Who's Who in Prophecy
Issue No. 156
We have showed so far that there have always been a number of contenders for the land of Palestine. If we define Zionism as the belief that God has given certain people title to the land, then we see that Ishmael, Esau, and Jacob all claim that right. Trying to sort it out with justice to all is a major task that is beyond the capability of virtually all world leaders today.
In Genesis 21:9-13 we read about how Ishmael was in conflict with Isaac over the birthright, and this is confirmed in Galatians 4:28-30. We read that Ishmael persecutes Isaac, and that this is how we can tell who is who in Bible prophecy. There the apostle tells us that the old Jerusalem is Hagar, and those who adhere to Judaism as a religion are the Ishmael, persecuting the Christians that represent the Isaac company.
When approaching the issue of spiritual inheritance, Judaism cannot be the inheritor of the promises, nor can its adherents rule others in the Kingdom of God.
However, the physical descendants of Ishmael were given the territory of Arabia and are, in general, the Arab people. Thus, when dealing with physical inheritance of land, we must judge the case on a physical level. And so, from the view of the law, by which God judges all nations, physical Ishmael is the second in line to inherit the land in the absence of physical Isaac and his seed.
This brings us to the next-generation conflict between Jacob and Esau. Esau is third in line to inherit the land in the absence of either Isaac’s seed or that of Ishmael. This is by normal laws of inheritance.
Herod, the Jewish Pattern-King
In the first advent of Jesus Christ, King Herod was His rival for the throne, His nemesis. For this reason, Herod attempted to kill Jesus by slaughtering the children of Bethlehem shortly after He was born. In that this past generation has seen the revival of child murder once again in the form of legalized abortion, we cannot help but see the historic parallel to the events preceding the second coming of Christ.
The pattern of King Herod himself has not been fully appreciated today, because few people have thought of this connection, and many would rather avoid it. But King Herod was half Idumean and half Judean. His father, Antipater, had been captured by Idumeans while he was still young and had been raised in Idumea. He later married an Idumean girl, Herod’s mother.
Antipater rose to power when the Roman government appointed him Procurator of Judea in 47 B.C. The Parthians then came and set up Antigonus as the king, for he was of the Maccabean lineage. But ultimately, Antipater’s son, Herod, overthrew and executed Antigonus in 34 B.C. He then took the throne as King of the Jews and began the Idumean dynasty, which ruled Judea until the its destruction in 70-73 A.D. The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1925 edition under “Edom,” says,
“Judas Maccabeus conquered their territory for a time (B.C. 163; Ant. Xii, 8 par. 1, 2). They were again subdued by John Hyrcanus (c. 125 B.C.) by whom they were forced to observe Jewish rites and laws (ib. 9, par. 1; xiv. 4, par. 4). They were then incorporated with the Jewish nation, and their country was called by the Greeks and Romans ‘Idumea’ (Mark iii. 8; Ptolemy, Geography v. 16). With Antipater began the Idumean dynasty that ruled over Judea till its conquest by the Romans. Immediately before the siege of Jerusalem 20,000 Idumeans, under the leadership of John, Simeon, Phinehas, and Jacob, appeared before Jerusalem to fight in behalf of the zealots who were besieged in the Temple (Josephus, B.J. iv. 4, par. 5).
“From this time the Idumeans ceased to be a separate people.”
Books have been written attempting to prove that Turkey or China or other nations are modern Edom, in the vain effort to identify Edom with the real or imagined enemies of the Jewish state. Yet even the Jewish Encyclopedia itself states the truth in plain language. “The Idumeans, or Edomites, ceased to be a separate people” from the Jews about 125 or 126 B.C.
King Herod represented the Judean nation well, in that he was half Idumean and half Judahite. Josephus wrote in Antiquities of the Jews, XIV, xv, 2,
“Herod had now a strong army; and . . . went on for Jerusalem . . . . Antigonus, by way of reply to what Herod had caused to be proclaimed . . . said, that they would not do justly if they gave the kingdom to Herod, who was no more than a private man, and an Idumean, i.e., a half Jew . . .”
In other words, Jewry itself—that is, those who adhere to Judaism and reject Jesus Christ—is the only modern nation that can fulfill the prophecies of Edom. In incorporating Edom into the nation of Judea and its religious system, the Jews became the heirs of both sets of prophecies—those to both Judah and Edom.
When we add to this mix the Hagar-Ishmael factor, we see that God was bringing together into one people all the carnally-minded into a single basket in order to simplify the judgment in the end of the age. In summary, the Jews today as a people are:
physical Judahites that were cut off from the tribe for rejecting the King of the Tribe—Jesus Christ.
As spiritual Ishmaelites, they have lost the inheritance to the spiritual children of Isaac.
As physical Edomites, they lost the inheritance first to physical Israel, and then in their absence, to physical Ishmael (the Arabs).
As the evil figs of Judah, coming from the fig tree that could not bring forth good fruit, they were cut down and have no life in them. Those who are of this “tree” forfeited their right to be in the biblical tribe of Judah and have no inheritance at all. Any who want an inheritance must receive it by association with others.
For instance, if they want a physical inheritance in Palestine, they must get it through association with Ishmael. If they want the spiritual inheritance of Israel’s birthright, they must get it through Jesus Christ.
The Evil Fig Tree
We have already shown in previous bulletins how Judah itself was divided into two “fig trees,” according to the prophecy in Jeremiah 24. The “good figs” were those who repented and submitted to the judgment of God; the “evil figs” were those who refused to submit, but were religious, patriotic zealots in rebellion against God. Those zealots, Jeremiah says in chapter 27, were responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. at the hand of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar.
In the New Testament, the good figs were those who repented, followed Jesus Christ and were driven from the land by religious persecution—for their own good, for God intended to bring judgment to that whole land. The evil figs were those that rejected Him and remained in the land until its destruction in 70-73 A.D. The zealots among them provoked Rome to destroy Jerusalem and even forced the rest of the Jews to fight the Romans.
This rebellious, “patriotic,” zealot mentality was from the evil figs of Judah, who had adopted the same carnal view of religious violence that was characteristic of Esau-Edom. In that sense, these two people, had the same carnal mindset and were able to merge into one nation, ultimately under King Herod’s Idumean dynasty.
Modern Zionism is following in the same path as their forefathers. The zealots believe that they could reject the Word of God and still be God’s chosen. They still expect God to save them and establish their Kingdom. The zealot’s rejection of the Word of the prophet Jeremiah has continued to the present day, and once again, the land will see terrible desolation. God has not changed, and neither have the Jewish zealots.
In Matt. 21:19 the evil fig tree that Jesus cursed for its lack of fruit is incapable of bringing forth fruit. Jesus did prophesy later (Matt. 24:32) that it would bring forth more “leaves.” But fig leaves have been the problem since Adam and Eve. The evil fig tree will never bring forth the Kingdom and the promises of God, for it is NOT “chosen” except for destruction. God’s purpose in bringing this tree back to life at the end of the age is for a final judgment (Luke 19:27).
Only the good fig tree of Judah, whose trunk is Jesus Christ, is chosen to bring forth God’s Kingdom. To this trunk have been engrafted branches of all nations, but it is still the true Judah fig tree. God’s invitation is still open for all men to be engrafted into that Living Tree. No adherent of Judaism is “chosen.” Jesus was the King of Judah and only by association with Him can one be a legitimate Judahite (“Jew”). Rejecting the Head of tribe is rejecting the tribeship itself, for by law such were to be “cut off from among their people.”
Hence, legally speaking, only true Christians are real “Jews,” as Paul tells us in Romans 2:28. The rest are “outward” or apparent Jews—apparent to men who call them “Jews,” but not legitimate in the sight of God.
Two Jerusalems: The Contrasting Methods
“Jerusalem” means City of Peace. That city, however, has been anything but peaceful. Yet it was given the first opportunity to bring forth the Kingdom, first the natural, then the spiritual. This always seems to be God’s pattern in the Scriptures. Ishmael was born first, then his brother, Isaac. Esau was born first, then Jacob. God put His name on the old Jerusalem in the days of Solomon, then later removed it (Jer. 7:12-14; Ez. 10:18, 19 and 11:23) and put it in the true temple (people) of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12; 22:4), the true City of Peace.
The prophetic indictment upon the old city comes primarily through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Jeremiah 7:11 summarizes the depravity of the city and temple, saying,
11 “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the LORD.
He then cites the example of Shiloh, where God had first put His name in the days of Joshua. “Shiloh” also means Peace, being related to Shalom and Salem. When the priesthood of Eli and his sons became corrupt, God moved them to take the ark of the covenant into battle, where they lost it to the Philistines. Eli’s sons were killed, and when their wives heard the news, one of them gave birth to a son whom they named Ichabod, “the glory is departed.” That name signified that God had removed His name from that place.
Close to a century later, the ark was placed in the new temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. God then placed His name in Jerusalem by filling it with His presence. But within a few centuries, the priesthood was again so corrupt and incorrigible that God said He would remove His name from Jerusalem even as He did from Shiloh (Jer. 7:12-16).
When God leaves a place, He has never been known to turn back and put His name on it again. God always does something new. He never returned to Shiloh, and He forsook the old Jerusalem as He did Shiloh. In fact, in verse 16 He even told Jeremiah to stop interceding for that city with its den of robbers (temple).
God will never again glorify a temple in Jerusalem as He did with Solomon’s temple. In fact, He did not even glorify the second temple that was built after the Babylonian captivity—though Haggai 2:7 appeared to prophecy this event. But we now know from the New Testament that God was speaking of a different Jerusalem—the “New Jerusalem” (Rev. 3:12). It is the “heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22), and the “Jerusalem which is above” (Gal. 4:26).
Many today are fond of quoting Psalm 122:6, urging Christians to pray for the peace of the old Jerusalem.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. 7 May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.
But this was written before God forsook the old city. God told Jeremiah to stop interceding for Jerusalem. Was God contradicting Psalm 122:6? No, for there are two Jerusalems. He was to stop praying for the peace of the bloody city, but He was to continue praying for the peace of the New Jerusalem, the true City of Peace.
Both of these cities are named Jerusalem. But the carnal city in Palestine is anything but a city of peace. The zealots of modern Zionism have once again incited people take the Kingdom (if it were possible) by force, by violence and bloodshed.
The Jewish-Arab conflict is NOT between Jacob and Esau, as some imagine, but between Esau and Ishmael. The physical Ishmaelites are fighting the physical descendants of Esau, represented by the Zionist branch of Judaism. Non-Zionist Rabbi Israel Meir Hakohen said once, “In my opinion it is clear that the Zionists are from the offspring of Amalek.” I do not know if he referred to a purely spiritual connection between the violence of Amalek and modern Zionism, or if he had in mind the physical descendants of Amalek, who was Esau’s grandson (Gen. 36:12).
The Jewish State in Prophecy
The modern Jewish State is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. But most people do not understand the prophecy or the divine laws that have established it. To understand what God is doing, we must recall Jacob’s conflict with Esau over the birthright and the blessing.
Jacob obtained the birthright by price-gouging, which was unlawful. He obtained the dominion blessing by fraud and deceit when he took advantage of his blind father and lied, pretending to be Esau. Isaac’s blindness was a prophetic pattern explained in the book of Isaiah, where he expounds upon the “blind servant” theme. Isaac was the “servant,” dedicated to God when Abraham put him upon the altar. In this He became a type of Christ as well as a type of God’s people.
God’s purpose for blinding Jacob’s descendants was to put them into the position of blind Isaac. This allowed Esau (the Zionists in 1948) to pretend to be Jacob and thus obtain the blessing.
Even as Jacob took advantage of Isaac’s blindness and pretended to be Esau, so also Esau has done the reverse, pretending to be Jacob and taking advantage of the blindness of true Israel.
This is God’s purpose for Zionism. The judgment of the law is “eye for eye” (Exodus 21:24). The judgment always fits the crime in exact measure. This is also the reason Isaac promised Esau in Gen. 27:40 that some day his descendants would be given the dominion blessing. Jacob also would have to give the birthright back to Esau, in order that God might give it back to true Israel in His own way and time.
Britain controlled Palestine from 1922-1948 and was in the position to return this dominion to Esau. Britain’s flag is even called “Union Jack.” Jack is a shortened version of the name Jacob. In 1947-48 “Jacob” returned the dominion and birthright to the descendants of “Esau” to rectify the wrong that Jacob had perpetrated upon his father and his brother Esau in Genesis 27.
They even called the Jewish State “Israel,” which is the birthright name given to Ephraim, the son of Joseph (Gen. 48:16). Thus, Esau has been given his full due, not only being given the dominion blessing, but also the birthright. In their God-ordained blindness, the children of Isaac and Jacob have officially recognized Esau’s nation as the inheritor of the name “Israel.”
The physical Ishmaelites, however, did not know or understand the prophecy and blessing that Isaac gave Esau so long ago. They only knew that Ishmael was the true inheritor of the land, for he was the son of Abram. They are correct, because in Christ, the true children of Isaac have been given a better inheritance in the New Jerusalem, the city and country which Abraham sought.
So the land reverted to Ishmael, who was second in line to receive the inheritance. Hence, they see only injustice in God giving their inheritance back to Esau. Violence and revenge is as much a part of their religion and culture as it is of Judaism. They believe that Jerusalem is theirs, and they will to fight to keep it.
The right even to the physical land of Palestine first belonged to Isaac, and so he had the right and obligation to give it back to Esau and thereby rectify Jacob’s injustice toward his brother. It was inevitable, then, that the Jews, who represent Esau, would be given the land temporarily at the end of the age.
What it Means to Rule
All authority comes from God (Rom. 13:1), and God always holds men accountable to use it to rule by the divine law. In the mind of men, rulership is a privilege certain men enjoy to be served by others. In the mind of God, however, rulership is the power to be a greater servant. Jesus revealed the true definition of rulership in Matt. 20:25-27,
25 But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.”
Being one of the “chosen people” does not bestow the privilege of mistreating others or stealing their land. Jacob thought that being chosen meant he could steal the birthright from Esau, but he was wrong. Moses thought being chosen meant he could kill an Egyptian, but he was wrong. The priests thought they could turn the temple into a den of robbers with immunity from God’s judgment, but they were wrong. The priests in Jesus’ day thought they could steal the dominion from the Heir, Jesus Christ (Matt. 21:38), but they too were wrong.
The Messiah’s purpose in ruling was to do justice, not injustice. His coming would cause all nations to rejoice, not to groan under the burden of unjust dominion. Matthew 12 says,
18 Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles [Gr. ethnos, “nations”]. 19 He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. 21 And in His name the Gentiles [Gr. ethnos, “nations”] will hope.
The Messiah will rule in the Tabernacles Age with His Servant people who know His law and mind. The whole earth then will rejoice. This is not happening today. Ishmael does not realize that Esau must be given his due process before the end of the age. So he fights back and only makes his oppression worse. Ishmael’s force and violence is met by Esau’s greater force and violence. Both sides groan and weep over the bloodshed, but no one will cease the cycle of violence and just let God handle the situation.
But Esau, too, will be held accountable for the God-given authority that has been given him during this short season of history. In their religious zealotry and carnal mindset, they believe they are privileged to lord it over other people and repress the Arabs when they object.
We do not expect to see the character of Jesus Christ manifested in either Esau or Ishmael. Neither are called to manifest (“unveil”) the Sons of God. Only the overcomers are called to rule the Kingdom. These are the ones whom God has trained to be a servant people. They have learned to love, forgive, and apply the divine law impartially. All creation awaits their unveiling.