for such severe judgment that the text says “Egypt will become a waste” (3:19), whereas mention of Egypt is noticeably absent from Ezekiel 38-39.
  26. Joel also singles out Edom for such severe judgment that the text says “Edom will become a desolate wilderness because of the violence done to the sons of Judah in whose land they have shed innocent blood” (3:19), whereas mention of Edom is noticeably absent from Ezekiel 38-39.
  27. To understand the End Times events that the Hebrew Prophet Joel is foretelling, we need to study the prophecies of Revelation 9:1-12 and the events that occur after the 5th of 7 trumpets are blown during the Great Tribulation. Consider the following points:
  28. In the Book of Revelation,we read that out of Hell (“a bottomless pit filled with the smoke of a great furnace”) “came locusts upon the earth” (9:2)
  29. But the Bible indicates that these are not ordinary locusts — they have power like scorpions to injure with their tails (9:2, 5,6,10)
  30. These creatures are “told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree” (9:4)
  31. These creatures are designed to attack mankind “who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads,” that is, those who are not born again followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (9:4)
  32. These creatures cannot kill but rather torment men for five months (9:5)
  33. Their appearance is “like” horses (9:7)
  34. They have faces “like” men (9:7)
  35. They have hair “like” the hair of women (9:8)
  36. They have teeth “like” the teeth of lions (9:8)
  37. They have armor “like” soldiers who have breastplates of iron (9:9)
  38. They sound “like” many horses rushing to battle (9:9)
  39. They have a king over them, “the angel of the abyss” whose name in Hebrew is “Abaddon,” and in Greek is “Apollyon”
  40. These are not really locusts, or human soldiers, though they are like both — these are demonic creatures ruled by a Satanic king
  41. They will come “upon the earth” with “power” (9:3)
  42. The Book of Revelation does not say these creatures will exclusively attack those in Israel – their attack will be global
  43. But the Book of Joel does indicate that such creatures will specifically invade Israel and bring great trauma and devastation — as Joel 2:11 says: “the Day of the Lord is indeed great and very terrible; who can endure it?”

Again, in a few days I will post the rest of my notes on Joel chapter two which gives us hope for the future and specific, practical suggestions for Israel and the Church on how to live in the last days.

Part Two: A Wake Up Call for Israel and the Church

Chronos - Kairos

Record breaking natural disasters keep happening around the world. The global economy remains in serious trouble. Millions are sinking into poverty. Islam is spreading around the world. Rumors of new wars in the Middle East are mounting. New threats to Israel are metastasizing. Yet as the world is being shaken and serious new threats and challenges are rising, so much of the world seems to be asleep. Alarm bells are going off, yet so much of the Church seems to be asleep as well, intoxicated by the pleasures of the world and unable or unwilling to respond to the call of God to pray, fast, and repent despite the fact that, as the Hebrew Prophet Joel wrote in the Bible, “the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.”

“It is time to wake up.” That was the message Anne Graham Lotz — the internationally renowned Bible teacher and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham — brought to the 700 people who attended the 2011 Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem in May and the more than 37,000 people from 113 countries around the world who have now watched part or all of the messages online at www.epicenterconference.com since the event ended. Anne taught chapter one of the Old Testament Book of Joel in a message entitled, “A Wake Up Call For Israel and the Church.” It was a powerful and challenging message and I would encourage you to watch it for free on-line or purchase the DVD package to watch with family, friends, and your church.

As a follow up, I am pleased to announce that Anne Graham Lotz and I will host a special worldwide simulcast on Sunday, September 11th, 2011 called, “A Wake Up Call For God’s People.” I will teach on Bible prophecies and current events that indicate that we are getting closer and closer to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Anne will teach from the Scriptures on how we are to get our hearts ready to know God personally, have our sins forgiven, be living lives of purpose and impact, and to truly be ready for “the Day of the Lord.” If you are a pastor, please visit our special webpage, learn more the event, and sign up to show the simulcast to your congregation at 7pm eastern this 9/11, or 6pm mountain and pacific time. If you are a lay person, please ask your pastor to show the simulcast to your congregation as a way of remembering the events of September 11th to turn our hearts back to the Lord.

As we read in Joel 1:14-15,“Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near.”

That said, the other day I posted my notes of an overview of the Book of Joel. Today I am posting my notes of my own personal study of Joel chapter one.  I hope you will find them helpful as you study the writings of this important minor prophet and teach them to others.

Joel Chapter One: “A Wake Up Call”

  1. The first 13 verses of chapter one reference an actual, historic disaster, a literal plague of locusts that has just so devastated the “inhabitants of the land” of Israel that it will be remembered for generations to come. (1:2)
  2. The Hebrew Prophet Joel does not begin by describing a prophetic or metaphoric event. He is referring to an actual historic event. The Lord is saying to all the current inhabitants of the land of Israel, “Has anything (else) like this happened in your days or in your fathers’ days?” (1:2)
  3. The Lord is saying through Joel that the devastation that has been wrought foreshadows a future apocalyptic disaster coming to Israel in the End Times.
  4. Locust plagues are classic forms of God’s judgment in Scripture, both in times past and in End Times prophecies yet to be fulfilled.
  5. The Lord used Moses and Aaron to bring a plague of locusts as the 8th plague against the Pharoah and the Egyptian people during the events of the Exodus (Exodus 10:1-20)
  6. The Lord used Moses to warn the children of Israel to obey Him fully when they enter the Promised Land or one of the judgments they will suffer will be plagues of locusts who will consume their fields (Deuteronomy 28:15,25,38)
  7. King Solomon prayed to the Lord, asking if a plague of locusts ever came upon the children of Israel as a judgment and they should repent and pray and come back to the house of the Lord — the Temple that they were dedicating that day — that the Lord would hear from heaven and forgive them and heal their land (1 Kings 8:37-40)
  8. The Lord responded to Solomon’s prayer and said that if there were a plague of locusts due to judgment and the children of Israel repented of their sins and turned back to the Lord and truly prayed and sought His face that He would hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
  9. The Lord used the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation to warn Israel and the world that during the terrible events of the “Great Tribulation” when the 5th of 7 trumpets of judgment sounds, He will unleash a plague of demonic locusts and bring about a terrible devastation. (Revelation 9:1-12)
  10. In the Book of Joel, chapter one, the Lord speaks through the prophet to various groups of people in Israel who have been devastated by the actual, historic locust plagues:  “Elders,” who are supposed to hear God’s Word (1:2); “All inhabitants” of Israel, who are supposed to listen to God’s Word (1:2); “Drunkards,” who are supposed to wake up (1:5); “Wine drinkers,” who are supposed to wail (1:5); “Virgins,” who are supposed to wail (1:8);  “Bridegrooms,” who are supposed to wail (1:8); “Priests,” who are supposed to mourn/wail/lament (1:9, 13); “Ministers of the Lord,” who are supposed to mourn/wail (1:9, 13); “Farmers,” who are supposed to “be ashamed” (1:11); and “Vinedressers,” who are supposed to wail (1:11)
  11. Interesting are some of those not mentioned: No mention of a king (the words king/kings/kingdom/etc are used 2,597 times in the New American Standard Bible, but not here);  No mention of government leaders of any kind; No mention of prophets (the word prophet is used 461 times in the NASB, but not here)
  12. Perhaps the most important verse of chapter one is verse 5 is “Awake!”
  13. This chapter is a wake up call for Israel, who should know better than to live in such sin because they have been given the Holy Scriptures and the prophets….and for the Church — people who say they are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ — who should know better than to live in such sin because they have the Holy Scriptures to teach and guide them
  14. The question is: Will we wake up?
  15. Do we see how far we are from the God who made us and loves us and is jealous for our love and affection?
  16. Do we realize how drunk we are — with alcohol, with illegal drugs, with legal drugs, with entertainment, with the “things of this world”?
  17. Do we realize how blind, deaf and dumb we are to what the Lord is trying to say to us through His Word?
  18. Do we realize that if we don’t turn around quickly, the Lord is going to come and rock our world, shake our world, devastate our world, until we choose to curse Him, or until we choose to fall at His feet and give Him the worship He so richly deserves?
  19. The good news is that the Lord tells the people through the Hebrew prophet what to do:
  20. First, we must wake up from our drunken, intoxicated stupor (1:5)
  21. Second, we are to consecrate a fast (1:14)
  22. Third, we are to proclaim a solemn assembly (1:14)
  23. Fourth, we are to gather the elders (1:14)
  24. Fifth, we are to gather all the inhabitants of the land (1:14)
  25. Sixth, we are to cry out to the Lord (1:14)
  26. What should we say when we cry out to the Lord? The rest of the Bible teaches us to cry out in repentance and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us, to help us, to heal us, to save us, to cleanse us, to adopt us into His family, to fill us with His Holy Spirit, and to teach us to walk in His ways. In John 1:12, we read, “But as many as received Him [Jesus, the Messiah], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
  27. The Hebrew Prophet describes the urgency of getting right with the Lord — because the “Day of the Lord” is coming (1:15)
  28. It is near and will come as destruction from the Almighty
  29. There will be a horrific famine (1:17)
  30. There will be a horrific fire (1:19-20)
  31. Animals will suffer (1:18)
  32. People will suffer (1:19)
  33. Therefore, we should turn to the Lord now, before all these End Times judgments are unleashed

I hope this is helpful.

Part One: What is the “Day Of The Lord” and why does it matter?

Bloedrode maan

Bloedrode maan

Are we living in the last days of human history as we have known it? Are the tumultuous events and trends underway in the Middle East and around the world signs that the Messiah is coming to Earth soon to judge and to rule and reign from Jerusalem? What is the “Day of the Lord”? What are the “last days”? What does Bible prophecy teach about such things? And how should we live in light of such prophecies?

Answering these questions was the focus of the 2011 Epicenter Conference, which took place in Jerusalem on May 15-16. One Day One, a group of internationally renowned Bible        teachers and I taught through the Old Testament “Book of Joel” verse by verse, chapter by chapter. We then had a panel discussion on lessons for Israel and the Church drawn from the Book of Joel. One Day Two, we had a series of panels where highly-regarded Israeli, Palestinian, American, Iranian and Indian pastors and Bible teachers explored the implications of these Bible prophecies for Israel and the Church in more depth in light of current events.

By God’s grace and to our great encouragement, some 700 evangelical Christians — including those from as far away as Uganda, Ghana, Germany, South Korea and South Africa — attended the The Joshua Fund’s annual conference in person. Since then, more than 31,500 people around the world have watched videos of the messages on-line at no charge at www.epicenterconference.com. Many have also pre-ordered a complete set of the messages on DVD so they can watch them with — or give them to — family members, friends, their small group Bible studies, home fellowship groups, or their whole church congregations.

I believe God wants all of Israel and all of the Church to turn our attention to the Book of Joel in the weeks and months ahead. There is a critically important message there that is on the Lord’s heart and it is deeply relevant for our time. Over the next few days, I’m going to share with you my own personal study and message notes from the Book of Joel. I hope you will find them helpful as you study the writings of this important minor prophet and teach them to others.

Let’s begin today with an overview. What follows are the notes I used to deliver the first message of the 2011 Epicenter Conference.

THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING: An overview of the Book of Joel

  1. The focus of this year’s Epicenter Conference is the Book of Joel. Today, we will go through the Book of Joel verse by verse, chapter by chapter. We’ll observe, interpret and begin to apply. What does this fascinating ancient text say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to you and I today whether we live in Israel or anywhere else around the world?
  2. Tomorrow, we will take the next step. We’ll explore a range of threats facing Israel and her neighbors and consider these threats – and how to respond to them – in light of what we learn from the Book of Joel and the rest of the Holy Scriptures.
  3. The question that might reasonably be asked is, “Why?” Joel is not a particularly popular book of the Bible. Some pastors refer to it. Some teach through it. But most don’t. Why, then, should we? It’s a good question and one I’d like to address before we dive in with our blessed line up of internationally renowned Bible teachers.
  4. Let me start by saying it’s not because it’s my favorite book of the book, though it is and it has been since I was in high school — and yet I have never taught the Book of Joel before today or ever attended a church or conference where I heard it taught cover to cover.
  5. And it’s not because my life verse comes from the Book of Joel, though it does, again since high school – Joel 2:11….“The Lord thunders at the head of His army; unlimited are His forces, and mighty are those who obey His command. The Day of the Lord is great and dreadful. Who can endure it?”
  6. And it’s not because my friend, Pastor Ray Bentley, called me one day a few years ago and said we really need to have an Epicenter Conference that teaches through the Book of Joel, though he did, and I thought He was right, and have been praying about it ever since.
  7. All these are contributing factors. But the reason is more simple and far more profound: the Lord told us to proclaim in 2011 in the message He proclaimed through the Prophet Joel thousands of years ago, and we are being obedient to that heavenly command. There is a message here that is relevant for our time. There are warnings here that we dare not ignore. There is a sense of urgency in the heavenlies we need to share. This is a book that is near and dear to the heart of the Father…there is a fallen world that is not listening…and a Church that by and large is not proclaiming. May we purpose in our hearts today to change course while we still can.

Basic Background

  1. WHO:The author is the Hebrew Prophet Joel (1:1)
    • “Joel” means “Jehovah is God” or the “Lord is God”
    • Joel was the “son of Pethuel” (1:1), which means: “vision of God”
    • We don’t learn much about the life and ministry of the Prophet Joel in this book or anywhere else in the Bible. Why? Because the Book of Joel isn’t about Joel – it’s about the coming of the Day of the Lord and God’s call on Israel and all men and women everywhere to repent, turn away from their sins, and get ready to meet the Lord face to face, before it is too late.
  2. WHAT:This small book of the Bible (three chapters in English; four chapters in Hebrew) is a book of End Times prophecy.
    • The Lord speaks to Israel, to the Church, and to all the nations through the Hebrew Prophet Joel, telling us details about the future and sharing His heart that all men and women everywhere would choose to turn to the Lord and let Him change and restore our lives.
    • The Book of Joel is referred or alluded to numerous times in the New Testament. A few notable examples:
      • The Apostle Peter quotes “the prophet Joel” directly in Acts 2:16-21
      • The Lord Jesus refers to Joel 2:10, “the sun and the moon [will] grow dark and the starts lose their brightness” before the Day of the Lord, when He describes the signs of the last days in Matthew 24:29
      • The Apostle Paul cites Joel 2:32, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved,” in Romans 10:13
      • The Apostle John alludes to Joel 2:10 when he describes events of the Tribulation in Revelation 8:12
      • The Apostle John alludes to the Book of Joel and language of the locust invasion in Revelation chapter 9
  3. WHEN:Unlike many other books in the Bible, the Book of Joel provides us with no clear, definitive time references regarding when it was written.
    • Some scholars say around in the 9th century B.C.
    • Some say 6th or 7th century B.C.
    • Some say in the 5th century, B.C.
    • The fact is, we simply don’t know for certain
    • Why doesn’t the Lord want us to know precisely when the book was written? Because the Book of Joel wasn’t written to get us focused on the past. It was written to get us focused on the future and the coming of the “Day of the Lord” and to get our hearts ready for that Day
  4. WHERE: The events described in these prophecies take place in Israel, Jerusalem, Judah and Zion
    • Israel is mentioned 3 times in the book
      • 2:27
      • 3:2
      • 3:16
    • Jerusalem is mentioned 4 times in the book
      • 3:1
      • 3:6
      • 3:17
      • 3:20
    • Judah is mentioned 6 times in the book
      • 3:1
      • 3:6
      • 3:8
      • 3:18
      • 3:19
      • 3:20
    • Zion is mentioned 7 times in the book
      • 2:1
      • 2:15
      • 2:23
      • 2:32
      • 3:16
      • 3:17
      • 3:21
    • The “fig trees” of Israel are referred to 3 times in the book. [NOTE: Figs and fig trees are often used throughout the Bible as symbols of the nation or state of Israel. In Matthew 24:32-33, the Lord Jesus referred to the “parable of the fig tree” to tell us that the State of Israel would be prophetically reborn in the last days and that in the last days the Jewish people would prophetically return to the Holy Land after centuries of exile. Other examples of Israel connected to fig trees can be found in Jeremiah 24….1 Kings 4:21-26 (“So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon”)….and in Habakkuk 3:16-17, to name a few.]
      • 1:7
      • 1:12
      • 2:22

5.  WHY: The Book of Joel was written for several reasons. Among them:

    1. To serve as a “wake up call” to the people of Israel, Judah and Jerusalem to prepare for and repent ahead of the coming “Day of the Lord,” judgments that would be similar to but far worse than the devastating plague of locusts Israel once experienced.
    2. To serve as a “trumpet call” to all those who love the Lord and His Word and profess to be the Lord’s followers to prepare for and repent ahead of the coming “Day of the Lord.”
    3. To serve as a warning to the nations that in the Day of the Lord they will face judgment for sins they have committed against Israel and the Jewish people.
    4. To highlight the importance of the “Day of the Lord.” Joel mentions the “Day of the Lord” in each chapter and five times in total (1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 2:30, 3:14). The “Day of the Lord” – and similar/related Biblical references such as “the day” and “that day” and others – are mentioned more than 70 times in the New American Standard translation of the Bible
  • What is the “Day of the Lord” and is it different from the “last days”?
  • The “last days” is the Biblical term describing the period of time filled with prophetic events of signs and wonders that lead up to the Rapture of the Church, the period between the Rapture and the Tribulation, and the Tribulation itself, all of which build towards the Second Coming. The last days – characterized by wars, rumors of wars, revolutions, natural disasters, the rise of false messiahs/prophets/teachers, apostasy, lawlessness, persecution of the believers, the spread of the gospel to all nations, the rebirth of Israel, and similar signs described in the Bible – are a time of great trauma for the world as well as God’s mercy, for the Bible indicates that many will come to faith in Jesus Christ during the last days.
  • The “Day of the Lord” is the Biblical term describing the culmination of the last days of world history as we have known it — specifically, it refers to the actual, physical, literal Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the time when Jesus Christ wins the Battle of Armageddon and the Battle of Jerusalem and then His feet literally touch down on the Mount of Olives, splitting the mountain into two, as foretold by the Prophet Zechariah. The Day of the Lord is described throughout the Scriptures as a day of darkness, gloom, distress and judgment for the nations. The Day of the Lord sets into motion the setting up of the MillennialKingdomin which Jesus Christ will reign from a new Temple in Jerusalemfor a literal 1,000 year period, as described in the Book of Revelation.

 

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