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Part Four: "THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES."

"PROPHECY OUT-LOOK WORLD-WIDE,"

Plus: "THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY."

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The Parable Of The Fig Tree And Various Signs:

( 1 ). Commentary ... "This parable like other parables take in a great deal of territory, because it is a picture of several events that will occur in the future as we shall see. The parable of the fig tree { Matthew 24:32 } refers to various signs that are to take place following the Rapture of the BODY OF CHRIST. It must be remembered that signs were for the Israelites not for the BODY OF CHRIST of today. On the other hand many signs have been apparent throughout the present age that point to the end times which concerns the nation of Israel. So, Christians should always take notice and observe any of those signs when they appear. Remember this, Israel becoming a nation in 1948 was certainly a sign to the world that the return of MESSIAH was to be expected in the near future.

Naturally time in eternity really means very little! GOD in the past before He created the Heavens and the Earth did not need time as we do today. But, after He created the human and animal kingdom He knew that after sin entered His creation the time element was necessary until sin would be abolished. So therefore, time began with His creation of man who brought sin into the world. The world is now six thousand years old since Adam was created. And very soon now, during this seventh millennium of man, will brings forth the reign of MESSIAH as King supreme. When the Millennial reign of MESSIAH has come to its completion this old earth and its atmosphere will be purged, and a "New Earth and Heaven will be created by the LORD. From then on time will be no more. For in eternity time will not be needed, it will then be as it was before man was created! Concerning signs, Israel was to expect signs, JESUS told the Jewish nobleman ...

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( 2 ). Scripture: "Then said JESUS to him, Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe, { John 4:48 }."

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( 3 ). The above { V. 48 } Paraphrased in commentary form ... "Then said JESUS to him, Except 'you [ Israelites' ] observe signs and 'wonders [ i.e., miracles take place' ], you and your people 'will not believe [ trust, or have any faith at all' ], { John 4:48 }." see { Isaiah 7:11; - Mark 16:20; - & - Acts 2:22 }.

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( 4 ). Scripture: "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after, wisdom, { 1- Corinthians 1:22 }."

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( 5 ). The above { V. 22 } Paraphrased in commentary form ... "For 'the Jews [ demandingly' ] require 'a sign [ and miracles' ], and 'the Greeks [ heathen Gentiles' ] seek 'after [ philosophy, knowledge' and ], wisdom."

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( 6 ). Commentary ... As you know and is illustrated above, philosophy refers to: "Science, Knowledge and Wisdom." "In telling the Apostles of the different signs on earth and in the heavens that would signal His return, JESUS said false CHRIST's would arise, and there would be great famines, great wars with kingdom against kingdom, pestilences, and many earthquakes in various places all over the earth at the same time, some of this we have already covered in other parts of this message. There are some who contend that JESUS did not mean that famines, wars, pestilences and earthquakes would be specific signs of the end of the age, but rather the normal course of world events "until the end of the world will come."

( 7 ). This writer completely rejects this explanation, because if we go to { Daniel, plus Ezekiel Ch. 38 and 39 }, the prophecies of Paul concerning the end of the age, and the book of Revelation, we know that there will be a great increase in famine, war, and earthquakes." And, "as far as the end of the world is concerned" . . . "this world will exist forever: see { Isaiah 45:17; - Ephesians 3:21; - Luke 1:33; - Ecclesiastes 1:4; - Psalm 104:5; - 119:90; - & - Genesis 8:22<}." There are over 130 verses in our Bible that prove the eternal plan for this world to never end! As for signs, we read ...

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( 8 ). { V. 7 } Scripture: "And when 'He [ CHRIST' ] had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

( 9 ). { V. 8 }: And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beast of the earth, { Revelation 6:7-8 }."

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( 10 ). The above { V. 8 } Paraphrased in commentary form . . . "So I looked, and behold, an ashy pale horse [ black and blue as if made so by bruising ]: and his rider's name was death, and Hades the realm of the wicked dead followed him closely; and they were given authority and power over a fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword and with famine and with plague, pestilence, and wild beasts of the earth."

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( 11 ). Commentary ... "And, we continue to read of the great earthquakes that will occur in the Tribulation. So JESUS, when He said there would be famines, wars with kingdoms rising against kingdom, and earthquakes in many places at the same time, He was not altogether simply referring to the general course of history. But, He was referring specifically to the signs of the end of the Hebrew age during the Tribulation Period. JESUS stated that during that 7 year period, unless those days would be shortened everyone in the world would die of famine, disease, or be killed by Antichrist. This does not mean that there would be less days in the week or month, but that for the sake of safety, the daylight hours would be drastically shortened. If those who refuse the mark of the beast are fleeing the clutches of the Antichrist and his henchmen at that time, they will have a much better chance to escape to a hiding place at night then during daylight hours.

( 12 ). In { Matthew 24:28 } our LORD made reference to the Battle of Armageddon when He said, where-ever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered. The carcass will be the bodies of the armies of Antichrist that will be gathered against Jerusalem at the end of the Tribulation Period as we read in { Revelation 19:21 }. In { Matthew 24:29-31 }, JESUS informed the Apostles that as the great time of tribulation comes to an end, there would be a great cosmic display in the heavens. The sun will become dark, the moon will not be seen, and then the brightness of our LORD's coming will be seen out of all this darkness:

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( 13 ). Scripture: "For as the lightning [ shall flash and ] come out of the east, and shine even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the SON OF MAN be, { Matthew 24:27 }."

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( 14 ). Commentary . . . "In the preceding verse JESUS said that there was no need for anyone living on the earth to be deceived about these false CHRIST's who would arise in the last days, because His return would be as evident as a bolt of lightning. We do not have to wonder about a bolt of lightning. It shoots down from the clouds to the earth, followed by a rumble of thunder. And just so, we need to measure and appraise all the claims of false messiahs in our day by this standard. It seems obvious that there were even false messiahs during Paul's time, and that time was considered as the last days. There has been much confusion as to the length of time of the last day period. One writer wrote: "The last days mentioned in { Hebrews 1:2 } means the entire Gospel Dispensation extending from the first to the Second advent of CHRIST."

We have in the past heard many ministers voice this same conclusion. BUT, we wholeheartedly disagree with this kind of interpretation of Hebrews. As Scripture makes clear, the Acts period was considered as the last days for the Israelis because they denied CHRIST as their MESSIAH, and Paul turned His back on the nation three times during his ministry, the last time in { Acts 28:27-28 }. The last days for Israel to accept their King evidently began in the 40 year Acts period until they were set aside at their Temples destruction. Therefore, as Israel was set aside as a nation for a two thousand year period while the BODY OF CHRIST is brought together as the ONE NEW MAN of { Ephesians 2:15 }, so was their last days set aside also until the Rapture of CHRIST's BODY of Saints. After the Rapture Israel's last days will commence again until the prophecy of those days are completed! The BODY OF CHRIST for these two millennia has been a parenthetical period between Israel's national existence until her MESSIAH returns.

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( 15 ). As to cultic teachings today, one modern cult that is leading thousands of young people astray claims that the MESSIAH came back over a hundred years ago. Some of the modern false CHRIST's come from the east, India, Southeast Asia and Korea, a whole parade of these men go abroad claiming to be the CHRIST to lead other millions astray, but these are all false CHRIST's because they come to us on ships and airplanes, and I have not seen a great host of angels following them. So do not be deceived, because when JESUS returns we read in { Revelation 1:7; - & - 19:16 } that every eye shall see Him and every tongue shall confess that He is KING OF KING's and LORD OF LORD's. All these modern so-called saviors are puny and cheap imitations!

( 16 ). As we read on from our text, JESUS illustrated His teachings concerning the signs of the end of Israel's age and His return again with a series of parables. Of course, today as we see several things JESUS prophesied for Israel appearing on the scene, we have to remember that we do not need parables in our own age to understand prophetic events that were given for Israel. But, not only did the early disciples and apostles need clarification of these deep truths through the LORD's parables and illustrations, but also Christians living through these past hundreds of years of the Dispensation of Grace needed to comprehend Israel's parables. The first parable that JESUS told the Apostles who were with Him on Mt. Olivet, identified as Peter, James, John and Andrew in { Mark 13:3 }, was about a fig tree putting on buds in the spring of the year. We need to read again { Matthew 24: 32-36 } above.

( 17 ). As we have repeated many times in our messages, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and a large portion of Acts are of Jewish intent and application. Likewise, the Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew is oriented to GOD's dealing with Israel in her latter days, during the Tribulation Age. In { Matthew 24:30 } JESUS refers to the tribes of GOD's earthly people Israel, mourning for Him as they see the SON OF MAN coming in the clouds of Heaven. We now read of the event when Israel will recognize JESUS CHRIST as their promised MESSIAH:

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( 18 ). Scripture: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the SPIRIT of Grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Who they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son: { Zechariah 12:10 }."

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( 19 ). The above { V. 10 } paraphrased in commentary form ... "And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the SPIRIT of Grace or unmerited favor, and of supplications. And they shall look earnestly upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his first born." See { John 19:37 }.

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( 20 ). Commentary ... "In { Matthew 24:31 } JESUS speaks of sending His Angels to gather together His elect, and here the elect means Israel, 'from one end of [ this world's atmospheric ] Heaven to the other.' Israel is GOD's elect earthly nation, and the BODY OF CHRIST is the LORD's elect Heavenly BODY." We read of the re-gathering of Israel as follows:

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( 21 ). { V. 1 } Scripture: "Woe be unto the 'pastors [ shepherds,' ] that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! says the LORD.

( 22 ). { V. 2 }: Therefore thus says the LORD GOD of Israel against the 'pastors [ shepherds' ] 'that [ care for+ and ] feed My people;' you have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings says the LORD.

( 23 ). { V. 3 }: And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries wherever I have driven them, and will bring them again to 'their folds [ and pastures' ]; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

( 24 ). { V. 4 }: And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, 'neither shall they be lacking [ of anything or become lost' ], says the LORD.

( 25 ). { V. 5 }: Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and 'a King shall reign [ wisely ] and prosper,' and shall execute judgment and justice [ and righteousness ] in the earth.

( 26 ). { V. 6 }: In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. See { Matthew 1:21-23; - & - Romans 3:22. }

( 27 ). { V. 7 }: Therefore, behold, the days come, says the LORD, that they shall no more say, [ as ] the LORD lives, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

( 28 ). { V. 8 }: But, [ as ] The LORD lives, which brought up and which led 'the seed [ offspring' ] of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries where I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land, { Jeremiah 23:1-8 }."

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( 29 ). Commentary . . . "And also Israel is dealt with throughout the Olivet discourse as recorded in Matthew as well as in Jeremiah, as GOD's prophetic time piece for the end of the Hebrew age, and even into the parables, Israel remains the central theme. Therefore, it should be evident to every student of prophecy that the fig tree of the first parable is symbolic of Israel. In Scripture, the Fig tree is representative of national Israel, the olive tree speaks of spiritual Israel, and the vine, as Messianic Israel spreading the message of salvation in the Redeemer to all nations. In our Bible we read:

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( 30 ). { V. 17 } Scripture: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, [ and ] neither shall fruit be in the vines; [ though ] the labour [ the product ] of the olive shall fail, and [ though ] the fields shall yield no meat [ food; and though ] the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd [ of cattle ] in the stalls,

( 31 ). { V. 18 }: Yet will I rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in 'the [ victorious ] God' of my salvation! { Habakkuk 3:17-18 }." See { Romans 8:37 }.

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( 32 ). { V. 18 } Scripture: "Now in the morning as 'He [ CHRIST' ] returned into the city, He hungered.

( 33 ). { V. 19 }: And when He saw a [ single leafy ] fig tree in the way, He came to it, and [ when He ] found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and [ He then ] said to it, Let no fruit grow on you henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

( 34 ). { V. 20 }: And when the disciples saw it, they 'marveled [ greatly' and ], saying, 'How soon [ and why' ] is 'the fig tree withered away [ all at once' ]?

( 35 ). { V. 21 }: JESUS answered and said to them, 'Verily [ truly' ] I say to you, 'If you have faith [ a firm relying trust' ], and doubt not, you shall not only do 'this [ type of thing yourselves' ] which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say to this mountain, be you removed, and be you cast into the sea; it shall be done.

( 36 ). { V. 22 }: And all things, whatever you shall ask 'in prayer, [ having faith' and really ] believing, you shall receive, { Matthew 21:18-22 }." See also { Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 }.

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( 37 ). Commentary ... "The fig tree fruit generally appears in February, followed by leaves, which are not formed until late spring. Thus, there should normally have been some fruit on the tree. The fig was often used as a symbol of the nation Israel, see { Hosea 9:10; - & - Joel 1:7 }, and while JESUS literally came upon a barren fig tree, He used the incident to fully illustrate Israel's desperate condition. The curse let no fruit grow ... "for ever" resulted in the almost immediate withering of the entire tree. While trees are non-moral, they like all of nature, are subject to the Word of CHRIST.

( 38 ). The disciples ... marveled at how this could happen so fast. Notice, that none of them questioned the morality of this incident, as have misguided modern commentators. JESUS told them how to do such astounding things: "Have faith" or absolute confidence in the power of GOD. The removal of the mountain may indicate eliminating obstacles to giving the Gospel to the Gentiles. Such appears to be the most likely meaning of the entire incident. Israel is the fruitless fig tree and the Gentiles are the mountain which shall be moved to salvation and CHRIST by the power of prayer.

( 39 ). Although the parable was illustrated for the knowledge and as a sign for the Israelites. We must remember that several proselytes that had been Gentiles were the recipients of the Kingdom Gospel during the time CHRIST and His disciples taught that particular Gospel. The fig tree had abundant leaves, but no fruit to the LORD. So JESUS put a curse upon it, and it withered and died. This practical example demonstrated GOD's displeasure with Israel, and in 70 A.D. Israel as a nation did die and wither away. This cursing of the fig tree was spelled out in literal language by JESUS in the Temple, just before He departed to Mt. Olivet. Even today the student will notice that Israel is not a very fruit bearing nation. But there are Messianic Jews, referring to Hebrew people that have become Christians, and are now acting in the missionary capacity at this present time, and many of them are doing this in the US. But, we haven't heard as to whether any Jews who are not Christians have gone to other countries to try and convert Gentiles or Christians to Judaism. If this is being done I personally do not know of it taking place.

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( 40 ). { V. 33 } Scripture: "You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape 'the damnation [ judgment ] of hell? '

( 41 ). { V. 34 }: Therefore, behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

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( 42 ). I.e., The last part of this above verse refers to the Apostles, see { Matthew, 10:17, 23 }.

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( 43 ). { V. 35 }: That upon 'you [ Israelis' ] may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachi'as, whom you slew between the temple and the altar.

( 44 ). { V. 36 }: 'Verily [ surely to be believed' ] I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation, { Matthew 23:33-36 }."

( 45 ). { V. 37 }: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kills the prophets, and stones them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!

( 46 ). { V. 38 }: Behold 'your house [ nation' ] is left unto you desolate.

( 47 ). { V. 39 }: For I say to you, you shall not see Me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD, { Matthew 23:33-39 }."

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( 48 ). The above 7 verses paraphrased in commentary form . . .

{ 33 }: "You generation 'of serpents! [ You spawn of poisonous snakes!' ] how can you escape the penalty of suffering in hell, [ "the eternal "lake of fire ]."?

{ 34 }: Because of this, take notice My people Israel, I am sending you 'prophets and wise men [ interpreters and teachers' ] and 'scribes [ learned men in the Mosaic Law and the prophetic books and wrote the words down on parchment ]: some of them you will kill, even crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues, and pursue and persecute from town to town,

{ 35 }: So that upon your heads may come all the blood of the righteous [ those who correspond to the Divine standard of right, . . . blood that has been ] shed on earth from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, who you murdered between the sanctuary and the 'altar [ of burnt offering' ]. See { Genesis 4:8; - & - 2- Chronicles 24:20-22. }

{ 36 }: Truly, I declare to you, 'all these [ evil, calamitous times' ] will come upon 'this [ your' ] generation. See { 2- Chronicles 36:15-16. }.

{ 37 }: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that murders the prophets and stones those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!

{ 38 }: Behold, 'your house [ i.e., your nation' ] is forsaken and desolate . . . abandoned and 'left destitute [ of GOD's help.' This also refers to Israel's Temple destruction in A.D. 70 ]. ]. See { 2- Kings 9:7; - & - Jeremiah 22:5. }

{ 39 }: For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed . . . magnified in worship, adored and exalted . . . be He the MESSIAH Who comes in the name of the LORD! See { Psalm 118:26. }"

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( 49 ). Commentary . . . "The Hebrew generation to which these words were addressed represented the culmination point of the whole sinful history of the nation, beginning with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, see { Genesis Ch. 4; - & - Hebrews 11:4 } and going on to the murder of Zacharias son of Barachias. In { 2- Chronicles 24:20-21 } we find the account of the murder of Zechariah son of Jehoiada "in the court of the house of the LORD." Incidentally, Second Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew Bible. CHRIST was saying, In effect, in { V. 35 }, "from the first to the last murder in tie Bible." Naturally this was a reference to the Hebrew Bible. There is some controversy concerning which Zacharias is meant here in this text, but if this is the incident here referred to, the mention of Abel and Zacharias may be intended to cover the whole Old Testament revelation. The difficulty is that the Zechariah murdered in { 2- Chronicles 24 } was not the son of Berechiah. This Zechariah was the prophet { Zechariah 1:1 }. Though he lived after the exile and toward the close of the Old Testament history there exists no tradition or record that he was murdered.

( 50 ). Another possibility is that the Zechariah referred to here is identical with "Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah" mentioned in { Isaiah 8:2 }, but nothing further seems to be known of him. This passage is also recorded by { Luke 11:49-51 } and was evidently understood by his listeners. JESUS' statement that they would "not see Me henceforth" foreshadows His death, resurrection and ascension. Following His resurrection, JESUS only appeared to His followers and not to the world in general. From now on He must be received as personal Saviour by faith. There can be no doubt that what JESUS prophesied for that generation of Israel, came to pass. Most of those to whom the LORD spoke, of 30 years old or under, saw the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the setting aside of Israel as a nation until a future date.

( 51 ). In { Matthew Ch. 24 }, JESUS spoke of the rebudding of the fig tree and of another generation, the generation of Israel who will see Him return again. The LORD said that when the Jews witnessed the budding of the dormant fig tree, they knew that summer was near. And just so, when they begin to see those things which He prophesied concerning the end of their age, which include the refounding of Israel as a nation, those who were discerning the signs of the time would know that His return was near, even at the doors. The meaning here is that even as the death angel passed by the doors of the children of Israel in Egypt, sparing the lives of the firstborn who lived in houses with the blood on the door posts, just so when Israel's MESSIAH returns, He will pass by their doors. All who mourn for Him and believe on Him as Saviour and LORD will be saved to inherit the Millennial Kingdom. All others will be cast into outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

( 52 ). We believe that the meaning of { Matthew 24:32-35 } is that the generation of Israel that witnessed the refounding of their nation, will also witness the coming of the LORD JESUS. JESUS informed the Jews by word of mouth, that the generation that stood before Him and heard Him speak would see the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. It happened just as He said. And the meaning here, as we believe, is that the generation that sees the refounding of Israel will also hear JESUS speak when He returns. One commentator stated that the fig tree of { Matthew 24:32 } could not possibly refer to Israel, because of what JESUS said in { Luke 21:29-30 }. This man said this in 1950. He stated that the fig tree could not refer to Israel, because then we would also have to make the application in { Luke 21:29 } that the budding of the other trees refer to the springing up of Gentile nations, and the author who wrote this - could not understand such a thing as happening.

( 53 ). But, let us go back to the refounding of Israel as a nation - what happened? The great colonial empires began to break up into dozens of smaller nations, the German Empire, the French Empire, the British Empire, the Belgian, Dutch and Portuguese empires. And, what about the Russian Empire which has broken up into several smaller nations since that time? It has happened just as Matthew said - the fig tree budded, and then as Luke explained, all the other trees began to put on leaves. At the close of Would War Two there were about 80 nations. Today, there are well over 150 nations. So the comment made by the author of the commentary I referred to illustrates the danger of trying to explain away certain prophetic Scriptures that cannot readily be understood in light of world conditions. The Gospel of Luke states the fact that all the trees would bud.

( 54 ). As we have brought out, the "fig tree" refers to Israel as a nation and all the other trees refer to the Gentile nations. Therefore it seems to many prophetic teachers that there are signs every where that prove that the "times of the Gentiles," in the book of Luke "is still present and cannot end until CHRIST returns."

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( 55 ). Scripture: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, { Luke 21:24 }."

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( 56 ). The above verse paraphrased in commentary form ... "And they [ i.e., many of the Israelis in A.D. 70 ] shall fall by the edge of the Roman sword, and a great many of them shall be led away as captives into and among all the nations existing at that time; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down and even occupied by Gentile nations to some extent until the times of the heathenistic Gentiles be fulfilled, i.e., completed at MESSIAH's Second Coming, { Luke 21:24 }." See { Isaiah 63:18; - & - Daniel 8:13 }.

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( 57 ). Commentary . . . We have stated this evidence before, "Gentiles many times in Scripture refer to lost heathen until they are converted to Christianity, then no longer are they to be mentioned as Gentiles." "NO CHRISTIAN IS A GENTILE!" They have thus become Children of GOD, through the FATHER's adoption of Grace the very minute they are converted! See again that concerning the three types of earth's people { 1- Corinthians 10:32 }. Since the average person 'of the nations' are looked on as being in a lost condition, the nations are called Gentile! Therefore, when the Rapture takes place only Gentile nations will exist, excluding GOD's land Israel that is never referred to as Gentile. "The times of the Gentiles are not just about at hand! they have been at hand for over two thousand years. Many teachers are mixed up concerning the length of Gentile rule over the nations "the times of the Gentiles" began when the Jews were taken captive around 600 years before the birth of CHRIST. This was a period of domination of Jerusalem, which began under the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and was still in effect in A.D. 70, by the Romans, and has continued all the way through the BODY OF CHRIST Period. Thus, it will not end until the Tribulation Period ends with the Second Coming of Christ as the MESSIAH of the earth. As long as Gentile nations and their leaders have anything to do or demand of Israel - the "Time of the Gentiles will still be at hand!" When folks read the LORD's answer to the question the Apostles ask in { Luke } they become confused. ...

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( 58 ). Scripture . . . "And they [ the Apostles ] ask Him, saying, 'Master [ teacher' ], when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? { Luke 21:7 }."

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( 59 ). Commentary ... "When shall these things Be" there is a double perspective in CHRIST's answer, the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the Tribulation days just prior to His Second Coming. { Vs. 8-19 - & - 25-28 } relate particularly to the latter time that proceeds through the future Tribulation Period. But, { Vs. 20-24 } refer to the former time up to A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the Jews were taken into captivity as slaves and etc. On the other hand we believe there is also a double meaning in { Vs. 21-23 }, which concerns the middle of the Tribulation Period when the "Abomination of desolation" will be placed in the Jerusalem Temple by the false prophet. The following we have mentioned before but is still very interesting...

( 60 ). What about future things? When they come into fulfillment the Jews are told to flee into the mountains, be sure and read { Matthew 24:15-22 }. Read also { Revelation 13:11-18; - & - 2- Thessalonians 2:3-9 }. As long as any country has any power over the Hebrew people either in Israel or in other countries, the times of the Gentiles are in view, and this goes for the United States and the European Common Market as well. Only the return of the LORD JESUS as King over the earth can the times of the Gentiles end! One great mistake most ministers make today is the teaching that the last days began with the Apostle Paul and have existed throughout the present 2000 year Grace period. One text they use is { Hebrews 1:2 }, one author states: "These last days here means the entire Gospel Dispensation extending from the first to the second advent of CHRIST." Others see { 1- Peter 1:20 } as teaching the same thing. Still others use { 1- John 2:18 } to prove their belief that for the last 2000 years mankind have been living in the last days.

( 61 ). Actually John was contrasting between truth and falsehood. John speaks about = [ 1 ]: the spirit of Antichrist { 1- John 4:3 } which refers to demonic forces behind antichristian teaching and activity; [ 2 ]: the great coming Antichrist of { Revelation 13:1-10 }; and [ 3 ]: many antichrists that were present and active in John's own time and onward throughout this Grace Dispensation. The ones of whom John is here speaking belonged to the visible BODY of Believers but were not Believers themselves, { V. 19 }. They denied the reality of the incarnation of CHRIST and His relationship to the FATHER, see { Vs. 21-23; - & - 2- John V. 7 }. There are other verses people use to prove this same thing but they are wrong in their interpretation!

( 62 ). It was true, the Israelites were living in the last days of their present dispensation that was existing at that time, but those last days ended with the destruction of their Temple in A.D. 70! The next last days for Israel and the nations will began with the Antichrist and the Tribulation Period and end with CHRIST's Return to the earth. We believe whole-heartedly that we today are living in the last days of the BODY OF CHRIST period which will naturally end with the Rapture. Our last days we believe likely began sometime during the last century, the precise time of its beginning can only be to make an intuitive conjecture. What about the Rapture?

( 63 ). No matter how long the BODY OF CHRIST will exist on this planet, until the Rapture takes place, there will still be a seven year period between the Rapture of the BODY OF CHRIST and the Second coming of MESSIAH! Today we are under Grace, we are not under all the prophetic events that are portrayed in the Old Testament. We today are longing and looking for the coming of the Blessed HEAD of the BODY OF CHRIST to resurrect us up into the Paradise of the third Heaven, { 1- Corinthians 15:51-55; - & - 1- Thessalonians 4:16-18 }." The saved of Israel and the nations at the end of the Tribulation Period will be anticipating the return of KING MESSIAH to reign over them during His Millennial promise, { Revelation 19:11-14; - & - 20:4-6 }.

( 64 ). All this is very interesting, but the predicament of the Israelites and what they are going through, with the troublesome anti-Semitism that is taking place in practically every nation on this earth, has placed them in a condition that is very difficult to rectify. On the other hand, this is nothing new for the Hebrew people. All this is just a continuation of what they have had to endure since the people were captives in Egypt, and all the way through the centuries of this Christian area. But, there will be a marvelous change take place in the near future! Note what the future holds for both the Hebrews and the Gentile nations:

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( 65 ). { V. 19 } Scripture: "Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the LORD;

( 66 ). { V. 20 }: And He shall send JESUS CHRIST, which before was preached unto you:

( 67 ). { V. 21 }: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, which GOD has spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began, { Acts 3:19-21 }."

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( 68 ). [ The above 3 verses paraphrased in commentary form . . .

{ 19 }: So repent ... change your mind and purpose; turn around and return ( to the LORD ), that your sins may be 'erased [ blotted out, wiped clean' ], that times of refreshing . . . "of recovering from the effects of your past sinful condition" may disappear from the sight, the presence, and remembrance of the LORD.

{ 20 }: And that the FATHER may send to you your MESSIAH the LORD JESUS CHRIST, as KING OF KING's, Who before was designated and appointed for you.

{ 21 }: Whom Heaven must receive [ and retain ] until the time for the "complete restoration" [ or re "establishment" ] of all that GOD spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets in past ages, which includes the future restoration of His Millennial Kingdom in all its glory."

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( 69 ). Commentary ... Notice in { Zechariah 14:4; - & - Acts 1:9-11 } that reference is made to MESSIAH's Second Advent. And, Israel will recognize JESUS as Her MESSIAH, acknowledging with deep contrition that He was the One Whom their forefathers pierced. All: "Both low and high, rich and poor" shall mourn individually when - then they see the rejected MESSIAH, See { Psalm 49:2 }." Nathan, the son of David, illustrates prominent families, while Shimei represents all ordinary families, see { Numbers 3:18 }. Peter implores national Israel to repent of their sins so that they may be part of that remnant when the "times of refreshing" comes. The word rendered "restitution { Greek apokatastasis, Acts 3:21 above } should perhaps be rendered "fulfillment" or "establishment."

( 70 ). The Apostle Peter in his second sermon follows the lines of his first. He made reference to the LORD JESUS and His MESSIAH-ship and then called for repentance on the part of those who crucified the LORD of glory. Interestingly, the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT is not mentioned in this sermon, for he is speaking nationally to Israel and not individually to the Israelites. It is in the context of this national message that he mentions the "times of restitution of all things." The word rendered "refreshing" [ Greek "anapsyxis" ] is and may be translated "respite" see { Exodus 8:15 }. Prior to the time when the TRIUNE GOD shall send JESUS CHRIST again to reign on the earth, He Who has now ascended into Heaven, the Believing Hebrew remnant of Israel will repent during the great Tribulation Period and turn to GOD in preparation to become MESSIAH's Bride and enter into the Millennial Kingdom reign with their Bride Groom the LORD JESUS Himself. See { Revelation 19:7; - Deuteronomy 30:1-3; - & - Zechariah 14:10-14 }.

( 71 ). MESSIAH's future Kingdom is to be a restoration to the former state of what the LORD planed in His program in the past, and will not come to fruition till His Second Advent. At the time these verses were written, things looked very bleak for national Israel, nevertheless Peter assures the Israelites that MESSIAH will once again deal with Israel in a blessed and bountiful way, see { Romans 11:26-27 }. "The LORD JESUS is positively to return to this earth just as He left it, { Acts 1:9-11 }. When? " When the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." [ When is that going to take place? ]

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( 72 ). Scripture: "And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the FATHER has put in His own power, { Acts 1:7 }."

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( 73 ). Above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "JESUS said to them, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time will bring forth in the future. Nor the things and events of time and their definite periods. Or the fixed years and seasons accordingly to times of critical fulfillment, which the FATHER has appointed and fixed and reserved according to His own choice, and authority and personal power."

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( 74 ). { V. 3 } Scripture: "Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle." See { Joshua 10:11, 14; - Zechariah 12:10; - & - Luke 17:28-30 }. ...

( 75 ). { V. 4 }: And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall 'cleave in the midst [ be split in two' ] thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. ...

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( 76 ). { V. 9 }: "And the LORD shall be KING over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one [ in the recognition and worship of men, { Zechariah 14:3-4, - & - 9 }."

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( 77 ). Commentary . . . "Let us remember that GOD works all things after the counsel of His own will, { Ephesians 1:11 }. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar more than 2500 years ago . . .

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( 78 ). { V. 20 } Scripture: "Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of GOD for ever and ever: wisdom and might are His:

{ 79 ). { V. 21 }: And He changes the times and the seasons: He removes kings, and sets up kings: He gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. See { Daniel 4:17, 25, 35 }.

( 80 ). { V. 22 }: He reveals the deep and secret things: He knows what is in the darkness, and the "light [ knowledge, etc": ] dwells with Him, See { Job 15:8; - Psalm 25:14; - & - Matthew 6:6 }.

( 81 ). { V. 23 }: I thank You, and praise You, O You GOD of my fathers, Who has given me wisdom and might, and has made known to me now what we desired of You: for 'You have now made known to us [ the solution' 'to ] the king's matter [ problem ],' { Daniel 2:20-23 }."

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( 82 ). Commentary . . . Daniel's prayer is instructive. He first blessed GOD for Who He was. He recounted some of GOD's attributes and activities among men { Vs. 20-22 } before specifically mentioning his own thanksgiving { V. 23 }. Godly prayer should include both adoration and asking. We must not be so hurried or formalistic as to omit either. GOD removes 'kings [ Leaders' ] and sets up kings just as much in our own day as in the days of past ages. It is good to remember that the LORD is always in control. Daniel fully realized this and, hence, was not overly-concerned about the seemingly tragic situation in which he found himself. In ancient Babylon, GOD set up Nebuchadnezzar and GOD removed him. GOD permitted Pharaoh to afflict His people and then Pharaoh and his army went to the bottom of the Red Sea. GOD allowed Saddam Hussein to become the dictator of Iraq which is modern Babylon, but He removed him in a remarkable manner as has happened to many former rulers. Note what Daniel said to idolatrous Nebuchadnezzar ...

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( 83 ). Scripture: "You, O king, are 'a king of [ the earthly ] kings': for the GOD of Heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory, { Daniel 2:37 }."

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( 84 ). Commentary . . . Nearly seven hundred years later Paul wrote to Timothy concerning, "the appearing of our LORD JESUS CHRIST." ...

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( 85 ). { V. 14 } Scripture: "That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our LORD JESUS CHRIST:

( 86 ) . { V. 15 }: Which in His times he shall show, who is the blessed and only potentate, the KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORD's { 1- Timothy 6:14-15 }." See { Jeremiah 25:9; - 27:6; - & - 28:14 }.

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( 87 ). Commentary . . . "This commandment mentioned in the text probably refers to the initial command of { 1- Timothy 1:3-5 }. The whole book of { 1-Timothy } is a charge to be alert to the false teachers and their doctrine. The words until "CHRIST's appearing" at His Second Coming is the great motivation for godly living, see { 1- John 3:2-3 }. What happened to Israel was for our admonition { 1- Corinthians 10:6, 11, } and what was written to Timothy is for 'our admonition [ advice or council' ] as well, even until the appearing of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. 'GOD never changes { Hebrews 13:8' }. Standards and moral views may change in the minds of men, but the LORD's standards and qualifications are the same until JESUS returns.

( 88 ). JESUS is going to show this old world and its people who is boss, "Who is the [ only blessed ] Potentate, the KING OF KING's, and LORD OF LORDs. We may often wonder why He doesn't do away with some of the wicked leaders and rulers today, but "the fulness of time, { Galatians 4:4 } hasn't arrived yet for that great moment. Concerning "the times of the Gentiles" They began with one 'King of kings [ Nebuchadnezzar' ] and will come to an end when the true Divine KING OF KING's returns. Note how that coming is stated ...

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( 89 ). Scripture: "And then shall they see the SON OF MAN coming in a cloud 'with [ great transcendent and overwhelming ] power and [all His Kingly ] great glory [ majesty and splendor' ], { Luke 21:27 }." See { Daniel 7:13-14 }.

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( 90 ). Commentary . . . Every student of the Bible should carefully read the last two chapters of { 2- Kings } and the last two chapters of { Jeremiah }, for in those chapters we learn of the siege of Jerusalem by a Gentile king, the beginning of the captivity of the Jews, and the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, politically. After we have read those texts and the { second and the seventh chapters of Daniel } it is not difficult to learn when "the times of the Gentiles" politically began. And, surely the intelligent, spiritual minded student of Daniel will see not only the beginning of "the times of the Gentiles," around 600 = 545 B.C. ??? but the course and the culmination of the times of the Gentiles. Babylon was not the only nation where Jewish people lived, they lived in a great many other nations and were persecuted in all of them.

( 91 ). But time is running out for the nations who have persecuted the Jewish people for . . . finally a Stone out of Heaven is to fall and destroy the kingdoms of man. With the coming of that "STONE, the GOD of Heaven" will set up a kingdom that shall not fall. The STONE will become a mountain and fill the whole earth, It was that STONE Who taught His Hebrew 'disciples [ followers' ] to pray to GOD, the FATHER, "Your [ Millennial ] kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven." It will finally be realized Who that STONE is when He returns to this earth as "the SON OF MAN to be KING [ MESSIAH" ] over all the earth.

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( 92 ). { V. 31 } Scripture: "When the SON OF MAN shall come in 'His glory [ majesty and splendor' ], and 'ALL THE HOLY ANGELS WITH HIM,' then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.

( 93 ). { V. 34 }: Then shall the KING say unto them on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My FATHER, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, { Matthew 25:31, 34 }."

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( 94 ). The above { V. 34 } Paraphrased in commentary form ... "Then shall the KING say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, you [ My saved sheep' ] 'blessed of My FATHER [ that is, you favored of GOD and appointed to eternal salvation' ], 'inherit [ and receive as your own' ] the [ Millennial ] Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

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( 95 ). Commentary . . . "Read the parable concerning the Judgment of the nations that takes place after the Tribulation Period ends, { Matthew 25:31-46 }. "This is just one more parable that has 'nothing' to do with the BODY OF CHRIST!" See { Joel 3:2, 12; - Matthew 16:27; - 19:28; - & - Hebrews 2:10 }. More than 100 times the Scriptures declare that JESUS CHRIST is coming to earth to establish His Divine Kingdom. Anyone who rejects this teaching is blind to the prophetic Scriptures! Therefore, when people place the BODY OF CHRIST in the above parable they are guilty of placing Christians under old covenant theology!

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( 96 ). { V. 6 } Scripture: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR, the MIGHTY GOD, The everlasting FATHER, The PRINCE OF PEACE. See { Luke 2:11; - Matthew 28:18; - Hebrews 1:8; - & - Ephesians 5:14 }.

( 97 ). { V. 7 }: Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be "NO END," upon the throne of David, and upon His [ future ] Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice "FROM HENCEFORTH EVEN FOR EVER. The zeal of the LORD OF HOSTs will perform this, { Isaiah 9:6-7 }."

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( 98 ). The above verse 7 paraphrased in commentary form . . . "Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that latter time forth, even for ever more. The zeal of the LORD OF HOSTs will perform this. See { Daniel 2:44; - & - 1- Corinthians 15:25-28. }

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( 99 ). Commentary ... Concerning the last kingdom on earth before the revived Kingdom of MESSIAH is instituted at the LORD's return, will be the 7 year reign of the Antichrist who reigns during the Great Tribulation Period. Antichrist's reign will consist of his ruling over the revived Roman Empire that we have mentioned many times in our messages. This revived Roman Empire is spoken if in { Daniel 2:40-44 }. This future Empire consisting of ten kingdoms, see { Daniel 7:24 } in one great empire was spoken of as consisting of "iron and clay" as foretold in the following verses. ...

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( 100 ). { V. 42 } Scripture: "And as the toes of the feet 'were [ i,e., will be' ] part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

( 101 ). { V. 43 }: And whereas you saw iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

( 102 ). { V. 44 }: And in the days of these kings shall the GOD of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever, { Daniel 2:42-44 }."

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( 103 ). Commentary . . . The toes of { V. 42 } is explained in { V. 44 } as ten kings [ or kingdoms ] that will exist concurrently at the time MESSIAH sets up His Millennial Kingdom at His Second Advent { 7:24 }. The present Age of Grace is omitted in Daniel's vision [ which is not an unusual phenomenon; see { Isaiah 61:1-2 }. "The Gift Child in the above passage of { Isaiah 9:6-7 } is certainly to be understood as the same person as the "EMMANUEL" Who appears all the way through our Bible. This is none other than GOD the FATHER's Child appearing as the virgin's son. This Child brings deliverance to the people of GOD. Using the prophetic perfect, the prophet Isaiah speaks of Him as though He were already born even though He would not be born for several hundred years in Isaiah's future! Even the text of the "Targum [ Hebrew Old Testament in the Aramaic language or dialect ]" supports a Messianic interpretation of this passage. The concept of a MESSIAH Who is both the SON of David and the SON OF GOD is also stated in { Psalm 2:7 }.

( 104 ). Notice also in { Isaiah 9:6 } above, the play-on-words between "Child is born [ Hebrew "yalad," to be delivered, as in birth ] and a SON is given [ to the Hebrew "nation." ] Some have suggested that there is a distinction between the Human birth of the Child and the Divine Gift of the SON. While this is not conclusive, it is interesting to note that the same idea appears in { Isaiah 42:1 } where the LORD gives His SPIRIT to His servant, [ meaning to JESUS CHRIST, future tense. ] The real significance of this unique Child comes in His fourfold name. WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR [ pele'yo'ats ] is actually one title in the Hebrew [ bases upon the Masoretic accentuation ]. "Wonder," from pele', is indicative of that which is miraculously accomplished by GOD Himself [ see Harris, Theological Word Book of the Old Testament, 11, p. 723 ].

( 105 ). The term "counselor" is often used in parallel with "king" see { Micah 4:9 }, so that the emphasis here implies that of GOD-like counsel of a GOD-like King. The MIGHTY GOD [ Hebrew "elgibbor" ]. This is the strongest of the titles with reference to Deity. In the book of Isaiah ( 'el ) is always used of GOD and never refers to man, see { Isaiah 10:21 }. Gibbor means "hero." It is used as an epithet that indicates Deity. There is therefore, every indication that the Child is The MIGHTY GOD Himself! Obviously, such a revelation explains how the Child in { Isaiah 7:14 } could be born miraculously of a virgin and how He could symbolically be called 'EMMANUEL [ GOD with us' ]. The everlasting FATHER [ Hebrew 'abiy'ad ] is a peculiar expression literally meaning "FATHER of Eternity." He is the LORD of eternity, as well as the Author of eternal life.

( 106 ). He is "of old, from everlasting" { Micah 5:2 }. Here we clearly see how the throne of David, which is to be forever, is to be preserved. It will seat a ruler Who Himself is Eternal! The 'PRINCE OF PEACE, [ Hebrew 'shar-shalom' ]. Rather than a warring monarch, He Who is the mighty GOD will be a benevolent FATHER, bringing a peace that will be eternally established in His Kingdom. His reign shall be characterized by a rule of peace on earth because He is the very embodiment of peace itself. Thus, the obscure figure of EMMANUEL in { Ch. 7:14 } is now brought to clear comprehension. We know of His Kingdom, throne, world rule, peaceful reign, and eternal Kingdom, as well as His virgin birth. More than this, we know Who He is . . . GOD Himself incarnate!

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( 107 ). Scripture: "Behold My Servant, Whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in Whom My soul delights; I have put My SPIRIT upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment [ justice and right and reveal truth to the nations ] to the Gentiles, { Isaiah 42:1 }." Read on through { V. 8 }. See { Matthew 3:16-17 }.

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( 108 ). Commentary: "Servant: here an individual JESUS CHRIST according to { Matthew 12:18-21 ], Who would have an unassuming ministry and Who at His Second Coming will bring justice to the whole world. The ministry of the servant will be to fulfill the covenant promises to the people of Israel and to bring understanding to the Gentiles.

( 109 ). See { Isaiah 7:14; - 11:1-2; - 45:23; - 53:2; -Micah 5:2; - Philippians 2:9-10; - Hebrews 2:10; - Psalm 110:1-3; - 1- Kings 2:11; - Matthew 28:18; - 1- Corinthians 15:25; - Hosea 6:1-3; - 3:4-5; - Amos 9:11-15; - Jeremiah 23:1-8; - & - 30:1-9 }.

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( 110 ). { V. 7 } Scripture: "And shall not GOD avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?

( 111 ). { V. 8 }: I tell you He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the SON OF MAN comes, [ question: ] shall He find faith on the earth? { Luke 18:7-8 }."

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( 112 ). The above two verses paraphrased in commentary form . . .

{ 7 }: "And isn't it right that our just GOD will defend and protect and avenge 'His elect [ His chosen Saints' ] who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?

{ 8 }: I tell you, the LORD will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the SON OF MAN returns will he find persistence in the faith on the earth?

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( 113 ). Commentary ... As to the Question above: the elect in this parable referred to the Israelites who suffered while CHRIST was on the earth teaching. But, the greater suffering in the parable refers to that horrible persecution that will take place during the Tribulation Period when the Antichrist will try his best to kill every Jew on the earth. Hitler was a good type of that man of sin that will rule on the earth, but even Hitler was not as cruel as the Antichrist will become. The text doesn't say CHRIST is returning speedily, but that He will avenge those who persecuted His elect speedily but not necessarily immediately.

( 114 ). Many Bible students will say that the Antichrist could never come from the U.S. because he will have to come from one of the European nations. "BUT", we must remember that the U.S. is a branch of humanity that has received its population primarily from the European nations, and since the U.S. will be eventually forced likely from within the U.S. itself by its ungodly people to place itself under the umbrella of the "One World Government that will be controlled by European nations. This means that the Antichrist could possibly come out of the U.S. as easily as from any other country! And whoever he will be, he will be a very charismatic person similar to our present President. He will not be a Christian! He will make of himself a god! He will have likely been trained by an ungodly man! He will not love the U.S!

( 115 ). Antichrist will probably one way or an other do his best to take complete control of our country! And, we believe he will try his best to ruin our country financially! He will be for the Murder of infants! He will try his best to disarm our nation! He will tax us into poverty! He will do every thing in his power to do away with Christian teachings and preaching both on the radio and on TV! He will mesmerize the people with his speeches and rhetoric! The question is: does he remind you of anyone person you can name today? One thing for sure, "IF" he hasn't appeared as yet, it won't be long before he appears on the scene! As for the real MESSIAH ...

( 116 ). Remember when CHRIST returns He will judge the nations, and divide the sheep from the goats, we can believe this judgment will be performed speedily when it takes place. For other uses of the term see { Romans 16:20; - & - Revelation 1:1 }, "Shall He find faith on the earth?" The answer is no. This doesn't mean that there will be improved spiritual conditions in the world before MESSIAH return! The faith spoken of is probably speaking of the body of truth, or revealed doctrine, improvement in the worldwide spiritual climate is not here predicted.

( 117 ). This parable in Luke as other parabolic teachings taught by the LORD, can not be applied to the BODY OF CHRIST except perhaps in type or shadow form! The BODY OF CHRIST was not on the earth, nor had it even begin or made known till after the LORD's death and resurrection! Thus, it became known and taught through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, and then through those who followed him. As we have said, parables were applied to Israel not for us today!

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( 118 ). Scripture: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the SON OF GOD, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of CHRIST, { Ephesians 4:13 }."

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( 119 ). The above verse paraphrased in commentary form . . . "Till we all come in 'the unity [ and attain oneness' in and ] of the faith, and of the knowledge of the SON OF GOD [ that we might arrive in the form ], unto "A PERFECT MAN," unto the measure [ of really mature manhood, ] of the stature of the fulness of CHRIST." [ Until we come unto a perfect man ... i.e., and are formed into that "ONE NEW MAN that refers to the BODY OF CHRIST in all His perfection" ] See { Ephesians 2:15 }!

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( 120 ). Commentary . . . According to Scripture, JESUS will not find the BODY OF CHRIST on the earth when He comes as the SON OF MAN. But, He will find Israel in the Tribulation. He will find the nations in distress; the 'dragon [ Satan' ], the beast, and the false prophet in control of world affairs. In this connection read concerning "the little horn" in { Daniel 8:9; - & - Revelation Ch. 13 }. As to the BODY OF CHRIST: the members of the BODY will be caught up to glory at the time of the secret invisible Rapture. Some have said that the Rapture will not be invisible but we disagree. We, in the BODY OF CHRIST, will understand it after it takes place because we will have taken part in it.

( 121 ). On the other hand, the unsaved will not see it take place because it will be such a rapid event. Even the Saints involved will be resurrected so rapidly that it will have taken place before we even know what has transpired till it has happened. In a twinkling of an eye { 1- Corinthians 15:52 }. It will have been completed in "eleven hundreds of a second!" This will be tremendously different from the Second Coming of CHRIST. The SON OF MAN will return and every eye will see Him come down to the earth to end the Tribulation Period and rescue His people, and then, He will establish His prophesied Kingdom.

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( 122 ). The beginning, the course and the culmination of the BODY OF CHRIST was not prophesied, as was the 'Kingdom of Heaven, [ Millennial Reign of MESSIAH' ]. So it is not difficult to learn from the Scriptures that when the SON OF MAN shall come to the earth to bring an end to "the times of the Gentiles" The SON OF MAN will be the smiting STONE of { Daniel 2:45 }. It may be a little more difficult to learn from the Scriptures that "The times of the Gentiles," politically, will not end at the time the BODY OF CHRIST is caught up to appear with CHRIST in glory.

Continued on part Five of this Message

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