Testing the Prophecies

The ups and downs of human culture seem to be getting more extreme. The historical record, back into the Old Testament, documents the swing back and forth between allegiance to the OT’s ethical and religious principles and allegiance to other deities (or none). It shows flawed humans struggling with selfishness and selflessness, and records the consequences. It even admits the errors of its heroes, a thing seldom done in our own time. Archeology has not contradicted its record of the past, as far as archeological dating of past empires and customs has gone. Ruins are hard to interpret any farther back than their language can be translated, and successive empires have pretty well ruined the records of the Middle East. Lack of outside evidence is not proof of absence.
The history of civilization offers a test of Biblical truth; what religious/ethical system results in relative peace, productivity, and eventual prosperity? This test is muddied by human power-seeking which often uses religion as a step in gaining secular power. It is also a temporary test, as prosperity has always led to corruption and laziness, so the pace of constructive change is as much of a consideration as its duration. The pace of change has obviously been greatest in western civilization, since the Reformation made the Bible available to the general public and the literacy rate rose.
Another test is found in the prophetic aspect of a large part of the Bible. If predictions do come true, there must be an underlying truth or intelligence at work. The first definite predictions of future occurrences are in the blessings of Jacob upon his sons and grandsons. In the Bible, the names of Jacob/Israel and his sons are used in 4 different ways depending on the context. They may be:
– information on participants in then-current events
– designating the tribe/family groups descended from them
– designating the land occupied by that tribe
– speaking of the tribe’s posterity in a prophetic way.
Prophecies may be for near-term events, near-term and as a pattern for farther on, or for the far future. Some references are broadly worded, as ‘the house of Jacob’ or ‘all Israel’. ‘House of Joseph’ would include descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh. ‘House of Jacob’ would include all 12 of his children, including Joseph. Some Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in New Testament events, others still seem to await. New Testament prophecies are mainly for the ‘last days’ or ‘the end of the age’.
Jacob’s blessings for Judah and Joseph offer the most detail, and can provide clues to follow in seeking evidence of fulfillment. Moses repeats them in Deuteronomy 33 with few changes. Joseph’s blessings must be considered as given to his first two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as well (Genesis 48-49). Manasseh was to become a great nation; but no record exists after the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom. We do find today a tribe in eastern India who call themselves ‘B’nai Menashe’ and have curiously Hebrew traditions; they may be the last of Manasseh not to be absorbed into the Indian culture and gene pool.
Time-sequence for some Old Testament people:
Before 1400 BC – times of Jacob
1010-970 BC – David’s reign
970-930 BC – Solomon
853-841 – Obadiah
760-750 – Amos
740-710 – Micah
722 BC – Northern Kingdom falls to Assyria
753-715 – Hosea
700-680 – Isaiah
586 BC – Southern kingdom, Judah, falls to Babylon
593-571 – Ezekiel
520 – Zechariah
Ephraim became the leading tribe of the northern kingdom after Jeroboam split it away from Solomon’s son Rehoboam. Their name became the generic reference to the Northern Kingdom even before the Assyrian conquest, which scattered its survivors and brought in Assyrian occupiers to replace them. The name was used in prophetic references by both major and minor prophets, before and well after they were scattered into Eurasia. In that scattering, they must have mingled their blood and their blessings with the peoples they encountered. Ancestries cannot be traced that far back, but we can look for the fulfillment of the blessings. This is a key point in the way that Gentiles were grafted into the Judeo-Christian family tree (Romans 11). Genesis 22:17-18 ‘Through your offspring will all the nations of the earth be blessed’ – the dispersion of the northern kingdom was necessary for the spread of the Gospel, because it spread some aspects of the language and the cultural ethics even without the temple priesthood as they traveled. Many pagan cities had a synagogue and a Jewish neighborhood. These provided a more fertile soil for the growth of Christianity when the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus. After that point, people of any background could join the family of God (and Ephraim) by adopting Christianity even without knowledge of its Hebrew roots.
The split after Solomon can be seen as a prefiguration of the American Revolution. Solomon had great wealth and wisdom, but became a tyrant as he built his wealth and palaces. His son decided to become more of a tyrant, igniting Jeroboam’s rebellion. England became a great commercial empire and produced great philosophers and scientists, but treated the colonies badly, bringing the American Revolution. Let’s see if Europe and America fit the prophetic picture for Ephraim. I first found the idea of tracing Ephraim in ‘The Covenant’ by Tim Ballard.
This is the background we might see in the discovery and colonization of America, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the inauguration of George Washington and the first Congress. The Ephraim heritage connects with the Abrahamic covenant, the blessing of Joseph, Jeroboam’s split of Solomon’s kingdom, and Washington’s renewal of the covenant (which also claims the blessing of Ahijah on Jeroboam in I Kings 11). Jonathan Cahn speaks of the inauguration in Chapter 19 of ‘The Harbinger’. This is why our economic cycles have been connected to the Hebrew Sabbath-year cycle. They were consciously making a covenant with God; actually, unconsciously renewing  the one with Jeroboam which Jeroboam failed to keep, with the results that Amos warned about. They claimed His blessings for America, and we have received them, but now we are falling away and that will bring once more His retribution. This too is explained by Jonathan Cahn in ‘The Mystery of the Shemitah’. Our current Shemitah ends on 9/13/2015. It does not seem that America will voluntarily return to the covenant before our punishment begins.

Biblical references, and comments, follow.  Looking at the apparently-prophetic references using my concordance, from the NIV version of the OT, out of the total references to Joseph (14), Ephraim (68), Manasseh (7).
Jacob’s prophecies & blessings:
Gen. 48:

17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”
19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”

20 He blessed them that day and said, “In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ ” So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
(Jacob’s two most detailed prophecies are for Judah and Joseph)
Gen. 49:

8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.

12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.

23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
(Judah is the line from which came Jesus. Joseph: a vine (spreading); climbing over an obstacle (ocean). Joseph’s two sons were to become nations. Let’s see if the blessing of Joseph has been fulfilled.)

References to Joseph in the Psalms, and the prophetic books
Ps 77:

14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
(this seems to indicate some division, not real unity, else it would suffice to mention only Jacob’s descendants, which include Joseph’s)
Ps 78:

67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;

68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved.
(Psalms  predate the division of the kingdom after Solomon’s reign,but foresee the time when Jeroboam set up temples in the north to compete with Jerusalem)
Ps 80:

1 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth

2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us.
(Ephraim and Manasseh were the major parts of the northern kingdom which was conquered and dispersed by the Assyrians; this seems to indicate that the writer was aware that the kingdom would be split and those tribes need future guidance)
Ps 81:

3 Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast;
4 this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5 He established it as a statute for Joseph when he went out against Egypt, where we heard a language we did not understand.
(Apparently speaking of the Feast of Trumpets, by the God of Jacob, a statute for Joseph; again that distinction between Jacob and Joseph, with the implication that the Feast of Trumpets would be important in the future of both)
Ez 37:

15 The word of the LORD came to me:
16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’
17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
18 “When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’
19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph–which is in Ephraim’s hand–and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’
20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on

21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
(a prophecy that Judah (conquered by Babylon, but not extinguished; they remained in the Middle East, which the survivors of the Northern Kingdom mostly did not) and descendants of Ephraim (scattered and mingled with other peoples) would come together to restore a Hebrew nation, now Israel). England and America were the prime movers in the establishment and defense of Israel. This would imply that they are in some way descendants of Ephraim.)
Ez 47:
13 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “These are the boundaries of the land that you will  divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph. 14 You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to  your ancestors, this land will become your inheritance.
(a far-future prophecy, two portions for Joseph’s sons per Gen. 48: the two portions seem consistent with Gen. 48:19, Manasseh a great nation and yet separate from Ephraim’s group of nations)
Ez 48:
32 “On the east side, which is 4,500 cubits long, will be three gates: the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin and the gate of Dan.
(one gate for each of Jacob’s sons; note that the tribe of Dan is replaced in the end-time evangelist tribes of Rev. 7 by Manasseh, so Dan apparently has no role in the Tribulation while Manasseh [India? China?] does. Joseph’s prophecy for Dan did not sound good. The absence of Ephraim in Rev.7 may imply that Ephraim (believing Christians) is taken away in the Rapture, leaving the field to Messianic Jews)
Amos 5:

Seek the Lord and live, or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
   it will devour them, and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.
   Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
(prophetic warnings about the impending Assyrian conquest)
Amos 6:
You put off the day of disaster and bring near a reign of terror.
You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches.
  You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.
You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions,
    but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.
(denouncing complacency in the apostate, near-pagan Northern Kingdom, and a valid warning for any nation whose success leads to laziness)

Obadiah 18:

15 
“The day of the Lord is near
for all nations.

   As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
16 Just as you drank on my holy hill, so all the nations will drink continually;
   they will drink and drink  and be as if they had never been.
17 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy,
    and Jacob will possess his inheritance.
18 Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame;
   Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him.
   There will be no survivors from Esau.” The Lord has spoken.

(A last-days prophecy; Descendants of Jacob and of Joseph will lay waste a large portion of the Middle East. Are they Israel and America?)

Zech 10:

“My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders;
  for the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah,
    and make them like a proud horse in battle.
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg,
  from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.
Together they[a] will be like warriors in battle

  trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
They will fight because the Lord is with them,
    and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

“I will strengthen Judah and save the tribes of Joseph.
   I will restore them because I have compassion on them.
  They will be as thoughI had not rejected them,
   for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.
The Ephraimites will become like warriors, and their hearts will be glad as with wine.
   Their children will see it and be joyful; their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
I will signal for them and gather them in.
   Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before.
Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me.
   They and their children will survive, and they will return.
(More last-days prophecy; well after the northern kingdom is scattered, it is prophesied that they will remember their God even after assimilating into pagan cultures. Last mention of Joseph until Rev 7:8)

References to Ephraim, from Psalms thru Zechariah:

Ps.60:
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter.
(Ephraim – Paul refers to the helmet of salvation in Ephesians 6:17 –
could imply that Ephraim will be the carrier of Christianity?)

Ps. 78:

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
(the author opens by declaring this is prophetic)
The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.

(predicts that the northern kingdom will fall away from faith [and it may apply to America too].
the next verses are history; Jeroboam who led the rebellion of the ten tribes was of Ephraim’s tribe, and set up two temples to compete with Judah’s Jerusalem site. God intended the split, but blessed only one temple site – Jerusalem.)
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.
Ps.80:
Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock.
 You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might; come and save us.
(shine forth – awaken them to Christianity after the dispersion?)
Ps.108:
Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter.   (See Ps.60 – a partial repeat)

(Isaiah: before the conquest of the northern kingdom by Assyria – partly current-events, partly prophetic; leaving out the current-events part)
Is. 9:
The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel.
All the people will know it— Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
   who say with pride and arrogance of heart,
10 “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
   the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.”
(Made famous by ‘The Harbinger’ – the near/far parallel of Assyria and our 9/11)
Is. 11:

12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel;
   he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies[d] will be destroyed;
   Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
(This seems to speak of the reconciliation of the Israel of today with their Messiah, in the days of the Tribulation)
Is. 28:
1 Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower,
his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley—
   to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind,
   like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley,
   will be like figs ripe before harvest— as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
    they swallow them.
(Warning of the fall of the Northern Kingdom to Assyria? And perhaps a prefiguration
of the fall of America? The loss of earthly power?
)
Jeremiah 7:
15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of            Ephraim.’
(Warning Judah that they will follow the Northern Kingdom into exile)
Jeremiah 31:
See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth.
   Among them will be the blind and the lame,
    expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return.
They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back.
   I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble,
   because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
(this speaks of the rebirth of Israel in 1948; the new Jewish state, created with the assistance of Ephraim/America, the bearer of Christianity (Christ, the firstborn)
Ez 37:
15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
18 “When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’
19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’
20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on
21 
and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
(Ephraim represents all the ten tribes, and helps in the birth of Israel in 1948. America was the first nation to recognize Israel.)

Hosea speaks of the impending conquest of the Northern kingdom by Assyria, using the word ‘Ephraim’ to refer to all the ten tribes
Hos. 9:
The prophet, along with my God,
is the watchman over Ephraim,
   yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.
(perhaps implying that Ephraim is on a long, long journey through the centuries)
13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place.
    But Ephraim will bring out their children to the slayer.”
(with a vision of their future home in America, but then our fall into Moloch worship [abortion])
16 Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit.
    Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring.”
17 
My God will reject them
 because they have not obeyed him;
    they will be wanderers among the nations.
(Verses 16-17 speak of their then-current state; the ten tribes were conquered and scattered after this prophecy)
Hosea 10:
10 When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them
    to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer  that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck.
    I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
    and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord,
    until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
(the ten tribes will be enslaved and scattered, Ephraim has a task to do, Judah (Christ) will be the plowman that guides Ephraim, and the Jewish faith must keep its values and traditions alive until the latter days [latter rains?])
Hos. 11:
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms;
   but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
(Jeroboam was appointed by Ahijah to lead the ten tribes, but quickly fell away from worshiping God
)
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
   For I am God, and not a man— the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion.
   When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
(Ephraim may be spared future devastation – perhaps revival comes, or rapture?)
12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, Israel with deceit.
   And Judah is unruly against God, even against the faithful Holy One.
(but at that time, they will both require some punishment)
Hos. 12 gives further reasons for the Assyrian conquest, and
Hos. 13 adds the southern kingdom to the punishment list. The only hope is at v. 14:

1 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins
   and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses.
   We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made,
    for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
(‘Israel’ includes Ephraim, Jacob’s grandson: this echoes ‘they will beat their swords into plowshares’ and an end to worshiping the material things of life)
Ephraim, what more have I[c] to do with idols?
(alternative phrasing: What more has Ephraim to do with idols?)
    I will answer him and care for him.
    I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.”
(implying perhaps revival in America or the West)

14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.
   Where, O death, are your plagues?
    Where, O grave, is your destruction?
(this is echoed and answered in 1 Corinthians 55:)
  

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of  God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—
 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,
and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

(Zechariah speaks in part of the end times and the final peace)
Zech. 9:
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
    and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
(but first there is the final battle)
13 I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim.
    I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece,
    and make you like a warrior’s sword.
(This echoes Revelation 6 – the rider with the bow. In Zechariah’s time, Greek culture was present throughout what is now called Turkey and the Middle East, now held by Islam)
Zech. 10:

“My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders;
   for the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah,
    and make them like a proud horse in battle.
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg,
   from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.
Together they[a] will be like warriors in battle
    trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
   They will fight because the Lord is with them,
    and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

“I will strengthen Judah and save the tribes of Joseph.
    I will restore them because I have compassion on them.
    They will be as though I had not rejected them,
    for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.
The Ephraimites will become like warriors, and their hearts will be glad as with wine.
   Their children will see it and be joyful; their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
I will signal for them and gather them in.
   Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before.
Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me.  
They and their children will survive,
and they will return.
(the Ephraimites scattered among the peoples in distant lands will remember the Lord; this seems to speak of a great revival of faith in nations which today are falling farther into secular materialism and atheism. That would logically follow some event like a serious terrorist or EMP attack, or a major economic collapse that reveals the corruption of their economic or banking system – which could lead to the Ezekiel 38-39 events, then coming into Revelation 6 at about verse 5. It appears that the crowd beneath the altar of Rev. 6:9-11 is already beginning to gather, as ISIS rampages through the Middle East.)

The First Horseman, updated

Updating the 11/17/14 post with more thoughts…

Previous posts seek to reconcile secular observations with the Judeo-Christian worldview. This one is prompted by the question, “So who is the first horseman or when does he appear?”. The Bible often personifies tribes, nations, or movements as individuals. Looking at the rider with a bow, I think the first horseman has come, and we missed him because we thought in the wrong context.

The First Horseman of the Apocalypse
Rev. 6:2, New International Version
I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

First, some historical background: after Constantine chose Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Church was co-opted by secular governments. It shared power and wealth with various rulers, and served to legitimize and enforce feudalism. The seven churches of Rev. 2-3 predict the gradual changes, strengths, and weaknesses in the institution over a millennium or so, through the Reformation and into the present.
Ephesus – the apostolic church
Smyrna – the persecuted church
Pergamum – the early Roman church – the first three are now gone.
Thyatira – the Roman Catholic church
Sardis – the major churches of the Protestant Reformation
Philadelphia – the faith-filled churches of all later denominations
Laodicea – the modern, casually apostate churches; falling away; Jesus on the outside (3:20)
– the last four coexist and compete for followers. The Catholic church seems to be approaching its end according to the prophecy of St. Malachy, with this being the last Pope.

After the Reformation broke the dependence on Latin scriptures, the different denominations spent most of their energy on persecuting each other. While the conquest of South and Central America perpetuated the old feudal system, some North American colonists began to translate Scripture into the native languages and teach them about Christianity. This was the first effort in about a thousand years to spread the faith into other languages and cultures.
After the religious wars had burned themselves out in Europe, the British empire realized it could not impose military control over the huge populations of India and all its other territories. They set about establishing the institutions of western civilization within the context of other languages and cultures. The basis of that civilization was Christianity, so it became necessary to translate the Bible into other languages rather than attempt to impose English on all those language groups. Also in the early 1800’s, the first missionary societies were founded in America for the purpose of translating and teaching the faith in alien cultures. This proved useful for the empire, and worked well in India; less so in Africa and elsewhere.
Europe and later America appear to be places where some of the ‘lost ten tribes’ of the northern kingdom were scattered by the Assyrian conquest; they were referred to by later prophets as ‘Ephraim’ (Ez. 37, Hosea 9, Zech. 10, Jeremiah 31), in terms that imply God had not forgotten them. See also ‘The Covenant’ by Tim Ballard. These missionaries, then, were the far-flung descendants of Ephraim.
Interpreting the rider with the bow: Christ, as the head of the tribe of Judah, energized Ephraim to serve the faith in the missionary movements which began in England and America in the early 1800’s. Old testament references to the bow clarify this:

Zechariah 10:4 New International Version
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.
Zechariah 9:13a New International Version
I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim.
English Standard Version
For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow.
The Ephraim reference connects to others:
Ps.60:7
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet,
    Judah is my scepter.
Eph. 6:17, the armor of God:
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

Those arrows of Ephraim fought for righteousness in the Civil War and World Wars I & II. President Truman, more Christian than politician, even rebuilt the old enemies and set them free. After that our military has been guided by the grand designs of politicians, and the sacrifice of our troops has largely been in vain. Christian witness is now being punished in our military. The missionary task continues; the Jesus film is out in over 1100 languages, Wycliffe translators and others continue their labors. So, the first horseman of the Apocalypse came forth over 200 years ago, and his ride continues, but he is pursued by the second horseman:

Rev. 6:4 New International Version
Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

Now we see the entry of the second – the Islamic Ottoman empire, defeated in WW I and dismembered by the Sykes-Picot Treaty, is taking shape again as ISIS. This takes us into the vast overview of history in Revelation 12-13, and the seven heads of the beast. Those represent the seven major empires of history (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia,  Greece, Rome, Islam) and the wound was the Sykes-Picot treaty. The rise of ISIS begins the healing of the wound, and the Caliphate will be the eighth king of Rev. 17:11.

The Hebrews were God’s chosen people to bring His name before the nations (Ez. 20) and failed; the effort was renewed by Paul (Acts 9:15). Who believes in God must also believe Satan exists. Satan has long sought to destroy the Hebrews, and if God is using Ephraim (the lost tribes) to carry His name to the nations then Satan will seek to destroy Ephraim. They are not conscious of our ancestry as Ephraim, but God and Satan are. Once more Esau comes against Jacob. This is what inspires Islam. The Bible speaks of Satan as a liar, a deceiver. In the Quran, Allah describes himself as ‘the greatest of deceivers’ (3:54, 7:99, 8:30). The Islamic principles of kitman, taqiyya, hudna, and nasikh are quite useful in deception (google them). Islam may have a point in its claim that the whole world once belonged to its deity (see Genesis 6:5-7). That deity’s character as revealed in the Quran is the opposite of the Judeo-Christian deity, who does not lie (Num. 23:19). After the fall of man as presented symbolically in Genesis 3, Satan did control the human world. God decided to win us back one soul at a time, and started with Abraham. Satan resists, most effectively with deception.
Deception has been at work in America for a long time, and the pace went to double-time in the 1960’s. Now we have reached the point of re-electing a dedicated Marxist (himself a master of deception) who uses his position to facilitate the expansion of ISIS and brings in the Muslim Brotherhood as advisers. The end-game is near; even now souls are gathering under the altar of Rev. 6:9-11. Human effort alone will not change this; watch for some divine orchestration of events along about September.

    Turkey seems to be taking the course predicted by Walid Shoebat in ‘God’s War on Terror’. Its military would enable it to take charge of whatever develops to its south. The Shiite goal of global chaos to bring the 12th Imam may not fit with Turkey’s ambitions, so that remains to be seen. ISIS will surely try to take terrorism to the Western nations in the short term, and that has long-term consequences. But Ezekiel 38-39 may take down ISIS and leave the field to Turkey as the controlling interest in the Caliphate.
The ISIS interest in terrorism brings the circumstances in which the third and fourth horsemen can enter. Without peace, commerce of all kinds becomes difficult. Large-scale  governments cannot control or withstand it. Disruption of electrical and energy supplies would cause food shortages and healthcare problems as symbolized by the other horsemen. Peace will have to be established within defensible local borders from which it may be expanded. It cannot be imposed from the top down; only tyranny comes that way.

Rev. 6:5-8 New International Version
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.
Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”.
I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The previous post offers a likely timeframe for the action to begin, and an escape route. The trends and prospects are largely unchanged, except that the world grain supply is better due to good harvests in 2014. Ethanol is eating a lot of it, though. There is no appreciable improvement in the trustworthiness of political and economic ‘leadership’. The seventh-year economic cycle in Jonathan Cahn’s book ‘The Mystery of the Shemitah’, if it comes as scheduled, would usher in a whole different kind of world.

Did We Miss the First Horseman?

Previous posts seek to reconcile secular observations with the Judeo-Christian worldview. This one is prompted by the question, “So who is the first horseman or when does he appear?”. The Bible often personifies tribes, nations, or movements as individuals. Looking at the rider with a bow, I think the first horseman has come and gone, and we missed him because we thought in the wrong context.

The First Horseman of the Apocalypse
Rev. 6:2, New International Version
I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

After Constantine chose Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Church was co-opted by secular governments. It shared power and wealth with various rulers, and served to legitimize and enforce feudalism. The seven churches of Rev. 2-3 predict the gradual changes, strengths, and weaknesses in the institution over a millennium or so, through the Reformation and into the present.
Ephesus – the apostolic church
Smyrna – the persecuted church
Pergamum – the early Roman church
– the first three are now gone.
Thyatira – the Roman Catholic church
Sardis – the major churches of the Protestant Reformation
Philadelphia – the faith-filled churches of all later denominations
Laodicea – the modern, casually apostate churches; falling away; Jesus on the outside (3:20)
– the last four coexist and compete for followers. The Catholic church seems to be at its limit according to the prophecy of St. Malachy, with this being the last Pope.

After the Reformation broke the dependence on Latin scriptures, the different denominations spent most of their energy on persecuting each other. While the conquest of South and Central America perpetuated the old feudal system, some North American colonists began to translate Scripture into the native languages and teach them about Christianity. This was the first effort in about a thousand years to spread the faith into other languages and cultures.
After the religious wars had burned themselves out in Europe, the British empire realized it could not impose military control over the huge populations of India and all its other territories. They set about establishing the institutions of western civilization within the context of other languages and cultures. The basis of that civilization was Christianity, so it became necessary to translate the Bible into other languages rather than attempt to impose English on all those language groups. Also in the early 1800’s, the first missionary societies were founded in America for the purpose of translating and teaching the faith in alien cultures. This proved useful for the empire, and worked well in India; less so in Africa and elsewhere.
Europe and later America appear to be places where the ‘lost ten tribes’ of the northern kingdom were scattered by the Assyrian conquest; they were referred to by later prophets as ‘Ephraim’ (Ez. 37, Hosea 9, Zech. 10, Jeremiah 31), in terms that imply God had not forgotten them. See also ‘The Covenant’ by Tim Ballard. These missionaries, then, were the far-flung descendants of Ephraim.

The rider with the bow: Christ, as the head of the tribe of Judah, energized Ephraim to serve the faith in the missionary movements which began in England and America in about 1800.
Zechariah 10:4 New International Version
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.

Zechariah 9:13a New International Version
I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim.
English Standard Version
For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow.

Those arrows of Ephraim fought for righteousness in the Civil War and World Wars I & II. President Truman, more Christian than politician, even rebuilt the old enemies and set them free. After that our military has been guided by the grand designs of politicians, and the sacrifice of our troops has largely been in vain. Christian witness is now being punished in our military.
So, the first horseman of the Apocalypse came forth about 200 years ago, and has gone.

The second horseman;
Rev. 6:4 New International Version
Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

Now we see the entry of the second – the Islamic Ottoman empire, defeated in WW I and dismembered by the Sykes-Picot Treaty, is taking shape again as ISIS. This takes us into the vast overview of history in Revelation 12-13, and the seven heads of the beast. Those represent the seven major empires of history (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia,  Greece, Rome, Islam) and the wound was the Sykes-Picot treaty. The rise of ISIS begins the healing of the wound, and the Caliphate will be the eighth king of Rev. 17:11.

    Turkey seems to be taking the course predicted by Walid Shoebat in ‘God’s War on Terror’. Its military would enable it to take charge of whatever develops to its south. The Shiite goal of global chaos to bring the 12th Imam may not fit with Turkey’s ambitions, so that remains to be seen. ISIS will surely try to take terrorism to the Western nations in the short term, and that has long-term consequences. But Ezekiel 38-39 may take down ISIS and leave the field to Turkey as the controlling interest in the Caliphate.
The ISIS interest in terrorism brings the circumstances in which the third and fourth horsemen can enter. Without peace, commerce of all kinds becomes difficult. Large-scale  governments cannot control or withstand it, and peace will have to be established within defensible local borders from which it may be expanded.

Rev. 6:5-8 New International Version
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.
Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”.
I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The previous post offers a likely timeframe for the action to begin, and an escape route. The trends and prospects are largely unchanged, except that the world grain supply is better due to good harvests in 2014. There is no appreciable improvement in the trustworthiness of political and economic ‘leadership’.

Assembling the Puzzle

It has been evident for a few years that things political, and their economic consequences, are not being conducted on a logical, or even rational, basis. Mere ignorance would not continue to drive policies in such unethical and destructive directions. Evil intent, its consequences being observed, should arouse counterforces within the political arena which would use rational thought in ethical ways to show the sources of error and correct them – but this does not occur. The American republic depends on voters being well enough educated to evaluate information and act on moral principles, but education has faltered and the entertainment media mock every moral principle. It became evident in 2007 that both the culture and the government were on a course toward failure. In a species endowed with intelligence and reason, why repeat history’s worst mistakes? It brought to mind the Biblical phrase ‘a strong delusion’ from 2 Thessalonians 2:11, but I hesitate to blame God when the human motivations are obvious. Eventually a friend recommended ‘The Harbinger’ by Jonathan Cahn. (New paragraph, 12/17

    ‘The Harbinger’ got me looking at the Hebrew calendar, then Hagee’s new book ‘Four Blood Moons’ led to more searching. I found  http://www.redmoonrapture.com (useful also for the Hebrew calendar and feast schedule) and the hour-long video from Pastor Mark Biltz at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e25L8YA9KX8 which is well worth taking notes on, even if the video lighting is poor.  Then add in Tim Ballard’s ‘The Covenant’  and a larger picture of history emerges. Readers are encouraged to do their own reading to see what conclusions they draw. This is a summary of how the puzzle pieces fit together for me:
                          –                                                  –
    Hagee’s book focuses on the ‘blood moon’ tetrads that began in 1493, 1949, 1967, and 2014. These sets of lunar/solar eclipses all fall on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles of two consecutive years of the Hebrew calendar. They are the only four such occurrences since 1000 AD. These are years of considerable significance for Israel; the first he takes to mark the discovery of the Americas, where the U.S. was destined to become Israel’s defender and friend. The second marks the birth of the modern state of Israel, the restored Jewish homeland. The third, the unification of Jerusalem under Israeli control (Luke 21:24, so the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled except for the Islamic control of the Temple Mount?). The fourth must mark some major new development for Israel or the Jewish faith.
     Each tetrad spans almost a year and a half; the relevant event occurs in a short period of time in or near the tetrad. They are events that occur in a cultural context, and it is not easy to discern the buildup of forces or the relatively minor events that were the trigger events that set the major event in motion. The second and third tetrads seem to mark the completion of their event; the first seems to mark the beginning. For 2014-15, watch and wait for it – it should be very interesting.
     Hagee’s point is that events associated with  these rare astronomical events must indicate that God’s Old Testament promises to Israel are still in force, that the solar  system was designed to mark ‘signs and seasons’ and that God’s designated ‘Feasts of Israel’ were to keep Israel looking for those signs.
                         –                                                  –
    In ‘The Covenant’, Ballard’s thesis is that God’s promises to Israel were made to all twelve tribes, and that He has also been working with the ‘lost ten tribes’ who were conquered by Assyria and scattered well before the Babylonian captivity.  They had already fallen into worshiping other gods, and no longer honored the Levitical priesthood or the Jerusalem temple. The Assyrians would have dispersed them mostly toward the northwest, away from the growing Babylonian empire. They probably traveled as family or tribal groups, but with limited resources they would not be likely to retain their written language. Their agricultural skills would have helped them assimilate into other groups they found. Well after the dispersion, the prophets of Israel still spoke of them as ‘Ephraim’ and prophesied concerning them. (Ez. 37, Hosea 9, Zech. 10, Jeremiah 31). If they spread to the northwest they would have gone into Austria, Germany, France, and England. Although they had lost the original culture, they were still heirs of Jacob – the promises had been made, the prophecies remained.
                              –                                                      –
    Ballard associates them with the British believers who rejected the divine pretensions of their earthly royalty and fled as Puritans and Separatists to New England. That began a considerable migration from Europe of like-minded people, and the eventual founding of the United States and the establishment of our Constitution. The numerous miraculous occurrences during the Revolutionary War bear witness to some divine favor.
    He then contends that the inauguration of President Washington and the first Congress was the re-establishment of a covenant with God by the lost ten tribes in their new homeland. (See also The Harbinger.) The prosperity and power which followed was due to the national character which was based on obedience to the Biblical moral laws which inspired much of the Constitutional Convention’s debates.
                              –                                                       –
    The five ‘blood moon’ tetrads during the first millennium are ignored in Hagee’s book. He focuses on the present-day nation of Israel, but those earlier tetrads are quite significant for Ballard’s ten tribes.  See http://www.redmoonrapture.com for more details.
Tetrad 1, 32-33,  related to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Tetrad 2, 162-63, great persecution under Marcus Aurelius drove monotheistic believers out of Italy to the northern and western provinces where they had more liberty. Christian believers would have encountered the lost tribes there.
Tetrad 3, 795-96, Charlemagne stopped Muslim moves toward France and secured Europe’s western borders against them.
Tetrad 4, 842-43, Muslims came up Italy and sacked Rome; Italy unified to defeat them in a naval battle at Ostia and discouraged any further attacks from the south.
Tetrad 5, 860-61, Byzantine forces defeated the Muslims at Lalakaon, securing Europe’s western borders for the next 750 years – giving Europe time to discover America (the 1493 tetrad).
    The major turning points at which Europe was protected from Muslim conquest all come at or near those feast-days tetrads, but Israel had been largely depopulated after the 70 AD seige of Jerusalem by the Romans. Jerusalem was indeed trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, for a long time. They had no significance for Israel but had much importance for the ten tribes, which seems to be a confirmation of Ballard’s thesis.
                              –                                                        –
    ‘The Harbinger’ by Jonathan Cahn uses three fictional characters to explain from history, both recent and ancient, a pattern of events which is clearly still in progress. It starts in Isaiah’s comment on the fall of the northern kingdom, when the ten tribes were conquered. It is a Biblical pattern, and the parallels are remarkable.
    The current side of the story leads to these facts; the economic impact of the 9/11 attack was felt when the stock markets next opened after that day. The Dow fell by a record 684 points. That date was September 17, 2001: 29 Elul 5761 in the Hebrew calendar used by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was the final day of the year in the 7-year Hebrew economic cycle (see Leviticus 25) designated for the settling or remission of debts. The attack caused a recession, the government resolved that we would come back stronger, and Americans were asked to keep spending to boost the economy. To emphasize our strength we initiated wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, seeking to change ingrained cultures over a thousand years old. The cultures remain unchanged, and our national debt increased by 5 trillion dollars while a real-estate bubble built up and was marketed world-wide in the form of ‘derivatives’. Domestic unrest built up over the war expenses and caused the candidates in the 2008 elections to remain personally unexamined while the media diverted attention to other matters. That ‘year of remission’ began with the first sign of economic trouble – the failure of Northern Rock Bank in Britain. When the real estate values behind the ’derivatives’ began to decline due to non-payment of the underlying loans by unqualified buyers, the debt bubble collapsed. That came on September 29, 2008 (29 Elul 5768 in the Hebrew calendar) when the Dow dropped 777 points, 7% of its value, 7 full Hebrew years after its fall in 2001. The nation’s founding covenant with God seems to also put some aspect of our fate on God’s old Hebrew calendar.
    As Israel’s stand-in for this act of the play (per Matt. 21:43) for the purpose of Matt. 24:14, we should take note that all of what we call ‘western civilization’ is rapidly abandoning its Christian roots. Even history itself is being rewritten, and we become ever more irresponsible in our moral, ethical, and financial behavior. As Israel fell to Assyria, so can we fall. We have been warned. The Apostle Paul in Romans 11:17-23, and indeed in all of Romans 8 thru 11, describes our times well. Anyone who follows the news can see the approach of the events of Ezekiel 38-39, and Ezekiel 39:29 matches up with Romans 11:26-29. At our current rate of cultural decline, it may take divine assistance even to survive until the next ‘year of remission’, and divine mercy to actually endure it. Divine retribution is not limited to economic affairs; the whole of nature is at God’s command.
    The next ’year of remission’ begins on September 25, 2014 (Hebrew 1 Tishri 5775) and ends on September 13, 2015 (Hebrew 29 Elul 5775). A major event on that last day could not be dismissed as coincidence. That may be what it takes to get the attention of a secular world. The events related to the lunar tetrads do not seem to be as date-specific as America’s economic events were.
    Is there any indication that the 7-year Tribulation coincides with the 7-year economic cycle? It might seem fitting that it would start after an economic collapse and escalate through the next ‘year of remission’. It might also be that it would start with a ‘year of remission’ and escalate until the next one (5782), which is a ‘Jubilee year’ (divisible by 49). Leviticus 25 terms a jubilee year the year to ‘declare liberty throughout the land’. That one begins Sep. 7, 2021 and ends Sep. 25, 2022.  The book mentions that Israel’s northern kingdom only survived about 20 years after their first warning. Are we on track to repeat that too?  In that context, it may be noteworthy that the first Hebrew year of the Revolutionary War (5537, from 9/14/1776 to 10/1/1777) was also a Jubilee Year. (Dates from http://www.hebcal.com/converter – Wikipedia says there is dispute about whether Jubilee was the 49th or 50th year, but there seems a better case for  49).                                                      –
    It appears that the Maker of the universe has indeed set signs in the heavens, and that they do portend major events for His chosen people. America partakes of His blessings as a portion of His chosen people – unless we fall away from the faith and the covenants by which we have been blessed. Such a falling away is obviously far along. If we do not soon claim a Master greater than man, we will soon have a man as our master.
    The implications of this history: God desires that mankind be free to choose, and that we be taught to choose responsibly; that we recognize and avoid the evil options; that in our freedom we do not limit the freedom of others. In the Ten Commandments, the first five deal with man’s relationship with the Creator and our personal creators, our parents – the authority figures. We are to be humble. The second five deal with man’s relationship with others, in a list of ‘thou shall not’ commands which are all examples of power-seeking activities. Can it be that the two basic sins are: rejecting the Creator, and seeking godlike power over other people? The defeat of evil would then be the destruction or discrediting of the institutions of power, and the defeat of every effort to gain or hold power over others. The power-seeking personality type must either be eliminated, or given a powerful warning that inhibits seeking power over the lives of others.
    Enemies of man and God, then, are those who seek power to control the lives and choices of others; all who would use force, threats, or lies against them. Today, many governments prosper by using envy, lies, force, and ungodly laws. They subvert people by legalizing and encouraging what God forbids. They seek to replace God as the ultimate moral authority. They will not end well.
    Each of us is a participant in an ancient, continuing war for our own souls. It is a privilege to be present on the field of battle at such a time as this. We must choose our side and our actions carefully, the consequences are eternal and anyone could be taken out of the battle at any time with no chance to change sides.
    Check the two earlier posts in this blog for more background thoughts that I will not repeat here. The conclusion:
    It appears that the worldly elites are building a huge trap of debt, regulations, and government power, and when it goes off they intend to be the masters with the rest of us as slaves. (Global warming, Agenda 21, ‘quantitative easing’, Common Core, Obamacare, open borders, gun control, surveillance) But there are other pieces that they ignore lying around the trap, and God is arranging those, and there is a clock involved that they know not of. About the time they plan to set off their trap, they will find themselves caught in a bigger one and believers will be away at a wedding. Let us do all we can to make the guest list longer.

Spring 2013, after reading ‘The Harbinger’

The first English settlement to survive in America was in 1607 at Jamestown, VA. It was a commercial venture, a business proposition with the King of England. It was a communal operation, with each person sharing equally in the output, and failed because they did not share equally in the input. Success came when they divided up the land and made it clear that each would prosper according to their own efforts.

The second settlement in 1620 at Plymouth, MA started out as a communal religious community, and also failed until each family was given its own parcel of land and could keep or trade their own products. The learning process is summarized in Bradford’s journal of the settlement.

Individual responsibility and individual property rights became the norm as other colonies were set up. The exception was in areas where particularly good agricultural conditions, and large-scale demand for tobacco and cotton, led to introduction of the European and African tradition of slavery, with eventual disastrous consequences. The European traditions of class privilege and arbitrary taxation of commerce were not well received by the growing population of people who could clearly see that they had earned everything they had, and were not inclined to surrender it to people who had not earned it. At a safe distance from Europe, they began to think independently.
    After rejecting the dictatorial rule of King George III, the states still had their own conflicts. They were aware of the need for commonly accepted rules, and sent their most respected citizens to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. This group was well educated in history, religion, and recent trends in political philosophy. They considered everything that had been tried in history, selected what seemed to have worked, and devised a way to divide and balance power within a government. This was a new kind of government – no church had any position in government, the government had no power over any church, the citizens selected those who would govern and changed them periodically, and those who governed would become ordinary citizens after their term of office.
    Something this new met with objections, and these were discussed in the newspapers of the time and published as The Federalist Papers and The Anti-federalist Papers. Farmers and merchants of that time read and understood them, but lawyers of today find them difficult. After the necessary number of states ratified the new Constitution and held elections, the first meeting of the new government occurred on 4/30/1789. George Washington took the presidential oath of office in New York, and led the entire government to St. Paul’s Chapel where they consciously made a covenant with God to follow His principles. See “The Covenant” by Timothy Ballard.
    America grew to become the most prosperous and powerful nation in human history. But as with nations before it, too much success brought self-indulgence, pride, and corruption. The Constitution designed by and for “a religious and moral people” was circumvented by officeholders elected for other considerations. As the citizens fell away from religious ethical values, so did their elected representatives. Now we find ourselves in difficulty. As a nation founded in commercial enterprise, but losing the values that sustain commercial success, our punishment comes first in terms of commerce.
    Meanwhile, behind the scenes:
Some things which are too remarkable to be coincidence are pointed out in ’The Harbinger’ by Jonathan Cahn. The book uses three fictional characters who explain from history, both recent and ancient, a pattern of events which is clearly still in progress.
    The current side of the story leads to these facts; the economic impact of the 9/11 attack was felt when the stock markets next opened after that day. The Dow fell by a record 684 points. That date was September 17, 2001: 29 Elul 5761 in the Hebrew calendar used by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was the final day of the year in the 7-year Hebrew economic cycle (see Leviticus 25) designated for the settling or remission of debts. The attack caused a recession, the government resolved that we would come back stronger, and Americans were asked to keep spending to boost the economy. To emphasize our strength we initiated wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, seeking to change ingrained cultures over a thousand years old. The cultures remain unchanged, and our national debt increased by 5 trillion dollars while a real-estate bubble built up and was marketed world-wide in the form of ‘derivatives’. Domestic unrest built up over the war expenses and caused the candidates in the 2008 elections to remain personally unexamined while the media diverted attention to other matters. That ‘year of remission’ began with the first sign of economic trouble – the failure of Northern Rock Bank in Britain. When the real estate values behind the ’derivatives’ began to decline due to non-payment of the underlying loans by unqualified buyers, the debt bubble collapsed. That came on September 29, 2008 (29 Elul 5768 in the Hebrew calendar) when the Dow dropped 777 points, 7% of its value, 7 full Hebrew years after its fall in 2001. The nation’s founding covenant with God seems to also put some aspect of our fate on God’s old Hebrew calendar.
    The nation continues on its secular course. No revival of ethics, morality, or religious fervor is in evidence. A new real estate bubble starts as the government’s bank regulators change policy to let loans be made on the basis of unemployment compensation and/or welfare payments instead of earned income. The annual federal deficits continue at about a trillion dollars a year, and most states have large debts and/or unfunded pension liabilities. The federal government continues to ’buy’ its own debt by simply printing more money, with unavoidable inflationary results. Economic policies of regulation and taxation become ever more counterproductive, and penalize individual effort and excellence. Social policies destroy initiative and subsidize failure. Cultural relativism is promoted, but social and racial differences are emphasized. Local and state politicians evade responsibility and seek guidance and subsidies from higher levels of government, all the way to the United Nations. The media who are supposed to keep us informed actually avoid stories that put their favorite people and causes in a bad light, then fill their time with increasingly coarse and violent entertainment.
    We observe that our Marxist president feels that we have been an evil colonialist nation and should be punished by taking our standard of living down to that of Africa. The punishment involves wasting tax money on failed green-energy companies, locking up our natural resources, using regulations to cripple our productive and inventive industries, changing the rules of the financial system, weakening military forces, and basically making the citizens serve the government rather than vice versa. What may be going on behind the scenes? Perhaps God’s purpose in permitting this is to break the national pride that is based on power, end the idea that value can be created without work simply by printing money, eliminate the debt-based currencies that permit people to be easily manipulated, force us to start learning from history again, and turn us back to faith in and reliance on God’s power and His laws.
    As Israel’s stand-in for this act of the play (per Matt. 21:43) for the purpose of Matt. 24:14, we should take note that all of what we call ‘western civilization’ is rapidly abandoning its Christian roots. Even history itself is being rewritten, and we become ever more irresponsible in our moral, ethical, and financial behavior. As Israel fell to Assyria, so can we fall. We have been warned. The Apostle Paul in Romans 11:17-23, and indeed in all of Romans 8 thru 11, describes our times well. Anyone who follows the news can see the approach of the events of Ezekiel 38-39, and Ezekiel 39:29 matches up with Romans 11:26-29. At our current rate of cultural decline, it may take divine assistance even to survive until the next ‘year of remission’, and divine mercy to actually endure it. Divine retribution is not limited to economic affairs; the whole of nature is at God’s command.
    The next ’year of remission’ begins on September 25, 2014 (Hebrew 1 Tishri 5775) and ends on September 13, 2015 (Hebrew 29 Elul 5775). Both the dollar and the Euro are now weakened. The 2001 attack primarily affected America; the 2008 drop was felt in Europe also. The next economic shock may collapse the currencies and the financial structure of the whole world. The consequences would include riots, disruption of major industries, international strife, famine, and unavailability of medicines and medical care. Sounds like Revelation 6.
    Are there any implications for our coming election cycles? Continued Democrat and Progressive control would would fit in with the predicted dictator/caliphate type of world government. But opposition to Antichrist is predicted. This could indicate that some significant nation does not fall into line with a world government. Europe is too fragmented, and its Islamic minorities too unruly. It is possible that economic circumstances could lead to loss of Democrat control in 2014 or 2016, but so many senior Republican officeholders have been so lacking in principle for so many years that the party’s image is discredited. A viable third party in the near future seems unlikely. In any event, several very difficult years are now inevitable. The ability of governments to provide or control the spectrum of services now being attempted will surely be shattered. Individual and community efforts will provide the models for workable future governments; the ambitions of state and national-level government will be greatly chastened by their now-impending failures.
    Is there any indication that the 7-year Tribulation coincides with the 7-year economic cycle? It might seem fitting that it would start after an economic collapse and escalate through the next ‘year of remission’. It might also be that it would start with a ‘year of remission’ and escalate until the next one (5782), which is a ‘Jubilee year’ (divisible by 49). Leviticus 25 terms a jubilee year the year to ‘declare liberty throughout the land’. That one begins Sep. 7, 2021 and ends Sep. 25, 2022.  The book mentions that Israel’s northern kingdom only survived about 20 years after their first warning. Are we on track to repeat that too?
In that context, it may be noteworthy that the first Hebrew year of the Revolutionary War (5537, from 9/14/1776 to 10/1/1777) was also a Jubilee Year. Time grows short. Read the book and pass it on to a friend or neighbor.

Review and outlook as of late 2012 – a little history and current prospects

This blog assumes familiarity with the Judeo-Christian worldview. If you reject it and consider humans as accidents of nature, destined only to be controlled by other humans, read no farther. If you are curious about the matter, see Prageruniversity.com, explore Reasons.org, or go to TheTruthProject.org, click on ’search for a group near you’, select your state, click on ‘find a group’, and arrange to view that video series.

The Judeo-Christian view of human history is that God has purposes for mankind as a whole, and for each individual. Those purposes can be discerned by paying attention to the larger picture of history, not just treating it as a list of kings, empires, battles, and dates. This can shed light on our current situation in America and its probable outcomes. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, and the price goes up each time.

Looking at the last two millenia, it appears that America was called into existence as a nation to fulfill two divine purposes, given in Matthew 21:43 and Matthew 28:19-20. The first, that the kingdom of God would be taken away from Israel and given to a people who would produce the fruits of it; America was that people. The Pilgrims came to worship God and serve as stepping-stones for a future nation; they began with socialism/collectivism, sharing labor and results, failed as recorded in Bradford’s journal, and invented free enterprise within the Christian worldview. This and English common law brought all the colonies onto the same track. The omnipresence of printed Bibles as the basic educational material assured a high level of literacy and a common morality. Sectarian differences between the colonies were moderated by the efforts of traveling evangelist George Whitefield. This prepared the way for the Revolution and the Constitution. Finally people were freed to learn and invent and reap the rewards of their labor, developing their individual talents with individual responsibility. Fulfilling the first purpose involved Daniel 12, that people will travel to and fro and knowledge will increase. Thus America produced the fruits of a godly nation – the highest level of prosperity in human history, huge advances in science, engineering, and medicine, a trip from horse and buggy to the moon over the span of a century. We still had good and bad people, but the socio-economic system was dominated by the good.

The second purpose, the Great Commission ’make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe…’ now trembles on the brink of fulfillment. A very high level of prosperity is required for much effort to be put into such a humanly unnecessary task; most of human history has been a struggle to stay above the subsistence level. America developed technology, communications, and the translation techniques that enabled Campus Crusade to make the Jesus Film available in over 1100 languages, and Bibles are printed in every language used by a national government and many regional languages. Much material is available on the internet, cell phones, DVDs and VCDs. The second divine purpose is virtually fulfilled. Is there more? Where are we likely to go from here? God is patient, but He can work on more than one thing at a time. The current situation is too unstable to last for long.

A look at earlier history may be enlightening. Abraham was called out from his people for a purpose. From him, Israel was built up, and then unified as a unique culture in their exodus from Egypt. They were placed at the crossroads of the world’s major trade routes of the time, to be a witness for God to the nations, and to be the people into which God would make His physical entry on the earth as the Messiah, the deliverer from sin. After centuries of struggle, success, backsliding, and punishment, that purpose was fulfilled. But Jesus was rejected by the leaders, and the prophecies of his fate were fulfilled. Forty years later, Jerusalem was rubble and its people scattered abroad, but neither Judaism nor Christianity was ended. Entire languages and mathematical systems had to be developed before the next step toward Daniel 12 could proceed. A language was needed that could incorporate foreign words and concepts, not just conquer and destroy them. That turned out to be English. Arabic numerals and algebra had to be developed before science had the tools to adequately describe the natural world and develop an understanding of it that would lead to technology. That came from Islam and the Ottoman empire. Then the way was prepared for the discovery of the New World, distant enough that men could be freed from the monarchies and class systems of Europe. Individual freedom and individual responsibility have had an opportunity to show what they could do. But sin still is in the picture. The next divine purpose in Scripture is the defeat of evil on earth.

Having fulfilled God’s purposes for America, we are in a position similar to that of Israel after the Crucifixion; the culture is decaying, materialism is rampant. The Cloward-Piven plan for exhausting America’s financial resources has succeeded. Antonio Gramsci devised a strategy to destroy the West by attacking the moral standards provided by Christianity. Implementation began with the ‘intellectual’ porn of Playboy in the 1950’s, and soon grew into the student radicals of the 1960’s whose progeny now provide our movies, video-games, university professors, and governments. We have an impending financial collapse on a global scale. We have a religious falling-away such that foreign countries are sending missionaries to America’s ethnic communities. Student anarchists and communist unions preach revolution. Drug use and pornography are widely accepted. Our borders are unprotected from infiltration by drug cartels and Islamic terrorists, who sometimes work together. Our own government seeks to limit our access to energy supplies, driving costs up. The conversion of food into inefficient fuels is subsidized with tax dollars, at a time when the world’s food reserves are low and our harvests are threatened by drought. An economic decline will force reductions in America’s military forces, which have become mere rent-payers in dozens of nations and are involved in some wars which our leaders have no will to win, as per a 1969 Weather Underground plan.
This president was raised by dedicated Marxists. The first article of faith for Marxists is, ‘There is no God‘. People exist to be manipulated by other people, the purpose in life is to be the manipulator. The Marxist seeks to use any and all institutions of society to subject the society to his will, and eventually to eliminate all competitors for human allegiance – especially God. Dinesh D’Souza is also right about the anti-colonialist rage. He wants to lower our lifestyle to second-world levels at best.
The Marxists who have been guiding Progressivism for the last century have a competitor in Islam. So, two forces are at work, and each seeks to use the other in achieving its own goal. Obama thinks he can pay off Islam by buying their oil at inflated prices as the ’jizyah’ unbeliever tax. For this purpose, he halts as much domestic energy production as possible, driving up prices for OPEC and simultaneously weakening the economy for his anti-colonialist bias. The environmentalists’ global-warming paradigm is his tool here, even though now discredited; warming stopped 16 years ago according to latest info. But it is now in the popular psyche, thanks to Al Gore’s video and Bush’s acceptance of the green movement in accepting Arab oil rather than pushing our own drilling in ANWR. He may have been thinking ‘jizyah’ too.

Islam might accept that temporarily, but ultimately demands surrender. Obama seeks to mollify them, his first official phone call being to Turkey, followed by the Cairo speech. But ’The Project’ is in progress, using immigration and pushing Sharia law as per the European model. Government infiltration is far along, with Houma Abedin to influence Hillary and the State Department. Her mother leads the female wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and apparently gave her special dispensation to marry Anthony Weiner, a progressive non-practicing Jew. Our State Department has been working closely with the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in the U.N., which proposes a treaty on ‘Non-defamation of Religion’ to inhibit speech worldwide that speaks truth about Islam. They are also working on a worldwide gun control effort, so that only governments can use or trade in weapons. So much for our first and second amendments.

The OIC is working toward global dominance through the U.N., and would be happy to impose Agenda 21 on the way to sharia law, but more radical Islamist elements in the Muslim Brotherhood are in a greater hurry. We are entering a dangerous period with our financial situation. A currency collapse, possibly worldwide, could be triggered by China, which may be weighing the relative asset value of our debt vs. the power to be gained by crashing our currency and shutting down our military capabilities. Obama doesn’t like our military strength anyway, and has been trying to discredit our military and intel agencies. For his purposes, our financial strength is also expendable.

The stage is set for Revelation 6, and the cast is heavy with villains. America tells Israel to divide its land, making them even more vulnerable to attack. World grain supplies are down to a slim margin. Food shortages are causing unrest and hunger in many nations. Islam is on the march; dictators are falling, and the armies that kept their people down can now be merged into one ideological force against Israel. The war of Ezekiel 38-39 is visible on the horizon of time, and the withdrawal of our forces from the Middle East is near. It seems obvious that an attack on Israel will be accompanied by a sleeper-cell attack in America and Europe, to prevent any intervention. The electrical grid and communication facilities are likely targets; transportation and commerce would break down. If financial collapse does not humble us, that will; or if it is too late for national repentance, that may be the occasion of the Rapture. Such an attack would indeed result in the Tribulation for survivors, and many missing people would just be written off. We can easily be punished for our sins; the only way out is that of 2 Chronicles 7:14, confirmed elsewhere in Scripture and in history: …‘humble themselves and pray…I will hear from heaven and heal their land’. Revelation does seem to indicate that opposition to Antichrist continues and comes to a head at Armageddon. America might be spared the worst if we repent, but the rot is wide ands deep, entire denominations are falling away, and materialism rules in politics, education, and the media. But the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39 will focus interest on the other end-time prophecies, and begin the process of renewal.

But how does such chaos bring the defeat of evil on earth? Evil has many faces, but there seems to be one common root from which they all spring. In the Ten Commandments, the first five deal with man’s relationship with the Creator and our personal creators, our parents – the authority figures. We are to be humble. The second five deal with man’s relationship with others, in a list of‘thou shall not’ commands which are all examples of power-seeking activities. Can it be that the two basic sins are: rejecting the Creator, and seeking godlike power over other people? The defeat of evil would then be the destruction or discrediting of the institutions of power, and the defeat of every effort to gain or hold power over others. The power-seeking personality type must either be eliminated, or given a powerful warning that inhibits seeking power over the lives of others. It would be a long and unpleasant process, and it may indeed require all of Revelation’s seven years of supernatural punishment to humble the materialists that our educational systems have been so carefully designed to produce.

Several different ‘new world order’ plans are in progress; financial and political elites seek control of economic activities in the western world, Islamic fundamentalists seek a global Caliphate, labor unions seek to control national governments, China’s communist leaders plan to control Asia even as Christianity spreads through its population, Russia seeks to dominate Europe by being its fuel supplier. All these seek to gain permanent power over some target population. Some will work together against the others, and divide up the spoils. None of these plans can prevail against God’s new world order.
Those who are humble could be spared from such a purging ordeal. Perhaps a raptured audience will watch from heaven as the evil of power-seeking is burned out of human hearts. Let us work and pray that we may be part of that audience, and not actors in that seven-year tragedy. Only at its end ’the debts will all be cancelled and the slaves will be set free’ – the Lord’s return, the Jubilee year