Tom: In this program, we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book Countdown to the Second Coming, and as the title implies, the subject is biblical prophecy. In order to help our listeners who are either not familiar with the Bible or its prophecies, we’ve digressed from Dave’s book for the last two weeks so that we could give an overview of key biblical events from Genesis through Revelation, and Dave added a brief commentary on each event.
Dave: Key biblical events—key historic events as well. The Bible writes history in advance.
Tom: Right. And last week we finished with the worldwide dispersion of the Jews, which took place in AD 70. So, Dave, could you just recap that event, and then is there anything of prophetic significance from that point until the mid-twentieth century?
Dave: Well, Tom, of course, Jesus foretold this, but He was pointing out what Daniel 9 had said, or the angel Gabriel had told Daniel: that the Messiah would come at the end of 69 weeks of years from the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem. Don’t get confused—not to rebuild the Temple. The Temple had already been rebuilt. And Messiah would come, and He would be cut off—He would be killed—not for Himself, but for the people. As Isaiah 53 said: “All our iniquities were laid upon Him.” He died in our place for our sins. And then Daniel 9 said “the people of the prince who would come”—that’s the Antichrist, who would come eventually—they would destroy the city and the sanctuary.
So, when Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 24—they showed Him the temple, and He said, “There’s not going to be one stone left upon another. It’ll be cast down,” they should have said, “Well, you must be the Messiah.” Because that’s exactly what the Scriptures foretold.
And then Christ foretold this—and you would get it more clearly in Luke, where He said, “They will be scattered to every nation.” And that would be Luke:21:24, and then He said—you asked for some prophetic significance since then—He said, “Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” And Jerusalem has been trodden down—you know, the Muslims—one Muslim faction after another—because the Muslims fight one another. They’re not united, of course.
But the final Muslim group that held Jerusalem, and, in fact, all of the Middle East for 400 years, the Ottoman Turks, and they were on the wrong side in 1917, World War I. And they lost, and the allies took it over, divided this area up. Created…
See, some people think, “Oh, Saudi Arabia—that must be an ancient country. Jordan must be an ancient country,” and so forth. No! They were all created since then by the allies who carved this area up, and they declared that…. In fact, in 1922, the Declaration of Principles by the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations, declared that all of what was called (and I think you want to get to that) Palestine, Syria Palestina, belonged to the Jews. It was their ancient homeland, and it was set apart for the Jews. So, they created Jordan, they created Syria, they created Lebanon, and they created what was going to be the land of Israel again. And then, of course, they took most of it away from Israel.
But Jerusalem—this is one of the most significant prophecies—Jerusalem is still trodden down of the Gentiles. It’s the only country in the world that can’t set their own capital. Every other country decides where they want their capital to be. Not Israel. Israel has its Knesset in Jerusalem. Where are the embassies of the world? Down in Tel Aviv or somewhere else, not in Jerusalem! And the whole world will not allow Israel to declare that Jerusalem is its capital. They want to divide this up.
In fact, UN Resolution 181 on November 20, 1947, declared—when they partitioned so-called Palestine—they declared Jerusalem must be an international city. It cannot be under the control of the Jews. And you know what the European Union says…. You know, the pope was there, making another deal with Arafat, signing a declaration that Israel could not be in control of Jerusalem…and I’ve gone on too long, Tom.
But the prophecy that Jesus made—Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled—it has come to pass. It is still being fulfilled in our day.
Now, when will the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled? Some people thought 1967, when Jerusalem was taken by the Israeli troops. But you remember Moshe Dayan, general with the patch over his eye, just on his own—he, without consulting anyone—he turned the Temple Mount over to King Hussein of Jordan. In 1994, they gave it to the PLO. Today the PLO has the most significant piece of property in the world—35 acres of Temple Mount, and won’t even allow anybody up there.
So this is fulfillment—continuing fulfillment—I believe it will be finally fulfilled…the last “fling” of the Gentiles is Armageddon.
Tom: Dave, referring to the Temple Mount—last week, we got a letter from somebody who was, I assume, referring to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24 with regard to “no stone left upon another.” And they said, “Well, wait a minute! There’s the Wailing Wall right there.” There’s some confusion there, isn’t there?
Dave: Well, of course, that was holding up this Mount. That was not the Temple. And every stone in the Temple was thrown down, literally. There were not two stones one on top of the other. It was leveled to the ground. And historians tell us—Josephus and others—that it was because of the gold that was in the temple, and the heat was so great that it melted the gold, and it just ran down between all the stones, and the Roman soldiers tore every stone down to get at the gold that had melted down there. How it was fulfilled is not important. It was fulfilled!
Tom: Right. Dave, 1,900 years from 70 AD, give or take some, till 1948, as you mentioned…
Dave: Jesus said they would be scattered to every nation.
Tom: Right. The re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948—can you just comment about it? Those who are into prophecy—how do they deal with that?
Dave: Well, Tom, I was raised on prophecy. And I can remember the old preachers coming with their charts: “From Eternity to Eternity” was one of them, you know, that start out with God in eternity past, creation of man, and sin, and the redemption, and the Rapture, and finally, the eternal state. And I can tell you that—you know, I’m old enough to remember the early 30s, late 30s, early 40s—before 1948, and I can tell you that the preachers, they were preaching “Israel will be back in its land.” This is a prophecy! This is foretold. And people would say, “Come on! That can’t possibly happen.”
In fact, you know, one of our favorite authors, in some ways—in other ways I disagree with him, but Sir Robert Anderson, he wrote about that in 1905—way back in the 1800s.
So if you went by the Bible, you knew Israel would be brought back into its land. That’s one of the most amazing prophecies and the whole world has seen it fulfilled. There’s no other group of people brought back into their land, and established as a nation once again! Now, they only have a fraction of that land. But they will have all of it one day, and the nations of the world are…I’m sorry, we’ve mentioned it before—President Bush, Putin, the European Union, the United Nations, and so forth—they are defying God, who says, “This land—I’ve given it for an everlasting possession to Israel.” And Joel:3:2, God says, “I will bring the nations into judgment for having divided my land.”
And this, for example, is the whole basis of the so-called Roadmap to Peace: “We’re going to divide this land. We’re going to give some of it to the Arabs, some of it to Muslims, you know, and some of it to Israel.” God says…
Look, Tom, if you’re a Christian, it’s one of the amazing things that we find today in the church: people who are real evangelicals—they’re sound on the gospel, they believe the Bible—except they do not believe that Israel still has any prophetic significance today. And they deny the hundreds—literally hundreds of the prophecies in the Old Testament—that after these people were scattered (scattered everywhere because of their judgment), that God would bring them back, and reestablish Israel as a nation once again.
Tom: Dave, isn’t one of the roots of that going back to—if there are prophecies, you say, “It can never happen.” Then we begin to spiritualize it. I mean, you can go back to, certainly, the Catholic Church and their view of “There is no Millennial reign of Christ.” But even more specific, when you have the Reformers, when you have people after that saying, “This can’t possibly happen.” So now we have to establish another theological, eschatological view to sort of make the Bible work out, according to where we are and what we think about it.
Tom: That’s a problem.
Dave: You’ve put your finger on it. That is the explanation. Because they couldn’t believe it would literally happen, then they spiritualize it. “Oh, well, this must be the church; or they must be really talking about the church; and it’s talking about spiritual values, and so forth.” No. It’s quite clear.
I don’t think there’s any…you’re going to spiritualize Armageddon? You can’t spiritualize the land. The first thing you learn about Israel—God gave Abram, Genesis 12, a land, and it was not the land of Palestine. It was the land of Canaan. There was no such thing as Palestine.
And all through Scripture: “I’ll bring you back to the land….” Ezekiel 35, 36, 37—that the mountains of Israel would bring forth, that the cities would be populated; that then the nations of the world would come and attack.
Ezekiel 38: Armageddon. It talks about a people who have been brought back from all the nations of the world—you can’t escape it, Tom. This is not the church has been brought back. The church was scattered to all the nations—brought back to where? They were brought back to this land.
And they dwell safely, and they have prospered—and then, the nations of the world come against them. In fact, God says, “I will bring all the nations….” You can get that in Zechariah 14: God says, “I will bring all the nations of the world against Jerusalem.” Why? There are two purposes for Armageddon. God is going to punish—I’m getting ahead of you, Tom, we haven’t gotten to Armageddon yet—but God is going to punish the nations of this world for their treatment of the Jews. And He is going to break the hard heart of His people, who He still loves, and they’re still His earthly people, and they have rejected the Messiah. They’ve disobeyed Him, and that was why all of these problems have come upon them.
So you read in Jeremiah:30:7, “The time of Jacob’s trouble….” The worst time yet lies ahead for the Jews. Two-thirds will be killed. You get that in Zechariah 13. But Jeremiah:31:35 says, God says, “Jerusalem and Israel are going to be established forever, and if they ever cease from being a nation, there’s no sun in the sky. There’s no stars up there. The whole thing is finished.”
So, Tom, we have so many very clear declarations, and yet, as you said, they were spiritualized because people couldn’t believe it could really happen. Now they’re stuck with that, as you point out.
Tom: Well, and they shouldn’t be stuck with it. It’s a stunner to recognize…on the one hand, if you’re honest and sincere about the Bible, you’d say, “Hey, wait a minute! I blew this. Now I can understand it. Now it’s clear to me.” But as you’re indicating, Dave, that’s not the case. It’s not happening. We just keep adding to—not we, but, you know, those who profess to believe in the Bible yet hold to an amillennial view of what’s taken place. Can’t get away from it.
Dave: Anyway, Tom, too long—you asked—you began this program by asking about this dispersion, the final Diaspora, of Israel in AD 70, exactly as Jesus foretold it.
Tom: So in 1948, we have at least the beginning of the restoration of the nation of Israel.
Dave: And, Tom, you could probably say that would not have happened without the Holocaust. And the nations of the world had a momentary twinge of conscience, you might say, in 1947. Even Russia voted for it. And they voted for the partition of Palestine. And the Arabs said, “We’re going to attack.” And I think the nations of the world rather hoped that the problem would be solved, and this little fledgling nation of Israel would be destroyed.
But you have a significant prophecy in Isaiah 66. It says, “As soon as Israel travailed, she brought forth.” And I would think that that travail was the Holocaust. And because of that, Israel was born. The nations were sympathetic, momentarily, and so you had a nation that was born in a day, as the Scriptures said.
Tom: Or reborn…
Dave: Reborn, right.
Tom: Since then—I’m looking for events here. We’ve had a, basically, a continuing preparation of the world for the Antichrist. All of these things setting up for the man of lawlessness, which you’ve said in programs past, Dave: Satan has always had his man ready, because he doesn’t know the day or the hour. And we also have the apostasy of the professing church. We see that very clearly today. The Rapture of the true church, and the resurrection of the dead in Christ.
Now, Dave, some of the things we’ll be addressing here is: give us an order of this, a chronology of this. First of all, the Rapture has to take place as a catalyst to all the events that will follow.
Dave: Well, Tom, I believe from the Scripture there are no signs for the Rapture. I believe this is what Jesus talked about when He said, “At such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh.” I believe that’s what Jesus referred to in Luke:12:35, when He said, “Let your loins be girded, your lights burning.” You know, and you’re ready for your Master when He comes—your Lord comes.
Well, verse 40 says, “Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of man cometh at an hour when you think not.” Now, that couldn’t be the Second Coming in the midst of Armageddon. There’s nothing else to think of! If Israel is surrounded by the armies of the world, they’re about to go down in flames, and you’ve seen all the prophecies fulfilled that you have laid out in Revelation during the seven-year Tribulation period, and you have—we’ve been here, we’ve watched all this be fulfilled, and then we say, “Oh, I don’t think He’s coming now!” Tom, you couldn’t make that fit at all!
So Jesus said, “I’m coming at a time when you wouldn’t expect me. So you’d better watch and wait.” And again, in Luke 17, He says, “It will be like the days of Noah, like the days of Lot.” They’re buying and selling and building and planting and partying. I don’t see that at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period when the world is practically destroyed.
So this is the Rapture. We believe that Christ is coming. He said in John 14: “I’m going to go away, and I will prepare a place for you. And if I go away, I’ll come again and receive you unto myself.” Well, where would that be? Well, He’s gone to His Father’s house of many mansions, so apparently He’s going to catch us up. And Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4: “We who are alive and remain—the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” At the Rapture, the Lord does not come to this earth. He catches us up to meet Him in the air and takes us to His Father’s house as He promised.
At the Second Coming, His feet touch the Mount of Olives. Zechariah 14 says, “His feet will touch the Mount of Olives. It will split…” and so forth, but when that event occurs, it says, “He brings all the saints from heaven with Him.” You don’t have to be a genius to realize if He brings all the saints from heaven with Him, He must have taken them up there. They didn’t get up there on their own, okay?
So that would be the Rapture. So, the Rapture will come without any signs, without any warning. Except the Second Coming, which is seven years later, there are signs, and those signs are already in the world.
Tom: So we have the Rapture of the true church and the resurrection of the dead in Christ, then we have seven years Tribulation. Dave, as the church is raptured, we have the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. That takes place while the world is undergoing tribulation. Is that right?
Dave: Yeah, we’ll be honeymooning up there with our Lord. You see, if you don’t believe in a pre-Trib Rapture—if you don’t believe in a Rapture that comes before the Second Coming, then when do we have the Judgment Seat of Christ? When do we have this marriage? Revelation 19: There’s a marriage in heaven between Christ and His bride. The church that He loved, even as husbands are supposed to love their wives. So it is only after that wedding, and the bride is clothed in white linen, fine and clean, because she has been, as you said, to the judgment seat of Christ. Our deeds have been judged and it says He will wipe the tears from our eyes—there probably will be some tears at that point.
Tom, if I could just end with a little poem, if we have a moment:
When I stand at the judgment seat of Christ,
And He shows me His plan for me,
The plan of my life as it might have been
Had He had His way.
And I see how I blocked Him here
And I checked Him there
And I would not yield my will,
Will there be grief in my Savior’s eyes?
Grief, though He loves me still?
He would have me rich,
But I stand there poor,
Robbed of all but His grace,
While my memory runs like hunted thing
Down paths I cannot retrace.
I think there will be tears, and He will wipe them away.
Lord, of the time that is left to me,
I give it to thy hand.
Take me, and break me, and mold me
To the pattern Thou hast planned.”
And that surely ought to be the prayer of every Christian: that we would not be ashamed before Him, at His coming, as John says in 1 John 2.
Well, Tom, you originally thought we were going to finish all of this in one program. I’m sorry! I get wound up and just rattle on.
Tom: Dave, you always—you give me goals to set, and reset. But I think it’s great. So, hopefully, next week, the Lord willing, we will finish this, really, survey of key events, key historical events.
Dave: If the Rapture hasn’t occurred yet.
Tom: Yeah, Lord, come quickly!