The Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 60: 1-3.

 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

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The Light of Israel in the Millennium and New Earth period will be the glory of God. The same will be true for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23).

Darkness will literally cover the earth just before the appearance of the the glory of God at the 2nd advent of Christ, making the glory appear more glorious as it expels the darkness which will come by the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars (13:10; Joel 3:15; Matt. 24:29, Acts 2:20). We must not understand darkness  as being spiritual, but literal where it is clear, as in these passages. Surely there will be spiritual darkness as Antichrist throws his power over the earth, but there will also be a literal darkness, unexplainable to the human mind. Perhaps some will say it is global warming 🙂

“His glory” in v. 2 is the same as the light in v. 1.

So great and so beautiful will be the light in Israel that it will attract the Gentiles from all nations, including the rulers of the Gentile nations.

The earth will have gone through the horrors of the Tribulation period. Hundreds of thousands will have died for their faith. The darkness will seem all-consuming, and impenetrable. And then——the glory of God will burst upon Israel and Jerusalem, and people from all around the world will be drawn to the Light.

What an exciting time that will be!

The Cup of God’s Fury

Isaiah 51:17-18.

17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.

18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.

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Jerusalem will have undergone the worst destruction ever, but still, even though it seems she will never recover, God has His hand on His people. Jerusalem, standing now for all of Israel, will have drunk the cup of God’s fury down to the dregs, and there seems no one is left to guide her, rescue her, or restore her to health.

This is a prophecy that follows the Great Tribulation, when Antichrist does all in his power to destroy the people of God, Jew and Gentile alike.  The devastation around the world is terrible when Antichrist’s evil is  unleashed.

It seems that with every President we have in America, someone wants to point to him as being the Antichrist.  We need to stop that.  We have no idea who that man is, nor when he will appear. Some believe he will be a Jew; others, that he will be accepted  by the Jews as a great political leader.   Either way, we do not know who he is; we only know that the evil he performs will make Hitler look like a nice guy.

The upheaval of our times has a lot of people declaring that it can’t be much longer before Jesus returns to earth, but I will tell you that it is foolish to make predictions. The Bible says that no man will know the day or the hour. Our job is to be busy reaching the lost for Jesus Christ.  The rest is in the hands of God.

Random Thoughts

Part One

Well, folks, we’re all still here. The world didn’t end today.  I know, we still have three more hours, but I’m not in the least concerned.

If you are a student of the events of the end times, you know that things are shaping up. Of course, people have been saying that since Jesus went back to heaven! But political affairs, the return of the Jews to national Israel,  the alignment of the nations of the world, the move to a one-world government–so many other things, all are falling into place just as biblical prophecy said they would.

BUT–I knew the world wouldn’t end today because some other things have to happen first.

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Will it look like that?  I don’t know. I just liked the picture 🙂

The Rapture, or “snatching away,” of the church–all believers from around the world, will take place. Then the seven years of Tribulation under Antichrist.  Then the return of Jesus to the earth, the Millennial Kingdom, and the Battle of Armageddon, the final defeat of Satan, along with other details that I haven’t named.  It isn’t time yet for the earth to be totally destroyed.

So relax, would you please?  Don’t sell all that you have and dress your family in white sheets. Don’t go stand on the highest hill you can find and wait for Jesus to come. It isn’t going to happen that way. We’re going to be going about our daily lives, and when the Rapture occurs, or the return of Jesus to the earth, no man knows. Not the day, not the hour.

Part Two

The subject of shame came up several times in my counseling office this week.  People who are burdened beyond bearing with shame find it hard to function day by day.

Guilt is what we should feel when we have sinned, hurt someone,  entertained impure thoughts, rebelled against God.

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Shame is what we often feel about who we are. Shame is often something that was heaped upon us by others when we were growing up.  If your parents told you that you were worthless, then you probably still feel the shame of those words. Any time someone else belittles us, we feel shame. The sad thing is that we often turn around and belittle someone else, and that’s because we’ve never learned who we really are.

Four verses I use in my office may be helpful to you.

Colossians 1:16 tell us that all things were made by God, for Himself. That includes you. You were made on purpose, just as you are, for God’s own fellowship and purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are His workmanship (the Greek word is poema, masterpiece, literary work of art!)  poema is a thing of great beauty and value, treasured by the Maker. The same verse tells us we were created to do good works that were ordained for us before time began.

Psalm 139: 14 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are miracles of God’s creation. The same passage tells us that He knew every detail about each one of us before we were ever conceived.

Jeremiah 29:11 was, I know, in reference to Israel.  However, we can understand and apply the principle. God thinks about each one of us; His thought toward us are of good, and not of evil.  He has plans that will give us a hope and a future.

If you are struggling with shame today, remember that you are the creation of God. If you are a born-again child of God, then you are the son or daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is nothing in you that is shameful. Sin is dealt with through confession, repentance, and seeking forgiveness.  Our problem is that we know all these things on an intellectual level, but we do not appropriate them in our hearts. We are not humble before God when we fail Him; that lack of humility often leads to shame and guilt.

Part Three.  I am so privileged and blessed to teach, still, after all these years.  Tomorrow morning I get to lead the high school girls’ class.  Friday I got to teach a class of high school homeschoolers,   and maybe someday they’ll develop an appreciation for Shakespeare 🙂

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I am 70, often feeling every minute of my years, but I get all excited still  when I get to lead someone to Christ during my work day, or teach young people just starting out on a path I’ve long ago traveled.

God is always good.  All the time, even when circumstances aren’t good, He is good.  God is Good, and Good is God.

 

Fear, and the Pit, and the Snare

Isaiah 24: 16-18. “From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt  very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitants of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.”211125407b4edb5b43b6b418d28243d3-how-to-walk-james-darcy

This is the first time in this chapter in which earth seems to refer to the whole earth, and not just the area of Palestine. Isaiah seems to hear songs of glory to the righteous from far distant lands. He represents himself as with the remnant in Palestine, and upon hearing these songs, cried about the leanness of Judah, and lamented the treacherous dealers who had spoiled them.

Treacherous dealers refers to foreign nations and rulers that break covenants, particularly  to the future Antichrist who will break his covenant with the Jews, drive them out of their land and rule from Jerusalem most of the last 3 1/2 years of this age (Dan.9:27; Matt. 24:15-22; 2 Thess. 2:1-8). 

Verse 17 expresses the idea that no place will be safe, and if danger is escaped at one place it will be faced in another place. The fear refers to the means of scaring animals into a net, a snare, or a  pit prepared for them. Sometimes the animal can be so strong that that it would spring out of  a pit and have to be caught again by a snare.

The end of verse 18 explains the supernatural source of the calamities coming upon men in the future days of the Tribulation. They will come from heaven (Rev. 6:12 – 18:24; 19:1-10).

The foundations of the earth is literal, not figurative as seems clear from many places where the term is found (v 18:40:21; 51:13-16; Deut. 32:33; 2 Sam. 22:16; Job 38:4-6; Ps. 18:7, 15 and many more).   The book of Revelation makes it clear that great earthquakes will move mountains, islands, continents, and destroy whole cities. The destruction will not be repaired or rebuilt until Jesus begins His reign in Jerusalem.

 

 

 

 

 

Tribulation and Millenium

Isaiah 24:1. “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.”

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After  the accounts of God’s dealing with the individual nations surrounding and including Israel, this chapter now takes into view the whole scene, all the nations, as destined to come under the judgments of the Lord at the end of this age.

In chapters 13-23,  the separate nations show differing conditions of the world’s alienation from God, influenced and directed by the hosts of spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.  All nations will experience God’s divine retribution in the coming Day of the Lord–not just Israel and its neighbors, but all nations of all the earth.

W.E. Vine’s Isaiah, p. 66,  says this:  “Babylon represents systematized corruption and oppression in all the earth:  Assyria, antagonism against God’s people; Philistia, constant and closer hostility; Moab, human pride; Damascus, the ally of apostasy; Dumah, self-reliance; Jerusalem, mere profession; Tyre, worldly glory.”

It seems to me that the list above covers just about every nation in the history of the world as they rise and fall, one after the other. In their pride and human accomplishment, they fall to pride and carelessness, especially toward the things of God. What begins as an internal disintegration is taken advantage of by another stronger nation which defeats the weaker, and so the cycle continues even in this day.

America, take heed!  We are not exempt from God’s judgment.

This chapter, from vv. 1-27, is a Tribulation and Millenium prophecy, written in the far future verb tense.What we need to remember is that it was far future in Isaiah’s day.  It may not be that far away now, and indeed as we watch the activities and alliances in the Middle East, it would seem to be coming soon.

JAH Jehovah

Isaiah 12:2. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song: He also is become my salvation.”

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The only other place in which the construct  LORD JEHOVAH is used is in  Isaiah 26:4.  This double title establishes Him as LORD GOD;  it is the Lord most vehement.  It is the supreme Lord. Nothing nor nor one is above Him. His power is absolute.

After the Jews who come through the seven  years of the Great Tribulation have endured and turned completely back to the LORD GOD, they finally, with the rest of the world, find that He alone is salvation; He alone is strength; and He alone is the song, or the joy, the worship, the praise.

Judgment

Matthew 25:41.“Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

I want to go back to the previous  passage for the purposes of clarification. When Jesus spoke the words in verses 31-46, He was not speaking to the Church.  Remember, these events are taking place after the church has been raptured, and after the Great Tribulation.  During the period of the Tribulation, the remnant of believing Jews will carry the gospel to all the nations of the world. They, the Jews, are His brethren (Matt. 10:6; John 1:11; 19:20; 20:10). Those (nations) who treat His brethren well and receive the preaching of the gospel  will be blessed.  Those (nations) who persecute the Jews who are preaching the gospel during the Tribulation will be cursed not by God, but by their own stubborn unbelief, and they will share the eternal fire that has been prepared for Satan and his angels.  This place was not prepared for man.  No man needs to go there.  But if by persistent unbelief and rebellion against God they choose to continue to serve Satan, then they will share Satan’s fate.

There will be no second chances, no do-overs. Their choices have been made, and are irreversible at this point.

America has been, by policy and treaty, a supporter of the nation of Israel. I am watching our nation turn away from this position of support.  We are turning instead to the support of nations whose God is not the Lord God of Israel. I believe that the scene is being set for the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation as all the nations of the world, including America, are either literally or in spirit aiming their guns against Israel.

I don’t know when. No one does. But the world-wide hatred of Israel is surely one of the signs of the end times.

Sun, Moon, and Stars

Matthew 24:29. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”

We’ve all seen lunar eclipses, or pictures of them.  This year, there have been two “blood moons,” which has a lot of people speculating about the end times being upon us.  No, these are simply unusual events of the cycle of the universe, and not the description of what will happen in this verse. The first blood moon was in April of this year; the second in October. The third will be in April next year, and the fourth in November. They are predictable because of the phases of the moon and the revolution of the earth around the sun.

The events prophesied in this verse will be far beyond “unusual events of the universe”!  They will all occur at once, at the end of the Tribulation. The sun will go dark, the moon will go dark, the stars will fall. There will be no astronomical explanation or prediction for these events that will happen suddenly.

And then, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Haggai 2: 6-7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come…

God is going to shake things up. Those remaining on the earth after the Tribulation will experience such fear, such awe! The heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land  are going to tremble, and THEN He Who is desired of ALL nations will come.

It gets better from here!

The Second Coming

Matthew 24:27. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”

This is only an artist’s rendering. We do not know what it will look like, except that it will be sudden and dramatic, like lightning flashing from east to west across the sky. We don’t know the day nor the hour. We only know that it will be at the end of the Tribulation period that Christ will return to earth; His feet will touch the Temple Mount, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

There will be no doubt about Him. He will come in power and glory against which none can stand.  The heavens will open, and His sign will appear.  Will it be the sign of the cross?  I don’t know.  No one knows.  It would be fitting, but what God has purposed will be far beyond our imagination.  The world will never be the same,

For the Elect’s Sake

Matthew 24:20-22. “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Truly, we have never seen such horror on the earth as the Great Tribulation will spawn; and never again will such horror take place. This will be the worst time of persecution that Israel has ever endured, and if God had not ordained that it be a relatively short period of time, not one person would survive the holocaust that will occur in those days.  God will cut short the persecution itself “for the elect’s sake.” In this context the elect refers to God’s chosen people, Israel.  It is during this terrible time that the faithful preaching of the gospel of the kingdom will continue, in spite of the persecution, and Israel will finally turn as a nation to Jesus Christ, Messiah, King.

And at the end of the Tribulation period, Jesus Himself will return visibly and physically to this weary old world.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at six signs that will occur during the Tribulation.  If all six of these signs are not in place, then we are not yet in the Tribulation. There are those who believe these present times are the Tribulation. Tomorrow we will see why this isn’t the case.