Prophesying In Proportion To Our Faith

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

In the Book of Romans, there is a very interesting passage which the Apostle Paul has left for us:

Romans 12:6-Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

What lessons may we glean from this inspired Word of God? 

To answer that, let us look carefully at three things.  

The Context Of The Passage 

When studying anything, we need to consider it in its’ context. I have personally seen more harm done to Scripture when the context of a passage is not carefully examined. Remember that the devil tried to deceive the Lord Jesus Himself by taking a passage of Scripture out of its’ intended context; and it was only by quoting another passage from the Word of God that the Lord showed how the devil had misapplied Holy Writ (Matthew 4:5-7).  

The Book of Romans consists of sixteen chapters. It was written by the Apostle Paul to the church of Christ at Rome. Paul was writing in the hopes that he would soon be visiting there, and he tells us that he had a very special reason for his desired stop with the brethren in that city:

Romans 1:11-For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—

The Apostles of Jesus had been given His special authority, to bind and to loose His Word (Matthew 18:18; John 17:8). Implied in the very word “Apostle” is the idea of one who was sent forth with the authority of a king or ruling body who dispatched them.

One example of this important authority of an Apostle is seen in the way that the Jewish ruling body, the Sanhedrin, operated: 

“The Sanhedrin was the supreme court of the Jews. In matters of religion, the Sanhedrin had authority over every Jew throughout the world. When the Sanhedrin came to a decision, that decision was given to an apostolos to convey it to the persons whom it concerned and to see that it was carried out. When such an apostolos went out, behind him and in him lay the authority of the Sanhedrin, whose representative he was.” (William Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible: The Letters To The Galatians And Ephesians, 85 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press).  

This special authority of the Apostles included their Divine guidance by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13; Acts 2:1-4).  

In the first century, when the Apostles wanted to convey the ability to perform miraculous gifts to others, they did so through the laying on of their hands: 

Acts 8:18-And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

Now, please notice that one of the reasons why Paul was so eager to come to Rome was so that he could impart spiritual gifts to the Romans. This is important, because it shows us that there were no inspired Prophets at Rome already.  

In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul talks about the condemnation of mankind (due to sin). He concludes that all-both Gentiles and Jews (Romans 2:12-15; 3:1-5) are under condemnation from God because of failure to perfectly keep God’s perfect Law (Romans 3:23).

He then begins a detailed study of the justification of God’s people, demonstrating that we are saved through faith-and not through perfect law-keeping. Abraham was a perfect example of this justification by faith, and the Law itself testified of how we wold be saved through faith in the perfectly righteous Messiah of God: 

Romans 4:23-25-23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,

24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,

25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

As a result of this imputed righteous, we are now able to stand before God based upon faith:

Romans 5:1-2-1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Paul then goes on to describe the perfect obedience of Jesus, the Last Adam, as contrasted with the disobedience of the first Adam.

The focus of the Apostle on Jesus’ perfect life and obedience leads him to demonstrate the salvation that God’s people enjoy, which is achieved in the watery grave of baptism (Romans 6:3-4).   

The Apostle then begins a detailed discussion regarding sanctification, reminding Christians of all ages that sanctification is actually a two stage concept (being both an event and a process).  
“The English word sanctify or sanctification is built on the Latin word sanctus , which means “holy.” In English, we don’t turn the adjective holy into a verb. The world holify does not exist. But in the Greek language of the New Testament, the adjective holy ( hagios ) can be made into a verb ( hagiazō ), which means “to make holy” or to “treat as holy.” In Greek, that same adjective for holy ( hagios ) can be made into three different nouns ( hagiosmos , hagiōsunē , hagiotēs ), which sometimes mean “the condition of being holy” (“holiness”) or “the process of becoming holy”—which would be “holification” if such a word existed in English, but since it doesn’t, we use “sanctification.” Here’s the crucial point: any time you read in the New Testament any form of the word “sanctify,” you know you are reading about holiness . So a book like this on sanctification is a book on being or becoming holy. And the reason I use the terms “being” or “becoming” holy is that the New Testament refers to our holiness in both of those senses—a condition of being holy and a process of becoming holy. The clearest place to see both of these in one chapter is Hebrews 10. Hebrews 10:10 says, “By [God’s] will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” So there is a sense in which all those who believe in Jesus “have been sanctified.” They are holy. And then four verses later (v. 14) we read, “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified .” So there is a sense in which Christians are both perfected already (are perfectly holy) and are being sanctified (being made holy). Both the condition of being holy and the process of becoming holy are prominent in the New Testament. Neither is minimized. The most obvious way to see the prominence of the Christian condition or state of holiness is to see that Paul calls Christians “saints” forty times in his thirteen letters. Paul’s favorite name for Christians is saints . The New Testament word behind the English “saint” is simply the adjective for “holy” turned into a noun—“holy ones” ( hagioi ). You can see the connection between the condition of being sanctified and the name “saints” in 1 Corinthians 1:2: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified ( hēgiasmenois ) in Christ Jesus, called to be saints ( klētois hagiois ).” So the picture is that God calls us, and unites us by faith to Jesus, so that “in Christ Jesus,” we are holy, sanctified, and the name that we get, therefore, is “saints” or “holy ones.” But the process of becoming holy (sanctification) is also prominent in the New Testament. We saw Hebrews 10:14, “By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified .” We see it in 2 Corinthians 7:1: “Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” So if we are bringing holiness to completion, there is a process of becoming fully holy. We are not there yet. Or 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely .” This prayer shows that our becoming holy is not yet complete. So Paul asks God to complete it. Or Hebrews 12:10: “[Our earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness .” So a fuller holiness is coming through God’s discipline. The upshot of all this so far is that whenever the New Testament talks about sanctification, it is talking about holiness. And when it is talking about our holiness, it is either talking about the condition of our being holy (because we are in Christ Jesus—and thus saints), or it is talking about the process of our becoming holy through God’s work in our lives.” (John Piper & David Mathis (General Editors), Acting the Miracle: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification, 345-381 (Kindle Edition); Wheaton, Illinois; Crossway). 

In chapters 9-11, we then read about the predestination of God for His people throughout eternity. This predestination was in harmony with the free will of the people. This is especially demonstrated through Paul’s description of the unbelieving Jews who rejected Jesus by the words “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (Romans 9:22). Speaking of the grammar of this passage, we are reminded: 

“28 They are , “objects of wrath.” They are “prepared for destruction” in the sense that by their life and conduct they have determined their own destiny. Murray comments that “there is an exact correspondence between what they were in this life and the perdition to which they are consigned. This is another way of saying that there is continuity between this life and their lot of the life to come” ( Romans , 2:36).” (Robert Mounce, The New American Commentary Volume 27: Romans, 234 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)  

However, the disobedient Jews may still be redeemed if they continue not in their unbelief, but instead obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 11:23-27).  

This leads us to Romans 12.  

In Paul’s writings, we find this pattern: the Apostle often begins a section of Scripture with a doctrinal discourse, and then spends the next part of his Epistle discussing how these teachings are to be applied in the lives of God’s people.  

Having established these great truths, Paul reminds the Christians about the incredible grace that God has bestowed upon them, and how this demands a proper response from them: 

Romans 12:1-2-1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Apostle now establishes the fact that these mercies of God demand a proper response from us: they demand a complete surrender of ourselves (body and spirit) to the will of God.  

Romans 12:3-5-3  For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Stressing the importance of their unity in Christ, Paul is now going to exhort the members of the church to use their gifts in a way that will benefit and bless the entire church.  

With this context in mind, let’s now notice the incredible content of this passage of Scripture.  

The Content Of The Passage 

Let’s notice the passage again:

Romans 12:6-Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
Let’s carefully break down the content of this passage and study.  

The Gifts 

The first thing to notice is that Paul says “gifts” have been given to the church.  

What does this mean?  

The Greek word used here that is translated as “gifts” is charisma. This word had several different connotations.  

For example, sometimes it could refer to miraculous gifts (I.e., to the ability for some to work miracles such as raising the dead, opening the eyes of the blind, speaking and interpreting tongues, receiving and imparting the Divine Word miraculously, etc.-see for example 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 1:6).  

There are many times where it could be used to refer to the “gift” of God in bringing salvation for sinners (Romans 5:15-16; 6:23; 11:29).  

The word was also used to refer to the “gift” of God in helping a person to develop celibacy and continence during times of “present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:7).

Charis could also be used to refer to the many “gifts” that God provides in answer to our prayers (2 Corinthians 1:11).  

It is important to realize that the gifts that God provides to mankind are gifts that are given to be a blessing; and that they are to be used for the establishment and edifying of the family of God.  

With that in mind, notice that Paul points out that God has given gifts to His people. Every Christian has gifts that God has given him through the Spirit that can and should be used to help the church to grow.  

The Meaning Of Prophecy 

The word “prophecy” is an interesting word. The most common Old Testament word translated as “prophet” is naba, and was no doubt related to the Akkadian word nabu, which meant “to be called.” It also carried the idea of “one who bubbles,” I.e., one in whom the Word of God was proclaimed to the people.  

It is important to realize that in Scripture, words often contain at least two different meanings: a general meaning, and a specific meaning. Don’t we see this, for example, in regards to the use of the word “elder?” An “elder” can simply be an older person; or it can have reference to a leader in the church (Acts 14:23).  

In the same way, the word “prophet” can have the general meaning of a teacher, and the specific meaning of an inspired Prophet to whom God directly gives His Word.  

The general meaning of the word “prophet” (and uninspired teacher) is perhaps best illustrated in the words of the Apostle Peter: 

2 Peter 2:1-But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

Notice how the words “teacher” and “prophet” are used interchangeably. In its most basic and general form, the word “prophet” meant simply a teacher.  

This is also illustrated in the famous “schools of the prophets” mentioned in the Old Testament, where several people would go and learn to preach and teach the Word of God (1 Samuel 19:18-24; 2 Kings 4:38-41; Amos 7:14).

These prophets were not granted new Revelation from God per se, but were proclaimers of God’s Word that had been already delivered to the people.  

Thus, the word “prophet” sometimes had reference to uninspired public proclaimed of the Aoes of God.  

When speaking of miraculously endowed Prophets, the Bible teaches that gift would cease (along with all of the miraculous gifts) when the New Testament Scriptures had been completed and confirmed (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Vine’s comments are instructive here: 

““Though much of OT prophecy was purely predictive, see Micah 5:2, e.g., and cf. John 11:51, prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling. It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, Matt. 26:68, it is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3.… “In such passages as 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20, the ‘prophets’ are placed after the ‘Apostles,’ since not the prophets of Israel are intended, but the ‘gifts’ of the ascended Lord, Eph. 4:8, 11; cf. Acts 13:1; … ; the purpose of their ministry was to edify, to comfort, and to encourage the believers, 1 Cor. 14:3, while its effect upon unbelievers was to show that the secrets of a man’s heart are known to God, to convict of sin, and to constrain to worship, vv. 24, 25. “With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, 1 Cor. 13:8, 9.” (W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 49513-49533 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Publishers).  

The second and third century Christians mention how these miraculous gifts did indeed cease. Their writings are quite clear about it. For example: 

Chrysostom-“[Commenting on 1 Corinthians 12:] “This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place.” (John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians , 36.7. Chrysostom is commenting on 1 Corinthians 12:1–2 and introducing the entire chapter. Cited from Gerald Bray, ed., 1–2 Corinthians , Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999), 146)

Chrysostom (Commenting On 2 Thessalonians 2:7)-“One may naturally inquire what is that which restrains the man of lawlessness, and in addition, why Paul expresses it so obscurely. What then is it that holds back, that is, that hinders the revealing of, the Antichrist? Some indeed say, the grace of the Spirit, but others the Roman Empire. I agree with the latter position. Why? Because if Paul meant to say the Spirit, he would not have spoken obscurely but plainly, that even now the grace of the Spirit, that is the gifts, hold back the Antichrist. If not, he should have come by now, if his coming was to occur with the cessation of the gifts of the Spirit; for they have long since ceased….But because Paul said this of the Roman Empire, he merely touched the topic, understandably speaking covertly and darkly. For he had no need to create unnecessary enemies and useless dangers.…(Homilies on 2 Thessalonians 4. [NPNF 1 13:388-89*.])

Theodoret of Cyril-“In former times those who accepted the divine preaching and who were baptized for their salvation were given visible signs of the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in them. Some spoke in tongues which they did not know and which nobody had taught them, while others performed miracles or prophesied. The Corinthians also did these things, but they did not use the gifts as they should have done. They were more interested in showing off than in using them for the edification of the church.” (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 240. [PG 82:319])

Augustine-““In the earliest times, the Holy Spirit fell upon them that believe and they spoke with tongues, which they had not learned, as the Spirit gave them utterance. These were signs adapted to the time. For there was this betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues to show that the gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a sign, and it passed away.” (Augustine, Homilies on the First Epistle of John , 6.10. Cited from Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post- Nicene Fathers , 1st series (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2012), 7:497–98)  

Gregory the Great-“Is it, my brethren, because we do not have these signs that you do not believe? These were needed at the church’s beginning. The new faith needed to be nourished by miracles to grow. When we plant a vineyard, we must water the plants till we see they have begun to grow in the earth, and when they have once taken root we cease to water them constantly.… But true life cannot be obtained by means of these outward signs by those who perform them. For although corporeal works of this kind sometimes do proclaim an inner holiness of life, they do not bring it about.” (Homilies on the Gospels 29. [Cetedoc 1711, 2.29.4, 5, 4.39; SSGF 2:428*; PL 76.])

Now, here is a question about our text: is Paul taking here in Romans 12 about inspired Prophets, or non-inspired preachers of the already delivered Word of God?  

I believe he is talking about uninspired “prophets” or preachers.  

Here are the reasons why.  

First, there is nothing in the context to suggest that Paul is talking about miraculously given gifts.  

Second, the passage clearly shows that the gifts Paul is talking about were already in the possession of the church in Rome.  

Third, the gifts that Paul talks about were gifts that were common gifts to all the believers; and yet the miraculous gifts were not for every believer (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:29-30).  

Fourth, that there were no miraculous gifts of the Spirit in Rome at this time seems evident from the fact that Paul had a strong desire to impart miraculous gifts to the church (Romans 1:11).  

All of these factors lead me to the conclusion that the gift of prophecy here has reference to uninspired preachers of the Word of God.  

The Motivation Of Prophecy 

Paul wants us to understand here that the preacher of God’s Word must have the right motivations in proclaiming Scripture. He must be intent on building up the church.

The most important aim of the Gospel preacher is preaching the Word of God.  

2 Timothy 4:2-4-2  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

We have the obligation of speaking to the truth in love as Christians (Ephesians 4:15), of proclaiming the saving Message of Christ to a lost and dying world (1 Corinthians 1:18), of being true to Christ and His Word when people all around us would try and destroy us for being true to the Holy Scriptures (1 Peter 4:16).  

Those with the gift of preaching must remember the solemn work that had been entrusted to them. Only when we have fully accepted the solemnity of the work that God has given us will we be able to say:

2 Timothy 4:6-8-6  For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The Measure Of Prophecy 

The last part of the verse is very interesting.  

What does Paul mean when he says that we must prophesy according to the proportion of our faith?”  

The word “proportion” that is used here was sometimes used in the Ancient Greek-speaking world to mean “standard” or “rule” (or as we might say, “canon”).  

Before the word “faith” in this passage, the definite article is found. In other words, it says “THE faith.”  

Now, in the Mew Testament, the phrase “the faith” has reference to the revealed Word of God. For example: 

Acts 6:7-Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 13:6-8-6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear THE WORD OF GOD. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from THE FAITH. (Notice how “the faith” is used synonymously with “the Word of God”).

Acts 16::4-5-4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them THE DECREES to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in THE FAITH, and increased in number daily. (Notice how “the faith” is synonymous with the Divine “decrees”).  

Philippians 1:27- Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL.”  

Colossians 1:23-if indeed you continue in THE FAITH, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of THE GOSPEL, which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.  

2 Timothy 3:8-Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist THE TRUTH: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning THE FAITH; (Notice that “the faith” is synonymous with “the truth”).

With that in mind, what is Paul telling preachers?  

Romans 12:6 (DRB)-And having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith;

Romans 12:6 (GW)-God in his kindness gave each of us different gifts. If your gift is speaking God’s word, make sure what you say agrees with the Christian faith.

“‘Proportion’ is a translation of analogia in the Greek, a word used nowhere else in the New Testament; it means ‘in right relationship to,’ ‘in agreement with’. We tend to take ‘the faith’ as meaning ‘that which is believed, a body of doctrine,’ so that the exhortation here to the prophets is to make sure the message they deliver is in agreement with already admitted Christian doctrine.” (Gareth Reese, New Testament Epistles: Romans-A Commentary, 584-585; Moberly, Missouri; Scripture Exposition Books) 

“The αναλογια της πιστεως, which we here translate the proportion of faith, and which some render the analogy of faith, signifies in grammar “the similar declension of similar words;” but in Scriptural matters it has been understood to mean the general and consistent plan or scheme of doctrines delivered in the Scriptures; where every thing bears its due relation and proportion to another.”. (Adam Clarke)

Thus interpreted, the meaning is that the prophet must make sure that what he teaches people is in harmony with the revealed Word of God, i.e., the Scriptures.  

If it is argued that the New Testament Scriptures were not yet considered authoritative by the church, a little study will show the error in that thinking.  

First, the Apostles were already referring to their writings as Scripture. For example:

1 Timothy 5:18-For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE AN OX WHILE IT TREADS OUT THE GRAIN,” and, “THE LABORER IS WORTHY OF HIS WAGES.”

Paul here quotes two Scriptures in order to demonstrate his point that elders in the church are entitled to pay. The first reference is rom Deuteronomy 25:4. However, the second quotation is only found in one place:

Luke 10:7-And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.

Paul quotes from the New Testament, and calls it Scripture. 

The same thing is found in the Apostle Peter’s letter, when he is referring to the Epistles of Paul:

2 Peter 3:16-as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Please notice that Paul refers to the writings of Peter, and classifies them as “Scripture.”  

These examples show us that the early church was already recognizing the New Testament Books as “Scripture”. 

Second, the Apostles clearly point out that their writings were as authoritative as their own teachings. Notice:

1 Corinthians 14:37-If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 2:15-Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

The Apostles of Christ invested their authority into the written New Testament Scriptures.  

Finally, notice that the earliest church outside of the apostolic age clearly acknowledged the authority of the New Testament. For example, consider these quotations from the early Christian writers: 

“Renouncing the error of your fathers, you should read the prophecies of the sacred writers…Learn from them what will give you everlasting life.” (Justin Martyr, 160)

“More strength will be given you, and the knowledge of the heart will be increased more and more, as you examine more fully the Scriptures, old and new, and read through the complete volumes of the spiritual books.” (Cyprian, 250)  

“”We have learned the plan of our salvation from no one else other than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us. For they did at one time proclaim the gospel in public. And, at a later period, by the will of God, they handed the gospel down to us in the Scriptures-to be ‘the ground and pillar of our faith.'” (Irenaeus, 180).

“”In order that we might acquire an ampler and more authoritative knowledge of Himself, His counsels, and His will, God has added a written revelation for the benefit of everyone whose heart is set on seeking Him.” (Tertullian, 197)  

“”It will be your duty, however, to present your proofs out of the Scriptures, as plainly as we do.” (Tertullian, 213)  

“”Brethren, there is one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures and from no other source…Even as He has chosen to teach them by the Holy Scriptures, so let us discern them.” (Hippolytus, 205)  

“We have the Lord as the source of teaching— both by the Prophets, the Gospel, and the blessed apostles. . . . He, then, who of himself believes the Scripture and the voice of the Lord (which by the Lord acts to the benefit of men) is rightly [regarded] as being faithful. Certainly we use it as a criterion in the discovery of things. Clement of Alexandria (c. 195)

“To those who thus ask questions, in the Scriptures there is given from God . . . the gift of the God- given knowledge. Clement of Alexandria (c. 195).

(All of these quotations are from David Bercot, A Dictionary Of Early Christian Belief: A Reference Guide To More Than 700 Topics Discussed By The Early Church Fathers, 22294-22380 (Kindle Edition); Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers Marketing) 

So in this passage, Paul is telling preachers to make sure that what they teach is in harmony with what God’s Divinely inspired Word has declared. In this regard, the exhortation of the Apostle is the same that God has given to His people throughout time: be faithful in what you teach!  

if there is anything that is needed in this world, it is the need for people to return to the teaching of Scripture.

We need to get away from the things which cause denominationalism and put God’s Word first again.

We need for preachers to be true to His Word again, no matter how many people it offends (in the church, or outside of it).  

The Consequence Of The Passage

Finally, let’s notice of the natural consequences of this passage of Scripture.

First, please consider that the natural and mandatory response to God’s gifts (the reasonable service to God’s mercies) is complete obedience to God (Romans 12:1-2). The love of Christ compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).  

Second, God has given gifts to each of His people.  

1 Peter 4:10-As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

God has given you a gift Christian! How are you using it?  

Third, the gifts that God gives to His people are all important. Sometimes Christians feel that if their gifts for the church are different from other people’s gifts, then they are somehow unimportant.

It reminds me of the following story I read years ago.  

Once there was a huge and beautiful church building. It was incredibly crafted, well-designed, with beautiful stained glass windows. There were nice and cushioned pews, amazing large print Bibles, and hymnals with old and newer songs. At the top of the ceiling, where the handsome ceiling beams were laid, there was a big black nail. Well one day, as the nail was looking down at the church building, he began to start feeling quite disgusted with himself. What difference did little Old Mr. Nail make?  

After all, look at the pews that provided comfort and ease to the partitioner; what a great service Mr. Pew was very important!

The beautiful humans were so needed; they helped the people to sing such beautiful praises to God!

The ceiling fans helped keep the people comfortable (and let’s be honest, they helped keep the people awake during the sometimes long and drawn out sermons).  

Yet what good did Mr. Nail do? 

So the nail became annoyed and disgruntled, and over the next few weeks, he just gave up and let himself go.

After all, what did he do that was important?

He wouldn’t be missed if he was gone, right?  

Before long, Mr. nail just fell out of the ceiling.  

That night, a terrible storm blew through the area; and that beautiful church building had something terrible happen! The feeling of the building collapsed, and the whole place was ruined.  

One of the firefighters found the reason for the collapse: a nail had fallen down out of the ceiling. The other nails, and the support of the entire place, had relied on that nail.  

The entire church had collapsed because of one nail that do not realize how important its work really was.  

Friends, YOU and YOUR WORK in the Lord is vital, it is needed, and it is appreciated.

1 Corinthians 15:58-Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Galatians 6:9-And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Finally, preachers of the Word of God: be faithful to His Word. No matter what persecution you may face (from either in the church or outside of the church), preach God’s Word.

And let me also encourage all the brethren: lift up your preachers and encourage them. Be a strength for them in this difficult world.  

My friends, the greatest gift that God has given has been the gift of His Son, Jesus to pay the price for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 9:15). Through His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25).

If you are not a Christian: will you not today repent of your sins as a believer, and be baptized into Christ in a profession of faith in Him (Acts 2:37-37; 8:35-39)?  

If you are a child of God who has left the Lord in sin: will you not today repent of that sin and confess it to God in prayer to be forgiven and restored (1 John 1:8-2:2)?

Your family in Christ is ready to help you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

Overview Of The Book Of Jasher

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

Several times in the Bible, there are references made to a work known as the book of Jasher. However, this book is not found in the 66 Books of the Bible. In this article, I would like to share with you some of the facts regarding this interesting book, and notice some of its’ many valuable gems for the devout student of the Bible.  

The History Of The Book Of Jasher 

The word “Jasher” is a word that simply means upright. The actual recipient of the book, as well as its’ author, is unknown.  

What is known is that the book itself has a very interesting history. 

Ken Johnson, in describing the history of Jasher, points out that there have been some forgeries throughout the years, and that the book of Jasher we have today enjoys a vast amount of textual evidence and ancient authentication.  

Johnson writes: 

“The book of Jasher is one of 13 ancient history books that are recommended reading by the Bible….If we are to believe the text itself, this history book was written over 3,500 years ago. It is approximately the same age as the biblical book of Genesis. It covers about the same time period as Genesis and Exodus but has about twice as much information in it than Genesis. It answers a lot of questions raised in Genesis….There have been at least two forgeries. One is an ethical treatise from the Middle Ages and does not exist in English currently, as far as I know. It is somewhat Gnostic in style beginning with a section on the mystery of creation. A second forgery was published in AD 1829, supposedly translated by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus. These two are nowhere near the caliber of this book of Jasher and both are missing the information that Scripture tells us is in the real book of Jasher. This is the only Jasher that corresponds to what Scripture says it contains. Much of the extra information contained in Jasher can also be found in the Babylonian Talmud, the Mishna, and Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews. There are numerous quotes showing Rabbi Eliazar used this book of Jasher extensively in the first century AD. The Mishna was completed about AD 200, and the Talmud about AD 800. We can know for a fact that the Mishna and Talmud used this book of Jasher as a source document and not the other way around. Also, since the Ancient Seder Olam was written in about AD 169 and references Jasher, we know the book of Jasher was used by other historians in the second century AD.” (Ken Johnson, Th.D, The Book Of Jasher: A New Annotated Edition, 6 (Kindle Edition); Biblefacts Ministries; http://www.biblefacts.org

Should The Book Of Jasher Be In The Bible?

There are several reasons why this book was not included in the canon of Scripture.  

First, whenever Prophets of God wrote Scripture, they were required by God to make it known publicly to the people.

For example: 

Exodus 25:16-And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.
Deuteronomy 10:2-And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’

Deuteronomy 10:5-Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the LORD commanded me.”

Deuteronomy 31:24-26-24 So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: 26 “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you;

Joshua 24:26-Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

1 Samuel 10:25-Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

The account of Jeremiah in this regard is especially interesting.  

The Lord had commissioned the Prophet Jeremiah to write down and preaching the Word against the wicked rulers in Jerusalem. Having been thrown in prison, Jeremiah commissioned his scribe Baruch to go and preach the Word to the people.

We read:

Jeremiah 36:1-8-1 Now it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2 “Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” 4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah, all the words of the LORD which He had spoken to him. 5 And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, “I am confined, I cannot go into the house of the LORD. 6 You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, the words of the LORD, in the hearing of the people in the LORD’s house on the day of fasting. And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities. 7 It may be that they will present their supplication before the LORD, and everyone will turn from his evil way. For great is the anger and the fury that the LORD has pronounced against this people.” 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading from the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’s house.
The text shows us that Jeremiah as commissioned to write down the Word of God and deliver it to the people.  

Later, when the wicked king Jehoiakim heard the Word of God, he did the following: 

Jeremiah 36;23-And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Despite this, we are told: 

Jeremiah 36:27-28-27 Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words which Baruch had written at the instruction of Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying: 28 “Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned.  

Jeremiah 36:32-Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the instruction of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And besides, there were added to them many similar words.  

The Prophets of God were always required to give His Word to the people: 

Isaiah 8:1-Moreover the LORD said to me, “Take a large scroll, and write on it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.

Habakkuk 2:2-Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.

There is no evidence that the book of Jasher was written as inspired Scripture; indeed, if it were such, it would have been delivered by the Prophets as the Word of God.  

Second, once the Word of the Prophets had been Divinely confirmed by God, the people of God received these Books into the canon of Scripture.

For example: 

1 Kings 8:9-Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.d

2 Kings 22:8-Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.Thus 

2 Chronicles 5:10-Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they had come out of Egypt.

Daniel 9:2-in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Thus far, we see that the people of God accepted confirmed Prophetic Books into the canon of Scripture.  

As such, if Jasher was inspired Scripture, the people of God would have quickly added it into the collection of inspired Books.  

Therefore, we see that Jasher is not inspired Scripture.  

What Then Shall We Do With The Book Of Jasher? 

Even though Jasher is not inspired Scripture, the inspired Scriptures refer to this book!  

For example: 

Joshua 10:13-So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

The book of Jasher does record this event:

Jasher 88:63-64-“…and Joshua said in the sight of all the people, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies… And the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty moments, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened to the voice of man, for the Lord fought for Israel.”

Again, we are told in 2 Samuel:

2 Samuel 1:18-and he told them to teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow; indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher:

Jasher records: 

Jasher 56:9-“…only teach thy sons the use of the bow and all weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over his enemies.”

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul prophesies that during the Christian Age, many people will grow worse and worse.

In this context, he writes:

2 Timothy 3:8-Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;

We will search the Old Testament in vain trying to find Jannes and Jambres.

However, the book of Jasher educates us as to the identity of these two individuals: 

Jasher 79:27, 36-“And when they had gone Pharaoh sent for Balaam the magician and to Jannes and Jambres his sons, and to all the magicians and conjurors and counsellors which belonged to the king, and they all came and sat before the king… And Aaron hastened and threw the rod out of his hand before Pharaoh and before his servants, and the rod turned into a serpent.”

So, even though Jasher was not considered inspired Scripture, it is clear that the inspired Scriptures encourage people to study the book of Jasher!  

With that in mind, notice some interesting tidbits that the book of Jasher provides us when we study it hand in hand with the Bible.  

Insight Into The Sin Of Cain

The Bible records for us that the worship of Cain was rejected by God, while the worship of his brother Abel was accepted (Genesis 4:1-5).  

While there may be additional reasons why the worship of Cain was rejected by God, the book of Jasher provides us some very interesting insights: 

Jasher 1:15-16-15 And it was at the expiration of a few years, that they brought an approximating offering to the Lord, and Cain brought from the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought from the firstlings of his flock from the fat thereof, and God turned and inclined to Abel and his offering, and a fire came down from the Lord from heaven and consumed it. 16 And unto Cain and his offering the Lord did not turn, and he did not incline to it, for he had brought from the inferior fruit of the ground before the Lord, and Cain was jealous against his brother Abel on account of this, and he sought a pretext to slay him. 

One reason why God rejected the worship of Cain was because Cain did not give God his best in worship.  

Has that not always been a failing of mankind?

The Prophet Malachi declared: 

Malachi 1:8-And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts.

The Law of Moses had commanded that worshippers offer their best to the Lord (Leviticus 22:19-25; Deuteronomy 15:21).  

Shall we not today learn the same lesson, and approach our worship to the Lord in the spirit of reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28)?  

The Genetic Experiments Of The Fallen Angels And Wicked Mankind

The Bible records that some of the fallen angels interacted with humans and corrupted them in several ways. We are specifically told that the sons of God had children with humans, and that these half-angel and half-human creatures were called “nephilim” (i.e., giants-see Genesis 6:1-4).  

Furthermore, according to the book of Jasher the fallen angels and nephilim were practicing horrible genetic experiments before the Flood:

Jasher 4:18-18 And their judges and rulers went to the daughters of men and took their wives by force from their husbands according to their choice, and the sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, all men and all animals. 

The book of Enoch (another uninspired “recommended reading” book by the Bible) records the same: 

Enoch 7:5-6-5 T hey also began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. 6 Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.  

It is interesting to notice that the ancient book of Enoch (well-known to the Apostles of Christ, as a future study will document) uses the phrase “lawless ones” to refer to the fallen angels and nephilim. This may shed interesting light on Paul’s teaching of the “man of sin” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.  

Death Used As A Deliverance For God’s People 

In the book of Jasher, we are told that God was allowing the righteous to die so that they would not see the terrible devastation that the Flood would bring: 

Jasher 4:20-20 And all men who walked in the ways of the Lord, died in those days, before the Lord brought the evil upon man which he had declared, for this was from the Lord, that they should not see the evil which the Lord spoke of concerning the sons of men.

Jasher 5:5-And all who followed the Lord died in those days, before they saw the evil which God declared to do upon earth.

Jasher 5:21-And all the sons of men who knew the Lord, died in that year before the Lord brought evil upon them; for the Lord willed them to die, so as not to behold the evil that God would bring upon their brothers and relatives, as he had so declared to do.

The Prophet Isaiah echoed this sentiment when He declared that through death, God was delivering the righteous from evil to come:

Isaiah 57:1-2 (NLT)-1 Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. 2 For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.

Speaking of the original language of this passage, one scholar has written:

“But behind all the malignity a purpose is at work which no- one ponders … understands. Devout men : literally ‘men of unfailing love’, those whom the Lord loves with a never- failing love. Taken away … taken away : the first is plural, the second singular; the general truth followed by the particular case. It is always the same: the death of the righteous (those right with God) is never simply the inevitable end that comes to all, neither is it ever accidental or untimely, but always purposeful, deliberate, a ‘taking away’ in order to be spared from evil (1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Kgs 22:20) and brought into peace and rest. As they lie in death : literally ‘they lie upon their beds’, an entering into comfort. Walk uprightly is the last phrase in the MT , just as the righteous is the first; those who are ‘right with God’ display an upright life as others watch them.” (J. Alec Mottyer, Isaiah: Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 6849-6855 (Kindle Edition); Nottingham, England; Intervarsity Press)  

Even the great enemy of death is used by God to bring blessing to His people. How powerfully the book of Jasher illustrates this!  

Young Animals Brought To The Ark  

Students of the Bible have long wondered how representatives of all of the animals on Earth were able to fit on the Ark (Genesis 6:19-20; 7:1-3).  

The book of Jasher provides an interesting perspective that may provide a partial answer to this question: 

Jasher 6:3-5-3 And the Lord brought this about on the next day, and animals, beasts and fowls came in great multitudes and surrounded the ark. 4 And Noah went and seated himself by the door of the ark, and of all flesh that crouched before him, he brought into the ark, and all that stood before him he left upon earth. 5 And a lioness came, with her two whelps, male and female, and the three crouched before Noah, and the two whelps rose up against the lioness and smote her, and made her flee from her place, and she went away, and they returned to their places, and crouched upon the earth before Noah.  

Notice that according to Jasher, it was primarily the young of the species that God brought to the Ark.  
Of course, this makes sense on several counts.  

First, the young would be typically very small and would not require as much living area as a full-grown animal.  

Second, a younger animal would mean less waste to excrete and manage.  

Third, young animals would require less food and supervision.  

Fourth, young animals would ensure that a larger percentage would be hibernating during the long voyage. 

Fifth, with younger creatures, there would be less chance of hostile interaction between species. 

Finally, the younger the animals on the Ark, the better chance of survival after the Flood.  

Conclusion 

There is, indeed, much more that could be said about this incredible book.  

In many ways, the book of Jasher is a great aid in better understanding the Word of God; and its’ value is made clear by the fact that Holy Write itself encourages people to study from it!  

One of the great lessons from the book of Jasher is the horrible and wretched condition of mankind that has arisen as a result of sin. It is because of sin that suffering and death entered into the Creation (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:17-19).  

Yet in the midst of one of the darkest hours of humanity, God promises to one Day send a Savior to the world who would conquer the devil and bring redemption to Adam’s race (Genesis 3;15). This Savior was prophesied about throughout the Patriarchal and Mosaic Ages, and the Son of God Himself was eventually brought into the world of sinful man: 

Acts 10:43-To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

The Son of God came and fulfilled the Law’s requirements, becoming the perfect Sacrifice for the sins of mankind: 

Luke 24:44-47-44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

By His death, burial, and resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), Jesus has defeated the powers of darkness (Colossians 2:15) so that all believers who repent of their sins and are baptized into Him will receive the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 2:11-13).

Why not obey His call today?  

If you are a child of God who has left the Lord, will you not today repent of your sins and confess them to Him in prayer? He promises sweet forgiveness to His erring children who return to Him (1 John 1:8-2:2).  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

The Magog War: Part Two-The Nations Of The War

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

Throughout Ezekiel 38 and 39, we are told about a war that a will take place some time during the Christian Age.  

In this war, the enemies of God will attack “Israel” and (by all appearances) will destroy God’s people.  

However, He intervenes and the enemies of God are defeated.  

In this article, we are going to notice the identities of the specific nations which are mentioned in this passage (saving the identity of “Israel” for last).  

The Hostile Nations 

We are told about several nations that attack Israel.  

Let’s notice the list of nations here recorded, and see who their descendants are today.  

Magog 

The first nation mentioned in this list is that of Magog. (Notice: Gog is said to be a powerful leader who comes from the land of Magog).  

Magog is first mentioned back in the Book of Genesis, in what is known as the Table of Nations (Genesis 10).  

Let me point out that while many people mock the list of nations recorded in Genesis 10, those who have set themselves to study the authenticity of this record have been amazed at its’ accuracy.

For example, one inquisitive investigator named Bill Cooper records: 

“When I first came across this problem some fifty years ago, I found it most perplexing. On the one hand I had the Bible itself claiming to be the very Word of God, and on the other I was presented with numerous commentaries that spoke with one voice in telling me that the Bible was nothing of the kind. It was merely a hotch- potch collection of Middle- Eastern myths and fables that sought to explain the world in primitive terms, whose parts had been patched together by a series of later editors. Modem scientific man need have nothing whatever to do with it. Now, it simply was not possible for both these claims to be valid. Only one of them could be right, and I saw it as my duty, to myself at least, to find out which was the true account and which was the false….Either way, I would discover once and for all whether the Biblical record was worthy of my trust or not. It seemed a little irreverent to treat a book that claimed to be the very Word of God in such a fashion. But if truth has any substance at all, then that Book would surely be able to bear such a test. If Genesis contained any falsehood, error or misleading statement of fact, then a severe testing would reveal it and I would be the first to add my own voice to those of all the other scholars who declared the Book of Genesis to be little more than fable…What I had not expected at the time was the fact that the task was to engage my attention and energies for more than twenty- five years. Nor had I expected the astonishing degree to which Genesis, particularly the tenth and eleventh chapters, was to be vindicated. These chapters are conveniently known to scholars as the Table of Nations, and the sheer breadth and depth of the historical evidence that was available for their study astonished me….Today I can say that the names so far vindicated in the Table of Nations make up over 99% of the list, and I shall make no further comment on that other than to say that no other ancient historical document of purely human authorship could be expected to yield such a level of corroboration as that!” (Bill Cooper, After The Flood: The Early Post-Flood History Of Europe Traced Back To Noah, 80-111 (emphasis added, M.T.), (Kindle Edition))  

Genesis 10 recorded the descendants of the nations from Ham, Shem, and Japheth (the sons of Noah) after the Flood, and after the Tower of Babel incident.  

We first find Magog being mentioned in this passage:

Genesis 10:1-2-1 Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood. 2 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.  

We are told in several ancient Hebrew history books that the descendants of Magog settled in the land of Scythia.

For example: 

“Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians. ” (Josephus, Antiquities Of The Jews,. 1.6.1)

The ancient book of Jasher (which is not inspired Scripture but is highly recommended for study by the Scriptures-Joshua 10:13; 2 Timothy 3:8), records that some of the descendants of Magog settled in other parts of Scythia: 

Book Of Jasher 10:14-14 And the children of Meshech are the Shibashni and the children of Tiras are Rushash, Cushni, and Ongolis; all these went and built themselves cities; those are the cities that are situate by the sea Jabus by the river Cura, which empties itself in the river Tragan.

Another Jewish history book records: 

Book Of Jubilees 9:9-Magog (dwells in)_ all the inner portions of the north until it reaches to the sea of Me’at.”  

Finally, it would be well to note that the Irish historian Geoffrey of Monmouth (in Historian Regum Britanniae) reported that Magog crowned his firstborn son, Boath, as the first king of Scythia.  

Now, all of these historians point out that Magog settled in the land of Scythia.

What land is that in our day and age?  

Russia.  

In fact, it is noteworthy that in the reference from Jasher (mentioned above), the descendants of Magog are said to settle near the river Tragan. This was an ancient name for the river known today as the Volga River.  

Interestingly enough, there is a famous city that exists there to this day: 

Moscow.  

It also needs to be pointed out however that Magog and his descendants actually are the ancestors of other nations.

Notice: 

“There later follows a succession of strange and ancient names, of which the table of descent that opens this chapter is a somewhat simplified extract. The important thing for us to notice in this table of descent, though, is the unequivocal statement that the decidedly pagan Irish traced their origins back to the Biblical patriarch, Magog, the son of Japheth. This is in direct contrast to the claims of the Britons and other European nations, whose genealogies were traced back to Javan, another son of Japheth. Now, Magog, as we shall see in Appendix 3, was considered, with Ashchenaz, the father of the Scythian peoples, and the early Irish chroniclers were most emphatic in their insistence that the Irish were of Scythian stock. And there is good etymological evidence for this. The Irish were long referred to as Scots even before some of them migrated to the country that today bears their name, and as Brewer tells us: “Scot (is) the same as Scythian in etymology; the root of both is Sct. The Greeks had no c, and would change t into th making the root skth, and by adding a phonetic vowel we get Skuthai (Scythians), and Skodiai (Skoths). The Welsh disliked s at the beginning of a word, and would change it to ys; they would also change c or k to g, and th to d; whence the Welsh root would be Ysgd, and Skuth or Skoth would become ysgod. Once more, the Saxons would cut off the Welsh y, and change the g back again to c, and the d to t, converting the Ysgod to Scot.” 9 It would be no strange thing to find Scythian peoples as far west as Ireland. After all, the land in Asia Minor known of old as Galatia, was populated by a migrating colony of Gallic Celts (the Gauls) from whom the country got its name. St Paul wrote his famous epistle to their descendants. Many other examples from history are known of nations seemingly popping up in places where one would normally not expect to find them, so it requires no great stretch of the imagination to accept what the early Irish chroniclers so often insisted upon, namely their descent from the Scythian races.” (Bill Cooper, After The Flood: The Early Post-Flood History Of Europe Traced Back To Noah, 1473-1482 (Kindle Edition))

The descendants of Magog included the peoples of Russia and Ireland.
 
The Connection To Rome

There is another important fact that needs to be pointed out about Magog.

Despite the evidence listed above, some scholars have pointed out that the connection with Magog to Russia is not accurate.

Instead, it is pointed out that in Ezekiel’s day, there was a nation that was known as Magog!  

“In his multi-volume work called The Natural History, Pliny identifies the ancient Lydian city of Hierapolis as being part of Magog. Built atop the cliffs, the city of Hierapolis controlled the water supply of the Lydian city of Laodicea six miles to the south. The city of Hierapolis was built by the Lydians and always under Lydian control until the Lydian Kingdom became part of the Persian Empire in 546 BC and then part of the Greek and Roman Empires that followed. Like Pliny, today’s archeologists also identify Magog with the ancient nation of Lydia, which was in western Asia Minor. Indeed, written records from the Assyrian royal court show that the Assyrians used the name Magog as an eponym for the nation of Lydia. In his book Pliny writes, “Bambyx the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Magog.”* In other words, Pliny identifies the famed Lydian city of Hierapolis as being part of Magog. In this we see that Magog is another name for the ancient nation of Lydia….The identification of Magog with Lydia and not Scythia is consistent with the ancient texts of the Assyrians, who at various times were either the allies or the foes of the Scythians yet had peaceful dealings with the Lydians. The identification of Magog as Lydian, and not Scythian is also consistent with the writings of the ancient historian Herodotus (ca 490-424 BC), a Greek who was born in, lived in, and traveled throughout all of ancient Asia Minor. Herodotus’ famed book, The History, which gives a detailed history of all the ancient nations of Asia Minor, was written about 100 years after Ezekiel’s writings. 14 Herodotus, who is considered the Father of History, wrote detailed information about the three different Scythian tribes and the ten different tribes that neighbored them, including their ever changing and opportunistic alliances….He says that Magog (Lydia), as led by the historical figure Gog (Gyges to the Greek, Gugu to the Assyrians) and the Scythians, were in fact enemies! In Gyges of Lydia we have the leader the Assyrians called “Gugu, King of Ludu,” and “Gugu of Magugu,” the Bible’s Gog of Magog. 15” (Jeffrey Goodman, Ph.D., The Comets Of God: New Scientific Evidence For God-Recent Archaeological, Geological, And Astronomical Discoveries That Shine New Light On The Bible And Its’ Prophecies, 473-476 (Kindle Edition); Tucson, ARIZONA; Archaeological Research Books L.L.C.). 

Now, here is the fascinating thing about Magog (Lydia): it was one of the leading nations that eventually formed the Roman Empire.  

Throughout several Old Testament prophecies, the nation of Rome is seen to be the archenemy of God’s people.

In fact, the wickedness that began through pagan Rome worked its’ way down through papal Rome, trying in every way to destroy the church of Christ (Daniel 2:36-44; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).  

In regards to the identification of Magog, I personally believe that both of these interpretations (connecting Magog with Russia and Rome) have some elements of truth in them.  

It seems undeniable that there is a connection between Russia and Magog; but it also seems undeniable that there is a connection between Magog and Rome.  

Rosh 

The next interesting nation that is mentioned here is found in verse 2.  

Ezekiel 38:2-“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

In verse two, we are told about the prince of “Rosh.”  

Now, it is very likely that your Bible translation will not use this word. Notice how this passage is translated in different translations: 

Ezekiel 38:2 (KJV)-Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

Ezekiel 38:2 (ASV)-Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 

Some of the translations use the word “Rosh,” while others simply translate this as “chief prince.”  

There is confusion about exactly how to translate this word.

You see, it could be a word that simply means “the ruler.”  

Or, it could be a personal noun.  
Some investigators have pointed out that this was possibly an ancient designation for the nation of Russia.  

Let’s notice some of the interesting facts regarding this issue:

“Bible scholars have often identified Rosh with Russia. But this conclusion has not been unanimous. Two key questions must be answered to properly identify Rosh: (1) Is Rosh a common noun or a proper name? and (2) Does Rosh have any relation to Russia? The word rosh in Hebrew simply means “head, top, summit, or chief.” It is a very common word used in all Semitic languages. Most Bible translations translate rosh as a common noun—“ chief.” The King James Version, Revised Standard Version, English Standard Version, New American Bible, New Living Translation, and New International Version all adopt this translation. However, the Jerusalem Bible, New English Bible, and New American Standard Bible all translate Rosh as a proper name indicating a geographical location. The weight of evidence favors translating Rosh in Ezekiel 38–39 as a proper name. Five arguments support this view. First, the eminent Hebrew scholars C. F. Keil and Wilhelm Gesenius both hold that a proper noun is the better translation of Rosh in Ezekiel 38: 2-3 and 39: 1, referring to a specific geographical location. 214 Second, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates Rosh as the proper name Ros. This translation is especially significant since the Septuagint was translated only three centuries after Ezekiel was written—obviously much closer to the original than any modern translation. The modern translations of Rosh as an adjective can be traced to the Latin Vulgate of Jerome. 215 Third, in their articles on Rosh, many Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias (New Bible Dictionary, Wycliffe Bible Dictionary, and International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) support taking it as a proper name in Ezekiel 38. Fourth, Rosh is mentioned the first time in Ezekiel 38: 2 and then repeated in Ezekiel 38: 3 and 39: 1. If Rosh were simply a title, it would be dropped in these two places, because when titles are repeated in Hebrew, they are generally abbreviated. Fifth, the most impressive evidence in favor of taking Rosh as a proper name is simply that this translation in this context is the most natural. G. A. Cooke translates Ezekiel 38: 2, “the chief of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” He calls this “the most natural way of rendering the Hebrew.”…There are two key reasons for understanding Rosh in Ezekiel 38–39 as a reference to Russia. First, linguistically and historically, there is substantial evidence that in Ezekiel’s day there was a group of people known variously as Rash, Reshu, or Ros who lived in what today is southern Russia. 217 Egyptian inscriptions as early as 2600 BC identify a place called Rosh (Rash). A later Egyptian inscription from about 1500 BC refers to a land called Reshu that was located to the north of Egypt. 218 Other ancient documents include a place named Rosh or its equivalent in various languages. The word appears three times in the Septuagint (LXX), ten times in Sargon’s inscriptions, once in Ashurbanipal’s cylinder, once in Sennacherib’s annals, and five times in Ugaritic tablets. 219 While the word has a variety of forms and spellings, it is clear that the same people are in view. Rosh was apparently a well-known place in Ezekiel’s day. After providing extensive evidence of the origin and early history of the Rosh people, and then tracing them through the centuries, Clyde Billington concludes: Historical, ethnological, and archaeological evidence all favor the conclusion that the Rosh people of Ezekiel 38–39 were the ancestors of the Rus/ Ros people of Europe and Asia. . . . Those Rosh people who lived to the north of the Black Sea in ancient and medieval times were called the Rus/ Ros/ Rox/ Aorsi from very early times. . . . The Rosh people of the area north of the Black Sea formed the people known today as the Russians. 220 The great Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius, who died in 1842, noted that Rosh is “undoubtedly the Russians.” 221 Second, geographically, Ezekiel 38–39 emphasizes repeatedly that at least part of this invading force will come from the “remote parts of the north” (38: 6, 15; 39: 2, NASB). The Bible usually provides directions in reference to Israel, which, on God’s compass, is the center of the earth (Ezekiel 38: 12). If you draw a line directly north from Israel, the land that is most remote or distant to the north is Russia.” (Mark Hitchcock, The End: A Complete Overview Of Bible Prophecy And The End Of Days, 294-297 (Kindle Edition); Carol Stream, Illinois; Tyndale House Foundation) 

It seems likely that “Rosh” is indeed a reference to Russia.  

Meshech And Tubal

We are also told in this passage about Meshech and Tubal.

In the Bible, these two peoples are usually listed together.

For example:

Ezekiel 27:13-Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders. They bartered human lives and vessels of bronze for your merchandise.

Ezekiel 32:26-“There are Meshech and Tubal and all their multitudes, With all their graves around it, All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, Though they caused their terror in the land of the living.

Some have identified these two places as ancient names for Moscow and Tobolsk, two Russian cities, because they sound similar.

However, this is not sufficient evidence to make this connection.  

So then, who are they? 

Notice that in the earlier reference (Ezekiel 27:13), the city of Tyre was doing business with these two countries.  
It ks doubtful they were trading with russia!
So who were they?

Many believe that these cities are the same ones identified in Greek writings as Moschoi and Tibarenoi. The Assyrians referred to them as Tabal and Musku.  

They are located in modern day Turkey.  

Persia

Persia is one of the ancient names for the country of Iran (as is Elam).  

Ethiopia, Libya 

These are the same countries as today with those names.  

Gomer 

When we study the writings of ancient extra-biblical documents, we see that the descendants of Gomer are associated with the peoples of Germany and France.  

“Gomer, the first son of Japheth according to Genesis, founded a people known to the early Greeks as the Cimmerians who dwelt on the shores of the Caspian Sea. From here, they were later driven away by the Elamites. The prophet Ezekiel, during the time of the Captivity, referred to them as those who dwelt in the uppermost parts of the north. They appear in Assyrian records as the Gimirraya whose defeat under king Esarhaddon is duly noted. They appear also in the annals of the reign of Ashurbanipal of Assyria around 660 BC. The people of Ashchenaz are found in earliest times in Armenia, and later Jewish writers associate them with the Germanic races (Germanic Jews to this day are called Ashkenazim). They appear also in the 6th century BC records of Assyria as the Askuza who allied themselves with the Mannai in a revolt against Assyria, an event also mentioned in Jeremiah (51: 27) -whose prophecy incidentally confirms the identity of the Askuza with the Ashkenazim. This people were later known to the Greeks as the Scythai, the Scythians of Herodotus. They gave their name to the lake and harbour of Ascanius and to the land of Ascania.” (Bill Cooper, After The Flood: The Early Post-Flood History Of Europe Traced Back To Noah, 510-518 (Kindle Edition))

We are told in the Book of Genesis about some of the descendants of Gomer:

Genesis 10:3-The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.

Interestingly enough, Josephus points out that the Greek name for the children of Ashkenaz is Rheginians.

According to ancient Roman maps, these people settled in the modern nations of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.  

Further, the book of Jasher indicates that there were connections between the ancestors of Gomer and the French.  

Book Of Jasher 10:8-And the children of Gomer, according to their cities, were the Francum, who dwell in the land of Franza , by the river Franza, by the river Senah.

The river “Senah” mentioned by Jasher is virtually identical to the Seine River where Paris was built.  

Josephus-“ For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called Gomerites. ”. (Antiquities Of The Jews 1.6.1)

House Of Togarmah 

Ken Johnson shows incredible historical evidence that the house of Togarmah included many nations, including China:

“In the chapter on Armenia we learned Togarmah had eight sons. His firstborn founded the Armenian race. This information was preserved in the History of Armenia , by Moses Chorene, and the Georgian Chronicl e s written by Leonti Mroveli in the 11th century AD. The sons of Togarmah became the progenitors of several of the Caucasian peoples . Togarmah is said to have settled among his children in Armenia and Georgia . It is also said he lived for almost 600 years. After the fall of the tower of Babel , when Nimrod lost most of his power in the outer regions, Togarmah partitioned his land among his eight sons. Hayk took what is now Armenia and part of Turkey . Kartlos and his sons settled the regions which today are collectively called the provinces of Georgia . His other sons took the land between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea up to the Caucasus Mountains . Two of Togarmah’s sons, Kovkas and Kekan (founder of the Leks), settled north of the Caucasus Mountains . The Georgian Chronicle s tell us the second born son of Togarmah, Kartlos , founded the Georgian race. Kartlos had five sons: Mc ’ xet ’a, Gardbos , Ka x os , K uxos, and Gajis . Mc ’ xet ’a had three sons: Op’los, Ojrx os , and Jawaxos . These seven sons and grandsons of Kartlos became the founders and first kings of the Mtskheta, Gardabani, Kakheti, Kukheti, Gachiani, Uplistsikhe, Odzrkhe, and Javakheti peoples , respectively. Kartlos united his people and founded the city of Kartli. Today Kartli is the name of the largest province of Eastern Georgia . The Georgian capital, Tbilisi , and the cities Gori and Rustavi are located there. Azerbaijan and Armenia are directly south of it….Part of the house of Togarmah, known as Kipchaks, spread throughout, and intermingled with, the peoples of southern Russia as far as China and as far west as Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. A zerbaijan should be a part of the house of Togarmah ; but they have no record that they are.” (Ken Johnson, Th.D., Ancient Post-Flood History: Historical Evidences That Point To Biblical Creation, 2691-2796 (Kindle Edition)). 

The Hesitant Nations 

We are also told about some nations that do not actually help Israel.  

Furthermore, they seem to simply offer a complaint and an objection against the hateful nations for attacking Israel; yet they do not take any definitive action.

Let’s notice these “hesitant nations.”  

Sheba And Dan 

Today, these are the scattered peoples of Saudi Arabia.  

Tarshish And Her Merchants And Lions

Many people believe that this could be a reference to the United States.  

Tarshish itself was a city located in Spain, which was far to the west from Israel.  

Hitchcock explains: 

“The specific nations that question Gogs actions are identified as “Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish.” Sheba and Dedan are not difficult to identify. These are the ancient names for the land we know today as Saudi Arabia. Tarshish, on the other hand, is not so simple to identify. But the majority of scholars believe that Tarshish is ancient Tartessus in the present-day nation of Spain. Both Brown-Driver-Briggs and the Hebrew scholar Gesenius support this view. Tarshish was a wealthy, flourishing colony of the Phoenicians. It exported silver, iron, tin, and lead (see Jeremiah 10: 9; Ezekiel 27: 12, 25)….Where was Tarshish in Ezekiel’s day? It was at the extreme west of the known world, in Spain. When God commanded Jonah to go preach to Nineveh (about five hundred miles northeast of Israel), Jonah headed to Tarshish instead—about as far in the other direction as he could go (see Jonah 1: 1-3). Tarshish is associated in Scripture with the West: “The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute” (Psalm 72: 10, NLT)….The young lions of Tarshish could be a reference to the colonies that emerged from Europe—including the United States. If this is true, then the young lions of Tarshish could be the United States in the last days. If so, she will join with her European and Saudi allies to lodge a formal protest against the Russian-Islamic aggressors.” (Mark Hitchcock, Is America In Bible Prophecy, (395-404 (Kindle Edition); Multinomah Books) 

The study of archaeology has shed further light on this issue by demonstrating that Tarshish was part of the ancient Phoenician Empire, which led expeditions to the New World long before the time of Christopher Columbus: 

“That ancient Old World Semitic civilizations built a large temple observatory complex in ancient America indicates that they were colonizing, not merely exploring, ancient America. Radiocarbon dating tests showing this facility was in use during the 2nd millennium B.C. confirms that this Semitic colony was present in North America at the time King David was importing prodigious amounts of copper ore for the building of God’s Temple. The presence of a large Semitic settlement in North America during King David’s reign confirms the likelihood that King David’s Israel (with its huge copper smelting facility at Ezion-geber) was the consignee for the many millions of pounds of copper ores which “vanished” from the ancient Lake Superior copper mines. The ships of Tarshish (referred to in Ezekiel 27: 25 and Jonah 1: 3) were also regular callers in the New World, and inscriptions and tablets of their involvement in colonizing ancient America was preserved in Rhode Island, Ohio, and West Virginia. 21…Fell notes that the Tartessian inscriptions in ancient America are a “dialectal variant of Phoenician,” 22 confirming that these early American visitors were also Semites from the Mediterranean area.” (Steven M. Collins, The ‘Lost” Ten Tribes Of Israel…Found!, 1012-1021 (Kindle Edition); Boring, Oregon; CPA Books)

Therefore, some believe that these “hesitant” nations primarily refer to Saudi Arabia, American, Spain, and England.  

The Hated Nation

The Bible here tells us about the nation that is so hated is Israel.  

However, this poses a bit of a dilemma.  
Throughout the Bible, the word “Israel” can have reference to two different “groups.”

I refer to them as Physical Israel (the physical descendants of Abraham) and Spiritual Israel (the spiritual descendants of Abraham).  

Romans 9:6-7-6 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.”

The Bible talks about two “different” Israels:

1 Corinthians 10:18-Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Galatians 6:16-And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

God had declared in the Old Testament that the people of Israel would be His people IF and only IF they obeyed the Lord’s Word: 

Exodus 19:3-6-3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

One author points out several examples of these “two Israels” as found throughout the Bible: 

“According to Paul, there are two Israels. The proof? The Jewish apostle wrote, “They are not all Israel who are of Israel” (Romans 9:6). In this chapter, we will discover that there is an “Israel after the flesh” (1 Corinthians 10:18) and an “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16), composed of both Jews and Gentiles who have personal faith in Jesus Christ, God’s true Messiah. Paul wrote, “Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham” (Galatians 3:6-7). Paul’s argument is that because Abraham was a man of faith, only those who have faith are his spiritual children. We might call this the concept of “faith lineage.” This truth is like a key that can open a lock in our heads. Once the lock is open we can understand the shocking principle of two Israels. John the Baptist understood and boldly preached “faith lineage.” When a group of tricky Pharisees and Sadducees came to question John’s right to baptize, the wilderness prophet astonished them by shouting, “And do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:9-10). Those Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t have real faith like Abraham did, yet they claimed to be his children. John the Baptist exposed this delusion. “Don’t think that!” he thundered. John then laid the “ax” to the root of the trees by saying that if they didn’t bear “good fruit” through faith in God like Abraham did, they would be “cut down and thrown into the fire” (verse 10). Clearly natural lineage alone is not enough. Without faith and a spiritual connection with the Almighty, those Jews were doomed. Jesus Christ taught the same truth. A certain group of Jewish people once said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus responded, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39). They also claimed to be Abraham’s children, but they lacked true faith. By saying, “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus denied their claim. Christ continued, “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father” (John 8:40-41). “We have one Father—God,” they countered. “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me…You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it’” (John 8:41-42,44). What an atomic text! Jesus was talking to some Jewish people who claimed to be Israelites, the children of Abraham, yet they were only following God outwardly, not in heart. Jesus said they weren’t really Abraham’s children at all because they lacked true faith and were following lies. Their lineage actually went back to satan, the first liar….Jesus Christ also taught “faith lineage” in John chapter 1. A spiritually-minded Jew named Nathanael was wondering whether Jesus of Nazareth was really his Messiah. Retiring to a favorite spot under a fig tree, he prayed about the matter. Soon a friend introduced him to the Savior. When Jesus saw Nathanael, He joyfully declared, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” (John 1:47) Nathanael had a natural lineage that went back to Abraham. Yet he had more. In his spiritual life, he had gained victories over guile, which means deception. When Jesus discerned Nathanael’s spiritual lineage to Abraham and Jacob, He called him “an Israelite indeed.” Just as Jacob himself had become a spiritual Israel, even so had Nathanael become “an Israelite indeed.” He was part of God’s true spiritual Israel. Just as there are two Israels, even so are there two kinds of Jews. There are Jewish people in the flesh and Jewish people in the Spirit. In words of warning to certain Jews who were breaking the Ten Commandments, Paul wrote, “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God…. For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man [a Gentile] keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?…For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:17,25-26,28-29). Did you catch that? Someone who is “called a Jew” because he is a physical descendant of Abraham, and yet who lives as a lawbreaker, is “not a Jew.” His “circumcision has become uncircumcision.” To God, he is a Gentile. And the believing Gentile, who through faith keeps “the righteous requirements of the law,” his uncircumcision is “counted as circumcision.” To God, he is a Jew. Thus John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Paul all agree—natural lineage is not enough. Whether or not someone is “an Israelite indeed” depends upon one’s faith and spiritual character. Paul summarized, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). Anyone today can become one of these “Jews,” no matter who their earthly parents are. These concepts of “faith lineage,” Jews being counted as Gentiles, and visa versa, lead us to one of the biggest issues facing the prophecy-minded Christian world. This issue is at the core of prophetic interpretation. In it, we are faced with two options. One is the truth, the other a lie. One leads to Heaven and the other, possibly, to hell….Paul deals with this explosive issue in Romans 9:2-8. His words require careful thought. Sorrowfully, Paul wrote about his Jewish “countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises” (verses 2-4). God did make promises to Israel in the Old Testament. Yet what if some Jews do not have true faith in Him? Can God fulfill His promises to an unbelieving Israel after the flesh? If not, has His Word failed? Paul’s answer to these important questions is vital: “Not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel” (verse 6). Notice that the truth of two Israels is Paul’s assurance that God’s Word will not fail. Look carefully: “They are not all Israel [the Israel of God] who are of Israel [of the Jewish nation].” Thus a Jew can be of the Jewish nation, and yet not be part of the Israel of God. Now here’s the explosive question: To which Israel will God fulfill His promises? Paul continues, “Nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called’” (verse 7). Since not all physical descendants of Abraham are automatically God’s true children, therefore His promises are for those “in Isaac.” Abraham had two sons. The first was Ishmael, who was born after the flesh. The second was Isaac, who was born when Abraham had faith in God’s promise (see Genesis 16:1-3,15; 21:1-3; Romans 4:18-21). In Galatians 4:22-31, Paul shockingly reveals that Ishmael represents unbelieving Jews, while Isaac represents Jews and Gentiles who have faith in Christ! “Now we, brethren [as believers in Christ], as Isaac was, are children of promise” (Galatians 4:28). The “children of promise” are those who “receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14). Therefore, the Israel that is “in Isaac” is the Israel of God in the Holy Spirit. Paul concludes, “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” (Romans 9:8, emphasis added). “Counted as the seed” means that, although some may be Gentiles, they’re in. Here is an eight-point summary of Paul’s rather detailed reasoning: God made promises to Abraham and his seed (Galatians 3:16). Abraham’s seed would continue “in Isaac” (Romans 9:7). Isaac was born when Abraham had faith in God’s promise (Romans 4:19-21). Isaac represents everyone who believes in Jesus and who receives the promise of the Holy Spirit by faith (Galatians 3:14; 4:22-28) All who have faith in Jesus Christ—Jews or Gentiles—“are counted as the seed” (Galatians 3:14; Romans 9:8; 10:12). This seed is “the Israel of God” in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16,29; 6:14-16). God will fulfill His promises to this Israel (Galatians 3:29; 4:28; 6:14-16). Thus God’s promises to Israel have not been made of “no effect,” even though some Jewish people don’t believe in their own Messiah (Romans 9:6-8). Here we have the answer to the issue that means so much in prophetic interpretation. The Bible is clear. God will fulfill His Old Testament promises to those “in Isaac,” that is, to any human being who follows Abraham’s example and who becomes part of His Israel in the Spirit through faith in the Messiah. Thus the issue is not race, bloodline, genealogy, or ethnicity, but personal faith—a faith available to all (see Romans 10:12). Those who are only “the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed” (Romans 9:8). We should not expect God to fulfill His promises to unbelieving Israelites of the flesh (or to lips-only Christians of the flesh for that matter), unless, of course, they individually become true believers in the Messiah….In the next three verses, Paul refers to Israel’s apostasy in the days of Elijah. God told His prophet, “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (verse 4). In Elijah’s time there were also two Israels. One followed Baal, the other followed God. Then Paul made this pointed application. “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (verse 5). Just as in Elijah’s time there was a faithful remnant of Israel, even so in Paul’s time there was also a faithful remnant of believing Jews, who, like himself, had been saved by grace. Based on the context of Romans 11:1-5, it is this faithful remnant of Israel, made up of Jews like Paul, which God has certainly not “cast away.” Soon we will see this exact issue in the Book of Revelation. As in the days of Elijah, we are now in the midst of a terrible apostasy. Yet today God has His “seven thousand” who have not “bowed the knee to Baal.” They are His faithful remnant, His Israel in the Holy Spirit, who rely on God’s power instead of their flesh. Like Elijah, they will be on the side of Jesus Christ and His truth at Armageddon.” (Steve Wohlberg, End-Time Delusions: The Rapture, The Antichrist, Israel, And The End Of The World, 153-157 (Kindle Edition); Shippensburg, PA; Treasure House) 

Since the word “Israel” can have reference to either the physical or the spiritual descendants of Abraham, which are we talking about here in Ezekiel 38-39?  

In other words, is the “Israel” in this passage talking about the Jewish people, or about the church of Christ?  

First, the text tells us that the “Israel” in this passage were in subjection to the Messiah (Ezekiel 34:11-31; 37:24).  

Second, this “Israel” had the Holy Spirit of God (Ezekiel 36:27).  

Third, this “Israel” had repented of sin and been forgiven by the Lord (Ezekiel 36:32-33; 37:23).  

Fourth, this “Israel” lived under the New Testament (Ezekiel 16:60-62; 20:37; 34:25; 37:26).  

Fifth, this “Israel” would be in existence during the Christian Age or the “latter years” and “latter days” (Ezekiel 38:8, 16).

The “Israel after the flesh” that God brought back from Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 37) was given the opportunity to become the true “Israel of God” based upon whether or not they accepted Jesus Christ.

The “Israel” in these chapters has reference to those Hebrews who became the people of God when they were forgiven and saved and added to God’s church: 

Romans 2:28-29-28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Galatians 3:7-Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.

Galatians 3:26-29-26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Conclusion 

In our next article, we will try and put all of these facts together.

We will see what these chapters in Ezekiel teach us about God, His people, and their enemies.  

For now, in conclusion, notice three things with me.  

First, when we carefully analyze this list of nations, something remarkable stands out: all of the nations (both the hateful nations and the hesitant nations) surround “Israel.”

In other words, the people of God are here completely surrounded by enemies.  

Second, to be part of “Israel” today, we must be added by God to His church when we surrender to the Lord according to His plan of redemption.  

Finally, we see here the promise that God would bring forth the Good Shepherd Who would come and heal the people: 

Ezekiel 34:11-12-11 ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

The Good Shepherd (Jesus-John 1-:1-30) did come, to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came and died for the sins of mankind on the cross of Calvary, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

He invites all believers everywhere to come to Him and be saved (Matthew 11:28-30).

Believers are told: 

Acts 2:38-Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Christians who sin are exhorted to come back to the Lord: 

1 John 1:9-If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

The Magog War: Part One-The Time Of The War

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

In the Book of Ezekiel, there is a fascinating prophecy found which describes a coalition of nations which launch an all-out assault upon “Israel” during the “latter years.” This list of nations has a determination to defeat God’s people; and yet when the Lord Himself intervenes, they are stopped and destroyed.  

Who are the countries in this alliance?  
When are the “latter years” that the Prophet describes?  

How much of this passage is literal, and how much is figurative?  

What lessons can we learn from the Magog War?  

In this series of articles, we will carefully turn our attention to the Word of God to find answers to these (and other) questions.  

In this first article, we will notice what the Bible teaches us regarding WHEN the Magog war will take place.  

Let’s study.  

The Context Of The Prophet Ezekiel 
The Prophet Ezekiel was taken captive from the land of Israel in 597 B.C. The mighty nation of Babylon, in keeping with its’ practice of massive deportations learned from the preceding powerful Assyrian Empire, relocated many of their Jewish’ enemies to its’ homeland, where they could be policed and enslaved (Ezekiel 1:1-3).  

It was here, among these captive Jews, that the Lord commissioned Ezekiel to preach His Word.  

In the year 586 B.C., king Nebuchadnezzar would return to Jerusalem and destroy the temple of God. Using this event, we see that Ezekiel’s prophecies were divided up into the following pattern:

The Prophecies Which Were Made Before The Destruction Of The Temple (1-24)

The Prophecies Which Were Made Destruction The Destruction Of The Temple (25-32)

The Prophecies Which Were Made After The Destruction Of The Temple (33-48)

With these facts firmly in place, we will turn our attention to the question: When will this war take place?  

First: The Magog War Will Take Place After The Jews Return To Their Land

God had declared through Jeremiah the Prophet that the people would be in captivity for seventy years in Babylon:&nbsp

Jeremiah 29:10-For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.

Ezekiel 28:25-Thus says the Lord GOD: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob.

Ezekiel 34:13-And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.

Ezekiel 36:24-For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

This was fulfilled in the years 536, 457, and 444 B.C when Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah led the Jews back from Babylonian captivity.  

Second: The Magog War Will Happen After The Messiah Has Come And Is Reigning 

Ezekiel 34:11-31-The Bible here talks about the Lord being the Good Shepherd Who goes and finds the lost sheep. Jesus applies this title to Himself in John 10:1-30.  

Ezekiel 37:24-“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.

What does it mean that David will rule over them?  

The ancient Jews understood that the Messiah would be a descendant of king David.

Several Scriptures document this, and the Jewish sages long before the time of Christ. The famous scholar, John Kill, made the following comment on this passage: 

“The King Messiah, as Kimchi interprets it; and so Abarbinel (i) and others; being of the seed of David, and of whom David was an eminent type; and who, as Mediator, is the Lord’s servant, and as man appeared in the form of one: this shows that this prophecy looks further than the times of deliverance from the Babylonish captivity…”. (John Gill) 

Thus, “David” was a reference to the Messiah.  

Jesus came and He is now reigning (Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:4-5).  

Third: The Magog War Will Happen After The Establishment Of The New Testament 

Several times throughout the OldTestament, we are told about the fact that God was going to make a New Covenant with His people. This Covenant would be different from the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  

Ezekiel talks a great deal about this New Covenant, and we see that it would be established before the events of chapters 38 and 39.  

Ezekiel 16:60-62-60 “Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your older and your younger sisters; for I will give them to you for daughters, but not because of My covenant with you. 62 And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD,

Ezekiel 20:37-I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;

Ezekiel 34:25-“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.

Ezekiel 37:26-Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.

The New Covenant was established when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary: 

Matthew 26:28-For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

This New Covenant is better then the Old in many ways: 

Hebrews 7:22-by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

Hebrews 8:6-But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.  

Fourth: The Magog War Will Happen After The People Repent And Are Forgiven By The Lord

Ezekiel tells us that the war of Magog would take place when the people of Israel repented of their sins.  

Ezekiel 36:32-33-32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!” 33 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt.

Ezekiel 37:23-They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them.

Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

Furthermore, we are told these Jews who repented would be from all the nations of the world: 

Ezekiel 36:24-For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.

Notice the beginning of the fulfillment of this:

Acts 2:5-And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:41-Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Fifth: The Magog War Will Happen After The Holy Spirit Has Been Given To The People Of God

We are told about the fact that the Holy Spirit would be given to the people of Israel before the war of Magog.  

Ezekiel 36:27-I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Jesus prophesied about the giving of the Holy Spirit: 

John 7:38-39-38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  

The Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost: 

Acts 2:38-Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Sixth: The Magog War Would Take Place In The “Latter Years” And The “Latter Days” 

We are assured that the Magog War will take place in what Ezekiel calls the “latter years” and the “latter days.”  

Ezekiel 38:8-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.

Ezekiel 38:16-You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.”

The phrase “the latter years” is only used here in the Bible (Ezekiel 38:8).  

However, the phrase “after days” (also “last days”) is used all throughout the Bible.

It often has reference to the Christian Age (which began at Pentecost and which will continue down through the Second Coming).  

Notice that in Acts 2, Peter takes the prophecy of Joel of the “latter days” and points out that it was beginning to be fulfilled in the first century: 

Acts 2:16-21-16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAYS GOD, THAT I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS. 18 AND ON MY MENSERVANTS AND ON MY MAIDSERVANTS I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT IN THOSE DAYS; AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY. 19 I WILL SHOW WONDERS IN HEAVEN ABOVE AND SIGNS IN THE EARTH BENEATH: BLOOD AND FIRE AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE COMING OF THE GREAT AND AWESOME DAY OF THE LORD. 21 AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.’

The Apostle Paul also writes about the last days: 

Hebrews 1:1-2-1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 

Seventh: The Magog War Would Occur When Iran Is At Peace With Russia 

In the next article in this series, I will go into more detail about the identification of the nations here described. For now, I will simply point out that “Rosh” (Ezekiel 38:2) is most likely a reference to Russia, and Persia is a reference to Iran.

We are told:

Ezekiel 38:5-Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet;

Now, here is why that is significant: the Russians and Iranians have never had an alliance until the last few years!  

Eighth: The Magog War Would Occur When “Israel” Was In Peace And Secure In Her Land

The final clue to notice about when the war of Magog will happen when the people of Israel are secure in their land.

We read:

Ezekiel 38:11-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’—

In our next article, we will talk more about the identity of “Israel” here.

However, i want to share this fact with you: if “Israel” here has reference to the literal Jewish people (i.e., the physical descendants of Abraham), then this prophecy would seem to still be in the future.  

One author has written: 

“Some argue that Israel is at rest and living securely today, and they believe this prophecy could be fulfilled at any time. They maintain that Israel is living in great prosperity and is enjoying security. While that is true to some degree, no matter how hard one might try to stretch the meaning of these words, Israel is not really at rest today. Today an armed truce and a no-man’s-land separate Israel from their enemies. At the time of this writing, Israel is an armed camp, living under a tenuous truce with only two of their Arab neighbors—Egypt and Jordan—and both of those agreements could be jeopardized at any time by current events in the Middle East. Their other neighbors would love nothing more than to drive every Israelite into the Mediterranean Sea and kill all of them. The reason that they do not is that, humanly speaking, Israel has a good army that is more than a match for its neighbors. Every young Israeli man is required to have three years of military training and every young woman, two years of military training. While the women are trained for jobs that are not necessarily combatant, they also learn to use weapons, so that if they need to fight, they can. After military training, many of them are settled in villages near the border, where they can serve a double purpose—following their civilian job, whatever it is, and serving as guards for the border of Israel. If the nations of Ezekiel 38–39 should invade the Middle East today, it would not fulfill this prophecy because Israel is not at rest. Israel’s current state of unrest does not correspond to Ezekiel’s prophecy.” (Mark Hitchcock, The End: A Complete Overview Of Bible Prophecy And The End Of Days, 304 (Kindle Edition); Carol Stream, Illinois; Tyndale House Foundation)

Conclusion 

The Magog War will occur: 

After The Jews Were Returned To Their Land (Fulfilled) 

After The Messiah Has Come And Is Reigning (Fulfilled) 

After The New Testament Has Been Established (Fulfilled) 

After The People Had Repented And Would Be Forgiven (Fulfilled) 

After The Holy Spirit Had Been Given (Fulfilled) 

After The Time Of The Latter Days Had Begun (Fulfilled) 

After The Nations Of Russia And Iran Have Made Peace (Fulfilled) 

After The People Of Israel Are Living Peacefully And Securely In Their Land (Unfulfilled) 

Let me also make some other observations for you to consider.  

First, these subjects show us very clearly that God knows the future. He is God! He is all-knowing (1 John 3:20).  

Since we are so limited in our understanding, wouldn’t it be wise to turn to Him and allow Him to lead us? 

Knowing that God knows the future, shouldn’t we be making plans to get right with Him for whenever we do meet Him?  

Second, these examples of prophecy and fulfillment from Ezekiel demonstrate again the supernatural origin of the Bible.  
Friends, the Bible IS the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17)! It is the complete and final revelation of God to mankind, and it is what is needed to direct us (1 Corinthians 14:37; Jude 3; 1 Timothy 3:14-15).  

Recently, I was having a brief Bible discussion with a gentleman who wanted to know why we in the churches of Christ do not use instrumental music in our worship services to God.  

As we talked, he asked the question, “Well, who decides what we can and can’t do in worship?”  

My response was simple: “The Bible.”  

I don’t believe that sat well with him, just like it doesn’t set well with a lot of people. Yet the simple truth is: the Bible is the Word of God! Why call Jesus Lord if we are not going to do what He says to do (Luke 6:46)?  

We need to surrender ourselves to His Word and allow Him to lead us.  

Third, this study has demonstrated very clearly that when we are God’s people, we are going to have enemies.  

Not long ago, I was having a Bible study with a young man who asked why so many people do not like Christians. I told him that one reason (not the only one) is because people want to live in darkness and they do not like the Light.  

So, when they see and hear people who stand for the Word of Jesus (the Light of the World), they will often hate and persecute His light-bringers.  

Isn’t that what Jesus taught?  

John 3:19-And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 15:20-21-20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Being a Christian will mean that we will have enemies. Yes, we strive to love them and pray for them and do good to them (Matthew 5:44-45), but make no mistake about it: people will often hate us for standing up for the Word of God.  

Yes, they will attack us.  

Yes, they will stand against us.  

Yet in the end, we are going to be victorious!  

Friends, Jesus Christ died for your sins on the Cross of Calvary because of the great love of God for mankind (1 Timothy 2:6). He wants you to be saved from Hell and to be with Him for eternity in Heaven (1 Timothy 2:4).

For you, He died, was buried, and arose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).  

He calls believers to repent and be baptized by the authority of Christ for the remission of their sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  

Why not obey Him today?  

If you are an erring child of God, will you not today repent of your sin and confess it to the Lord in prayer as you return to Him and His church (1 John 1:8-2:2)?

Even now He is knocking and inviting you back to Him (Revelation 3:20).  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

The Mysterious Equidistant Letter Skipping Of Isaiah 53

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

Long ago, the Jewish rabbis noticed something interesting about the Hebrew Scriptures: there were patterns found in the text when one skipped an equal number of letters between words.

Found through these equidistant letter skipping were entire words, phrases, and concepts hidden within the passage.  

Shortly before World War One, a Jewish Rabbi named Michael Dov Weissmandl discovered a fourteenth century book written by another Jewish Rabbi, Rabbeynu Bachayah.

Within its’ pages, it was declared that certain puzzling truths could be found through the successive skipping of letters in the Hebrew text.  

Later in the 16th century, another Jewish rabbi named Moses Cordevaro explained that, “The secrets of the Torah are revealed…in the skipping of the letters.”  

Well, what kind of “secrets” were revealed in the “skipping of the letters?”  

As an example, in Genesis 1:29-Genesis 2:9 we have about 635 words in English.

The two aforementioned verses (the starting verse of Genesis 1:29 and the ending verse of Genesis 2:9) discuss in detail the seed-bearing trees and plants that God gave to mankind.  

By using equidistant letter skipping, the ancient Jewish rabbis were able to identity all seven edible species of seed-bearing fruit and all 25 trees delineated in Old Testament tradition.

Chuck Missler provides the list for us: tamarisk, terebinth, thicket, citron, acacia, almond, wheat, date palm, cedar, aloe, grape, boxthorn or bramble, cassia, pomegranate, gopherwood or fir, thornbush, olive, pistachio nut, hazel, fig, willow, oak, vine, barley, chestnut, poplar.  

He writes: 

“In addition to the search for words at varying intervals, there is also the critical aspect of clustering : finding related words hidden together, and in relevant places . As an example, beginning with Genesis 1:29, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.…” …and ending with “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9 All seven edible species of seed-bearing fruit in the Land of Israel are found encoded, as well as the 25 trees delineated by Old Testament tradition. 188 The names, (and their intervals) are listed below: (“-” indicates an interval counting backward, from left to right.)…It is the presence of all of these in this chapter (635 words in English), and their clustering around the very verses which introduces them in the Creation, which eludes any traditional statistical analysis. 190” (Dr. Chuck Missler, Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages From The Edge Of Eternity, 1603-1609 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; KOINONIA HOUSE)

The names of all of these trees and plants (which happen to be all of the edible varieties within the land of Israel) were found within this text, which described God giving mankind the trees and plants for food!  

According to researchers such as Daniel Michelson, the odds of these all occurring in the text by chance alone are well over one hundred thousand to one! (See Daniel Michelson, “Codes in the Torah” B’Or Ha’Torah , No. 6 (1987), Jerusalem: Shamir)

Consider another example.  

In the Book of Genesis, we see that with every fiftieth letter, the word “Torah” is spelled (the word “Torah” is the Hebrew word for “law”).

You find the same thing in the Book of Exodus!

The Book of Leviticus does not have this pattern, yet when we turn to Deuteronomy we see the same pattern but it is spelled backward!  

Why is this significant?  

“(The following was first revealed to me by my friend, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, the famed atomic physicist who presently resides in Jerusalem. 24) Here are the opening verses in the Book of Genesis in Hebrew: (Remember, Hebrew goes from right to left!)…The word Torah, in Hebrew, is four letters, . If you go to the first (tau, which is similar to our “T”), and count an interval of 49 letters, the next letter is a (vav, operating here like an “O”); count another interval of 49 letters and you will find a (resh, like our “R”); and then count another interval of 49 letters and you will find a (heh, or “H”). We find the word , or Torah, spelled out with 49 letter intervals. Rather strange. It would seem that someone has gone to some remarkable effort; and yet some argue that it is just coincidence. And when we examine the next book, the Book of Exodus, we discover the same thing again! Here are the first few verses of Exodus:…Could this also be a coincidence, again? Just what are the chances of such a coincidence? The word might, on merely a statistical basis, appear in Genesis quite a few times depending on the range of intervals chosen. The total number of letters in Genesis is 78,064, and the amount of the letters , 4152; , 8448; , 4793, and , 6283. Indeed, appears three times in Genesis at the interval of 50, which is what might be statistically expected from a book of that length and of similar concentration of these four letters. But there is no reason why these should begin with the first of the book, and why this should happen in both Genesis and Exodus. The probability of such a coincidence has been estimated at about one in three million! In the next book, the Book of Leviticus, this 49-letter interval doesn’t seem to appear. (We’ll return to reexamine an alternative discovery.) When we examine the next book, the Book of Numbers, we discover that it happens again if we spell Torah backwards!…When we examine the final book of the Torah, the Book of Deuteronomy, a similar thing happens, 25 but again, backwards!…This seems to be too deliberate to be ascribed simply to chance. But why has this ostensibly deliberate arrangement been composed? What are the implications? When we return to reexamine the Book of Leviticus, we discover that the square root of 49, 7, yields a provocative result. After the first yod (), and an interval of seven, taking the next letter yields , the tetragramaton, the ineffable name of God, the YHWH. It appears that the Torah always points toward the Ineffable Name of God!…This seems to hint of a hidden signature. Just as certain authors adopted a trademark, or “shtick,” such as Alfred Hitchcock always appearing as an extra in his famous movies, or J.M.W. Turner’s secret signature on his venerated water colors, or the fabled hidden signature of Shakespeare in Psalm 46,26 we detect here evidence of hidden but deliberate design. And it may be a signpost pointing to others. As we discovered in the previous chapter, within the first of the five books of Moses, known in Hebrew as the Torah, God’s redemptive program was anticipated in the hidden message in the genealogy of Noah. Even the very name of this most venerated part of the Old Testament, highlights God’s program. Even the word “Torah” itself, drawing on the concepts that lie behind the original Hebrew letters, , embodies some provocative elements: The Tav (originally, a cross), the Vav (a nail), the Resh (the head of a man), and the Heh, (the breath or Spirit of God). Thus, Man, with the Spirit of God, nailed on the Cross! This term was in existence well before Messiah walked on the earth. It is an interesting summary of the climax of God’s love story, which was nailed on a cross erected in Judea 2,000 years ago. The entire Biblical drama records the extremes our Creator has resorted to in order to redeem man—including you and me—from our predicament.” (Chuck Missler, Hidden Treasures In The Biblical Text, 257-309 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)

What are the odds of these occurrences of these uses of the word Torah appearing by chance as often as they do?   

According to mathematician Dr. Daniel Michelson, the odds are three million to one against the word Torah being found encoded four times by chance alone within the opening verses of the first five Books of the Bible (Daniel Michelson, “Codes in the Torah” B’Or Ha’Torah , No. 6 (1987), Jerusalem: Shamir). 

There are several other examples of these “Bible Codes” throughout the Old and New Testaments, but I want to share with you some incredible things which have been discovered about one of the most powerful texts of Scripture in the Bible: the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.  

The Story Of Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 is one of the most incredible chapters of the Bible.  

Isaiah the Prophet lived and prophesied between the eighth and seventh centuries before Jesus lived.

While preaching to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, he provided many incredible prophecies of the coming Messiah.  

Starting in chapter 40 of Isaiah, there are several passages that refer to the “servant” of the Lord.  

At times, this “servant” has reference to the faithful people of Israel who were to be God’s servants in the world.

For example: 

Isaiah 41:8-10-8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.

9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:

10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 43:10-“You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.

While sometimes the “servant” refers to the people of Israel collectively, sometimes the “servant” has a reference to a single individual who would come to the world and serve the Lord, as contrasted with the people of Israel.

One of these passages (Isaiah 53) describes in remarkable detail the life, suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and exaltation of the Servant, I.e., Jesus Christ.  

Speaking of the specifics of the “servant” songs (especially Isaiah 53), Michael Brown tells us: 

“Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is one of the most important Messianic prophecies in the entire Hebrew Bible, and I would not be exaggerating to say that more Jews have put their faith in Jesus as Messiah after reading this passage of Scripture than after reading any other passage in the Tanakh….Interestingly, the national interpretation is not found once in the Talmuds, the Targums, or the midrashim (in other words, not once in all the classical, foundational, authoritative Jewish writings). In fact, it is not found in any traditional Jewish source until the time of Rashi, who lived in the eleventh century C.E.105 That is saying something! For almost one thousand years after the birth of Yeshua, not one rabbi, not one Talmudic teacher, not one Jewish sage, left us an interpretation showing that Isaiah 53 should be interpreted with reference to the nation of Israel (as opposed to a righteous individual, or righteous individuals, within Israel), despite the fact that these verses from Isaiah are quoted in the New Testament and were often used in Jewish-Christian debate….The servant of the Lord (Hebrew, ‘ebed) is mentioned a total of seventeen times in Isaiah 40-51, sometimes with reference to the nation of Israel as a whole (41:8-9; twice in 42:19; 43:10; twice in 44:21; 45:4; 48:20), and sometimes with reference to a righteous individual within the nation (49:3, 5-7; 50:10)….Significantly, the most personal, specific, individual language is found in Isaiah 52:13 and 53:11, roughly the beginning and the end of this glorious prophetic passage. Reviewing the data just presented, we can see something very important: The references to the servant as a people actually end with Isaiah 48:20, while the references to the servant as an individual come into indisputable focus beginning with Isaiah 49 and continuing through the end of chapter 53. Thus, by the time we reach Isaiah 52:13, the spotlight is on a person, not a people. The picture is becoming clearer!…This servant is obedient and righteous, setting captives free, and according to the Targum, this servant is none other than the Messiah. 107 This is confirmed by Rabbi David Kimchi—one of the so-called “big three” medieval Rabbinic commentators—who also interpreted the words “Behold my servant” in Isaiah 42:1 with specific reference to “King Messiah.”108 And this image occurs even more plainly in Isaiah 49, where the servant is called Israel and yet is sent on a mission to redeem Israel. The servant is a righteous individual who represents the nation.109 The servant, as in Isaiah 42, is the Messiah!110” (Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections To Jesus: Volume Three-Messianic Prophecy Objections, 40-43 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books) 

Why did the Jewish people believe that the “Servant” in some of these passages was not a reference to the collective people of Israel?  

Actually, there are several reasons why they had this understanding!  

There are several places where we see that the Servant is sometimes distinct and separate from the nation of Israel.

For example, in Isaiah 52:14, the “Servant” is contrasted with the people of Israel.  
More to the point, in Isaiah 53:8, the “Servant” is said to bear the sins of God’s people (in context, the nation of Israel).  
It is also worth noting that we are told that the Servant is sinless (Isaiah 50:9; 53:9) as opposed to the people of Israel (42:18-25).

Even the righteous remnant in Israel were sinners (Isaiah 6:5)!  

For these, as well as other reasons, the earliest Rabbis understood the Servant Song of Isaiah 53 to be a reference to the Messiah:

“For more than 1700 years, the Jewish rabbis interpreted this passage almost unanimously as referring to the Messiah. This fact is thoroughly documented in S. R. Driver and Adolf Neubauer’s The Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. 19/37-39 They quote numerous rabbis during this period who equated the servant of Isaiah 53 with the Messiah. Not until the twelfth century A.D., no doubt under the suffering of the Jews at the hand of the Crusaders, did any Jewish interpreter say that Isaiah 52:13-53:12 refers to the whole nation of Israel, the most common interpretation today among Jewish scholars. Even after Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Yazchaki) first proposed this interpretation, however, many other Jewish interpreters have held, even to the present, the traditional Talmudic view that Isaiah 53 speaks of the Messiah. One of the most respected Jewish intellectuals of all history, Moses Maimonides (A.D. 1135 -1204) rejected Rashi’s interpretation, and he taught that the passage was messianic. 59/364-65” (Josh McDowell & Bill Wilson, A Ready Defense: The Best Of Josh McDowell, 254 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 

Enter The Bible Codes Of Isaiah 53

The prophecies of Isaiah 53 are some of the most powerful evidences in demonstrating that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  

Yet, one of the most fascinating discoveries about this text in recent years has been the identification of several words in the Hebrew text of Isaiah 53, made through the study of equidistant letter skipping.  

These findings clearly foretell incredibly specific elements of the life of Jesus Christ.  

In Chuck Missler’s excellent book, The Fulcrum of the Entire Universe Isaiah 53: The Pivot Point of All History, we find a list of words in the text of Isaiah 53 which have been discovered: 

Passover

The Man Herod

Wicked Caesar Perish 

The Evil Roman City

Let Him Be Crucified

Moriah

Cross

Pierce

From The Atonement Lamb

Bread

Wine

Obed

Jesse 

Seed

Water

Jonah

The Disciples Mourn

Peter

Matthew

John 

Andrew

Philip 

Thomas

James

James

Simon

Thaddeus 

Matthias 

Mary

Mary

Mary

Salome

Joseph 

Yeshua Is My Name

His Signature

Messiah

Nazarene

Galilee

Shiloh 

Pharisee

Levites 

Caiphas 

Annas 

In describing the incredible details of these facts from Isaiah 53, Missler writes:

“Let’s focus now on Isaiah 53 itself. We’ve spent a lot of time covering this amazing prophecy about the sacrificial death of our Lord. Let’s take a moment to consider the words coded within the 15 short verses from Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12….We find more than 40 words and phrases associated with the crucifixion hidden amongst the letters of the Suffering Servant passage. We find the name of the high priest and the various elements of the Passover feast. We find the names of the disciples coded in Isaiah 52 and 53. It gets even better. “James” isn’t listed once, but twice, which is interesting because there were two disciples named James. Both James the son of Zebedee, brother of John, and James the son of Alphaeus would have witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. [59] The name “Mary” is encoded three times, along the woman Salome. One of the Marys was Jesus’ own mother, but we also find Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” involved personally in Christ’s death. [60] Any one of these names in isolation would not be particularly impressive. For instance, the name “Philip” is found 15 places elsewhere in Isaiah while the name “Thomas” shows up more than 200 times in Isaiah. The isolated appearance of any one name is not so important. We’re interested in the ELS codes here because of the clustering of names all in one small location. There are more than 40 words relevant to the crucifixion of Christ densely encrypted in the 15 sentences of this passage. To suggest that this just happened by random chance denies the overwhelming strength of the evidence. There are some interesting things to note. One of the three ELS codes for “Mary” is encrypted in such a way that it interweaves with “John.” We find this significant when we recall that, while He was hanging on the cross, Jesus handed responsibility of His mother to His disciple, John. [61] What’s more, all three sequences of “Mary” use the same letter yod that encodes the name “Yeshua.”” (Dr. Chuck Missler, The Fulcrum of the Entire Universe Isaiah 53: The Pivot Point of All History, 1166-1184 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House). 

Incredible!  

Design Or Coincidence?  

Many may suggest that the Bible Codes are simply a coincidence. What are the odds of these “codes” being simply a coincidence?  

In 1994, a paper entitled “Equidistant Letter Sequences In The Book Of Genesis” was published in the well-known journal, Statistical Science.

The study was overseen by three Israeli mathematicians Doron Witztum, Yoav Rosenberg, and Eliyahu Rips at the Hebrew University and the Jerusalem College of Technology.  

The details of the study (as well as their shocking conclusions) are recounted by Missler:

“In 1994, researchers Doron Witzum, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg caused a great uproar. The men had conceived of an experiment in the mid-1980s, the results of which they eventually submitted to a prestigious peer-reviewed journal called Statistical Science . In their experiment, they formed a list of 34 of the most prominent rabbis in Jewish history along with their dates of birth and death. Remarkably, each rabbi was found in the Bible encrypted with those dates of birth and death. The statistical likelihood of this taking place was about 1 in 775 million, but the statistical review board thought it was contrived. They said, “Let’s add another 32 rabbis to your list.” The researchers agreed and added 32 additional names, along with their dates of birth and death. These additional 32 were also found. (Dr. Chuck Missler, The Fulcrum of the Entire Universe Isaiah 53: The Pivot Point of All History, 1116-1126 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)

The study in Statistical Science Journal concluded with these words: 

““We conclude that the proximity of the ELS’s (Equidistant Letter Sequences) with related meanings in the Book of Genesis is not due to chance.”

We should also consider the amazing work of Professor Harold Gans.  

Being a U.S. intelligence expert who has spent years studying complicated foreign intelligence codes for the Armed Forces, as well as a brilliant mathematician who has published in well over 100 prestigious magazines, Gans decided to carefully examine the authenticity of these codes.  

When he first heard of equidistant letter skipping in the Hebrew text from his friend Professor Doron Witztum (who was also a skeptic of these matters), he believed that these things were “ridiculous.”  

Gans created a very sophisticated computer program in 1989 to determine whether these “codes” were actually true, or were the result of sloppy research.

For nineteen days and nights, he had his computer carefully examine all of the 78, 604 Hebrew letters in the Book of Genesis.  
As a result of his careful research, he was forced to conclude that the codes found in the Old Testament through equidistant letter skipping are very real, and cannot be the result of random chance or human design.  
He has been so convicted by his careful investigations that he travels around the world, teaching in various synagogues about these matters, and works to show nonbelievers through these evidences that the Bible is, indeed, the inspired Word of God.  

It is also worth noting that, when these same studies were conducted using other religious texts besides the Bible, the “codes” were not found.  

The evidence is mounting that the Bible Codes are very real, and may not be explained by mere coincidence or unaided human wisdom.  

One Possible Reason God May Have Put The Bible Codes In The Text

One former skeptic of the Bible Codes, Grant Jeffrey, is now a firm believer in the Bible Codes.

He believes that one of the reasons why God encoded these messages into the Bible text is for Christian apologetics to an unbelieving world.  

While other evidences of the inspiration of the Bible can confirm that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (prophecy and fulfillment, scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, supernatural unity of the Bible writers, miraculous and archaeological attestation, etc.), Jeffrey believes that the Bible Codes may help provide another layer of evidence for our extremely skeptical day and age: 

“When I first heard about the codes during a trip to Israel in the late 1980s, I was naturally quite skeptical. However, after more than fifteen years of careful evaluation of the phenomenon, I believe that there is powerful evidence that the code is genuine. Additional research during the last six years has provided more evidence that God placed these codes in the Scriptures. They provide fascinating details about historical events that have come to pass thousands of years after the biblical text was written. The Bible Codes provide a new type of evidence that supplements the many other types of evidence that prove the Scriptures are supernatural. This discovery may provide a last measure of incontrovertible evidence to our skeptical generation that the Bible is the inspired Word of God….There is no question that the Bible Codes represent an astonishing new claim that demands a high level of validation before we should accept it. By nature I am a skeptic. When I first heard about this, I thought that the claims of the code researchers seemed unbelievable. That is why I am not offended in the slightest when someone tells me that they cannot accept the Bible Codes as genuine. However, after almost a dozen years of research, I am more convinced than ever that God placed the Bible Codes within the text of the Bible to prove to this skeptical generation through this remarkable new evidence that He inspired the human writers to record His revelation to humanity in the Word of God…With powerful apologetic evidence, Christians can challenge the skeptics in our generation to seriously consider the claims of the Bible that it is the supernatural Word of God. The Lord commands Christians, in the words of 1 Peter, to be prepared to explain and defend the reasonableness of our faith in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. We need to be prepared to persuade men and women to turn from their unbelief to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). In light of God’s command to defend our faith to our generation of unbelievers, I find it natural that we should from time to time discover new types of evidence in both the text of the Scriptures as well as in the world of science and archeology. I found an interesting quotation from the Christian writer, Joseph Butler, in his The Analogy of Religion that illustrates this point. “Nor is it at all incredible that a book which has been so long in the possession of mankind, should contain many truths as yet undiscovered.” (Grant R. Jeffrey, The Signature Of God: Conclusive Proof That Every Teaching, Every Command, Every Promise In The Bible Is True, 224-227 (Kindle Edition); Colorado Springs, Colorado; Waterbrook Press)

Conclusion 

When I study with people about the evidences that the Bible is the Word of God, I often use the “traditional” proofs that are proven and true (prophecy and fulfillment, the scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, supernatural unity of the Bible writers, miraculous and archaeological confirmation, etc.).  

While I continue to use these proofs, I must admit that I am also quite stunned and astonished at the topics that I have written about in this article. I believe that they may have very real value in helping to teach unbelievers the trurhfulness of Christianity.

I have literally just scratched the surface with these matters!  

Everything works together to demonstrate that the Bible is, indeed, the Word of God-and its’ message to mankind is true.  

God made mankind out of an act of grace (Psalm 136).

However, mankind chose to rebel against his Creator and break His Law (which is the definition of sin-1 John 3:4; James 4:17).

When we choose to thus sin against the Lord, we separate ourselves from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2). This will lead to eternal separation from the perfectly holy God in a terrible place called “Hell” (Romans 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).  

If that were the “end of the story,” then we would have absolutely no hope.  

Yet God has made a way to save us, by sending His “suffering Servant” to die in the place of mankind (Isaiah 53).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for all people on the cross of Calvary (1 Timothy 2:6). He was buried, and He arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).  

He has promised to Return one Day (John 14:1-3), and He will judge all people on that Day (John 12:48).

Our only hope is if we are found in Him when He returns.  

God has promised that all believers who have heard His Word, repent of their sins, and are baptized into Him on a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son will be forgiven of all sin (Acts 2:37-47; 8:35-38).

If we are faithful to Him to death, we will receive the blessing of an eternal Home in Heaven with Him and each other (Revelation 2:10).  

When we sin as Christians and fall short, God forgives us when we repent of that sin and confess it to Him in prayer (1 John 1:8-2:2).  

Why not turn to the Lord today?  
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

The Elam Prophecy 

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

Throughout the world, many are focused on the nation of Iran.  

What does the Bible say about this nation?  

In this article, we are going to carefully examine one of the prophecies of Jeremiah, in which he directly talks about Iran.  

Jeremiah 49:34-39-34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

35 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, The foremost of their might.

36 Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them toward all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.

37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies And before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger,’ says the LORD; ‘And I will send the sword after them Until I have consumed them.

38 I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD.

39 ‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
As we examine this prophecy, let’s notice five facts about it.  

The Place Of The Prophecy

The prophecy deals specifically with a place called “Elam.”  

Jeremiah 49:34-The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,
Where exactly is “Elam?”  

The name “Elam” actually describes the people who inhabit the land known today as Iran. This country has had several names through the ages, including “Elam” and “Persia.”  

“Elam was an important state in southwestern Iran from the third millennium BC to the appearance of the Persian Empire and beyond. Less well-known than its neighbours in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant or Egypt, it was nonetheless a region of extraordinary cultural vitality….All too often we take for granted the identity and ethnicity of the archaeological and historical cultures which we study, without considering whether discrepancies exist between our definitions and the self-definitions of the peoples being studied. In the case of Elam, it is now clear that we are dealing with a notion imposed by Mesopotamian scribes, not one which had any basis in indigenous notions of ethnic and linguistic self-definition. Diverse groups in southwestern Iran were subsumed under this foreign label, but at a certain point the label was adopted for it clearly served a purpose in a different context of self-definition. Elam is both a name and a concept. How these changed through time will be explored in the chapters which follow.” (D.T. Potts, The Archaeology Of Elam: Formation And Transformation Of An Ancient Iranian State, 1, 12 (Kindle Edition); Cambridge World Archaeology) 

Throughout the Old Testament, Elam/Persia/Iran had a varied and diverse background.  

“Elam was an ancient center of civilization, two hundred miles east of Babylon in what would be the southwest part of modern Iran. It was conquered by the Assyrians under Ashurbanapal, ca. 640 B.C. but regained its independence with Assyria’s collapse. It joined forces with Nabopolassar to destroy Nineveh in 612 B.C. The Babylonian Chronicle seems to indicate there was a conflict between Nebuchadnezzar and Elam, 596–594. In 539 the Elamites helped overthrow the Babylonian Empire. 49:34 The message given to Jeremiah against the Elamites is dated as “early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.”47 Most scholars equate the phrase with the accession year of Zedekiah, 597, but it could have been several years later, perhaps 594. It seems unusual that Jeremiah would announce judgment on a people so remote from Judah with no actual contact with Judah; however, Jeremiah was a prophet to the nations (1:10). Perhaps Elam was included as a reminder of the sovereignty of God over all nations. God as the avenger is more prominent in the judgment message against Elam than in the other judgment oracles in chap. 49 (notice the frequent use of “I”). 49:35–38 The Elamites were famed as bowmen, but that major source of their military power would be broken (cf. Isa 22:6; Hos 1:4–5). Ammon depended on Molech and its riches (49:3–4). Edom depended on wisdom and its inaccessible location (49:7,16). Damascus depended on its fame (49:25). Kedar depended on its remoteness (49:31) and Elam on its bow, but all of them failed. The fate of those nations is a solemn reminder that dependence on human resources rather than on God will always fail (see 9:23–24).” (F.B. Huey, Jr., The New American Commentary: An Exegetical And Theological Exposition Of Holy Scripture-Volume 16-Jeremiah & Lamentations, 406-407 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)

It makes sense why Jeremiah would address Elam at this time since the Elamites had periodically joined forces with Babylon, and no doubt had often made themselves an enemy of Judah as well.  

The Period Of The Prophecy 

The text tells us that these events will take place in “the latter days.”  

Jeremiah 49:39-‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
When exactly are “the latter days?”  

When we study the phrase “latter days” throughout the Bible, we see that this phrase can have several different meanings, depending on the context.  

End Of A Person’s Life. 

Job 42:12-Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys.

Proverbs 19:20-Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days. 

Numbers 24:14-And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

End Of A Nation’s Economy And Government 

There are times when the phrase “latter days” may have reference to the end of a nation’s economy and political infrastructure.  

This is made clear from the words of Moses to the people of Israel. In describing how they would one day be punished for their wickedness, Moses prophecies about their repentance and how they would return to the Lord and be returned to their land. Moses describes this as taking place during “the latter days.”  

Deuteronomy 4:30-When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice.  

Deuteronomy 31:29-For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”

Now, when did this happen? The Bible shows us that when the Hebrews would thus repent in the “latter years,” it would be during a time when they returned to the Lord while under the Old Testament Law: 

Deuteronomy 30:1-3-1 “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you,

2 and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,

3 that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.

Now, why is this relevant? The Old Testament Law was taken away when Jesus died on the cross and was replaced by the New Law (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 26:28; Romans 7:4; Galatians 3:24-25; Ephesians 2:14-15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8-9).  

Since the timeframe that Moses describes as the “latter days” would include the idea that the Jews would still be under the Old Testament; and since the Old Testament was abolished when Jesus died on the cross; then it follows that the “latter days” that Moses prophesied of was a time prior to the death of Jesus on the cross.  

Indeed, these prophesies were brought to fruition when the people of Israel repented of their sins for which they were taken captive (2 Kings 17; 24-25; Ezra; Nehemiah).  

“When a prophecy is projected for fulfillment to the latter days it must refer to a specific historical framework of space and time. Otherwise, the prophecy is left suspended to an indefinite future time period and obviates any reason for mentioning the time element. Thus, we should ask, The latter days of what? Through an examination of the scriptural employment of the term “latter days” and its coordinate terms, we come to view this particular prophetic time element as the time of the end of a nation’s economy, and in particular, a reference to the end of the economy of the nation of Israel, whose theocratic relationship to God ended at the cross, but whose national economy continued until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70….What would happen? Evil would befall Israel. The evil pronounced by Moses that they would be destroyed, they would perish from off the land of their possession, that Jehovah would scatter them among the nations to be their captives (cf. Deuteronomy 4: 25-28; 28: 63-64; Leviticus 26: 31-33). This was fulfilled in the Assyrian (c. 722-21 B.C.) and Babylonian (606-536 B.C.) captivities (as discussed in the Historical Division). Why would it happen? Israel would corrupt themselves and provoke God to anger by the work of their hands. This was through the great sin of idolatry (cf. Deuteronomy 4: 25; Jeremiah 8: 19, 11: 17, 25: 7, 32: 30). How would Israel corrupt herself? By turning aside from the way which Moses had commanded them, which was the covenant law given at Sinai, the law of Moses, and turn to idolatry. When would it happen? “In the latter days.” The evil had to come upon them while yet under the law of Moses, for the “evil” was the result of turning aside from that law. This was hundreds of years prior to the time of Christ. The evil had to come upon Israel prior to 536 B.C., for the evil was the result of her idolatry, for which cause God sent her away into Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, during which time she was forever cured of the sin of idolatry. Therefore, since the evil was to befall Israel in the latter days, and since that evil befell Israel in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, then the latter days of this prophecy were during the captivity of Israel (722-536 B.C.)….Where would Israel be? In tribulation, in captivity, scattered among the nations where Jehovah had driven them, as described in the preceding verses (26-29). What would Israel do? Return to Jehovah. How would Israel return to Jehovah? By hearkening to his voice, by returning to the law of Moses as a precondition to returning to the land from their captivity (Deuteronomy 30: 1-2). When would Israel return to Jehovah? “In the latter days.” But the return to Jehovah had to be while Israel was still under the law of Moses, for Israel would “return to Jehovah” by obeying the Lord’s voice according to all that Moses had commanded them (Deuteronomy 30: 1-2). Therefore: Since Israel was to return to Jehovah in the latter days, and since that return was a precondition to return to the land, and since Israel returned to the land in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1: 1 ff), then the “latter days” of this prophecy preceded the year 536 B.C..” (Edward Wharton, Christ And The Church: The Fulfillment Of Purpose And Prophecy, 2013-2076 (Kindle Edition); Lubbock, TX; Sunset Institute Press)

The Christian Age 

There are times when the phrase “latter days” is used to refer to the very last dispensation of time, before the end of the world: 

Isaiah 2:2-Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.

This phrase is used several times in this sense in the Book of Jeremiah: 

Jeremiah 23:20-The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.

Jeremiah 30:24-The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, And until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.

Jeremiah 48:47-“Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab In the latter days,” says the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Jeremiah 49:39-But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”

See also: Ezekiel 38:8, 16; Daniel 2:28; 10:14; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1).  

It is also helpful to remember that the phrase “latter days” is the same as “last days.”  

Genesis 49:1-And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:

Now, WHEN are the “latter days” or the “last days” that Jeremiah here prophesied?

The Apostle Peter quotes from Joel 2 and declares: 

Acts 2:16-17-16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAYS GOD, THAT I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS.

Notice that the last days were beginning when Peter was preaching there on Pentecost.  

Again:

2 Timothy 3:1-1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
Hebrews 1:1-2-1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Throughout the New Testament, we see that the phrase “last days” has reference to the entire Christian Age and Dispensation. This is made especially clear in Paul’s Epistle to Timothy and Peter’s Epistle to the brethren of the dispersion. For example, in describing certain types of people who will be present during the “last days,” Paul then tells Timothy to stay away from such individuals (2 Timothy 3:5). Obviously, in order for Timothy to be turning away from people who would be present in the last days, then Timothy would have to be living during the last days for this to happen! Indeed, the Greek of this passage is even more clear regarding the subject: 

“Although Paul speaks of these “last days” (v. 1) with future tense verbs (vv. 1, 9), this is a future in which Timothy is already involved, since the passage is applied to him in his present situation (note the second person singular present tense imperatives in vv. 1 and 5) and since the activity of the false teachers is depicted as already occurring (in the present tense verb forms in vv. 6-8)….eaxataL; ilµeeaLc,** “last days,” is used here as elsewhere in the NT (Acts 2:17; Jas. 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:3; cf. Heb. 1:2; cf. further iv voteeotg xa.Leois in 1 Tim. 4:1 and the discussion there) to refer to the time of the Messiah, that last period of days before the final messianic action takes place. The concept and language are taken over from the OT (cf. Acts 2:17, quoting Joel 3:1; cf. further Is. 2:2). Here, as in 1 Jn. 2:18, where eaxati wea is used, the phrase does not designate some yet-to-come period of days. Rather, Paul is reminding Timothy that the Christian community is living in the “last days,” and, because that is true, he must come to grips with what characterizes those “days.” (George W. Knight III, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Pastoral Epistles, 7187-7196 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 

In the same way, Peter warns how scoffers will arise in “the last days” (2 Peter 3:3), and that the brethren to whom Peter is writing must therefore be prepared for such persecution (2 Peter 3). This goes again to demonstrate to us that the phrase “the last days,” as used in the Bible, has reference to the Christian Age.  

Therefore this prophecy of Jeremiah regarding Elam would take place and be fulfilled sometime during the Christian Age.  

The People Of The Prophecy 

The text declares that during the Christian Age, the people of Iran would be scattered all over the Earth.  

Jeremiah 49:36-Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them toward all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.

Did the events here described take place during the time of Nebuchadnezzar? Renowned scholars Keil and Delitzsch write:

“If we compare this prophecy with the remaining prophecies of Jeremiah regarding the heathen nations, we shall find that it contains no reference whatever to any execution by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon of the judgment with which the Elamites are threatened…History says nothing of a war waged by Nebuchadnezzar on Elam, nor does this prophecy furnish any support for such an assumption.”

Well, has there been a time when the people of Elam have been “scattered” over the face of the Earth?  

Amazingly, this appears to have been fulfilled in our very day and age: 

“”Allow me to draw out several key points from this passage: Verse 39 tells us that these events are going to happen in “the last days.” The passage tells us that God will scatter the people of Iran all over the earth (verse 36). This actually happened during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. For the first time in history, Iranians were scattered all over the globe. Today, an estimated five million Iranians live outside their home country. God says he is going to “break” the current structure of Iran (verse 35). God says he will “shatter Elam [Iran] before their enemies” (verse 37). God says he will bring his “fierce anger” against the leaders of Iran (verse 37). God says, “I will send out the sword after them until I have consumed them” (verse 37). God says he will “destroy” Iran’s “king and princes” (verse 38). Despite all this terrible judgment, God specifically promises to “set My throne in Elam”—that is, be the God and King of the people of Iran (verse 38). God also promises to “restore the fortunes of Elam” (verse 39)….That may be the case. I, however, lean more toward the view held by many Iranian Christians who believe that God means he will bless the people of Iran spiritually. In some ways, this has already begun. In 1979, there were only about five hundred known Shia Muslim converts to Christianity in all of Iran. Today, all the Iranian Christian leaders I have interviewed (more than forty) say there are more than one million Shia converts to Christianity in Iran. Iranian followers of Jesus Christ believe that as we get closer to the second coming of Christ, God is going to pour out his love and forgiveness and his Holy Spirit on the people of Iran in an even more dramatic way, opening the eyes and hearts of even more Muslims and helping them to see clearly that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world and that only through faith in him can they know and experience God’s love and plan for their lives. They also believe that Iran will soon become a “sending country,” a base camp, as it were, from which thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of Iranian followers of Christ will fan out throughout the epicenter, preaching the gospel, making disciples, and planting churches in the last days.” (Joel Rosenberg, Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran, (1203-1222 (Kindle Edition); Tyndale House Publishers) 
Incredible!  

The Powers Of The Prophecy

Another part of this prophesy deals with the subject of God judging the wicked leaders of Elam and Iran during the Christian Age, as well as on its’ military.  

Jeremiah 49:35-“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, The foremost of their might.

Jeremiah 49:38-I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD.

Certainly throughout time, the Iranian leaders have often proven themselves to be exceedingly wicked. In fact, the wickedness of these leaders should be a serious concern to Americans today due in large part to the Islamic beliefs of many of its’ leaders, and especially their focus on one person in particular: the Mahdi. 

Interesting Facts About Islam

The “prophet” Muhammad began to receive “revelations” in about the year 606 A.D. The most accurate account of his experience goes like this: 

“When it was the night on which God honoured him with his mission and showed mercy on His servants thereby, Gabriel brought him the command of God. “He came to me,” said the Apostle of God, “while I was asleep, with a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, `Read!’ I said, `What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, `Read!’ I said, `What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said `Read!’ I said, `What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it the third time so that I thought it was death and said `Read!’ I said, `What then shall I read?’ -and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again. He said: `Read in the name of thy Lord who created, who created man of blood coagulated. Read! Thy Lord is the most beneficent, Who taught by the pen, Taught that which they knew not unto men’ [96:1-5]. So I read it, and he departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep, and it was as though these words were written on my heart.”‘ (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, The Life of Muhammad, trans. A. Guillaume laume (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 106). 

Perhaps one of the most striking circumstances of this encounter come from the realization that Muhammad for quite some believed that this encounter was demonic in origin.  

“One of the most widely respected modern Muslim biographer, Muhammad Husayn Haykal, speaks vividly of Muhammad’s plaguing fear that he was demon possessed: Stricken with panic, Muhammad arose and asked himself, ‘What did I see? Did possession of the devil which I feared all along come to pass?’ Muhammad looked to his right and his left but saw nothing. For a while he stood there trembling with fear and stricken with awe. He feared the cave might be haunted and that he might run away still unable to explain what he saw. [74, emphasis added] Haykal notes that Muhammad had feared demon possession before, but his wife Khadijah talked him out of it. For “as she did on earlier occasions when Muhammad feared possession by the devil, so now stood firm by her husband and devoid of the slightest doubt.” Thus “respectfully, indeed reverently, she said to him, ‘Joy to my cousin! Be firm. By him who dominates Khadijah’s soul I pray and hope that you will be the Prophet of this nation. By God, he will not let you down’” (ibid., 75). Indeed, Haykal’s description of Muhammad’s experience of receiving a “revelation” fits that of other mediums.”. (Norman Geisel, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 505 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books) 

Two former Muslims, being well acquainted with the occult nature of Muhammad, have documented: 

“Muhammad was deathly afraid of the source of the revelation, believing at first that he was possessed by an evil spirit, or jinn…Muhammad’s call was finally confirmed after obsessive soul-searching. searching. Given his mental state, the obvious question arises as to whether that call can be trusted. Remember that the tortured prophet repeatedly believed himself to be demon possessed….Third, later revelations became more and more eccentric. At one point Muhammad claimed to speak to the dead. Questioned about the incident by his novice disciples, the prophet replied, “[The dead] hear me no less than you do, except that they are unable to answer me.” Muhammad not only claimed to communicate municate with the dead; he prayed for the dead at the cemetery of Baqi al Gharqad. Muslim scholars do not explain away this phenomenon. Rather, they believe that he was a psychic, endowed with heightened perception and sensitivity. One commentator says that communication between the living and the dead is an “indubitable fact.”s Muhammad oscillated between revelations from Satan and Allah. The most famous of these visions resulted in the so-called “Satanic Verses.” Muhammad revealed to his followers the words of Allah: Did you consider al-hat and al-Uzza And al-Manat, the third, the other? Those are the swans exalted; Their intercession is expected; Their likes are not neglected.6 This revelation, commanding them to allow intercession to certain idols, shocked Muhammad’s disciples. Recognizing the theological logical discrepancy and the concession to paganism, Muhammad withdrew his revelation, explaining that Satan had deceived him into writing the verses. The angel Gabriel came to the prophet and declared, “God cancels what Satan interjects.” As expected, Muhammad quickly received a substitute revelation that canceled the last three lines (verses).” (Ergun Mehmet Caner & Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look At Muslim Life And Beliefs, 313-345 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Krueger Publications) 

At this point, Muhammad was commissioned by Allah to preach Islam to his surrounding neighbors. Later, as he failed to procure many converts, he was authorized by Allah to begin preparing for “jihad,” or “holy war.” The Islamic concept of “jihad” carries several ideas, but included within is the ideal of killing those who refuse to convert to Islam.  

Sura 2:19-“Slay the unbeliever wherever you find them.”  

Sura 3:28-Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.”  

Sura 3:85-“Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.”  

Sura 5:33-Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam.”  

Sura 8:12-Terrorize and behead those who believe in Scriptures than the Koran. 

Sura 8:60-Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels. 

Sura 8:65-The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.  

Sura 9:5-When opportunity arises kill the infidels wherever you find them. 

Sura 9:30-The Jews and Christians are perverts, fight them.  

Sura 9:123-Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood. 

Sura 22:19-Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water, and melt their skin and bellies.  

Sura 24:4-Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them.  

These verses could easily be multiplied nearly a dozen times over. The point is, Islam authorizes its’ followers to practice jihad.  

What rewards are promised to those who are willing to give their lives in jihad? 

“Sexual enticements play an integral element in recruiting Jihadists. The late author and journalist Muhammad Galal Al-Kushk wrote; “The men in Paradise have sexual relations not only with the women who come from this world and with ‘the black-eyed,’ but also with the serving boys.” According to Kurum, Al-Kushk also stated, “In Paradise, a believer’s penis is eternally erect.” 69” (Walid Shoebat with Joel Richardson, God’s War On Terror: Islam, Prophecy, And The Bible-A fresh understanding of Biblical prophecy from an Eastern perspective as viewed by an ex-Muslim terrorist, 2123 (Kindle Edition))

One of the most common forms of jihad in Islam is waging war through deception. Former professor of Islamic theology Mark Gabriel explains: 

“Philosopher Ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328) wrote a book titled The Sword on the Neck of the Accuser of Muhammad. In it he described how Muslims should live in the weakened stage. Believers when in a weakened stage in a non-Muslim country should forgive and be patient with people of the book [i.e., Jews and Christians] when they insult Allah and his prophet by any means. Believers should lie to people of the book to protect their lives and religion. i In other words, it’s OK to lie to non-Muslims to protect yourself when you are a minority in their country. There’s a simple Islamic proverb that says, “If you can’t cut your enemies’ hand, kiss it.”2 This is clear in the prophet Muhammad’s life and his teaching in Mecca and after. The peaceful lamb of Mecca, after immigrating to Medina, became a roaring lion that threatened the whole Arabian Desert….The first time that the prophet Muhammad permitted denying Islam or him as a prophet was with Amar Ben Yasser.3 Yasser, who was one of Muhammad’s friends, was captured and held hostage by the tribe of Quraysh. The tribe tortured Yasser, so he denied Muhammad and Islam to gain freedom. As soon as they set him free, he went back to Muhammad and confessed what had happened. Prophet Muhammad told Yasser that if that ever happened to him again he should do exactly what he did with no shame. At a different time, the prophet Muhammad heard that one of his enemies (Sha’ban Bin Khalid Al-Hindi) was preparing his troops to fight the Muslims. Muhammad sent Abdullah bin Anis Aljohani to assassinate this enemy. Aljohani asked the prophet Muhammad to describe the man that he was supposed to kill. Muhammad told him to go and join the enemies’ troops, curse Islam and Muhammad, and that he would find Al-Hindi that way. Prophet Muhammad’s messenger went to the enemies’ camp. When he identified the leader, he struck up a conversation and cursed Muhammad and his people. To make a long story short, Aljohani was able to build a close enough relationship with his victim to cut off his head when he was sleeping. He brought the head to the prophet. We see here that the prophet Muhammad’s messenger used lying-denying the faith and cursing prophet Muhammad-in order to accomplish his mission.4” (Mark A. Gabriel, Ph. D., Islam And Terrorism: What The Quran Really Teaches About Christianity, Violence, And The Goals of The Islamic Jihad, 792-821 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; Frontline) 

In fact, there are two important Muslim words that describe in detail the tenants of deception in Islam: 

“TRUTH Kithman is a command to deliberately conceal one’s beliefs. Primarily practiced by the minority Shi’a Muslims, this doctrine is articulated by Imam Jafar Sadiq, the sixth imam of Shi’a Islam: One who exposes something from our religion is like one who intentionally kills us. 2 You belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it, Allah will honor him and whosoever reveals it, Allah will disgrace him. 3 So Shi’a Muslims are commanded to hide what they truly believe in order to mislead outsiders as to the true nature of their religion…There is essentially no difference between the doctrine of kithman and the doctrine of taqiya. Taqiya is defined by one Shi’a Muslim commentator thusly: The word “al-Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/ or strategies at a time of imminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/ or mental injury.” A one-word translation would be “Dissimulation.” 4…The doctrines of kithman and taqiya are often said to be strictly Shi’a doctrines, and Sunni Muslims deny that either doctrine is part of their tradition. Unfortunately, this is merely another deception. Next, we will run through some of the Sunni traditions that prove the universal application of taqiya within Islam….As long as a Muslim lives in a country where Islam exists as a minority, in “a weakened state,” then deceptiveness is allowed. When challenged by non-Muslims to blaspheme Allah, they “went along with them.” The nonbelievers arrested ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir and tortured him until he uttered foul words about the Prophet [Muhammad], and praised their gods and idols; and when they released him, he went straight to the Prophet. The Prophet said: “Is there something on your mind?” ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir said: “Bad news! They would not release me until I defamed you and praised their gods!” The Prophet said: “How do you find your heart to be?” ‘Ammar answered: “Comfortable with faith.” So the Prophet said: “Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again.” Allah at that moment revealed the verse: “… except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith…” 6 (Surah 16: 106) So Muhammad actually encouraged Muslims to lie and blaspheme and deny their beliefs if that would protect them, as long as they remained “comfortable with faith.” Ibn Abbas, the most renowned and trusted narrator of tradition in the sight of the Sunnis, confirms this notion. “Taqiyya is [merely] the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith.” 7…We see that taqiya is indeed a doctrine for all Muslims that allows them to deny any aspect of their faith in order to protect themselves from harm.” (Joel Richardson, The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About The Real Nature Of The Beast, 152-156 (Kindle Edition); Los Angeles, CA; WND Books) 

This does not mean that all Muslims are out to get us, for there are no doubt many Muslims who ignore these verses and concepts of the Quran.  

Yet we would be foolish to believe the common assertion that, “Islam is actually a religion of peace.”  

It certainly is not!  

Iran And The Mahdi 

To understand how all of this applies to Iran’s leaders, we need to see what happened to Islam when Muhammad died.  

Failing to name a successor before his death, the Muslims were split into two different groups: the Shiites and the Sunnis.  

“By far the largest segment of Muslims belong to the Sunni sect. Following the death of Muhammad, the Sunni faction purposed that the successor to Muhammad should be elected from among the people. The Shiites (party of Ali) believed a direct descendancy from Muhammad should be followed, a blood line of succession. Consequently, the Shiites reject as fraudulent the first three caliphs elected. They accept only the election of All, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law.” (Ergun Mehmet Caner & Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look At Muslim Life And Beliefs, 1525 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Krueger Publications) 

The vast majority of Muslims today are Sunni.  

However, the Shiites believe that one day the Muslim “Messiah,” (i.e., the Mahdi) will return to the world.  

“The Quran is less clear about the major signs that precede the Day of Judgment, but there are ample Hadith—oral traditions of sayings and acts attributed to Muhammad—that offer guidance. The Hadith are second in sacredness only to the Quran. They are the recorded wisdom of Islam’s prophet—the model Muslim—and are essential sayings and stories of how Muhammad lived in the seventh century A.D . But according to the Hadith, first, the birth of the Dajjal, or Antichrist, heralds the beginning of the End Times. It is said that the Dajjal will have one eye, and hair all over his body. Some prophecies attributed to Muhammad say that he will appear on the road between Iraq and Syria. According to the Hadith of Muhammad, the Dajjal will be born near Iran and Syria at a time when immorality—specifically homosexuality and drug use—reign. Seventy thousand Jews will be seduced by the Dajjal to fight the true Muslims, who will be led by a successor of Muhammad called the Mahdi. Epic battles will ensue. Many ISIS militants believe that the Dajjal has already been born. They’ve even distributed photographs on social media of supposedly one-eyed babies. It turns out some of the photographs are of actual real-life children born with one eye (one was born in Bolivia in 2008; the other, born in India in 2006, lived only one day)….Islam is divided into two main branches: Sunni and Shia. Sunnis make up 85 to 90 percent of Muslims. The branches share many views, such as their reverence of the Quran as a holy book and their belief that Muhammad was a prophet, but the 120 to 170 million Shia Muslims around the world take a distinctly different view from Sunnis toward the End Times and the role of the Mahdi, who according to their tradition has already visited earth and gone into hiding. The majority of Shia consider themselves “Twelvers,” referring to the number of imams, or leaders, who have been divinely ordained. These successors to Muhammad were infallible and ruled with perfect justice, despite persecution from the Sunni caliphs who attempted to kill most of them. The first imam was Ali, a son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad. The most recent was Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali, whom Twelver Shia refer to as the Mahdi. In 873, he went into hiding, supposedly at the bottom of a well, to avoid being captured by Sunni authorities. The Mahdi waiting in hiding is called “the occultation,” which, in the Shia tradition, continues to this day. “Henceforth, no one will see me, unless and until Allah makes me appear,” one of the Mahdi’s representatives told his followers. “My reappearance will take place after a very long time when people will have grown tired of waiting and those who are weak in their faith will say: What! Is he still alive?” Whereas in the Sunni tradition of Islam, belief in the imminence of the End Times is more confined to radical Salafists, it is very much in the mainstream of Shia belief. The Hidden Imam, or Mahdi, will set into motion a course of events that will end the world, just as it is believed in the Sunni tradition. While most of the Muslim world is Sunni, the Islamic Republic of Iran is almost exclusively (90–95 percent) Shia. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei—as the father of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, before him—is a fervent believer in the End Times and the return of the Mahdi. This informs Iran’s geopolitics. Another prominent Iranian ayatollah has promised that when the Mahdi does emerge, “ he will behead the Western leaders.” Indeed, Iran’s headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons is viewed by many as preparation for the confrontation that will ensue when the Mahdi comes out of occultation.” (Glenn Beck, It IS About Islam: Exposing The Truth About Isis, Al Qaeda, Iran, And The Caliphate, 284-315 (Kindle Edition); New York; Threshold Editions) 

According to Islamic Hadith, before the “last hour” when the Mahdi will appear, there must be an increase in the slaughter of the Jewish people. Muhammad declared: 

“The Prophet said… the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 6985)  

So, the Shiite Muslims believe that the Mahdi will one day come back into the world, and that they can “hasten his coming” by increasing the bloodshed of the Jews.  

Now, would it surprise you to learn that the leaders of Iran are committed Shiite Muslims who want to hasten the coming of the Mahdi?  

In fact, Iran’s last president, MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, delivered a speech at the United Nations (September 26 2005). In that speech, he appealed to Allah to ““hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.” 

NOW is it clear why Iran is so determined to get nuclear weapons?  

NOW is it so clear why the Jews are so terrified that Iran might get nuclear weapons?  

We certainly have reason to beware of Iran getting nuclear weapons.  

Nevertheless, we have this promise from God: one day, He will bring the wicked rulers of this nation and any of the wicked soldiers in that country’s military into judgment.  

The Providence Of The Prophecy

The text does not leave those in Iran in a sense of doom with no forgiveness available; instead, the Lord shows here in two ways that there is hope for the people.  

First, He promises to establish His throne in the midst of Iran.  

Jeremiah 49:38-I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD.

This is a reference to the promise that He will reign from the nation of Iran. It will become a source of spiritual forgiveness and furtherance of the Gospel.  

Second, He promises to “bring back the captives” of Elam.  

Jeremiah 49:39-But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”

What does this mean?  

When we compare the translations on this verse, we find an interesting phrase used synonymously with “bringing back the captives:” 

Jeremiah 49:39 (ERV)-“But in the future I will make good things happen to Elam.” This message is from the LORD.

Jeremiah 49:39 (ISV)-“But in the latter days I’ll restore the fortunes of Elam,” declares the LORD.

Why the different translations? How does “bringing back the captives” equate to “restoring the fortunes?”  

“The expression restore the fortunes or “reverse the fortunes” ( šûḇ š e ḇûṯ , lit. “turn the turning”) occurs frequently in the OT. The translation “turn the captivity” 1 is incorrect and the phrase occurs at times where no captivity is in view (e.g., Job 42:10; Ezek. 16:53). What is in view here is either a reversal of the fortunes of Yahweh’s people or a restoration of their fortunes.” (J.A. Thompson, The New International Commentary On The Old Testament: The Book Of Jeremiah,11060 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)&nbsp

“The word š e ḇûṯ goes back to šwḇ , “return,” and not to šāḇâ , “to take captive.” The AV and RV both assume the root šāḇâ , “to take captive,” and translate “turn again the captivity.” In practice, after the exile “to turn the captivity” and “to reverse the fortunes” came to mean much the same thing, but the context seems to the present commentator to require derivation from the root šwḇ.” (J.A. Thompson, The New International Commentary On The Old Testament: The Book Of Jeremiah, 199272, Footnote 1); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company) 

Sometimes the translators of the Bible need to use paraphrases instead of literal word-for-word translations. Every culture has idioms that often go beyond a literal word-for-word interpretation.

For example, consider the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs.” We know that this simply means that it is raining very hard and in a ferocious way (the way that, say, cats and dogs might fight and attack each other when aggravated).

But LITERALLY?

That would make no sense.  

In the same way, every society has phrases and concepts that require the translators to have a familiarity with the culture and context of a given passage. This is why translation can often be a difficult work, and not merely as simple as “do it word for word.” This is also another reason why I always encourages students of the Word of God to make use of other Bible translations in their investigations into Scripture.  

Yet why would “returning captives” equate to “restoring fortunes?”

Consider this:

Several times in my jail ministry, I meet individuals who are first arrested (or “taken captive”). Immediately at the police station, their belongings are taken from them and place in large Manila envelopes. Later, if and when they are released, the officers take the Manila envelopes with their names on them and return (restore) their belongings.  

So, this phrase had direct reference to the fact that one day the Lord would restore the fortunes of Iran one day. This could have reference to one of two things (or probably both).  

First, there could be a promise from God here to the effect that the nation of Iran would one day again become a strong and prosperous nation. After their wicked leaders would be judged, the nation’;s economy, military, and infrastructure could be reestablished so that they would once again become a dominant world power. This is, certainly, one possible interpretation of the text.  

Second, there is the larger possibility that the text is referring to the promise that one day the people of Iran would be spiritually blessed, in incredible ways. Notice that the phrase “restoring the fortune” used throughout Jeremiah often carries the idea of blessing the people of a nation spiritually (Jeremiah 33:7-9, 11; 48:47; 49:6). Further, notice that the text prophesies that God would establish His throne in the midst of Elam (Jeremiah 49:38). 

Several time sin the Old Testament, God promised to show mercy to nations that were once rebellious when they repented after His judgments upon them. For example: 

Isaiah 19:19-25-19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border.

20 And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them.

21 Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.

22 And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.

24 In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land,

25 whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”

Ezekiel 16:53-55 (CEV)-53 Someday I will bless Sodom and Samaria and their nearby villages. I will also bless you, Jerusalem.

54 Then you will be ashamed of how you’ve acted, and Sodom and Samaria will be relieved that they weren’t as sinful as you.

55 When that day comes, you and Sodom and Samaria will once again be well-off, and all nearby villages will be restored.

Now, the question arises; has there been a time during the Christian Age in which God blessed the people of Elam spiritually?

Look at who is present when Peter preaches his Pentecost sermon (which began the “last days” as noticed earlier in Acts 2:16-17)

Acts 2:7-11-7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

9 Parthians and Medes and ELAMITES, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

The spiritual fortunes of Elam began to be restored on Pentecost of Acts 2, the beginning of the “last days,” just as Jeremiah the Prophet prophesied nearly seven hundred years earlier.

They will continue to be restored as people in Iran (and around the world) submit to the Lord and obey His Good News

Conclusion 

In regards to the nation of Iran as recorded in the Book of Jeremiah, God told about: the place, the period, the people, the powers, and the providence of the prophecy, 

Some of these prophecies have been fulfilled; and others are in the process of being fulfilled. One day, all of God’s Word will be brought to fruition.  

Friends, the God of Heaven offers His providential pardon to all who will come to Him. He has reached out to sinful man by sending us His Son, Jesus Christ, Who lived among us and was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). At the end of HIs life, Jesus went to the Cross and paid the price for all of our sins on the Cross of Calvary, to provide atonement for the holy wrath of all-perfect God (Matthew 20;28; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:6). He was buried, and three days later, He arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).  

He desires all men and women everywhere to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9), which is why He has commissioned His church to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). Those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 8:24) after hearing His Word (John 6:44-45), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus Christ as God’s Son (Acts 8:37; 1 Timothy 6:12), are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4), and are faithful to death will be saved (Revelation 2:10).  

When we as Christians sin and fall short (1 John 1:8), God offers forgiveness when His people repent and confess those sins to Him in prayer (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 4:15; James 5:16).  

Why not obey Him today?  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

“Bereshit” 

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

The study of the Word of God is one of the most thrilling endeavors the heart of man can pursue.  

The more I have studied the Bible, the more I am amazed at its’ incredible depths. Being a diligent student of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) will include carefully examining the Word of God, even in its’ original languages (Jeremiah 29:13). The blessings of such a journey are beyond description!  

It is also imperative as we study the Word of God to remember that everything in Scripture revolves around and points to Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Peter pointed this out when he was preaching the Word of God to Cornelius and his household: 

Acts 10:43-To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
While discussing the Word of God with the Jews of His day, Jesus made this claim: 

John 5:39-You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

With this in mind, I would like to share with you something I have learned recently. I was, quite frankly, stunned by what I am about to share with you.

That is the beauty of the Word of God! It has the power and the eloquence to speak to a child so all can understand, and yet there are depths to the Bible that can astonish the careful student after years of intense scrutiny.  

What I am going to share with you has to do with the very first word of the Bible-and how this word paints an incredible picture of Jesus Christ.  

The Hebrew Old Testament 

The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language, which is exceedingly and amazingly complex.

Scholar Chuck Missler describes some of the incredible nuances of this language: 

“The Hebrew language has some distinctive characteristics that no other language on the planet Earth has. All the early languages were written without spaces between the words, and the Hebrew language is self- parsing. In Hebrew, there are five letters that have a slightly different shape when they’re used as the last letter of a word. Because of that, it’s possible to read Hebrew without spaces between the letters. There are only consonants in Hebrew, and no vowels. It’s what’s called a consonantal script. The meaning of a word derives from a root of three letters, and each three letter root word can be expanded to create all manner of other words. Prefixes and suffixes can be added to those three letters, forming different parts of speech or even entirely new words; the meaning is related to those three base letters. The particular meaning of the word depends on how it’s pronounced when vowel sounds are added. For instance, the three letters sfr create the word for “book” and it’s pronounced “sapher.” A writer, on the other hand, somebody who makes books, would be called a “sopher” same letters. The plural form requires a “ym” ending sfrym – “sefarim.” The pronunciations are therefore very important. It’s not difficult for a native speaker to vocally add the appropriate vowels. We often use the consonants “bldg” for “building” and we understand the word even with the vowels (and one consonant) removed. Native speakers would naturally read the words correctly. The root consonants are designed to give Hebrew a semantic backbone and stability not characteristic of Western languages. It also leads to word play. Verb usage is dependent on the context, and the language lends itself to puns. There’s often far more meaning implied in the Hebrew sentence than there would be in a Greek sentence….One of the peculiarities of the Hebrew language is that the alphabet is not just phonetic, but also symbolic. The alphabet of most languages are phonetic. Words can be sounded out if the letter sounds are known. Hebrew is phonetic, but it is a special language, because it is also symbolic. Individual letters can have their own meanings. Early in Hebrew writing, the letters were also pictographs. Aleph , for instance, was shaped like the head of an ox and represented strength and leadership. The letter kaf was originally shaped like a hand, and “kaf” means “palm of the hand” or “to coerce.” The Hebrew language is astonishingly vivid, concise and simple. It is also so dense that it makes it difficult to translate fully. While the Greek language is precise, each word holding a specific intended meaning, Hebrew leaves many ideas to be “understood.” It requires the reader to fill in the blanks. It often takes two or three times as much space to translate the Hebrew into English because the words carry so much significance on their own.”. (Chuck Missler, How We Got Our Bible, 400-424 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)

The original Hebrew of the Old Testament, like the koine Greek of the New Testament, is unparalleled in its’ beauty and complexity.  

Bereshit

With this rudimentary knowledge in mind, consider the amazing discovery one researcher learned about the very first word of the Bible: 

“I began to wonder about the Hebrew pictographs. The pictographs can be dated back many thousands of years even before the time of Christ. Each picture tells a part of a story or message; I believe it is a message from eternity to those who are willing to listen and believe….The above illustration is a generalisation of the meanings of each letter. For instance Aleph can also mean sacrifice as it is in the shape of an ox and an ox was used to sacrifice or it can mean God himself as the first above all. Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew “Aleph- bet” and like Aleph and many of the other letters can simply mean cross because of its shape. Again I wondered is there a message here somewhere? I began my search in the very first word of the Old Testament “Bereshit” meaning “In the beginning.” What would happen if I took the ancient pictographs and substituted them for the Hebrew letters in Bereshit? Would there be a message hidden beneath the surface text?…In the pictograph of Bereshit, the first word of Genesis 1, we read from right to left: ְבּ Beit which is a picture of a house or the temple, ֵר Resh meaning the highest, אAleph which can mean God or sacrifice, שׁ Shin meaning to be destroyed or to destroy, יYod meaning hand or one’s own hand, ת Tav meaning a cross. (See fig 4) The stunning message we receive from Genesis 1 in ancient Hebrew Pictographs and Bereshit the very first Hebrew word in the bible is: The house / temple of the highest sacrifice (or God) will be destroyed by his own hand on a cross. (Fig 4)….Isn’t that incredible? To discover the Gospel message hidden in the first Hebrew word of the bible? Hidden in ancient Hebrew pictographs. All the more stunning when one realises the modern religious Jew does not believe God would come and die on a cross for their sins. Yet here it is revealed in the Hebrew pictographs proving, yet again, God authored the bible; placing within the Hebrew text proof they cannot deny from their own ancient pictographic history. Yeshua is God and came and died on the cross for our sins. The message was placed there by a divine hand at the very beginning of the Hebrew bible thousands of years before crucifixion was ever invented!” (Bob Mitchell, The Messiah Code, 77-103 (Kindle Edition))

“The house/temple sacrifice of God will be destroyed by his own hand on a cross.”  

Incredible!!  

When I was studying this, I was reminded of something else I had read a couple of years ago: 

“Even the word “Torah” itself, drawing on the concepts that lie behind the original Hebrew letters, , embodies some provocative elements: The Tav (originally, a cross), the Vav (a nail), the Resh (the head of a man), and the Heh, (the breath or Spirit of God). Thus, Man, with the Spirit of God, nailed on the Cross! This term was in existence well before Messiah walked on the earth. It is an interesting summary of the climax of God’s love story, which was nailed on a cross erected in Judea 2,000 years ago. The entire Biblical drama records the extremes our Creator has resorted to in order to redeem man—including you and me—from our predicament.”. (Chuck Missler, Hidden Treasures In The Biblical Text, 295-305 (Kindle Edition): Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)  

Everything revolves around Jesus Christ.

 
My friends, the God of Heaven has gone to such incredible lengths to inspire His Word and to provide evidence of its’ inspiration so that you will know that it is TRUE. The God of Heaven DOES love you. He loves you so very much that He sent His Son to live a perfectly sinless life, even though He was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and to die in your place as a perfect Sacrifice (1 Timothy 2:6). Jesus died for you, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).  

God has declared that those who hear His Word (romans 10:17), believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and are baptized into Him (Galatians 3:26-27) will be saved (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Will you not obey Him today (2 Corinthians 6:2)?  

If you are a Christian who has turned from the Lord, won’t you please repent of the sin in your life and turn back to God by confessing your sins to Him (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?  

The churches of Christ stand ready to assist you.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.