Zion Ministries - Bible prophecy
THE TWO ENDTIME PROPHETSPART ONE
By Neville V. Stevens
New International Version used throughout unless otherwise specified.Chapter one
What of all the nonsense that is being taught, which the false prophets are calling 'prophecy'? The lying deceptions are coming thick and fast now; a tangled web of lies and distortions. Many of those whom God is calling to make up His treasured possession are still wallowing in the errors of the past!
They've enjoyed a smorgasbord of books, magazines, articles and Bible study courses from all these groups headed by false prophets, with such an array of conflicting 'revelations' that it's become bewildering to those who earnestly seek the truth.
Many have detected severe errors in the writings of these subversives, but choose to follow them as a 'best option.' Why would anyone follow such people?
Its time to wake up and start believing the Bible! Time is running out! All that the prophets of old have prophesied is about to come to pass. The Word of God should be foremost in the lives of all who seek to serve Him. They should be speaking with others who fear God and discussing God's wonderful revelations. Instead they are listening to those who don't fear God, who don't reverence His word, and who don't understand prophecy! These people twist and pervert everything to suit their own imagination. Notice now what the Book of Malachi says: Mal 3:16 "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who FEARED the LORD and HONOURED HIS NAME. "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up MY TREASURED POSSESSION." I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his own son who serves him. And you will again see the DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED, between those WHO SERVE GOD AND THOSE WHO DO NOT."
Are you spiritually aware enough to see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked? Can you discern between those who serve God and those who do not? If you are spiritually aware, then you will be studying you Bible often, and for long periods of time. Nothing else will seem important - your studies will take precedence over all else. It's important to understand what the Bible is saying to you, and to dispel all the crazy notions that the false prophets have implanted in your mind. God will not leave you alone and isolated. Instead He promised to send true prophets to guide you into all knowledge - and you will recognize them as true prophets - but only if you are studying your Bible and checking to see if what they say is true!
You have long known that God is to plant two prophets in Jerusalem. You are also aware that they will be killed in Jerusalem. What you probably don't know is when they are to be killed - and by whom, and whom they represent! The false prophets have had a field day weaving their corrupted web of intrigue in regard to this matter. But the Bible is very clear and makes known, precisely, when this will occur.
The beginning of this Biblical narrative revealing the identity of the two endtime prophets is found in Revelation chapter 11. This chapter begins by speaking of a temple. Again, the true meaning of this Temple has been corrupted by the false prophets. This is what the scriptures say: Rev 11:1 "I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the TEMPLE OF GOD and the altar, and count the worshippers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the HOLY CITY for 42 months. And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth."
MEASURING THE TEMPLE
John was in vision through the Spirit when he was told to go and measure the Temple of God and the altar. He was told to exclude the outer court, because it had been given to the Gentiles. Other scriptures give us the reason: the Beast is to set his palace there on the Holy Mountain (Dan 11:45), probably on the site of Solomon's palace. The Bible makes no mention of the Dome of the Rock, sometimes called Omar's Mosque. The outer court is reserved for the Beast. Just to ensure that the identification of the Temple of God is complete, the Bible says that these Gentiles will trample down the HOLY CITY, which is, and was, and will always be, JERUSALEM! The Bible gives further details on the duration of this event - 42 months! This is 3½ years in fulfillment. And for those who have followed Satan's so-called mysteries of manipulating time periods to suit their own ends, it further identifies this period as being 1260 days - NOT 1260 years! This is the very period when God's two prophets will be preaching in JERUSALEM! Any measuring of the Temple that is to be done will be immediately before the two witnesses begin their 3½ years of proclaiming to the WORLD from JERUSALEM! This is the same 3½ years when the Holy City will be trodden down by the Gentiles. The scripture doesn't refer to any other time outside of this 3½ years when Jerusalem will be trodden down by Gentiles, so this is a special event that will occur at the start of the ministry of these prophets. In other words, during the 3½-year period of the two prophets, Gentiles will tread down Jerusalem.
There can be no doubt that the two witnesses will be prophesying in Jerusalem. There can be no doubt that Jerusalem is the city that will be trodden down by Gentiles. Nor can there be any doubt about where the Temple will be! It will be in JERUSALEM!
To further dispel the absurd nonsense that is being taught by people who won't believe the Bible, God further identifies these coming events: Jer 31:38 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when this city will be rebuilt for Me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the LORD. THE CITY WILL NEVER AGAIN BE UPROOTED OR DEMOLISHED."
Where is the measuring line to be stretched? Is it across a church? Or is it across JERUSALEM - and particularly across the HOLY MOUNTAIN? The 'Tower of Hananel' is just to the north of the Temple site. The Kidron Valley is to the east of the Temple Mount. The 'Horse Gate' is to the south near Solomon's stables. No-one but a lying fraud could possibly misinterpret this scripture - it clearly refers to JERUSALEM!
Perhaps this prophecy was fulfilled at some time in the past. Is this possible? If it is, then we can conclude that it's irrelevant for out time. But the scripture shows that it is for our time - notice the final verse: 'THE CITY WILL NEVER AGAIN BE UPROOTED OR DEMOLISHED.' The city was demolished in 70 AD after Christ's first appearance on earth. So it would have to apply to some event after this! Has it been fulfilled? Now notice the first sentence: "THE DAYS ARE COMING," declares the LORD, "when THIS CITY will be REBUILT FOR ME...". Has this city been REBUILT for God according to the instructions given concerning the Tower of Hananel, the Kidron Valley, and the Corner and Horse Gates? EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IT HAS NOT!
When this whole chapter is examined and the context of its message is considered, we know that none of it has been fulfilled! It speaks of the repatriation of both the northern tribes of Israel and the southern tribe of Judah. That is, all 12 tribes of Israel. There has been a partial repatriation of the Jews from the tribe of Judah, but there has been none of the 'lost' ten tribes return. The whole of chapters 30 and 31 of the Book of Jeremiah deal with THE REPATRIATION OF BOTH ISRAEL AND JUDAH. And even more specifically, the lost Tribes of Israel are identified as EPHRAIM - the ruling tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel! Jer 31:9 "They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, BECAUSE I AM ISRAEL'S FATHER, and EPHRAIM IS MY FIRSTBORN SON."
The narrative of this repatriation starts with Jer 30:1 "This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The DAYS ARE COMING,' declares the LORD, 'when I will BRING MY PEOPLE ISRAEL AND JUDAH BACK FROM CAPTIVITY and RESTORE THEM TO THE LAND I GAVE THEIR FOREFATHERS TO POSSESS,' says the LORD. These are the words the LORD spoke CONCERNING ISRAEL AND JUDAH." V7 "How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of TROUBLE FOR JACOB, but he will be saved out of it. "IN THAT DAY," declares the LORD Almighty, I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; NO LONGER WILL FOREIGNERS ENSLAVE THEM. Instead, THEY WILL SERVE THE LORD THEIR GOD AND DAVID THEIR KING, WHOM I WILL RAISE UP TO THEM."
There can be no doubt that these verses refer to all the 12 tribes of Israel. Furthermore, in the day that God breaks the bonds of slavery from these people, He will also raise up David their king to rule over them. David has not yet risen, so these events have not yet occurred. From these verses we also learn that these people - whom David formally ruled over - will be a physical nation of people who will plant crops and build houses and occupy lands that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
But this is not all! Just so that you know when this prophecy is fulfilled, God further identifies events surrounding this repatriation, and explains the meaning of the 'time of trouble for Jacob' who will 'be saved out of it.' Jer 30:11 "I am with you and will SAVE you," declares the LORD. "Though I COMPLETELY DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS AMONG WHICH I SCATTER YOU, I WILL NOT COMPLETELY DESTROY YOU. I will DISCIPLINE you BUT ONLY WITH JUSTICE; I will NOT let you go ENTIRELY UNPUNISHED." So the time of Jacob's trouble will be severe, but it will also be the time when God will SAVE them. The nations involved in enslaving them won't be so lucky. God will DESTROY THEM COMPLETELY! Clearly, the enemies of the TRIBES OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH have not yet been completely destroyed - but they will in the future! Its very clear that God has something entirely different in mind to what has been taught by those who have set themselves up to prophesy!
WHO OR WHAT IS ZION?
So much has been written to 'prove' who or what Zion is! Yet no one has understood! Why should this be when the Bible makes it quite plain. The Book of Jeremiah clarifies it: Jer 30:16 "But all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you will I despoil. But I will restore YOU TO HEALTH and HEAL YOUR WOUNDS," declares the LORD, "because you are called an OUTCAST, ZION for whom no-one cares." This is what the LORD says: "I will restore the fortunes of JACOB'S tents and have compassion on HIS DWELLINGS; the CITY will be RE-BUILT on her ruins, and the PALACE will stand in its proper place."
In the first part of this scripture we learn that Zion refers to all those whom God redeems and restores to the HOLY CITY from where David will rule. Following the time of JACOB'S TROUBLE, when God will restore the survivors, just a small minority will return to RE-BUILD the CITY - FOR HIM! So ZION is the people whom God will redeem to restore and RE-BUILD JERUSALEM! But this is not all! Not only are these people ZION, but the land, the Temple Mount, they will occupy and have access to, will also be ZION. So ZION is the LAND AND ITS PEOPLE. Notice the last part of V18: "....and the CITY will be built on HER ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place." Not only will the palace stand in its proper place, so also will the TEMPLE. No longer will the palace be on the Temple Mount as was the case in Solomon's day, and as will also be the case when the Beast sets his palace on the Holy Mount (Dan 11:45), but it will be built in the proper place as described in Eze 45:7. And just to make it clear whom God is referring to with the name, ZION, Daniel recorded this: Dan 9:19 "O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God, do not delay, because YOUR CITY AND YOUR PEOPLE BEAR YOUR NAME."
When God begins to bring all these things to pass, you will understand clearly: Jer 30:23 "See, the STORM of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until HE FULLY ACCOMPLISHES THE PURPOSES OF HIS HEART. IN DAYS TO COME [LATTER DAYS] YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THIS."
This prophecy deals with endtime events spoken of by Ezekiel and other prophets and is covered in other articles. The final sentence in this scripture relates to the whole prophecy dealing with the re-building of Jerusalem, and the return of the 12 tribes. The means by which all of this will be fulfilled will be made known "IN DAYS TO COME [LATTER DAYS] YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THIS." Clearly this is to form the core of the preaching of God's two prophets in the final days. In speaking of the establishment of the final work in Jerusalem, God has this to say: Jer 30:18-22 "This is what the LORD says: "I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the CITY WILL BE REBUILT ON HER RUINS, and the palace will stand in its proper place. From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will ADD to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them HONOUR, and they will not be disdained. Their CHILDREN will be as in days of old, and their COMMUNITY will be established before Me; I will punish all who oppress them. Their LEADER will be one of their OWN, their RULER will arise from AMONG them. I will bring him near and he will come close to Me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to Me?" declares the LORD. "So you WILL BE MY PEOPLE, and I will be your God.""
These verses are extremely important and worthy of devoted study! They contain many markers and pointers to other parts of the Bible. The words '...and have compassion on his dwellings' is a pointer to Zech 12:7 "The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the HONOUR of the HOUSE OF DAVID and of JERUSALEM'S INHABITANTS may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day, the LORD will SHIELD those who live in JERUSALEM, so that the feeblest of them will be like David, and the HOUSE OF DAVID will BE LIKE GOD, like the angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS that attack JERUSALEM."
God doesn't often speak of bringing honour to human beings, but in both these verses He states that He will bring these people honour - and not just any honour! Notice the words that relate to 'the HONOUR of the HOUSE OF DAVID and JERUSALEM'S INHABITANTS', it says 'THE HOUSE OF DAVID WILL BE LIKE GOD.' Notice that the angel of the LORD goes before them. This has not happened since the Exodus from Egypt, and the entry into the promised land!
In Jer 30:20, which we have just quoted and emphasized, it speaks of a COMMUNITY: "...and their COMMUNITY will be established before Me." This is a COMMUNITY of people living together who will have special divine protection - and enormous power - just like David and just like God, and also like the angel of the LORD that goes before them! Be sure you understand the picture that these verses are painting for you!
In verse 21 we have a reference to the TWO ENDTIME PROPHETS. It refers to a leader and a ruler. Here it is again: V21 "Their LEADER will be one of their own; their RULER will arise from one of them." For some readers, there will be a temptation to assume that this scripture refers to Christ. It doesn't! It says this endtime ruler will arise from among THEM! The LEADER will be ONE OF THEIR OWN! And to whom does 'THEM' refer? It's speaking of the HOUSE OF DAVID and the INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM, and at a distant time from when Christ walked the earth! The Book of Zechariah further clarifies this and identifies who they are: it tells us that it's the HOUSE OF DAVID and the HOUSE OF LEVI (Zech 12:12-13).
The last part of Jer 30:21 proves it beyond all doubt, even though every version of the Bible puts a slightly different spin on it. None of the translators could decide its meaning. The NKJV comes closest. Here's what it says: "....then I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach Me; for who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?" says the LORD." This verse has a pointer to Moses' relationship to God. God causes him to draw near, and he shall approach God. And who pledged his heart to approach God? Only Moses! And only the Levite, Moses, was able to cause the seventy elders to also approach God on Mount Sinai where God's presence was!
We will shortly examine all the links involving the two prophets and the endtime prophecies, and discover who they are, and whom they represent. Since the measuring of the Temple site and the Temple is closely linked to these two men, we need to understand more about it.
Every prophecy of the Bible indicates a major focus on Jerusalem in the last days. All the activity of the final days will center on two prophets in Jerusalem. Rev 11:3 "And I will give power to My TWO WITNESSES, and they will PROPHESY for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the TWO OLIVE TREES and the TWO LAMPSTANDS that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, FIRE COMES FROM THEIR MOUTHS and DEVOURS their ENEMIES. This is how anyone who wants to harm them MUST DIE. These MEN have POWER to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have POWER to TURN THE WATERS INTO BLOOD and to STRIKE THE EARTH WITH EVERY KIND OF PLAGUE AS OFTEN AS THEY WANT."
God endows these two men with enormous power; however, they are also aware that they are to be killed: Rev 11:7 "Now when they have finished their TESTIMONY, the beast that comes up from the ABYSS will ATTACK them, and OVER-POWER AND KILL THEM." God eventually grants them the greatest HONOUR of all - martyrdom! Just like their Lord and Saviour! Obviously, God has tried and tested these two men extensively, before granting such an honour.
It should be noted that these two olive trees ARE ALSO two lampstands. Yet in Zechariah's vision he saw two olive trees standing on either side of a GOLD LAMPSTAND. We will soon discover the difference.
The Bible identifies seven Churches in the Book of Revelation. Each has its own lampstand. The lampstand is described as having seven lamps being supplied with oil from a common reservoir. This description is found in Zech 4:2-3 "He asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a SOLID GOLD LAMPSTAND with a BOWL AT THE TOP and SEVEN LIGHTS on it, with SEVEN CHANNELS TO THE LIGHTS. Also there are TWO OLIVE TREES by it, ONE ON THE RIGHT OF THE BOWL and THE OTHER ON ITS LEFT." The seven Churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 describe SEVEN LAMPSTANDS in the New International Version. They're called candlesticks in King James Version. The description of 'lampstands' would suggest that each Church has a lampstand similar to the description in Zechariah, that is, a lampstand with seven lamps. If this were so, then it would actually describe 49 lamps - seven on each lampstand. Since this seems unlikely, we need to examine other scriptures for the answer. As always the Bible explains. As a prelude to this explanation, we need to understand a little more about the Law of the Temple and the great importance of everything that relates to the Temple. Moses wrote of these very LAMPS: Num 8:1 "The LORD spoke to Moses, "Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the SEVEN LAMPS, they are to light the area in front of the LAMPSTAND. Aaron did so; he set up the [seven] LAMPS so that they faced forward on the LAMPSTAND, just as the LORD commanded Moses. This is how the LAMPSTAND was made: It was made of hammered GOLD from its base to its blossoms. The LAMPSTAND was made EXACTLY LIKE THE PATTERN the LORD had shown Moses." Bear this in mind; it is set to become very important in days to come!
THE AUTHOR OF REVELATION
We need to understand right at the outset who the author of the Book of Revelation is. Was it the Apostle John? Or was it Jesus Christ? It was neither! The author of the book is the Father! He gave it to Jesus Christ, who then gave it to John: Rev 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, WHICH GOD GAVE HIM to show His servants what MUST SOON TAKE PLACE. He made it known by sending HIS ANGEL to His servant John, who testifies to everything he saw, that is the WORD OF GOD and the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST." So John wrote what he saw - the WORD OF GOD and the 'TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST.' No mention of the word prophecy in these two verses, even though the Book of Revelation is a prophetic book. Why? Because these words expand to cover all that is written.
The Bible clearly shows that each of the seven Churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 existed side by side, that is, they were contemporary at the time that John wrote it down. The Bible also reveals that ALL SEVEN CHURCHES would exist TOGETHER in the endtime. This is evident from the messages to each of the seven Churches. For instance, the Church in Thyatira will exist at the time of Christ's return: Rev 2:25 "Only hold on to what you have UNTIL I COME." Similarly, the Church in Sardis: Rev 3:3 "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I WILL COME TO YOU."
The Church in Philadelphia is also told that Christ was coming soon: Rev 3:11 "I AM COMING SOON. Hold on to what you have, so that no-one take your crown." Now notice the next verse: V12: "He who overcomes I will make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of My God." This speaks of the time after Christ has come. Which Temple does this refer to? There is no temple in the Holy City that descends from Heaven: Rev 21:22 "I did NOT see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." The Father and the Lamb are the temple in the Holy City. But the reference to the 'PILLAR in the TEMPLE' refers to the TEMPLE of Christ's God - the FATHER. The pillar doesn't refer to the Father, but to the Temple! And many are going to serve the Father: Rev 1:6 "And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to SERVE HIS GOD AND FATHER - to Him be glory and power for ever and ever." Addressing the seven Churches Christ said these people are going to SERVE THE FATHER as PRIESTS - and they will serve in HIS TEMPLE! Christ is currently the High Priest of the Heavenly Tabernacle and will be forever (Heb 7:21, Ps 110:4). He serves the Father in the heavenly TABERNACLE or SANCTUARY: Heb 8:1 "...We do have such a High Priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in Heaven, and who SERVES IN THE SANCTUARY, the TRUE TABERNACLE set up by the Lord, not by man."
As a high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, Christ also did this: Heb 8:3 "Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this One also to have something to offer." Christ offered Himself! In offering His own life, He offered everything He had to give! He no longer needs to offer sacrifices on earth - but others do! Christ is a PRIEST forever, but if He were on earth today, He would NOT be a priest - and the Bible tells us why. Heb 8:4 "If He were on earth, He would NOT be a priest, for there are already MEN who offer the gifts PRESCRIBED BY LAW." Those who are to be priests to the Father will, like Christ, be priests forever.
Speaking of the Body of Christ, those who will SERVE THE FATHER IN HIS TEMPLE, and have been called from every nation, tribe, people and language, and who come out of the GREAT TRIBULATION, the Bible has this to say: Rev 7:14 "...And he said, "These are they who have COME OUT OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are BEFORE the throne of God and SERVE HIM day and night in HIS TEMPLE; and HE WHO SITS ON THE THRONE will spread His tents [Tabernacle] over them." Just as Christ offered Himself once - willingly - so must you true Christians offer yourselves - which you agreed to do at baptism! Nor should you shrink from death if God requires it! Some will go into captivity - others will be killed (Rev 13:10). When the time comes we must go as lambs to the slaughter - just like Christ! Christ told us in advance.
The earthly Tabernacle that Moses built had to be built to precise specifications: Heb 8:5 "They serve at a SANCTUARY that is a COPY AND SHADOW of what is in HEAVEN. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the PATTERN shown you on the mountain." Christ currently serves the Father in the heavenly Sanctuary, which is the true Tabernacle! Most Christians today would argue that Christ was doing this unnecessarily - because according to their standards of righteousness and their own spurious doctrine, there is no need for a Temple, Tabernacle or Sanctuary. They feel they are 'spiritually' above all that!
Those in the Church of God will be aware how often the message to the Philadelphia Church, that mentions the 'open door', has been referred to in Church literature. The writers of these articles always linked financial growth to this 'open door.' To prove that an open door means Church expansion, they usually quote the Apostle Paul when he said a door had opened to him (1Cor 16:9, 2Cor 2:12). Do we need to refer to Paul's comment to understand what an 'open door' means? Most of you know that an 'open door' is colloquially known as a new opportunity. So should we surmise that this is what Christ is referring to? If no further explanation is given, then we should. But this is not the case. Christ did clarify His meaning! Here it is in the very next verse following the messages to the Churches: Rev 4:1 "After this I looked, and there before me was a DOOR STANDING OPEN IN HEAVEN. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I WILL SHOW YOU WHAT MUST TAKE PLACE AFTER THIS."
It would be strange indeed to mention a 'DOOR STANDING OPEN' if it had no significance. But John said, "....and there before ME was a DOOR STANDING OPEN." Why John? This is because the prophet John was the prophet to the seven Churches. It was he who was a type of a latter-day prophet, of whom he also wrote, and who will be assigned to the spiritual edification of the seven Churches. The words "...and I will show you what must take place AFTER THIS" refers to A FUTURE TIME. All that follows is prophecy for our time and beyond. The OPEN DOOR then, is PROPHECY!
Want more proof? You will notice that everyone claims to have the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST. Everyone is so sure that this is what they are teaching. In fact, the Bible specifically mentions a group that does have the TESTIMONY OF JESUS. We find this in Rev 12:17 "Then the dragon was enraged at the WOMAN and went off to make war against THE REST OF HER OFFSPRING - those who OBEY GOD'S COMMANDMENTS and hold to the TESTIMONY OF JESUS." Here we see that Satan focuses his rage against this group of people - the OFFSPRING of the WOMAN (the one who gave birth to Christ, that is, the tribe of Judah or more correctly, the House of David). And why does Satan do this? When you understand what the 'TESTIMONY OF JESUS' is, you will know! Here it is: Rev 19:10 "At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a FELLOW-SERVANT with you and YOUR BROTHERS who hold to the TESTIMONY OF JESUS. For the TESTIMONY OF JESUS is THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY."
The meaning of the 'TESTIMONY OF JESUS' is further clarified in the opening verses of the Book of Revelation. Here we again see the link between the 'TESTIMONY OF JESUS' and PROPHECY! Rev 1:1-3 "The REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, which GOD GAVE HIM to show His servants WHAT MUST TAKE PLACE. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who testifies to everything he saw - THAT IS, the WORD OF GOD and the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST. Blessed is the one who reads the WORDS OF THIS PROPHECY, and blessed are those WHO HEAR IT AND TAKE TO HEART what is written in it, BECAUSE THE TIME IS NEAR." When these prophecies are revealed so that people can understood them - THE TIME IS NEAR!
Speaking to the twelve, Christ made it very plain that ALL would be revealed: Matt 10:26 "There is nothing CONCEALED that will not be DISCLOSED, or HIDDEN that will not be made KNOWN. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, PROCLAIM from the housetops."
All prophecy must be acknowledged, not ignored! Those who don't understand it, choose to ignore it. It's also a double-edged sword. If you don't have the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY then you will never understand CHRIST'S TESTIMONY. The SPIRIT OF PROPHECY is a gift from God, and only He can grant it. Those who refuse it or reject it will be slain just as surely by it! Because it is God who gives this gift, the rejection of the MESSENGER OF PROPHECY is therefore a REJECTION OF GOD.
In the past, the true meaning of the Book of Revelation has not been understood, even though books and articles have been written by the thousand, all of which purport to explain it. Since the whole focus of humanity's existence on earth, and the culmination of it, is fulfilled through the prophecies of this book, it was not necessary for it to be understood until this very endtime, when the true meaning would be enhanced by the fulfillment of all prophecy! Even the Apostle Paul recognized that he didn't understand all prophecy, but he 'prophesied in part.' 1Cor 13:9 "For WE KNOW IN PART and WE PROPHESY IN PART, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. NOW WE SEE BUT A POOR REFLECTION, then we shall see face to face. Now I know IN PART, then I SHALL KNOW FULLY, even as I am fully known."
It was not God's intention for all prophecy to be understood at that time. In the days of the Apostles, Christians were being persecuted and put to death just for acknowledging that Jesus was the Messiah. Today is different! There would be few people on earth today that have not heard the name Jesus Christ. Most countries today accept, or at least tolerate Christianity. The only significant persecution during this 20th century has been the persecution of the Jewish people. It could in fact be said that false Christianity who believed that the Jewish people were Christ-killers orchestrated the persecution of the Jews. This evil false spirit is still evident in most 'Christian' churches today, and sadly, this spirit exists in some of the seven Churches of Revelation.
The world is resolved to ensure that this never happens again! DON'T BELIEVE IT! It will happen again! Satan will again pursue the 'WOMAN WHO GAVE BIRTH TO THE MALE CHILD [Christ]'. This is a reference to the TRIBE OF JUDAH, and particularly the HOUSE OF DAVID! This time God will protect those He has separated for Himself. When Satan realizes they are out of reach of him, he will set out to pursue the REST OF HER OFFSPRING. These are the OFFSPRING of the WOMAN (the House of David) in EPHRAIM, the home of the LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL. And this OFFSPRING OF THE WOMAN will also have - at that time - the TESTIMONY OF JESUS (Rev 12:17). This opens a vast store of subject matter. It's difficult to know where to start to give a clear understanding of this. However, this is what Jacob said: Gen 49:10 "The SCEPTRE will not depart from JUDAH, nor the RULER'S STAFF from between his feet, until SHILOH comes." Most versions have this marginal rendering, and it is correct! SHILOH is the place where JOSHUA placed the Ark of the Covenant after the conquest of Canaan (Josh 18:1). SHILOH is in the territory of EPHRAIM. EPHRAIM was rejected from having the Ark of the Covenant and it was shifted to Jerusalem 390 years after Joshua placed it there. David brought it to Jerusalem. This is what Jeremiah has to say in this regard: Jer 7:14 "Therefore what I did to SHILOH I will now do to the House that bears My Name, the Temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers. I will thrust you from My presence, just as I did ALL YOUR BROTHERS, THE PEOPLE OF EPHRAIM."
Here we plainly see that ALL the BROTHERS OF JUDAH - the northern ten tribes - are THE PEOPLE OF EPHRAIM! God began to settle the modern-day nation of EPHRAIM [USA] hundreds of years ago, giving them protection from their enemies and establishing them as a great nation. They had the opportunity from the day the Puritans arrived to its shores to SERVE the Almighty God - as in days of old. All the tribes of Israel filtered through to this great land, including the largest population of Jews in any country on earth. EPHRAIM currently rules over descendants of all the 12 tribes. Their 390 years are nearly over - and they have utterly failed to HONOUR God as they were supposed to! (The 390 years is referred to in Eze 4:4-8 and is covered in other articles).
Christianity has not suffered persecution during the 20th century. The reason for this is simple - they have never preached the truth of God! All the persecution of this century has been aimed at THE TRIBE OF JUDAH - who held to their belief in God AS THEY UNDERSTOOD IT. God has tested them more than any other nation, tribe, people or language. But this is soon to end! God will again choose Judah: Isa 65:9 "I will bring forth descendants from JACOB [Isa 48:1], and from JUDAH those who will possess My mountains; My CHOSEN PEOPLE will inherit them." Speaking of the time when the latter-day Elijah appears on the scene, God says this: Isa 40:1 "Comfort, comfort MY PEOPLE, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her HARD SERVICE HAS BEEN COMPLETED, and her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD'S hand DOUBLE FOR ALL HER SINS."
The very next verse deals WITH THE START OF JOHN THE BAPTIST'S MINISTRY: V3 "A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." John the Baptist, the fore-type of the latter-day Elijah, began his ministry by preaching from V3 (Mark 1:2-3, Luke 3:3-6).
Judah's hard service is nearing completion. Isaiah continues the theme of John the Baptist's message: Isa 40:9 "YOU who bring good tidings to ZION, go up on a high MOUNTAIN. YOU who bring GOOD TIDINGS to JERUSALEM, lift up YOUR voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; SAY TO THE TOWNS OF JUDAH, "Here is your God!" See, the Sovereign LORD comes with POWER, and His arm rules for him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him." Who is this that brings good tidings to ZION immediately before Christ returns with His reward for His servants? Malachi explains: Mal 3:1 "See I will SEND My MESSENGER, who WILL PREPARE THE WAY before Me. Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to His TEMPLE..." Who is this MESSENGER that God SENDS? Mal 4:5 "See I SEND you the prophet ELIJAH before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes."
Through His two prophets or messengers, God is going to make known to Jerusalem the whole truth: Isa 41:9 "I was the first to tell ZION, 'Look, here they are!' I gave to JERUSALEM a MESSENGER of GOOD TIDINGS."
God gives us some considerable insight into what the message will be all about. Isa 44:24 "This is what the LORD says - your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Myself, who FOILS THE SIGNS OF THE PROPHETS and MAKES FOOLS OF DIVINERS, who OVERTHROWS THE LEARNING OF THE WISE and TURNS IT INTO NONSENSE, who carries out the WORDS OF HIS SERVANTS, and FULFILLS THE PREDICTIONS OF HIS MESSENGERS."
God's prophets do bring good tidings. They will be in Jerusalem; and they will minister to ZION. Isa 52:7 "How beautiful on the MOUNTAINS are the FEET [Eph 6:15 - Gospel of peace] of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, WHO BRING GOOD TIDINGS, who proclaim salvation, who say to ZION, "Your God reigns!" Listen! Your WATCHMEN lift up THEIR voices; together THEY shout for joy. When the LORD RETURNS to ZION, THEY will SEE IT WITH THEIR OWN EYES." So these WATCHMEN will be in ZION and will see Christ's return with THEIR OWN EYES. And ZION whom they minister to, will be there with them in Jerusalem. Isa 62:1, 6 "For ZION'S sake I will not keep silent, for JERUSALEM'S sake I will not remain quiet, till her RIGHTEOUSNESS shines out LIKE THE DAWN, her SALVATION like a BLAZING TORCH." V6 "I have posted WATCHMEN on your walls, O JERUSALEM; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he ESTABLISHES JERUSALEM AND MAKES HER THE PRAISE OF THE EARTH." Is Jerusalem the praise of the earth today? We all know that it is not!
God is going to utterly cleanse Jerusalem of the rebels - those who oppose HIS WAY. Those who refuse to acknowledge the SANCTITY of the ZION OF GOD will not be there. They will no longer tread down hallowed ground. When Christ returns, He will return to His own, those who have deeply repented! (Zech 12:10-11). Isa 59:20 "The Redeemer will come to ZION, to those in JACOB who [have repented] of their sins," declares the LORD. "As for Me, this is My COVENANT with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit, WHO IS ON YOU, and My WORDS THAT I HAVE PUT IN YOUR MOUTH will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants FROM THIS TIME ON AND FOR EVER," says the LORD."
And just so that we know when this refers to, it refers to a time when the uncircumcised and the defiled will NEVER enter Jerusalem again!! Isa 52:1 "Awake, awake, O ZION, clothe yourself with strength. Put on GARMENTS of SPLENDOUR, O JERUSALEM, the Holy City. THE UNCIRCUMCISED AND DEFILED WILL NOT ENTER YOU AGAIN. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O JERUSALEM. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive DAUGHTER of ZION." Clearly this has not happened yet!
TWO HUNDRED YEARS AFTER DAVID HAD DIED, Isaiah spoke concerning someone who would come along as a WITNESS - and in similar type to David of the tribe of Judah: Isa 55:3 "Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting COVENANT with you, my faithful love promised to DAVID. See I have made him a WITNESS to the PEOPLES, a LEADER and COMMANDER of the PEOPLES. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with SPLENDOUR."
The 'GARMENTS OF SPLENDOUR' is a reference to the way God will look after those who honour Him in Jerusalem. At that time, the Great Harlot (which is NOT the Catholic Church or the Roman Empire or any of the other variants generated from the minds of men) will be required to feed and clothe God's people - and God will enforce it. The world will surely know who God's people are! Isa 23:17 "At the end of seventy years (the 70 year prophecy is covered in other articles), the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire as a prostitute and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. HER PROFITS WILL GO TO THOSE WHO LIVE BEFORE THE LORD, FOR ABUNDANT FOOD AND FINE CLOTHING." For further study see also Ps 45:10-17, Job 27:17. Further reference to garments of splendor is made in Zech 3:1-9.
THE END OF 390 YEARS
But you, EPHRAIM, the home of the 12 tribes, and the home of the seven Churches described in the Book of Revelation, have always enjoyed great abundance! You have been blessed above all other nations. Doesn't it seem a little odd that you, the descendants of the northern kingdom, who rebelled against God and were led away as slaves in 721-18 BC have been the recipients of the greatest blessings on earth? Haven't you ever wondered why? Didn't you realize that the Bible explains! You've had 390 years to get it right; instead you have gotten worse and worse! God is not concerned about the other nations on earth - HE NEVER PROMISED THEM ANYTHING! All the promises were made to the 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL (Amos 3:1-2). The faithful southern kingdom that was always with God (Luke 15:31) was never honoured like the prodigal EPHRAIM. The southern kingdom, through millennia of suffering, persecution, and who lived in scattered locations throughout the earth, never sought or accepted any homeland other than that which was given them through Abraham. Many of them lived and died in remote lands, exiled from their homeland - but none ever forgot who he was or where he belongs. Jerusalem, to these people, is the Holy City and will always be! What is more, to the best of their ability, they have remained faithful to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are the only ones on earth who were ENTRUSTED with, and who preserved and reverenced the Holy Scripture (Rom 3:1-2).
Ephraim is contemptuous of the Holy Land and don't even consider it important to enforce the inviolable right of the Jewish nation to ALL of PALESTINE! They believe that the Philistines (Palestinians) have equal right to the land - and have even plotted against their brother Judah to enforce co-existence. Because they have done this - against everything that is written in the Bible - God is about to strike them down and turn them over to those who hate them! Their rebellion against God is not even logical. The Arabs occupy territories hundreds of times greater than little Israel, and are capable of repatriating all the Palestinians themselves. Why so much animosity against the true inheritors of the Holy Land - the Jewish people?
Ephraim doesn't even know their identity! They have forgotten who they are. They believe they are Gentiles. Because of this, the prophecies are considered to be irrelevant. They take no interest in what they believe pertains to ten lost tribes. A certain foolish shepherd who carelessly assumed that the U.S. was Manasseh did not help their ignorance. It's not surprising that this same foolish shepherd claimed he headed a Church that descended from the seven Churches of Revelation. In this he was right! But this foolish man believed that these were the only true Churches during the days of John. He assumed that these Churches would succeed one another and that the sixth one was the Church that he presided over. For hundreds of years, the original seven Churches lived in Satan's realm (Rev 2:13) and were thoroughly indoctrinated with lies. In the meantime, the true seed had spread all over the world. When these spirits finally migrated out of the area of Asia Minor, the truth was scarcely recognizable.
While all this was going on, the Apostles had ensured that the Gospel had gone out into all the nations - as far away as Britain, Spain and much of Europe. The true seed was scattered around the world. These people have lived in many areas and in all situations. Their only bond with each other was the love of God and the desire to know His truth perfectly. God identified this attitude that was in them when He said: Rev 2:24 "...I will not impose any other burden on you: only hold on to what you have until I come." God doesn't judge them for what they have never understood, but He is prepared to honour them for their faithful obedience to what they know, and their desire to worship Him and to honour Him.
The final great work that God has now begun will leave you shell-shocked and stunned! People from every nation, tribe, language and people will come to repentance and will understand what the Gospel is all about. Those in the Sabbath-keeping Churches; those who keep the Commandments of God, will have a head start, provided they have a deep and abiding love of the truth. But God's instruction is to 'come out of her My people.' That is, come out of the twisted, perverted, lying invironment you now attend. At the very least - WATCH! You will see every prophecy that is written in the Bible come alive before your eyes. Up until now, you have been deceived! On the authority of God this is a true statement! Believe it - and return to your Bible and begin to study it as never before! Don't believe anyone or anything, UNLESS IT IS PROVABLE FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE! Believe your Bible and understand what it says!
PERSECUTION IS COMING!
Up until now, that is, during this century, Christians have been relatively free of any sort of persecution. There is nothing surer than those who hold to the 'TESTIMONY OF JESUS' will be persecuted and even put to death: Rev 6:9 "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the WORD OF GOD and the TESTIMONY they had MAINTAINED." Christ spoke of persecution - severe persecution, which would result in the deaths of many (Matt 10:21, 24:9, Luke 21:16, Mark 13:12, John 15:20). He told you in advance, and most of you know! Somehow most haven't thought that it would apply to them! The false prophets are telling you that if you follow them you will be safe. FALSE PROPHETS ALWAYS PREACH PEACE AND SAFETY. The truth is that Satan will target those who do hold to the truth - the faithful of God. He is not concerned about those who are deceived! Here it is again: Rev 12:17 "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her OFFSPRING - those who OBEY GOD'S COMMANDMENTS and hold to the TESTIMONY OF JESUS." You should now be aware that the 'TESTIMONY OF JESUS' is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (Rev 19:10). The people spoken of in this verse have that SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. Most of you are aware that those, whom you currently associate with, don't have the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY! But at that time the DAUGHTER OR OFFSPRING of the WOMAN will!
True Christians will need to be stronger than ever before! They will need to follow the Lamb of God and not deny His name; and they must hold to His TESTIMONY! Some of them will be put to death. This will be the time when you will be required to FEAR God more than man; and not only this! YOU MUST FEAR GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE! Many of you will be delivered to Satan and his agents (Dan 7:25), but it is God who will decide your fate: Rev 13:9-10 "He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into CAPTIVITY, into CAPTIVITY he will go. If anyone is to be KILLED with the sword, with the sword he will be KILLED. This calls for patient ENDURANCE of the SAINTS."
Your fate is in the hands of Almighty God! Those who are killed as martyrs are most worthy. Equally, those who go into captivity are also worthy of honour by the Great God if they continue in faithfulness. Martyrdom, however, is the greater blessing: Rev 20:4 "I saw THRONES on which were seated those who had been given authority to JUDGE. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their TESTIMONY [OF] JESUS and because of the WORD OF GOD. They had NOT WORSHIPPED THE BEAST OR HIS IMAGE and had NOT RECEIVED HIS MARK on their foreheads or their hands. They CAME TO LIFE and REIGNED with Christ for a thousand years." Those who sit on these thrones are those who reign with Christ.
THE PROPHETS TO THE 7 CHURCHES
It's obvious that most members of the Church of God believe they know who these seven Churches are - or at least, they think they know the identity of at least one or two of them. The identity of them will be revealed, but one thing is sure! They all exist at this time.
The two endtime prophets are assigned to the care of ALL of them! Their job is to explain the meaning of what John wrote. They also perform a special duty; they are to supply the Holy Oil or Holy Spirit to the seven Churches. They are to bring the scattered sheep back into ONE fold. The prophet Zechariah explains this: Zech 4:2-3, 11-14 "And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said, "I am looking, and there is a LAMPSTAND of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand SEVEN LAMPS with seven pipes to the seven lamps. TWO OLIVE TREES are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left." V11-14 "Then I answered and said to him, "What are these TWO OLIVE TREES - at the right of the LAMPSTAND and at its left?" And I further answered and said to him, "What are these TWO OLIVE BRANCHES that DRIP into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?" Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord." So he said to me, "These are the TWO ANOINTED ONES, who stand before the LORD of the whole earth." (NKJV).
You will notice that these two prophets pour out the oil to ALL seven lamps. You will also notice that these two prophets are referred to as 'TWO OLIVE BRANCHES.' A branch grows from the trunk of a tree. This is NOT speaking of two branches of the Church of God, but two branches of the 12 tribes of Israel - the northern and southern kingdoms that branched in the days of Solomon's son, Rehoboam. The Apostle Paul, in speaking to the Gentiles, had this to say in regard to the house of Israel which he said was the Olive tree: Rom 11:17 "If some of the BRANCHES have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over THOSE BRANCHES." V21 "For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either." V24 "After all, if you were cut out of an OLIVE TREE that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated OLIVE TREE, how much more readily will these, the NATURAL BRANCHES be grafted INTO THEIR OWN OLIVE TREE!"
REJECTION OF THE WORTHLESS SHEPHERDS
As for the 'FLOCK OF GOD' at the endtime, God has given us this instruction: Zech 10:3 "My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders, for the LORD Almighty will care for HIS FLOCK, the HOUSE OF JUDAH, and make them like a proud horse in battle. From JUDAH will come the CORNERSTONE, from him the TENT-PEG, from him the BATTLE-BOW, from him every RULER. TOGETHER they will be like MIGHTY MEN trampling the muddy streets in battle. Because the LORD is with them, they will fight and OVERTHROW THE HORSEMEN."
Well then, what of the 'trunk of the tree'? Whom does it represent? As Christians, we recognise that Christ is the 'ROOT AND BRANCH' of the tree (Rev 22:16). This scripture also identifies Christ as being the 'ROOT AND BRANCH' of DAVID. We can understand that Christ is the 'BRANCH' or OFFSPRING of David, since He descended from David by direct genealogical line (Matt 1, Luke 3). But the 'ROOT'? What does this mean? Though it may shock some people, the truth is - CHRIST IS ISRAEL! Both in type and prophecy! As a reference point, we can understand this from two scriptures: Matt 2:15 and Hos 11:1. In the first, Matthew said Christ fulfilled the prophecy of the second. Matt 2:15 "And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.'" The prophecy that Matthew said Christ fulfilled is: Hos 11:1 "When ISRAEL was a child, I loved him, and OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." There can be no doubt that this refers to ISRAEL! AND THE WHOLE 12 TRIBES AT THAT! All who CAME OUT OF EGYPT! To reinforce this, V12 addresses the northern and southern divisions of the kingdom: the TRIBE OF EPHRAIM, the ruling tribe in the days of Jeroboam and his successors (1Kings 11:26-28), and the tribe of Judah under Rehoboam and his successors. But this identity is further explained in Isa 43:1, 7 "But now, this is what the LORD says - He who created you, O JACOB, He who formed you, O ISRAEL; "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have CALLED YOU BY NAME; you are MINE." V7 "Bring MY SONS from afar and MY DAUGHTERS from the ends of the earth - everyone WHO IS CALLED BY MY NAME, whom I CREATED FOR MY GLORY, whom I FORMED AND MADE."
Here we see clearly that God has called ISRAEL by His name! And also that He has created them for His glory. The next few verses continue the endtime prophecy when God again gathers His people Israel: V8 "LEAD OUT those who have eyes BUT ARE BLIND, who have ears BUT ARE DEAF. All the nations gather together and the people assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in THEIR witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may say, 'It is true.' "You are MY witnesses," declares the LORD, "and My servant (singular) whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He." Who is God speaking to here? He says to 'LEAD OUT' the Israelites who are BLIND AND DEAF. That much is clear!
God is speaking of the whole House of Israel, whom He created for His glory, 'WHOM I FORMED AND MADE.' God likens Himself to a Potter, who forms and makes whatever He chooses (Rom 9:21). God is also speaking of the very endtime when He leads them out of captivity: V2 "When you pass through the waters (sea), I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you pass through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." This speaks of a very special time when, just like the Israelites of old who were led out of Egypt, God will lead out those WHO ARE CALLED BY HIS NAME - the HOUSE OF ISRAEL. This Bible narrative actually begins with Isa 41. It begins by telling the islands (or continents) to remain silent while the nations renew their strength. And which nations is God referring to? This is what He says: Isa 41:1 "Be silent before Me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them [the nations] come forward and speak; let us meet AT THE PLACE OF JUDGMENT." So God is going to meet them 'AT THE PLACE OF JUDGMENT' - a reference to the Great Battle of the LORD (Zech 14:3). And who are these nations? Again, the Bible tells us: V4 "Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth THE GENERATIONS FROM THE BEGINNING. I, the LORD - with the FIRST OF THEM, and WITH THE LAST - I am He."
Be clear on what the Bible is telling you here! God is going to meet 'THE GENERATIONS FROM THE BEGINNING' at the place of judgment. He dealt with the FIRST OF THEM, and He will deal with the LAST OF THEM. We don't have to guess which nations God is speaking of - He tells us! He also tells us the means by which He will do this! V2 "Who has stirred up ONE [man] from the EAST [of the Holy Land], calling HIM in righteousness [God's righteousness] to His SERVICE? He hands NATIONS over to HIM and SUBDUES KINGS before HIM. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before." God tells us that He has called this man to His service (V2). He will deal with the GENERATIONS who existed FROM THE BEGINNING. Christ spoke of this EVIL GENERATION, and noted that they KILLED RIGHTEOUS ABEL (Matt 23:35-36). So this GENERATION existed from the FIRST GENERATION of Adam and was present in Cain. And while still in the Garden of Eden in the region of BABYLON (Mesopotamia) God Himself spoke of this GENERATION (Gen 3:16). Starting in the very land where God spoke these words, this EVIL GENERATION has continued to proliferate. BABYLON is set to be the nemesis of all the evil that has ever existed, and this city is spoken of again and again throughout the Bible. Just as it was in the beginning, so will it be in the end!
God speaks of one man who will be brought into service to deal with the last of them. And who is this man? Speaking of the 'first of them' and the 'last', God is telling us that He is to repeat history. SO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHEN THIS HAPPENED IN THE PAST. Here it is: Jer 27:6 "Now I will hand all your countries over to My SERVANT Nebuchadnezzar king of BABYLON; I will make even the WILD ANIMALS subject to him. ALL NATIONS will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for this land comes; THEN many nations and great kings will subjugate him." God makes it very plain that He is in charge and He does whatever He chooses: V5 "With My great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, AND I GIVE IT TO ANYONE I PLEASE."
Let's make it very clear! No nation or great kings subjugated Nebuchadnezzar! God alone struck him down and exiled him from his kingdom for seven years. After that God cast the beast out of him and his sanity returned: Dan 4:34 "At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, AND MY SANITY WAS RESTORED. Then I praised the Most High, I honoured and glorified Him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion, His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. HE DOES AS HE PLEASES with the POWERS OF HEAVEN and the PEOPLES OF THE EARTH. No-one can hold back His hand or say to Him: "What have you done?" At the time MY SANITY WAS RESTORED, my honour and splendour was returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisors and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became greater than before."
Here is a man, one of the greatest of all conquerors, who was possessed, and in his insanity he actually simulated the lake of fire with a fiery furnace into which he cast God's three servants (Dan 3:19). Nebuchadnezzar was possessed with the evil spirit who will possess another 'king of Babylon' in the future, who will also be thrown into a blazing fire: Dan 7:11 "Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the BEAST was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire." (See also Rev 19:20-21). You will notice that God "does what He pleases with the POWERS OF HEAVEN and the PEOPLES OF THE EARTH." Nebuchadnezzar typified both! He was both! And when the evil spirit was cast out of him, his sanity returned and he repented and praised the Almighty God! Nebuchadnezzar was merely the front-man for the BEAST THAT DWELT WITHIN HIM, and who was THE REAL RULER OF BABYLON!
The Apostle Paul spoke of the POWERS AND RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM. Eph 6:12 "For our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the RULERS, against the AUTHORITIES, against the POWERS of this DARK WORLD and against the SPIRITUAL FORCES of EVIL in the HEAVENLY REALMS."
Every Christian should take the time here, to understand an important principle that has always been ignored. The Apostle Paul calls it a MYSTERY. He explains that it was God's intention that the Church would perform an important function: to make known to the SPIRIT RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM the REAL purpose - the eternal purpose - for which Christ came! This is what Paul said: Eph 3:8 "Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to MAKE PLAIN TO EVERYONE the administration of the MYSTERY, which for AGES PAST WAS KEPT SECRET IN GOD, who created all things. His INTENT was that NOW, through the CHURCH, the MANIFOLD WISDOM of God SHOULD BE MADE KNOWN to the RULERS AND AUTHORITIES IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS, according to His PURPOSE which HE ACCOMPLISHED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD."
We all know that this has not been done! How could it? Who has understood what this MYSTERY is? Certainly none in the Churches headquartered in Ephraim! They have never understood prophecy at all! True to their own silly joke that they were a 'non-prophet organization, they have spoken correctly. But God has assigned His servants to do just that - to make known to the RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALMS what they have never understood! Contrary to what you have always believed, Satan and his demons are not super-intelligent! God has blinded them along with the peoples of the earth. Believe it or not - Satan is not even as wise as Daniel! Speaking to the former guardian cherub, God says this: Dan 28:3 "Are you WISER than Daniel? Is no SECRET HIDDEN from you?" Daniel didn't understand ALL prophecy at that time! Even though he was a prophet! God didn't intend for him to understand the many prophecies for the latter days, and told him so: Dan 12:9-10 "He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the TIME OF THE END. Many will be PURIFIED, made SPOTLESS and REFINED, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. NONE OF THE WICKED WILL UNDERSTAND, but those WHO ARE WISE WILL UNDERSTAND." Who are going to understand? Is it the wicked? No, it's not! The WISE will understand - those who have been PURIFIED, made SPOTLESS and REFINED!
The Apostle Paul said that it was God's intention to make the MYSTERY PLAIN TO EVERYONE. To be sure, it will be made PLAIN TO EVERYONE, but this doesn't mean the WICKED will understand! The wicked will turn on the messenger - the prophet of God! These wretched SHEPHERDS will reject the message that will grant them understanding, and try to further corrupt those who want to obey God! Be sure you understand that the distinction being made here is between those who UNDERSTAND PROPHECY - the WISE, and those who DON'T UNDERSTAND PROPHECY - the WICKED!
So did Nebuchadnezzar fulfill this prophecy: V2 "Who has stirred up ONE [man] from the EAST [of the Holy Land], calling HIM in RIGHTEOUSNESS [God's righteousness] to His SERVICE? He hands NATIONS over to HIM and SUBDUES KINGS before HIM. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before." God tells us that He has called this man to His service (V4).
Nebuchadnezzar was a stump in the ground (Dan 4:23). But God speaks of another stump (Isa 6:13), which is the HOLY SEED. At the time when Nebuchadnezzar was a great tree, with great spreading branches, that was later cut down, there was a HOLY SEED living under its branches. These were of the TRIBE OF JUDAH and of the ROYAL SEED (Dan 1:3). Most notable among them was Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The faithful conduct of these men shows us they were not only the ROYAL SEED, but also the HOLY SEED!
Nebuchadnezzar preserved these men and honoured them, even though he also tried to kill them in a fit of rage. Significantly, all of these men knew what they were dealing with, but chose always to honour God above all else! Even more significantly, Nebuchadnezzar also served God to achieve all that God required of him. It may seem strange to many, that God would use a tyrant like Nebuchadnezzar to exact His Will on all the nations including Gods own nations the remnant of Israel. But this is exactly what God did! God also gave him the title of King of kings (Eze 26:7) a title that will be taken by the greatest Jew that ever lived Christ! And even though Babylon is almost directly east of Jerusalem, God refers to Nebuchadnezzar as the king of the north in the same verse (Eze 26:7). The territory that God gave to this king extended from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. This was his territory. In addition to this though, God gave him DOMINION over many other nations, and he ruled as a tyrant over them all. He was the King of the kings, or rulers, that then ruled.
Long ago, God reserved the territory of the land of Canaan for Himself. This is the land He gave to His own people the Children of Israel. Israel (Jacob) set the eastern boundary stone to mark the eastern boundary of Gods territory (Gen 31:45-53). As far as human beings are concerned, this covenant of Jacobs has very little significance. It seemed to pass into history without ever being tested.
Throughout the entire history of the Tribes of Israel, God set the boundaries of His promised land and required them to go in and possess it. But they never did! They altered boundary stones to accommodate people who had no right to live there. Today, the boundary stones that Jacob established to mark the border, have been moved, and now borders on the Holy City of God. In defiance of God, Judah continues to move the boundary of Gods territory in order to have peace with the enemies of God. In an extensive endtime prophecy, God records this: Hos 5:9 "EPHRAIM will be laid waste on the DAY OF RECKONING. Among the TRIBES OF ISRAEL I proclaim what is CERTAIN. JUDAHS LEADERS are like those who MOVE BOUNDARY STONES. I will pour MY WRATH on them like A FLOOD OF WATER." JUDAH continues to concede land to the enemies of God, and God intends to pour out HIS WRATH on them. It should be noted that this wrath is a FLOOD OF WATER! This FLOOD OF WATER is mentioned in Rev 12:13, and is directed against the Tribe that gave birth to Christ JUDAH! And its the dragon (Satan) that will administer the WRATH OF GOD, and all those responsible for moving BOUNDARY STONES will be OVERTAKEN BY THE FLOOD. ONLY THE TRUE WOMAN WILL ESCAPE, and this woman is the embryonic SEED of all the Tribes of Israel the HOLY SEED OF GOD.
Why should anyone doubt Gods purpose? He made it clear from earliest times that He would establish Jerusalem, and again set the BOUNDS of Israels inheritance (Eze 47:13) and even made provision for Gentiles who live as native-born Israelites (V22). Then in Eze 48:1 God gives the specific instructions for the boundaries of each of the Tribes of Israel. This is also the time when the Holy Seed will establish Jerusalem and build the Temple according to Gods specifications (Eze ch. 40-48), and the time when the RIVER OF LIFE will flow, and the TREE OF LIFE will flourish on its banks (Eze 47:1-2, 12; Rev 22:1-2). Has anything changed? GOD SAYS HIS PURPOSE WILL STAND! All that God has proclaimed is CERTAIN!
It took years of fighting and wars to establish the Tribes of Israel in the land of Canaan originally. From Joshua to David fierce battles were fought over a period of 390 years until David finally delivered a peaceful kingdom to his son, Solomon. During this entire time the TRIBE OF LEVI exercised the authority of God, but it was David who established the ROYAL SEED as the HOUSE OF DAVID. In the context of endtime events, God gives a thorough description of the HOUSE OF DAVID in Zech 12:7-13. It should be noted that the HOUSE OF DAVID does NOT include all Jews, but only those of THE LINAGE OF DAVID, but it DOES include the HOUSE OF LEVI (V13). Its in these verses that God establishes His PURPOSE to ESTABLISH THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, and the means by which He will achieve it! Battles will be fought and BOUNDARIES WILL BE SET. Then the final battle will be fought and Jerusalem will be established forever. Christ Himself will fight this battle (Zech 14:3) and JUDAH WILL FIGHT WITH HIM (V14), and its JUDAH that will GATHER ALL THE SPOILS OF WAR (V1, 14).
The question remains: Why did God give Nebuchadnezzar dominion over so much territory outside of his own allotment? He was not of the Holy Seed, and nor did he serve God like the Holy Seed, but God called him to service, and gave him dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth, and even over all the animals. Nebuchadnezzar never ruled the entire earth, but God did give him DOMINION over all who were RULERS ON THE EARTH, and God makes it very clear who these are! The Apostle Paul described them as the RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM (Eph 3:10), and made it very clear who they are (Eph 6:12). The word RULERS is plural, and there are many of them! God gave Nebuchadnezzar the right to rule over them as a ruthless tyrant! God sent him against Tyre to destroy it which he did! But the ruler of Tyre moved everything of value out the back door in ships (apparently to the Isle of Cypress), and Nebuchadnezzar gained nothing. So God gave him the plunder of Egypt as his reward. This is what God says: Eze 29:18 "Son of man [Ezekiel], Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. Therefore this is what he Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as A REWARD FOR HIS EFFORTS because he and his army DID IT FOR ME, declares the Sovereign LORD."
So Tyre got a thorough hiding at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, and he DID IT FOR GOD. His reward for his service was to plunder Egypt. But here again, God had a punishment in mind for the RULER of Egypt. And this RULER is clearly identified for what he is! Its not the man that God is concerned with! This is what God says: Eze 29:3 " I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, YOU GREAT MONSTER lying among your streams. You say, "THE NILE IS MINE; I MADE IT FOR MYSELF." But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales. I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams. You will fall in the open field and not be gathered or picked up. I will give you as food to THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD and the BIRDS OF THE AIR. Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the LORD."
Why was God AGAINST this GREAT MONSTER? Because he said THE NILE IS MINE; I MADE IT FOR MYSELF. It may not seem important, but its repeated again in V9. The RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM cannot seem to understand they rule only by Gods permission. Most of them begin their RULE with an outward show of righteousness and restraint, but inevitably BECOME TYRANTS AND MONSTERS.
Whatever your preconceptions may be of the RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM, THEY ARE RULERS and THEY ARE NOT HUMAN!
Of special interest are the words that were spoken by Nebuchadnezzar when God snatched away his power: Dan 4:30 "He said, "Is not this the great BABYLON I have built as the royal residence, BY MY MIGHTY POWER AND FOR THE GLORY OF MY MAJESTY?"" Gods reaction was immediate! (V31). Nebuchadnezzar was driven out and acquired the characteristics of the beast that was in him (V32-33). As often as these RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM forget their place, and forget that they rule only with the permission of God, and when they assume their majesty to be equal to God, retribution is swift!
The time is fast approaching when God will no longer use THE RULERS OF THE HEAVENLY REALM to exact justice on recalcitrant nations. God intends to call His own servant, and He will call him in righteousness. He calls him from the east, from a land far away, and (figuratively) from the region of the RISING SUN. This man will be called forth to deal with the GENERATIONS FROM THE BEGINNING. He will subdue kings and destroy nations and reign down plagues and destruction as often as he wants (Rev 11:6). God sent Moses against Egypt to do this, but this man will be sent against Babylon. At that time, this man will have a faithful companion with him who will be imbued with the same power. At that time, the Great Harlot, the arch-rebel will set his throne in Babylon, just as it was in the Garden of Eden where he is described as the serpent or dragon. But the antithesis of the harlot, that is, the true Woman will arise from the HOUSE OF DAVID.
Let it be clearly understood that God is now calling many people from every nation, people, tribe and language. Yet God has not cast away His people Israel - but they have rejected God. God is soon to withdraw His favour from them. Before He does He will warn them! Christ spoke in parables of this refusal of the house of Israel to obey God but He still sent his servants to call many to repentance. Even the very Body of Christ has refused to listen to God, instead they've chosen to listen to - and believe - what others have told them. Had they checked the scriptures, they would have known that these men, THEIR LEADERS, were deceivers! Let it now be said so everyone can understand - the whole truth, everything that has been written in the scriptures, all knowledge and understanding, all prophecy, all the keys to salvation, YOUR FUTURE, will only be revealed by ZION - the true servants of God.
The people of Zion are of the tribe of Judah and Levi! But not all! God has reserved for Himself those from the HOUSE OF DAVID; through the linage of his sons (Nathan and Shimei and their wives and families) and the clan of the HOUSE OF LEVI - but only through the linage of Aaron (Zech 12:10-14). THESE WILL BE YOUR TEACHERS! Why haven't you understood this? This is what the Scripture says: Zech 8:23 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: "IN THOSE DAYS ten men from ALL LANGUAGES AND NATIONS will take firm hold of one JEW by the edge of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because WE HAVE HEARD THAT GOD IS WITH YOU.'"
Those from the Churches of God have always known that God would call His endtime teachers from the Jewish population! They just refused to believe it! The Apostle John wrote about it as he was directed to by the messenger: Rev 3:9 "I will make those who CLAIM to be JEWS though they are NOT, but are LIARS - I will make them come and fall down at YOUR FEET and acknowledge that I HAVE LOVED YOU." Whose feet are these? Those who are NOT Jews? Or those that are? Who are the liars? Aren't the LIARS those WHO ARE NOT JEWS? Surely you can understand that these liars are to fall down at the FEET of those WHO ARE JEWS! Now notice Rev 2:9 "...I know the SLANDER of those who say they are JEWS and are NOT, but are of the synagogue of SATAN." Christ is speaking these words! He says these people are guilty of SLANDER for CLAIMING TO BE JEWS. Some Bible versions see this word a little stronger - they use 'BLASPHEMY.' Both words describe the treachery that Christ inferred! These people will claim to be Jews so they can continue to deceive! These slanderous or blasphemous people will preside over SATAN'S counterfeit synagogue. The word synagogue here means basically the same thing as 'church' - a congregation. Just a note of caution here! The scripture refers to the synagogue of SATAN - NOT the synagogue of the JEWS.
The word 'FEET' is used in the above scripture. This is not without significance. The full explanation is given in other articles, but briefly the message is this: When Christ washed the feet of the twelve, He said it had special meaning; that they would understand this AT A LATER TIME. This was a pointer to point us to other scriptures to find the meaning. God doesn't grant us the right to guess its meaning! Only John, the prophet to the seven Churches in Asia, recorded the foot-washing ceremony. This is what Christ said: John 13:7 "...You do not realize now what I am doing, BUT LATER YOU WILL UNDERSTAND." The prevailing idea among many Christians today is that this was about humility, and they have assumed that the Twelve were so 'thick' that they didn't understand the meaning of the word. This comes of people putting their own spin on everything, instead of searching the Scriptures. The translators of some Bible versions exacerbate this problem. Deciding that certain things were not important, they paraphrased them to reflect their own ideas as to meaning. But in regard to the underlying meaning of the word 'feet', the Bible is clear. The Apostle Paul explained it: Eph 6:13 "Therefore put on the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD, so that WHEN THE DAY OF EVIL COMES, you may be able to STAND YOUR GROUND, and after you have done everything, to STAND. STAND firm then, with the BELT OF TRUTH buckled round your waist, with the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS in place, and with your FEET fitted with the READINESS that comes from the GOSPEL OF PEACE. In addition to this, take up the SHIELD OF FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the HELMET OF SALVATION and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD." You will notice here, that Paul is writing to the Church in Ephesus in Asia Minor (Rev 2:1). He is telling them to put on the full armour of God. He speaks of putting on a HELMET of salvation, a SWORD of the Spirit, a BELT of truth, a BREASTPLATE of righteousness. But the FEET we don't have to put on! We already have these. And our FEET must be fitted with the GOSPEL OF PEACE; or as the NKJV has it 'the preparation of the Gospel of peace.' If you have NOT been preparing yourself to understand the TRUE Gospel, then your feet are not clean. Christ said that the twelve, once He had washed their FEET, were clean all over; but He added, not all were clean, because Judas was not! Judas was Satan's 'plant'. He had planted him there when God refused to allow Satan to have Peter (Luke 22:31).
When God leads His nation Israel back from captivity, they will be clean, having been cleansed like gold and silver in the fiery flames - which they will walk through without being burned (Isa 43:2). But only their feet will need to be washed and God will do this again. When they walk through the rivers they won't sweep over them, in fact, they will be able to cross over in sandals. At that time their feet will get another wash, in preparation for entering the Holy Land. Speaking of the endtime exodus of all 12 tribes of Israel, Isaiah wrote this: Isa 11:15 "The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand over the EUPHRATES river. He will break it up into seven streams SO THAT MEN CAN CROSS OVER IN SANDALS. There will be a highway for the REMNANT OF HIS PEOPLE that is left from ASSYRIA, as there was for ISRAEL when they came up from Egypt."
God turned ancient Israel over to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. During that time they became thoroughly corrupted! Were they still God's people? You better believe that they were! They were God's people because of God's promise to Abraham. God told Abraham that He planned to send them into slavery before Abraham's ONLY son was born (Gen 15:12). Ishmael, the son of the slave woman, was sent away into the wilderness, like a mountain goat or a wild donkey, and God confirmed that Isaac was Abraham's ONLY son: Gen 22:15 "...I swear by Myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your ONLY son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of your enemies, and through your OFFSPRING all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have OBEYED Me."
PROPHECIES REVEALED TO ZION
God has revealed the endtime prophecies to ZION. Mount Zion is, and will always be, the Holy Mountain of Jerusalem. And the people of Zion are those who dwell in the City of Jerusalem where Mount Zion is. In explaining this, God leaves no margin for error: Isa 48:1 "Listen to this, O HOUSE OF JACOB, you who are called BY THE NAME ISRAEL and come from the LINE OF JUDAH, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and invoke the God of ISRAEL - but not in truth or righteousness - you who call yourselves CITIZENS OF THE HOLY CITY, and rely on the God of ISRAEL...."
This is the ISRAEL that God has chosen! There is only one nation that is called by the name ISRAEL today. That's the nation that occupies the Holy Land! Only those from the LINE OF JUDAH call themselves CITIZENS OF THE HOLY CITY. Most of the other tribes think Rome is the Holy City!
Of these citizens of Jerusalem, God says this: Isa 48:6 "From now on I will tell you of NEW THINGS, of HIDDEN THINGS UNKNOWN TO YOU. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew of them.' V10 "See, I have REFINED you, though not as silver; I have TESTED YOU IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION. For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this. How can I let MYSELF be DEFAMED? I WILL NOT YIELD MY GLORY TO ANOTHER." God speaks of things that have recently been created. God will tell them of NEW AND HIDDEN THINGS that neither they or anyone else knows of, and adds, 'I WILL NOT YIELD MY GLORY TO ANOTHER." God will only reveal it to ZION!
This is Zion - those who dwell in Zion. This is where God will ESTABLISH His endtime ministry. In Jer 30:19 God says He will add to their numbers and they will not decrease. This is when He calls other tribes to join them. When this occurs, they too, will be called by the name Zion. And not just these! In fact, there will be people of every nation, language, tribe and people who will eventually be added to the GLORIOUS ZION OF GOD. The full explanation of who and what Zion is covered in other articles, but briefly it is this: Zion is the Rock; Christ is the Rock. Christ is also the cornerstone. The cornerstone is the top of Mount Zion or Mount Moriah over which the Mosque of Omar, usually called the Dome of the Rock, now stands. Christ is also the Rock that will fill the whole earth - literally and figuratively (Dan 2:35). In reality, Zion is Christ and all who are His - they are called by His name - Christians! The full explanation is far more complex than this! If you think this is all a bit far-fetched, be aware that EPHRAIM IS ALSO GODS FIRSTBORN SON (Jer 31:9), and what is more, Matthew directly inferred THAT EPHRAIM WAS CHRIST (Matt 2:15) and the Scriptural reference he quoted is found in Hos 11:1-3.
God foresaw what the spiritual condition of His Church would be in the endtime. He foresaw a great falling away. He also planned to ensure that spiritual illumination would be available for all who sought His truth. To achieve this, He made plans 2,500 years ago to specifically call TWO PROPHETS to complete the work that would otherwise be left undone.
Many of those in the Churches today have already had their lamps go out! Those who are left will need the GOLDEN OIL that these TWO PROPHETS POUR OUT (Zech 4:11-14). Without it, they won't survive!
You will notice that the Church in Philadelphia has 'an open door' before them which 'no-one can shut.' How many doors was that? Was it many doors or just one? It is ONE door! Read it for yourself: Rev 3:7-8 "To the Church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of Him [Christ] who is holy and true, who [Christ] holds the KEY OF DAVID. What He [Christ] OPENS, NO-ONE CAN SHUT; and what He [Christ] SHUTS, NO-ONE CAN OPEN. I [Christ] know your deeds. See, I [Christ] have placed before you AN OPEN DOOR THAT NO-ONE CAN SHUT." Did you notice that Christ holds the KEY to the door? He calls it the KEY OF DAVID! It's from the HOUSE OF DAVID - and the HOUSE OF LEVI - that the whole endtime ministry will be completed! (Zech 12:10-14). It is these who will represent ZION.
Here we see that Christ, Himself, places an OPEN DOOR before His people whom He has chosen; that is, His true, faithful, spiritually and prophetically-aware people. He has NOT placed this OPEN DOOR before the dreamers, the fakers and the liars! Nor will He empower the lying blasphemers WHO CLAIM TO BE JEWS in order to promote their own ministry, or to offer a counterfeit alternative to the TRUE MINISTRY. The Apostle Paul made important qualifications regarding this - to ensure that the identity of those who are Jews is recognized. In the first place the point is made that NOT ALL all who CLAIM to be Jews are Jews according to the Word of God and the Gospel. Then Paul says that those who are NOT Jews are AS IF THEY WERE, provided they observe those things that are required by the Word of God and the Gospel. This is what the Bible says: Rom 2:25 "Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you BREAK THE LAW, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. If those who are not circumcised KEEP THE LAW'S REQUIREMENTS, will they not be REGARDED AS THOUGH THEY WERE CIRCUMCISED? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet OBEYS THE LAW will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a law-breaker." So those who KEEP THE LAW'S REQUIREMENTS are regarded as though they were of the circumcision (which means the Jews), even though they are not circumcised (or of the Jews.) Paul goes on to explain: V28 "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, A MAN IS A JEW IF HE IS ONE INWARDLY, and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, BY THE SPIRIT, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God."
According to what Paul says, a Jew is one who is a Jew inwardly. Those who have God's Holy Spirit are supposed to be Jews INWARDLY! Notice the words: "No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly...", so if those who are truly circumcised in the heart are Jews - by the Spirit, then is there any advantage in being a genealogical Jew just like Christ? The Apostle Paul explains: Rom 3:1 "What advantage, then, is there in BEING A JEW, or what value is there in circumcision? MUCH IN EVERY WAY!" Paul is quite emphatic about this. He then goes on to describe what he means by 'MUCH IN EVERY WAY!' V2 "FIRST OF ALL, they have been ENTRUSTED WITH THE VERY WORDS OF GOD."
Some would argue that the Jews rejected Christ and so disqualified themselves. While some did, most didn't! Those who didn't were removed from Judaism and became communally transparent as Jews. All the Apostles were Jewish including Paul, even though he was of the tribe of Benjamin, he considered himself a Jew, and according to the parameters set down by God - HE WAS A JEW! The same argument could be presented for Christians today. Those who CLAIM to be Christians today - are they all Christians? Not according to the definition of God!
So what of those who clung to Judaism and rejected Christ? What of these people who continued the traditions of their fathers and refused to accept Christ as the Messiah? Have they 'blotted the copybook' forever? Have others replaced them? The Bible explains: Rom 3:3 "What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? NOT AT ALL! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: So that you may be proved right in your words and prevail in your judging." So those who were excluded for lack of faith, are they now excluded on the basis of their lack of faith, rendering God's faithfulness, which was established in Abraham, nullified? Notice what the Bible says: Rom 3:29 "Is God the God of the Jews ONLY? Is He not the God of the Gentiles TOO? Yes, of the Gentiles TOO, since there is only one God, who will justify the CIRCUMCISED (the Jews) by FAITH and the uncircumcised through that SAME FAITH. Do we, then, nullify the LAW by this FAITH? NOT AT ALL! Rather we UPHOLD THE LAW."
God's faithfulness has not been nullified even though others have come into the Body of Christ who are not of the seed of Abraham. But to those of the seed of Abraham, God has given first right of refusal: Rom 2:8 "But for those who are SELF-SEEKING and WHO REJECT THE TRUTH AND FOLLOW EVIL, there will be WRATH AND ANGER. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: FIRST FOR THE JEW, then for the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: FIRST FOR THE JEW, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism."
Now while Paul qualifies the right for Gentiles to be called Jews PROVIDED that they OBEY THE LAW, and are Jews INWARDLY, he is primarily referring to THOSE WHO ARE JEWS BY DESCENT: Rom 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: FIRST TO THE JEW, then for the Gentile. For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY FAITH."" For those who love God's Word and love to follow the pointers that are throughout the Bible, we find a pointer in Paul's quote from Habakkuk: 'THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY FAITH.' Habakkuk is standing on the watchtower as the king of BABYLON besieges the city of Jerusalem. He asks God why all this is happening. God answers him: Hab 2:2 "Then the LORD replied: "Write down the REVELATION and make it plain on tablets so that a HERALD may run with it. For the REVELATION awaits an appointed time; IT SPEAKS OF THE END and WILL NOT PROVE FALSE. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, he (the king of BABYLON) is puffed up; his desires are not upright - but THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY HIS FAITH." Most versions use the word 'just' rather than 'righteous' because what it's referring to is 'righteous judgment.' And God makes it plain that HIS REVELATION SPEAKS OF THE END - and this is when the just will need to wait for GOD'S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT and LIVE BY FAITH. It will be a testing time for many.
The HERALD referred to here is the second herald angel mentioned in Rev 14:8 where he predicts the DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON. This demonstrates the unerring accuracy of the Bible, and also the desirability of following the pointers and markers that God has placed in it.
Returning to the theme: So those who are Christians are Jews inwardly. Those Christians who hate Jews can hardly call themselves Christians! Those who are truly Christ's must emulate Christ and become like Him - and HE WAS A JEW! God has allowed both Jews and Gentiles alike to become like Christ by being a JEW INWARDLY and OBEYING HIS LAW. And when a CHRISTIAN is a JEW INWARDLY he is a member of the BODY OF CHRIST regardless of his nation, tribe, people or language (Rev 7:9). There are no ethnic barriers.
In the case of those who are almost spiritually dead, He offers them hope. Christ will knock on the door, and if anyone HEARS His VOICE and opens the door, He will favour them. Christ's VOICE is HIS TESTIMONY - and the TESTIMONY OF JESUS is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (Rev 19:10). This is what Christ says: Rev 3:19 "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the DOOR and knock. If anyone HEARS MY VOICE and OPENS THE DOOR, I will come in and eat with him, and He with Me." So then, all are going to hear the voice of Christ but not all will acknowledge it. The VOICE OF CHRIST IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD (Rev 1:16); it's for blessing or cursing - the choice is yours. God also imparts this sword through His Spirit: Eph 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD."
Christ is not going to speak directly to those who have refused to listen; instead He will speak through His prophets in the final days. God planned long ago to raise two prophets to perform this task. Ezekiel acted out a parable concerning the two endtime prophets: Eze 2:2 "He said, "Son of man, I am sending you to the ISRAELITES, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against Me TO THIS VERY DAY." [From the day they left Egypt, and throughout the 40 years in the desert, ten of the tribes carried the shrine of their God Molech (Amos 5:26, Acts 7:42). Only the Levites, and to a lesser extent, the Jews, endeavoured to obey God.] V6 "...Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are A REBELLIOUS HOUSE. You must speak MY WORDS to them, WHETHER THEY LISTEN OR FAIL TO LISTEN, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house, open your mouth and eat what I give you. Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a SCROLL, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it [pointer to Rev 5:1] were written words of LAMENT and MOURNING and WOE. And He said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, EAT THIS SCROLL; THEN go and speak to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL. So I opened my mouth, and He gave me the scroll to eat. Then He said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it. So I ate it, and it tasted as SWEET AS HONEY IN MY MOUTH." V7 "But the HOUSE OF ISRAEL is NOT willing to listen to YOU because they are NOT willing to listen to ME, for the WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL IS HARDENED AND OBSTINATE. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint."
What is being said here is: Since they wouldn't listen to the prophet, they were actually REFUSING TO LISTEN TO GOD - because God puts HIS WORDS into the mouth of HIS prophets! Of course the prophet Ezekiel never got to speak to the House of Israel; they had gone into captivity about one hundred and fifty years before. Six hundred years after Ezekiel, the prophecy had still not been fulfilled. God again, asks a prophet to re-enact this very prophecy. This is what the PROPHET JOHN recorded: Rev 10:7 "But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the MYSTERY OF GOD will be accomplished, just as He announced to HIS SERVANTS THE PROPHETS. Then the voice I heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the SCROLL that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the SEA and on the LAND. So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little SCROLL. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your MOUTH it will be as SWEET AS HONEY." I took the little SCROLL from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as SWEET AS HONEY in my MOUTH, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told: "You must PROPHESY again about MANY PEOPLES, NATIONS, LANGUAGES AND KINGS."
Ezekiel's experience was the same! The SCROLL tasted as SWEET AS HONEY in his mouth, but after he had eaten it: Eze 2:14 "The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in BITTERNESS and in the anger of my spirit, with the STRONG HAND OF THE LORD UPON ME."
But the prophet John's parable doesn't end there! It continues: Rev 11:1 "I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the TEMPLE of God and the ALTAR, and count the worshippers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the HOLY CITY for 42 months. And I will give power to MY TWO WITNESSES, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the TWO OLIVE TREES and the TWO LAMPSTANDS that STAND BEFORE THE LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH."
To quickly recap on what the Bible has told us, the MYSTERY OF GOD will have been accomplished by the time of the seventh trumpet. This is the time when the TWO WITNESSES complete their 3½-year ministry in Jerusalem. Both Ezekiel and John ate the SCROLL and proceeded to do as God required of them. The PROPHET EZEKIEL was a LEVITE PRIEST (Eze 1:3). He was told to go to the northern tribes of Israel AND to the house of Judah.
Later, God called the prophet Zechariah, who recorded seeing a man measuring the TEMPLE: Zech 2:1 "Then I looked up - and there before was a man with a measuring line in his hand! I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To MEASURE JERUSALEM, to find out how wide and how long it is." Then the angel who was speaking to me left, and another angel came to meet him and said to him: "Run, tell that young man, 'JERUSALEM will be a CITY without walls because of the great number of men and LIVESTOCK in it. And I MYSELF WILL BE A WALL OF FIRE AROUND IT," declares the LORD, 'and I WILL BE ITS GLORY WITHIN."
The city described here is the Temple mount and the immediate surrounding area. It's described in Jer 31:38-40. The great number of LIVESTOCK is speaking of animal sacrifices. You should know that this has not happened yet. Nor was there a wall of fire around Jerusalem even during Christ's first appearance. But there will be! And at that time there will be animal sacrifices! The animal sacrifices will be taken away, but at the end of 2,300 days the sanctuary will again be cleansed. A lot will happen during this period, and all of this is covered in other articles, but for the latter 1260 days, there will be TWO PROPHETS IN JERUSALEM PREACHING TO THE WORLD.
Zechariah continues the narrative: Zech 2:7 "Come, O ZION! Escape, you who live in the DAUGHTER OF BABYLON! For this is what the LORD Almighty says: After He has HONOURED me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you - for whoever TOUCHES YOU TOUCHES THE APPLE OF HIS EYE - I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me." Only the NIV version of the Bible renders this faithfully. In other versions, including the NKJV version, the translators decided to interpret the meaning. It's a hard passage to understand, yet just a few verses further on, we learn who it is that God HONOURS. As always, the Bible interprets, and the marker is there: THE APPLE OF HIS EYE. It points to Ps 17:8 "Keep me as the APPLE OF YOUR EYE; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the WICKED who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me." V13 "Rise up, O LORD, and confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the WICKED by your SWORD. O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world WHOSE REWARD IS IN THIS LIFE [no resurrection for these people]. You still the hunger of THOSE YOU CHERISH; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. And I - in righteousness I shall SEE YOUR FACE; when I AWAKE, I shall be satisfied with SEEING YOUR LIKENESS." David is speaking of this event. Immediately after it occurs, David will arise from the grave and see GOD'S FACE and see HIS LIKENESS. David is also speaking of himself - HIS OWN OFFSPRING - who will later fulfill this prophecy. Zechariah speaks of that man - his name is Zerubbabel, and is a direct descendant of the royal seed of David. Both passages speak of the endtime; of the descendants of David and his clans, and the tribe of Levi (Zech 12:10-14) whom God uses to establish ZION. And in the next verse of Zech 2, God again addresses ZION and more particularly, the DAUGHTER OF ZION: V10 "Shout and be glad, O DAUGHTER OF ZION. For I am coming and I WILL LIVE AMONG YOU," declares the LORD. Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and WILL BECOME MY PEOPLE. I WILL LIVE AMONG YOU, and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. The LORD will inherit JUDAH as His portion in the HOLY LAND and will AGAIN CHOOSE JERUSALEM. Be still before the LORD, ALL MANKIND, because He has roused Himself from His Holy Dwelling." It should be remembered that the OFFSPRING OR DAUGHTER of the WOMAN (which is ZION) is to be subjected to the full fury of Satan the devil (Rev 12:17). As the remaining saints who keep the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD and who have the TESTIMONY OF JESUS, they are required to fulfill their SERVICE to God. And this SERVICE is described in Rev 13:7-10, Dan 7:21, 25).
Continuing in Zechariah, God HONOURS a certain man - JOSHUA the Levite priest! Like so many of the great men of the Bible, Joshua is riddled with sins of his past. Moses murdered an Egyptian and was forced to flee. David had a man murdered so he could take his wife. Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, went on a killing spree and had many Christians murdered. God struck down each of these men, and then brought them to their senses. Because of the memory of their sins, these men repented more than any others - just as the HOUSE OF DAVID and the HOUSE OF LEVI will in the last days (Zech 12:10). Joshua the Levite priest is given a special HONOUR so that he can perform a special task: Zech 3:1 "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side TO ACCUSE HIM. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has CHOSEN JERUSALEM rebuke you! Is not this man a BURNING STICK SNATCHED FROM THE FIRE?" God snatched this man from certain destruction and brought him to total repentance! God is not fooled by feigned repentance! This man repented more than any other, and gave himself solely for the service of God! And as we later will see, this means eventually going to his death in violent martyrdom.
Zechariah's message continues: V3 "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "TAKE OFF HIS FILTHY CLOTHES." Then he said to Joshua, "See I have TAKEN AWAY YOUR SIN, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. The angel of the LORD gave this CHARGE TO JOSHUA: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: "If you will walk in My ways and keep My requirements, then you will GOVERN MY HOUSE, and have CHARGE OF MY COURTS, and I will give you A PLACE AMONG THOSE STANDING HERE. Listen, O high priest Joshua and your ASSOCIATES SEATED BEFORE YOU, who are men SYMBOLIC OF THINGS TO COME: I am going to bring My servant, the BRANCH." When God brings this BRANCH to Joshua, there will be TWO BRANCHES (Zech 4:12). So Joshua appears on the world scene FIRST, and afterwards God brings the other BRANCH. The second BRANCH appears BEFORE the temple is built. This Joshua spoken of here, and his associates SEATED before him are SYMBOLIC OF THINGS TO COME, as is the entire prophecy that is related here. That Joshua is the first BRANCH is evidenced in Zech 6:11 "Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. Tell HIM this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the BRANCH, and he will BRANCH OUT from his place and build the TEMPLE of the LORD. It is HE who will build the TEMPLE of the LORD, and HE will be CLOTHED WITH MAJESTY (Zech 3:5) and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a PRIEST on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two."
This speaks of Joshua - not Zerubbabel! Zerubbabel COULD NOT BE A PRIEST because he was of the tribe of JUDAH - NOT the Levitical priesthood. Zerubbabel will lay the FOUNDATION of the temple, and when he does, the capstone or cornerstone will be revealed - THE VERY APEX OF MOUNT ZION. The whole plateau will become level ground - NOT BY HUMAN POWER but by the MIGHTY HAND OF GOD: Zech 4:6-10 "So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel. 'Not by MIGHT NOR BY POWER, but by MY SPIRIT,' says the LORD Almighty. What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the [cornerstone] to shouts of 'God bless it! God bless it!'" Then the Word of the LORD came to me: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the FOUNDATION of this TEMPLE; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb-line in the hand of Zerubbabel." Speaking of the identity of Joshua and Zerubbabel - the TWO BRANCHES, the angel said this: Zech 4:14 "So he said, "These are the TWO who are ANOINTED to serve the LORD OF ALL THE EARTH."
The TWO PROPHETS are to administer the WORD OF GOD to the 12 tribes of Israel, the whole of Christianity, and the whole world. God is even more specific. He stipulates every TRIBE, LANGUAGE, PEOPLE AND NATION. Rev 5:9 "And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the SCROLL and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with Your blood you purchased men for God from every TRIBE and LANGUAGE and PEOPLE and NATION. You have made THEM to be a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to SERVE our God, and THEY will REIGN ON THE EARTH."
When the WORD OF GOD goes out from ZION, that word will be the ETERNAL GOSPEL that is described throughout the entire Bible. Just as John the Baptist preached the GOSPEL of the KINGDOM OF GOD (Matt 3:1, Luke 1:76-77) so will the latter-day Elijah. There will be no mistake about which is the true Gospel; an angel will deliver the final message to the world at the time of Judgment, when the Heavenly Court sits (Dan 7:9-10). This is what the Bible says: Rev 14:6 "Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the ETERNAL GOSPEL to PROCLAIM TO THOSE WHO LIVE ON THE EARTH - to every NATION, TRIBE, LANGUAGE and PEOPLE. He said in a loud voice, "FEAR GOD and give Him glory, because the HOUR of His JUDGMENT has come. Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water."
Does this mean that the true Gospel has not yet been delivered? What is meant here? Many servants of God have preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, including John the Baptist, the 12 Apostles, the Apostle Paul, and many others. But believe it or not, they didn't understand all prophecy! It was not given to them to understand all. The Apostle Paul confirmed that he prophesied ONLY IN PART (1Cor 13:9). Christ confirmed that the time would come when all would be made known: Luke 12:2 "There is nothing CONCEALED that will not be DISCLOSED, or HIDDEN that will not be MADE KNOWN."
Of the two prophets mentioned in the Book of Zechariah, it is Joshua that receives the crown of David as a caretaker king for Christ. One might have expected that Zerubbabel would have this role, since he was of the 'seed royal' and was the grandson of Jehoiachin (1Chron 3:17-19). He is also heir to the throne and is listed in the genealogy of Matt 1:13 and Luke 3:27. Instead, it is Joshua that is crowned as a king and then takes the crown and sets it aside. Why not Zerubbabel? God gives us the answer! Jer 22:24 "As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, I would still pull you off." V28 "Is this man Jehoiachin a despised broken pot, an object no-one wants?" V30 "This is what the LORD says: "Record this man AS IF CHILDLESS, a man who will not prosper, NONE [of his offspring] WILL SIT ON THE THRONE OF DAVID OR RULE ANY MORE IN JUDAH." And neither did his OFFSPRING ever again reign in Judah. (Zedekiah, the last king of the royal line, was his brother).
The reference to the signet ring has great significance. Whereas God says that if Jehoiachin were His signet ring He would literally tear it off; God says of his grandson Zerubbabel: Hagg 2:21 "Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will SHAKE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. I will OVERTURN ROYAL THRONES AND SHATTER THE POWER OF FOREIGN KINGDOMS. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; HORSES AND THEIR RIDERS WILL FALL, each by the sword of his brother. 'On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD 'and I WILL MAKE YOU LIKE MY SIGNET RING, FOR I HAVE CHOSEN YOU,' declares the LORD Almighty.'" The signet ring in those days was a seal of office. All correspondence and communiqués were marked with this seal among the kings and governors of the realm. When God shatters the power of the foreign kingdoms, God will choose Zerubbabel and imbue him with the great power of GOD'S SEAL. This represents the authority of God Himself - the type of authority that a great king would give his son. God Himself says that the HOUSE OF DAVID (of which Zerubbabel belonged) WILL BE LIKE GOD (Zech 12:8).
It never happened in Zerubbabel's day, and nor did Zerubbabel prosper in his task of building the Temple (Hagg 2:2-4, 16-19). But Zerubbabel will prosper when he becomes the 'branch' together with Joshua. They will BOTH be BRANCHES - THE TWO OLIVE BRANCHES (Zech 4:12). Zerubbabel built some sort of structure - probably a tabernacle (which is the most important part of the Temple - the innermost part including the Holy of Holies), but Jewish historians still claim that Herod's Temple was the SECOND Temple. Today they anticipate the building of the third Temple. Herod built the Temple without disturbing the daily worship of the Jewish people, so whatever Zerubbabel built, it was small, and probably up one end of the Temple Mount.
The second Zerubbabel will lay the foundations of the Temple just as the first one did. God will clear away the Temple site of extraneous objects - BUT NOT BY HUMAN POWER! The Almighty Power of God will achieve this.
Now notice who sits as the crowned king of Judah and builds the temple! Zech 6:11 "Take silver and gold, make an elaborated crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Then speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying, "Behold, the man whose name is the BRANCH! From his place he shall BRANCH out, and HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. YES, HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. He shall bear the glory, and SHALL SIT AND RULE ON HIS THRONE; so shall he be a PRIEST ON HIS THRONE, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (NKJV). The translators of the NKJV assumed this was speaking of Christ and so they capitalized certain words to emphasize it. There are many reasons why it does not refer to Christ. Among them are these:
1. Christ is not yet sitting on His throne - He is sitting on the Father's throne (Rev 3:21).
2. Christ never built a temple, even though the scriptures show that the Body of Christ is a (indefinite article) temple of the Holy Spirit.
3. If Christ were on earth He would NOT BE A PRIEST (Heb 8:4).
4. This is speaking of a Temple in Jerusalem - like the one that Zerubbabel started (Hagg 2:1-3) - NOT A CHURCH!
5. No-one brought gold and silver from Babylon and fashioned an elaborate crown and placed it on Christ's head! No-one!
6. Those who are FAR AWAY WILL COME and help BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD (V15). Christ Himself BUILT THE CHURCH (Matt 16:18).
7. If this referred to Christ then the final verse of this chapter would not be included! This is what it says: V15 "This will happen to you IF YOU DILIGENTLY OBEY the LORD your God." God had absolutely no doubt about the obedience of His Son - and this is what the Bible is all about!!
The scriptures plainly state that Joshua is to be crowned. He will also be A PRIEST ON THE THRONE. Some have suggested this is a mistake - and that it really refers to Zerubbabel. This cannot be! Zerubbabel was of the tribe of Judah and only a LEVITE can serve as a PRIEST IN THE TEMPLE!
Joshua, son of Jehozadak, BECAME a type of Christ, and will fulfill the last 3½-years of Christ's ministry. Joshua stood before God laden with sin and wearing dirty clothes. CHRIST WAS NOT A TYPE OF JOSHUA! But Joshua WILL BE a type of Christ! Joshua was crowned, and the crown SET ASIDE AS A MEMORIAL (V14) in the Temple. The keepers of the Temple treasury will receive it. This is to preserve the crown of the THRONE OF DAVID until He, to whom it rightly belongs, comes - and that is CHRIST! If fact, all the kingdoms of this world will become Christs. But its DAVID that will be RAISED UP TO SIT ON THIS THRONE of the 12 Tribes of Israel (Jer 30:9). David will reign under Christ, just as Christ will always reign under the Father (1Cor 15:24-27).
Zechariah records further details of the two endtime prophets. This time the link is shown using Joshua and Zerubbabel as fore-types. Zech 3:1 "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has CHOSEN Jerusalem, rebuke you! IS NOT THIS MAN A BURNING STICK SNATCHED FROM THE FIRE?"
Here we see Joshua 'standing before THE angel of the LORD.' Not just any angel, but THE angel. Also standing right there to accuse him is Satan. This is a man with sufficient importance to warrant special attention from Satan. Satan is obviously greatly agitated and is attempting to discredit this man. It draws a sharp rebuke from the Eternal God Himself.
This man Joshua has been redeemed from the very brink of hell and is ready to perish; hence the words 'Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?' When God calls him to this special mission, he is dressed in filthy clothes. Since clean clothes represent the righteous acts of the saints (Rev 19:8) we know this man has plenty of unrighteous acts in his past. Christ made this point to His disciples, that the man whom God forgives most will love Him most (Luke 7:41-43). When God called Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, he was in the very act of hunting down true Christians in order to have them killed! When God struck this man down, the Apostle Paul became the most repentant individual imaginable. He was cut to the heart! God knew that only this deep repentance of his past could ensure a suitable result from Paul's life. God looks at the heart - this is the measure of a man's worth - not outward appearance!
In Zechariah's vision, the mighty angel gives the command to remove Joshua's filthy clothes: Zech 3:3 "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See I have TAKEN AWAY YOUR SIN, and I will put rich garments on you."
With the process of his cleansing completed, the angel then charges Joshua with a special commission: V6 "The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua, "This is what the LORD Almighty says, "If you will walk in My ways and keep My requirements, then you will GOVERN MY HOUSE and have CHARGE OVER MY COURTS, and I will give you a place among these STANDING here. Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates SEATED before you, who are men symbolic of things to come, I am going to bring My servant, the BRANCH. See the STONE I have set in front of Joshua! There are SEVEN EYES on that ONE STONE, and I will engrave an inscription on it," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. In THAT day each of you will invite his neighbour to sit under his vine and fig-tree," declares the LORD."
We'll shortly discover what STONE this is referring to! But first notice the last sentence: 'In THAT day each of you will invite his neighbour to sit under his vine and fig-tree'. This is a pointer to Mic 4:4! Notice the context: Micah 4:1 "In the last days the mountain of the LORD'S TEMPLE will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and people will stream to it." The whole of the Book of Micah deals with infinitely detailed prophecies for the endtime. The keys for understanding it are drawn from virtually all the prophets. The full explanation will be in PART TWO of this article.
Zechariah's vision gives a clear message that the LEVITE PROPHET will arrive on the scene first. Afterwards, God brings his servant 'THE BRANCH.' What BRANCH? Who is this BRANCH? Skipping ahead to Zech 4:6 we find the answer. God has already addressed Joshua, now He addresses Zerubbabel through the angel: Zech 4:6 "So he said to me, "This is the WORD OF THE LORD TO ZERUBBABEL: "Not by MIGHT nor by POWER, but by My SPIRIT," says the LORD Almighty. "What are you, O mighty MOUNTAIN? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the CAPSTONE to shouts of 'God bless it! God bless it!'"" In V12, we have both these men described as 'BRANCHES.' V12 "Again I asked him, "What are these two olive BRANCHES beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?" Clearly these two men, one from the TRIBE OF LEVI, and the other from THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, are the TWO BRANCHES, THE TWO WITNESSES, THE TWO PROPHETS, THE TWO LAMPSTANDS, THE TWO WATCHMEN, AND THE TWO OLIVE TREES. The Bible refers to them by all of these descriptions.
But what of Zerubbabel? The reference to the 'MIGHTY MOUNTAIN, which will become level ground before Zerubbabel can only refer to either of the two holy mountains - Sinai or Zion [Moriah]. Since God has chosen Jerusalem it certainly refers to MOUNT ZION. And it is speaking of a mountain and not some other symbolic fabrication. It is to be LEVELED! And a foundation laid - which will be done and completed by Zerubbabel. When it's leveled however, for the first time in many centuries, the CAPSTONE OR CORNERSTONE - which represents Christ - will be revealed! And all those who love Jerusalem - God's very elect people of ZION will rejoice with shout of joy and gladness: 'God bless it! God bless it!' Most of you will see, in your own lifetime, this enormous manifestation of God's SPIRIT as the site is cleared without human MIGHT OR POWER! Then you will know that God has planted His two prophets in Jerusalem! One fraudulent, self-proclaimed 'prophet', who masquerades as a minister over the Body of Christ, has said that the Temple won't be built in Jerusalem because the Arabs would never allow it. Apparently he believes that the Almighty God needs human consensus before He does anything! How spiritually dead must those people be, who follow such a man. Some of the other worthless shepherds do, at least, make a convincing pretense of believing in the mighty Power of God, even though they refuse to believe His WORD!
Zerubbabel will certainly be involved in the laying of foundation of the Temple, and with ongoing planning of the building. But the Bible is clear on whose responsibility it is to build it: Zech 6:11-13 "Take silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak. Tell him this is what the LORD says: "Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the Temple of the LORD. It is HE THAT WILL BUILD THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD, and HE WILL BE CLOTHED WITH MAJESTY AND WILL SIT AND RULE ON HIS THRONE." It's Joshua who is crowned, and it is he who has his dirty garments removed and clothed - at God's instruction - with 'rich garments' (Zech 2:3-4). And it is this same man, Joshua, who builds the TEMPLE!
Joshua is given the responsibility of presiding over God's Temple and having CHARGE OF HIS COURTS (Zech 3:7). God says He will bring His servant the Branch, and this Branch refers to Zerubbabel before whom Mount Zion is levelled and the CORNERSTONE exposed. God also says: Zech 3:9 "See, the STONE I set in front of Joshua! There are SEVEN EYES on that ONE STONE..." Whose eyes? Again the Bible tells us! Zech 4:10 "...(these SEVEN are the EYES of the LORD, which range throughout the earth)." To find out more about this, we need to go to the Book of Revelation. Here we learn that the LAMB OF GOD has SEVEN EYES which RANGE THROUGHOUT THE EARTH: Rev 5:6 "Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and SEVEN EYES, which are the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD sent out INTO ALL THE EARTH."
And to which SEVEN SPIRITS is this referring? Again the Bible explains: Rev 1:20 "The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in My right hand and of the seven lampstands is this: The SEVEN STARS are the ANGELS of the SEVEN CHURCHES...". The SEVEN ANGELS are also the SEVEN SPIRITS: Rev 3:1 "To the angel of the Church in Sardis write: These are the words of Him who holds the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD AND THE SEVEN STARS." This verse tells us that the SEVEN SPIRITS are the SEVEN STARS, because this is what Christ is holding in His right hand (See Rev 1:20 again). So the SEVEN EYES that are on the CORNERSTONE are the ANGELS or SPIRITS who were sent to the SEVEN CHURCHES IN ASIA.
These SEVEN ANGELS or SPIRITS are the same ones who were before the throne of God the Father, and who, along with the Father and Jesus Christ sent greetings to the seven Churches (Rev 1:4-5). Clearly, they are individual spirit beings. Whereas they were originally sent to the seven Churches in Asia, now they 'RANGE THROUGHOUT THE EARTH'. They have been sent 'INTO ALL THE EARTH.' Why? Because that is where the SEVEN CHURCHES now are! These SEVEN SPIRITS now must keep their eyes on the CORNERSTONE in Jerusalem. They must also deliver the MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES - for this is their primary role! And each individual in each of the seven Churches must be attuned to hear what is said to them: Rev 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the SPIRIT says to the CHURCHES." This is repeated for all seven Churches!
Following the message to all the Churches, John receives further instruction: Rev 4:1 "After this I looked, and there before me was A DOOR STANDING OPEN IN HEAVEN. And the voice I first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you WHAT MUST TAKE PLACE AFTER THIS." Then John explains what else he saw: V5 "From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, SEVEN LAMPS WERE BLAZING. THESE ARE THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD." Here we see that the SEVEN STARS or SEVEN SPIRITS are now SEVEN BLAZING LAMPS, and they are BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD NOT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
God told Moses to see that he did everything in the Tabernacle according to the pattern that was given him. What John saw was the true Tabernacle in heaven with the SEVEN BLAZING LAMPS. Moses records the pattern of the Tabernacle, which was a copy of the true one. This is found in Num 8:1 "The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you SET UP THE SEVEN LAMPS, they are to LIGHT THE AREA IN FRONT OF THE LAMPSTAND." Aaron did so; he set up the LAMPS so that they faced forward on the LAMPSTAND, just as the LORD commanded Moses. This is how the LAMPSTAND was made: It was made of hammered GOLD from its base to its blossoms. The LAMPSTAND was made EXACTLY LIKE THE PATTERN THE LORD HAD SHOWN MOSES."
At the time when the SEVEN BLAZING LAMPS OR SPIRITS OF GOD illuminate the area IN FRONT OF THE LAMPSTAND, a whole new era begins. The SEVEN SPIRITS have concluded their mission to the CHURCHES THROUGHOUT ALL THE WORLD, and now they resume their role as BLAZING LAMPS BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD as they were before (see Rev 1:4). This heralds in the NEW DAWN that Peter spoke of: 2Pet 1:19 "And we have the WORD OF THE PROPHETS MADE MORE CERTAIN, and you will DO WELL TO PAY ATTENTION TO IT, as to a light shining in a dark place, UNTIL THE DAY DAWNS and the MORNING STAR (Sun of Righteousness Mal 4:2) rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came by the prophets own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Its clear that Peter was anticipating a CERTAIN DAY DAWNING, which is well documented by the prophets. The Churches of God have clearly shown by their interpretation of prophecy that they are no longer listening to the prophets.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
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