By Wendy Wippel
If you spend much time on the vast wasteland known as the internet, you’re bound to see lots of supposed indications of the imminence of the rapture: genetic modification, apostasy, global government, strange conjunctions of heavenly bodies, real-time global communication. No argument. But the real reason to believe we’re almost there is in Malachi. And nobody’s mentioning that one.
A lot of internet prophecy buffs — and, frankly– a lot of Christians in general, brought up in the Word, (who should really, therefore, know better) are perennially in error on prophetic topics because they fail to recognize a critical truth about the Scriptures: there are essentially two different audiences that come to the Word for truth.
First, the chosen people (aka the nation of Israel), and second, everybody else. Which includes me. And I would assume, most of you reading this. We are grafted into the nation of Israel– sort of adopted– when we believe . Understanding the distinction between Jew and Gentile in Scripture—particularly with respect to the times set aside for God to deal with each group separately—is important. Really important.
Here’s a secret: the tribulation is a time specifically for the Jews.
Which really shouldn’t be a secret because God, through Daniel, made that point clear.
Daniel assumed because of Jeremiah’s writings, that God was about to give Israel the Messiah and the kingdom of their own that was promised – if Israel repented. Sincerely. And from the passage it’s pretty obvious that Daniel is going to make dang skippy sure that Israel repents sincerely even if he has to do it all by himself. So he gives it his best shot. And since, (after all, he’s Daniel), it’s a darn good try.
But the response isn’t really all he hoped for. No.
What happens is that Gabriel shows up and tells him that he’s been sent by God to straighten him out. Something like; “Danny Boy, I think you’re a mite bit confused. Here’s the scoop.”
Daniel’s account goes like this;
He made me understand., speaking with me and saying, “O, Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.
Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to Messiah the prince, there will be seven weeks and 62 weeks. The street shall be built again, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty- two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the Prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood. And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Translation: Daniel, it’s not going to be in your lifetime that Messiah comes. In fact it’s going to be quite a while.
Gulp. Probably a lot to handle for Daniel at the time, don’t you think?
Our lesson, however, is pretty straightforward, and was laid out in the first ten words Gabriel spoke. To Daniel: Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city.
Those seventy “weeks”, the (meaning groups of seven years) that end with the seven years of tribulation are for the Jews.
Gabriel said so. They are not about the church. So the church won’t go through tribulation. End of Discussion.
We’ll, it should be, but a lengthy conversation with a pre-trib denier last week proved, once again, again, otherwise.
As someone dear to my heart likes to say, “we’ll just explain it to them on the way up.” But that’s not really my point.
Here’s my point. If the seventy years prophesied in Daniel concerns the Jews, then one extremely important mark on that prophecy timeline was the return of the nation of Israel to the land.
Which was also prophecied:
“‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west and from north and south. I will bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. All who claim me as their God will come, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Isaiah 43:5-7 (NLT)
“Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, the baby will be born; the nation will come forth.” Isaiah 66:8 (NLT)
“‘But the time is coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.” Jeremiah 16:14-15 (NLT)
“‘But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from wherever I have driven them. I will bring them back into their own fold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds to care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one of them will be lost or missing,’ says the Lord.
‘For the time is coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will place a righteous Branch on King David’s throne. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this is his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. ‘In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” Jeremiah 23:3-8 (NLT)
Abundantly prophecied. But here the fun starts. Also fulfilled to an astounding degree. The world’s Jews, fueled by persecution, have been returning to Israel in droves for over a century. The world’s last concentration of Jews outside of Israel is New York.
So that stage is set. But there’s still that one prophecy, often overlooked, whose fulfillment would seem to be right around the corner:”
O daughter of Zion… ‘Now also many nations have gathered against you, Who say, “Let her be defiled,And let our eye look upon Zion.”.
A verse that prophecies the future moment when the nations, surround Israel and collectively lick their chops over Israel’s impending destruction.
In terms of the spirit, we’re almost there. And the flesh isn’t weak, it’s just waiting for a good opportunity. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we are pretty much there as I type this. The Pope is busy buddying up with the Arab terrorists. India has thrown Israel under the bus.
In England, a HAMAS leader was invited in to speak, but the Dutch MP (who had produced a film documenting Islamic terrorism was denied entry, as have a list of unacceptable individuals other (Americans included), who have also voiced concerns about Islamic terror. Much of the rest of the world, has hated Israel for a long time. America , historically, has been Israel’s one fast friend. Most of the churches in the U.S, however, have now, one way or another cast their lot in with the Palestinians, leaving just us stupid/crazy/hateful fundamentals still in their camp. And we know what the Idiot-in-Chief in the Oval Office thinks about the whole situation.
No reason for Israel to expect any help there.
You might say (someone did) “How do we know this verse is talking about the end times?”
The preceding verses make it clear: For now you shall go forth from the city, You shall dwell in the field, And to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; There the Lord will redeem you From the hand of your enemies.”
The the ones that follow do as well: 11 Now also many nations have gathered against you, Who say, “Let her be defiled,And let our eye look upon Zion.” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, Nor do they understand His counsel; For He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor. 13 “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; For I will make your horn iron, And I will make your hooves bronze; You shall beat in pieces many peoples;,
The Famous Jewish agnostic, physicist and Nobel Prize Winner Leon Lederman, once said that the one thing he could think of that might be supernatural, was the return of Israel to their homeland after 2000 years. He said that that event was kind of spooky.
I’m thinking he ain’t seen nothing yet.