Israel's Covenant with Sheol

Israel's Coming King(s)

Latest News from Amir Tsfarti

Isaiah 43 

Restoration and Protection Promised

1 But now thus says the Lord,
   he who created you, O Jacob,
   he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have called you by name, you are mine. 

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you. 

3 For I am the Lord your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

I give Egypt as your ransom,
   Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 

4 Because you are precious in my sight,
   and honoured, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
   nations in exchange for your life. 

5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
   I will bring your offspring from the east,
   and from the west I will gather you; 

6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’,
   and to the south, ‘Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
   and my daughters from the end of the earth— 

7 everyone who is called by my name,
   whom I created for my glory,
   whom I formed and made.’ 

8 Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
   who are deaf, yet have ears! 

9 Let all the nations gather together,
   and let the peoples assemble.
Who among them declared this,
   and foretold to us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them,
   and let them hear and say, ‘It is true.’ 

10 You are my witnesses, says the Lord,
   and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
   and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
   nor shall there be any after me. 

11 I, I am the Lord,
   and besides me there is no savior. 

12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
   when there was no strange god among you;
   and you are my witnesses, says the Lord. 

13 I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
   there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
   I work and who can hinder it? 

14 Thus says the Lord,
   your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I will send to Babylon
   and break down all the bars,
   and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation. 

15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
   the Creator of Israel, your King. 

16 Thus says the Lord,
   who makes a way in the sea,
   a path in the mighty waters, 

17 who brings out chariot and horse,
   army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
   they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 

18 Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old. 

19 I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert. 

20 The wild animals will honour me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people, 

21   the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise. 

22 Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
   but you have been weary of me, O Israel! 

23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt-offerings,
   or honoured me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
   or wearied you with frankincense. 

24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
   or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
   you have wearied me with your iniquities. 

25 I, I am He
   who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
   and I will not remember your sins. 

26 Accuse me, let us go to trial;
   set forth your case, so that you may be proved right. 

27 Your first ancestor sinned,
   and your interpreters transgressed against me. 

28 Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary,
   I delivered Jacob to utter destruction,
and Israel to reviling. 

About a hundred years ago when Jewish immigrants began to trickle back into the land of "Palestine," the earth of Eretz Yisrael was a desolate wasteland. Hills, valleys and plains were all brown and devoid of even grass on every side. The once beautiful streams and rivers had become malarial-ridden swamps. Survival for the first waves of settlers was very difficult as the land could not sustain them. Wandering Bedouin tribes grazing their sheep and camels attacked the settlers and harassed them severely. Today the land of Israel (a nation no bigger than New Jersey) is blossoming like a rose. Millions of trees planted by hand have grown into beautiful forests with the result that the entire climate has changed bringing abundant winter rains as in former times.
"Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD; his going forth is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." (Hosea 6:1-3)

The promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David are most all unconditional covenants. The land---which God owns---has been given to the Jews as their land forever. However the right of the Jews to live in the land is conditional on their obedience (see Deuteronomy 28-30, Amos 9:91-5, Acts 15:14-18, Is. 11:11,12, Jeremiah 23:3-8, Jeremiah 23:3-8, Hos. 2:14,15; 3; Ezekiel 37:21-15 etc.) Because of disobedience, Abraham's heirs in the line of promise were (1) exiled for 400 years in Egypt, (2) sent into captivity into Babylon for 70 years, and (3) dispersed for 2000 years into all the nations---the last time because of their rejection of their rightful Messiah and King, Yeshua (Matthew. 27:22-25).

The present return of the Jews to their land, in our day, is, according to the Bible, their final in-gathering, (The Final Redemption). It is pictured for us in the great vision Ezekiel saw of a valley full of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-4), (Dry Bones). In the vision the Jews were restored to national life bone by bone. First of all out of death, wretchedness, poverty and misery. God has always blessed Eretz Israel, the land, when the Jews were dwelling there. So, today the once-barren hills are covered with millions of young trees. The valleys are lush with green crops of all kinds. Orchards are bountifully yielding oranges and avocados, bananas, tropical fruits and nuts. Exquisite flowers such as roses are air-shipped all over the world. Fish farms teem with life. By the use of pioneering agricultural methods the bounty of the land has been multiplied and the limited water supply used efficiently one drop at a time.

The replanting of the land has changed the entire area climate. Diligent citizens are returning Biblical animals, flora and fauna into the wilderness. Ancient ruins are being rebuilt as gleaming, clean modern settlements at the very sites we read about in the Bible (Isaiah 58:12). Much Old City property once owned by Jews but lost to them is being purchased back from the Arabs shekel by shekel.

Modern Israel is comprised, roughly speaking, of about a million Ashkenazi Jews (returnees from European lands), a million Sephardi's (from Arab and Oriental lands), and 2 millions Sabras (Jews born in the land). As the percentage of Sabras increases one can expect more love of the land based on re-established roots and a quest for a new national identity and destiny under the Messianic promises found in such Old Testament books as Isaiah. Last year (1994) 16,000 Falashas (Ethiopian Jews) were air-lifted home to Zion in a single weekend, and the nation also saw the in gathering of 600,000 Russian Jews, suddenly fulfilling in part the prophecy of Isaiah 43:6 (compare Matthew 24:31).

But now thus says the LORD, 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...Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, 'Give up', and to the south, 'Do not withhold'; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name..."
The Prophet Ezekiel said that the Jews would be brought back into the land in a condition of general unbelief in the God of their fathers. After the dry bones had been reassembled, flesh would come upon the bones and the people would begin to stir with natural life. Then, last of all, the life of the indwelling Spirit of God would be theirs. Rich family values, Biblically-derived ethical codes of behavior, the best army in the world, sound principles of health, diet and sanitation are--even now--theirs again. Art, literature, music, museums, nature preserves, have sprung up-a flourishing high culture reminiscent of the days of King David. All these have returned to Israel in recent years through the invisible restorative blessing of God as promised to their forefathers.

Last of all, Ezekiel in his vision saw the assembled dry-bones, clothed with flesh, brought into fullness of life by the wind of the Spirit. This passage speaks of the physical resurrection of believing Israel in these last days, but includes the conversion of an entire generation (actually, probably one-third) of the Jews in the land in the days immediately prior to the return of the true Messiah (Zechariah 9:15-17, 12:10-14, 13:8).

It is true that much of Israel today is a secular people, a highly diverse, complex tiny nation made up of scientists, intellectuals, humanists, secularists and ordinary people who are like the peoples many other countries in the West today. Only a small percentage of Israelis are religiously oriented or strictly observant. But in the past decade a consciousness that the God of Israel is a powerful living Spirit has quietly seeped more and more into the national consciousness. This awakened religious Zionism centers around the Temple Mount as its focal point. Most Jews now have a keen sense of Israel's unique calling, of their 4000 years of survival against all odds, and they hold on to a strong hope for a secure future against all natural odds. They have chosen to live in the land despite hardship, huge taxes, obligatory military duties and a weak democratic government which leaves a lot to be desired. Though a very pluralistic people ("two Jews means three opinions") Israel unites as one man in times of war or national crisis. Most all Israelis can tell amazing war stories of God's mighty hand on behalf of Israel during the many wars Israel has fought since statehood was declared in 1948. Clearly the Lord Sabaoth---the Lord of mighty armies---is with them---and most Jews know it.

Shabbat is observed by many in Israel today as is Passover, Tabernacles, Yom Kippur, Purim, the 9th of Av, Hanukkah, etc. These are deeply meaningful as well as popular holidays for children and adults alike. Students in the public schools study and know the Bible, speak fluent Hebrew, serve in the Army, and learn Biblical moral values as part of their duty of living in a holy land given by God to them as a specially chosen people. Soldiers carry their Bibles into battle and pray at the Western Wall when they are in Jerusalem.

"Israel without a temple is like a man without a heart," Rabbi Joel Lerner told our 1993 tour group audience gathered for the Second Annual Conference on the Temple Mount. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute spoke on the paradoxical aspects of the coming Jewish Messiah. He said that some parts of the Tanach seemed to infer that Messiah, a son of David, would come to them as a lowly man riding on a donkey. Other scriptures described Messiah as a warrior king with mighty armies. This year a sign painted on the Eastern Gate of the Old City this year proclaims, "Welcome Messiah." Most of the nation of Israel now realizes that the promised day of redemption is fast approaching---that salvation is from the Jews-and that if Israel does not survive, neither will the world. If necessary they will fight to the last man, though outnumbered 100 to 1 by their enemies. Yet in the midst of these uncertainties the shalom of God allows daily life in Israel to go on with safety and prosperity and a sense of security---contrary to what the media abroad infers.

In the past decade, a dozen separate and loosely affiliated organizations have sprung up and rapidly grown in size and influence---all concerned with the rebuilding of the Third Temple. When the Temple Mount site itself is somehow returned to the custody of the State of Israel---out from under over 1300 years of Moslem control---these groups are ready to build the Third Jewish Temple immediately. In the past, Israel has had two great temples located on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, at the mountain where Abraham offered Isaac and where Jesus was crucified. Solomon's temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC, and the Second Temple (enlarged by Herod the Great) was burned and leveled by General Titus and the Romans in AD 70. Since then Jews have had no central place of worship or sacrifice.

For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:4,5)

The existence of a Third Temple in Jerusalem is clear in Matthew 24:15, in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, and in Revelation 11:1,2. These descriptions speak of a temple which is not now in existence but which will exist by the time of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, (see Zechariah 14:1-9, Matthew 24:29-31, and Revelation 19:11-16).

According to the Bible, God will honor all his many promises made to the patriarchs of Israel---by restoring Israel to be the chief of all the nations in the coming kingdom age. The boundaries of the land will be extended and made secure. A descendant of David will sit on the throne of Israel forever-and the twelve disciples will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Leaders of other nations will then come to worship the God of Israel and to seek counsel from the king in Jerusalem-or if they do not, they will suffer adverse consequences (see Zechariah 14:16-19).

The true Messiah, Yeshua ben David of the tribe of Judah, will "shepherdize the nations with a rod of iron" (Revelation 19:15), choosing faithful believers to rule and reign with him. One thousand years of peace under Messiah's reign will bring the healing of our battered earth, release from the ravages of war, famine, and disease. It is to be earth's long awaited golden age of peace and prosperity (Isaiah 65:18-25).

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 the next event Christians should expect (called the Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13) is the silent, unannounced return of Jesus (his parousia) when he will come to call out the true church, the Bride of Christ, like a thief in the night. Living believers will be summoned by a heavenly trumpet and transformed after the Lord Jesus raises the dead in Christ of all ages by a shout of command. The archangel Michael's call will summon the Jewish nation, especially 144,000 Jewish evangelists to the center stage of end time events. This event (the rapture) will be largely overlooked by the world, possibly treated in the media as some sort of minor UFO abduction. Church attendance will only be only slightly affected in many cases!

"But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

"But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape. But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
The removal of the true church from the earth will allow false religion (the harlot church of Revelation 17) to flourish and to come into her day. The removal of God's restraining hand against evil in the world (which today takes place through the salt and light of his true church)---will allow the final man of sin to be publicly unveiled, as described in 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-15. This man of sin is actually one of two deadly enemies of man. Either or both of these men have been called the antichrist. In spite of Israel's current spiritual awakening and renewed interest in the Bible, Scripture says that nation as a whole will accept a false Messiah before they later come to know the real Messiah, Yeshua. Jesus predicted this when he said to the Jews, "I have come in my Father's name and you [Israel] would not receive me. Another will come in his own name---him you will receive." (John 5:43)

The prophet Daniel wrote of a peace treaty that the man of sin, the Jewish false Messiah, would in the last times bring about in the middle east between the Jews and Arabs (Daniel 9:27), probably this would involve a trading of land for peace. This peace treaty will be engineered by a powerful Western World leader who arises out of the restored old Roman Empire, (now taking shape as the European Community, and possibly including the United States). This world political leader is described in Revelation 13 as the beast out of the sea [of nations], while the false prophet in Israel is called the beast out of the land [of Israel]. They are in league together and empowered fully by Satan---man's, and God's---ancient enemy. Their false peace treaty is what the prophet Isaiah called Israel's coming "covenant with death."It will utterly fail after three and a half years (see Matthew 24)---immediately precipitating something akin to World War III, but far worse.
Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter"; therefore thus says the Lord GOD,

Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: `He who believes will not be in haste.' And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter." Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it. (Isaiah 28:14-28)
The "overwhelming scourge" Isaiah speaks of ushers in the time of Jacob's trouble for Israel, and the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord as far as the rest of mankind is returned. The Book of the Revelation details the nearly universal destruction of life that will take place on earth during this final three and a half year great tribulation period.

During the last hundred years God has restored the Jews to their land, rearranged with the flick of His finger the old Soviet Union (the Eastern Branch of the Old Roman Empire), drastically reconfigured Western Europe, pushed the world towards one world government (brought about also by economic and military expediency), and surrounded Israel with deadly powerful foes that did not exist before the last century.

Today the daily news assaults us gentiles with graphic evidence of terrible social problems: child abuse, scandals, crime and violence; abortion slaughters, special privileges for homosexuals, unchecked sexual promiscuity, (fostered in the public schools); unprecedented divorce and marital infidelity, an epidemic spread of sexually transmitted diseases, terrible levels of starvation abroad and terrorism on an international scale perpetrated by fanatical mad men. The Russians are selling high tech weaponry including nuclear weapons to all comers. All these signs are there for us to see and to take warning from.

Yet the Christian church, Christ's body on earth, entrusted not only with the message of the gospel---the only good news to a lost world which has no hope, Christ's church equipped with mighty weapons for spiritual warfare and the only truth and power-source that can change the world---slumbers on the sidelines like a fat dumb old ostrich with her head in the sand---oblivious to the signs of the times. The end of the age is now fast coming upon us. The mighty church Jesus called to take aggressive assault against the very gates of hell (Matthew 16:18) is now (most everywhere) the compromised, lukewarm Laodicean assembly Jesus said he would vomit this church out of his mouth. (See The Church Papers).
As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot-they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all---so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed. On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left." (Luke 17:26-37)
Though the hour is late and the world now very dark, God's mercy is stretched out still---to all of mankind without distinction or favoritism. His kindness is meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4); He does wish anyone to perish but longs for all men to come to know him, (2 Peter 3:9). Today is still the age of grace and there is still time for acting upon the glorious good news that God has provided for our deepest needs in the death of his Son, Jesus.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

The Fiftieth Generation

Our Commonwealth is in Heaven

The Apostle Paul (a Jew) and the Jewish People

Romans 9

I  tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For  I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites,  to whom pertain the adoption,  the glory,  the covenants,  the giving of the law,  the service of God, and  the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from  whom, according to the flesh, Christ came,  who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. 6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For  they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but,  “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but  the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise:  “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only this, but when  Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac s11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of  Him who calls), 12 it was said to her,  “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written,  “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” 14 What shall we say then?  Is  there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses,  “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it  is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For  the Scripture says to the Pharaoh,  “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He  hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For  who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?  Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the  potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make  one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering  the vessels of wrath  prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known  the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had  prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He  called,  not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.” 26 “And  it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.” 29 And as Isaiah said before: “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.” 30 What shall we say then?  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness,  even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel,  pursuing the law of righteousness,  has not attained to the law of righteousness.32 Why? Because they  did not seek  it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For  they stumbled at that stumbling stone.33 As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And  whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness  that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of  God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own  righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For  Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law,  “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way,  “Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from  above) 7 or,  “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say?  “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): ß9 that  if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For  there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for  the same Lord over all  is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For  “whoever calls  on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear  without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says,  “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those  who  are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a  foolish nation.” 20 But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” 21 But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people.”

Romans 11

I say then,  has God cast away His people?  Certainly not! For  I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom  He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? 4 But what does the divine response say to him?  “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And  if by grace, then it  is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it  is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. 7 What then?  Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were  blinded. 8 Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.” 9 And David says: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling bloc k and a recompense to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always.” 11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to  jealousy, salvation has  come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those  who  are my flesh and  save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 For if  the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if  some of the branches were broken off,  and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,  if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise  you also will be cut off. 23 And they also,  if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches,be grafted into their own olive tree? 28 Concerning the gospel they  are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they  are  beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30For as you  were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them  all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the  mind of the Lord? Or  who has become His counselor?” 35 “Or  who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For  of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, whom be glory forever. Amen.


For the third year in a row I was privileged to tour the land of Israel in early March this year along with Chuck and Nancy Missler and 70 pilgrims. My specific responsibility on this tour was to organize and host the Third Annual Temple Conference in Jerusalem where Jewish scientists and religious leaders presented 10 papers concerned with the location of the First and Second Temples and plans and projections concerning the coming of the Jewish Messiah.* Visiting the Holy Land is for me always exhilarating and refreshing. First time visitors always come alive in their faith when they see all the historic places and realize we serve a living God who acts in history, and when they see that we believing gentiles have been invited to come under God's New Covenant with Israel. promised in Jeremiah 31:31-37, Isaiah 54:117, Ezekiel 34:22-31; 37:21-28-and instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper (see Matthew 26:26-28).

Winter rains were late this year, but the land was lush and green with wild flowers abounding. Hotels were full and international tourists were everywhere, seemingly undeterred by scattered violence in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip. The high quality of family life and signs of prosperity in modern Israel, accompanied by an absence of the kind of daily news barrage of crime, corruption, scandal and violence that occupies American TV made us aware of God's grace presently resting on the land of Israel---while the gentile nations continue to come apart at the seams with all haste. In many ways living in Israel would seem to be preferable (on the surface at least) to enduring the decadence of our rapidly-collapsing western civilization.

Just as the Jewish prophets of old predicted, many of the people of Israel have returned from their 2000 year diaspora back into their land, though in a condition of general unbelief. That is, Israel today is a secular state with the majority of her citizens governed by materialistic, humanistic and even New World Order ideologies. Yet as He has always done, God has left a believing remnant within His land. "So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace" (Romans 11:5). This remnant today consists of a growing number of some thousands of "Messianic Jews" who openly believe in Yeshua as Messiah, a good number of secret Jewish believers, and a substantial number of God-fearing Orthodox Jews (with whom evangelical Christians have very much in common).

Among the few percent in Israel who believe the Bible is the Word of God, and who claim for their land the promises (covenants) God made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David there is much concern these days. To them the current international peace negotiations are an ill omen indeed. Many see their own government as a band of traitors bent on dismantling the state of Israel and allowing the Arabs to whittle away at the borders and settlements until nothing is left. Many Orthodox Jews are aware that the Bible speaks of a coming false messiah who will "divide the land for a price" in an attempt to gain a peace treaty with the Arabs (Daniel 11:39), in concert with western world powers (Daniel 9:27). They are aware that things will get worse before they get better, and that Israel's greatest trials are yet future. Isaiah spoke of an approaching "covenant with death" Israel would make with foreign powers when he wrote some 2700 years ago:

Israel's Covenant with Death---and it's Annulment by God

"Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! Because you have said, 'We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter;' therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: "He who believes will not be in haste." And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.' Then your covenant [Israel] with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it. As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.

"For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim, he will be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; to do his deed strange is his deed! and to work his work-alien is his work! Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts upon the whole earth." (Isaiah 28:14-22)
For many evangelicals, keeping an eye on the Temple Mount is like watching a kind of spiritual compass which is supposed to be pointing to the end of the age. This is because the end-time tribulation, also called "the time of Jacob's trouble" commences with Israel's signing of this false peace treaty with the West. This final peace covenant can only happen after the rapture of the church (described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11) and the subsequent unveiling of a great world leader known as "the man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:1:12). Actually, scripture speaks of two prominent world leaders of evil bent in the end time: the first is the political leader of the Western community of nations known as "the beast out of the sea" and the second a treacherous false messiah in Israel "the beast out of the land." These two men are described in Revelation 13:1-10 and 11-18, respectively. The latter will no doubt be the man Jesus predicted 2000 years ago when He said to the Jews, "I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me; another will come in his own name---him you will receive." (John 5:43).

A new, or Third Temple, existing in Israel during these final seven years---which are also called the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:25-27) is mentioned in Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:1-4. Today, hundreds of priests descended from Levi are training for service in this temple. Many of the gold, silver and brass sacred vessels needed for the temple service have been carefully and lovingly crafted by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. Half a dozen vigorous groups of Temple Mount liberators are waiting for God's opportunity to regain Jewish sovereignty of the Temple Mount out from under the control of the Moslem WAQF who have controlled the site almost continuously for 1300 years. When Jewish control over the Temple Mount is somehow regained, ideally the site will be quickly explored archaeologically, the exact location of the consecrated foundation stone determined, and then the Third Temple quickly erected, consecrated and placed into service. Just how the Temple will come to be built is a matter of endless speculation. The Bible gives no clues as to whether the temple will be built before or after the rapture or whether or not the false peace treaty will play a role in the negotiations for the temple. Of course the Third Temple will be built under the terms of the Old Covenant not the New and is definitely part of Israel's economy not that of the church as the New Testament letter of Hebrews comments upon in great detail.

Numerous passages in the Tanach (the Jewish Bible) tell of Israel's final testing and the coming of her Messiah in power and glory.

The Time of Jacob's Trouble

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it."

These are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: "Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! that day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. "And it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I will break the yoke from off their neck, and I will burst their bonds, and strangers shall no more make servants of them. But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

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

"For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant. Why do you cry out over your hurt? Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you. Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who despoil you shall become a spoil, and all who prey on you I will make a prey. For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the LORD, because they have called you an outcast: 'It is Zion, for whom no one cares!' "Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be. Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who make merry. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. Their children shall be as they were of old, and their congregation shall be established before me; and I will punish all who oppress them. Their prince shall be one of themselves, their ruler shall come forth from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? says the LORD. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God." Behold the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this. (Jeremiah 30)

The Judgment of the Nations---Based on their Treatment of the Jews

"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations, and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and have sold a girl for wine, and have drunk it. 'What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will requite your deed upon your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. But now I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will requite your deed upon your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far off; for the LORD has spoken.'

"Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, 'I am a warrior.' Hasten and come, all you nations round about, gather yourselves there. Bring down thy warriors, O LORD. Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations round about. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. And the LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake.

"But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. 'So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy and strangers shall never again pass through it. And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness, for the violence done to the people of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to all generations. I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the LORD dwells in Zion.'" (Joel 3) (Compare Matthew 25:31-46)
Israel's final trial great and terrible though it will be, will also be the time of God's devastating judgments of the gentile nations. These are described in the vivid and frightening images given to us in the last book of the Bible. Just as God will judge and destroy the wicked from all the earth during those days, He will save all those who believe and trust in Yeshua from all the nations in those days---due to the faithful witness of 144,000 Jewish evangelists who announce good news around the globe during the tribulation period. A time of harvest and a time of judgment is about to come upon the whole earth. Of these things all the prophets speak.

The Great Harvest of the World

Another parable Jesus put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he said, 'No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn."' (Matthew 13:24-30)

"Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe." So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle." (Revelation 14:14-16)
...and the Judgment of the Unbelieving Majority in Israel
"Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, 'Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.' So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God; and the wine press was trodden outside the city (Jerusalem), and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse's bridle, for one thousand six hundred stadia" (180 miles). (Revelation 14:17-20)
In great detail, the Apostle Paul addresses the problem of Israel's present-time general unbelief in Romans 9, 10 and 11. He reminds us gentile believers that we are "wild olive branches" grafted into the true root of believing Israel-into the faith of Abraham. In the same connection He speaks of Israel's final deliverance, and ours:
"Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written 'The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob'; 'and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen." (Romans 9:25-36)


I have never been much into "conspiracy theories" which purport to show scary connections between world events and those sundry elite secret societies who really run the world. For one thing, "...the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one" John the Apostle declared in the First Century. That Satan, "the god of this world" should orchestrate his dominion over this present evil age by a thousand crafty wiles and schemes should surprise no one who reads his Bible even in a cursory manner.

Better, I have always thought, to keep one's eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ and count on His protection than becoming preoccupied with the diabolical evil by which the Enemy of God and man deceives and destroys entire nations as well as countless individuals in every generation.

However as informed followers of Christ we must not keep our heads in the sand like dumb ostriches. Regarding Satan, we ought to be as Paul was, "not ignorant of his devices."

Chuck Missler's Strategic Trends of the 90's briefing package occupied my attention just prior to my recent trip to Israel February 13-23. I was privileged for the fourth year in a row to be invited to accompany 150 fellow Christians on an extensive tour of the Holy Land. (For most in the group this was their first pilgrimage-in fact we baptized 62 new believers in the overflowing River Jordan while we were there.)

Missler's latest briefing package, just mentioned, calls attention to alarming and undeniable evidence that a One-Word-Government program and the associated New Age Movement have nearly all their controlling tentacles now in place-a "shadow government" is in fact already virtually in full control of most of the world. The sovereignty of individual nations and governments (elected or otherwise) is a thing of the past. So are "civil rights," justice in the courts, and due-process of the law.

Working behind the scenes-largely through banks and economic institutions-an international conspiracy has in fact bought out the loyalty of political candidates of both major parties in this country, taken over the media almost completely, saturated the educational system with secular humanism, replaced traditional science with scientific naturalism, and put in place a central regionalized world unification system of ten kingdoms. Networked and bank-rolled through a thousand think tanks and innocent-appearing government agencies, the aim is to bring in the New World Order as if it were an entirely innocuous, logical, grass-roots movement posing no threat to individual freedoms, or to democracy---a new system made necessary because of world population problems, a growing need for international police action, and an all-too logical global concern for the environment.

With these Misslerian fresh insights in mind en route to Israel my first questions to long-term dear friends in Israel focused on the extent of any New World Order control in the land of God's chosen people Israel. To our dismay Chuck and I immediately learned from several sources that Israel, too, was now fully wired into the system of the behind-the-scenes world-wide end-time shadow government of the Prince of Darkness.

To add to this discouraging picture, it was immediately clear to us that the current Labor government in Israel is systematically dismantling and destroying---piece by piece---God's land of Israel. Most of the Israeli general public seems to be doing nothing about this national suicide as if they were crushed in spirit and shocked by disbelief that such things could happen after a century-long struggle to establish the free state and the democracy of modern Israel. Jews seem to be their own worst enemies-the country is polarized nowadays more than ever-between those who hold secular, humanistic values and those who hold (to some degree) to faith in the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David.

Not only the PLO but virtually the entire Arab world has publicly reaffirmed in recent months that their ultimate plan is to take over and rule all of Israel as a "New Palestine." Furthermore, the Jews must be eliminated entirely in the process! In spite of the known treachery of the PLO and the clear statements of Islam that all the world must be brought into subjection to Allah---by abrogating signed peace agreements and taking up the sword if necessary---Israel's current leaders continue to sell out to their worst enemies in vain hopes for peace at any price. This current "peace" process makes no reference to the Prince of Peace, or even to the God of Israel who owns the land in the first place, so it is no surprise that terrorism and violence have continued to escalate ever since the current government's blasphemous "peace process" began. Informed, moral, decent, solid citizens of Israel seem paralyzed to step in and call their present leaders into account for something that surely is akin to high treason.

Not only in Israel, but in the US, in England, and in Europe, good, moral leaders waiting in the wings to bring righteousness, leadership and decency back into government-are few and far between. This power vacuum seems to be part of God's plan to allow the world to be fully given over to the final government of a Satanic counterfeit. Earth's final slick, convincing charismatic leader will command not only the loyalty but also the worship of the great majority of earth's citizens, though he will be in fact the final incarnation of evil. (See 2 Thessalonians 2)

It would seem the Rapture of the true Church "as a thief in the night" (I Thessalonians 4) must surely be imminent. The departure of the Bride of Christ is the next key event in world history that will allow the world to move unrestrained into its final seven-years of unbridled evil and destruction before Jesus finally brings in the golden age of the Millennium.

God promised long ago to bring the Jews back to the land, and that He has done in extraordinary, miraculous, ways during the past 100 years. The Lord of hosts has fought for Israel and won their battles for them against overwhelming odds in terrible wars since statehood was declared in 1948. Yet for the most part the Jews are not yet a believing, thankful people. Religious hypocrisy and treachery in high places is commonplace, reminding us visitors of the scribes and Pharisees Jesus denounced in white-hot anger when He came to Israel the last time. The 20th Century resembles the First Century in many ways!

It is true that God said His regathering of Israel from their 2000 year Diaspora would bring them back in unbelief (Ezekiel 36-37). Their national conversion and acknowledgment of their rightful Messiah would come only at their most desperate hour (Zechariah 12:9-14). It would seem the next move on behalf of Israel may well be up to the sovereign initiative of God. Ezekiel tells us why,
"Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their doings; their conduct before me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood which they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries; in accordance with their conduct and their deeds I judged them. But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that men said of them, `These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.'

"But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel caused to be profaned among the nations to which they came. 'Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations will know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.'

"'For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses; and I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominable deeds.'

"'It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.'" (Ezekiel 36:17-32)
Israel was lush and green this year for our tour. Wild flowers were in full bloom, and the weather was mild and very pleasant. As usual we felt safe and secure in visiting God's land and God's people. But we saw signs of hatred and great violence lying just beneath the surface in the Arab districts. It was not safe for us to visit Shechem, Hebron, and Gaza, but we negotiated our way in and out of Jericho without incident. But pickpockets were operating effectively on the Mount of Olives and in the Garden of Gethsemane.

On a more positive note, the recent peace treaty between Jordan and Israel appears to be of real mutual benefit to both countries and actually provides buffering between Israel and her more virulent enemies-Syria and Iraq. Jordan's economy stands to be helped greatly in several important ways. Daniel 11:41 and other passages indicate that Jordan will be spared the full brunt of World War III, and there is good scriptural support indicating that the remnant of believing Jews who flee Jerusalem and Judea at the midpoint of the tribulation (Matthew 24:15-21) will find refuge in Bozrah and Petra, Southern Jordan, until Messiah rescues them there three and a half years later. He will then bring them back to Jerusalem as part of His triumphant return to be King and Ruler over all the earth (Isaiah 63, Zechariah 14:1-4, Revelation 19:11-21).

Our Fourth Annual Temple Mount Conference was highlighted this year in a special way by my good friend Architect Tuvia Sagiv's dazzling lecture with much new evidence supporting his proposed location for the First and Second Temples near El Kas fountain (between the Moslem Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque). Very recent infra-red aerial images of the Dome of the Rock suggest the bedrock was cut into the form of a pentagon in very ancient times. If this checks out, then the present Dome of the Rock is probably a former Canaanite High Place---originally complete with a sacred pillar to Ashtoreth. (See Josiah's reforms in 2 Kings 23). Ancient graves in what is the now the cave under the Dome of the Rock would preclude the First Temple from having been built on the site where the present Dome of the Rock stands. Tuvia builds a strong case for the Southern Location of the Temple, in which case Fortress Antonio would have stood at the present location of the Dome of the Rock in the time of Jesus. In addition Tuvia built a convincing case that Hadrian, not Herod, was responsible for many of the major features of the Temple Mount as they are today.

As never before, now is the time to pray for the peace of Jerusalem---as Christians are commanded to do in Psalm 122:6. Perhaps a stronger prayer petition from we gentile believers (who have been grafted in as wild olive branches into the true root of believing Israel---Romans 11:16ff) is appropriate for this present desperate hour in Israel's history. Clearly the whole world continues to rush pell-mell towards the one- world-order rule of the Western-world's military/political dictator, "the Beast out of the Sea," and Israel's false Messiah, "the Beast out of the Land"---described for us in Revelation 13.

Isaiah's cry to God, well suited to the present times is found in Chapter 64:

"O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at thy presence---as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil-to make thy name known to thy adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at thy presence!

When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains quaked at thy presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him. Thou meetest him that joyfully works righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways.

Behold, thou wast angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one that calls upon thy name, that bestirs himself to take hold of thee; for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast delivered us into the hand of our iniquities.

Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand. Be not exceedingly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity for ever. Behold, consider, we are all thy people. Thy holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. Wilt thou restrain thyself at these things, O LORD? Wilt thou keep silent, and afflict us sorely?"

Three Trips to Israel, c.1994

2001 Tour to Israel with Glenn Miller

Expert Lectures on the Temple Mount 1993 MP3

Egypt--Mount Sinai--Israel

Behold the Messiah

Geophysical Projects in Egypt 1974, 1976, 1938

Geophysical Projects in Israel, 1983

Geophysics of the Temple Mount 1995

Tribute to Stanley Goldfoot

The Second Psalm helps keep everything in perspective in the midst of world upheavals now going on, with greater ones yet to come.
God is in charge of history and His king is in place and ready to rule the nations from Jerusalem.


Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and his anointed, saying,
"Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us."
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,
"I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling, kiss his feet, lest he be angry,
and you perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

 The Temple Mount in Jerusalem

For more information on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, research concerning the location of the First and Second Temples and recent developments there see our separate web site. Maps and history of Jerusalem are brought up to date with MP3 lectures by leading scholars and research papers concerning the location of the Jewish Temples and plans for a Third Temple. Developed with the help of Mike Kollen, Jim Milligan and Norma Robertson.

Early History of the Temple Mount

Does God need a Temple?


A Digession Concerning the Afterlife

Sheol, Hades, Hell, the Place of Torment, the Abyss, the Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, Gehenna, the Lake of Fire and Outer Darkness are all the names of places of punishment and death. What do we know about them? Where are they? None of them are visible on the face of the earth, but the Bible does give information about where they are and the purpose of each.

Sheol and Hades. Prior to Jesus’ atonement for the sins of man, the souls of all who died went to a place called Sheol (Hebrew). It is defined as the world of the dead, the underworld, and, in the Old Testament, the word is translated into English as the pit, the grave, and hell.  

In the New Testament, the Greek word for this place is Hades, and our English translation is Hell.

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus described the abode of the dead as having two compartments. One, a place of torment.  The other, a place of comfort called Abraham’s Bosom, which is no longer inhabited.

Abraham’s Bosom

Although this article is about the places of punishment, we’d be remiss not to address Abraham’s Bosom, the place of comfort, prior to Jesus’ atonement for sins.  Abraham’s Bosom was in the “heart of the earth” (Mat 12:40), and was a type of holding cell for the righteous who died prior to Jesus’ ascension back to Heaven (Acts 1) when He opened the way to Heaven for all who repent and trust in Him.

Abraham’s Bosom is now empty. Ephesians 4:8 tells that “When [Jesus] ascended up on high [to Heaven], He led captivity captive…”  That means He led those in Abraham’s Bosom to their heavenly resting place. Since that time, when someone dies in Christ, they go immediately to be with Jesus (Phil 1:23, 2 Cor 5:6, 8, Rev 6:9, 1 Thessalonians 4:14). (For more information, read Where did OT saints go at death? Abraham’s Bosom? Where was it?). 

The Place of Torment

Before the cross, all who died in their sins went to the Place of Torment spoken of in Luke 16:24. This is true after the cross also.  All unregenerate people go to the Place of Torment, which is in the earth.  Since forgiven sinners, regenerated by God, now go directly to Heaven, Abraham’s Bosom (the place of comfort) is no longer inhabited and there only remains the place of torment.  So when we call this place Hell (or Haides), it no longer means simply the abode of the dead (as in Old Testament times).  Hell clearly now means the abode of the unrighteous dead.  It is a holding place for the souls of those who rejected God, and one day those souls will be raised in a bodily resurrection (John 5:28) to be judged by their works (Revelation 20:11).

Extra-biblical Information

The Book of Enoch lists four compartments in the underworld (1 En 22:9-13). However, it must be noted that the Book of Enoch is apocryphal, meaning it is not recognized as Holy Scripture. While it is a book that has survived through the ages, the teachings cannot be considered inspired or infallible. The Book of Enoch contains many teachings that are incompatible with biblical truths and therefore discredits it as anything more than an ancient book. Never attribute any authority to its teachings.  It can be interesting to read, but always remember what it says is of questionable truth.

That said, the book does tell about the abode of the dead.  It tells of the two compartments mentioned in the Bible in Luke 16 and also tells of two more places that hold spirits. This is for your consideration only.

A Third Place

The Book of Enoch elaborates on what the Bible tells about the destiny of those who died in the Great Flood. Genesis 6 tells of the time when corruption reigned on the earth and the thoughts of men’s hearts were evil continually (Gen 6:5). All of the people, except eight people — Noah and his family — perished in the flood waters.

The Book of Enoch suggests that those who perished are held in a specially reserved place. In Rev 20:13 we read, “the sea gave up the dead which in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were

We know that the reference to “death and Hell” is a reference to the place of torment for unregenerate human souls, but what about the dead that the sea gives us? If the Book of Enoch is correct, saying that they come up from the deepest parts of the sea, then those who are raised up would pass through the waters of the sea, which was the original cause of their death (Genesis 6). That would make this place, in the depths of the sea, a type of Davy Jones’s Locker, a type of holding cell until final judgment. 

While this book is not considered authoritative truth, the description of this third place does seem to fit somewhat with that which we know about the Abyss, the Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, and Outer Darkness (to be covered in part two of this article). 

A Fourth Place

The Book of Enoch also suggests a fourth place, however, what it does not harmonize with the teachings of the Bible. The Book of Enoch tells that some sinners will be distinguished from the transgressors (those who sinned grievously) and that Jesus will cause them to repent, and, through His name, they will be saved (Enoch 50). This is in direct contradiction to biblical teachings and therefore should be rejected.

Again, while the Book of Enoch is an ancient writing that has survived the ages, it is not the Word of God.  It might be interesting, but it is not inspired by God or preserved by Him. Read it only with a curiosity, never for doctrinal instruction.

Summary of Hell (Hades) After the Cross

Hell (Greek word Hades), prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, had two compartments,

  • There is no longer a place of comfort in the heart of the earth.
  • Hell is now a “holding cell” for the unrighteous dead only (1 Pet 3:19, Acts 2:27).  It is a place of torment in the depths of the earth. 
  • That place of torment is just a temporal place of punishment (Luke 12:48, 16:24) until the final judgment. 
  • Hell is not the same as the Abyss, Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, or Outer Darkness.
So, what are all those other places? What do we know about them?
In Part Two, we’ll consider what the Bible teaches about the Abyss, Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, and Outer Darkness.

We Don’t Want Anyone to Go to Hell

Be diligent and bold to share the gospel with all people.  Those who do not know Jesus need to hear the good news of His saving grace.  Those who do know Jesus will be strengthened and encouraged when you share gospel truths with them. (Reason for Hope)

The Back Side of Love

Charles Wesley's great hymn

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

---fills us with renewed anticipation that the time of Messiah's coming is surely very soon,
indeed it would seem "He is at the very gates."

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free:
From our fears and sins release us;
let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the world Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child, and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.

Notes: Only about 2% of the population of Israel is professing Christian. This number includes remnants from historical Christian churches dating from the First Century. “Messianic Jews” who acknowledge Yeshua are a vocal, but rapidly growing minority, in Israel but they numbering perhaps only 1% of the populace. The religious segment of the Jewish population is about 8% Haredim (ultra-Orthodox), 25% “non-religious traditionalists” and 43% “secular.” About half of the Jews in the world presently live outside the land, the majority in the United States. Ezekiel 36 and 37 make specific reference to the return of the Jews to the land. Jews number about 0.225% of the world population. They will all be brought home in the near future.

Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy 

Leisure Reading

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem Web Site

God's Long Term Purpose for Israel

Dry Bones

Israel is the Key to World Peace

The Ruthlessness of God

Israel My Glory (Aliyah)

Entering God's Sabbath Rest

Jesus, the Avenger of Blood

The Terror of the Lord

Tyre and Sidon

Jesus our Jubilee

The Day of the Lord

Jesus, Greater than Moses

The Wife of Jehovah, The Bride of Christ

The Last Church Before the Rapture

The Assyrian

The Gog/Magog Invasion

God's Land -- God's People

Strike the Shepherd

Notes by Lambert Dolphin

Lambert's Place

Email Lambert Dolphin

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--Horace Bissell

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