Apostolic End Time Truths

Monday, September 29, 2008

Israel destroys Damascus, then Russia invades

Israel destroys Damascus, then Russia invades - By Bill Saluswww.worldnetdaily.com

These days it doesn't require much dusting to see Russia is conspicuously etching its indelible fingerprints upon the Middle East. In a bid to regain superpower status, the ancient Muscovites are forming unprecedented alliances with Iran and Syria, the two primary enemies of modern day Israel.
These strengthening ties, coupled with a 2,600-year-old Ezekiel prophecy, has end time eschatologists racing against the clock to publish their next cutting edge books.
For those unfamiliar with the Old Testament prophet, he foretells in Chapters 38 and 39 the coming of a Russian – Iranian-led, nuclear-equipped coalition that invades Israel in the last days. For a litany of recent newsworthy reasons, all indicators point to this enormous episode occurring in the very near future.
Although volumes of Ezekiel invasion best-sellers should soon justifiably line world bookshelves, these authors must be cautious not to put the colloquial cart before the proverbial horse.
Indeed Russia and Iran are ready to make their moves, but what about Syria? Oddly Syria, who today panders alongside Iran for Russian affections, is not included among the elite nine members of the Ezekiel 38 and 39 consortium of attacking nations. Why not? What knocks their quiver of missiles out of the Ezekiel military equation?
As I have documented in my recently released book, "Isralestine, The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East," the Bible makes quite clear that in a distinctly separate Psalm 83 episode Damascus, the capital of Syria, soon ceases to be a city, and subsequently shortly thereafter Russia and Iran advance against Israel.
Furthermore "Isralestine" explains how the destruction of Damascus followed by the Ezekiel invasion sets the stage for the final tribulation period, whereby the Antichrist rallies his Armageddonites together in one last days ditch effort to destroy the Jewish race.
Thus there are three scheduled end time advances against Israel, not just Ezekiel's. First comes Psalm 83, the Arab-Israeli war, followed promptly by the Ezekiel 38 and 39 Russian – Iranian invasion, and lastly the campaign of Armageddon by the Antichrist.
While the world watches to see who will be the next American president, and if Tzipi Livni will have a longer-lasting run than Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Olmert as Israel's new prime minister, these three powerful prophetic events destined to have a profound geopolitical worldwide affect, are staging like dominos to fall in their specific chronological order.
One event superimposes itself upon another, and before humanity realizes, no one "small and great, rich and poor, free and slave," will be able to buy or sell apart from placing the Antichrist's computer chip in his or her hand or forehead, a technology already existing today! (Revelation 13:16-17)
The damnation of Damascus sets all the above events into accelerated motion! This ancient city that presently allows every known terrorist agency inside its city limits, and holds the world record for being continuously inhabited, will one day soon bite the divine dust, according to the prophets Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
The destruction of Damascus will be such a powerful world event that Isaiah was instructed to boldly and succinctly state, the burden against Damascus. "Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap." (Isaiah 17:1, NKJV) Isaiah further announces that the fortified cities of Syria will be forfeited into Israeli sovereignty. (Isaiah 17:9) This suggests that the dooming of Damascus and conquest of Syria results from of an Israeli Defense Forces campaign.
Amos and Jeremiah echo this 2,800-year-old Isaiah prophecy by prophetically uttering some additional details they were given. Amos declares that the capitol building of Syria will go up in smoke, and that the nation as a whole, will go into captivity. (Amos 1:3-5) Jeremiah concurs and furthermore declares the Syrian military will be decisively defeated, and in addition many young men will die in the blood-stained streets of Damascus. (Jeremiah 49:23-27)
Contrary to the recent nonsensical rhetoric that "Greater Israel no longer exists," according to former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, and that "lesser Israel has expired," according to Iran's apocalyptic president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israel is about to blast Damascus to smithereens! This is what inevitably prevents Syria's arrows from making their way into Russia's arsenal.
So in conclusion, if you are thinking about traveling to Damascus, or have prime Syrian real estate or even a timeshare there you may want to dispose of, now is the time to implement your plan. The writing is indeed on the wall, on the recent headlines and in the holy scripture, that the Psalm 83 Arab – Israeli war is about to occur, and the byproduct of that conflict will find Damascus entirely eradicated from forthcoming Middle East maps.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Recognizing Signs of the Times

Recognizing Signs of the Times
What are the specific signs that point to the Lord's soon return?

A year ago I felt compelled to resign my membership in a prophecy study group because the director suddenly revealed that he did not believe there were any signs pointing to the soon return of Jesus, with the possible exception of Israel. I was astonished by that statement, and I wrestled with what to do about it. I finally decided that I had no choice but to resign from the organization.

After all, I have devoted my life to proclaiming that the signs of the times point to the soon return of Jesus. How could I be a member of an organization whose director denies that any such signs exist? I concluded that my continued membership in the organization would put me in the position of being a house divided against myself. So, I resigned.

Abundant Signs

The signs of the times that point to the Lord's soon return are so plentiful and obvious that I don't know how anyone with any spiritual discernment could be blind to them. This, in fact, is an area that even amillennialists and premillennialists can and do agree on.

In 1995 I was privileged to participate in a prophecy conference in Orlando, Florida that was sponsored by Midnight Call Ministries. One of the speakers was a remarkable man of God from Abilene, Texas by the name of Elbert Peak. This is a man who has been preaching Bible prophecy for over 60 years.

His first topic at the conference was "The Signs of the Times." He began his presentation by saying: "I began preaching on the signs sixty years ago when there were very few that you could actually see. Today they are everywhere. I am no longer looking for signs; I am listening for sounds!"

I shouted, "Amen!" It is no longer necessary to search for signs. We are inundated with them. There are so many and they are so clear, that it's like the Lord has a neon sign in the sky blinking on and off, saying, "Jesus is coming soon!" As Elbert Peak put it, we should be listening for sounds — the sound of a trumpet blast and the shout of an archangel (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The Meaning of Signs

What is a prophetic sign? It is basically a prophecy concerning an historical event or technological development that will characterize a future time. Let's consider the First Advent of the Messiah as an example. The prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Daniel said the Messiah would be "cut off" 483 years after an edict was issued to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). He also stated that this would take place before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. And David stated in Psalm 22:16 that the Messiah's hands and feet would be pierced.

One of these signs is geographical — the birth site of the Messiah. The second is historical. The edict it refers to was issued in 457 BC. Counting 483 years from that date brings us to 27 AD. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. So, the Messiah had to be "cut off" (that is, killed) sometime between 27 AD and 70 AD. The third sign is technological in nature. The method of execution at the time David wrote Psalm 22 was stoning. Crucifixion was not even invented by the Romans until 700 years later.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He was executed in 31 AD, during the "historical window" between 27 AD and 70 AD. And he was executed by crucifixion. The fulfillment of these signs in the life of Jesus serves to validate that He was the prophesied Messiah.

There are over 300 prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures about the First Coming of the Messiah. But many are repetitious. For example, it is said more than once that the Messiah will be of the house of David. When you cull out all the repetitious prophecies, you are left with a total of 109 which were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. (For a detailed listing of these prophecies, order our publication entitled "The First Advent of Jesus in Old Testament Prophecy.")

Messianic Signs

On one occasion when Jesus was teaching, the Pharisees and Sadducees came and asked Him to give them a "sign" to prove that He was the Messiah (Matthew 16:1-4). What they wanted was a miracle. But Jesus responded by playing with the word, "sign." He asked them why they could read the weather but could not "discern the signs of the times." Jesus used the word, "sign," to refer to fulfilled prophecies in His life.

The same principle applies to the Second Coming of Jesus. There are more than 500 prophecies in the Old Testament about the Second Coming, and one out of every twenty-five verses in the New Testament also speak of this great event. These prophecies contain many signs that we are to watch for, signs that will indicate that the time of the Lord's return is drawing near.

Jesus Himself emphasized this point in His Olivet discourse. He presented a long list of signs that would characterize the end times, and then He said, "when you see all these things, recognize that I will be near, right at the door" (Matthew 24:33). Paul also made the point that we can recognize the season of the Lord's return. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 he stated that even though the Lord will return like "a thief in the night," He is not coming for believers in that manner because we are "sons of light." He is referring here to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who can open our eyes to the signs of the times so that we are not caught by surprise by the Lord's return. In like manner, the author of Hebrews states that we are to "encourage one another" as we see the day of judgment drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).

Signs of the End Times

The re-establishment of the nation of Israel is a classic example of an end time historical sign. Over and over again the Hebrew Scriptures prophesy that in the end times, right before the return of the Messiah, the nation of Israel will be re-established (Isaiah 11:10-12; Ezekiel 37:1-12; Amos 9:13-15; and Zechariah 12:1-3). Jesus emphasized this sign in Matthew 24 when He told us to watch for the rebudding of the fig tree (a symbol of Israel). When that happens, He said, the generation that sees it "will not pass away until all these things [the return of the Lord] take place" (Matthew 24:34).

The book of Revelation is full of technological signs concerning the end times. Take, for example, the prophecy that one-half the population of the world will die in the first three and a half years of the Tribulation (1/4 in the Seal Judgments and 1/3 of those remaining in the Trumpet Judgments — Revelation 6-9). How could such unparalleled carnage occur apart from the development of nuclear weapons and their missile delivery systems?

Or consider the prophecy that when the two great witnesses of God are killed by the Antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation, the whole world "will look upon their dead bodies for three and a half days" (Revelation 11:9). How could this be possible before the development of television and satellite transmission?

Another prophecy in Revelation that has been waiting for historical developments is the one that states there will be an army of 200 million soldiers that will march across Asia toward Israel during the period of the Tribulation. At the time that prophecy was written (95 AD), there were only 200 million people on planet earth! It took 1,600 years for the population of the earth to double to 400 million. In fact, the earth's population did not reach one billion until 1850. This century has experienced a population explosion due to the advent of modern medicine (keep in mind that the first antibiotic, penicillin, was not discovered until 1928!). Today, the earth's population has just passed the six billion mark, and one Asian nation alone — namely, China — could easily send an army of 200 million, as prophesied in Revelation.

An Overview of the Signs

Let me present you with an outline overview of the signs of the times:

I. Signs of Nature
(Matthew 24:7; Mark 13: 8; and Luke 21:11)

  1. Famine

  2. Earthquakes

  3. Plagues

  4. Signs in the Heavens (Unusual weather, new discoveries in space, UFO's, etc.)

II. Signs of Society
(Matthew 24:12,37-39 & 2 Timothy 3:1-4)

  1. Lawlessness

  2. Violence

  3. Immorality

  4. Greed

  5. Selfishness

  6. Hedonism

  7. Rebellion

  8. Despair

III. Spiritual Signs

  1. Negative

    1. False Christs & Prophets and their cultic groups (Matthew 24:5,11,2-4; Mark 13:6,21-22; and Luke 21:8)

    2. Apostasy in the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3; and 2 Timothy 3:5, 4:3-4)

    3. Widespread heresy in the church (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

    4. Movement toward a one world religion (Revelation 17)

    5. Persecution of true believers (Matthew 24:9-10; Mark 13:9,11-13; and Luke 21:12-19)

    6. Outbreak of demonic and occultic activity (1 Timothy 4:1)

  2. Positive

    1. Outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29)

    2. Revival of Davidic worship (1 Chronicles 16:1-39; Psalm 150; and Amos 9:11)

    3. Worldwide evangelism (Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10)

    4. Understanding of Bible prophecy (Daniel 12:4,8-9)

IV. World Political Signs

  1. Re-establishment of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:22-37:1-2; Zechariah 12:1-6; Matthew 24:32-34; Mark 13:28- 30; and Luke 21:29-31)

  2. Arab hostility toward Israel (Ezekiel 35:1-36:7)

  3. Russia as a menacing power to Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16)

  4. Asian nations capable of fielding an army of 200 million (Revelation 9:15-16 and 16:12)

  5. Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; and Luke 21:10)

  6. Kingdom against kingdom — that is, civil wars and ethnic wars (Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; and Luke 21:10)

  7. Reunification of Europe (Daniel 2:41-44, 7:8, 24-25, and 9:26)

  8. Movement toward a one world economy (Revelation 18)

Technological Signs

  1. Nuclear weapons. (Matthew 24:22; Luke 21: 25-26; and Revelation 6:8, 8:7 and 16:2)

  2. Television and satellite transmission (Revelation 11:3-12)

  3. Robotics (Revelation 13:14-15)

  4. Computer and laser technology (Revelation 13:16-18)

  5. High speed transportation (Daniel 12:4)

VI. The Accelerator Sign

  1. Population explosion (Revelation 9: 15-16 and 16:12)

  2. Increase in knowledge (Dan-iel 12:4)

  3. Increase in violence (Matthew 24:12)

  4. Increase in transportation (Daniel 12:4)

  5. Rapid disintegration of society (1 Timothy 3:1-4)

  6. Signs in general to be like birth pangs, that is, increasing in frequency and intensity (Matthew 24:8)

VII. Signs of Israel

  1. Regathering of the people (Isaiah 11:10-12 and Ezekiel 37:1-12)

  2. Re-establishment of the state (Isaiah 66:7-8; Zechariah 12:1-6; and Matthew 24:32-35)

  3. Reclamation of the land (Isaiah 35:1-2,7 and Ezekiel 36:34-35)

  4. Revival of the language (Zephaniah 3:9)

  5. Resurgence of the military (Zechariah 12:6)

  6. Refocusing of world politics (Zechariah 12:2-3)

  7. Reoccupation of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-6)

God never pours out His wrath without warning because "He does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus said that when we see all these signs come together, He will be "right at the door," ready to return (Matthew 24:33). God is warning, and Jesus is at the gates of Heaven waiting for His Father's command.

Are you ready?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What about America?

What Is Going To Happen To America?

By Dr. David R. Reagan

Where is the United States in Bible prophecy? It is only natural that we should wonder since the United States is not mentioned specifically by name in Bible prophecy. We are covered by general prophecies that relate to all nations, but beyond that, our end time destiny must be a matter of speculation.

General prophecies that apply to the U.S. include those that say all nations will be judged (Isaiah 34:2-3) and all nations will cease to exist except the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 30:11 and 46:28).

A Speculation

I personally believe that the reason the U.S. is not mentioned in end time prophecy is because we will suddenly cease to be a world power and will therefore play no significant role in end time events.

The destruction of American power is most likely to occur in two stages. The first looks to be an economic catastrophe that will result from our out of control debt situation. Our god is the dollar, and the Lord is going to destroy that god when the weight of our debt collapses our economy.

The second stage could occur when Russia launches its invasion of Israel (prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39). I believe it is very likely that they will launch a preemptive nuclear attack against our nation, since we are the only country in the world that might possibly come to Israel's defense. This attack may be hinted at in Ezekiel 39:6 where it says that fire will fall on "those who inhabit the coastlands in safety."

The Russian attack will probably come from submarines deployed off our East and West coasts. Each Russian sub carries more fire power than all the bombs dropped in World War II. Such an attack would give us only seven minutes warning, not even enough time to launch a counter attack.

With the U.S. immobilized, the Russians will then attack Israel and, according to Ezekiel, their army will be wiped out supernaturally by God on the hills of Israel (Ezekiel 39:1-4). The greatest power vacuum in the history of mankind will be created almost overnight. The world will be gripped by panic.

Into that vacuum will step a dynamic, charismatic European political personality who will be energized by Satan. He will begin to rally the world to his support through his brilliant proposals for world peace. The world will be mesmerized by him (Revelation 13:8).

The Parallel of Habakkuk

I admit that I do not like this speculative scenario. But it seems the most likely chain of events to me. When it first occurred to me, I was particularly repelled by the idea of God using Russia to judge our nation. I asked, "How can a holy God punish those who are evil with those who are more evil?"

My quest for an answer to that question led me to the book of Habakkuk. I discovered that Habakkuk asked God the same question when God revealed to him that Judah would be judged by an invasion of the Chaldeans.

God never answered Habakkuk's question. He just called on Habakkuk to proceed in faith, believing that God knew best (Habakkuk 2:4). After a difficult spiritual struggle, Habakkuk stepped out in faith and said, "Lord, even if the Chaldeans completely destroy us, I will continue to exalt Your name" (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

The Chaldeans came. They destroyed the nation of Judah and the Temple of God. But where are the Chaldeans today? In the dust bin of history. Where are the Jews? Regathered to their land.

The point is that God has the wisdom and power to orchestrate the evil of Man to the triumph of His holy will in history. It is not for us to question His ways. Rather, it is for us to trust Him.

A Sobering Conclusion

But there is another point to consider. Are we really more righteous than the Russians? I think not.

In fact, I believe we are far more dangerous to the world spiritually than the Russians have ever been, for we are the world's moral polluter through the export of our sleazy television programs, our filthy movies, our satanic music, and our degrading pornography.

We are a people who have turned our back on God. The day of judgment for us will be far more severe than for the Russians, for "to those to whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48).

Another Possibility

There is another possible fate for the United States. If the Rapture were to occur today, we would be devastated because our nation contains more born again Christians than any other nation in the world — more than all of Western Europe combined. Further, we have many born again Christians in high positions of commerce and government. The Rapture would reduce our nation to chaos, removing us from the international scene as the world's dominant power.

We can hope and pray that this will be the destiny of our nation, because if it is not, we are headed toward outright destruction due to our rebellion against a gracious God who has blessed us more than any other nation that has ever existed.

Distributed by www.ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Latter Rain

The Latter Rain Outpouring of the End Time
By Abraham Israel

What does it mean by latter rain?

Rain in Palestine [i.e. present day nation of Israel and its surroundings] falls abundantly during the wet season, or from November to April, but during the dry season, April to November; it rarely rains. The first rain after the drought of summer is called the “former,” because it precedes the seed-time and prepares the earth for cultivation. The “latter” rain falls in April, just before harvest, and perfects the fruits of the earth (Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23).

God has a set time for blessing mankind with rain. He has set due season to pour it out because our God is a God of order (Luke 1:8; Heb 5:10; 2 Chronicles 8:14; Acts 13:22; 1 Cor 14:33). In the Bible God Himself has promised, 14I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.” (Deut 11:14). Here in the preceding verse we see that God has a set time and season for His pouring out His rain [i.e. the greater measure of His Spirit]. He sends his rain so that we may gather our harvest in its time. As a result of rain we can expect three things in the natural, (1) grain, (2) new wine and (3) oil. In the same way because of the outpouring of the latter rain in our generation we can expect three things to happen in the spiritual realm,

(1) We will receive our grain (revelation of the word)“the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). The word of God will be quickened and made effective through the power of the Spirit and thus all manmade traditions will be broken (Mark 7:13). As we see even in the Pentecostal former rain outpouring, “…the word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24) and again years later the result of Paul’s apostolic ministry was the same as the Bible says, “…the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” (Acts19:20). The result of the latter rain outpouring in our generation will also have the same effect during which the word of God will grow mightily and prevail. During the latter rain outpouring the power of the word of the Lord will be manifested through the Church as God says in Isaiah 55:10-11, 10 “ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” ” What a promise to hold on during the time of the latter rain outpouring of this end time generation!

(2) We will receive our new wine – new ways of the manifestation and filling of the Spirit over the whole congregation (Eph 5:17-21; Acts 2:11-13; 10:44-48). This wine will make the saints to be glad and joyful during the whole season of harvest (Ps 104:15; 4:7). This new wine will burst out of our innermost being (Job 32:19). Receiving the new wine of the Spirit is just one indication that we are starting to reap the harvest that has been set forth by God (Prov 3:10). We should carry this new wine in to the house of God and not forsake it (Neh 10:39; 13:5, 12). The “new wine is found in cluster” (Is 65:8). What does it mean? It means that only a united force of God’s people can carry this mighty joy and gladness of the latter rain outpouring and sustain in it. It also means that the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ when manifested through us as a cluster will help us receive the new wine in greater measure. When we are filled with wine our whole body will be under its influence strongly and it will control our very body moments, words and thinking, in the same way when we too are under the influence of the Holy Spirit we will be controlled by Him fully even to our very body moments, words, thinking and behavior. So only the people mistook the apostles bold and unrestrained behavior through the Holy Spirit to be as though it was a drunken behavior (Acts 2:13). The prophet Jeremiah himself who experienced such things even during Old Testament times spoke about such Spirit-drunkenness by saying “My heart within me is broken ….; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of His holy words.” (Jeremiah 23:9). Boldness will always be an after effect of those who are drunk with wine. During the Pentecostal former rain outpouring in the first century, many experienced such great boldness as a result of Spirit drunkenness, even those who watched them confessed this peculiar characteristics of the apostolic company (Acts 2:13; 4:13,29-31; 6:10). This great boldness and Spirit drunkenness will again be manifested in a greater measure during this latter rain outpouring in our generation. This boldness will make the end time Apostolic Church to boldly declare the word of God with signs, wonders and miracles accompanying the message. Only this peculiar attribute of the end time Apostolic Church will make “the gospel of the kingdom” to be preached in the entire world as a witness to all nations because during this time lawlessness will abound (Matt 24:12, 14). Then will the end come [i.e. Seven year period of Antichrist and his one world government (Dan 9:27)].

(3) We will receive our oil - oil is the anointing to minister through the ability of God. Receiving our quota of oil will make us invincible against the works of the devil. This anointing also will have an effect of gladness rubbing our body, soul and spirit through it (Heb 1:9; Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38). This oil will literally make the faces of people who will receive it in great measure to shine like a face of an angel. During the Pentecostal former rain outpouring of the 1st century, this oil made the face of Stephen to shine forth like the face of an angel (Acts 6:15). Even Moses’ face shone in the Old Testament because this glory anointing-oil got rubbed over him as he literally lived in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29-35). Apostle Paul challenged the 1st century Apostolic Church asking this question to the make them ponder the infinite superiority of the present dispensation of the Holy Spirit’s personal ministry, 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?” (2 Cor 3:7-8). Surely the latter rain outpouring will manifest with a very strong glory anointing-oil to make the face of those who will minister through the Spirit to literally shine in our end time generation (Ps 104:15). This glory anointing-oil over a person will also bring a strong bond of unity to come upon the whole congregation of people (Ps 133:1-3). So only the end time Apostolic Church will succeed in being a witness to the entire world because of this unique glory anointing-oil working through the ministers and the congregation bringing a strong bond of unity which will make the world know that these people are true disciples of Jesus Christ (John 17:20-22; Matt 24:12-14).

Once the latter rain starts, we will all receive the quota of all of the above according to our thirst after the righteousness of God (Matt 5:6; Luke 6:21). Using the metaphor of rain, God has often during the time of Old Testament promised through different prophets that He has planned a set-time to pour out His Spirit on all men of the earth (Isaiah 44:3-5; Joel 2:28-32). This also gives us the clear idea that God was already pouring out His Spirit on selected people [i.e. nation of Israel] but not on all flesh. These times of outpouring of God’s Spirit upon all flesh irrespective of their nationality, race, tribe, tongue, color, social status and culture only started during the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended to the right hand of power (Mark 14:61-62; John 7:37-39; Acts 1:4-8). When Jesus told all His apostles to wait till the day of Pentecost for the outpouring of the Spirit to be received by them (Luke 24:49), they implicitly obeyed and “…all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…”(Acts 1:14).

Let us see what happened further, 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one [i.e. the Holy Spirit] sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4).

We see here in the above verse, when the Holy Spirit fills either an inanimate structure like a upper room or a physical body, always there will be a evidence of manifestation through the supernatural origin of sound from heaven [i.e. “…as of a rushing mighty wind…” or “…speaking with other tongues…”, etc..]. This is the first time after all men have forever fallen short of the glory of God because of First Adam’s transgression, the Last Adam [i.e. Jesus Christ] restored the breach that man made because of his lack of submission and disobedience to his Creator God (Rom 3:23; 5:12,19). Jesus regained the rights to receive the Spirit as a perfect Man and a Mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5). Because of His love toward every one of us, He started to pour out His Spirit on all flesh from the point of Pentecost onwards (Matt 3:11; Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4).

Notice the reaction of the people to the occurrence of the sound from heaven as the Bible says, 5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.” (Acts 2:5-13). We see this magnificent scenario of the opening ceremony of the Pentecostal former rain outpouring. The apostles did not go from door to door and house to house inviting people to come and attend the outpouring opening meeting. Many of the disciples and apostles were afraid before this occurrence of sound from heaven. But after the Holy Spirit released a “sound from heaven” as a battle cry of trumpet sound before the war legally and spiritually started against the kingdom of darkness in this earth (1 Cor 14:8), He symbolically came upon each one individually [Acts 2:3 => Cross ref: Acts 1:8, here fire is a symbol of the person and ability of the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Deu 4:24; 9:3; Heb 12:29)] and subsequently filled all of them with Himself, thus they became bold and ready to be a witness to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). Even if they would have tried to organize such a big meeting because of their fleshly zeal, they would have utterly failed due to opposition and persecution against them. This is purely a supernatural invitation from heaven that went forth to all the people of the world who dwelt in Jerusalem for the festive occasion, devout men, from every nation under heaven. The invitation came to them as a blast of super natural “sound from heaven”. This is a sign from heaven. Think about it, if such invitation came to the people directly from heaven for the opening ceremony of the spectacular former rain outpouring. How much more such signs will happen in our generation to gather the people of the world to receive the latter rain outpouring of the end time, which will open up with a greater intensity of audible sound from heaven. The latter glory will always be greater than the former (Hag 2:9; John 2:10-11), according to this truth there will be greater supernatural occurrences and invitation of heaven through “sound from heaven” during this latter rain outpouring. Such signs will only gather the people of the world in our generation to hear the message of the gospel with amazement and perplexed excitement. In other words, heaven will align itself with the end time Church to proclaim the “gospel of the kingdom” with power during this latter rain outpouring, which will be greater in result, intensity and manifestations than the former rain of the first century.

The “former rain,” first falls after the drought of summer [i.e. the dry season, April to November during which it rarely rains] to precede the seed-time and prepare the earth for cultivation. After four hundred years of dark ages where there was hardly any manifestation of His Spirit through the prophets before John the Baptist and Jesus came, the former rain on the day of Pentecost was the first rain that started to precede before the apostolic seed sowing time and harvest. So also the latter rain will precede the end-time apostolic seed sowing and harvest at the end of the age.

The people who understood the apostolic upper room disciple’s language of tongues were all amazed and those who did not understand their supernatural language were mockingly perplexed. Apostle Peter stood out to explain this phenomenon because the Spirit must have brought in to remembrance the prophecies that Jesus must have taught from the Old Testament Book of Joel during his ministry time before His ascension (John 14:26; Acts 1:3). Here see what the Apostle Peter said to these people, 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.’ ””
(Acts 2:14-21).

So according to this prophecy, the last days out pouring which started with the day of Pentecost, will be over only at the exact time Jesus will appear at “…the great and awesome day of the Lord…” to judge the nations and rule the earth with a rod of iron (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). Jesus exactly pointed that 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matt 24:29-30). Comparing the verses in Acts 2:20 and Matt 24:29 we see that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit will continue during the tribulation of the end time even up to the second coming (Zech 12:10). This is the reason this prophecy’s promise of outpouring of God’s Spirit comes with an open invitation of “…whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved….”. What does this really mean to us in this generation? It means just as thousands of souls were added to the church in a single day, and many more thousands in the successive days, months and years during the ‘former rain’ season of Pentecost, so will be during the ‘latter rain’ season of end time. But in greater intensity like never before seen or heard (Acts 2:41,47; 4:4). According to the natural meaning of ‘latter rain’, it will be the best outpouring of the whole seasons of the entire set time [i.e. year] so that it will perfect the fruit of the earth for the harvest. Just as in the natural, “latter” rain falls in April [i.e. In the wet season rain will fall abundantly- from November to April], just before harvest, and perfects the fruits of the earth, so also in the spiritual realm the latter rain outpouring will fall over all the field of the world and perfect the Church for rapture and then the second coming (Matthew 13:38-39). The believer's are the one who are considered spiritually as having the first-fruits of the Spirit [i.e. in various level and order], hence they will be harvested at the time of rapture [i.e. Christ the firstfruits] and then the second coming [i.e. those who are Christ's] (Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 15:20,23). These will be the results of such latter rain outpouring as described in the Bible, when 26…He [i.e. Jesus Christ] will (might) sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:26-27) so that “…we all [i.e. the Church] (will) come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Eph 4:13). This is the Church that will be raptured when Christ will come for salvation apart from sin (Heb 9:28; 1 Thess 4:16-17). This is also the Church that will declare the gospel with apostolic authority followed by signs, wonders and miracles (Mark 16:15-18, 20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:5, 41). Jesus prophetically described the activity of this apostolic Church by saying, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the entire world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14). The main theme of this end time apostolic Church will be the “gospel of the kingdom”. This message of the kingdom will be the core emphasis of the glorious church. This proclamation of the “gospel of the kingdom” will be done by the glorious church during the summer harvest time which has been in sight, as the nation of Israel symbolically represented by a fig tree have started to come in to existence and become strong (Matt 24:32-35). Now that the nation of Israel has already become strong, I believe that we are in the verge of the mighty outpouring of the latter rain. But the secret to bringing this latter rain in to existence is in our hands because God has exhorted this Church of the end time to Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.” (Zech 10:1). If only we will ask and persistently keep on asking the Lord to send the latter rain by standing on His promise, surely we will begin to see the mighty manifestations of the latter rain in our generation! Praise the Lord!

It is true that God is the one who starts and supplies the latter rain as the Bible says in Jer 5:24, “They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” At the same time He expects us to cooperate with Him to bring the latter rain of promise. The Bible says "...with God all things are possible" (Matt 19:26). This preceding verse shows that a man in partnership with God is a majority in this world because he can do all things with God in His infinite possibility zone. In other words it means, God will never do anything on earth unless a man participates in the divine endeavour to fullfill His eternal purposes (Ezekiel 22:30-31). Prayer is partnering with God and giving permission to the Lord to fullfill His purpose and promises, so that mankind as a whole can receive the goodness and favour of God, instead of judgment and wrath of God which we all legally deserve (Matt 6:10). Fear of the Lord will play an important role in ushering the latter rain outpouring as we have seen in Jer 5:24 above. The Church should pray for the mantle of the fear of the Lord to rest upon it in order to receive in the fullness of the latter rain outpouring (Isaiah 11:2). “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate (Prov8:13)”. The Church should start to delight in the fear of the Lord and should not judge one another by the sight of our natural eyes and decide by the hearing of the natural ears, but with righteousness [i.e. Lord our righteousness (Jer 23:6)] we should judge the poor [i.e. poor in spirit (Matt 5:3)] and decide with equity for the meek of the earth (Isaiah 11:3). O Church arise with zeal for the fear of the Lord! Thunder it from all the pulpits of the world and live in the mantle of the fear of the Lord! This is what is needed more than anything in our generation to reach the world through the King’s favor of the latter rain.

Spiritual harlotries with the world and its material pursuit have depleted the power of the latter rain that has been prepared for the Church in our generation. See what the Lord says, 1 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me,” says the LORD. 2 “Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to Me , My Father, You are the guide of my youth?” (Jer 3:1-4). See in the preceding verses, how God the Father’s heart is longing to pour out the latter rain, which has been withheld due to spiritual harlotry. Crying out to the Father as our only guide of our youthful generation, and persistently depending on Him for day to day guidance by asking Him for more of His Spirit will only bring the latter rain showers to be poured out in our generation (Luke 11:9-13). So only the apostle John specifically spoke to last hour Church saying, 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17). The Church should move beyond mediocrity into sublime way of living in the love of the Father and in the mantle of the fear of the Lord (Deut 6:5; 11:22-26; Ps 31:23; 97:10; 116:1; Matt 22:36-40). Loving righteousness and hating lawlessness are the two sides of the same coin (Heb 1:9). Only the Lord can teach such fear of the Lord, it cannot be produced by man made efforts (Ps 34:11). When the fear of the Lord rests upon the Church and they desire to walk in it, then will the end time apostolic Church be greatly multiplied through the latter rain out pouring (2 Chronicles 19:7, 9; Acts 9:31). The fear of the Lord is actually a treasure which is resting upon the Church, it should be zealously preserved from the thieves and enemies of the Lord (Is 33:6). This is the message which will usher in the latter rain outpouring before the end time and will sustain it till the end of the harvest season even up to the rapture of the Church. How do we know that John the apostle spoke this message to the last hour Church which is the terminal generation in which we are presently living? Because He said in the succeeding verse, 18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming [When? At the end time terminal generation], even now many antichrists [i.e. many who claim, suggest and pretend as an original to the teaching and living of Christ the anointed one] have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18). The Lord will allow the antichrists and the Antichrist to do sign and wonder to test you whether you love the lord and will depart from the evil of harlotries and religious fantasies (Deut 13:1-4). The evidence that we are on the verge of the beginning of end time today more than ever before is the steep increase in the antichrists like never before seen or heard, thus the great expectation of the world for that single person [i.e. Antichrist] to restore and prosper the world system of governance with the message of “Peace and safety!” (1 Thess 5:3; Matt 24:4-5).

After the rapture takes place the winter season will creep in as Jesus has prophesied saying, 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” (Mark 13:18-19). Will the outpouring stop during tribulation? By no means, check out this promise that God has given to the Church, 23 Be glad then, you children of Zion [i.e. the Church (Heb 12:22-24)], and rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month(Joel 2:23). Here we should notice that God has told in the preceding verse that “He has [already] given you the former rain faithfully…”. If we ask the question when? It is right at the time of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21). Next the promise continues saying “…He will cause the rain to come…” If we ask the question when? The answer continues “…The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month”. The first month will be the seasonal starting point of the rain that will continue till the harvest gets fully over at the end of the summer season. The harvest will always come to fruition in the summer season (Gen 8:22; Prov 6:8; 10:5; 26:1; Is 16:9; Jer 8:20). So only Jesus prophesied and exhorted that when we notice the nation of Israel get restored and revived along with other nations around it, we should remember that the latter rain will already be starting to increase and move toward its zenith for the end time fruition harvest of the summer season (Matt 24:32-35; Luke 21:29-33) [Note: God has described the nation of Israel as the land of fig trees (Deut 8:8). Israel is symbolically represented in the scripture as a fig tree (Hosea 9:10; Jer 24:3, 5, 8; Joel 1:6, 12; 1 Kings 4:25). Other nations such as Babylon [i.e. present day Iraq] and other nations around Israel has been metaphorically shown and symbolically been called by God as tree in various places (Dan 4; Judges 9:7-21; 1 Kings 4:33)]. In the Bible Job says, They [i.e. people who wanted to meet Job] waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouth wide as for the spring [i.e. latter] rain.” (Job 29:23). The above verse shows that we need to wait with expectation in prayer and supplication to receive the spring time latter rain. When it comes and is poured forth, we need to open our mouth and God will fill it as he has promised in Psa 81:10, “…Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.” As the Bible says the latter rain will start with spring time [i.e. rebirth, revival and restoration of the strength of the nation of Israel] (Matt 24:32).

At the end time outpouring, both the former and the latter rain will together come as a package [i.e. one after the other]. As the latter rain [i.e. spring rain] pours out in full force and gets over with the summer harvest, so will be the latter rain outpouring of God’s Spirit (Matt 24:32). It will come out in full force till the end of harvest before rapture [which is the end of summer season and starting of autumn season] takes place, after the rapture takes place the former rain [i.e. autumn rain] will start and continue till the time of tribulation [which is the winter season] gets over before Jesus comes back the second time to this planet earth. According to the seasons of life, summer and winter will come together all the time. So also will be at the time of outpouring of God’s Spirit during the summer and winter season of the end time (Gen 8:22). This shows that the outpouring will continue in a lesser intensity than before rapture, during the tribulation time of the end.

Thus these whole times of manifestation of the Spirit and the outpouring which God has planned for humanity started on the day of Pentecost and will only end at the Second Coming of Jesus to this earth when He will defeat Anti-christ and his evil armies exactly in the final war of Armageddon (Rev 16:16; 14:19; 19:15, 19-21; Joel 3:2). The Lord calls this final war with the description of a harvest day in Joel 3:12-14, 12Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat [i.e. the place where the battle of Armageddon will take place]; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow— for their wickedness is great.” 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” The preceding verse in Joel 3:14 says that “the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision”. In other words it says that the day of rapture and the day of the second coming is based on the valley of decision, which is the former and the latter rain through the season of summer and winter in which billions of souls will take a firm decision either to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Messiah or reject Him forever to be doomed with Anti-christ and Satan.

God the Father who is the real vinedresser is waiting for the fruit to appear in the earth through the latter rain outpouring (John 15:1-2, 8). How do we know for sure? Because the Apostle James said, 7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7). In the above verse, we see a set time that God has set in for both the ‘early rain of Pentecost’ and the ‘latter rain before the end [i.e. starts much before the peace accord that Anti-christ will make with the nation of Israel and will end before the rapture]’. God the Father Himself symbolically as a spiritual farmer of the world is waiting to pour out the latter rain so that the fruit of the Spirit can be seen in full fruition harvest at the time of the end, before the coming of Jesus to rapture the Church. This time of the latter rain outpouring will be a time of great favor for the whole church as the Bible says, “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.” (Prov 16:15). The Church will not have to strive to bring in the harvest that God has set before us in this generation, but through God’s favor of His latter rain, souls in billions will be harvested through the power of the Spirit of God (Rom 15:18-20). Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Israel as a nation will miss both the latter rain out pouring before the rapture takes place and also the former rain that will come during the tribulation of those days of Antichrist, except for a small minority of Messianic-Jews who will believe and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Messiah. Finally after the tribulation of end time will be over (Matt 24:29-30), these Jews will realize their folly of rejecting their Messiah Jesus Christ, then they will seek after Him by saying among themselves, 1 Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. 2 After two days He will revive us [i.e. revival of Messianic Jews]; On the third day He will raise us up [i.e. resurrection of the nation of Israel will happen when the millennium starts with the Jewish people mourning and repenting for rejecting Jesus during the first coming and receiving Antichrist as their messiah during the peace accord of seven years (Zech 12:10-11; John 5:43)], that we may live in His sight. 3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3). Finally as the Jews realize their folly of rejecting Jesus as their Messiah, by then they will look behind them to the “latter and former rain” as their only reference point of the outpouring that revealed Jesus as the Messiah. The latter rain that got finished before the rapture and the former rain that got over after the end of tribulation must have surely revealed the might of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of the whole world, so only these Jews because of the opening of their spiritual eyes look behind them to the “…latter rain and [then] the former rain…” out pouring as a testimony to God’s faithfulness to rescue them and build them in the future.

Just like in the natural sphere, in the spiritual God has set a time for harvest of souls at the end of the age. As Jesus Himself pointed out in the parable of the tares that 39….the harvest is the end of the age [i.e. this age is the present times of the Gentiles which started with Egypt and ends at the time of the reign of Anti-christ (Luke 21:24)], and the reapers are the angels. 40….as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man [i.e. Jesus the Christ] will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matt 13:39-43). The end of age will be a very short time period in which the kingdoms of this world which are under the strong satanic influence will reach its zenith and will forever be destroyed by Jesus Christ who will establish the kingdom of God on earth forever. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Gate to Prophecy

Why is the Eastern Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem closed, and what does it have to do with Bible prophecy? -by Dr. David R. Reagan

The Eastern Gate in the old walled city of Jerusalem has a very special place in my heart, for it was that gate which God used to open my eyes to His Prophetic Word.

The year was 1967. The occasion was the Six Day War. As the fate of the new state of Israel hung in the balance, I searched the newspapers daily for any information I could find about the war. The turning point came on June 7 when the Israeli army broke through the Lion's Gate and returned control of the ancient city of Jerusalem to the Jewish people for the first time in 1,897 years.

A Mysterious Remark

The next day I read a fascinating news account about one of the Jewish commando groups that had been involved in the assault on the city. The article stated that some members of the group had suggested catching the Jordanian defenders of the city off guard by blowing open the sealed Eastern Gate. But the leader of the group, an Orthodox Jew, had vehemently protested the idea, stating that "the Eastern Gate can be opened only when the Messiah comes."

That statement caught my eye. I wondered what the fellow was talking about. I knew nothing about the Eastern Gate except that it was the only gate of the city that led directly onto the Temple Mount. I was not aware that it was sealed, nor did I know that its opening was in any way biblically linked to the return of the Messiah.

A Remarkable Prophecy

I decided to do some research on the matter, and that decision initiated my study of Bible prophecy. I had been attending church for 30 years, but like most Christians, I knew nothing about Bible prophecy. The topic was generally ignored by the preachers in the church I grew up in.

My concordance quickly directed me to the passage that the Orthodox Jew had alluded to. I found it in Ezekiel 44. The context is a supernatural tour the Lord is giving Ezekiel of the future Millennial Temple (40:1-3).

In chapter 43 the Lord gives Ezekiel a vision of God's glory entering the Millennial Temple from the east, through the Eastern Gate. The Lord then says to Ezekiel: "Son of Man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of my feet where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever" (43:7).

The Lord then reveals to Ezekiel that the Eastern Gate will be closed and will not be reopened until the Messiah returns in glory (44:1-3).

A Momentous Decision

This prophecy was partially fulfilled more than 400 years ago in 1517 when the Turks conquered Jerusalem under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent. He commanded that the city's ancient walls be rebuilt, and in the midst of this rebuilding project, for some unknown reason, he ordered that the Eastern Gate be sealed up with stones.

Legends abound as to why Suleiman closed the Gate. The most believable one is that while the walls were being rebuilt, a rumor swept Jerusalem that the Messiah was coming. Suleiman called together some Jewish rabbis and asked them to tell him about the Messiah. They described the Messiah as a great military leader who would be sent by God from the east. He would enter the Eastern Gate and liberate the city from foreign control.

Suleiman then decided to put an end to Jewish hopes by ordering the Eastern Gate sealed. He also put a Muslim cemetery in front of the Gate, believing that no Jewish holy man would defile himself by walking through a Muslim cemetery.

A Prophetic Symbol

The Gate has remained sealed since that time. The Muslim cemetery still blocks the entrance. The old walled city has eight gates, and the Eastern Gate, and it alone, is sealed — just as prophesied in Ezekiel 44. The world would call that an "amazing coincidence." I call it a "God-incidence."

The Eastern Gate is proof positive that the Bible is the Word of God. Its sealing is clear evidence that we are living in the end times. The Gate awaits the return of the Messiah. Then and only then, will it be opened.

An Exciting Vision

I have a vision of what that glorious day will be like. It is related to the Lord's First Coming. I believe Jesus is going to replay His triumphal entry into Jerusalem when He returns.

When He came the first time, Jesus rode a donkey from the Mount of Olives down into the Kidron Valley and up to the Eastern Gate where He entered the Temple Mount for His last days of teaching. As He made that ride, the Valley of Kidron was filled with thousands of admirers who had heard about the resurrection of Lazarus. They waved palm branches and chanted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" Within a few days that same fickle crowd was shouting, "Crucify Him!"

We are told in Revelation 19 that when Jesus returns He will come as a victorious military conqueror, riding through the air on a supernatural white horse. In Isaiah 61 we are told that He will come from the east, and in Zechariah 14 we are told that he will touch ground on the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 19:14 says that all the Redeemed will come with the Lord. Think of it! You and I will be there to witness the Lord's return. Zechariah 14 says He will speak a word that will supernaturally destroy the Anti-Christ and his forces.

Then, I believe we will witness a replay of the Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. With angels hovering above and millions of the Redeemed filling the Kidron Valley, Jesus will ride up to the Eastern Gate on His white horse, and as He approaches the Gate, it will blow open. He will then enter the City of David, and to the triumphant shouts of "Hosanna to the Son of David," He will be crowned the Kings of kings and the Lord of lords.

I believe that's what Psalm 24 is all about when it says:

"Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle...The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory."