By Jeffrey Berg
When America was living through the horror of the “9-11 Terror Attacks,” the Jewish High Holy Days were being observed. My wife, Arlene, and I had a wonderful opportunity to visit a Lubavitch (Ultra Orthodox) rabbi. The visit took place during the holiday of Succoth.
Upon arriving at his home, we discovered a sign posted in front of the family’s succah, or booth. In Yiddish the sign said, “In an instant, come Messiah!” We spent an hour in the succah talking to the rabbi about the end times. We discussed the terror attacks and the meaning of his sign. The rabbi shared that a time will come when very grievous, hard, troublesome acts will be perpetrated upon the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. He said it is prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures and in our writings. He continued and said, “After these dark days, the Messiah will come and bring the long awaited Redemption!” He ended his teaching with this astounding statement: “The more dark the trials become, the brighter the light, when Messiah comes…So Bring it On!!”
“A Covenant with Death”
Over the years the entire Middle East has evolved into a cauldron of evil. It has been the goal of countless American presidents and other world leaders to bring lasting peace to the Middle East and solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Peace in the region has been the sought after prize, “the trophy,” for their legacy.
The Anti-Christ, or “The Beast,” spoken of in the Bible, will be the only political leader to bring a semblance of peace to Israel and her enemies. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27). The word “week” in Hebrew is understood to be a week of years, 7 years, based on the context of the passage and the meaning of the Hebrew word. Isaiah refers to this 7 year treaty as a “covenant with death” (Isaiah 28:18).
This world leader will have the power to seduce Israel into a Middle East peace with the entire Arab world. He will also entice the Arab world to make peace with Israel. No world leader has ever come close to achieving this kind of success. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 speaks of the Beast’s power and deception: “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” The rest of the world will stand in awe admiring the Beast’s political prowess.
The Third Temple
Momentum is increasing for construction of the Third Temple. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem is at work producing the artifacts needed for the Third Temple. Temple Institute officials claim that 100% of the artifacts are completed and ready for use. Also, the Sanhedrin, or Jewish Religious Court, has assembled for the first time since A.D. 70. Hope and excitement in religious Jewish circles to see the Temple built is mounting.
Today the Temple Mount is a very volatile place. Islam controls it. Jewish people are forbidden to go to the Mount to pray. Midway through the Tribulation, the Beast will reveal himself for what he really is. This ruler will be driven by Satan. (Revelation 13:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). He will cause the Temple sacrifice and the oblation to cease (Daniel 9:27). The Temple Mount will become his stage, and he will demand the world worship him. Jesus warned the disciples of this future time. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel the prophet, stand in the Holy Place, whoso readeth, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15). The Apostle Paul described how this devil of a leader will exalt himself. “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
The Witness of Messiah
The Lord will raise 144,000 Jewish evangelists from Israel, 12,000 from each tribe (Revelation 7:4-14). These messengers are totally committed to the Lamb. In a world dominated by evil, their witness will be radiant! Multiplied millions from all nations of the earth will accept Jesus through their testimony (Rev. 7:9,14). Those who come to faith will be greatly persecuted. Many will be martyred (Revelation 17:6, Matthew 24:9).
Jesus said of that day, “And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Not only will Israelites be coming to faith, but a host of Gentiles as well.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and the kings to the brightness of thy rising. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” (Isaiah 60:3,5)
A great host of Jewish and Gentile believers will be awaiting the Messiah when He returns.
The Two Witnesses
As the 144,000 evangelists of Messiah are scattered throughout the world heralding the Gospel, God will also raise up two special witnesses. They will be able to perform wondrous acts and signs as in the days of Moses and Elijah (Revelation 11:6).
Demonic hatred will be energized throughout the world as a result of their ministry. “The beast shall make war against them and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:7b,8). The whole world will rejoice and celebrate their deaths. Their dead bodies will lie in the street for 3½ days (Revelation 11:10). After 3½ days, the Spirit of God will bring them back to life. This miracle of God will cause great fear upon those who witness this resurrection. Then the Lord will call them home! “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither! And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them” (Revelation 11:12).
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” (Revelation 12:13)
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)
When the Anti-Christ reveals himself, he will make war with everyone who represents the kingdom of Heaven. He will create all sorts of havoc upon the Tribulation believers. Many believers will be martyred for the Lamb of God (Revelation 6:9-11). During this time, the Lord will protect a great remnant of Jewish believers (Revelation 12:6, 13-16). Since the Anti-Christ will make war with everyone who represents the kingdom of Heaven, it is the woman (Israel) and Tribulation saints that are Satan’s target. These believers will endure great conflict. God will empower them to show a faithful testimony for the Lamb in the midst of this heavy spiritual darkness.
Armageddon & the Return of Messiah
The battle of Armageddon will come at the end of the Great Tribulation. The nations of the world will make war with Israel. Much of the conflict will take place in the Jezreel Valley of Israel. The ancient town of Meggido overlooks this giant plain that will be used as an arena for battle.
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem for to battle.” (Zechariah 14:2)
God Almighty will draw the axis powers of the Anti-Christ to battle against the Kingdom of Heaven. Zechariah chapter 12 describes how God will defend Judah and Jerusalem.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:9).
The long awaited Messiah will come.
“Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet, shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.” (Zechariah 14:3,4)
Isaiah 63:1-6 describes the coming Messiah in more detail.
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
The name “Bozrah” in Hebrew means, “To gather the vintage, vintager, a metaphor of a destructive enemy.” Isaiah 63:6 says, “I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring their strength to the ground.” The kingdom of Heaven will have its own “war on terror.” The Messiah, the Lamb of God, will execute perfect justice. Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3) and the Beast and the false prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).
The Repentance of the Remnant
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zechariah 12:10a). The Jewish remnant’s response to the Messiah’s redemption will be repentance. The remnant will see themselves as sinful men in light of a Holy God. Zechariah continues, “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10b). There will be national mourning in Jerusalem and throughout the Land of Israel (Zechariah 12:11-14). National repentance resulting in a complete spiritual cleansing will be the result of their acceptance of Messiah.
When this tribulation remnant enters the new kingdom of Israel with Messiah Jesus as its King, they will be presented to Him as tested gold (Zechariah 13:9). Suffering will be past. Anti-Semitism will be vanquished. Israel’s enemies will be destroyed. Peace will flow to the four corners of the earth, as the Prince of Peace rules and reigns.
World peace won’t happen until Messiah returns. Wars and conflict will continue in the Middle East and around the world until He returns. The good news is we can have internal peace now. “The peace which passes all understanding,” can be yours, when you accept Jesus as your Messiah and Savior.