Search This Blog

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Discipleship and Church Mission Statements

Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

That is why everything we do as Christians must be in reference to Jesus Christ, His words, and His example. That is why pastors and priests must not fail to make known Jesus' true identity as the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners who turn to Him.

Alice C. Linsley

Most churches have a mission statement; an explanation of the reason the congregation exists and which serves to guide decisions about priorities, actions, and responsibilities. These statements focus attention on what the church regards as essential to its existence as a Christian community. Some are quite brief and others are longer and more detailed. Here are some examples:

Loving Jesus, our neighbors, & each other (New Hope Anglican Church in Oakville, Connecticut)

Knowing Jesus and Making Jesus Known (City on a Hill in Melbourne, Australia)

Loving Our Lord, Living His Gospel, and Making Disciples (St. Peter's Anglican Church in Frankfort, Kentucky)

To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that turns non-Christians into converts, converts into disciples, and disciples into mature, fruitful leaders, who will in turn go into the world and reach others for Christ (New Hope on the island of Oahu, Hawaii)

As Christ’s disciples, we strive to remain true to the Bible, seeking to honor Him by expressing His purpose and presence as we worship Him, care for His people, reach out to those who do not know Him here and abroad and respond to the needs of our community and region. Our Vision Statement: We strive to follow Christ’s call to advance His Kingdom in northern New Hampshire and desire to introduce local people to Him, one heart at a time, by building relationships with those that we work with, call neighbors and pray for. (Faith Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, New Hampshire)

Some statements define the community's focus and motivation as a denomination. Consider this mission statement of First Assembly of God in Jacksboro, Tennessee:

To present the life changing Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in a clear and convincing message.

To demonstrate the love that Christ has for hurting people.

To convey the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives as evidenced by the gifts and operations.

To proclaim Jesus as Saviour, Healer, Holy Spirit baptizer and soon coming King.

To be a loving, caring church to the hurting people that we come into contact with.

A common emphasis of church mission statements is discipleship and making disciples. The two can never be separated. This is evident in the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

And Jesus came and said to them,"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in (into) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commended you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Disciples of Jesus Christ are made by disciples who have received Christ's authority and by that authority live a different life. The late professor of Philosophy, Dallas Willard, described a disciple as an apprentice to Jesus. He wrote in The Divine Conspiracy. HarperOne, 1998:

A disciple or apprentice is simply someone who has decided to be with another person, under appropriate conditions, in order to become capable of doing what that person does or to become what that person is.

A disciple of Jesus Christ is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do.

A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.

To do what Jesus said, what our Lord commanded, gives shape to the best mission statement ever: His Last Command - Our First Concern.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What Is The Establishment of a Religion?

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
The First Amendment to our Constitution forbids Congress to establish a religion. This needs clarification if only to safeguard the other provision in the First Amendment that guarantees the free exercise there of faith. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have used the courts to limit this last guarantee by the citation of the prohibition a religion establishment. Too often activist Judges like to extract a principle and violate the specific provision of the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits Congress to establish a religion, but says nothing against a State doing so. Several of the Colonies did establish a specific organized Church as that of that Colony.

The announced purpose of the Humanist Manifestos of 1933 and 1973 was to eradicate all acknowledgment of “theism” from public life. This purpose seems to be this of groups like the ACLU. This contradicts the very basis of our Country’s existence.

The Declaration of Independence recognizes the Creator as the Giver of the“inalienable rights” that separation was made to defend. Our national culture has from the beginning acknowledged the Christian God. In the Constitutional Congress, the delegates were at an impasse and near giving up when Benjamin Franklin exhorted them to pray. Then, differences were overcome and the writing of Constitution finished. As far as I know no session of Congress is begun without prayer.

Further, Thomas Jefferson required the teaching of the Bible in the DC schools even though he authored the worn out phrase “a wall of separation between Church and State!”

When I served in the Army at our barracks at the old Dachau prison camp in West Germany, a notable warning was emblazoned in the camp. It said: “If we forget history, we are bound to repeat it!”

To honestly interpret anything, we must look into the history of its origin. Our founding fathers knew what they meant by the terms they used. They knew that the establishment of a religion meant the adoption of a specific Church as the required organization for their citizens. This European custom was what their forefathers came to this Land to avoid. From history and present practice let us review the elements of the establishment of a State Church (religion):

1. A specific religious organization is cited as the religion of that country. That is, the Church of
England, Evangalish (German Lutheran), The Roman Catholic Church, etc.

2. The State cites appoint a hierarchical structure of church officers and clergy. This was especially the case of the independent German states and Switzerland.

3. Specified doctrines that define church orthodoxy.

4. Ecclesiastical courts established for enforcement of religious regulations and orthodoxy.

5. Church tax levied for its support.

6. Required religious instruction in public and private schools.

7. Orthodox and liturgical acceptable standing for government office.

Because of political correctness, the strictness of these standards are not as rigid, except in a number of Muslim countries. The acknowledgment of the Judeo-Christian God in America fails all of these standards for being a State Church, i.e., established religion. Congress needs to define what an “establishment of religion” is and is not. The seven cited historical standards of what has constituted a State or “established religion” is. And make it clear that recognition of historical American culture of acknowledging the Judeo-Christian God is not an establishment of religion.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Letter to the POTUS

President Barack Obama,

One of the first statements that you made after being elected was that: "America is not a Christian nation!"

This astounded me, since you, as an educated man, and that in the nomination campaign, that you said that you were a Christian. I know that you had to resign from your Church in Chicago because the minister was so anti-American. Are you a member of a Christian Church now, if so, what Church and what city? Further, I heard a video recording of your speech in Egypt in which you not only praised Islam, but said that you were a Muslim, as your sister is quoted to have said that the whole family was! This is enlightening concerning your statement that America is not a Christian nation.

The Bible says that even children are known by their lifestyle. Applying this principle to the United States, it can be seen that the most specific national actions toward other nations are in agreement with the commands of Christ.

From the signing of the Mayflower Compact before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, it is quite accurate to say that not all people in the United States are what the Bible would describe as real Christians, or even profess to be. Even in the Islamic Republics, not all of the citizens are Muslims and not all Muslims are accepted as Muslims according to the tenets of the Koran and the five pillars of Islam. But yet it would be inaccurate to say that countries like Syria and Iran are not Muslim.

How you said , "America Is Not a Christian Nation!" According to the US’s characteristic actions and the tenets of Christianity, Your statement is invalid. America is a Christian nation from start to the present. During the period of colonization, as British citizens, they identified themselves as Christians, if for no other reason than as British citizens. As such, they were members of the Church of England. Others who did not identify themselves as members of the Church of England did identify themselves as to what their religious beliefs were, such as Methodists, Presbyterian, Quakers, Baptists, and etc. Very, very few of these groups identified themselves other than as Christian.

While some may not have been Church members, as far as I know all the signers of The Declaration of Independence, were Christians. Some were even ordained Christian ministers! In the Declaration of Independence the phrase: "endowed by their Creator . ." referred to the Christian God and not to a god of any of the World Religions! And this includes Allah! Contrary to the claims of some, Allah is not the same as the Judeo Christian God. According to historical research Allah is an Arabic Moon God. This is seen in the flag of Islamic countries in the symbol of the Crescent. The Crescent is simply a small part of the Moon. According to some in my research, Mohammed is said to have taken his sword and cut the Moon in two and therefore a crescent.

During the Revolutionary war, The Continental Congress consistently had prayers to the Christian God when they met. When The Constitutional Convention was about to break up, Benjamin Franklin said to the effect that they could not expect a great nation to arise without prayer. There is a painting of the members of the Constitutional Convention, with many members upon their knees, and a Christian Minister in his robes leading them in prayer. From then on, they made progress and produced our Constitution. This was followed by a three hour worship service in a Christian Church. Even before that, Christian ministers were called to be Army Chaplains. The Congress has always had Christian ministers selected to be its Chaplain. For many years the House of Representatives was used for worship by Christian Churches.

One of the first Judeo Christian laws is to do good according to your means (2 Cor 8:12) to the hurting and helpless (Luke 10:36--36). This has the characteristic by our nation:

One of the great things Christ was known for was healing the sick (Matthew 9:36). I believe that you know of many great things the US has done is following Christ’s example in helping the sick throughout the world. Do I have to remind you of The Marshall Plan, the Peace Corps, help to the world nations concerning the eradication of diseases such as AIDS and malaria as such? Though there are disasters affecting whole nations, and as in Somalia, we have even had to use our armed forces to help the starving and hurting. Remember Black Hawk down. That is Christian!

Once while I was lecturing in a Christian school in the Ukraine, one of the school administrators started to say to me that we were stripping the good out of Vietnam. My first reply was we were putting more money into fighting the war than the country of Vietnam was worth and we were building roads, tending the sick, and giving material aid. I reminded him of Cuba, the Philippine Islands, Germany, Italy, and Japan became better off after we had conquered them. I added that one of the best things that can happen to a country was for the United States to conquer them. This follows the command of Christ: "If your enemy is hungry , feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink." (Rom 12:20).

Jesus said: "Blessed are the peacemakers , for they will be called sons of God." (Matt 5:9). Our country's efforts to be peacemakers start from even the Barbary (Islamic) and Somalia Pirates, Bosnia, Palestinians and Israel, Lebanon, North Ireland, and Caribbean nations, and Kuwait. I don't think I have to remind you of the huge amount of blood that has been shed to bring peace to the World in World War one and two, communist aggression against Korea, and Vietnam.

The Lord Jesus commended: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, , , ," (Matthew 28:19a NKJV). For almost a century the United States has been the most fruitful nation in sending out missionaries to nearly every nation in the world. Now nations like South Korea and Brazil are significantly following our example from our missionary work as matured disciples.

Another Christlike thing (John 8:31-35) that America has done from even its first years to give greater freedom to mankind is the concept of democracy. Our influence on the world has brought about the freedoms and justice of Democratic governments. However Pres. Thomas Jefferson said that it could not last without ethics. And he wrote a book called: "Jesus Christ Prince of Ethics." It is reported, that when he was president, he was also superintendent of public schools, he required that the Bible be taught in the schools. Also, it is little known but the very idea of separation between Church and state was to keep the Church free from government interference (correspondence with the Connecticut Baptist Churches).

The conclusion of what I have observed should be enough for you to understand that America IS A CHRISTIAN NATION! Even though too many have forsaken Him by forsaking what His Word teaches. The next time you look at a dollar it says: “In God We Trust!” And that God is the God of the Bible!


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Loving God With My Mind

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

At the climax of a two-week of missionary conference at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, DC, God called me into His service of presenting the gospel to whoever He might lead me to. Prior to this I had been reading my Bible and felt that I needed to be baptized as a testimony of my faith in Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection for my sins.

After an evening service, I talked to the Church’s pastor about being baptized. He invited me into his study. It was a long narrow room. He sat down at his desk at one end and I sat down in a chair at the other end. I felt that he was going to commend me for committing my life to full-time Christian service. How surprised I was when he asked me: "How do you know that you're saved?"

He was just as surprised when I quoted: 1 John 5:11, 12: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." While my answer satisfied him and myself, it didn't satisfy God.
For three days, I was emotionally tied up in a knot. I read my Bible and prayed every moment I could, seeking the Lord for what was the problem. On the third night, I casually opened my Bible to Matthew 22:37, 38: "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." Immediately, the Holy Spirit focused my attention on the words "with all thy mind."

I had just gotten out of the Quartermasters Associate Company Officers Course. For 4 1/2 months of barracks life, I had heard all kinds of foul language in response to all kinds of frustrations. While I did not follow their bad examples, I found these words coming into my mind when I got frustrated, especially God's name. As I accepted the Holy Spirit's leading to love God with all my mind, my experience changed to peace for many days. This peace was as though I was in a row boat in the middle of a lake without a ripple of water or a breath of air. I experienced the proverbial sea of glass! Oh! What blessedness!

I didn’t realize it then, but loving God with one’s mind is the key to winning in life’s spiritual warfare: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 KJV

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Are First Commandments Neglected?

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

How can anyone get to “first base” neglecting first commandments?

Strange as it may seem, God has given several “First Commandments.” There are others besides the First Commandment in the Bible. One is the command to recognize. Another is to hear. Yet another is to seek. It depends upon where and to whom a “First Commandment” is required!

God’s Commandments are given to different persons according to their relationships; to people in general, including those outside Israeli and Christian culture, their first commandment and necessity is to recognize the witness of His creation.

The Apostle Paul cites the testimony creation bears:

“For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made, so that they are “without excuse.” (Rom 1:20). Every revelation by its nature is an obligation to the one receiving it. Here it is an opportunity and a built in command to respond (John15:22).

In view of this testimony, people must begin to respond for God to lead them to more light, and then to the special revelation in His Word. Not to have this progressive attitude to seek for more, God has no logical reason to give more. From this testimony, “. .there is no excuse!” not to seek for more from these primary revelations!

Unfortunately, many make conclusions before they think through the evidence. Hasty generalizations are never a virtue, thinking through any observation is not only reasonable, but safe (Prov 2:3-11). Many of these people recognize the need of help beyond themselves, as seen in the structures of life. But without thinking through, they deify the immediate means of blessing. They have made gods as symbols of women, the planetary elements of the sun, moon, and stars. They also have done this with things they can manage, such as monkeys, cows, leopards, lizards, etc. Thinking through makes this to be illogical (Isa 44:11-20). So the first command is to think through the knowledge of the universe to find its original cause.

The second commandment is to respond to God’s universal inward witness.

In Romans 1:19, the Apostle Paul testifies: “. . that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” “God IS!” This is what John referred to, as the Living Word (John 1:9).

This is what he pointed out to the Greek Philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece: “. .TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, . .” (Acts 17:23, 24 KJV). He went on to say that if “. . they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;” (Acts 17:27).

As the Psalmist wrote:

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.” (Ps 19:1-4).

The dynamic principle has always been:

“. . if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8).
“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:9, 10). That Person is the incarnated Christ! For from eternity past, He is: “. . the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Heb 1:3).

When people begin to become conscious of a supreme Creator, they are doing from Christ’s manifested presence. It is the work of God’s Spirit. His job was and is to make people aware of Christ’s presence as the abiding presence of God! “He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13, 14).

So the first obligation or commandment has always been: All must use the knowledge of God and the inward testimony of His existence from whatever source they have to seek Him through creation’s and Christ’s testimony. He will give more light until they find Christ and then trust in Him and His promises, but few do so.

Abraham is one who did and possibly others like those associated with the religion led by Melchizedek (Gen 14:18). At this period of time, Abraham’s call to begin a central witness of God was coming about because of the general apostasy from the earlier witness of Noah and his family. Paul spoke about a universal falling from the knowledge of God in Romans 1:18-22 for philosophical and idolatrous religions. The basic reason God called Abraham was to call a people for a world wide witness was to convey an objective and complete revelation starting from the Old Testament Scriptures to mankind. With the giving of the New Testament, and especially the body of revelation centered in and concerning Christ, will be the judgement of all people at the end of the present creation:

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48).

From the Mosaic revelation, called the Law, what Commandment did Christ say was The First Commandment?

“He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment.” (Matt 22:37, 38).

So the first, in the sense of “the great and foremost commandment,” is to love God with completeness of heart, soul, and mind!

The balance of this essay will be how to obey this command with these three parts of our being! The Greek word for “and” that connects the heart with soul and mind can be translated as “even!” With this understanding, soul and mind are a part with “heart.” So with this understanding loving God gives emphasis on emotion, while the soul would add the emphasis of will, and the mind would bring the emphasis of loving with one’s intellect.

The heart is the summation of a person’s personality (Matt 12:33-35). Heart is used for both the sinful and the regenerated nature of individuals. It becomes whatever influences a person to accept, especially in regard to what an individual exposes one’s self to. It is spoken of as a place of complete deceit (Jer 17:9) or of full harmony with God (Matt 22:37), or a contradictory personality (James 3:10; Matt 12:34). In Proverbs 4:23 young men are told: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” Because the word heart is used concerning anything, the heart entensifies desire. It sees a value in something that is desirable for some reason whether for pleasure or something good to look at, or that enhances self life and there focuses emotional desire towards it. This is what happened to Eve as a result of being deceived by Satan (Gen 3:6). This is the reason believers are not to love the world’s culture (1 John 2:15-17).

For this reason, the Lord Jesus requires His disciples to immerse themselves in the ministry of His Word to find spiritual freedom:

First for salvation: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17 and context 7-18). 2 Thessalonians 2:10 says a lack of love for the truth prevents the experience of salvation.

And then from the domination of sin: “Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31, 32).

In Luke 9:23, 24: Jesus describes this process as a cross for disciples. The Apostle Paul testifies that this changed His life:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20).

Emotion, the energy of the heart is a stupid thing, emotion, i.e., the heart must be directed to what has real value. For emotion can attach itself to either the good or the evil. The renewed soul has the capacity of gathering information to make decisions. The Lord Jesus requires the soul of His disciples to be one that He gives by the exercise of choice. He says that this comes by obedience to Him to the crucifixion of natural choice, it requires choice even in the face of pain to the place that the soul or personality has a fixed disposition upon His will. The process is a spiritual weapon of sorting out values so as to have the mind reconstructed to be in agreement with Christ:

“. . for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, . .” (2 Cor 10:4, 5).
This takes the exercise of the choice of exposure to choosing the circumstances that shape the choices of the mind pictured in the first Psalm. To let God shape the soul means that meditation on the things of God until one understands its value enough to treasure the benefits therefrom. This is what the Apostle Paul prayed for his readers in Ephesians 1:15-23, i.e., “. . a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” For when this is experienced love with the soul becomes its nature, which will govern one’s heart!

Finally, believers are to love the Lord with all one’s mind! The utility of loving God with all one’s mind has been demonstrated by the discussion about loving God with all one’s soul. But the mind is like a stage in a play or the battle field. Eve wasn’t asking Satan to “speak up!” He just did at a time when he saw she was weak in some way. Christ was tempted by Satan when His body was weak from prolonged fasting and when Jesus was contemplating the suffering of God’s wrath on Him because of man’s sin and sins. He won the victory by remembering God’s will and Word! This was the result of an eternity of living in the love and will of God, the Father. Knowing and valuing God’s Word is loving God with all our minds. 2 Timothy 2:15 pictures such a mind: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

Love is a spiritual cultivation. For “love” to be complete, be an “all,” it must be cultivated, that is, what is against “love” must like a weed, be plucked out so as not to steal nutriments from that flower of beauty. That flower, in this case, the heart, soul, and mind, needs to be evaluated and treasured for its supreme values so as to be nourished and cultivated. This is where contemplative study must be applied so as to understand the surpassing value that comes at the end of life and in the presence of the Lord. First to see His surpassing value and glory. Then, with the treasured words from Him: “Well done, enter into the joy of your Home!”

So to neglect these “first commandments” is to neglect the destiny of one’s being - for eternity!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Prophetic Milestones

The One to whom true prophets bear witness

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Shadows of the Nearness of the End of the Age: The Awakening of the Fig Tree (Jewish Nation)

Prophecies concerning Israel

1. Mosaic prophecies:
a. Deuteronomy 28: the sins of Israel will cause God to disperse them worldwide.
b. Deuteronomy 30: God will regathering of Israel and return them to the holy land.

2. Israel: God’s prophetic time clock.

Daniel 9:20-27: use a prophetic time clock for the history of Israel (v 24) unto the beginning of the millennial kingdom which will include God's eternal Kingdom. Verse 25 says when this time clock of 70 weeks of years will start, that is, the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The Messiah appears after 69 weeks of years after the reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In verse 26a, Messiah will be killed after 69 weeks of years followed by the destruction of the city and the sanctuary by the Prince of Rome

Rise of Gentile Power

Daniel 9:26b begins with Israel’s destruction as the beginning of the end times climaxing in the tribulation period. This period is called the times of the Gentiles in which Jerusalem is spoken of as being trodden down by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24--26). This is also spoken of by the Apostle Paul as being the Church age in which the Church becomes the instrument of worldwide evangelism (Ephesians 3:9; Mark 16:15).

This age will end with prophetic milestones of Israel being as a blooming fig tree leading to the fruit of its regathering and then with Christ's return (Zechariah 12:1--14; Luke 21:24--32). This began after World War II with many Jews attempting to return to Israel because of the Balfour declaration of the establishing of a place for the terribly persecuted Jews to have as a place of safety. This was followed by United Nations designating the holy land as that place along with an Arab section. In 1948, Israel became a nation again. While the Islamic nations rejected this and hours later began an onslaught with an army from 6 Islamic nations, as according to Zech 12:1-9 God enabled them to survive and defeat those nations’ armies, except on the east including Jerusalem, just as the prophecies stated. In the 1967 war, they were enabled to liberate Jerusalem. While they let the Muslims retain the Temple mount, which will probably be taken in the great defeat prophesied in Ezekiel 28. Then the Tribulation Temple can be built permitting the fulfillment of the Tribulation prophecies about the revelation of Antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation.

According to Revelation 1:19b the picture of the Tribulation period (Greek wording: the hour the of trial of the great Rev 3:10) [tribulation KJV], the prophetic time clock begins with chapter 4:1, 2. In Chapter 7:2-8, Israel becoming God's witness to the earth in the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. Paul says in Romans 11 that Israel as the natural branches will be grafted in again to form great blessing. That God has Israel as an eternal witness of His glory, especially in his patience and final fulfillment to the promises given to the patriarchs is saved (Zech 12:9-14) and are part in New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:12). The names of the 12 tribes are inscribed on its gates of pearl.

Foreshadowing of the Great Tribulation

The Lord Jesus said: “"So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:31 NASU).

1. Israel becomes a nation again (Zech 12:1-9). And we need to remember that the Tribulation (the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7; Zech 13 &14) precedes the Kingdom.

2. The Church age is nearing completion (Rev 2 & 3). The rise of secular government and character of the Laodicean Church characterized by “the voice of the people.” (Rev 3:14-18). The advent of false teachers, cults and antichrists (Matt 24:11, 23-26).

(The Revelation is divided into 3 parts according to Rev 1:19: . . . Write the things which thou hast seen, the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”

“The things which are” after Chapter one “the things which thou hast seen” is the Church Age ending, a great apostasy of the professed Church (2 Thess 2:4), and the Tribulation begins as seen from the wording in Rev 4:1, 2 which are nearly exactly as the third direction of the Lord in Rev 1:19c.

3. Present state of Daniel’s Legs of Iron mixed with clay. The European confederacy (Daniel 2:28-45).

4. The efforts to form the Islamic Caliphate (the Arab spring Ezek 38 and 39).

5. The building of Chinese economy that supports building of a great army for the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:12-16).

6. The report of the Sun’s great flaring - the promise of relief from heat from the Sun and Moon after the Tribulation. (Rev 16:8). Signs in the heavens and great darkness (Mark 13:24). Roaring of the seas and great waves (Luke 21:25).

7. The great increase of knowledge with much travel in the end times. (Dan 12:4).

8. That people will be killing each other (Rev 12:17).

9. Inflation and hunger (Rev 6:5, 6).

Related reading:  Witnesses to the Truth of Christianity; Dispensationalism and the Three Witnesses