Thanks for your message. As is my usual policy when I receive a private message on a creation (including Christianity), evolution or intelligent design topic, I am replying to my blog CreationEvolutionDesign, after removing your personal identifying information.
[Above: Maranatha! (The Return of Jesus Christ), 1987, Stephen Gjertson]
----- Original Message -----
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 6:47 AM
Subject: Thoughts on your web page - Jesus' return
>A friend just introduced me to your web page. I've had a quick poke around but have not studied it in detail . . . yet.
>I went straight to your thoughts on Jesus' return.
I assume you are referring to my work-in-progress web page, "The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."At present it consists only of Bible verses on that topic which I have been studying in my morning devotions this year. I may later flesh it out into with my added comments.
My approach in this study to focus primarily on the New Testament references to the Second Coming of Christ. I generally consider it to be the correct approach to start with the New Testament's interpretation of the Old Testament. However, I do have a section , "Predicted in the Old Testament" which has verses that I (and the commentaries I consulted) consider to predict Jesus' Second Coming.
>Some of the verses you quote show that events surrounding Israel and her neighbours are integral to this great event (Zech 14 for example).
>You're no doubt aware of Ezekiel 38. Verse 8 of this chapter is yet another remarkable (partially fulfilled) Bible prophecy. The rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948 would have aroused many Christians who understood this prophecy. Ezekiel 38 appears to predict the removal of Israel's walls designed to keep out terrorists.
The problem with equating Ezekiel 38:8 literally with "the nation of Israel":
Eze 38:1-9. "The word of the LORD came to me: `Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army-your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops-the many nations with you. " "Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land."'"
is that in the preceding chapter, Ezekiel 37:24, Ezekiel had prophesied that, "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd" (my emphasis):
Eze 37:24-28. "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever."
and also, earlier in chapter 34, the LORD had spoken through Ezekiel, "I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David ... and my servant David will be prince among them"(my emphasis):
Eze 34:23-24"I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken."
But since David (10th century BC) had been dead ~400 years in Ezekiel's (6th century BC) day, I agree with my commentary on Ezekiel that, "David is described as my servant, a clear Messianic title" and "The quality of permanence attaching to this future reign and expressed in the repeated phrase for ever, for evermore ... is a strong indication that Ezekiel is here thinking not so much of a line of Davidic kings, as he had known them in the past, but of a supernatural kingly being" (i.e. the Messiah):
"[Ezekiel 37:]24. David is described as my servant, a clear Messianic title, as well as king and prince for ever (25). We have already noted ` that Ezekiel avoided describing any of his Hebrew contemporaries as king (melek), but reserved this title for the Davidic leader of the future (cf. on 7:27; 12:10). The quality of permanence attaching to this future reign and expressed in the repeated phrase for ever, for evermore (25, 26, 28), is a strong indication that Ezekiel is here thinking not so much of a line of Davidic kings, as he had known them in the past, but of a supernatural kingly being in whom would be concentrated all the qualities of wisdom, enduement with the Spirit, righteousness and peace that were expected of God's anointed ruler." (Taylor, J.B., "Ezekiel: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale Press: London, 1969, pp.240-241. Emphasis original)
So I take it that Ezekiel 38-39 is not literally about "the nation of Israel" but is about David's descendant Jesus (Mt 1:1; Lk 1:27,32; 3:23,31; Rom 1:3; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 3:7; 5:5; 22:16) and His Messianic Kingdom, as also predicted in the following other prophecies:
2 Sam 7:8,12-13,16 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: ... When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. ... Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' "
Ps 89:3-4,27-29, 35-37 "You said, `I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant,' 'I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.' Selah `I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness-and I will not lie to David- that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.' Selah"
Ps 132:11,17"The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: `One of your own descendants I will place on your throne- ...' `Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one'"
Hos 3:5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.
Isa 9:7"Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."
Jer 23:5-6 "`The days are coming,' declares the LORD, `when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.'"
Jer 30:8-9 "'In that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them'"
Jer 33:15-16 "In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness."
Continued in part #2.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
Exodus 16:1-8. 1The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death." 4Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days." 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, 7and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?" 8Moses also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD."
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