HA TIKVAH - THE HOPE
HOSEA 2v14-15 ‘UNITED WATCHMEN’ ROMANS 8v24-25 ISSUE No. 121
‘O God our Saviour, the hope of all the ends of the earth’ (Psalm 65:5) ‘Christ in you the hope of glory!’ (Colossians 1v27)
THE HARRINGTON’S TEACHING NEWS &
PRAYER PAMPHLET 2012 SUMMER/AUTUMN
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1. FAMILY NEWS
2. ELIJAH’S ALTAR
3. A MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN
4. PRAY THE WORD (2)
5. IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH
6. HUMAN TRAFFICKING & OLYMPIC GAMES
7. ONLINE PETITION
8. FURTHER GOG/MAGOG CONSIDERATIONS
9. I HAVE A DREAM
This teaching pamphlet is published by Hatikvah publications:
1. A RENEWED MINDSET
2. OUR NATION, GOVERNMENT & CHURCH (for prayer)
3. ISRAEL, IRAN & THE NATIONS (for prayer)
4. THE POWER BASE OF THE ANTICHRIST
5. DAMASCUS, GOG-MAGOG, & THE THIRD TEMPLE
6. PRAY THE WORD (1)
This teaching pamphlet is published by Hatikvah publications. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NB.PRAY into Coalition for marriage issues (pages 3-4); & Israel & Iran (p4-5)
1. A renewed mindset Isaiah 56v7: ....for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
It is fascinating to look into the context of this well-known quotation from the book of Isaiah. One of his missions was to prepare the way for fresh revelation from God to the people in Babylonian exile. The exiles had lost their sense of God amongst them. Their thinking had been darkened by the influences of pagan Babylon. These exiles were to receive the news, through Isaiah, that God was going to deal with Babylon, and set His people free to return to rebuild Jerusalem and ultimately to become a light to the nations. The new community to be re-established in the homeland was to include foreigners as well as eunuchs. The rabbinic regulations from the Mosaic code regarding God’s house of prayer were to be over-ridden. Isaiah must therefore prepare their minds for this fresh revelation during chapters 40-55.
Isaiah also realised that his work would not be fully successful, and that the Messianic task would have to be personified before the complete breakthrough could be birthed. (This took place through the birth, life, message, demonstration of the kingdom, death and resurrection of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus Christ, and through the birth of the Church, embracing both Jew and Gentile in due course.) Even then, there would be many stuck in the old mindset - for instance the Pharisees of Jesus’ day – and many are to this very day, for example, the Ultra-Orthodox with their fierce opposition to the name of Jesus.
Sadly, the message of Isaiah was never fully understood and embraced. When Ezra, the orthodox priest, returned from Babylon, one area of reform was to recognise the sin of the intermarrying of Jewish men with foreign women. Their understanding and mindset was to get rid of those foreign wives. Look up & read all of Ezra 10v10-12; 16-19 ...esp.v11: 11 Now make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives."
Note also v18: ‘among the descendants of the priests’ -- From the names of so many men of rank appearing in the list which then followed, some idea may be formed of the great and complicated difficulties attending the reformatory work. Wives and children were driven from their homes and separated from the community of Israel. This would have involved the renouncing of marriage vows, and disowning of parental commitment by Jewish men. Their orthodox mindset would applaud this solution. They did not recall or research the words of Isaiah 56 which allowed for God’s way of dealing with such a situation.
Isaiah 56 v 3-8 (excerpts): This is what the Lord says..... 3 Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely exclude me from his people." And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree."4 For this is what the Lord says: ........6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
How much better to have taught these foreign wives and the children of these mixed marriages the word of God, and so included them in the purposes of God for Israel. That mindset would have better reflected the mercy and kindness of God. This was more fully revealed in the person of Jesus, and by the inclusion of Gentiles in the emerging New Testament Church. We are believers by that mercy!
So, what am I saying? Simply that religious mindsets can be a stumbling block to what God is revealing and working out in His purposes for both Israel, the nations, and the Church in the nations. Take the fact that believing churches in a locality often operate as individual groups, instead of seeing themselves as part of the ‘Church at….’ (whatever your town is), c.f. the ‘Church at Ephesus’, for example.
Response: Now is a good opportunity to seek the Lord, and ask Him to reveal any inappropriate mindset in your life. May He prepare you for what is to come, and enable you, through His Word and by His Spirit, to receive fresh revelation, leading to Spirit-led activity born of a fresh mindset.
2. Our Nation, Government & Church (and a renewed mindset)
Following on from the above article, our own nation has enjoyed the benefit of having her culture molded by foundational values rooted in the Christian faith. Through the British Empire, these values were transmitted to one third of the world’s population, and influenced the molding of Western civilization.
However, atheism has been undermining these moral foundations for some time, with the result that greed and corruption have become rampant, and the whole global economy is at risk. Furthermore we have allowed the elevation of other religions and their values and teachings to the detriment of Christianity, in our so-called ‘Christian’ nation.
Extreme sections of Islam have a vision to take all the nations of the world into their religion, - by force, or by use of fear and terrorism, and by enticement into the faith. (Do not be surprised if we see in Britain ‘hot spots’ of Islamic uprising breaking out on the streets of Britain in the near future). Also, the homosexual lobby its flexing its muscles over the whole issue of same sex marriage.
A note for prayer on this: The Coalition for Marriage petition has been signed online by many Christians and others to safeguard the nature and understanding of marriage. This is in response to a Government consultation document which is advocating the re-defining of the nature of marriage to include same-sex relationships. This would seriously undermine family life in Britain. The homosexual lobby is very powerful on this. If this discussion document moves on to become a Parliamentary Bill, the pressure on MPs standing for no change in the nature of marriage would be strong. It is proposed to become law in 2014. Already, some who have signed up to the Coalition for Marriage, which opposes any change in the law, have received threats against themselves and family members. One even received a death threat! Many feel intimidated at present. This is supposed to be a democratic country! Behind all this of course, the enemy is at work deceiving people and stirring them up. The intercession level needs to be upped over this very serious issue, especially for the protection of Christian MPs and for the safeguarding of marriage as it has been recognized for centuries. Pray that God holds back the demonic forces behind this assault on marriage. Pray for courage for MPs, pray the Church makes a real stand over this, at whatever the cost, pray for God’s love for the people involved though. Let the watchmen rise up!
Now, back to the matter in hand: British (and other) politicians have recognised the need for us all to stand together and take a reduction in income, but have not considered the effect on the poor and the powerless, who are suffering the most. Street protests in major cities across the western world have highlighted this.
However, at least, our Prime Minister has called for the Church to lead a return to the moral code of the Bible (Daily Mail Dec 17th), and the Queen’s Christmas address to the nation included the Gospel message….though the Archbishop’s New Year message did not, concentrating on the youth of the nation alone.
The word of God, when read both in homes and publicly, when taught in schools, when preached in most churches, had and has a powerful effect in renewing people’s minds and thereby their mindsets:
2 Tim.3v16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Rom 12v2: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Pray: That further inroads to reducing the input of the Christian message and the scriptures may be overcome, and that rather there will be a thrust of new initiatives and opportunities to take the and teachings of the Bible into schools, communities, into parliament and places of influence in our society…let’s USE the opportunities presented through the government vision of the ‘Big Society.’
As one brother put it: ‘So much of charismatic lifestyle and order of things is superficial. It’s a ‘blessed me’ type of religion almost. Yes, God does bless us in wonderful ways but few are prepared to pay the cost of deep prayer travail that changes nations. Blessings to all of you out there who do the stuff - well done, but I realise I have done little in my own life to halt the decline. The more I study the revival in Lewis, (no praying in tongues, no healings but a saturation of the community with the Spirit, even non believers were coming to the manse asking what was happening.) They said you could feel His presence in the very air you breathed. I am calling on every church leader in the land to start prayer meetings that would cry out for revival in our towns and cities. For many, we need to forget our programmes that produce so little for so much effort, and ask the Lord that He would rend the heavens and come down, that our communities change so much that the temporary pleasures of the world begin to fade rapidly and the fullness of his glorious kingdom is shown among us.’ (Mike Robinson). Pray!
3. Israel, Iran & the Nations
There are more than 200,000 rockets and missiles pointed at Israel at present, according to IDF military intelligence Chief Aviv Kochavi. In view of the serious nature of the situation in Iran, which currently has the capability to prepare four nuclear weapons of mass destruction – for use against Israel, and bearing in mind the fact that Israel is not going to stand by whilst they bomb Israel, prayer is vital over the issue. Iran’s leadership is vehement in its desire to ‘rid the world of the Zionist entity’ (quote from Iran’s president). Syria is likely to be controlled by Iran in view of the current uprising, which could lead to control of Gaza and the West Bank if the EU allows, being supportive of a Palestinian state.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, has a good biblical understanding and background, and is also a very practical man. Pray that he be strong and consistent as he speaks to national leaders and the UN over the issue of Iran, preparing them for the necessity of a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities if necessary.
PRAY: that the USA and GB assist Israel.
Pray for Israel’s new air force commander, Amir Eshel, that he employs the right strategies, and knows supernatural alertness, courage, and wisdom in leading those under his command.
Pray that God would keep the Straits of Hormuz open should nations try to throttle the supply of oil and gas if there is a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran. Negotiations may be out of the question at that point.
Pray God continues to protect and provide for Israel on the basis of His word. E.g. Psalm 3, 10, 17, 18, …Psalm 91, etc. Reading the book of Esther may also be of help. (NB The ‘Joseph Storehouse’ is a good means of practical support – Google it). There is also the question of the de-legitimisation of Israel, both amongst the nations and within the Church, through ‘replacement theology’. Regarding the nations, the European Coalition for Israel has produced a short DVD, ‘Give Peace a Chance’ which brings to the forefront the legal status of the re-formation of a homeland for Jewish people in Palestine called Israel, agreed in the 1920’s by the League of Nations and later by the UN.
Pray as we speak to our own MP, who is a member of the Cabinet, about this issue, (and about marriage).
Pray that many Christians have their eyes opened (as they read the Scriptures) to God’s word and promises to the Jewish people. Our and their futures are intertwined!
Pray for continued rain in Israel to fill the reservoirs. Thankyou.
4. The power base of the antichrist.
Whether it be a worldwide system whereby ten zones are created for administering the rule of the antichrist, or an E.U. based system, or some other confederacy, remains to be seen. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the gold statue, which Daniel interpreted (Daniel 2) he saw the feet of clay mixed with iron in this way (v40-44): 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
This has been interpreted by some as being the E.U. and its strength yet frequent disputes. Certainly France and Germany are seeking to dominate the E.U. Maybe those spirits which dominated both the French Revolution and the rise of Nazi-ism will actually give rise to the ‘man of lawlessness’ (2 Thess. 2v3). Hitler had the ‘Seat of Satan’ erected in Berlin c.f. Rev.2v13. The world is looking for a leader with answers to the international crises. Hitler came to power because he had answers in his time. NB. Later, one of his answers was the holocaust, to get rid of the Jews! He first removed anyone who opposed him, then the gypsies, the disabled, and then the Jews, step by step. He first removed their businesses, their homes, to the ghettos, to the death camps. The church for the most part stood by.
However, the group who stand in the way of European plans at present are the Evangelical believers….even in GB, we stand in the way of legalizing homosexual marriage, of one world religion, etc. (However, Britain, outside the primary group of the E.U., could still be preserved from this enslavement, and be used to bring the Gospel to the world again.) Money has become devalued in society, with debts crippling many nations and individuals. The ‘chip and pin’ card will probably lead in the end to the chip on the hand or forehead (Revelation 13v16-17; Rev 14v9-10…the ‘mark of the beast’.) The cry in Europe at present, battling economic crisis is, ‘Give us a man!’ The E.U. lacks real leadership. The USA is virtually paralysed during the run-up to the presidential election. Militant Islam is taking control of Arab nations since they are leaderless after the overthrow of their historic leaders. This could be paving the way for the emergence of the antichrist.
One prophetic requirement of the antichrist figure is to sit in the temple as Messiah! (2 Thess 2v3-4)....[see article 5.] Added to this, Moslem tradition speaks of the coming of the 12th Mahdi, ruling from Jerusalem for 7 years. Jewish groups are determined to rebuild the temple and have all the materials already prepared. Moslems could agree to such if they could worship their Mahdi on the site. Masons believe they built Solomon’s temple. One aim of higher degrees of Freemasonry is to rebuild the temple, seeing it as the centre of Freemasonry & worship of their Supreme Being! Powerful financiers belong to this group. The new temple could be built directly in line with the Golden Gate – the East Gate (Ezekiel 44v1-2) without affecting the present Dome of the Rock!
Keep watch over Israel!
5. Damascus, Gog-Magog, & the Third Temple (an in-depth article)
[ After seeking the Lord and receiving input on a recent retreat, and having also used some research by Paul Robertson on this subject, (adapted and modified), the following article has been written. It was an interesting exercise. It is good to keep one eye on the Bible and the other on world events, whilst seeking to hear and see what the Spirit is revealing. Ed.]
Bible prophecy: Please note that with perfect accuracy, the Bible predicted such events as:
The 70-year Babylonian captivity of the Jews. (Jeremiah 25:11)
The military campaigns of Alexander the Great. (Daniel 8:5-6 & 20-21)
The crucifixion of the Messiah. (Psalm 22:16-18)
The destruction of the 2nd Temple after Messiah's first appearance.(Dan 9:26)
The international exile and dispersion of the Jews. (Ezekiel 36:19)
The spread of the good news of the Messiah to all nations. (Isaiah 49:6)
Jewish persecution, the Holocaust, and related events. (Jeremiah 29:18-19)
The dispersed Jews' return from the nations to the land of Israel. (Ezek. 38:8)
FIRST EVENT: Damascus: The biblical prophet, Isaiah, gave the following prophecy about Damascus approximately 2800 years ago. It could be significant for our day. Many of his prophecies have been fulfilled - to the letter. Those which have not yet been fulfilled refer to the end days. Currently in the news, the Syrian uprising could lead to full scale civil war in the land. Damascus may be threatened. Its destruction was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter 17v1-14 (see extracts on next page). However, it should be noted that the prophecy about Damascus was only partly fulfilled, in 732 BC - when the king of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser, attacked Damascus (2 Kings 16v9ff). But the city was only captured, not fully destroyed, and its citizens deported. Isaiah’s prophecy makes it clear that Damascus continued to function after the attack. Perhaps this prophecy of Isaiah is another example of partial fulfillment in the immediate future, yet a further prophetic fulfillment down the time line. The NASB version for Isaiah 17v1 says: ‘Damascus is about to be removed from being a city.’
That was the more immediate view, and in a sense, it was certainly not able to function as the city it had been, after its capture and the deportations. But, as we look at the current world scene, and events in Syria in 2012, the complete fulfillment of this prophecy may be imminent.
(NB. Places referred to in Isaiah’s prophecy below: ‘Aroer’ is in south central Jordan. The land of ‘Ephraim’ is the central West Bank, where currently, Palestinian Arabs populate this area. ‘Aram’ refers to the Syrians. 'Jacob' represents the Israelites...who have forgotten their God.) Towards the end of the prophecy, there is an uproar of many nations and God's judgment on those nations (v12-14). A multinational alliance rises against Israel to "loot and plunder."
Isaiah 17v1-14 (extracts) 1An oracle concerning Damascus: "See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. 2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no-one to make them afraid. 3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites," declares the Lord Almighty .4 "In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away……10 You have forgotten God your Saviour; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. …..12 Oh, the raging of many nations— they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples— they roar like the roaring of great waters! 13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumble-weed before a gale. 14 In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.
The Book of Daniel enlarges:
Daniel 12v9-10: "Go, Daniel! For the matters are obscured and sealed until the time of the End. They will be elucidated and clarified and refined by many [people]; the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand; but the wise will understand."
Whether Isaiah’s prophecy is already partly fulfilled, or indicating still more for the future, some people think that if Syria offensively attacks Israel one more time, God will destroy the city of Damascus. Those people think that Syria's offensive attacks against Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973 are the first three sins mentioned in the bible passage below by the prophet Amos: Amos 1:3-5: "This is what the LORD says: 'For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad. I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the sceptre in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,' says the LORD."
Isaiah 17 gives clues that link the prophecy about Damascus to Ezekiel 38-39, the prophecy of the 'Gog/Magog war,' a multi-national attack against Israel. Ezekiel, in turn, seems to have written chapters 36-43 in chronological sequence. That sequence indicates that the third Temple will be standing (i.e. rebuilt) after the Gog/Magog war. Some would say that these events appear imminent in our day.....so, let’s take a closer look.
Second Event: The multi-national attack (Gog/Magog war)
(Ezekiel 38:1-6): "The word of the LORD came to me: 'Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops--the many nations with you.' "
Let us understand that ‘Gog’ is a man. He is the political leader of the leading nation of the multinational alliance. [ It is also interesting that an Israelite of that name was a descendant of Reuben (1 Chronicles 5:4) ]. Ezekiel describes Israel's condition at the time of the invasion, through God's prophetic words to Gog.
"Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety." (Ezekiel 38:7-8)
The people of Israel now seem to fit the above description for the first time in history, but with one major exception: they do not yet live in safety. Terrorist attacks continue, and hostile neighbours border Israel. However, if the threat of invasion by Israel’s neighbours ceased, and if the Palestinian unrest ceased, Israel would probably fit the above description. (This may be Israel's situation after the prophecy in Isaiah 17 is complete....other nations being reluctant to take on Israel because of the consequences unleashed on themselves.) However, Gog, the leader of the multinational alliance, devises a scheme and will say:
"I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the centre of the land." (Ezekiel 38:12)
The reason for Gog's multinational attack is to plunder and loot Israel. At the time of Gog's attack, Israel will have recovered from war. After the war in Isaiah 17 in which Damascus is destroyed, many nations will rise against Israel to loot and plunder. These clues may indicate that Isaiah 17 transitions into Ezekiel 38 and 39. After Damascus is destroyed, the Gog/Magog war may happen next.
Isaiah 18 gives further insight into the Gog/Magog war. (Jewish commentators agree that Isaiah 18 concerns the Gog/Magog war.) After Isaiah summarizes the Gog/Magog war at the end of Isaiah 17, he further explains the war in chapter 18, discussing two nations involved. One is along (or beyond) the rivers of Cush (Ethiopia). This could be the Sudan. "Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush, which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water." (Isaiah 18:1-2)
Cush is the upper Nile region, south of Egypt. The Sudan and Ethiopia are located there. Cush is an ally in the Gog/Magog war: Ezekiel 38:5: "Persia [Iran], Cush [vicinity of Sudan and Ethiopia], and Put [Libya] will be with them..." (brackets [ ] added. Ed).
Isaiah then describes a mystery nation to which Cush will send messengers. Although the mystery nation is not named, a riddle is given that helps us deduce the identity of this nation. Isaiah 18v2: "Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers." [Now, translated by exhaustive computer cross-reference of the Hebrew Masoretic Text: Isaiah 18v2: "...a nation led along according to someone else's will, smooth (or hairless), a people feared from himself and beyond, a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated, whose land the rivers plundered."
Let’s try to identify this 'mystery nation.' From the Hebrew words ‘mushach’, ‘morat’, ‘nora’ ‘min-hu vahalea’, ‘kav-kav’ & ‘mevusa’, and ‘bazu’ appearing in the text*, the mystery nation has the following characteristics:
The nation is not a free (or democratic) society.
The nation's people are smooth-skinned (have little or no facial and body hair).
The nation is a world power.
The nation stretched measuring lines and then subjugated or subdued [people].
The nation will have just experienced massive river flooding.
(If this prophecy is imminent, China may be the modern nation that best fits the Biblical description of the mystery nation of Isaiah 18.)
Isaiah 18 continues, giving further insight into the Gog/Magog war. Isaiah 18v3-5:
"All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it. This is what the LORD says to me: "I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches." (The sentence above may give a clue to the time of year of the Gog/Magog defeat.)
Continuing the bible passage: (Isaiah 18:6-7)
"They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter. At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers— the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.")
So, in summary, Isaiah 17 begins with a prophecy about Damascus, but transitions into the Gog/Magog war at the end of the chapter. Isaiah 18 continues, giving further insight into the Gog/Magog war and also describing a nation that may be China, who some consider will be very much involved in the End Times. (However, we must be careful to recognize speculation in this, not certainty.)
Third event: The Third Temple: The prophet Ezekiel described a Jerusalem Temple in chapters 40-43. The passage opens with a vision. (Ezekiel 40v3-4):
"…I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. The man said to me, 'Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see.' "
As the vision unfolded, Ezekiel saw and described, in detail, a Temple that had never been built, nor has it ever been built…yet. Two temples have been built in Jerusalem to date—Solomon’s temple, and the post-Babylonian exile temple that King Herod later renovated. Ezekiel had a vision of the third, future Temple. Modern Jewish Temple movement groups are currently planning to build this 'Ezekiel Temple' when the opportunity arises.
In chapters 36 – 43 of the book of Ezekiel, the prophet gives a chronology of three major future events in Israel. The first is in Ezekiel 36-37. These chapters describe Israelite people coming out of all nations and returning to Israel. This prophecy has already happened and is still happening as Jews return to Israel.
Ezekiel 37:21-22: "For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land." (Ezekiel 36:24) "…'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel…'"
The second major event is in Ezekiel 38-39. It is the Gog/Magog war, discussed previously. "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal…" (Ezekiel 38:2)
The third major event is in Ezekiel 40-43. In these chapters, Ezekiel described the future third Temple in Jerusalem. Based on Ezekiel's chronology, Israelites will return to Israel (this has already happened and continues to happen), then the Gog/Magog war will be fought, and then the third Temple will be standing.
In chapter 2 of the prophet Joel, he further describes the Gog/Magog invasion. Joel indicates that before the Gog/Magog war ends, two components of the Temple will exist: the porch and the altar. The altar is the brazen altar used for sacrificing animals. "Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar..." (Joel 2:17) This passage indicates that efforts to rebuild the Temple may begin before the Gog/Magog war ends.
How Imminent Are These Prophecies?
In the 20th century, with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, came the beginning of the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy that the Israelites would be gathered from the nations and would resettle the land of Israel, which had long been desolate (Ezekiel 36-37; Ezekiel 38:7-8). Now that this prophecy is being fulfilled, the following prophecies appear to be upcoming events. Here they are, in their probable chronological order:
Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17).
The Gog/Magog multinational war will be fought against Israel. (Ezekiel 38-39, transition at end of Isaiah 17, Isaiah 18, Joel 2).
The third Temple will stand in Jerusalem (Ezekiel chapters 40 - 43).
Before Israel can hold ceremonies in the third Temple, an unblemished red heifer must be sacrificed when it is in its third year of life (between its 2nd and 3rd birthday). (See Numbers 19:1-2):
"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 'This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without blemish and that has never been under a yoke…'"
The red heifer's ashes must be mixed with water, and this mixture must be sprinkled on Temple priests to purify them. [Note that in the late summer of 1996, a red heifer was born in Israel to a black and white cow and a brown bull. This red heifer was not born as a result of red heifer breeding efforts. Its birth was a surprise. Later it proved slightly flawed. Israeli Temple movement groups later set their hopes on a herd of Red Heifers bred in Nebraska, the United States. Are red heifer breeding efforts an indication that Temple construction is imminent? ]
The Temple Institute. In the mid 1980s, the Temple Institute was founded in Jerusalem. This institute has built a collection of artifacts required in the Temple service. Of the 93 needed, 60 have already been recreated, and 33 are currently being re-created. The Temple Institute expects the 93 artifacts to be used in the third Temple once it is built.
The Dome of the Rock. At present, Israel cannot build the third Temple without sparking a war. This is because the third holiest shrine of the Muslims sits on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That shrine is the Dome of the Rock. However, if the military forces of many Muslim nations are severely weakened, there will be little, if any, resistance to keep Israel from building the Temple. The Temple Institute was asked whether the Israelis now had the capability to construct the altar. The representative answered, "No problem." He also said that a metal replica of the future altar is currently being used for rehearsals.
Conclusion: You may argue that the prophesied destruction of Damascus, the prophesied Gog/Magog war and the prophesied erection of the third temple may be chronological events. If recent movements in Israel to prepare for the construction and dedication of the third temple indicate that its erection is imminent, then the destruction of Damascus and the Gog/Magog war may also be imminent. Perhaps these events will take place soon. Perhaps they will not take place for centuries. No one knows for sure.Keep an eye on the Middle East & pray.
Israel's Neighbours. (For further research): Some may want to study the chapters in Isaiah which surround Isaiah 17, giving a better context. Those chapters prophesy against several of Israel's neighbours. Amos chapter 1 and Micah 5:5-6 also prophesy against several of Israel's neighbours. Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt are not mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy in chapters 38-39 of the Gog/Magog multinational attack. However, Ezekiel, in chapter 38v5, mentions Libya (‘Put’), Iran (‘Persia’), and what appears to be the Sudan (‘Cush’), all of which now have one or two nations between their borders and Israel. In Ezekiel 38:8 and 38:14, Israel is described as living in safety before the Gog/Magog war. Can this be possible unless Israel's hostile neighbours’ military forces are neutralized? Why didn't Ezekiel mention Israel's immediate neighbours? Perhaps the chapters surrounding Isaiah 17 and Amos 1 give clues. (For more information on prophecy and Damascus, browse the Web, using appropriate key words & places, or try websites such as email@example.com. & links. Ed.)
6. Pray the Word (1)
There are several ways in which we gather to pray…..individual prayer, or corporate prayer in twos, small groups and large assemblies. We also pray in many ways and styles. Remember James chapter 5v13-18: Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
One way of praying which I believe is very effective is to ‘pray the Word.’ By that I mean using the words of scripture as a basis for our prayers. For instance, we were praying this morning at the 6am prayers at church, using Job 29v7-25 as a basis for prayer. It was a discourse on how Job had gained respect and influence in his community because of his actions in that community. For example, in v12, he ‘rescued the poor who cried for help.’ So in our prayers for our locality this morning, we were able to ask God to use us and others to rescue the poor who were in need in our community, who were crying out, whether aloud or deep within…only God would know. We asked that He would send us along their path and reveal them to us, so we could get involved and be an instrument in His hands.
The ‘poor’ in this case may be those with few financial resources, or poor in spirit. I like the ‘Horsham Matters’ project which takes in household items large and small in good condition and then sells them at a low price. Whole houses can be furnished! Those wishing to help others obtain goods by taking them along on a visit and paying for the items chosen, or those only able to afford low prices, can procure needed items. It is a bit like the ‘Thrift’ shops we visit in Cyprus. The ‘poor’ may also be those who are emotionally deprived, those who have been robbed of family love, for example. Other aspects of ‘poor’ come to mind. Do you see….just one phrase from this passage has already opened out much food for prayer? Also in v12 we see the needy orphan or the ones with no father in the home, or with step father who does not relate, perhaps.
In v13 we have representatively the dying, the elderly, the widow. Then in v14 we have Job acting in righteousness to bring justice into people’s lives. Justice needs to be done, and seen to be done in a society. This gives rise to all sorts of intercessions for the courts, police, community leaders in acting justly for those in their care or jurisdiction. Moving on, v15 could be about those who are there to help the spiritually blind have their eyes open to the reality of God and His kingdom. Our church’s visits to the Gatwick detention centre come to mind in v16 where the case of the stranger was taken up.
Finally, in v17 it speaks of breaking ‘the fangs of the wicked, and snatching the victims from their teeth.’ As you read that, you could pray into local (or wider) issues where wicked people have captured victims in their grasp in one way or another….perhaps greedy employers denying employees in some way, or squeezing them, or, on a wider plane, human trafficking for instance.
At a spiritual level, you could be praying for believers to be sharing the gospel in the workplace, with neighbours, in the community, through friendship evangelism, and praying that God gives them revelation of who He is and their need to be saved from the consequences of being in rebellion against the Almighty. In this way, those prayers are contributing to the salvation of souls - snatched from the jaws of hell itself! Many portions of scripture lend themselves to this kind of use in feeding our prayer, e.g. the promises of God, of which there are so many. Be blessed as you use these. DH