For two thousand years, Christians all over the world have been watching the signs of the times, with an eye on the clouds, always waiting and wondering when Yeshua (Jesus) would return.
They have witnessed, lived through, and died at the hands of unspeakable evil. The words of Yeshua in Matthew 24 have been forever on our lips. There have been earthquakes, famines, pestilences, false prophets, wars and rumors of wars. And always we have wondered how much worse can things get? Surely this present evil is the last straw, the one which will bring God to the point of judgment. Yet Yeshua has lingered- God’s patience for mankind reaching far beyond what our own sinful hearts can. So when leaders in the Christian world today speak of the soon return of the Messiah, many scoff. Perhaps they have been so hardened by the wait that they no longer believe.
There is a problem with what 2000 years’ worth of Christians have looked at to determine the signs of the times, however. In my 3-part article “Who is Israel? And What Role, If Any, Does She Play in God’s Kingdom” I explain how the Gentile church’s anti-Semitic history has not only removed the Jewishness from Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible, but has also effectively eliminated the importance of the Old Testament. This, then, is the problem.
What Yeshua said in Matthew 24 was not the be all, end all of end time prophecy. To get the complete picture, one must study a great deal of the Old Testament. In fact, sixteen of the OT books are books of prophecy. Many of the prophecies written there have already been fulfilled in the first coming of Messiah, and the events that happened to the nation of Judah in the year 70 AD when the Jews were scattered throughout the world. Many others have not. The only way to truly understand end-time prophecy is to study the Old Testament.
This is the year 2016, and I am telling you that the time of Yeshua’s return is near, very near. Not because of the evil of this present age, not because of the increase in natural disasters, not because there is unbelievable unrest all over the world. I am telling you this because of what is happening to and around Israel.
Israel is the key to understanding end-time prophecy.
The rapture, the 2nd coming of Messiah, the Tribulation, they all center on Israel, not the Church. When Israel became a nation in her own land in 1948, the ball was set in motion because that was a prophecy that had remained unfulfilled until that time.
I want to address a couple of terms. First, the House of Israel and the House of Ephraim are one and the same. They are the 10 tribes of Israel which became the Northern Kingdom after the time of King Solomon. They were eventually assimilated by Assyria, not to be heard from until this past decade in which the remnant God preserved has begun to awaken and return to the Promised Land.
Second, the House of Judah was the 2 remaining tribes, which became the Southern Kingdom of Israel, or just Judah. They were taken captive by Babylon (where they were first called Jews), but allowed to return to Jerusalem 70 years later (a fulfilled OT prophecy). These same Jews were the ones who centuries later bore Yeshua (Jesus), and later played a major role in crucifying Him. As a consequence, another 70 years later, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and all the Jews were scattered throughout the world. The land of Israel was gone, and the people were no longer a nation. Finally, the Whole House of Israel is all 12 tribes of Israel, the House of Israel/Ephraim and the House of Judah, united as the original nation of Israel that God designed.
With this quick lesson in terminology under our belts, let’s start digging into what Ezekiel has to say about what is happening in our world today.
Ezekiel 36:7-12 (TLV) –
Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘I have lifted My hand. Surely the nations that surround you will themselves suffer scorn. “‘But you, mountains of Israel, you will shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit for My people Israel; for their return is near. For behold, I am for you. I will turn to you. You will be tilled and sown. I will settle a large population upon you—the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities will be inhabited. The desolate places will be built up. I will multiply man and beast upon you. They will increase and be fruitful. I will cause you to be inhabited as you were before. I will do better for you than at your beginnings. You will know that I am Adonai. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance. You will no longer deprive them of children.’”
These verses are a promise from God that He would someday return the whole house of Israel to the land He promised them. This little bit of wording is so important in understanding what is being said here. God said “the whole house of Israel, all of it.” Israel has not been united since the civil war divided it after King Solomon died.
As I mentioned above, the House of Israel was assimilated by Assyria, and not heard from again. That was during the time of the great prophets of Isaiah and Jeremiah, in 722 BC. The House of Judah, which was captured by Babylon and returned to Jerusalem 70 years later, around 538 BC, was again evicted in 70 AD. The two houses of Israel have not been the “whole house” since some time in the upper 800s BC. And none of the nation of Israel, Judah or Israel/Ephraim, were in the land of Israel from the year 70 AD onward…until 1948.
In that year, Israel was established as a nation again, and given at least a portion of the land that God had promised to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even then, this was only the Jews…those of the House of Judah. The House of Israel remained lost; lost to the world, but not to God. God had promised to preserve a remnant of each of the tribes and return them to Israel. This began in the late 1990s.
Small communities all over the world, who have maintained the Israeli Law of Moses for thousands of years began to awaken- a miracle of God. They began to recognize themselves and their culture as being of Israel, and they began to seek to return to the land of Israel. In 2005 Israel approved measures allowing these groups to begin returning home. These groups are not Jewish, because they are not of the House of Judah (the tribes of Judah and Benjamin), but they are Israelites, from the House of Israel, identifying with the 10 lost tribes who were assimilated 2700+ years ago. God is bringing the whole house of Israel back to the land.
In Ezekiel 37:15-22 God told Ezekiel to take two sticks. On one, he was to write the name of Judah, and the other, Israel, each stick representing one of the two houses. He was to bind the sticks together to symbolize that they would become one stick/nation again. In verse 24 we are told that “My servant David will be king over them.” Obviously, this was not in reference to King David, for he had died long before. This is a reference to the millennial reign of Yeshua when He returns to set up His kingdom on earth, His thousand year reign.
End-time point number one: the two houses of Israel (Judah and Israel/Ephraim) will be united as one nation again, and be brought back to the land of Israel by the time that Yeshua begins His thousand year reign on earth. Judah has been back in the land since 1948, and the remaining tribes of Israel have been making their way back gradually since 2005, becoming the whole house of Israel that God talked about.
Next, take a half step back in Scripture to Ezekiel 36:27. Here God tells His people that He will put His Spirit within them, and that they will keep His laws, and obey His rules. Israel has returned, but they do not keep God’s laws- the Law of Moses as described in Exodus and Leviticus. Even the most orthodox Jew who desires to keep the Law is unable to do it completely, because there is no temple. Certain parts of the Law must be done at the Temple and require animal sacrifice.
With a Muslim mosque standing on the Holy Hill where the Temple of God must stand, how can this be an indicator that the end times are here?
This is how- which brings me to End-Times Point Number Two: A third Temple will be built at some point during the end times because the AntiChrist will desecrate it. A group of Orthodox Jews have begun to raise money and build the artifacts for the third Temple, including the altar, which will allow them to resume complete obedience to God and His Law, and which God Himself foretold in Ezekiel 36. In fact, recently, the altar was completed to the great excitement of many who are following the progress, including myself.
The original Temple that King Solomon built was destroyed when Jerusalem was taken captive by Babylon, and its artifacts were taken as booty. A second temple was built when Judah returned from that captivity 70 years later, and the artifacts were returned. This temple was destroyed 70 years after the crucifixion of Yeshua. The book of Revelation talks about a third Temple, the one that will be rebuilt during the first 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation, and which will be desecrated by the Anti-Christ.
In part 1 of this article we examined two End-Time Points: The first is that God promised to not only unite the divided Israel (the House of Judah, and the House of Israel, sometimes called the House of Ephraim), but also to return them to the land of Israel and rule them under one king, David (symbolic of Yeshua/Jesus). In 1948, Judah was returned to the land of Israel, and as of 2005, the ten lost tribes of the House of Ephraim were beginning to return as well. What remains is for that process to be completed and for Yeshua to return for His thousand year reign on earth.
The second point is that the book of Revelations speaks of a third Temple during the Great Tribulation, one that will be desecrated by the Anti-Christ. God said, through Ezekiel, in chapter 36, that He would put His Spirit in the people of Israel and they would again obey His Laws (the Law of Moses). This obedience to the Law is currently limited without a Temple because animal sacrifice, and certain other ordinances require the Temple and the altar. In the past few years, a group of Orthodox Jews have been working to rebuild the Temple artifacts (which includes the recent completion of the altar) in preparation for the third Temple, as soon as they are able to do so. Currently, a Muslim mosque stands on God’s Holy Hill, but rest assured, God will not allow this mockery forever, and with the building of the artifacts, that time appears to be nearing soon.
The world is currently setting the stage for the Gog/Magog war. In Ezekiel 38:1-6, God gives a list of nations that He will turn toward Israel, and bring up against her. It seems to be a general consensus that Gog/Magog is Russia. Gog was a title for a prince, while Magog was the nation. Also listed is Rosh (northern part of Russia that borders with Europe), Meshech (Moscow), and Tubal (Tobolsk of Siberia). Verse 3 says, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.’”
In verses 5-6, God states that Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer and Togarmah will join Magog in this attack on Israel. Until 1935, the present day nation of Iran was called by its ancient name of Persia. Gomer is believed to be possibly Germany, or at the very least part of the land which is now Turkey. Togarmah is known to be in what is now Turkey.
Ezekiel 38:8-12 – “After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.” ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’—to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.
What does this passage tell us? First of all, notice that the people of Israel will be brought out from the nations and will be living in the land of Israel. We know from part 1 of this article, and the review above, that the whole house of Israel is now in the process of being united, and living in the land.
Second, these verses speak of the people of Israel dwelling in safety. Israel today faces many threats, to be sure. However, their determination to never again go through anything like the WWII holocaust has led them to build up one of the best, if not the best military defense systems in the world. They recognize that they need to be able to completely and independently defend themselves because there is no guarantee that any other nation will come to their defense. The recent vote by the United Nations to allow Iran a pathway to obtaining nuclear weapons is a case in point. Israel has certainly become a nation secure in its own defense.
Finally, this coming battle is not the Battle of Armageddon. That battle is when Messiah returns at His second coming and defeats all the armies of the world. The battle talked about here in Ezekiel is commonly called the Battle of Gog and Magog. The Battle of Armageddon will begin when all the nations of the world, led by the Anti-Christ, surround Israel with the intent to destroy her, completely obliterate her. The Battle of Gog has a completely different intent. Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, Ethiopia, and probably Germany, will surround Israel in order to plunder her riches.
Is Israel really wealthy enough to care about plundering her? In the fall of 2015, a huge supply of oil was discovered in Israel’s Golan Heights that is estimated to be billions of gallons. What does Russia need most? Oil. Around the same time as the oil find, Russia began to test the waters militarily. They moved into Syria under the pretense of fighting ISIS. How would the rest of the free world respond to their military advancement? Well, it gave the news outlets something to talk about for a while.
Let’s bundle some of this together. Israel is now so secure in their ability to defend themselves that they have signed agreements with none other than Russia and Turkey. The end of last month, Israel and Russia signed an agreement in an effort to stabilize relations in the area. At the same time, they signed an agreement with Turkey that would allow Israel to build a pipeline through Turkey to enable the transportation of natural gas to Europe. What better evidence of Israel’s sense of security than agreements with these two nations? This most certainly could lead to the “unwalled villages” mentioned in the passage above.
Let’s move on to verse 13 – “Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you [Gog], ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’”
Barely over a week after the Russian and Turkey deals, Israel revealed agreements with four African nations: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. They have offered humanitarian assistance and military aid, as well as education and training in the areas of science and military for decades. In an effort to make Israel known as an independent military superpower in the region, they have now made this information public.
When the Gog alliance comes against Israel, there will be nations who will openly question their actions, but none will come to her aid. Israel will stand alone. The merchants of Tarshish are nations of East Africa. Sheba and Dedan are England and Spain.
What about the United States? Last fall, I wrote an article called King of Kings…Lord of Presidents (published on http://www.madisonscpc.net), in which I stated that I believe God is going to place Donald Trump in the office of president. God has a plan to use this pagan leader to fulfill His purposes for the US. This was confirmed for me when a contributing writer for Madisons CPC, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, published a 3-part series entitled Trump: The Russian Connection in which she chronicles an amazing friendship between Donald Trump, a number of his campaign personnel, and highly influential Russians.
It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out in the days, months, and years ahead now that Donald Trump is indeed President of the United States.
The world may turn their backs on Israel when the Battle of Gog begins, but God will not. For the first time in centuries, God will make Himself known in a very obvious way. Israel will know that God has not forgotten them. And the rest of the world will know that Israel is still God’s chosen people, the apple of His eye.
As Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Ethiopia, and Germany come against Israel, God will show the fury of His wrath. There will be an earthquake so great that Ezekiel 38:20 says, “the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence.” The mountains will crumble.
God will confuse the Israel’s enemies so that they will destroy each other. There will be pestilence, flooding rains, hailstones, fire, and brimstone from heaven. The whole world will know that He is GOD! At the same time, the homelands of these warring nations will come under God’s judgement, as well. The death toll of Israel’s enemies will be so great that it will take Israel seven months to bury all the dead, and seven years to completely destroy all of the weapons left by them.
The stage is set. The only questions remaining are when, and what about the Christians? Don’t they say anything? Do anything? Some religious scholars believe that the Rapture will come before this time. With the disappearance of millions of Christians, the world will be in complete chaos, including the markets, and will create a tremendous need to have control of massive oil reserves. It would also explain the lack of the voice of the church in defense of Israel.
However, other scholars say that there is no evidence pointing in either direction, and so we Christians could very well be here on earth to witness the Gog/Magog war.
Yeshua said no one knows the day or the hour, not even Him. However, He didn’t want us to be clueless either. If He had, He would not have given us all the prophecies and signs that point to the end. Prophecies are undeniably being fulfilled. We cannot know the day or hour, but we can recognize the season, and it is now. Prepare the way of the Lord, for He cometh!!
Keep one eye on Israel, and one eye on the clouds. Come quickly Lord Yeshua!
*Scripture passages taken from the Tree of Life Version and the New King James Version.