Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 2002
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 6: New Truths of the Kingdom Aristocracy
Chapter 5 – The Destiny of the Church
Lesson 210 – Israel’s Survival Through the Tribulation:
A Testimony to God’s Name
19 Dec 2002
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Let’s review a few concepts that we’re going through. This is Chapter 5 in the Framework, talking about the Church Age and how it ends. We started on page 112 where we noted the difference between Israel and the church. And we said and I’ll say this again, and you’ll hear me say it again, you cannot get together the prophecies of the Bible if you don’t, in your mind, have a clear distinction between the church and Israel and the Gentile nations. Prophecies are given about all three entities and what happens, too many people mix them up. They take prophecies that have to do with Israel and they apply it to the church. Then they take prophecies of the church and they read it back into Israel.
It’s the old story; if you can think in terms of a contract, a mortgage contract, an auto loan, any kind of a contract that we would write, think about to whom is the contract written. A contract has parties to that contract, and the problem that theologians are really sloppy about down through church history is they love to talk about the word “covenant,” not realizing of course that the meaning of the word “covenant” is contract. And then they never watch to see to whom the contract was made. That’s the key, because there are contracts that are made with Israel; they are not made with the church, they are made with Israel.
We said the Abrahamic contract, the three promises: land, seed and worldwide blessing, three areas that God promised the seed of Abraham and that means the physical seed of Abraham. Yes, it’s the spiritual out of Abraham and yes the church shares some of those blessings but the blessings the church shares doesn’t happen because the church is the new Israel. The church shares them because Jesus Christ comes out of Abraham and we are “in Him.” So that’s how we get into the grace picture.
On page 112 we talked about a very obvious thing and yet I have read very few Christian writers that even mention it, and that is that Israel has a calendar, the church does not. Israel has a clock that runs certain times and certain seasons; the church does not. Down at the bottom of page 112, another large characteristic between the church and Israel is that Israel is a nation; the church is not. Israel, therefore, defines her enemies in terms of other earthly nations that come against her; the church does not, the church has heavenly powers, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, we wrestle against principalities and powers so the enemies are different.
Then we started on page 113 with measures of progress for Israel and the church. We want to finish that section but again to review, first we’re going to deal with things that have to do with Israel’s function in history, then we’ll deal with the church’s function in history, how the church works in history. Let’s put on the overhead a little diagram; Israel is a nation. As a nation what does Israel have? Israel has a land, Israel has laws and those laws encompass all of society, they are society-wide rules and regulations. So those laws include how a government functions, they include loans, they include business law, they include criminal law, so forth and so on. You will not find these regulations in this detail in the New Testament because the church is not a nation. The church consists of believers who live in many nations. So there is fundamentally, structurally a totally different thing going on here, and it’s important we realize this.
In looking at Israel’s historical existence we said there are certain principles; on page 114 we covered Table 8 and we said that if you look at these key passages in the Old Testament they all come out with a picture that Israel is going to go on into the future; she is going to apostatize and apostatized she will be disciplined and go into an exile period. That is all prophesied from Moses’ day on. The details of that prophecy get more quantified as we go on in time. This nation will go into exile and then it will return, and then the principle is that they will have finally the Lord will pull them back and restore them and then they will have the Kingdom. That’s a rough approximate picture of the nation Israel. We said you can see those passages, those are key passages by the way in Table 8 because that’s Mosaic and that predates the prophets, and that means that Isaiah, Jeremiah and all the later prophets are going to amplify and apply that general outline, going to fill in all the details as history goes on.
Then we went on and we wanted to talk on page 115 about some of the terminology that had to do with Israel and there is some vocabulary that is important to understand. We’ll review some of those so we can get into the church tonight. There are terms like Tribulation, the Day of Yahweh, Jacob’s trouble, and a metaphor of birth. Understand all this terminology you see on page 115 has to do with Israel. It was with Israel that this terminology arose, out of Israel’s history. In the first paragraph on page 115 we talk about the Tribulation, here’s one of the terms, vocabulary words, to learn. It equals the word for trouble, suffering; it’s a common word for suffering, but if you think about going back to the picture on Table 8, here’s the picture. If you look at that picture you’ll see where the trouble comes. The trouble always comes when Israel goes negative toward God, she gets disciplined, disciplined, disciplined, and even this exile is discipline. So this is suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering and suffering. When Israel is out of the land it’s tribulation; when Israel is in the land in disobedience it’s tribulation. Why? Because that’s the way God set history up.
Notice the first paragraph on page 115 the underlined section, “that this tribulational period” that’s looked forward to, “will bring about Israel’s final repentance.” Now this exile turned out to be longer than what it appeared to be at first, so I’m going to amplify that simple diagram. As time went on, Daniel found out, that Israel had a history; she went into exile for 70 years. At the end of that 70 years Daniel, looking at Jeremiah’s prophecy, prayed that the nation would be restored. However, the nation was only partially restored and the clock began to tick on seven times seventy, a 490-year period. God said there had to be 490 years that they would still be out of it, and at the end of that, then they would have a Kingdom. So this is an added detail to that picture that was kind of fuzzy back in Moses’ day, it gets into sharper and sharper focus. The rationale we won’t go into because we’re not exegeting Old Testament but there’s a reason for the 490 years too because … does anybody realize from the Old Testament why there were 70 years? Jeremiah said to the nation that you’re going to be out of the land, I’m going to kick you out for 70 years, and the reason for that is I’m kicking you out one year for every Sabbath year that you failed to observe.
This goes back to a structure inherent in the Mosaic Law Code. The deal was that if you had a business, all business, it didn’t matter, it didn’t make any difference if you were farming which was the big business of the time, or whatever the business was, you had to design your business and your cash flow in your business so that in six years you would save enough money to pay for a seventh year with no business. That’s how their economy worked; six years you worked, the seventh year you had a sabbatical. It was designed so that Israel would understand that God provides for her and that her blessing doesn’t ultimately come from her work. So obviously if you’re thinking about that kind of an economy where you have a law that says you can’t buy or sell, they had food and that kind of thing but the large scale businesses kind of went down, you had to save. You think about it, for every year you had to save up one sixth of a year for savings.
Economists have pointed out that had they followed this they would have had one of the most powerful economies in the world because it made people plan for the future. You couldn’t live in that kind of a society and not be thinking in your head, wait a minute, the sabbatical is coming up, I’ve got seven years, I’ve got six years, I’ve got five years, I’ve got four years and you’re thinking about this and what are you doing? You’re saving money. So it forces and compels savings rather than spending on credit people were saving their money for the future, so it built up, it would have had they followed it, it would have built up an economic reserve for the day of trouble. But they didn’t follow it, so seventy times during the years, there were seventy missing years going on there where they just ignored it, went ahead and forgot the Sabbath, we’re going to work anyway.
They didn’t shut down and so God said okay, then for every year that you didn’t shut down I’m going to put you out of the land and He says, through Jeremiah, the land you worked and you worked and you worked, now that land that you worked and you overworked it is going to lie fallow. That’s the reason for seventy. But think about it, how often do the sabbaticals come along? Once every seven years. Question: if they missed seventy Sabbaths, how many years were involved in that missing seventy Sabbaths? Seventy times seventy, so that ultimately for 490 years they were disobedient. Now they had 800 years of history so for 490 out of the 800 years they were out of it, not too good a percent, but apparently God said one for one, I’m going to keep you out a year for every year of disobedience.
This is the story that’s going on and then they come back into the kingdom. However, all of this business is trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, and as you get down toward just prior to the kingdom there’s going to be real trouble. That becomes Daniel’s Seventieth Week which we’ll get into later. What’s the purpose of all the trouble? Not to erase Israel from history but to stimulate repentance. So the whole object of the Tribulation is to get Israel to respond. That’s one of the great purposes of the Tribulation, people hit the New Testament, don’t read the Old Testament, haven’t got a clue what the Tribulation is all about. The Tribulation is part of an Old Testament schema of history to produce and effect on the nation Israel.
Turn to Deuteronomy 4; early on in the development of Old Testament revelation the word “Tribulation” had already been associated with a future age. It’s not something that Paul, John invented, or somebody else, or worse they think the dispensationalists just invented it. In Deuteronomy 4:30, here’s Moses writing, here’s his word to the nation, and here’s where it’s defined, here’s the first occurrence of the word “Tribulation” referring to a future time period in this scheme of history. “When you are in tribulation,” there’s the word, “and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice.” There’s where the terminology gets started and you’ll notice it’s independent of the church, it has nothing to do with the church; the church doesn’t even exist yet, it’s not going to exist for fourteen or fifteen centuries future. All this is vocabulary that has been set up prior to the coming of the church into the realm of history. This is an Israelite term for Israelite purposes for God’s plan for Israel.
The Tribulation also took on another note in Table 8, the Tribulation had to deal with another problem. The Gentile nations that God used to discipline Israel get arrogant and Moses predicts that in Deuteronomy 32 when he says the Gentile nations that God uses to discipline Israel will get arrogant, prideful, and think that they’re the ones that have done this and Israel’s God is nothing and their gods are something. God says wait a minute, you Gentile nations are going to learn a lesson here too; it’s not just for Israel because I’m concerned that you’re going to misinterpret this history. You’re going to interpret this history as saying that the God of Israel, because Israel suffers their God is weak. I can’t afford people to draw that false conclusion so in order to straighten out the Gentiles I’m going to discipline them too and they will understand that I am God. So that’s how God works in history.
Just a little footnote here on the side, on our modern day news, this is one of the reasons and it’s a reason that’s very deeply embedded in the culture of the Middle East, the reason you have a lot of hatred of Israel, almost an irrational hatred of Israel … my wife and I were visiting a doctor friend of ours, he was in practice with a Muslim doctor and this Muslim doctor he was in practice with was a very smart man, a very good doctor. But they happened to go to Washington, D.C. and walking around the mall and somewhere they saw a menorah along with an American flag or something. And this guy just came unglued, he said you Americans don’t understand, the Jews are taking you over, you’re all under a Zionist plot, your job is to destroy the Arabs, and he went on in this whole tirade expressing his animosity for the existence of Israel and particularly Jews in America. When the nitwit ran into the World Trade Center the story was in Arab circles was that the Jews did it, and that the Jews that morning, before the planes crashed into the World Trade Center all the Jews didn’t go to work that day so they wouldn’t be killed, and it was the Zionists that crashed the planes. This is the kind of thinking that these people actually think this way. I mean, normally intelligent people, when they get into this area they just become totally irrational.
There’s a deep cultural reason for that and I want to address that because it comes out of understanding the world from which we get the Bible. Down in ancient history, all through ancient near eastern history nations viewed their prosperity in war and peace as a sign of whether their gods were triumphant or not. After Mohammed started Islam, what did the Muslims do, immediately, right during Mohammed’s lifetime? They went about to conquer with the sword. Remember that. In his lifetime, the prophet Mohammed started holy war in the name of Allah, and by the time that they’re always fussing about, and if you’re in school, you’re reading the newspapers or talking to your neighbors, if you have any Arabs around or you have any Muslims around they’ll always bring up the Crusades. You Christians crusaders, that’s a nasty word for them, when you hear the word “crusade” your ear needs to prick up and understand how they view the word “crusade.”
They think that Christians are always going to “crusade” against Muslims and kill them. This is why they’ve said, for example, that Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, and Pat Robertson given a chance would crusade against all Muslims in America, they’d kill them. It comes out of that mentality. But the thing for you to remember, this is a little point of history, you want to be prepared if that ever happens to you and somebody brings the Crusades up and says oh, Christians crusaded against the Muslims, ask them a simple question. What were the Muslims doing in southern Europe? How had they taken over Northern Africa? They had taken it over by the sword, prior to any Crusade. So they were the ones that started the war, they dominated North Africa, they started invading Europe, they jammed the commerce. Part of the reason the Crusades had nothing to do with religion, had everything to do with Marco Polo and other people who had gotten a discovery that the Chinese had products that they wanted to buy and sell, and they couldn’t run the produce across with Middle East without getting ripped off by the Muslims. So the idea there was to penetrate the Middle East so we can get some lines of communication established for our businesses. It wasn’t just religion, it was economics too.
Anyway, the big point is that to the Arab mind the existence of Israel is an insult. Do you see the connection why they think that way? Think about it. Prior to 1948 there was no Israel there, hadn’t been any Israel there since the rise of the prophet Mohammed. So here the Muslims conquer the Middle East, they conquer North Africa, they dominate southern Europe, and of course in World War II the Ottoman Empire collapsed and so forth, but they still had basic control of the Middle East and then all of a sudden smack dab in the heartland of the Middle East what happens? Back come the Jews and it’s the West that’s pushing the Jews out because the West was anti-Semitic, couldn’t stand Jews either, so the West has a problem with their Jews and where do they dump them but in the back yard of the Arabs. That’s their view of history, that you Westerners, you didn’t deal with your Jewish problem so you put them all here and now we’ve got to deal with them.
More importantly, the fact that Israel has survived, in 1948 when Israel was declared a nation, the Arab nations all around had radio messages into the Arabs that lived inside the domain of the territory of Israel, and they said come on out, in three weeks we will destroy the Jewish state and you can have your homes back. So a lot of Arab families, believing the radio, packed up their suitcases, packed up their clothing, drove their cars back out on the border, where they discovered something. The Jews that went south thinking that they would go into Egypt couldn’t go into Egypt because the Egyptians blocked them. They wanted them to come out of the state of Israel but they didn’t want to assimilate these Arabs that were coming out of Israel so they kept them in these ghettos right around the borders, and that’s called Gaza.
Then on the east they tried to go east into the country east of Israel, Jordan and they came up to the border and Jordan didn’t want them. But these are the Arab countries that tell them to come on out, so they go out and then they can’t get accepted; Jordan won’t keep them so Jordan walls them off. Now we have the West Bank. Then the Arabs flee to the north, try to go into Lebanon, and Syria and the Lebanese don’t want them. So now they’ve got a refugee camp there. But that’s okay, it’s going to be three weeks, we’re going to destroy the Jewish state, Allah says so. Well, in three weeks there wasn’t any destruction of the Jewish state; the Jewish state defeated all the Arab armies from all the countries. Now we’ve got a theological problem … we’ve got a theological problem! What happened to Allah? As long as the Jewish state exists it is an insult to Muslim theology because what it says is that Allah hasn’t been victorious over the Jewish God; the Jewish God has been victorious over Allah.
That’s why when you hear in the newspapers about negotiations, they can negotiate from now until hell freezes over and they’ll never get anywhere because one side, the Jews, are going to survive and the other side says you’re not going to survive, we are going to eliminate Israel. It’s not about the West Bank; it’s ultimately about the survival of the state of Israel. So now if you come to the negotiation tables you can smile, play chess, eat ice cream or do whatever you want to, but as long as one side of the table says we are going to exist and the other side of the table says you’re not going to exist, where does the negotiation go? You can’t have a negotiation.
So that’s the problem in the Middle East and it comes out of a theology that I am victorious when my God is victorious. And if lose, it’s a reflection on the power of my god. So in ancient history God knew that so during this Tribulation period when Israel is getting creamed God says I’m going to allow it only so far because I’m going to protect My name, and I’m going to see to it that Israel survives, because if Israel survives it’s a testimony to Me.
Do you catch the mentality here; you’ve got to see this mentality. That’s what’s underlying, in this musical piece that’s going on that’s the theme song underneath, the glory of God. The reason the Arabs think the way they do is because they partially remember, they don’t realize this but they’re really partially remembering a biblical mentality except it’s perverted and attached to Allah, but the idea of God being victorious actually goes back to the Old Testament.
That’s the background of this Tribulation period. Deuteronomy 4:30 shows the theology of the Tribulation; there’s the earliest statement in the Bible over the theology of the Tribulation, “When you are in distress,” and “you” is not the church, it’s Israel, when Israel is in distress “and all these things have come upon you,” that’s the structure of Table 8, “all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God,” there will be a national conversion and they will accept Jehovah God. Of course, they will recognize that it’s Jesus Christ, and you will “listen to His voice.” Verse 31, “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them,” and the “fathers” in Moses day was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that’s the Abrahamic Covenant. So there’s the theology that was amplified in a hundred different ways all down through the pages of the Old Testament.
There’s the word “Tribulation,” so when you think Tribulation, and we’re going to talk a lot about the Tribulation and the church and everything else. In your mind’s eye learn to go back to the Old Testament to load up that term with its proper original meaning. Deuteronomy 4:30 is a key verse, there are a lot of other verses but I picked out the earliest one where it’s clear in the vocabulary.
On page 115 there’s another term. This is a term that’s used in prophetic text and again we want to be careful we understand it, and that’s called the “Day of The Lord.” Lest we get too involved let’s keep this as simple as possible. Have you ever heard the expression in every day speech, “the team had their day?” What do we mean when we say that? “Well, she had her day.” It means that it was a success; it means that there was a day of triumph, it was a neat time, something was accomplished, you “had your day.” That’s very similar to what this means; “The Day of the Lord” means the Lord has a special event that happened; He gets special glory by doing certain things.
In the last paragraph on page 115, notice the sentence that says, “It could refer to God’s indirect intervention through human armies.” I mention this and you want to underline “indirect” because later on in the church and Tribulation we’re going to cover a particular eschatological view that’s rampant around Christian circles that thinks that whenever there’s an army attacking Israel that’s not God’s direct intervention. Well, sorry, go back in the Old Testament; I list all the passages there. You can see that the “Day of The Lord” means that God …, there are several things that He does and there are many “Days of The Lord” in the Old Testament, but He uses His various instruments in God’s hands. The instruments can be what we call direct instruments, i.e. miraculous judgments or it can be indirect and that would be human agents. But both direct and indirect are used and both are called upon as something in the Day of the Lord. In that paragraph I say “Babylon against Judah and Egypt” is used. It’s very clear; all you need is a concordance to see this. So “Day of the Lord” means God has triumphed, He does a mighty work in history. And it’s His day. What happened was that the prophets would refer to events in their own time as days of the Lord, the day that Babylon went in and attacked Israel and attacks all the way down into Egypt, that was a Day of the Lord. But because of this motif of history, that history was moving toward a culmination, the term “Day of the Lord” came to be used of the future thing that would be really the Day of the Lord.
On the bottom of page 115 I say this sentence: “The future Day of Yahweh will encompass a complex of judgments following the model of earlier occurrences: geophysical, astronomical, and human armies” will be used. And then “Within that broad period there would be one particular divine intervention that came to be known” by a certain title and qualification and the title is “the great and terrible Day of the Lord.” This was a Day of the Lord above Days of the Lord; this would be the ultimate Day of the Lord in history, “when all nations would gather against Israel only to be defeated by the Lord in human form standing on the Mount of Olives. Thus the term ‘Day of the Lord’ can refer to multiple divine interventions but they all manifest the same pattern of God judging nations in righteousness.”
Some things to remember about Day of the Lord before we go any further; let me write them down so they’re clear because later on we’re going to take for granted that we know these terms. One: the instrumentality that God uses can be human or nature, it can be mankind doing things or it can be catastrophes in nature. It’s not just direct, it’s also indirect. One of the errors in a certain view of eschatology that we’ll talk about later, a guy as a book out saying that when God directly [intervenes], that’s the Day of the Lord when God uses armies against Israel that’s not the day of the Lord. Sorry, it doesn’t work out that way when you check the Hebrew. Well, you can check the English in the Old Testament. So that’s one thing to remember about Day of the Lord.
The second thing to remember about Day of the Lord is it can be one specific event or it can refer to a period where you have a lot of stuff going on. That’s what’s so frustrating about this term. Day of the Lord can mean, you might say a literal day, or it can mean a period of time and guys flip back and forth between using it this way. So there’s a certain, what we’ll call a latitude of usage of the term. It can be narrow and it can be broad, both ways. You can test that by going to a concordance and looking it all up. There are many, many passages that we could refer to.
We’ve talked about tribulation; we talked a little bit about where that fits and the color of the term and the nuance of the term. We just talked about Day of the Lord, and now we want to talk about a third concept that occurs in the prophetic text and that is birth, childbirth. This is a metaphor that the Lord Jesus uses but He didn’t originate it. On page 116 I list some Old Testament occurrences where this metaphor is repeatedly used by the Old Testament prophets. Then I have a quote. The quote comes from a fellow who is a brilliant language scholar. Randy Price, I know him, Randy is a Texan, he grew up in Texas, he wanted to learn Hebrew because the more he got into the Bible the more he realized that you have to really master Hebrew and he was always interested in prophecy. He’s the guy that’s written, done a couple of films on the people that are in Jerusalem getting the furniture together for the next Temple. Randy is the guy that made them [can’t understand word]. He’s the one that exposed the Christian community to them and brought their projects to the attention of Christians. This is the guy that did that.
When he was looking around to get his doctorate he picked the hardest, one of the most difficult and thorough Hebrew training programs that exists and that’s the University of Texas. He lived in Israel to pick up the language so he could speak it, and then all the lectures and everything else in the University of Texas in these classes were all in Hebrew, the rabbis were teaching the courses. So Randy got a very good grasp of Hebrew and the few times I’ve actually had a conversation with him he’s really a good knowledgeable guy. Anyway, here’s a quote from something he’s written.
“In Daniel’s tribulation text (Daniel 12:1) rabbinic commentators interpreted,” turn to Daniel 12:1, here’s a case where we can actually see what the text says. This is talking about that future time of trouble for the nation Israel. “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued,” [can’t understand word] the deliverance in this future time of tribulation. See how the two go together, tribulation, rescue of Israel; tribulation, conversion of Israel; tribulation, turning of Israel to the Lord. Okay, here’s what Randy says: “In Daniel’s tribulation text (Daniel 12:1, rabbinic commentators interpreted the ‘time of trouble’ as a future eschatological time equivalent with the period known as cha valim (birth pangs). … So frightening was the prospect of encountering this time of tribulation preceding the Messianic arrival that some sages hoped it would not come in their lifetimes.”
How’s that for prophecy. This is different and you want to grab this because this tells you how an Old Testament person would have looked at it. When you see in the New Testament, oh boy, it’s going to be great, the Lord is going to come back, something’s a little different and it gets back to the same thing. There is a difference between Israel and the church and you cannot go into these passages and just plop the church in in any old place. It doesn’t fit there because the attitude toward the coming of the Lord by the church is utterly different than the coming of the Messiah by Israel. And here’s a case in point. Look at this. “So frightening was the prospect of encountering this time of tribulation preceding the Messianic arrival that some sages hoped it would not come in their lifetimes. Among them was Rabbi Yochanan who exclaimed: ‘Let [the Messiah] come, but may I not see it!’” That’s the attitude of a person living in the Old Testament who understands the power and the awesomeness of this coming time of trouble on earth. They don’t want to see it, you know, let me die before that day comes. That’s different than what you see in Thessalonians and the message to the church, and there’s a reason. You can’t mix the two together unless you’re very careful.
Israel is seen to have birth pangs, and the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 picks up this Old Testament theme and he starts talking about something that is the beginning of birth pangs. We’re not going through this tonight but I’m just going there to pick out how the Lord uses this Old Testament imagery. It was well-known by the Jews of His time. Matthew 24:8, he’s talked about the coming events and he says “you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.” You’ll notice he says don’t be frightened. What did you just read about that rabbi? He was frightened, he didn’t want to live to see the day of the Messiah. Jesus is talking to the same Jewish mentality, He says “don’t be frightened, for these things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famine and earthquakes.” Notice in verse 7 there are human instrumentalities and there are natural catastrophe instrumentalities, both direct and indirect causes of the Tribulation.
Verse 8, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs,” the “beginning” of birth pangs. So it’s going to go on and on and then the Tribulation intensifies, so this is the beginning of birth pangs and then you’re going to actually go into the delivery and the birth pangs that come just prior to delivery. Then you have the birth. The birth of what? The Kingdom. The idea here is that in order for the Kingdom to come it is going to, on the part of the earth, this planet and its inhabitants are going to have to go through something like a woman goes through when she gives birth to her child. It is inevitable, you cannot get a child without childbirth and you cannot get the Kingdom of God without this tribulational period. They go together. This is an image that goes all the way back to the Old Testament; it goes all the way through the book of Revelation.
That’s the third thing we wanted to deal with tonight. We’ve dealt with the Tribulation; we’ve dealt with the Day of the Lord, and we’ve dealt with birth pangs. There are a couple of other things but we don’t have time because we’re not teaching eschatology per se, we’re going outline through the great events.
At the bottom of page 116 we talk about Daniel 9 so let’s go to Daniel 9 because Daniel 9 is a central expansion of the progress of revelation because remember, Daniel was the foreign minister, or he’s a high person in the nation of Iraq and the nation of Iran. And Daniel was a dedicated Jew who read his prophets and knew it well and during his lifetime he realized that the 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah were going to come up. So when he is in the Medo-Persian Empire, verse 2, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans—” thank God he put this in here because it enables us to start the clock for Israel. These historical notices are important because that’s how you date things. Verse 2, “in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books,” there’s the books of the Old Testament, “the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely seventy years.” So obviously he is reading the Old Testament that he had in his day.
Verse 3, “So I gave my attention to the LORD God to seek him” and he began to pray. And he prayed, and he prayed, and this is one of the neat things, by the way, where he confesses sin because why did he confess sin, it’s not just his personal sin, he’s confessing the nation’s sin. Why do you suppose he thought that way? What did we just get through saying the Tribulation is supposed to do? He thought the exile was the Tribulation and what therefore if the exile were the Tribulation what was it supposed to do? Produce repentance on the part of Israel. So you see this mentality, it’s coming through, right here it is. So he sees for seventy years we’ve been out of the land, the Lord is disciplining us, the Lord wants us to turn to Him, so he prays this prayer and that’s what he’s doing, he’s confessing.
Verse 5, “We have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances.  Moreover, we have not listened to Thy servants the prophets, who spoke in Thy name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land.” Notice he indicts in verse 6, he indicts all levels of society from leadership down to the average person. Verse 7, “Righteousness belongs to Thee, O Lord, but to us open shame,” it’s amazing, reading over these passages, by the way, like this, these great confessions, it gives you a flavor of what confess sin means and what it does.
He goes on and in verse 17 he makes a supplication, “So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.” Notice the theme here [blank spot] the passion is that God’s name will not be defaced. We want our God to get the credit. It gets back to that land thing and the victory thing. We don’t want our God to look like some second-rate coolie, we want our God to be glorified and magnified. That’s what he’s saying, “… for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.” What’s that? That’s the Temple and it’s desolate, and while it’s desolate it’s telegraphing a message to these Gentiles saying oh well, God forsook His people, God is a weak God. Daniel says we’ve had enough of this.
Therefore, verse 18, “O my God, incline Thine ear and hear!” And this is one of those neat bold prayers that you get in the book of Psalms. I’ve often thought in our church prayer meetings if anybody got, ought to try it sometime and see what happens, if anybody got up in the middle of a church prayer meeting and made these kinds of petitions it would be interesting what the average person in the room would do, because what this is saying, crudely speaking is Lord, would You open Your ear and open Your eyes, we want You to see this. Now it’s done in a humble way but it’s done with a power, that he is talking to the God of the universe and he says I want You to see this, I want You to hear this! That’s how strongly he feels, he’s not doing it to demean God. But what passages like this show you is the powerful conviction that these guys had. It wasn’t just oh well Lord, if it’s your will, some little limp-wristed flit, it wasn’t that at all, it was something that they went face to face with the God of the universe and they said now we want this straightened out and we want it now, so God, come on, what’s the deal here. They argued with Him about this kind of thing.
Verse 19, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.” See the dwelling on the glory of God. Verse 20, “Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God,  while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me, in my extreme weariness,” by the way, this prayer obviously took a lot of strength, notice in verse 21 he’s totally weary by this time. He tells us in verse 21 when this angel showed up, it was at evening, “about the time of the evening offering.”
Verse 22, “And he gave me instruction and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have come forth to give you insight with understanding.  At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.” Now it’s interesting that the angel does what Michael did in another passage where the angel says that the moment you started praying you got an answer, now the answer has taken some time to get to you, but when you talked, I mean, wherever God’s throne is it’s pretty neat, because talk about the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second, evidently our prayers go faster than light because they reach the throne of God instantly.
Now verse 24, he makes the announcement, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin,” see, when he says seventy weeks, actually it means seventy sevens, here’s that 490 thing again, [“to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.”] Verse 25, “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a degree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks,” so there’s seven sevens, 49 years, and then there’s 62 weeks, “it will be built again,” so what he’s saying is Daniel, there’s going to be a 49-year period, that’s that first week, then there’s the next period that’s going to go on until Messiah the Prince. We’ll get into some of the dating issues, what’s going on here as we hand out the notes but we’re not there yet. I just want you to see the outline. “… it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” That refers to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Verse 26, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off,” so there’s the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, “the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing,” now he makes another prediction and this is another point we have to point out, these 62 weeks, we have to point out that there’s a gap that’s going to happen here. This is argued about and we’re going to deal with this. A lot of people say there’s no gap in here. But there is a gap in here. You see in verse 25, “there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” Seven and sixty-two are sixty nine. So there’s seven sevens and sixty-two sevens. So far seven plus sixty-two is sixty-nine.
That leaves one seven left over. Between this group, in this segment there’s a gap, and the gap is indicated by the grammar of the passage. It says “after the sixty-two weeks,” it doesn’t go on and talk about this last week; it injects an event that happens. So now the clock, it’s like it’s interrupted here because “the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” What nation destroyed the Jewish city and the Jewish sanctuary after 586 BC and after all those invasions? It was Rome. So it says “the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary,” that was done in AD 70. The people were the Romans so we know who the people are. And “the people of the prince who is to come” meaning that whoever this prince is to come comes out of the Revived Roman Empire, probably, because the people who destroyed the city in AD 70 are “the people of the prince who is to come.” “… And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
Verse 27, “And he,” pronoun in verse 27, and the rule in pronouns and grammar is that when you have a pronoun in a sentence it refers back to the antecedent noun. The pronoun has to have an antecedent. What’s the nearest person in the text to the pronoun in verse 27? The prince who is to come, not the Messiah, the Messiah is the first part of verse 26. The prince who is to come is nearest the pronoun “he” in verse 27. So he, who is the prince who is to come “will make a firm covenant with the many for one week,” so for one seven year period, again this is seven years here, this is one of the weeks to the base seven, so you have a seven-year period, “he will make a contract with the many,” if you look at the way “the many” is used it’s the Jews here, these are the Jewish people, “he will make a contract with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” There’s an abomination here that’s going to happen halfway through that seven year period. At that point he is going to stop sacrificing grain offerings; he’s going to interfere with the Temple.
Turn to Matthew 24 for Jesus’ amplification of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. This is where the terminology comes, Daniel’s Seventieth Week. It’s not a figment of some guy that’s in a store front church fifteen years ago that made this up. It comes out of Daniel and the rabbi’s know about this, it’s only illiterate that have a problem with it. Matthew 24:15, Jesus picks up this passage in Daniel and speaks about it. Here’s why you need to know the Old Testament before you get into these New Testament passages or you make a mess out of them. “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,” get out of the city when you see that thing happen. These are instructions that Jesus gives as to what’s going to happen when that abomination occurs and it’s halfway through the tribulation period.
Guess what? When you diagram the Book of Revelation, there are several PhD dissertations on this now that have done some very careful work, it turns out that from Revelation 4 on through the end that it recapitulates Daniel’s Seventieth Week, it’s got everything in there, it’s an amplification of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. The Book of Revelation is an expansion, if you can draw it this way, is an expansion of Daniel 9:25–27. It’s giving us all the expansion of that, it talks about the abomination of desolation, it talks about all the rest of the stuff there, it’s all packed in. If that’s the case, and the Book of Revelation and Matthew 24 are rooted in the Old Testament text, without knowing anything about the New Testament, forget the New Testament a moment, what do you automatically know the Book of Revelation is going to be talking about? What is going to be the motif of the Book of Revelation? It’s going to be what the Day of Jehovah, the Tribulation, that has what as its purpose? To bring Israel around so that the Kingdom can come. What else is going to happen? The nations are going to be judged. How are they going to be judged? What’s going to be happening during this tumultuous period of history? Nation is going to rise against nation, armies against armies, with massive amounts of geophysical catastrophe and all of that is an adumbration for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So it’s not an attractive time to look forward to in the Old Testament perspective; it’s a horrible time, it’s unprecedented sorrow, unprecedented suffering. Never in the history of mankind will there ever be a global, this is not just one country here having an earthquake, this is the whole world falling apart. I frankly think that as a result of the geophysical catastrophes in the Tribulation that explains why Armageddon, when all the armies come together, they are using very primitive military strategies, namely it sounds like they are fighting each other like they did back before Christ.
You say wait a minute, armies don’t fight that way. First of all with fire power like we have today you don’t mass troops, there are no more Picket’s charges, it doesn’t work anymore in the age of the machine gun and the age of bombing. So how do we explain the fact that Armageddon and these future battles are so primitive? I think the answer is quite simple. If you have the world subject to geophysical catastrophes what’s going to happen to the satellites that we use for all our navigation, GPS. When you have meteorite showers what’s going to happen to the satellites that are orbiting the earth? They’re going to be wrecked. If GPS goes down where’s your navigation for your systems that rely on GPS? Which is all the aircraft of the world. What’s going to happen to all your missiles that use GPS? Malfunction. These weapon systems, the high tech weaponry is going to fall apart. What’s going to happen to oil? What are earthquakes going to do to pipelines? Rupture them. Where are you going to get gas from to operate? People don’t think about these things.
But the Bible is very consistent, if you just take the text the way it was written and stop trying to jam it with our ideas about what’s going to happen and oh well, that has to be a metaphor, it can’t literally happen. Oh yes it can literally happen. Jesus was literally born in a literal town called Bethlehem and it was exactly the right time and exactly the right time and exactly the right place, to a literal girl who literally was a descendant of David. All that was fulfilled literally; is God’s arm shortened now, He can’t fulfill His prophecies literally? I don’t think so. So as we march on in the notes there’s some things here that if you can get the perspective on it, page 117, just to kind of quickly summarize; “Israel’s Final Historical Milestone” and that’s going to be her national repentance and then the princes shall come which we just covered. In Jerusalem Jews will be regathered in the land, obviously they have to be regathered prior to the Abomination of Desolation. Why is that? You just read about the Abomination of Desolation in a temple and the temple is in Jerusalem. And this is going to be there by the Tribulation time.
So what does that tell you has to happen first? The Temple has to be rebuilt; it has to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Can you figure out how it’s going to happen? I don’t know, with the Moslems on Al Aksa sitting up there, the Jews aren’t going to be building a Temple in Al Aksa. So where are they going to build the Temple? What’s going to happen? Something’s got to happen; it’s kind of interesting to think about. The Jews have to get their Temple built and it’s going to have to happen before the Tribulation happens because that Temple has to exist, it has to have protocols, it has to have worship, it has to have sacrifices and those sacrifices, worship and protocols have to be ruptured by this prince who shall come. And he’s going to make a covenant with Israel.
Certain things you can infer backwards from this. Israel has to exist; from 1948 that’s in place, Israel now exists. The next thing that had to be in place happened in 1967. What happened in 1967 of significance? The Jews controlled Jerusalem. So in 1948 they get the land; in 1967 they control the city. They don’t control the Temple Mount completely, that’s yet to come. So it’s interesting to think how that’s going to take place but it’s going to have to take place because all this has to be literally fulfilled. That’s why, if we take a literal stand, it’s not that we’re saying Jews are godly, we’re not saying that the modern state of Israel is the Kingdom of God. That’s a misinterpretation of people who hear us that think we’re saying that. We are not saying that; we’re simply saying that in order for Christ to come back He has to come back to a nation in the land and come back to a Temple that’s functioning, or will have been stopped by the prince that shall come. That’s what we’re saying.
We’re saying that we’re seeing the stage being set. It’s not necessarily fulfilled prophecy in that sense, spectacularly, but it’s the adumbration, it’s the first steps we’re watching in our day. That’s what’s so exciting about the news in our time. We are watching God start to place the furniture in place for His next play and it’s a neat time to be in to watch this take place. Think of all the generations of Christians that have lived for 1,900 years that never saw Israel in the land. It’s been our privilege to see Israel come back. Think of all the generation of Christians that never have seen the Jews control Jerusalem. We have seen that. We may be the generation who will see the rise of the Temple.
Question asked, something about the preterist say all this happened with the Romans, what do they do with the physical catastrophes that the Bible says will be taking place in that time period: Clough replies: The question is about preterism. If you look on page 120 I point out there are five scenarios linking the church to these prophetic passages. There are five views that are rampant today and I’m going to go through all five of those and one of them … the question has been raised about preterism, and let me define a vocabulary word here. You can’t think without proper vocabulary. So let’s get two vocabulary words; here are two words that are going to be used: preterism and futurism. Let’s define three words: historicism. Preterism, futurism and historicism, those three words define the three perspectives of prophetic literature that have existed in the church’s history. There’s a fourth one I didn’t define and that’s idealism. So there are actually four positions: preterism, futurism, historicism and idealism. I’m not going to bother with historicism and idealism because this is not a class in eschatology per se. We’re only going to deal with preterism and futurism.
Here’s the definition of preterism. The word preterism comes from the Greek word meaning past and the idea of preterism is that none or very little prophecy remains left to be fulfilled. All this stuff you read about in Revelation has already happened; it happened in AD 70. We’re going to expand, on page 120 you can see I start to talk about preterism and I’m going to answer your question as well as some related questions on those pages. I’ll address them in a preliminary way tonight because the question was asked. But before I answer that question I want to define these four words for you. Preterism means that none or some, very few, prophecies remain yet to be fulfilled. Everything’s happened in the past; preterite means past.
Futurism is the antonym and it means future; it means most of the prophetic passages have yet to be fulfilled. That’s futurism. The question is what do you suppose historicism is? Historicism is the fact that the passages and prophecy are being fulfilled by the church down through history. That’s historicism; the passages are being fulfilled by the church down through history.
Idealism, you don’t run into that much, that’s a liberal concept that revelation and prophetic passages are kind of a way of looking at history to improve your life sort of stuff. So it’s kind of irrelevant to us.
Let me go back to the three terms and we’ll go through it, we’ve defined all three of those words, let me describe briefly where they came from and what their background is. Preterism in a mild form existed in early church history in that some early … this is a minority view by the way, this was not the majority view, there’s a minority of some Christians who thought of the AD 70 … AD 70 was a horrible time, it was a massive thing. You can imagine, even Christians worshipped in Jerusalem until the Romans destroyed the place and it was very traumatic. And we know that some of the prophecies did refer to AD 70. Luke’s prophecy clearly has AD 70 in mind.
So what happened was that about 200–300 years after Jesus there arose a few historians who argued that the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, the rise of Nero, the mad man who fiddled while Rome burned and also torched Christians in the process, those events were a tribulation of the church and therefore they kind of looked as the tribulation as getting over after Constantine. What did Constantine do in church history? He was the Emperor of Rome and what’s he known for? He capitulated and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
So you can imagine the Christians who had suffered for centuries, what do you think they thought when Constantine finally abdicated, so to speak, and let Christianity take control as the official religion? Wouldn’t you be relieved? So you can understand why people living in that time would have… if they didn’t know the details of the text and they didn’t have good Bible teaching they would tend to think of the fact that whew, that’s over with. So that’s a mild version of preterism. They viewed it as a past thing. They never had the idea that Christ had come, by the way. It’s just that some of these prophecies were done with.
That’s all we heard about preterism until the last fifty years and certain people in Reformed circles have risen up out of the floor and the woodwork and now these guys are really adamant, detailed, dogmatic and aggressive preterists and they believe that all the prophecies with a few little exceptions here and there have past and that Nero and Constantine and all the rest have nothing to do with it, it’s all AD 70. We’re going to get into that. Next week we’ll deal with the church and probably the week after that we’ll start into preterism, and then go through the other four views of the church and the Tribulation.
But let me go back to the question. Preterism, right now in our time you will find it in Reformed circles; it will always be associated with postmillennialism and amillennialism. I don’t see how it could ever be associated with premillennialism. It’s an outgrowth of amillennialism and postmillennialism. What do we mean by that? What’s the deal? Amillennialism holds there is no kingdom; the church basically is the Kingdom. Postmillennialism holds that everything is getting better and better, you’ve noticed that of course. Everything is getting better and when the church finally Christianizes the world then Jesus comes back and says good job, well done. The people who take the amillennial and postmillennial position have traditionally had a difficulty. The difficulty has been all the pessimistic chapters, all these stories about tribulation, all this stuff that looks like it’s anything but the world getting better and better.
So they had to do something with those passages. Preterism gives them a tool to get around the pessimistic passages and take a bulldozer and shove them all back in the past and that unblocks the church’s future for progress. There’s a motivation that’s connected here with this. Obviously to do this runs into some problems, one of which is that we didn’t notice that Jesus returned in AD 70, a slight problem there. The angel, remember on the Mount of Olives when the disciples were looking up and watching Jesus go up, up, up, what did the angel say to them? He’s going to come back as you have seen Him go. Did anybody see Jesus return in AD 70? I don’t read anything in church history about Christ coming back in AD 70. So how do you suppose they handle this? Think about this a minute. They’ve got natural catastrophes, Jesus coming back, now how is all that going to be in AD 70? What are you going to do, for example, when the stars are falling from heaven? Geophysical catastrophe. Now if you were a preterist, try to get your head inside preterism for a minute, how would you defend it? What are you going to have to do to those passages? Symbolize them, and you’re going to try desperately to find a way of interpreting those passages in a symbolic way.
When Joseph dreamed a dream he viewed his family in astronomical terms. Remember the dream, when he was a young boy. He dreamed of the sun and the moon and the stars and he got kind of a little arrogant and he talked about how they worshiped him, etc. That was a symbolic use of astronomical terminology, so guess where they go to get their symbology? The stars falling from heaven is the destruction of the nation Israel, so this is how they develop a symbolic hermeneutic. They go back and simply say that all those catastrophe passages aren’t to be taken literally, they are just symbols for a people among the nations.
Do you also see now why preterism has conveniently married amillennialism? What has amillennialism already done to prepare the way? It’s symbolized the literalness of the coming Kingdom, all the blessings and the renovation of the earth for the return of Christ, all that’s to be symbolic. So you see, the hermeneutic has already been set in place in amillennialism and postmillennialism to go one step further into preterism. I see preterism as just a further extension of that same tendency. It’s Augustine all over again who introduced this allegorical interpretation, in a systematic way at least, to the church. So this is why in your mind’s eye you want to be prepared if you are around people who are of the Reformed persuasion, who are amillennial and postmillennial you’re going to run into preterism; it’s just in the air all around us. That’s one of the big views.
You can see, however, how it’s hard if you were a premillennialist, you’ve already got what kind of a hermeneutic for the Old Testament. You’ve got a literal hermeneutic for the Old Testament, so you wouldn’t be predisposed with a premillennial view, even if you were Reformed. And there are, by the way, Reformed premillennialists who are not preterists, and they probably never will be preterists, simply because they’ve already bought into a literal hermeneutic and the literal hermeneutic prevents you from doing what the preterist does with these texts.
The coming of Jesus, what do they do with that? One of the things they do with that is they see Him in the sense of coming in the cloud means … and they take symbols out of the Book of Psalms, which I don’t think were symbolic, I think they were literal, when Jehovah God is spoken of as riding the clouds, I think that could be a reference to Sinai and the supernatural events attending the Exodus but they take those passages as symbolic and so when they say Christ coming it meant that He came in judgment upon the nation Israel. The problem again with that is that when you read … that’s why I had you go back to Table 8 to set you up for the Old Testament view of history, in the Old Testament mentality what was all the trouble? Was the trouble and the tribulation in order to destroy Israel or to cause repentance to regain Israel? Do you see? So by making AD 70 a coming of the Lord in judgment, they’ve got to say it’s finished. You talk about replacement theology, the church has replaced Israel.
These views have a built in logic to them and you’ll be very confused when you brush up against people that think this way if you can’t, ahead of time walk into the situation realizing okay, I don’t know all the details but I see the basic structure, I’ve got the basic skeleton. They’re amillennial or postmil, they’re going to be symbolic in their interpretation, and they believe all this is in the past. Internal to the preterist movement right now they’re having a struggle within themselves because they have moderate preterists, which by the way, R. C. Sproul is a preterist, a moderate preterist and a guy by the name of Ken Gentry is a moderate preterist. What do I mean by a moderate or partial preterist? These guys are saying most of the prophecies happened in AD 70 but they still believe in an orthodox return of Jesus, but they’ve stripped it of most of the content.
Then they in turn are fighting people in their own camp who I think are more consistent who are arguing that there is no future resurrection, there will be no future return of Jesus, it all has happened in AD 70, and those are what we call the full preterists. And they are debating among themselves, but I think the full preterists are going to carry the day and the reason I think so is because they’re consistent. The moderate preterists are in a halfway house. They’re trying to use a symbolic interpretation but then they look the church creeds and they understand it’s heresy to deny the return of Christ. So they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place in their own system. But that’s the nature of what’s happening in that area. We’ll get into the details of what they do as we go into the notes, but that’s basically their position. Any other simple questions that we can answer in one minute:
Question asked: Clough replies: That was the Arab story, it came out Egypt I believe, they’ve tried to say that the World Trade Center incident was totally Zionist, it was a Zionist plot to start a war with the Arabs, and therefore they claim that the Jews never showed up for work on that day, which is false. But that’s what they say.
Someone says something about the Jews accept the King of England as the leader of the world and now back them up with their money…: Clough says: That’s the protocols of the elders of Zion and it’s an old document that has been circulating for about 100 years, it started actually in Russia. The original version held that it was going to be, I think the Russians or the Germans, and then it somehow got connected with the throne of England, but it’s an anti-Semitic document.
Someone says I heard another story, that the Jews are financing this Hezbollah and all that that are causing all this terrorism: Clough says: that makes sense since Al-Qaida is against the Jews. It’s all the same mentality; everything is the Jew’s fault. Let me tell you something about this thing, it got started in Germany. The Nazis loved to say it was the Jews that caused the downfall of Germany because the Jews were in the banking system. Do you know why the Jews were in the banking system historically? They weren’t allowed to do anything else by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church had laws against usury, and they weren’t allowed … no Catholic could make loans, so guess who had to make the loans? It was the Jews. Who loaned the money to the Spanish to discover America? It was the Jews. So it was the Jews that had to handle the money, not because they had a big plot; it was because that was the only thing they could do. It’s very interesting to go back and study some of this, where it comes from. But you’ll see that Europe traditionally has been very anti-Semitic. And in summary here, quickly, let me tell you why.
There’s a reason why Europe is anti-Semitic. What two groups have dominated religiously Europe? Roman Catholicism and Lutheran and Reformed Protestantism. Ask yourself of those three groups, what’s the predominant eschatology? They all believe the same thing, they’re all amillennial. There is no future for the Jew in amillennialism. Do you see how it all fits together? The only group in Germany that opposed Adolf Hitler among the Germans were the German Brethren, and what do you suppose their eschatology was? They were premils. The head of the German Army Officers Union was a premillennialist. Hermann Göring, Adolf Hitler and his other guy, his propagandist, Goebbels, visited this guy’s house because he was the head of the German Army Officers Union in 1933 and Hitler, when he was rising to power realized the Nazi’s in Germany had to make friends with the German army. So he wanted to work a deal with this guy, and I forgot what the name was, I think it was called the Steel Helmet in German, which was the name of the German Army Officers Union.
So they had a little meeting, they came down at his house; I guess he lived in Bavaria somewhere, and they had a little discussion. The Nazi’s were really desperate to get this guy’s help. This story is in Hal Lindsey’s book, Road to Holocaust. They were negotiating this guy asked Hitler what’s the program of the Nazis, what does your Nazi party want to do to Germany, what’s your long range program. And the long range program was that the whole problem of Germany was the Jews, so we have to have a final solution to the Jewish problem. How do you suppose that hit when this guy is sitting there are a premillennialist? Guess what he did? He said no, and then because the Nazis were taking over power he did something else. He came to New York City and got out of Germany. So that’s an interesting little history to keep in your back pocket as to what … the eschatologies play a powerful role. To this day, think about it, when you read your newspaper about the desecration of the synagogues and graveyards of Jews in France going on right now, know where it comes from.
Question asked: Clough replies: You’re going to see, if things get hot in the Middle East, unfortunately inside evangelicalism you’re going to see a split and it’s going to be right down eschatological lines. The Christians who are premil are going to be at the throats of the Christians that are amil. It’s going to divide evangelical Christianity in the next five or ten years if this thing erupts because those of us who are premil will never abandon Israel. They believe that Israel has been totally replaced by the church and why should we bother to protect Israel. It’s going to erupt because you have basic conflicting beliefs.