Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution: Birth Pang 3

March 11, 2016 at 6:54 AM 1 comment

footstepsLike Birth Pang #2 from our last two articles here and here, the third Birth Pang also has to do with Israel and Jerusalem specifically. By the way, before it’s forgotten again, a great book on this subject that helps flesh out the Bible’s meaning on the various Birth Pangs is a book by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum called, Footsteps of the Messiah. Dr. Fruchtenbaum is a Messianic Jew – a Jewish person who believes in Jesus as Messiah, Savior, and Lord. In that sense then, he is a Jewish Christian and his written works carefully unpack the many areas of Scripture that deal with prophecy and the end times. Dr. Fruchtenbaum is a wonderful resource and readers are encouraged to add at least this work of his to their libraries.

As we’ve been highlighting, there are several pivotal points that are referred to by Jesus as “birth pangs” and we have gone over two of them in previous articles. In this article, we’re going to move onto Birth Pang #3 that deals with Jerusalem and is also shown on the chart we’ve been using. What is interesting about this particular Birth Pang is that while it is alluded to in Scripture, the situations that brought it about are not mentioned. Only the results of the situations are highlighted in the Bible.

Sequence of Pretribulational EventsGoing from left to right on the included chart, Birth Pang #3 is Jerusalem United Under Jewish Control. It is more than interesting that Jerusalem has been a sore spot for the world for generations and especially in modern times since the rebirth of Israel itself. This occurred in 1948 and, interestingly enough, was even sanctioned by the UN. At the same time, the UN put forth a “two-state solution” to appease Arab nations, but this solution was roundly rejected by all Arab parties. The Arab nations surrounding Israel have never wanted a two-state solution. They would like us to believe they do, but they don’t since every offer by either the UN or Israel has been fully rejected.

Regarding the reunification of Jerusalem, it is essentially implied in Scripture because of the sections of the Bible that forecast the fact of another Jewish Temple being in place during the coming Tribulation period. In order for this to be accomplished, the government of Israel must have control of all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount area. History proves that after Israel won her independence (1948-1949), Israel not only became a nation again, but also took control of the western portion of Jerusalem. Prior to this, Jerusalem had been fully united under Jordanian rule.

The Old City of Jerusalem (the biblical city) fell into the hands of the Jordanian Legion and was later annexed into the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. So Jerusalem became a divided city and remained that way for the next 19 years. [1]

What is also interesting is that another war occurring in 1967 was the impetus for the reunification of Jerusalem. During this conflict, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria all attempted to attack Israel and decimate her. These Arab nations joined forces in an attempt to regain what had been lost to Israel 19 years before in 1948. But Israel came out the victor.

On June 7, 1967, IDF paratroopers advanced through the Old City toward the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, bringing Jerusalem’s holiest site under Jewish control for the first time in 2000 years. There are sound recordings of the scene, as the commander of the brigade,Lt. General Mordechai (Motta) Gur, approaches the Old City and announces to his company commanders, “We’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City…” and shortly afterwards, “The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!” General Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of the IDF, sounded the Shofar at the Western Wall to signify its liberation. To Israelis and Jews all over the world, this was a joyous and momentous occasion. Many considered it a gift from God.

At this point, Israel gained control of the eastern portion of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. To this day – on paper – Israel controls these areas, yet it would seem that this is not the case. The reality is that once Israel gained control, they left physical control in the hands of Arabs and that has been the case since the end of the so-called Six-Day War. Israel could, at any point now, banish Arabs from the Temple Mount and destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosques. Of course, if they did this, war would break out with many nations becoming involved in the fray. There will come a point though when somehow, some way, Israel will be able to build another Temple on the Temple Mount and this is highlighted in Scripture.

The passages of Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and Revelation 11:1-2 all highlight the fact that another Jewish Temple will be standing during the coming seven-year Tribulation period. In fact, in several passages, we learn of an act of defiance referred to as the “abomination of desolation” (cf. Matthew 24:15, and alluded to in the other passages), created by the “man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2), or the Antichrist. He will literally go into this third Jewish Temple and will sit in the seat (the Holy of Holies; aka the Mercy Seat) and declare himself to be God. This can only occur if another Jewish Temple comes to be. Jesus was looking back, referring to the first abomination of desolation and pointing out that it would happen again at the very end of the age, prior to His physical return.

This defiant act of the coming Antichrist refers back to 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes IV waltzed into the Jewish Temple standing then, slaughtered a pig on the altar and sprinkled the interior of the Holy of Holies with pig’s blood. Some historians also note Epiphanes erected a statue of Zeus and may have even covered Zeus’ face with a mask of his own. In essence, Epiphanes was declaring himself to be a god.

The temple of course, at that point, became desecrated and the incident itself gave rise to the Maccabean Revolt. This ultimately became known as the “abomination of desolation” or the “abomination that desolates” and was what Jesus Himself referred to in His Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24. All Jews would have understood exactly what Jesus was referring to when He spoke of it as He referenced another incident that would one day occur again.

Here we are in 2016 and technically speaking, all of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount is in the hands of the government of Israel. Ever since the Six-Day War when three Arab nations joined forces to attack and try to annihilate Israel, but were routed in the process, these same nations with the UN backing them have repeatedly called for the return of all the land Israel gained during that conflict. History has shown that every time Israel complies by returning some of the land gained as spoils of war, those Arab nations simply take up positions in those newly acquired areas and continue shelling and bombing Israel. These Arab nations are not interested in peace with Israel at all, but only her destruction and annihilation.

It makes it all the more interesting when we realize how badly President Obama continues working to oust Syrian President Assad. If successful, Assad would likely be replaced by a Muslim Brotherhood puppet. This would allow Arab forces to gain that much more of a foothold against Israel. This same thing was attempted in Egypt with the forceful ouster of Mubarak, who was originally replaced with someone thought to be a Muslim Brotherhood puppet. That didn’t work for the United States, so he was ousted. Today, the situation in Egypt (and other areas in the Middle East and North Africa), remains tenuous and in a constant state of flux.

The reunification of Jerusalem (including the Temple Mount) and all of it falling under the control of the Israeli government is Birth Pang #3. This has been foretold in Scripture and has occurred. We can verify that Scripture prophesied the occurrence.

There are still several Birth Pangs foretold to occur that will lead this world and society up to the physical return of Jesus. We’ll move onto Birth Pang #4 with our next article.

 

[1] Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, (2003), p. 104

Entry filed under: christianity, Islam, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming, temple mount. Tags: , , , , , .

Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution: Birth Pang 2B Entering the Narrow Way Leading to Life

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