Monday, July 4, 2016


Harry Riches
Happy Riches • answers

In numerous places within the Old Testament there is mention of the last days, or the latter days. The last mention is in the Book of Malachi, the final book in the Old Testament.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, there is a promise concerning the latter days wherein the Lord God will not forget the Covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God will honor the Covenant with them that promises the land between the Euphrates and Egypt to their descendants. This is where it is found:
  • I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess; you will not live long upon it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you…. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice, for the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers which he swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:26-27, 30-31)
The Apostle Paul appears to have drawn upon this to some extent when speaking about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the mystery concerning the hardening that came upon the hearts of the Jews until the full number of the Gentiles come in. In fact, there is a synthesis of thought found in the book of Romans, chapter eleven, that appears to draw not only from the above- mentioned text but also from the prophecies of Isaiah (59:20-21) and Joel (2:27-32).
  • Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”  (Romans 11:25-27)
On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter stood up and declared that the people speaking in tongues were in effect fulfilling what was prophesied by the prophet Joel and quoted from that book, saying:
  • ....this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;  yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:16-21)
  • [N.B. that the Apostle said whoever calls upon the name of the Lord, not those who were chosen before the world was Created as some like to claim.]
The Apostle Peter then went on to say that everything the people present were witnessing was part of the plan of God which had to do with Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had been aware of performing signs and miracles in their midst but nevertheless had crucified. The Pharisee Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, even said to Jesus that they knew He was a teacher who had come from God, because no one could do the signs He did unless God was with them (John 3:1-2). Yet these religionists, who liked to think that they were chosen before the foundation of the world, crucified the One who had come to save them from their sins. Only those who repent from their dead works and exercise faith towards God are saved; not those who think they were chosen before they were born into this world.
In the book of Hebrews, we learn that in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son and that those who have had their sins taken away and have been made perfect have come to the Heavenly Mount Zion. Isaiah the prophet speaks of the house of the Lord being established in the last days and on the highest of mountains, and there is none higher than the Heavenly Mount Zion. We see this in the following texts:
  • It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, (Isaiah 2:2)
  • But in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:2)
  • But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
When we put all this together, we see that the Bible has foretold that the Israelites would be destroyed as a nation and scattered among the nations. Then the Israelites would be brought back as a nation to occupy the territory that was promised by the Lord God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We also learn that there is going to be a time during this banishment from the Promised Land that many people who are not descendants of Israel according to the flesh will become children of the true Israel, which are those who inherit the promises of God through faith in Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator of a New Covenant. The Old Covenant was one of a nation among nations receiving the promises of God by doing what was required of them—only they failed. The New Covenant is one of individuals becoming members of a New Kingdom that has its ruling city in Heaven, and will eventually rule over all the Earth (Revelation 19:11-16).
The last days spoken of by the Old Testament prophets appear to have began on the day of Pentecost. Even though we find references to tribulation (2 Timothy 3:1) and scoffers (2 Peter 3:3) in the last days, the reality is that when it comes to understanding the Last Days from an Old Testament perspective, if we are to take a cue from the Apostle Peter, we are speaking about these days beginning at Pentecost.
Now it just happens that the Apostle Peter says that a day might be considered a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). John the relevator, instructed by the Lord Himself, wrote that there is going to be a one thousand year rule by Lord Jesus Christ on Earth (Revelation 20:6). This suggests that the last days could be a three thousand year period and, at the end of this period, there will be a resurrection of the dead. Those who have rejected Lord Jesus Christ will be judged and then a new Earth and new Heavens will be created.
From what has been happening in Israel since First World War I, we can see that the prophecy from Deuteronomy is being fulfilled. In fact, when Israel was declared a nation in 1948, this prophecy in Deuteronomy appears to have definitely been fulfilled.
A massive worldwide revival is required for the final stage of what the Apostle Peter announced at Pentecost and what the Apostle Paul declared concerning the Gentiles to be fulfilled. Once the predestinated number of people who are to become Christians is complete, the current two thousand year days will end. Then the one thousand year rule of Lord Jesus Christ on Earth will begin.
Amazingly, people scoff at the prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled and many claim that current Jewish nation exists merely because Jews are using the Bible as a means to justify their occupation of the land that is now Israel.
These same scoffers like to think they have the answers to how they are going to make a futile life meaningful, even though they are going to die and nobody will care about them afterwards. Besides this, they must think that they can beat God at a game of chess, when they do not even accept the obvious. Seriously, like four-move losers in a game of chess, they look to the North, the West, the South and the East and think that the sun will always rise, yet they reject the obvious: not by chance does the Sun rise every day. For Israel is not a nation residing in the land promised to Abraham by chance.
Predictions being fulfilled are not chance events.The many testimonies of people who actually encounter the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and experience the outpouring of the Spirit of God on their lives is not something that is occurring by chance. The fulfillment of biblical prophecies is not occurring by chance. And it is not by chance each person is alive in these last days. Yet those who reject the obvious, scoff, as the prophecies declare they would do in these last days. We read:
  • First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:3-4a)
  • ‘Behold, you scoffers, and wonder, and perish; for I do a deed in your days,a deed you will never believe, if one declares it to you.’” (Acts 13:41)
Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah who was to come (Matthew 17:10-12). However, when we read what the prophet Malachi says of Elijah, we see that this was not an exact fulfillment:
  • “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.  And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
Therefore it remains that God will send Elijah, or maybe someone in the Spirit of Elijah, to turn the Jews to God before the great and terrible day of the Lord. When this happens it will be too late for the gentile scoffers, for it appears that this person will only be sent to the Jews.
The land now occupied by Israel may have been smote with a curse already, for since the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 CE until the present time, before the current Jewish nation occupied the land, the land was a barren wasteland. Today the land that Israel now occupies is prosperous and the appearance of Elijah in these last days will signify the beginning of the reign of Lord Jesus Christ is only a few years away.—I have no intention of being around then, have you?

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