Israel/Middle East

Bible Question: Can you explain the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hosea? (Hos 6:1-3)

Answer:—These verses, doubtless, refer to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation. The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh thousand-year period—the Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week, we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun at the time the Jews had experienced the judgments of the Lord in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned. Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh day Sabbath) the third, in which the Israelites will be revived and raised up to Divine favor and life. It is to be early in the morning of this third day—the thousand years of Messiah's reign—that "all Israel shall be saved"- -Rom. 11:26. Then will be the seasons of refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord as indicated in the "rain" mentioned in the third verse and referred to by the Apostle Peter—Acts 3:19-21.

Bible Question: Will the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) be a literal city of gold and gems, and will it come floating down through the sky and locate somewhere on the earth? If so, how, when, and where?

Answer:—We are aware that quite a number seem to hold the thought of an actual city, with all of its walls, buildings, towers and turrets, coming down from above and locating in the land of Palestine. Those who have this thought should try to bear in mind that much of the Bible is written in highly symbolic or figurative language. The dimensions of this city are given in furlongs in this same chapter. If we reduce these to miles, we have for the dimensions fifteen hundred miles in length and breadth and height. A city of this magnitude could scarcely be placed in the small land of Palestine, which measures less than two hundred miles in its greatest length. By noting the expressions of the 9th verse, it will become apparent to all that not a literal city is referred to, but a symbolic one is meant. The angel showed St. John "The Bride, the Lamb's wife," in symbol, as a beautiful city. Surely no one would so far ignore the faculties of intelligence and reason as to say that the Bride of Christ is to be a literal city. This Bride is the same one represented as saying, in almost the closing words of the Bible, "Come and partake of the waters of life freely." The Bride is the Church class composed of the faithful followers of Christ, of whom the Apostle Paul speaks, saying: "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).

Bible Question: What is meant by the New Jerusalem referred to in Rev. 21 and 22 chapters?

Answer:—A close reading of these chapters will convince any student that a literal city was certainly not meant. In symbolic prophecy a "city" signifies a religious government backed by power and authority. Thus the "holy city, the New Jerusalem," is the symbol used to represent the established Kingdom of God, the overcomers of the Gospel Church exalted and reigning in glory. The Church is also, and in the same connection, represented as a woman, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," in power and glory, and backed by the power and authority of Christ, her husband. "And there came unto me one of the seven angels... saying Come hither, I will shew thee the bride the Lamb's wife. And he . .. shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem." (Rev. 21:9,10.) It is evident that we should "spiritualize" this narrative because St. John himself did so, for he says "And he carried me away in spirit." (Rev. 21:10.) That is to say in a spiritual sense he viewed the wonders of this great city, and not actually, in a literal sense. The dimensions of the city are given in furlongs, which, if reduced to miles would mean that it measured 1,500 miles in length, and breadth, and height! Surely no such literal city will ever be established on this little globe of ours. Recognizing the meaning of the symbols we have a beautiful picture representing the gradual establishment of the Divine Kingdom of the Heavens on the earth, when the Church, the Lamb's wife, is ruling in royal majesty with Christ, "the Prince of Peace."

Bible Question: Will Jerusalem ever be rebuilt and for what purpose?

Answer:—The most remarkable movement ever occurring amongst the Jewish people since the time of the destruction of their capital city, Jerusalem, is now in process of development, and is known as "The Zionist Movement." The primary object of this movement is the establishment of the Jews in their own land under a government of their own. This would mean the rebuilding of the city in the event of the success of this movement. There are many prophecies which show that the Jews shall return to Divine favor and shall again be established in their own country, and that the City of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. We cite but one—Jer. 31:27-40. The clear intimation of the teachings of the Scriptures is that Jerusalem will become the Capital City of the world, "for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem," "And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." (Isa. 2:3.) For a remarkable confirmation of this, in the words of the New Testament, see Acts 15:16,17.

Bible Question: I would like to know while reading the bible, does Iran, Iraq and other middle eastern countries appear under another name?

Answer: Finding the modern nations in the Bible is quite fascinating and very supportive of our understanding that the Bible is an accurate history of the ancient past. But, of course, since it is the Word of God, it is also a history of the future!
MODERN NAMES. Iran and Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, of course, are modern names for states whose borders were defined in part by the League of Nations (Post WW I) with the French and British playing a major role in controlling sections of the Middle East. These nations as well as others, such as, Israel, Egypt and others, are identifiable with peoples who lived in the region in Bible times.
ISRAEL, CENTER OF NATIONS. For example did you know that when "...the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel." Deuteronomy 32:8. Israel is really the center and focal point of the nations and what has and will happen to those nations is closely tied in to the future of Israel.
IRAN, LEBANON, ETC. While Iran at times prefers the name "Persia" which is in fact where Bible Persia was, Iraq as mentioned is more of a modern contrivance of peoples who lived in the area of Babylonia, Assyria and Chaldea. Laban the father-in-law of Jacob (later named Israel) was called Laban the Syrian. In fact, the area in which he remained when Abraham left for Canaan is now called Syria. Modern Lebanon is is the area where Tyre and Sidon are. Queen Jezebel came from that region north of Israel; Elijah the Prophet hid there during the 3 1/2-year drought. Egypt, of course, is Egypt-although some population changes have occurred in all these places since ancient times.
GENTILE NATIONS. What is most vital and relevant to the future-and something you might enjoy following as you read in the Bible-is that the LORD has through His prophets laid out a plan for all these nations. In a dream recorded and interpreted in the book of Daniel (Ch. 2) we have a drama describing the history of the surrounding nations. These nations would also be mentioned throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles as well as the Prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah. The scenario of Israel falling under the control of other nations was played out in the 11th chapter of Daniel and describes a torturous journey from its 7th Century B.C. troubles down to modern times. But Israel' s subjugation to the Gentile empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and finally Rome was for a specific purpose and time. This time concluded with World War I-out of which emerged the Balfour Declaration allowing for a Jewish State.
FUTURE PROPHECIES OF NATIONS. Prophetically speaking Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38, 39, are very descriptive of particular nations which will seek to destroy Israel (or raise questions as a challenge to those who come to destroy it). Comparing the nations and their modern roles, we can see that Israel has been subject to Arab League destructive intent since 1945. When the threats of Gog of Magog will fully materialize, is a matter for the future-but not the far distant future. However, when all the nations come against Jerusalem, then God will fight for Israel as before (see also Zech. 14:1-3).
NATIONS ACKNOWLEDGE THE CAPITAL OF GOD'S KINGDOM. We await the time when the Kingdom of God will be manifest in the earth. The time when the LORD will make his Glory seen as He saves Israel from those of evil intent. At that time, when God sets up His Kingdom, the nations will put down their "swords" and devote their resources of peaceful purposes-and come up to Jerusalem, God's capital, to learn about the God of Jacob. Isa 2:2-4 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."


Answer: As you probably know, Moab was a son of Lot with his own daughter. The story is in Gen. 19:30-38. (Another daughter had a son by her father Lot called Ammon.)
ISRAEL TOLD NOT TO DISTRESS MOAB. Originally, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and were brought to Canaan, they were told not to distress or conquer the Moabites. Deut 2:9 "And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession."
MOAB REFUSED ISRAEL'S PASSAGE. However, when Israel asked permission of Moab to pass through their Land, they were refused. Judg 11:16-17 "But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh."
MOAB CONQUERED DURING THE TIME OF JUDGES. During the period of time Judges when the children of Israel were in the Land, Judge Ehud ordered the conquering of Moab also. Judg 3:26-30 "And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath. And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them. And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years."
IDOLATRY OF MOAB. Moab, like the other Canaanites, were steeped in terrible idolatry (eg., I Kings 11:33). Chemosh, meaning approximately 'subduer' , was the primary god of the Moabites, and was essentially the same as the god Moloch. Both were Canaanite gods with similar attributes, but of different names. The sacrifice of children as a burnt offering, a central part of both Chemosh and Moloch, was abhorred by the Jewish prophets, who constantly admonished the kings of Israel for its continuing practice.
MOAB DURING KING DAVID'S REIGN. During King David's reign of conquering the Land Jehovah had told him to conquer, Moab is included. Moab became "servants" to Israel. 1 Chron 18:1-6 "Now after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them, and took Gath and her towns out of the hand of the Philistines. And he smote Moab; and the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts. And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates. And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadarezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men. Then David put garrisons in Syria-damascus; and the Syrians became David's servants, and brought gifts. Thus the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went."
ISRAEL WILL POSSESS MOAB. In end-time prophecy, Moab-which is east of the Jordan Rive and the Dead Sea-shall be possessed by Israel. Zeph 2:9-10 "Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts."
MOAB TODAY IS IN JORDAN. Moab now is in the area of the recently created state of Jordan. Tranjordan first was created in the 1920s by the British government when they gave away Arabia to the Saudi family. Transjordan was a "consolation prize" to the Hashemite family which rules over eastern Palestinian Arabs to this day. In 1948 when Transjordan took over what is known today as the "West Bank," its name was changed to "Jordan." Therefore, that East Bank (as well as the disputed "West Bank") belongs to Israel's promised Land.
MOABITES IN MESSIAH'S KINGDOM. However, the peoples of all those ancient civilizations-including the Moabites-will have an opportunity in Messiah Jesus' Kingdom to come up to Jerusalem to learn about the "God of Jacob." Isa 2:2-4 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."