The final 490. Israel, take note
Daniel the Jewish prophet predicted in the 600’s before Christ that his people were to have a period of 490 years in which to wrap up their history. An astounding statement. Daniel’s people, Daniel’s holy city, the Jews whose capital forever is Jerusalem, they have been assigned a calendar that cannot deviate from its intended purposes.
During the 490 years, sin will be dealt a death-blow, righteousness will be brought to the planet, and all the Messianic prophecies will be fulfilled.
Problem. Four hundred ninety years would have expired about seven years after the death of Christ. To this day, we are an evil-producing planet, and much that Messiah is to do, including supervise a worldwide reign, has not been done.
Solution. A Gentile calendar has been added within the boundaries of the Jewish one. We call it, variously, the church age, the age of grace, the times of the Gentiles. The Jewish time-piece, the offering of sacrifices in a Temple, was suspended at Calvary, when the timeless offering of Jesus was given for all men, not just the Jews.
That clock will tick again for Israel. Defying and denying their Creator, Israel will demand that their sacrifices start again in a Temple of their own on the very hill upon which that Temple once stood. The sacrifice of Christ will be deemed unnecessary and un-Messianic, and they will once more await their promised one. Judaism will be resurrected.
The politicians of the world being what they are, there will come a time when making such a deal with Israel will seem a small thing. The world will continue to hover on the brink of destruction and the idea of sacrifices in exchange for world peace will sell. A seven-year agreement will be signed by one who now has taken the reigns of a new world order, probably headquartered in Rome.
No, this man is not the antichrist. It is surprising for some to discover in the minutia of detail of the coming events of our world, that the next world ruler will simply be that, the next world ruler. But one will rise up –literally- within his boundaries, during his reign, and Hitler-like, slowly take over all.
Three and one half years into the treaty, he will have become strong enough to end the sacrifices, and will be well on his way to ending the sacrificers too, the Jewish people. He will be blocked in these efforts, and will then come after the church of Jesus. Also contrary to present thought, he will prevail against the church, sending them into the arms of Jesus. A hollow victory, but Earth-side, a convincing one.
During this episode, the man of sin will enter the newly-constructed Temple, a marvel of architecture and symbol of world religion, sit on the mercy seat, and declare to the world that he is the god of all.
The true God will finally say, after waiting these many thousands of years, that He has had enough. The scene that follows, as He withdraws His hand of mercy, is called eloquently in Scripture, “Trouble.” (We use the word “tribulation.”) Trouble like we have never seen. Within three and one half years, to save the planet from total ruin, Jesus returns, catches up His bride, and finishes what God has allowed men to start, with a little help from nature.
The Kingdom is then set up in Jerusalem. 490 Jewish years from the time Daniel spoke the prophecy, sin is crippled, righteousness is exalted, Messiah is here. Luke confirms in his accounting of Jesus’ description of the final events, that these tribulation days “are the days of vengeance, that all will be fulfilled.” The A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem that most interpreters point their readers to for fulfillment of Luke 21, simply won’t do it. The abomination of desolation and its resultant Trouble are the end of the age of grace, plus the end of those 490 years. The God-blessed new world order will have arrived.
Has Israel really returned?
What specifically is to happen upon the return of Israel to its land? Skimming through the prophets brings up this list of happenings, at the very least:
• Jeremiah 30: Foreigners will not enslave them. “David” (Messiah) will be their king. The return is tied to “Jacob’s Trouble”, i.e., the Great Tribulation. There will be a full end to the nations to which Israel was scattered. All of Israel’s oppressors will be scattered. Jahweh will be Israel’s God.
That’s a difficult start to the search. None of those things have happened!
• Maybe Jeremiah 31 will be helpful: Worship will be to the Lord God, in Zion. They will be redeemed as they are coming in to the land. There will be no more sorrow at all. Jews will as a nation accept the New Covenant, a law written on their hearts for eternity.
Hmmm. Still no light here. Everyone knows that these happenings too are absent from the modern scene.
• Jeremiah 33? As the captives return, they are forgiven. Desolation will be turned to joy. The Branch (the Messiah), known as Righteousness, will be raised up. Burnt offerings and sacrifices looking back to Calvary will be initiated.
Jeremiah offers no help at all. Let’s take a look at Ezekiel.
• Ezekiel 39:25 ff. God says he will bring back Jewish captives after their awful shame, and at that time they shall know that He is the Lord. He will hide His face no more, because He shall have poured out His Spirit on Israel.
Has that happened? Not really. At least not much.
• Isaiah adds that the “Redeemed” of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing. Everlasting joy will be upon their heads. They will never again depart from the Lord after they return.
• Joel and Zephaniah (not to mention Jesus in Matthew 25) all agree that the nations will be gathered together for judgment when He brings them back. Those who have afflicted Israel will “get theirs.”
• Amos: They, Israel, will be sifted among all the nations, then at their return the Tabernacle of David will be restored, Gentiles will be added to the mix, they’ll no longer be pulled up, and on and on…
Simply not happening!
So have the Jews truly “returned” in the sense the Bible foretold? God is always correct, 100%. There are too many prophecies coming together here and saying the same thing for us to ignore them.
The problem is what we have done with Matthew 24 and Luke 21. We took some very seriously obvious Tribulation passages and made them all be fulfilled in AD 70. So in the eyes of many, the scattering took place when Israel was sacked by the Romans, and the gathering took place in 1948.
Doesn’t work. Read the fine print. Luke says that during the final Tribulation time, and both Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts are tied to the end, not to A.D. 70, Israel will once more be scattered. But this time when they are gathered, they will come back as indicated in all the above Scriptures. The “times of the Gentiles” are identified as a 42-month period at the end of history during which Gentiles will trample Jerusalem, and the Jews will be dealt with one final time.
Unfortunately, “never again” cannot be said about a Jewish Holocaust. We should announce this with tears, but announce it we must. The Tribulation is still ahead of us. I say “us” because Israel’s trouble will be the world’s trouble this time.
The current “return” of Israel is indeed somewhat of an end-time sign, because there must be a land called Israel in the last days. And the stage must be set to pick up where Jewish history officially ended, per Daniel’s 70-week prophecy, in the hands of Rome.
But there will be another return. There will be no such thing as a “secular” Jew in that day. There will be no anti-Christ Jew in that day. Israel will look upon her Messiah, weep, and reach out to Him. Then, and only then, is Israel returned. Then will Jerusalem be the joy of the whole earth, not the burdensome stone that it is today.
Come back Jesus! Come back, Israel! How the earth awaits the manifestation of the sons of God!
Signals of the beginning of the end
What must the world look like when it is nearly the end? Has not the Scripture spoken eloquently about this? It is certainly understandable for moderns to fear those who seem over-confident about Biblical prophecy, having endured so many false alarms. But though I set no dates, I do set forth the clarity of revelation with no apologies.
First it is necessary to understand Daniel’s prophecy of the 70th week. Though that is not the focus of this article, know that Daniel, via an angel of God, has divided Jewish history remaining from his time until the end, into 3 parts, totaling 490 years. Two parts, comprising 483 years, have already transpired. One part, the final seven years, never happened.
Why a gap in history? In God’s eyes there is no gap. But at the death of Jesus, there was a major shift in the reckoning of time. Well is this age called “Anno Domini”, the year of the Lord, for we live in the age called grace between the year 483 and 484 of Jewish prophecy fulfillment. We call it the church age. It is a time when God is calling Gentiles to himself. It is an unprecedented era of ingathering made possible by the great love of God. But it shall end. And when it does, the countdown begins.
Lately some have speculated that at this moment the church must be raptured to Heaven. The Biblical picture is of a church that falls away to impotence, and is later annihilated by antichrist. The world will be left with clear signs, but not the imagined escape of all believers. That only comes when God’s final wrath is to be poured out on the earth, at the end of the seven years.
So what will be going on here when the curtain goes up for the last seven years before Jesus comes? Piecing together portions of Daniel and the book of Revelation, it becomes clear that the world will be picking up exactly where it left off at the end of the 483 years: It will be decidedly Rome-based, with a powerful world leader in charge.
An entity that grows out of the Roman Empire will be the dominant power on earth. America will have been set aside either by nuclear devastation or merely financial realities. But it will no longer need to lead the affairs of the planet. I speculate that its growing moral degeneracy will make way for its loss of world influence.
The first leader of this new Roman amalgamation, which will contain a mixture of political types, such as democracy and monarchy etc., will be a man of peace and unity, a man of extraordinary powers, but not yet the supernatural powers that will follow. Somehow he will be able to form a coalition of ten Mediterranean nations. The re-forming of the Middle East, together with the needs of Europe, as I write this in the year 2011, may foreshadow what is to come.
Pseudo-Christian Papal forces will perhaps join hands with Islamic powers to forge a peace whereby the most militant Islam is curbed, Israel is given what it wants, and the Pope’s centuries-old dream of a world Reign becomes an awful reality all in one master stroke.
And what is it that Israel wants? Jerusalem. The land. A Temple. The Temple Mount. Sacrifice. Return to the old days of Jewish worship. Yes, the plans for all of these things are in the making now as I write.
The re-entry of Jewish sacrifice seems to be the key to the re-opening of Jewish history. That history stopped in God’s eyes and the eyes of the world when Jesus died, and God reached down to rip the veil of the Temple in two. God was finished with merely pictures of the True. The True had come.
But hardened Israel – as opposed to the many Jews who have accepted the Messianic sacrifice – was not finished with it, and continues to dream of the day when bulls and goats will once more end their lives to picture the rolling away of Jewish sins, until the “real” Messiah comes.
The new world order and the accompanying new world leader will accommodate Israel. Daniel is clear about that. The Jews shall have their sacrifices and offerings again. In defiance of the one who offered the true sacrifice and destroyed the veil between God and man, Israel of the last days shall rudely erect that veil again, and proudly proclaim to the world that Judaism lives, and Jesus’ blood means nothing to them.
And that is only the beginning.
The abomination and the sacrifices
Students of prophecy will recognize that there is a close association between the sacrifices Jews will offer in a coming Temple, and the abomination that follows them.
“Abomination” is from the Hebrew shikkoots , meaning filthy, detestable, disgusting, idolatrous. Something that God will loathe and abhor, and all God’s children will follow suit and hate it with Him. Those who continue to believe that all of God is about being in a “good mood”, will have second thoughts when they see His reaction to the abomination of desolation mentioned by Daniel and Jesus, and referenced by the apostle Paul.
At the beginning of the final seven years of Jewish history, [and world history] before the millennium kicks in, a world leader will make a covenant with the Jewish people, allowing them to build a Temple and revert back to their ancient ritual of animal sacrifice.
But a mere three and one-half years into the treaty, another leader will usurp the authority of the new Empire. This man will have arrived on earth miraculously. Though Christians for centuries will have tried to portray him as one of the many political leaders living on earth, the fact is he is not identifiable until his appearance. Then it will be clear that he is no ordinary man.
He will in fact have risen from the dead to finish the work he started many centuries before, namely the destruction of the Israelite menace and thence to world conquest. His solution to the “Jewish problem”, as it has been known since Hitler and before, will not be peace treaty, but annihilation.
His rise to power, per Daniel and Paul, is meteoric. And then he takes his new authority to cancel the treaty made by his vanquished foe. No more sacrifices. Rather, the “transgression” of desolation. The abominable thing that God hates is placed in the Temple. This is the order in Daniel 8,9, 11 and 12. An army given, the sanctuary defiled, the sacrifices taken away, the abomination set up.
But what is this abomination?
Whatever it is, Jesus points His disciples, and thus modern disciples, to look at it very carefully. For this is the sign his disciples asked for. This is the signal of the beginning of world chaos. Jesus ties this abomination to the very end of the world in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Between those two passages we gather that Daniel’s army, Daniel’s man, Daniel’s sacrifices, and Daniel’s abomination will take place.
Readers of Daniel used to think that historic Antiochus Epiphanes in his ancient days fulfilled the prophecy. But Jesus said, no, this Daniel event is still future. Then modern scholars figured that the Roman Titus in A.D. 70 fulfilled the prophecy. No, again. Both of these men placed abominable things in a Jewish Temple. But Matthew and Luke say that immediately after the Tribulation that this abomination triggers, shall come the end of the world! Jesus was looking far past A.D. 70!
Thus the picture that unfolds before us. A new world order. A world leader/emperor. A treaty with Israel. The treaty broken. Sacrifices begun, sacrifices ended. Abomination placed, trouble begun. Trouble ended by the return of Jesus Christ. Conspicuous in its absence is the mention of a catching up of the saints before all this trouble. Why would Jesus have not suggested such a thing to these earnest disciples, soon to be the first church?
But wait, what is that abomination? What happens in connection with the taking away of Jewish sacrifices?
Why, the statement. The Statement? Yes, both Antiochus and Titus were making a statement to their world about Israel’s God. The God of Israel is nothing. Worship the true God of the Greeks, or the Romans. A statue of Zeus/Juppiter will do. Thus abomination, thus God’s anger aroused.
But there is a worse statement coming. Paul tells us what it is. II Thessalonians 2. Worse than a statue, worse than a pig, as was also placed in the ancient temple. Worse than anything imaginable. A Satan-filled man walks into that Temple and claims to be God Almighty before a watching world.
How long the Enemy has waited for this moment, finally to proclaim to all of earth’s residents that he is number one! That he, Lucifer, shall reign forever and ever. His “forever” is only the final half of the seven year period, a mere 42 months wherein the Holy City is given to the Gentiles that they might “trample” it ( Revelation 11:2).
Satan here demonstrates that all the promises he has made to earthlings are similarly delusionary and lead only to dead-end streets.
We must drop the curtain here, for the scene which follows is utter horror, incomprehensible agony and pathos, as God begins to unleash disaster upon the nations.
Why three and one -half years?
Why is the tribulation period most often associated with a three and one-half year duration? Daniel and John hold the keys to this one.
In Daniel 9, Daniel is given a prophecy known as the “70 weeks.” Here, 490 years are delineated as the time within which all of Jewish spiritual history and prophecy will be fulfilled. 483 of those years have clearly taken place, ending abruptly sometime during the life of Jesus the Messiah.
Seven years remain. Occasionally we hear that a seven-year tribulation is coming. Not so. At the beginning of that seven years a treaty is signed with Israel. Then, in the “middle” of that seven-year time, or three and one half years later, the treaty is broken, and serious problems begin.
This lays the foundation for all the other times that three and one-half years is mentioned in one form or another.
For example, also in Daniel, chapter 12, an angel announces that the time for fulfillment of the tribulation of God’s people, when the “power of the holy people has been completely shattered” will be a “time”, “times”, and half a “time.” Though there is no clue in this passage as to the length of a “time”, we combine this expression with the many others and conclude that a “time” is nothing more than a year. Hence, One year, plus two years, plus half a year, or three and one-half years.
The Holy Spirit picks up in John where he leaves off in Daniel. Revelation 11, 12, and 13, all mention this time period. In Revelation 11, the Holy City, Jerusalem, is to be overcome and occupied by Gentiles for 42 months. (Three and one half years.) God’s two special prophets, widely believed to be Elijah and Enoch, come back to earth and prophesy during this entire time, as the church’s witness will be all but smothered. The period of their prophecy is said to be 1260 days. I’ll let you do the math on this one.
Also allotted 1260 days is a “woman”, thought to stand for Israel, who will be called by God into the wilderness to encounter the risen Lord. The 144,000 will finally accept their Messiah (Revelation 12).
But during this same period, this time 42 months again, antichrist is given authority over the entire earth (Revelation 13). Even the two prophets finally die under his supervision. Unfortunately for his public relations department however, these two will rise from the dead on international cable television.
So a three plus year conflagration and spiritual clash between God and His enemies is indeed coming. Are things shaping up even now for that final showdown?
The Neturei Karta and the Bible
Okay, what in the world is “Neturei Karta?”
At least two answers to that. First, it’s the Aramaic for “Guardians of the City.”
“What city?” you might ask.
And I would answer, “Jerusalem.”
Second, Neturei Karta is a modern but not modernized group of Orthodox Jews living in Jerusalem, London, and New York. They consider themselves to be the true guardians of the city of God. Their claim is built loosely on Psalm 127:1, where it says that the Lord must be the true watchman. As scribes and scholars, they believe their guard is more important than that of the military might surrounding Israel in these days.
They go even farther. They claim that that military might is an affront to God! That when Messiah comes, He will establish His people in their land. Without help from any man.
They say it is simply not acceptable for Jews to come back to their land by killing and overpowering it. They are to return, says Neturei Karta, when Messiah comes.
Can you forgive me if I totally agree with these folks? With the change of one word of course. Where they say Messiah “comes”, I say Messiah “returns.”
But the message is Biblical. When the Jews truly return to their land, say all the prophets, it will be with great joy. Then they will be the redeemed of the Lord who know their Messiah, having just gone through a series of events that will single them out before the world as the chosen of God. Yes, it will also be the time of Jacob’s trouble. Jacob’s final wandering and scattering, the tribulation unparalleled in human history.
But the return will be glorious and decisive and accompanied by the Lord Messiah Himself, Jesus Christ.
It is thrilling to watch the State of Israel be formed and prosper. Some of it reminds us of Biblical days. But my understanding of Israel’s future is ultimately in harmony with the Biblical description of that period, a glimpse of which these ultra-orthodox guardians of Jerusalem have discovered.
And by the way, we must add that it is not scholars, scribes, or soldiers who shall ultimately protect Israel. Jewish destiny is sure, and our job is to pray, and to continue to ask God to call out from Judaism a people for his name, that those wearing the ancient name will be able to participate in the ancient promises.
That makes believers in Yeshua the true Neturei Karta. Watching, warning, interceding.