Monthly Archives: March 2019

April Fools’ Day

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalm 14:1)

We recognize the first day of April as April Fools’ Day. It “is an annual (primarily) Western celebration commemorated on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools. People playing April Fool jokes often expose their prank by shouting ‘April fool(s)’ at the unfortunate victim(s). Some newspapers, magazines and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in smaller letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in every country. Little is known about the origins of this tradition.”[1]

Victims of harmless pranks can hardly be called “fools.” Anyone is susceptible to deception at the hands of someone they trust. If that is a fool, then we all qualify.

The Bible has a much harsher view of a fool. The epithet is so severe that Jesus said, “whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22, emphasis mine). The word “Raca” is of Chaldean origin and it means, “empty or worthless one.” A fool, on the other hand, is one who is “impious[2] or “godless.” Strong’s defines such a one as “dull, stupid or heedless.” The Greek word is mōros, from which we get our word “moron.” It is interesting that Jesus should offer such a severe condemnation as “hell fire” for the offense of calling someone a fool.

Jesus’ prohibition of the application of that word against another person comes at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount. In the same sermon, He later said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2). This verse gets misquoted and misunderstood often as meaning that we are never to exercise rational discernment about someone’s actions. However, that is not at all what Jesus was saying as subsequent verses reveal. The Greek words translated as “judge” and “judgment” are krinō and krima respectively. Both have to do with making a judgment that results in condemnation and punishment. We get our English words “crime” and “criminal” from these Greek words. The kind of judgment Jesus is describing is reserved for God alone. Therefore, if judging someone as “fool” condemns the one judging to “hell fire,” then the punishment for being a “fool” must also be “hell fire.” We deduce this from Jesus’ words, “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” In other words, because the punishment for being a fool is “hell fire,” then the one judging the fool will receive the same judgment because only God can make that judgment.

The English word “fool” appears often in the Bible translating other Greek or Hebrew words, but the strong word Jesus used, mōros, appears only a few times and always in the context of strong condemnation. For example, in Matthew 7:26 Jesus uses it to describe the “foolish man” who built his house on a foundation of sand. Jesus likens those hear His Word and ignore it to the fool who builds his house on sand. In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells the Parable of the Ten Virgins and He calls the five unprepared virgins “foolish” because they were not ready to meet the bridegroom. The condemnation is they are not allowed into the wedding. Paul warns his young protégés, Timothy and Titus to avoid “foolish” (moronic) questions because they are unprofitable and vain and they only lead to strife.[3]

Our lead verse appears again in Psalm 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” The Hebrew word translated “fool” is nâbâl, and like mōros, it means stupid, wicked, (especially impious). Someone who does not believe in God, or rejects God is a fool. God condemns such a person to “hell fire,” which is why Jesus admonishes us not to make that judgment.

Paul describes how one sinks to that condition:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:18-22, emphasis mine).

By examining this passage more closely, we see that “the wrath of God” – His anger, i.e., “hell fire” – is revealed “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” i.e., “foolishness.” It is doubtful that “true” atheists exist because here we see that God reveals Himself through His creation. The “invisible things,” like viruses, bacteria, atoms, quarks, etc., clearly testify to the greatness of God. Every human being on earth can see the magnificence of God’s creation so that no one has an excuse for not acknowledging God. Everyone, even the atheist, knows that God exists, but they reject Him and refuse to glorify Him choosing rather to follow their own unintelligent (i.e., foolish) imaginations. As a result, their heart is darkened. This progressive condition results in a “reprobate mind,”[4] i.e., a mind that has lost its ability to properly reason. They think they are wise when in fact they have become fools.

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). And “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Proverbs 12:15). “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). We are all fools at some time in our lives. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:10-11, emphasis mine). We may all start out as fools, but we do not need to remain in that condition. If you do not know the Lord, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.” Don’t be an April Fool!

Notes:


[1] Wikipedia, “April Fool’s Day” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day

[2]  “not pious or religious; lacking reverence for God, religious practices, etc.; irreligious; ungodly” Dictionary.Com definition – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/impious?s=t

[3]  2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9

[4]  Romans 1:28

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Purim And 2A

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. (Esther 8:11-12)

Just this week, the Jews celebrated the ancient feast of Purim.[1] Purim is not one of the “Feasts of the Lord” given by God in Leviticus 23. It is a celebration instituted by Jews in commemoration of their salvation from extermination under Persian rule.

Some have questioned whether the Book of Esther belongs in the canon of the Bible because the name of God, in any of its various forms, does not appear anywhere in the book. However, when one reads this account, the unmistakable hand of God is seen working throughout the narrative.

For those unfamiliar with this historical account[2], King Ahasuerus of Persia, became annoyed with his queen Vashti when she refused to dance for his drinking buddies and he removed her from being queen, i.e., he divorced her. The law of the Medes and the Persians was such that when a law was decreed by the king, it could not be rescinded.[3] When Ahasuerus sobered up, he regretted his decision, but the deed was done and could not be undone.

Kings get lonely without a wife and Vashti was gone now. What was the king to do? His servants suggested that Ahasuerus hold a beauty pageant of all the most beautiful virgins of the realm the winner of which would become the new queen. In short, Esther (a.k.a., Hadassah), a Jewess and cousin of Mordecai, who was in the service of the king,[4] was chosen and became the new queen of Persia. The king was unaware of their relationship nor did he know Esther’s ethnicity. As he “sat in the king’s gate” carrying out his duties, Mordecai overheard a plot to kill the king. He relayed the information to Esther who informed the king, and the two would-be assassins were hanged for their treason.

Later, King Ahasuerus promoted a Jew-hater by the name of Haman to a high position. Haman was rather full of himself, and when Mordecai refused to bow down to him – no God-fearing Jew would ever bow down to a mere man – he concocted a plot kill all the Jews in the realm. He convinced the king that all the Jews throughout the kingdom should be killed because they followed their own law and did not submit to the king’s law, i.e. to bow down to Haman. So it was decreed that all the Jews throughout the kingdom would be killed the following year on Adar 13.[5]

When Mordecai heard of the decree, he “rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry” (Esther 4:1). Mordecai pleaded with Esther to go before the king and intercede for her people, but because of palace protocol, Esther could not go before the king without being summoned.

In the meantime, Ahasuerus had trouble sleeping one night and stayed up reading court records. (That should put anyone to sleep!) There he found the record of Mordecai exposing the assassination plot against him that had gone unrewarded. So he summoned his top advisor, Hamon (who just happened to be hanging around looking for some excuse to send Mordecai to the gallows), to determine how to reward someone who had done something very special for the king. Since Ahasuerus did not name the beneficiary, Haman assumed the king was speaking of him.

And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:7-9).

That was just the thing only a narcissist like Haman could appreciate, but the joke was on him when Ahasuerus instructed him to do that very thing for Mordicai.[6] As any humble man might do, Mordecai graciously accepted the accolade, but quietly returned back to his post at the king’s gate. “But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered” (Esther 6:13).

The prior day, Esther invited the king and Haman to a banquet she had prepared in her chambers.[7] At the banquet, Esther revealed that she was a Jewess and her people, the Jews had been targeted for slaughter by “this wicked Haman” (Esther 7:6). This angered the king and he ordered that Haman be hanged on the very gallows he constructed for hanging Mordecai. However, because the law could not be abrogated,[8] Ahasuerus authorized Mordecai to write a subsequent law that would allow the Jews to take up arms and defend themselves against anyone who would do them harm.

When Adar (February/March) 13 arrived, when the first law took effect, the Jews met their assailants with equal force. The Jews kill several thousand of their attackers, and Esther records no losses on the part of the Jews. Since the law was instituted to take effect only on that one day, the Jews were safe afterward. “On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness” (Esther 9:17).

“And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly” (Esther 9:20-21). So was the Feast of Purim established.

So what does this have to do with the Second Amendment (2A) of the United States Constitution? We learn from this account in Esther that an armed populous can defend itself against those who would do them harm or violence. A well established historical fact teaches (for those with the ability to learn) that the first thing a tyrannical government does to subjugate the people is to disarm them. An unarmed populace cannot defend itself against tyranny nor even effectively protest – take Venezuela for example. Take note of the socialist-leaning Democrat Party in the USA and their incessant drumbeat for “gun control.” They are not interested in “gun control.” Most of the leftist elites surround themselves with armed bodyguards and hide behind high walls designed to keep out unwanted invaders. Their main interest is to disarm the populous so that they can control and exercise power over the people. The Second Amendment prevents them from doing that. So whenever some heinous crime takes place involving a firearm of any kind – even if that crime takes place in New Zealand – the cries for stricter gun laws increase in frequency and amplitude.

The One who said, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39), also said, “he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one” (Luke 22:36). The Second Amendment is our Purim.

Notes:


[1]  Purim (plural) comes from “Pur” meaning “a lot (as by means of a broken piece)” See Esther 3:7; 9:24, 26.

[2]  This synopsis omits many important details. For a better appreciation of the account, the reader should read the entire book of Esther. It is only 10 short chapters!

[3]  Esther 1:19

[4]  Esther 2:19, 21

[5]  Esther 3:13

[6]  Esther 6:10-11

[7]  Esther 5:1-8

[8]  Esther 8:8

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God’s War

Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 39:4-5)

After Ezekiel saw the valley of the dry bones[1] signifying the regathering of the nation of Israel from among all the nations of the earth, and the two sticks[2] signifying the reunification of the divided kingdom,[3] God gave Ezekiel another preview into the future.[4]

The Gog-Magog War, as it has come to be known, is a hot topic in prophecy circles especially due to current events taking place in the Middle East (more on that later). However, to call it the Gog-Magog War is a bit of a misnomer. The vision described by Ezekiel is an invasion of (modern) Israel by a confederation of nations, not just one.

In order to understand the vision, we must go back to Genesis 10 to identify the nations listed in Ezekiel 38-39 and see how they comport with the current world map.

Map 1: Dispersion of Nations After the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11)

 The first nation mentioned in the vision is Magog. “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, (Ezekiel 38:2, emphasis mine). “Gog” is a person, not a nation. He is called the “chief prince” making him the leader in command of this invasion. Looking at the map above, we see that Magog, following the dispersion at the Tower of Babel, settled north of the Caspian Sea. Another nation listed by Ezekiel is Gomer[5] which settled north of the Black Sea. By looking at a modern map (below), we see that the people groups or “nations” listed as Magog and Gomer are part of modern-day Russia. Arguably, Meshech, modern-day Georgia, could be included as part of Russia.

Map 2: Modern Map of the Middle East

The next nation listed is Tubal. Looking at Map 1, we note that Tubal occupies the northeast are on the southern coast of the Black Sea in what is now modern Turkey. Along with Tubal, is Togarmah.[6] Both Tubal and Togarmah reside near the northwest border of modern-day Iran. Again we see that Gomer also settled in what is now central Turkey. When we think of Gomer, we can think of both Russia and Turkey, since Gomer settled in both places.

Persia is modern Iran. Ethiopia, a.k.a. Cush[7] (see Map 1), is modern-day Sudan, not the Ethiopia we recognize today (see Map 2). Libya remains Libya today.[8] This confederation of nations consisting of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, and Libya will unite and come against Israel sometime after Israel becomes a nation.

Mentioned in opposition to the invasion are Sheba, Dedan, and “the merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof.”[9] Comparing Map 1 with Map 2, we see that Sheba and Dedan are in the modern nation of Saudi Arabia. Tarshish (not shown on Map 2) is in Spain. The “merchants of Tarshish” would be nations that trade with Spain and may refer to the European Union. Since the United States and Great Britain are not specifically mentioned in prophecy, some prophecy teachers suggest that the “young lions thereof” refers to Great Britain and the United States, since the lion is the symbol of the U.K., which gave birth to the United States. Although that is speculative, it nonetheless makes good sense. These protest the invasion of Israel, but apparently, are helpless to do anything about it. “Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13).

I titled this article “God’s War” because, throughout the chapters that encompass this vision, God is clearly in control including the instigation of the war.

Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of [Russia], the chief prince of [Russia] and [Turkey], and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of [Russia] and [Turkey]: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army: … [Iran], [Sudan], and Libya with them; … [Russia/Turkey], and all his bands; the house of [Turkey] of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. (Ezekiel 38:2-9, emphasis mine).[10]

We see in this passage that God orchestrates these events so that they take place “in the latter years.” Israel, at that time, will have been “brought back from the sword” and “gathered out of many people. They will reside in “the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste.” Historically, we know that before Israel was reborn on May 14, 1948, the land of Israel was a barren wasteland. The image of God putting “hooks into [the] jaws” of Gog, the “chief prince” leading the coalition, implies that God forces the issue; He is in complete control.

Gog sees Israel as “easy pickings,” which serves as the lure to “turn [him] back.”

Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. (Ezekiel 38:10-12, emphasis mine)

Some prophecy teachers delay the timing of this event because they point out that Israel does indeed have extensive border walls, and they are not “at rest” nor “dwell[ing] safely, all of them dwelling without walls.” To them, this event is not yet imminent. However, to prophecy teachers currently residing in Israel, like Amir Tsarfati,[11] residents of Israel are by and large “at rest” and dwelling in relative safety. As for the walls, these are erected on the national borders, not around individual villages or cities. In modern times, such walls would be useless against aerial attack by enemy aircraft or missiles. Residents of Israel place their confidence in the military capabilities of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), not necessarily on God. Therefore, Amir Tsarfati sees this coming invasion as imminent, but more on that later.

Russia and its coalition of Turkey, Iran, Sudan, and Libya will come against Israel, and Saudi Arabia, the European Union, Great Britain, and the United States will protest the invasion but will do no more than protest for whatever reason. Israel will be left to face the invaders all alone.

Why will God allow this to come upon Israel after all through which He has brought them? This passage often repeats phrases like: “that the heathen (Hebrew: gôyim, meaning “nations” or “people”) may know me” (38:16), “I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD” (38:23), “they shall know that I am the LORD” (39:6, 28), “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God” (39:22), “the heathen shall know” (39:24). God will be known. Atheism will cease. All excuses will stop.

How will God make Himself known to Israel and all the nations of the earth? Israel will be alone and defenseless when the Russian coalition invades. They will fully expect to win the war against Israel and take the spoil. What spoil? Israelis recently discovered oil and gas reserves in the land enabling them to be energy self-sufficient and an exporter to the E.U. That prospect cuts into Russia’s market so it is easy to see how that could become an incentive to get “spoil.” Besides, Israelis have made great technological advances in many areas including agriculture. Israel has made the desert bloom. With this “hook” in the jaw of Gog, God will draw Russia and its friends into Israel, and there God, not the IDF, will make short work of the invading armies.

And I [the LORD] will turn thee [Gog] back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell [confidently] in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 39:2-6, emphasis mine)

God will destroy the 5/6 of the armies of Gog on “the mountains of Israel.” This is probably referring to the Golan Heights that border northern Israel with Syria. The reference to the bow and arrows means that God will disarm Gog or otherwise render his weapons useless. The carnage will be so great that scavenger birds will feast on the flesh of the dead. The armaments that they bring will serve Israel for fuel for seven years.[12] God will even punish Russia, the land of Gog, and the islands that lend naval support. Gog himself will end up dead along with his troops, and the stench of the dead “shall stop the noses of the passengers,”[13] i.e., anyone passing by. The cleanup of the dead bodies will take seven months.[14]

Russia and its allies will be completely destroyed by God, not by the IDF. This is God’s War. “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword” (Ezekiel 39:22-23, emphasis mine). No one on earth will doubt that the hand of God delivered the devastating blow. However, recognizing the existence of God and His power does not equate to recognizing His authority and the need to submit to Him. Three times in the Book of the Apocalypse we are told of men blaspheming God rather than repenting even though they recognize that God is the One sending the plagues.[15] Notwithstanding, “The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

When will all of this take place? There is no way we can pinpoint a date, but we can be sure that the time is not too distant. Consider Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones and the uniting of the two sticks. That prophecy was fulfilled when Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. Jesus said of that time, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree [i.e., Israel]; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:32-34, emphasis mine). It has been 70 years, almost 71, since Israel became a nation once more. We are living in “this generation.”

Is Gog alive today? Many prophecy teachers suggest that it may be Vladamir Putin. He is certainly a good candidate for the job. Already he is positioning his armies in Syria, north of Israel. He has made alliances with Turkey, Iran, and Sudan. I am not certain about Libya’s current relationship with Russia, but they have been “friends” in the past. The potential for an invasion of Israel is there. The United States presence in Syria is the only obstacle, but that will soon change when the U.S. withdraws troops from Syria as President Trump intends to do, much to the chagrin of Israel. Once the U.S. is out, all bets are off!

Some prophecy teachers suggest this invasion cannot take place until a prior invasion by Israel’s Arab neighbors as described in Psalm 83. However, according to Amir Tsarfati, this prophecy was fulfilled in 1967 in the Six-Day War. It was “Fought between Israel and Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The nations of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, and others also contributed troops and arms to the Arab forces.”[16] I tend to agree with Tsarfati. Not only does he have first-hand knowledge, but some of those nations, specifically Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt are “allies” of Israel. Besides that, they have great respect for the IDF.

The puzzle pieces are in place for God’s War. Will we see it? Perhaps, but I personally do not think so. I believe the Rapture[17] of the Church will take place first. The greatest number of Christians in the world reside in the United States; many hold high offices in government. Some have suggested that Donald Trump has become a born-again believer. I hope that is true. Our Vice-president, Mike Pence, is a strong Christian as are many on President Trump’s staff. It may be difficult to believe, but there are many in Congress that are strong Christians, and many of high rank in our military. Imagine the chaos when all of these suddenly disappear! Perhaps this is why all the U.S. can do is protest Gog’s invasion of Israel.

That may set the stage for Antichrist to “confirm” (not make) a seven-year covenant or treaty with Israel ensuring their “peace and safety.”[18] This covenant may already be in the works as Jared Kushner hammers out President Trump’s deal of the century. President Trump will have the deal in place, but it will be Antichrist that enforces it.

All of these things are falling into place right now. The seven years following the Rapture will be the most horrible the world has ever experienced. I rejoice that I will not be around to witness it. How about you? Are you ready? If you are not sure, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Dry Bones” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2019/02/24/dry-bones/

[2]  “Two Sticks” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2019/03/03/two-sticks/

[3]  Ezekiel 37

[4]  Ezekiel 38-39

[5]  Ezekiel 38:6

[6]  Ibid.

[7]  Isaiah 11:11

[8]  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are listed in Ezekiel 38:5

[9]  Ezekiel 38:13

[10] The appropriate modern names have been substituted within brackets ([ ]) for the biblical names in the passage. Also, details about the implements of war have been removed to avoid distraction.

[11]  Behold Israel Ministry – https://beholdisrael.org/

[12]  Ezekiel 39:9-10

[13]  Ezekiel 39:11

[14]  Ezekiel 39:12, 14

[15]  Revelation 16:9, 11, 21

[16]  “List of wars involving Israel” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_Israel

[17]  1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

[18]  Daniel 9:27

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Two Sticks

Disclaimer: I am not in complete agreement with the above illustration. I believe the God-given illustration applies to Israel only. God has other plans for His Church.

And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: (Ezekiel 37:22)

God gave Ezekiel a vision of a valley full of dry bones.[1] The vision revealed God’s plan for Israel in the latter days, i.e., the end times. The dry bones[2] represented Israel, dry, lifeless, broken, and scattered all over the earth. In the vision, God instructed Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones, and when he did, the bones came together with their sinews, flesh, and skin, but the bodies remained dead. Then God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the “four winds” that they should breathe life into the lifeless bodies. The four winds represent the four points of the compass from where life would come to Israel. Ezekiel did as instructed and the four winds blew across the bodies, and they came to life, “and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:10).

The vision foretold of a day when Israel, long dead, broken, and scattered, would come back to life to become a “great army.” The Hebrew word translated “army” is chayil and it primarily means “a force.” It can also mean strength, might, efficiency, wealth, and (lastly) an army.” On May 14, 1948, the rebirth of Israel fulfilled this prophecy. At first, the new nation appeared more dead than alive. On the day of its birth it was surrounded and attacked by its Arab neighbors, and only Providence preserved the tiny country from total annihilation. Since then, the “four winds” have blown across the fragile nation, and from every corner of the earth, Jews have flocked back to their ancestral homeland. Israel has risen to be a force with whom to contend. Today, more than 70 years after its rebirth, tiny Israel is considered the eighth most powerful country in the world[3] both militarily and economically.

All of Israel is God’s vine and fig tree. Of these God foretold, “I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them” (Jeremiah 8:13, emphasis mine). Again, God through the Prophet Joel foretold of a coming invasion that would destroy Israel. “He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white” (Joel 1:7, emphasis mine).

In Jesus’ day, this destruction was yet future, but Jesus knew of its certainty. He also knew that the vine and the fig tree would bloom again in the last days. Of that day, He said, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:32-34, emphasis mine). In His parable, Jesus did not mention the vine. Perhaps the vine, with its fruit in clusters, represents the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom, which were “lost” during the Assyrian conquest. If that is so, the fig tree, which yields individual fruits, represented the tribes of the Southern Kingdom, Judah and Benjamin collectively, called Judah. In Jesus’ day, only Judah, the fig tree, remained.

The 10 Northern Tribes are not called back until the latter days.

To Ezekiel, the vision of the dry bones may have represented only the expatriated Jews from Judah. Even though God clearly told him, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11, emphasis mine). To further clarify His meaning, God provided an object lesson for Ezekiel. “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions” (Ezekiel 37:15-16, emphasis mine). One stick represented Judah, the other represented Ephraim[4] – the ten “lost tribes.” God instructed Ezekiel to “join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand” (Ezekiel 37:17).

The object lesson intended to illustrate what God would do in the end times. “Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand” (Ezekiel 37:19, emphasis mine). “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all” (Ezekiel 37:21-22, emphasis mine).

Because the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians and expatriated throughout the empire, they are often referred to as the “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.” God never brought them back to the land as He did with Judah (the Jews); however, they are not lost to God. God never loses anything! Jesus said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30); and “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29). If God keeps track of such seemingly insignificant things, surely He can keep track of the Ten Lost Tribes. The last book of the Bible lists the twelve tribes of Israel that will be witnesses during the Tribulation.[5]

The two sticks will be one again, “and one king shall be king to them all” (Ezekiel 37:22). That King will be the Lord Jesus. “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them” (Ezekiel 37:24, emphasis mine). The Old Testament established that one of David’s descendants would reign on “David’s throne” forever. The first book of the New Testament identifies Jesus as “the son of David.”[6]

God did not give Ezekiel insight into the Tribulation as He did with Daniel.[7] Jeremiah refers to that time as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Ezekiel saw the restoration of Israel and the Millennial kingdom wherein the Lord Jesus Christ will reign. In that kingdom, Jesus will rule from His throne in His temple in Jerusalem. “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 37:26-28, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word translated “sanctuary” is miqdâsh and it means “a consecrated or holy place.” It comes from the root word qâdash meaning holy. “Tabernacle” is the Hebrew word mishkân meaning “residence, dwelling place, or habitation.” God, i.e., Jesus, will have His throne in His holy Temple in Jerusalem. In Chapters 40-47, Ezekiel goes into great detail concerning this Millennial Temple.

What we learn from the valley of dry bones and the two sticks is that in the last days, God will restore the nation of Israel and bring all the “children of Israel” back to their land. This prophecy has been fulfilled in our generation. Jesus said that the generation that witnessed the restoration of Israel – that sees the “fig tree” bud – will witness His return. Readers, we are that generation. Are you ready for Christ’s return? If not, read my page, “Securing Eternal Life.”


[1]  Ezekiel 37:1-14

[2]  “Dry Bones” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2019/02/24/dry-bones/

[3]  “Top 10 Most Powerful Countries in the World 2019

[4] The Northern Kingdom is often referred to as Ephraim (one of the half-tribes of Joseph, the other being Manasseh). The reason for this is that when the nation divided during Rehoboam’s reign, Jeroboam built his capital in Shechem, in “Mount Ephraim” in the territory of Ephraim (1 Kings 12:25).

[5]  Revelation 7:4-8

[6]  Matthew 1:1

[7]  Daniel 11:36-12:4

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