And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)
The Sunday before Resurrection Day (I dislike the term “Easter”) is traditionally known as Palm Sunday. This is the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem presenting Himself as the long-awaited Messiah. Daniel predicted this presentation to the exact day, and on the following Wednesday evening (not Friday), Messiah was “cut off.”
The Prophet Zechariah foretold of the presentation like this: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9). All four Gospels record this event (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19). Many Bibles insert the title “The Triumphal Entry” before the passage. As one ponders the events that followed that week ending in His crucifixion, one wonders, “Where is the triumph?” In those days, conquering kings entered the conquered cities on a white steed amidst a grand procession of his conquered armies followed by his conquering troops. Jesus entered His city on a young donkey colt cheered on by humble peasants and followed by His bewildered disciples. Just a few days later the same crowd jeered at Him as He hung dying on a Roman cross while all His disciples, save one, were nowhere to be found.
We count His resurrection three days later as a triumph over death, from which we rest assured that our eternal life with Him is secure. But His entry into Jerusalem that fateful week was no triumph. Jesus Himself wept over the event. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)
It is a misnomer to call His presentation on that Sunday a “triumphal entry.” That day yet awaits His return!
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)
When Jesus returns to reign on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that will be His Triumphal Entry. On that day, He will enter on a white steed followed by a great host of His followers who will not retreat. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7). That day is coming soon. Are you prepared to meet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? If not read my page “Securing Eternal Life.”
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Christians often quote the verse above without understanding the context in which it was given. It is one of those feel-good verses that makes us feel special believing that God is looking out for us and only has good things in store for us. While that is certainly true to a great extent – God does care and provide for His own, and I can certainly testify to that in my own life. However, deeper thought should be given to the circumstances surrounding this passage.
The ten northern tribes of Israel were conquered and expatriated by Assyria around 722 B.C., and a short 136 years later, the southern kingdom, comprised of the two remaining tribes, Judah and Benjamin, was taken captive by Babylon. It was during this time that Jeremiah prophesied. Indeed, before the Babylonian conquest, Jeremiah urged Judah to repent of its idolatry and avoid what God determined to bring upon them. So deep had they fallen into sin that God actually instructed Jeremiah to stop praying on their behalf.
God finally had it with His people and He summoned “His servant,” Nebuchadnezzar, to conquer them and take them away captive, which he did in 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar took Daniel, the prophet, and his friends, captive in this first of three rounds of deportations.
Early in their captivity there arose false prophets telling the captives that their captivity would not be long and that God soon liberate them. That was not God’s plan, and He instructed Jeremiah to send a letter “unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon” (Jeremiah 29:1). In short, the letter instructed the people to settle down and prepare for a long stay – build houses, plant gardens, have children and grandchildren. Their stay would not be permanent, but it would be long – 70 years to be exact. God encouraged them to “seek the peace of the city … and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Surely these were not ideal conditions for God’s people. Psalm 137 records how they felt. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:1-4).
Under these circumstances, God promised, “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:10-11, emphasis mine). God’s “good plan” for them was not immediate. Not until a generation away would God’s plan be realized. In the meantime, they had to endure the captivity, pray for their captors and get by in the best way they could. There was no easy way out.
The phrase, “to give you an expected end,” gives pause for thought. When we consider the rest of Israel’s history, we learn that their relationship with God did not improve that much. Yes, they finally gave up their overt idolatry, but they exchanged it for the idolatry of “religion” and “legalism.” After they returned to their homeland and after they rebuilt their Temple, God stopped talking to them for 400 years until Jesus came. So steeped were they in the practice of their religion and legalism, that they completely missed their promised Messiah. Their rejection of their Savior led to the dissolution of their nation and the dispersing of their people among the nations of the world.
Yet, when the prophets speak of the “expected end” – the Day of the Lord – Israel once again becomes a nation, and they finally recognize their Messiah whom they missed at His first coming. God says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). This, I believe, is their “expected end” to which God referred in Jeremiah 29:11.
Now, with all this in mind, how does this verse apply to us? In many respects, we as Christians, are living in a kind of Babylon. The world grows continually more wicked every day. As Jesus warned, we live “as in the days of Noah.” He said that we “are not of the world,” yet we are “in the world.” Our citizenship is in heaven. Therefore, we need to conduct our lives in a manner befitting our true Kingdom. We should be good citizens in our current state and pray for our leaders and the welfare of our nation. We may not change the world (indeed, the Bible tells us that we won’t), but we do have an influence on people around us. And, God does know the thoughts and plans He has for us – thoughts of “peace” – the peace that only comes from His Holy Spirit in us. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). We also have an “expected end” with Him in heaven for all eternity, whether we meet Him in death or in the air.
So, next time you hear Jeremiah 29:11 quoted out of context, think on these things. If you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 Many modern translations read, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans forwelfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (ESV) or “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans forprosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (NASB). The Hebrew word that they translate as “welfare” and “prosperity” is “shâlôm,” which the KJV accurately translates as “peace.” It is no wonder that Christians often misapply this verse.
My personal Bible reading this morning had me in Jeremiah 31. In this chapter, God expresses His desire to restore Israel, not because Israel is sinless, but because God is faithful to keep His promise. All end-times prophecy centers on the nation of Israel, which is precisely why Satan has worked throughout history to destroy the nation. If Satan can destroy Israel then God can be shown to be unfaithful and unreliable. If God cannot keep His promises concerning Israel, neither can He keep His promises to us about our eternal life. That is why this is so important.
The prophecies of Israel’s restoration have been partially fulfilled. After almost 2000 years of diaspora, from which no culture in history has ever survived, the Jews, no matter where in the world they lived – Spain, Poland, Germany, Russia, America, etc. – they maintained their identity, customs, traditions, and even to a great extent, their language. Then on May 14, 1948, they became a nation once again, and they continue to attract Jews from all over the world. They are growing stronger in number, in wealth, and in science and technology. God’s promise has been and is being fulfilled in our time. And Satan hates it! Those that call America the Great Satan and Israel the Little Satan are Satan themselves.
But God is not blessing Israel because they are “good” or better than any other nation on earth. In fact, Israel is a very secular nation. It has, perhaps, one of the largest percentages per capita of homosexuals in the world. Many of the Jews keep the customs and traditions but are really atheist in their beliefs. The truly religious Jews hold the minority in the nation. So, God is not blessing them because they are faithful to Him. He is blessing them because He promised to do so, and God keeps His Word.
However, one day very soon, all the Jews that survive the coming events of “Jacob’s trouble,” aka, the Tribulation, will finally return to God.
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. (Jeremiah 31:6-9)
God says …
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
In that day – during the Millennial reign of Christ – all of Israel will turn to God. “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
And here is how sure God’s promise is. God says that when the physical laws that govern the sun, moon, and stars cease to function, then will God break His promise. When man is able to discover the boundaries of the universe or discover the foundations of the earth, then will God’s promise cease to be in effect. Hear this …
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)
God has been faithful to keep His promise to Israel thus far and unless the physical laws which govern the universe cease to function – and it is God who established and maintains the physical laws – God will keep His promise to Israel, not because they deserve it, but because God is faithful. For those of us who have placed our faith, trust, and hope in Christ for our eternal salvation, we can know without a doubt that He will be faithful to keep His promises to us.
For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. (Jeremiah 4:22)
Jeremiah prophesied at the time just before, during and after the Babylonian captivity of Judah. As I read the first chapters of Jeremiah, I recognized the United States in the litany of charges God leveled against the nation of Judah. I mourn as the words on the page ring true as applied to the nation that I love.
Judah abandoned God and turned to and worshiped demonic gods. They still went to the Temple and offered sacrifices, but it had become a meaningless routine. “To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me” (Jeremiah 6:20). They were going through the motions, but treating the LORD no different than any of the other gods they worshiped. By this point in their history, Judah had gradually fallen into idolatry in the course of 200 years or more. God had been patient with them sending prophet after prophet to warn them of the dangerous road they were on, but they did not listen. “Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:19, emphasis mine).
God had it with Judah! On three separate occasions God told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16, emphasis mine). Imagine offending God so badly that He will not listen to the prayers of those who pray for you! This is how low Judah had sunk. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14, emphasis mine). Judah had crossed the line. “Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them” (Jeremiah 11:11, emphasis mine). “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good” (Jeremiah 14:11).
Judah’s list of sins was long and wicked. Not only did they worship idols fashioned after demonic gods, but they offered their babies as burnt sacrifices to these gods. They practiced sexual sins of all kinds. They took advantage of the poor and the widows. They listened to false prophets and rejected the prophets of God who spoke God’s truth like Jeremiah. This was no small thing and they breached the limit of God’s patience. Their rejection of God resulted in their demise at the hands of the Babylonians.
The warning God gave had both a short-term and a long-term application. The Babylonians carried out the short-term application and the Romans carried out the long-term application in A.D. 70 that lasted for almost 2000 years. However, God demonstrates His mercy in that He does not retain His anger forever. He also demonstrates His faithfulness in that He will not break His promise.
Although Israel and Judah were unfaithful to God with their idolatry, He determined to keep His word, not for any merit of this unfaithful nation, but because of His own integrity. He made a promise to Abraham long before Israel became a nation and the only collateral, He gave was His name. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19, emphasis mine).
As an object lesson, God instructed Jeremiah to go to the house of the potter. There, Jeremiah saw the potter working at the wheel forming a clay vessel. In the process, the vessel developed a flaw at which time the potter crushed it and started over until he completed a vessel that suited his liking. “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:5-6).
We see the fulfillment of this prophecy today. For almost 2000 years the Jews wandered from country to country never having a homeland of their own. Linguists considered the Hebrew language a dead language. The Jews did not speak it, yet they maintained their identity as a people and carried on all of their traditions. They never assimilated into the cultures of the lands in which they lived. Then, on May 14, 1948 God brought them back into their Promised Land from all over the world, made them a nation once, and revived their dead language. No other people group in the history of the world had maintained their identity after such a dispersion. The Jewish people returning to their land and the rebirth of their nation is a miracle of God and a promise kept! Of this day the Prophet Isaiah said, “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8).
There is more to come for Israel. However, what is true for Israel is not necessarily true for the United States of America. We can see many parallels. Regardless of what revisionist historians say, America was founded on biblical principles giving glory to God for His providence. Four hundred years have gone by since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. For most of our History, God was central to our government and our nation, but slowly the leaven of humanism crept in and started eating away at our foundations. About 50 years ago, the cracks in the foundation became more obvious, until now they seem to have crumbled altogether.
One big difference sets America apart from Israel. God never made an unconditional promise to any one of our founding fathers, not even to George Washington. God made an unconditional promise to Abraham; therefore, Israel survives as a nation. We have no such guarantee. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12); but we, as a nation, have rejected God and made the earth our god. Unless we, as a nation, repent and return to God, no hope remains for our survival. I see no prospect of a national repentance. God’s patience is limited, and I fear we have breached the limit.
Yet, even though the nation crumbles – that seems evident to me – God’s people will survive. While God still has His people here, it is incumbent on His people to carry on His work until Jesus comes to take us home. As God’s people, we need to remember that this world is not our home. We are citizens of heaven and we are ambassadors of the king in this foreign land. Let us do the work of an ambassador until the Lord closes down our embassy and calls us home.
If you do not know God and are unsure of where you will spend eternity, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
As you watch or listen to news reports, even from the “fake news” media, do you wonder about what is going on in the world? Russia amasses troops and armaments on the border of Ukraine threatening an invasion. It already has troops stationed in Syria, which although not openly voiced, threaten Israel with its alliances with Turkey and Iran. China boldly invades Taiwan’s airspace daring the United States to do something about it. North Korea once again tests its ballistic missiles in defiance again of the United States. Just yesterday (February 4, 2022), the United States lifted all sanctions from Iran allowing the belligerent nation to go unrestrained in the development of their nuclear weapons – not that the sanctions were any deterrent to their plans, but perhaps the plight of the Iranian people will improve somewhat.
The United States has sent 3000 troops to Europe to scare Putin into backing off of Ukraine. In addition, the United States has sent weapons of various kinds to Ukraine for their own defense. NATO nations are also sending troops and weapons. Germany sent helmets! By analyzing the situation, it appears that the stage is being set for World War III.
Meanwhile, the COVID “plandemic” is being used by governments to oppress their people. Australia and Canada exemplify the harsh totalitarian mandates imposed by governments to exercise control over their people. The United States is not far behind. However, here we have the Constitution that hobbles the government from taking such draconian measures. Instead, government mouthpieces exert their influence to pressure large businesses to do their dirty work for them. Hence, airlines force employees to take the “shot” and require passengers to mask up.
Because medical facilities are on the government teat (they accept Medicare/Medicaid), the government can force “shot” and mask mandates to all employees and they can require patients to show proof of the injection before receiving treatment. Many hospitals are experiencing shortages in healthcare workers because many healthcare workers refuse to take the “jab” because they, being medical “experts” know the harm that the injection can do. As for COVID patients arriving at many hospitals, strict regimens of prescribed treatments (by the CDC) prevent medical staff from administering any of alternative treatments that have been proven to work. Instead, they end up killing patients with “approved” treatments.
Large businesses that employ 100 or more employees are carrying out the government mandate that all employees take the injection as a requirement for employment, even though the Supreme Court struck down the mandate as unconstitutional. They do it because they know “from whence cometh their help.” As a result, many businesses suffer from shortages of workers, which further weakens the economy – and this is true around the world. Of course, government employees must adhere to government mandates for shots and masks, which further enhances government inefficiency. I personally am dealing with an IRS matter that I cannot resolve because no one at the IRS is there to answer the phones. They use COVID to excuse their inability to provide service.
In the meantime, “woke” cities experience increasingly high crime and murder rates because “woke” city leaders refuse to prosecute crimes. Then they blame guns for their problems while they prevent honest, law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns for their own self-defense.
Do you get the picture? Do you find all of this a bit unnerving and perplexing? If you are a Christian and a serious student of the Bible, this should not come as a surprise. All of what we are experiencing right now has been predicted in the pages of the Bible. Jesus said of the last days, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). Of course, in context, Jesus referred to the time of Tribulation before His Second Coming, but these things will not happen suddenly. They take time to develop and increase in intensity. For those of us who are paying attention, we have seen all of this building up and ramping up for the last 50 years or more. Jesus spoke of the time of Tribulation in His “Olivet Discourse.” However, what Jesus described will be much worse, if you can imagine. Think about the phrase, “upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity.” Is that not what we see happening? It seems that the world has gone mad and governments are at a loss as to what to do to fix it. They are perplexed!
Jesus also spoke of “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.” That is happening also. NASA watches as “Apophis,” a large asteroid, approaches earth and is due to arrive on April 13, 2029. While Earth has experienced many “close encounters,” this one actually has the potential of striking Earth. As a result, NASA is trying to come up with a way to divert giant space rocks away from Earth. Could Apophis be the “great mountain burning with fire” spoken of in Revelation 8:8, or the “great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp” described in Revelation 8:10?
Jesus said that “Men’s hearts [would be] failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26). Does that not sound like the prevailing attitude these days? My goodness! Even among Christians, I see so much fear about the Wuhan Bug that they are even staying away from church. They willingly get injected with this unproven mRNA therapy treatment (trusting the NIH and the CDC rather than trusting God), and not daring to leave their homes without their face coverings! I think that is sad.
The Scripture verse I cited at the beginning clearly tells us that God will not do anything without first revealing it to His prophets. We have that revelation in the Bible, so none of what is happening should come as a surprise to Christians if they are reading their Bibles.
So, is God doing all of this? Yes! Nothing in this world takes place unless God either does it directly or allows it to take place. Just read Job 1 and 2, for example. God says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7, emphasis mine). By the way, “evil” in this context does not mean “sin.” It is the Hebrew word râ‛âh, which means “bad, disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant, displeasing, etc.” Many of the bad things that happen around the world arise from men inspired by Satan, but it is God that allows it in order to accomplish His purpose, which will ultimately work out for good.
Again, Christians should not be caught by surprise by what is taking place in the world today. Understanding what God revealed to His prophets long ago should give comfort and hope to Christians knowing that our “blessed hope” is drawing near. As Christians (the Church, the Bride of Christ), we may experience the “wrath of man” (and we see that on the rise around the world), but we will miss the “wrath of God” that will be in full display during the Tribulation. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). As things ramp up, we have the hopeful expectation that Jesus is coming soon for His Bride. He promised, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).
Sadly, most Christians do not study end-times prophecy, hence they find prophecy confusing, bewildering, and even frightening. However, there are many resources readily available which provide insight into current events and how they relate to Bible prophecy. Here are some of the resources I use frequently to keep me apprised of world events that the secular media purposefully obfuscate. If you find end-time prophecy scarry or confusing, I would encourage you to take advantage of these resources.
The above is not an exhaustive list, but all of these are solid Bible teachers that I do not hesitate to recommend. When you look at end-times prophecy correctly, it should not be cause for fear, but for hope and anticipation. It should also be a motivator for evangelism. When you know that the time is short, and that you have many friends and loved ones that are lost and hell-bound, it should motivate you to warn them of what is to come and hopefully bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.