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MATTERS OF SEQUENCE AND SCENARIO
FOR THE ESCHATOLOGICAL TIMES AND CONFINES,
and GRATITUDE FOR HIS CONTINUING GRACE TILL THE END
Cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 10.
TIME TO LOOK AHEAD
How often do people declaim, This is the End!
Patience frayed, energies depleted, they storm and so speak.
There is however an end which is not mere emotion, or commotion, but finality itself! Let us for the moment consider some of the learning from God, to be found in Daniel. Gratit
Daniel is a work of prophecy of such verified precision and massive scope that it is pure joy to contemplate it (cf. Highway of Holiness, which does).
Daniel 11 we have considered, perhaps many of us together, in Highway of Holiness Ch. 10, in the Danielic Mountaineering, with its Plateaux of Perspective. This prophecy gives a minute read-out on then coming history, leading up to the Maccabaean era, and proceeds to focus "the time of the end", leading on to the resurrection in Daniel 12. There are certain massive relationships between these earlier assaults on the integrity of Israel, and what is to come (cf. Biblical Blessings Chs. 1 and 2, esp. the latter).
The end of Daniel 11 is quite utterly fascinating. It is to this we now turn for more detail.
It should be pointed out that in such long range prophecies involving political units, occasionally it can be indeed most exacting to find the time situation, the sequence. This may appear only when one studies the criteria given. In Daniel 11 there is contained one case which requires considerable thought in finding its place in the sequence to the end (like an ascent to the top of Everest, where there is effort to get the right sequence of moves, to the uttermost crag!
Nearly all is quite straightforward, and has been historically itemised in its fulfilments in the Ch. 10 noted above. Again there is in this very book of prophecy, the magnificent certainty in date of Daniel 9 for the death of the Messiah. That is clarity itself, foretold for the confined region of what in our dating system, is in the area of A.D. 30. So it came to pass, centuries after Daniel specified when it would be, just when he declared it. That is the sort of generosity of Spirit one might expect of the Lord, in drawing many souls to salvation. He loves, and He shows. No other Christ or time is possible. That removes the squalls of spiritual innovators, trying like leeches to suck from the very beauty of Christ, their own tedious trivia.
Let us then address this one feature requiring considerable care, in Daniel 11. For that, we need to review a little, the situation in that Chapter of the prophet.
Daniel 8 took us to the Median-Persian Empire and on from this to that then to come next, that of Alexander the Great. Its speed was featured, as occurred in those rapid conquests of that General, just as the wide scope of the Persian thrust were portrayed before it. It proceeds to the end of Alexander, the Macedonian 8:20ff. identifies), and thus to the splitting of his world domain.
Thus, we read in great detail of the wars, trials, deceptions and follies, of the traffic between the four segments of the broken up Alexandrian Empire; and then we move to the time of the end itself, as is confirmed shortly afterwards (Daniel 11:35,40). This scurrying and flurrying has Egypt as the South and Syria in the northern quadrant, in the split up world.
The placement of the last events in Daniel 11 needs attention. It is stated in the time of the end, which has a multitude of vital events closing out the era. The depiction in Daniel 11:36ff. is fascinating, as it broaches the time of the end (announced 11:35, noted again 11:40). With this, the North-South terminology ceases, and we move in Daniel 12 to the final cataclysms on the entire earth, leading to the resurrection.
Let us next, then, move to the end of this sallying and rallying of the Northern and Southern sectors of the former Empire of Alexander, as this is prelude to the finale for us all on this earth, before the coming of Christ, those of us who stay to that time! We read then of "the time of the end" in Daniel 11:35. What is the inhabitant in the North-South war at that stage, who attracts our attention ?
THE NATURE OF THE NORTHERN KING
Here we find an insanely paranoid, or spiritually dizzy creature, a king, who disregards all gods, puts himself at the apex, and eventually forwards the god of forces (Daniel 11:38), the underlying and perhaps naturalistically conceived FORCE. It had all the self-elevation, the intolerance, the passion, the pride in man and his control over nature, which Daniel 11 describes; and in this respect, there is for it a fit of the most perfect finesse. It would, if this sequence be correct, a definite possibility, be a sure evidence of the nearness of the end, as much else indicates (Answers to Questions Ch. 5); for it is of the very spirit of the antichrist which soars like a vulture, before its fling to the earth to glut its gizzards.
Such was Communism precisely, both in Stalin's thoughts of controlling the laws of nature when the 'class wars' were 'over' (cf. SMR p. 883), and in the underlying nature of the Communist rhetoric, where thoughts and facts are so intermingled, that it is a kind of poetical philosophy, amazingly using the term 'scientific', so giving us the new category of 'scientific poetry'.
Its fall is traced in such parts of this site as
Tender Times for Timely Truth
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2; SMR pp. 925ff.;
Beauty for Ashes
(and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern),
with News 98, News 37.
THE BUTTING OF THE SOUTH
It does not stand, however, unchallenged.
The butting from the South (Daniel 11:40) becomes a key to a reaction which leads to the over-running of many countries (11:41), a certain dominance over the financial affairs of Egypt, and a measure of influence in Israel, at least to the point that there is near the Sea, some kind of presence with military implications (11:45)*1.
It must be acknowledged that so far it fits the possible application to the field of Communism: the god of forces*2, the insane equation with 'god', the disregard of prior religious bases in the land (11:37), with the ruler's utter disregard of humanity, compassion and the lives of the slain, slaughtered in his own service, or in those assaulted. For Stalin. the outline has a particular acclivity! What then of this Northern power ?
In what way, could a
king of the South be conceived as butting him, or 'colliding' with
him ? (11:40).
That is not too difficult. Axis forces struck from Libya into Egypt in late 1940, when Syria was under the control of the Vichy French, German collaborators. Later, Rommel in North Africa had in 1941 made of this site of operations a scene of startling triumphs, earning him the name, with his sudden assault methods, of "Desert Fox". Despite the exhaustion of his troops, however, he was ordered by Hitler in 1942 to make an attack on Cairo and the Suez Canal. He was stopped at el-Alamein, 60 miles from Alexandria, in Egypt.
Thus was the vast swathe of countries down to Egypt, those under Axis assault, or German control, and Egypt where it was being sought, involved in a challenge to the USSR, which with the Allies, now constituted a member. With enormous and crucial supplies and aid earlier, the USSR was in due course enabled to invade many countries (11:40), like a steam-roller out of control, 'overflowing' them; and indeed, it thrust itself throughout Eastern Europe. In Syria, British and French forces invaded, on June 8, 1941. In February 24, 1945, Syria declared war on Nazi Germany. THAT, it was a direct punch from the Syrian North, a constituent of that sector, defining its resistance to the Axis thrust formerly so vigorous and sustained in Egypt.
Moreover, in Syria, some aspects of the Communism ideology in time began to take root, leading on to later closer military relationships, enabling much of Syria's power to develop. Indeed, the Strategic Security Program of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) website attests the concern that Syria, in due course, had little trouble gaining help including that in secret from Russian scientists, for making powerful nerve gases, while the Ariel Centre for Policy Research (Paper 85) asserts that Syria may not feel it necessary to pay for some armaments, knowing full well how important strategically it is to Russia. With a leftist trend, co-operation and hatred of Israel notorious*2, it is not unaligned!
The North moved in response to the work wrought in the South, by the Axis power which had used it as an assault mechanism.
THE INCIDENTAL MUSIC
In Egypt, the enormous financial relationship between the USSR and that land, became strong with the Aswan Dam, and various contributions of weapons, some of which, to the tune of 300 aircraft in 1967, Israel destroyed on the ground, during the war with Egypt. The funds, technicians and military hardware from the USSR, lodged in Egypt, fits with Daniel 11:43. Libya was heavily Communist, while the power of this empty religion was also strong in Ethiopia (11:43). Moreover, the Egyptians had fortified positions in the Gaza strip, in from the coast, in the Cold War a virtual pawn of the USSR in its contrivances. In this case, it is in the role of having the Northern power operating in the South, which 'shall not escape', that Egypt is deployed. Nor did Egypt 'escape' (11:42) in the enormous losses inflicted on it in the wars with Israel.
of this Particular Symphony
and More on the First
Despite troubles from North and East, the USSR, in its frenzies of lust and thrust in the Cold War, could not overcome, but was overcome; and though as in the Battle for Berlin, it sought to annihilate many (11:40,42), as in many of the other lands such as Czechoslovakia and Hungary (uprising 1956), yet its ruler did "come to his end, and no one will help him." The prince of this world was beaten at this time, and the dominant authority was lost, Krushchev being ousted and made a mere civilian, while Gorbachev received not dissimilar treatment in the multiple destabilisations that ended his regime. Their ends as rulers is as undramatic as the text suggests (11:45). It simply happens. They are gone. They place is bankrupt; the system of their Empire and even its members are dispersed. None helps them (11:45).
That is how the matter of the end of Daniel 11 appears to end. Let us now return nearer to the beginning of this phase, to 11:40, the thrust or 'butting' of the Southern sector against the Northern. It is the response to this which has interested us just now; but back to the beginning!
Consider the butt from the South.
As to the push from the South, instigating these things, German Field-Marshall Rommel may be envisaged at that time. It is to him that the Allies must direct attention. Dashing into Libya and Egypt, he is sent as a supreme commander, genius, man of vision; and the disasters suffered by the Italians, it is his job to remedy, as he strikes and uses Egypt to remove from the Allies their power to help Russia and prosecute the war successfully elsewhere.
He is soon to become more than a Field Marshal, and even more than the Desert Fox (his nickname). He gained, the Encyclopedia Britannica informs us, astounding popularity with the Arabs, and at home in Germany, was called the People's Marshall. Thus came the initial thrust from the South, against the Northern Kingdom, in this international augmentation, one reaching up from Syria to Caucasus and the far reaches of the North, the area invoked for the coming assault on Israel, in Ezekiel 38-30. The Axis were waving the hand of Egypt, as if it held the flag!
Just as from Egypt, the South! comes the fling in 1941-1942, Rommel a chief and almost imposing figure, directed at the North, struggling for its life in its far regions, so that USSR was left the more stripped of aid, a butting indeed into its resources from those who would help, as surely as a direct strike: so Syria also is directly involved in this butt!
Taken over by the Nazi-run Vichy Government, at the Fall of France, Syria suffered a prelude to the German thrust from Egypt, and only days before the USSR entered the war, it was captured by the Allies (June 5, 1941). Thus, because of the Nazi thrust, and in particular its push into Libya, site of the inglorious defeat of the Italians, and into Egypt, not only was Syria taken over by the Nazi-dominated Vichy Government of France, but then in the face of the impending and then actual war in which Hitler attacked the USSR, it was taken over by the British.
Thus did Syria suffer two affronts, a double slap, from the invaders of Egypt, from the point of view of its own independence, while the USSR itself, farther up in the regions of the North, suffered for its own part, losing millions of men, while the Nazis made what they hoped might be a home run in Egypt. So was their a butting indeed from the South, through the Axis powers as they made their run! Both times the duress resulted from the Axis forces that in the South held Egypt to ransom, a bellicose task that threatened not only Syria but the USSR itself, as it reeled before those same armies. Thus the assault on Egypt became assault through Egypt. Without the Allied power, both Syria and the USSR would undoubtedly have fallen. Indeed without that, except there should be divine intervention, this butting would have suffered no buts, and all would without contradiction have been lost.
On its way to the day of invading Africa, then, the Axis grabs Syria per Vichy France, and then occasions the British taking it from them, the double blast of the Southern shot-gun, at the North in the site of Syria.
The response from the far North, that of the USSR, was mightily aided by the Allied decision, made on the part of Winston Churchill, regarding most timely and judicious sending of tanks to the USSR, when Moscow itself trembled (cf. The Pride of Life, the Prince of Life and the Destiny of Man Ch. 4, *1). It seems likely this action in sparing scarce resources saved or greatly contributed to the relief of Moscow, so leaving the German army to Winter in extreme cold instead of in Moscovite comfort. This proceeded, until the tide turning, the eventual rumblings from that delivered city per disfavour of the Red Army, so vastly fortified from abroad, rushed to the West and South, and overwhelmed many nations (11:41).
If this be the application, then in Daniel 12, we have next the "time of distress which never occurred since there was a nation until that time", and in this, many of Israel are to be delivered, and the point here is a spiritual one, the resurrection being then uncovered early in Daniel 12, in fact in verses 2-3. This fits in the overall plan of Daniel and Matthew, the word of God in both New and Old Testament.
This would allow for the huge and ascending blights that are now increasingly devastating the world, as predicted in Matthew 24, following the Daniel 11 assault: that is now. The assault of Ezekiel 38 could then occur at any time for the world now is like a demented goat, butting on the Door of the End (cf. SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5); and the rapture of Christ's people, then both Jewish and Gentile could be complete (Romans 11 exults in it, following the Jewish awakening), in preparation for the final exhibition of the antichrist to the unbelieving, acrimonious and forsaken world. That antichrist, Ultimate Version, would perform his little act in the residual world, ex-Christians, ex-salt therefore, an unenviable task: and here it is timely to give a word to warn potential antichrist candidates!
The End Matches the Beginning
Thus there are three possible sequences apparent. The first, is as above, Daniel 11 already wrought, and then there could occur the lustful assault on Israel as specified in Ezekiel 38-39 (rather like Germany have TWO efforts at taking over Europe, in WW I and soon after, in WW II), followed by the rapture of Jew and Gentile, the culmination of the scenario of Romans 11 complete, so leading on to the return of Christ WITH His people. This is to proceed so that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea, and His people are with Him as in I Thess. 3:13, Zechariah 14:5.
This seems a most favourable understanding relative to the sometimes demanding aspect of SEQUENCE, for predicted events, clear in outline, but demanding one or two aspects to be regarded with watchful alertness. God tells us what He wants to; and in the matter of the end, He is at pains NOT to make the sequence so clear in all things that prediction becomes too close; for it is His intention that His return be a surprise, only the generic outlines of its nearness being available to man. Man is to be TESTED with the unexpected, the suddenness of it, although well forewarned by the structure of the events and the details which confirm we have entered the long passage to that door! Thus this sequence with Daniel 11 has much to commend it. It is that sequential element which needs great care.
However, not entirely excluded, there is another option for sequence. This terminal part of Daniel 11 could be as above, but with its assault kept till after the Rapture. That simply adds a facet to that phase.
That however would seem to mean that the vast unrestraint predicted for this period (when what restrains is taken out of the way - II Thess. 2:7, as at the rapture when the power of the Holy Spirit through Christians is abstracted with them, from the earth), has this Daniel 11 assault as a preliminary. On that basis, it would have to occur within this final epoch; but then this finality of clash and unspiritual splash has itself announced as in Daniel 12. 1, AFTER it.
That would appear to constitute some kind of overlap, as if the characteristic for the post-rapture time, has a prelude. On the contrary, it seems to be ESSENTIAL to the nature of the case, that this appallingly, brilliantly evil period be of this one type, once the rapture occurs. It might be put that this end of Daniel 11 assault is appalling enough, to be sure, and so it is. Notwithstanding this, the statement about the period unparalleled in horror, comes AFTER this, in Daniel 12:1. It is in this sense that this solution does not appeal for consistency and discrimination. When the ultimates of the case are announced after the penultimate, and they are wholly distinct in kind, as in 12:1, then to incorporate into them what is, through being presented first, not of this genre, seems to be interpretation by disssonance, not by harmony. It seems adventitious, an anomaly, a thing not to be desired for consistency and coherence.
Conceivably, thirdly, it could be that the two assaults, that of Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38, are coincident in some way. This is less plausible, since the thrust of the Ezekiel attack is stormy, impetuous, and categorically crushed; whereas the Daniel 11 case seems to allow for more performance efforts on the way. The contrast however is not determinative; merely richly suggestive.
What then ?
The Ezekiel assault could occur, as now, at any time; and this could lead on to
1 - the
ultimate and plenary Antichrist development coming near,
shuddering towards its climax, then to
2 - the Rapture of the people belonging to
Jesus Christ to the 'Marriage of the Lamb'
(Revelation 19:8), and their return in His overwhelming power and glory.
In the abstract, the events at the end of Daniel 11 might follow 1) before 2),
in the mêlée at that dire time, though this we have substantially discounted;
or else they may have already wrought now, leaving nothing of it to be done.
Further, the events of 1) could occur with the Daniel 11 adventure, as one, though this too
does not immediately confirm itself.
In the simplest case and that appearing most commendable, it is simply now the Northern assault, the Rapture, the Return of Christ. It rumbles near like the thunder of approaching chariot wheels on the plain.
The antichrist is near, but his time is short, and soon it will disappear. It is rather like a tornado, full of fury, but soon gone. In the MEANTIME, you NEED to know whose you are!
WHEN IT REALLY IS THE END, SUCH AS MANY LIKE TO DECLAIM!
But what of the climax for the antichrist, his final act of inflated pursuit of glory ? While the antichrist is to be European in base, his place in Jerusalem where the famed declaration of equality with God is evidently to occur (II Thess. 2), is most important for the symbolic witness it gives, and there is to come the end of the power of his people in the Megiddo area, in the battle of forces, those of fraud and those of truth, which impossible to evade or avoid, rules (II Thess. 1:7ff.).
"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;
only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
"And then the lawless one will be revealed,
whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth
and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan,
with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish,
because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
"And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Thus with devastation of delinquency ignoring design, disorder distancing the Designer, unrighteous rebellion pretending it can remake the universe: so does there come the Christ-antichrist confrontation, truth over fiction, a meeting always looming in spirit, but then observable in practical action, the burning guilt of fraud and self-glorification an extinguishing snuff to his pent-up flame.
Whatever the Daniel 11 part in the sequence, the actions and agents are notable and notorious, and little is left to be done, in the last flurries of evil as it seeks to mount its rostrum with its latest and most noxious nostrum, in the lairs of evil. The end is now intimate, upon us. The last flounces of formation for the antichrist are moving rapidly, the robes of office more and more apparent, in the last mad lusts of mankind under its diabolically directed final ruling system.
All the events so far have been simple and clear. Those that remain will come as did all the rest, in startling precision. They unfold, and then the sequence becomes plain.
In due time, the preparations will attest just how the rest is to occur; but certain and obvious is the preliminary for the Ezekiel assault from the north, its calamitous repulse, and the vast and resounding victory which Israel is to gain. It is as clear as were the other predictions concerning the triumphant wars for the returned Israel, prior to its awakening, as seen in Zechariah 12. When the time comes, the precise sequence for the rest will be seen. Now we notice the actors and agents, the most part already fulfilled, and await the return of the Lord, Israel itself soon to have its eyes opened in the midst of all these trials (Romans 11:25), so that the bride be complete (Revelation 19:8), ready in all her fulness, Jewish and Gentile contingents complete and as one on arrival in heaven at that time!.
At those times, and especially when that which restrains is removed (II Thess. 2:7), that is, when the whole gamut of Christian peoples are taken from the earthly scene, as in Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 4, then the crescendo of madness for man, not merely against this or that nation, will be so impervious to morality, so dissident from godliness, so extreme in fear and raging, that it would be like trying to live in the surging perimeters of a typhoon, worse than ever seen. Then there will be a fury in focus which will make the preceding wonders seem far less (Daniel 12:1). A time of distress rumbles into place, unparalleled since "there was a nation".
It is this which is to come to an earth, at last daunted in the plagues of Revelation, just as Pharaoh had been in those of the Exodus (cf. Micah 7:15). If at last daunted, for how long have so many many in it been haunted with their lack of holiness, while vaunting their lack of wisdom, with evil vice and ghastly ways.
To reflect on the amount, the sheer volume of atrocities practised on the people of the Lord, by fake churches, Inquisitions, false national religions, sword and whip, rape and theft, dismemberment by slander, lashings by libel, child snatching, dissociation and pariah-outcast treatment, ostracism or burning, torture or dismemberment, psychological harassment in prisons, excision from 'churches' (as in the case more than once, of the vastly gifted and faithful Bishop Athanasius), is almost to reel. When at last, however, the time comes when man sees the spirit back of it met in its burning glees and evil surmisings, frantic, fractious, frenetic, facing his end: it is like seeing the death of evil ( Thessalonians 1:7-8).
There we read of the Lord "revealed from heaven, with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God even to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus." Gospel neglect is life wrecked (John 3:19).
HE, Jesus Christ, did not die for nothing, and it is to fling out everything in a portmanteau, to reject His gift.
This is its initial and far-reaching affront. If uncancelled by repentance, not just remorse, and the receipt by faith of His free gift of eternal life, not just help, and in unmet by faith in His power of life through the resurrection of the dead, such a rejection is a fatality on the road of life. It is a most unfavourable fatality, being one of spirit, in that case destined to everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2). Fooling around with the Gospel will not alter it (cf. Mark 9). Love has desired; mercy has paid; patience has completed, the atonement is done. It is its application which yet, known before time to God, has more to find. Are you one ?
It will be good when it is done; but it is better when more come, extradition from evil their goal, with arrival at life, to Christ their Saviour, His power their protection, His covenant their joy (cf. Isaiah 51:11), indeed with "everlasting joy upon their heads."
Here in all the continuing fulfilments of the word of God in our time, surely the most concentratedly massive since the day on earth of Jesus the Christ, is ground for gratitude. To be part of the FULFILLED glory of the atonement of the Saviour, the FULFILLED series of events in His and our own times, the latter leading statedly to announce His near return*1 : this is further ground for joyful thanks. In the wonder of His love is yet more; for He is willing to stay on Gospel-program long enough even in this briskly turning whirl-pool of pollution which drags down the human race, even to the depths, to save to the uttermost.
Acting pitifully to rescue yet more as time waits, He holds back the end a little more, and that not in vain, for time matters: as in II Peter 3:9, where the time for the Gospel Age is measured in thousands of years, about two now being gone, and mercy extends the Age to a good length, now seemingly all but past.
How the decay, decadence and degeneration froths in the tumult of the violent waters of this world, meanwhile, where even but now especially in once so religious Holland, a new political party wants to reduce the age of consent for sex to 12, then to remove it, and to open the door for animal sex; where regimes totter, people despoil and loot, grabbing goods and children, seeking revenge and independence, power and suppression, expression of every evil thought and way.
Even in the midst of all of this, in gratitude one rejoices that the way still, for the time, stays open at the voice of Him, who still through His word and Spirit proclaims the way out of this and into His kingdom, steadfast to the end.
In the sober certainties of these things, let us be glad, and let us rejoice in His presence NOW, not leaving it till later; for who would rejoice if his horse had won, and not go to receive the prize! Our prize is Christ, not some new one made-up with passion for power in the same old tumble-down cottage of squirming sedition, but the One who did what had to be done (cf. Isaiah 49-55), came when He had to come (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), and shortly will come to complete the rule of righteousness on this depraved earth (Habakkuk 2:14, Isaiah 11), so that what is His already, will find the glory of the Lord made clear in coverage, as are the waves on the sea.
Let us be grateful, not hateful. The odium and the contempt are borne already for all who in the divine knowledge of God, have received or are going to receive them. What is not known, except to His own, is Himself, and to be dismissed from His presence through failing to take the prize of His life made available by death and given in power by His resurrection, it is not to be desired (Matthew 7:21ff.).
What is to be desired is His truth, which rules, His righteousness which is made available as a gift (II Cor. 5:17ff., Romans 5:15, 3:23ff.), and His joy, which is irrepressible because it is response to Himself, the Mighty God who did indeed come to this earth and take the lambs in His arms (Isaiah 40), requiring of His disciples that they let the little ones come to Him, declaring that of such is the kingdom of God.
What is fitting, then, is action to receive Him and what is seemly, is gratitude that there is in God Himself, the honesty and the love which so many seek, but seek in vain, looking for the creation to yield it, when all along, it is the divine Father who has sent it to those in need, willing to feed (John 6:47ff.) by faith (Romans 5:1ff., John 6:62-63), on Him.
EXCURSION INTO ESCHATOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT
helping one to see things in perspective
Joseph H. Hunting, in his work, The Set Time is Come, p. 28, relates the Damascus Radio broadcast of June 1967: "The hour of revenge has struck. The powder keg has exploded, the war of liberation has burst into flames. To arms, Arabs, and forward to the heart of Palestine, our rendezvous is Tel Aviv. To hell with the Zionists."
Their position seems fairly clear. Such venom can be useful to manipulators; and this world has more than enough of them.
Indeed, the PLO, founded in 1964, a loose confederation of 14 Arab countries, included Syria and Jordan, has made it clear their aim was the destruction of the 'Zionist state' in their Palestinian National Covenant. It appears that the PLO's first leader was an Egyptian, Ahmed Shukairy, who coined the organization's slogan about "driving the Jews into the sea" and is remembered for saying on May 31, 1956, to the UN Security Council:
Thus this body became for our purposes, an expanded response setting for Syria and its northern reaches into the USSR, and of course in occupying the Gaza strip, and the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan were indeed with a military spread between the seas and Jerusalem. A line through the West Bank from Jerusalem can take you near Tel Aviv.
The USSR for its part had been deeply involved in the 1967 war, and in these matters evidently with intrigue, armaments and economic aid to Egypt and Syria, assisted intervention, while even allegedly feeding disinformation to aid war. In such ways, it was spreading its wares and helping sustain Jordan in its occupation: for that is the land which had taken the biblical Judah and Samaria. So deep was the military involvement of the USSR in the Egyptian enterprise, that in the 1973 war, Intelligence Digest Report was to the effect that it threatened to deploy paratroopers to aid the trapped Egyptian army, by the Suez Canal. Nixon, reportedly seemed to have replied with a nuclear alert. Israel tactfully withdrew.
The role of the USSR, in this 1973 martial confrontation, was profound; and its presence on all sides, monumental, a pavilion by the seas indeed. Of this period, one notes in SMR, concerning the fulfilment of the Zechariah 12 prophecies of amazingly successful wars by a small returned Jewish nation:
What happened was a massive verification! The Jews used their reserves, counter-attacked, sped through to the Suez Canal, crossed it, cut off an Egyptian army. Reports were made by a British intelligence source that the Russians alerted a parachute force, while Nixon in response readied his nuclear forces.
That, for all its 'help', the patron instead of becoming glorious in the Middle East for its power to have its client grab land, merely lost what came to be called the West Bank, for all its desire. That is part of its hapless end as in 11:45, for this model. That it had a military presence in its help in MAKING weapons in Syria, SUPPLYING weapons to it, and aiding the PLO incorporating Syria, is manifest, while the West Bank was before 1967 in the control of one of the PLO members, which with Syria, was playing the war game. Syria indeed even managed to shell the Sea of Galilee.
In these ways, the USSR, the northern sector, with Syria, the key, spread its influence not only in gobbling up nation after nation (11:40), but in establishing a military presence, a line of force between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean, not to mention one between that city and the Sea of Galilee. Client states become like the paw of the powerful.
The scope of the conflict, at this its dynamic terminus from the Danielic coverage in Ch. 11, had thus broadened to that international complex which had the northern reaches of the northern power embroiled in a raging sea of conflict which moved on to the declaration of war by Syria on Nazi Germany, and the mighty thrusts of the USSR, its working in Syria, and despite its apparent helpfulness in Egypt, an actual lordly attitude and financial power over it (cf. 11:43). This left Egypt, in the end, as Daniel 11 details, very much in the position that it did not "escape"! (11:42).
very much, if indirectly, subordinated to its powerful patron cum lord of
It suffered vastly in the war of 1973, in prestige, in military hardware, tanks and aeroplanes lost, in devastations in its marches, from air, from land.
Nor for that matter, did the Northern power itself escape, ending its very character in 1991, becoming Russia and various bits, in various frameworks with various revolutions (cf. 11:45b). The coming assault from Gog and Magog, noted in SMR (pp. 509-515), is very much a collaboration of assailants leading to direct action of a most manifest kind from the Lord, while in the Danielic series of Ch. 11, the national powers are emphasised, Egypt being left and the series itself, for the commencement, the onslaught of "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation" . This, as in Matthew 24:21, which brings into acute focus the whole world as such, and its whole history, in turn parallel to Micah 7:15.
As we move from Daniel 11, to Ezekiel 38-39, the concentration on Israel comes into full force with the multi-national assault foretold similarly in Micah 7, with Habakkuk 3 and Joel 3. Here are the pivots of history, Israel coming in a massive revival, in much to the Lord (Zechariah 12:10ff.), while the whole vast plan of a common salvation in the uncommon Saviour reaches its climax, as shown with the olive tree illustration, so apt, so pointed and so precise, by Paul in Romans 11.
Before leaving the Danielic series, there is a final point of perspective to be pondered.
It should be remembered that the Alexandrian division of four quarters or sections, following the death of Alexander the Great (as foretold in Daniel 8:8,21-22), had Macedonia in the West, Egypt in the South, Syria in the North and the Middle East in the West. The 'South' here is initially defined from the Egyptian sector and what is with it, the North with the Syrian, and what is north. Moscow is north. That is the directional situation for this division of what was conceived rather on a global level, especially by Alexander who had to conquer ... all.
Let us now revert for overall perspective to SMR, in the area cited, commencing with reflection on the uncompromising certainties of divine solicitude for Israel, despite its monumental disciplines for regal de-recognition of the Lord, and the assault on its own Lord, even incarnate, the Messiah, together with the long, wrong step from much rebellion (Jeremiah 33:15ff.).
This reads in part:
"This word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
"Have you not noticed what these people are saying:
'The LORD has rejected the two tribes which he had chosen'?
"They spurn my people as if it were no longer a nation in their eyes.
"Thus says the LORD:
'When I have no covenant with day and night, and have given no laws to heaven and earth,
"then too will I reject the descendants of Jacob and of my servant David,
so as not to take from his descendants rulers for the race of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
For I will change their lot and show them mercy" (cf. Isaiah 66:20ff.),
It is entirely parallel to Ezekiel 36:22. This is the long-range, long-term, Romans 11 type pronouncement, here as so often, concerning Israel (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4).
To SMR pp. 511ff., then let us proceed (with slight revision for our present purpose).
If the Heavens could be overthrown, so might God break his word of honour to the (even rebellious) Jews. Would they suffer ? Yes! But suffered to be cast out at the end, from the land to which He, after discipline, restores them! no!
In fact, evidently before that climacteric time, there is forecast a series of Jewish military victories against great odds, and the breach of enemy ownership of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12; 14:1-3); and indeed, Jerusalem would come into Jewish hands, so that it could be disputed, as by an enemy from outside! (Zechariah 12:1 ff., Luke 21:24).
All this has happened; the vicious Northern assault is yet to come; and it is to this we have been referring. Divine plans will not be reviewed in the matter; the whole outcome is foretold, with reasons indeed given, and the warning to others to profit from the sight of the restoration of the Jews (Ezekiel 36:36 ff.).
God we thus see was resolved, and statedly so, to have this land for them following the discipline of their rebellions (cf. Leviticus 26 passim, esp. 26:25,31,33), rebellions which were also in considerable detail forecast. As He would evacuate them in derision, so He would restore them with precision, sustain them with power, and contend with those who would contend, breaking their power and bringing the assailants of the land themselves to ruin: though they should be many and likewise dynamic and highly armed (Ezekiel 38:9, 4) with weapons of offence and defence.
Such was and is the forecast for the endeavour by many nations to invade, invest and subdue Israel to themselves at this period. There is to be a crisis, a folly and an overwhelming rebuke from the Lord of the most manifest military result (Micah 7:15ff., Ezekiel 38-39), one like the Exodus, ever to be memorable!
God, it must be stressed, resolved this for the land though they did not deserve it (Ezekiel 36:22,32), and though the whole host of men in high places should seek to carve it up to the contrary (as the United Nations did in 1947, leading on to the triumphant wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973 - as well as that effective Israeli victory of 1956 and their vicarious war of 1991). He was resolved to have it for them, because He had so directed and engaged; had done so with grounds and purposes indeed; and in honour, reliability and power, He would do it.
As with the crucifixion and resurrection, themselves physical, predicted and duly performed, with infinite consequences, even that everlasting salvation which is given (Isaiah 51:6; 55:1-4), and that everlastingly enduring righteousness accorded to the redeemed (Isaiah 54:8; 62:12; 49:26; 51:11; 54:17; 53:11): so with the case-history of Israel, it is predicted. As the physical resurrection obtained its spiritual result (Luke 24:39; John 20:24-29; Romans 4:25-5: 1; 1:4), so the Jewish saga exhibits the faithfulness of Him who makes these results (Romans 11:32-36).
But what of the fate of the Northern confederacy, this allied host predicted to come and attack Israel ? For months, we read in Ezekiel 39:12-16, the bodies of the doomed attackers, of the angry and greedy assailants of Israel are to be removed from the assaulted soil.
This earlier, premillennial assault predicted to be made on Israel, and so rigorously crushed, this abortive display of the Northern confederacy which is to sweep upon literal Israel (Appendix A - these are the terms of the Ezekiel prophecy's reference): it is to teach to many no lesson! For many, the case will be that they will not learn, just as they will not worship God, the only rock! It will however teach them to see what they decline to receive (Ezekiel 37:28).
Israel ? Pregnant with its individualised and predicted history of receiving the Lord, rejecting Him, and the national dispersion which followed, one at long last cancelled by the divinely directed return to their pledged land: what is for it ?
To Israel, this Israel, so contextually defined, now is granted a stupendous victory (Ezekiel 38:18-23).
Even this, however, would yet be disregarded by millions, as a learning experience! Neither the sudden birth (Isaiah 66:7-9) in unique terms, of the restored nation (as in May 1948's fulfilment), the former devastations, the divinely accorded reasons nor the predictions of all these things would move the dead, closely embraced by death while living! After the millennium, just as before, the same spirit of rebellion is predicted to grip the earth. No grace, no power, no favour, no gospel will they learn nor will they receive it; nor will they accept this (cf. Isaiah 26:9-11).
Let us then consider.
i) What precedes the millennial glory is an attack on Israel by one group of invading nations from one direction, the North. This, as we see, is to be demolished by divine intervention to protect Israel, evidently before (Ezekiel 39:21-29) the catastrophic days of the antichrist, with his European-based and Satanic oppression. Israel is to proceed into its substantial numerical conversion (*3) (Zechariah 12:10), through the attendant invasions (Zechariah 12:1-2; 14:1-3), coming to understand the Lord and repent. Then, with the rest of the Church that will remain faithful, this mass of converted Jews will live, one Church, with everlasting joy upon their heads (cf. Isaiah 35:10,61:7), amid eternal blessings till Christ comes (*4 ... Ezekiel 37:24-28), continuing in the spiritual format the earlier promises.
His coming is as we have shown earlier, for His saints, for the intimate and festive rejoicing of the 'marriage feast of the Lamb', the communion after pilgrimage, the reunion after death, the summit scenario of unspeakable joy, in open reality, in the very presence of God. Then, God's saints apart in heaven, the judgment on the infested earth, bloated with the emblem of antichrist, proceeds. Christ, with His many saints (II Thessalonians 1:9-10, Revelation 19), will destroy the offender and He will establish His kingdom (20:3,5,6).
ii) What follows this protracted millennial glory is a broader force (Revelation 20:8), transformed into a blatant and final mustering of resistance and rejection of God Himself (shown in the bud in Revelation 16:16; 19:20). This squalid spiritual vagrancy is to reach new depths while the evil aspirations look to new heights, so timelessly expressed in the denunciatory words of Isaiah the prophet (14:13):
I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High...Yet you will be brought down to hell.
Now it is no more a matter of a regional if massive assault (point 11 supra), soon consummated by Armageddon, but of a global and explicit affront (cf. the prototype Revelation 19:19), in this final thrust of evil. At Armageddon, it was a world spirit led by the unmasked devil's messiah and his 'chaplain'. Now a released Satan fumes direct (Revelation 20:2,7-10). For them all, only judgment is left. (Cf. *1, p. 1137 infra.)
That, then, rehearses these two evil thrusts, one before the millenium, and the other, instrumental to its close. What then? We see four phases of evil.
12. Three of these occur before that final furious fling just noted.
i) There is the general trend to evil (point 2). In this, the church is involved at length, as there is to be a froth of false prophets and false Christs (Matthew 24) as noted, with money a magnet for many (II Peter 2:1 ff.), and lawlessness a spirit of the times. There is to be a great ''falling away'' (II Thessalonians 2:3) which thus will be coordinated with a deceptive spirit (1 Timothy 4:1 ff.) and false teaching (II Peter 2; II Timothy 3:1-6), together with a dysfunctional formalism. All this has been abundantly fulfilled already.
ii) There must also come the return of Israel to its land (point 11) so that it may be assaulted and, in large numbers, its people converted to the crucified Christ as Saviour (Zechariah 12:10), amidst great and instructive carnage (Zechariah 12:9, Isaiah 49:21-26, 66:7-16) ... "His indignation towards His enemies". This has spiritual significance for both the attacked and the attackers, as the former seek the Lord in the end, and the latter are in confrontation with God, since He promised the land to the Jews and brought them back despite their follies (Isaiah 49:14-26; 11:11ff.; Zechariah 10:6-12; 12:1-10) for the express purpose of fulfilling His promises (Leviticus 26:33-46; Deuteronomy 32:27-43; Ezekiel 36:12-15, 23-28; 37:23-28; 38:8; 39:21-29).
This is in the first stage, already fulfilled; for Israel is indeed back, and its triumphant wars are as predicted (Zechariah 12). As to the final phase of attack from the torrential Northern confederacy, what of it ? While the nations with Communism or neo-expansionism, and Mohammedanism, as diverse or even joint grounds of negative feeling (both to Jews and to Biblical prediction) are in place, and the range of forces is clear: this event seems to loom near. The diversification of the former Soviet Union may merely add to its risks, and to the scope for other partnerships, using power while it is there, to snatch goods or fame or name or territory.
Since Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands (Luke 21:44), the time is now ripe for the predicted conversion of the Jews; for Christ Himself indicated that the restoration of this city to Jewish hands meant that the special time of the Gentiles was over. And that ? It suggests the renewal of Israel is at hand (cf. Romans 11:25).
iii) If the Northern Confederacy which is to assault Israel is scripturally seen in prophecy as powerful, intemperate and ruthless, yet what is said of the European centred antichrist reveals a most subtle, seditious and a very religious person. False prophets, associated and thought of in Revelation as a trio of frogs, will hop into sacred things, all that is not protected and covered, and pollute them (Revelation 16:13).
This monolithic malady, the antichrist, like a viral infection, is centred in Europe (Daniel 7) and the Northern Confederacy, as noted, is not!, having in fact names for the nations relating to areas inclusive of Russia and near Eastern companions, with some of Europe only minimally added.
Indeed, the Ezekiel assault on newly returned Israel (Ezekiel 38:10-12, Isaiah 66:8,14-16, Deuteronomy 32:36-43) is from the far North (Ezekiel 38:15), as is Moscow; and it is not from the West as to base. That is certainly not Europe, as a map will surely show. It is fascinating how near to directly north of Israel, Moscow is. However that is not determinative; rather the company to come is named, and while as we will see, care is needed with the ancient place names, assuredly this is not centrally European at all.
The European antichrist predicted so clearly by Daniel, what then of it ? Since this antichrist is the form of the evil taken when Christ returns to destroy the evil and militant forces on His return, and to fulfil the longing expectations of the people of God, the sequence appears sure. The dark light of the antichrist in deepest gloom follows the assault on Israel: perhaps by a small margin. It is a returned Israel, not a millennial situation to which the Northern Confederacy comes; and Israel must be back for the Gentile period to finish - so that Jerusalem may be freed! It is to a newly returned Israel that the attack comes. *5
Hence it appears the sequence is this.
A short sequence
Israel returns; Jerusalem is liberated; Israel fights triumphant wars; the Gentile period of speciality ends, the church in some of its forms falling away, and false prophets abound; the Confederacy assaults Israel; the Spirit of God is poured out; many Jews are converted; the Lord appears and the whole (composite) church disappears to be with Him at the marriage feast of the Lamb; the antichrist now appears in full force, unhindered by the power of Christians (Revelation 11, II Thessalonians 2:7-8); the Lord returns with His own, destroys the antichrist and the millennium ensues in which the rule of righteousness is witnessed on the earth through a Christ whose earlier crucifixion shows the height and purity of His love.
During their trials, and up to Christ's return for them, the people of God are kept inside a more powerful presence than any evil can create (Luke 21:14-15 ; Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:21; Mark 11:25; Ephesians 1:19). Then they are removed at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:50; Mark 13:32 ff.), taken from this ideological, psychological and unspiritual horror that at that time overtakes the earth.
13. But when, when is this, the return of Christ to rescue His people and allow the earth to reach its evil prime, ready for destruction ? As well as the pointers already noted and in place, we find from Christ the words of multiplied wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes and famines, a time when people's hearts 'fail for fear' and when, if it were not shortened, ''no flesh could be spared''... But when ? Before, then, no flesh could endure. But when! In a time shortened for the 'elects' sake.' How much shortened ? We do not know, so why should we be concerned!
It is enough that to Christ we look, the Lord of glory soon to appear and come in His love stronger than hate, irresistible and all wise (Jude 24-25), removing all who ''love His appearing'' (Hebrews 9:28; Matthew 24:31-40; Acts 1:7-11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 John 3:1-3).
Scenario before that sovereign Spirit, sole Saviour
and Governor who is God
And then, when the rapture in its time, and the following return with the Lord of His saints, when these rejoicings are fulfilled; and when the masterly millennium in its time is past; and the final rebellion in its time (Revelation 20:2,7,10,14): then the old heaven and the earth are dismissed and dissolved (Matthew 24:35; Isaiah 51:6; II Peter 3:10) - then... ? Then is the magnificence of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) exposed like the butterfly from the grub; and the former things do not occupy the mind (Isaiah 65:16-17). The shakeable is gone and the unshakeable remains (Hebrews 12:25-28). As our sins (Hebrews 8:12) are forgotten, so is the trauma, tragedy and trial of the pilgrimage. The race is won; the echoes depart.
Indeed, the new, the later things so far surpass the former things that it would be as if a Professor of Mathematics should think of the former things of school's first stages, as he studies (Revelation 21:1-4; Isaiah 65:16-17).
See SMR pp. 49, 233, 809, 877-878, 911, 1077, 707ff..