2 The Jews
The survival of the Jews is one of the greatest proofs of the Bible. God said through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee, but I will correct thee in measure and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” (Jer. 30:11).
The purpose of this chapter is to show that the Jewish people, some of the oldest known to mankind, have never been destroyed, nor will they be. God has said so. The Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite cultures have all gone, yet the Jews remain as a witness to the truth of the Bible.
Abraham: Father of the Jews
Why does God have this special relationship with the Jewish people? We need to refer to the very first book of the Bible to find out, and read about a man named Abraham. So important is Abraham that he was given the distinguished title “Friend of God” and was promised by God that all nations of the earth would ultimately be blessed in him.
In Genesis chapters 11–12, we read how God called Abraham from the city of Ur to go to a land He would show him. That was the land of Canaan, which God promised Abraham and his seed as an everlasting possession. The same promises were renewed to Abraham’s son Isaac and his son Jacob. The special relationship came about for several reasons. First of all, God saw in Abraham’s character special qualities that could be developed. Secondly, both Abraham’s wife Sarah and Isaac’s wife Rebekah were originally unable to have children. God healed their barrenness, so in a special sense God was able to say,
“Israel is my son even my firstborn” (Exod. 4:22),
for without God’s intervention there would have been no Israel, or Jewish people.
Another important reason for this special relationship is in God’s own statement:
“I have called thee by thy name,” speaking to Israel (Isa. 43:1).
This came about in an interesting way. The nation of Israel was named after the man Israel, son of Isaac and Rebekah. His parents originally named him Jacob; however, in the incident of his wrestling with an angel (Gen. 32:24–30), his name was changed by God (El) to IsraEL— Prince with God. His descendants have become known as the children of Israel ever since. Many people who speak in derisory tones about the nation of Israel are unaware of these facts or, if they are aware, believe that God has cast off His people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God has not cast off Israel. Here is what God said about His people through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Thus saith the Lord, if my covenant be not with day and night and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant” (Jer. 33:25–6).
Therefore, God has not cast off His people, and the survival of the Jews is as certain as the sun’s rising each day. Many people have tried to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. Haman, prince of the Persians, tried and failed. Hitler tried and failed. It’s not because the Jews are more numerous, more powerful, or more righteous than other nations, but because God has promised their survival.
Knowledge brings responsibility
God’s warning to his people was that they would be punished for disobedience. The Jews were in the unique position of being the only nation to have God’s laws. God promised them blessings for obedience to those laws but, conversely, curses for disobedience. We can read about these warnings in Deuteronomy 28. The first 14 verses are blessings for obedience:
“If thou hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, blessed shalt thou be in the city and blessed shalt thou be in the field; blessed shall be the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy ground and the fruit of thy cattle” (Deut. 28:1-3).
The rest of the chapter is curses for disobedience:
“If thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, cursed shalt thou be in the city and cursed shalt thou be in the field, cursed shall be thy basket and thy store, cursed shall be the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine and the flocks of thy sheep” (Deut. 28:15–18).
The children of Israel said, “All that the Lord hast said will we do and be obedient,” but in reality they forgot and ignored his laws, indulging in the practices of the heathen idol-worshiping nations around them. Like most people in a position of privilege, they didn’t appreciate how well off they were. Their God was the one true God, whose commandments, moral precepts, rules of hygiene and behaviour, justice before God and man, and even care for the environment were unique. The Israelites’ laws on compensation for injury set the standard for the rest of the world, right down to the present day.
Having entered the land of promise under the leadership of Joshua, they made a good start, conquering most of the land and casting out the idol worshiping Canaanites as God commanded them. However, God also required His people to remain separate from the surrounding nations, not to intermarry with them and to have no visible king as the other nations did.
They were required to observe a weekly day of rest on the seventh day of the week. This was their Sabbath and it reminded them that,
“in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and hallowed it” (Exod 20:11).
This compulsory day of rest every week, required by God, was essential for healthy functioning of body and mind, and is another of the many benefits that have come down to us from the Jews. A weekly day of rest is now universal, although in some cultures it is less than 100 years old. ref 8
Judges and kings
Under the rule of the judges and kings, the Jews ultimately rebelled against the requirements of God to such an extent that God was forced to say through Isaiah:
“But thou hast not called upon me O Jacob; but thou has been weary of me O Israel… Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.” (Isaiah 43:22,24):
Although God had said to them,
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God” (Isa. 43:12),
it is clear from their behaviour that they were unwilling witnesses, and that is the case to this day. Very early in the reign of the kings the nation had become divided into two parts: Israel (10 tribes) in the north, and Judah (two tribes) in the south. Both nations entered into continuous cycles of idolatry and repentance until their wickedness became too great. God-fearing Israelites from the northern kingdom moved south to Judah over several years. Eventually in 709 BC, the northern kingdom of Israel was invaded by the Assyrians and taken captive. Even this did not serve as a warning to the southern kingdom of Judah, which became worse in its wickedness than its former northern neighbour. Finally the kingdom of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians. God’s people were being corrected “ in measure” and were “not altogether unpunished”.
According to Jewish tradition the first temple, i.e. Solomon’s, was captured on the ninth day of the Jewish month Av (Ab), in 586 BC. A series of amazing events happened on that same date in later years, as God brought judgment to bear on His own people. The Jews call 9 Av, Tisha B’Av, “the saddest day in Jewish history”.
God allowed His people to return to their land after 70 years captivity in the land of Babylon, as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah (25:11–12). The period of captivity was for them to repent of their evil ways. Very often God will allow evil to come upon His children, that they may see the error of their ways, repent and change for their own good. The captivity in Babylon became known as the Diaspora or scattering of the Jews. They returned to their land under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, when Cyrus was king of Persia, and those who returned built a second temple in Judea on the same site as Solomon’s temple.
For a time the Jews were very careful to observe God’s laws, yet history was to repeat itself in the greatest Diaspora of all time. The crucifixion of Christ brought the wrath of God on His own people, the Jews, who had rejected and slain their Messiah. Jesus warned,
“When ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies… flee to the mountains” (Luke 21:20–21).
Those who took notice of Jesus had an opportunity to escape from Jerusalem, as the army of the Roman General Cestius was harassed out of the country by Jewish rebels. The relief was only temporary, however, for Emperor Nero sent his distinguished general Vespasian and his son Titus, with 60 000 troops plus siege engines to finish the work.
Those Jews who observed the signs of the times, as Jesus suggested, and were looking for the end of the Mosaic era took action, fled to Pella and lived. Many of those who were deaf to Jesus’ advice and wanted independence from the Roman yoke died or were taken captive in the ensuing battles.
Vespasian entered northern Judea in 67 AD to find the country in a general state of lawlessness. First he subdued Galilee and the fortified town of Jotapata, which was under the control of Joseph ben Mattathius—better known as the historian Josephus. The fighting was fierce, the Jews were determined, and the Romans had advanced fighting equipment. However God had pre-ordained that this would be the end of the Mosaic era. Josephus joined with Vespasian in a vain attempt to stop the Jews fighting. Lawless bands of Jews resorted to the fortified Jerusalem ahead of Vespasian. Terror prevailed in the city even before the Roman army arrived. The second temple was captured and demolished by the Romans on the anniversary of its destruction by the Babylonians. It was the ninth day of the Hebrew month Av, AD 70, when Vespasian’s son Titus finally took Jerusalem. Over one million Jews died in Jerusalem alone. Tens of thousands were taken captive to Rome, of whom many were later destroyed in public games. Titus set up the Arch of Titus in Rome to commemorate his victory over the Jews. The Arch shows the Jews in subjection and the Temple treasures being looted by the Romans. It remains to this day as a symbol of the ascendancy of the Roman Empire and by extension the Roman Catholic Church against the Jews, for the Arch was later restored by one of the Popes.
Prophecy fulfilled: 7 Av
In noting the amazing reoccurrence of the date 9 Av, many people would be inclined to suggest it was merely coincidence. Yet the prophecy in Deuteronomy 28 had already warned the Jews about the rise of the Roman Empire. This is what God had told them through Moses:
“Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee… And he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until he have destroyed thee. The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand.” (Deut. 28:48–49).
Two symbols of the Roman nation were iron (Dan. 2) and the eagle. In fact the golden eagle was the standard of the Roman legions and was “the object of their fondest devotion” ref 7. The gospel writer Matthew also records Jesus’ prophecy about the temple:
“And Jesus went out and departed from the temple and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, ‘See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down’”. (Matt. 24:1–2).
For God’s temple of worship to be broken up twice on the same day of the month—9 Av—was no coincidence; it was providence at work—events that appear to be happening by chance, but are actually controlled by God to bring about His purpose. Emperor Vespasian had coins issued with the words “Judea capta” on them, which reminded the Jews of their captivity.
When the Roman emperor Hadrian introduced repressive laws against the Jews, including a ban on circumcision and instruction in the Law, the Jews who were left in Judea rebelled again. This became known as the Bar Kochba uprising, centred in the fortress of Bet Their, southwest of Jerusalem. The Roman legions crushed the rebellion on the 9 Av 135 AD, the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second temples. This was after a two year siege. Surely no one would suggest that all three conquests took place on the same day of the same month, against the same people by chance, over 721 years! Yet there it is as a fact of history, attested by the Jews themselves, who on each occasion were fighting to prevent the conquest. ref 8 When we consider the ninth day of Av, knowing that nine is God’s number for finality or judgment (Jer 39:1–2, Hag. 1:11, Matt. 27:46), it is clear that God meted out judgment on His people because of their disobedience, and for rejecting His son Jesus Christ. This judgment was punishment, not complete destruction, for the Jews have survived as witnesses to the very existence of God and the truth of His word the Bible.
Hadrian the emperor was so incensed by the latest Jewish uprising that he banned the name Judea and renamed the country Syria-Palestina, adapting the name Palestine already given by the Greeks. The word Palestina was a reference to the Philistines who once inhabited the coast of the Holy Land. He also renamed Jerusalem Colonia Aelia Capitolina, after the smallest of the seven hills of Rome, and dedicated it to Jupiter, building a temple to Jupiter on the site of the second temple. The Holy Land kept the name Palestine, right through until the proclamation of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948. The Arabs who were displaced at that time became known as Palestinians, although until the proclamation of Israel their Jewish neighbours were also known as Palestinians.
Persecution of the Jews: Anti-Semitism
In Europe, for almost 2000 years, if ever a people looked as if they might be annihilated, it was the Jewish people. Emperor Constantine, (so-called “father of Christianity”) condemned Judaism’s sacrilegious gatherings and brought about much oppression. To rub salt into their wounds, he allowed them to visit Jerusalem on one day of the year only—the 9 Av!
None of the Roman emperors would listen to Jewish appeals to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem and every year Jews were reminded of Roman hatred when the tax collector called. From the third century onwards Jews had to pay an extra two drachmas, not levied on any other Roman citizen. ref 9 In about 700 AD, Moslem conquerors of Palestine completed the Dome of the Rock on the site of the Jewish temple, further preventing Jewish ambition. God had decreed that the next temple to be built in Jerusalem, details of which are given in Ezekiel chapters 40–48, would be under Christ as king over the whole earth.
Persecution of Jews was particularly bad under Emperor Justinian, a “Christian” emperor, who in the name of Christianity, brought to bear shocking inhumanities on the Jewish race, in the name of the greatest Jew who ever lived, thinking he was doing Christ a service.
With the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the hatred and persecution of the Jews was continued by the Roman Catholic Popes, so that they exceeded the Christian emperors and Pagan Rome in their oppression. The earliest recorded evidence of this hatred was from Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in the second century AD, who blamed lawless Israel for “the crucifixion of their God”. For Melito’s efforts, the Roman Catholic Church pronounced him a “saint”. ref 9
The persecutions and inquisitions were directed mainly against the Jews, but also against Jews by adoption into the hope of Israel, all of whom the Roman Church called heretics (Gal.3:27–29). These persecutions lasted 1260 years in fulfilment of the prophecy of Revelation 11:2, that the gentiles would “tread underfoot” the “holy city” (spiritual Jerusalem or believers) for a period of “forty and two months” (equivalent to 1260 days). They began in earnest with the decree by Emperor Phocus (reigning in Constantinople), that the “Pope (in Rome), is head of all the churches.” The decree was issued in 606–07 AD. Church and state then worked together against the Jews and true Christians until 1866–67, when the Pope lost his temporal power over the papal states and was, from 1870 onwards, confined to the Vatican only. The prophetic 1260 day/years of Revelation 11:1–3 had been fulfilled.
Rome fell in the west to barbarian tribes around 400 AD. Eastern Rome fell to the Moslems in 1453 AD, and the Pope eventually lost his temporal power, but the Jews survived as God had predicted. They were “not…altogether unpunished” (Jer. 30:11); but they survived the Roman Empire and they will survive the continued hatred meted out by the Roman Catholic Church.
The suffering endured by Jews, natural and spiritual, during those 1260 years makes for very sad reading and reflection, showing the true Jezebel nature of the Roman Catholic Church (Rev. 2:20).
The Crusades, at the instigation of Pope Urban II, beginning in 1096 AD, were ostensibly to remove Muslims from the Holy Land, but also included a long series of massacres of the Jewish people, lasting until 1272.
The middle ages present us with a scene of continuous murder of Jews. In the 15th century, repressive measures against the Jews were led by fanatical Dominican friars, surrounded by flagellants, who preached against all ‘heretics’. In 1412 AD, Jews of Castile, Spain, were forced into Juderias (Jewish quarters), forbidden to engage in medicine or any craft and made to wear badges. At both Castile and Aragon, Jews were forcibly baptized by the church. Many Jews who allowed themselves to be baptized did so without sincerity and still practised Judaism secretly.
When Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile ascended the Spanish throne they gave their consent to the church to root out any remaining ‘non- Christian’ influences. The Spanish Inquisition was set up by Pope Sixtus soon afterwards in 1478. It was to last until 1820 AD. It was mainly directed against the Jews who had converted to Christianity for convenience. Such Jews were given the name marranos—swine. In 1492, the year Columbus crossed the Atlantic for the new world, Ferdinand and Isabella issued an edict instructing all Jews to embrace Christianity or leave Spain. By 31 July that year there was not one professing Jew left. Many fled to Portugal, only to have King Manoel issue a similar order.
By 1498 there was not a single Jew left in Portugal. Church and state in both countries had combined to conspire against God’s people. God’s punishment, as foreshadowed by Moses, was being fulfilled:
“And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life” (Deut. 28:66).
With the discovery of the new world by Columbus, many Jews fled there to escape the persecution of the old. Some Portuguese Jews were deported to Brazil. Many found haven in the Netherlands. With the influx of Jewish learning and financiers, Holland became the greatest naval power in Europe at that time.
The Roman Inquisition followed hard on the heels of the Spanish Inquisition. Dreadful atrocities were committed against Jews and ‘heretics’ in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, with the blessing of the Pope in Rome.
Meanwhile in England, once a Catholic country which had persecuted the Jews, attitudes towards them changed under Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658). Prior to Cromwell, that is, from 1219, the Jews of England had been forced to wear badges, after a decree by the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. All Jews were officially banned from England by King Edward I from 1290 until Cromwell’s intervention. Cromwell’s Puritan (protestant) army went to battle against the Roundheads of King Charles I, but when Charles I invited an Irish Catholic army to help him he was executed for high treason. Cromwell assumed the role of ‘Lord Protector’ and stood for a national church “without (Catholic) bishops”. He allowed the Jews back into England again.
England, English speaking countries and some other Protestant believers have regularly supported the Jews and Israel ever since. Easy access to the Bible in their own language has helped them understand that the Jews are God’s people. Generally, predominantly Catholic countries such as Spain, Portugal and France have persecuted the Jews through the ages without cause, perhaps because the Catholic laity were discouraged from reading God’s word for themselves.
Popes in their Easter service at St Peters, up until Pope John XXIII (1958–63), condemned all Jews and infidels. Until the 18th century, all Western Europe, except for northern Italy and Germany, was closed to the Jews. In Eastern Europe and Russia, however, the hatred and brutality against the Jews persisted. As late as the early 1900s the Czars of Russia financed massacres of the Jews ref 8; and the hatred continues to this day by a majority of the members of the United Nations (UN).
Anti-Semitism to Anti-Zionism
Of almost 200 members of the UN, only Israel has ever been given reduced privileges. Israel, for example, is not allowed to become a member of the UN Security Council. The Security Council has devoted one third of its energy criticizing one nation: Israel. The UN Commission on Human Rights, which accepts delegations from murderous tyrannies across the globe, has issued one quarter of its official condemnations against one democracy: Israel.
Anti-Zionism is further endorsed by the UN by celebrating 29 November each year as Solidarity with Palestine Day. This was the day in 1947 when the UN voted legitimately for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab sectors. The UN now affirms annually: “We got it wrong in 1947.”
The result of centuries of persecution of the Jews was Zionism, initiated by Theodore Herzl, a French-Jewish reporter, who witnessed the Dreyfus affair*. Herzl called a conference of Jews at Basle in Switzerland in 1897. The Jews finally returned to the land of Israel as foretold by the prophets (Ezek. 34:11–13; Isa. 54:7–8) fifty years after Herzl recorded in his diary, “At Basle I founded the Jewish state”.
Until 1933, when Hitler came to power, German Jewry seemed secure. However it wasn’t long before Hitler and his Nazi Party introduced the Nuremberg Laws. All Jews then lost their citizenship, were forbidden to intermarry with non-Jews, could not attend German schools, could not practice their professions and were forced to wear yellow badges.
On 9 November 1938, Kristallnacht, or the ‘night of broken glass’, the persecution of German Jews began in earnest. Germans were urged by their Nazi leadership to rise up against Jewish people and their property. Two hundred synagogues and 7000 Jewish businesses were attacked on that violent night. One hundred Jews were murdered and 35,000 were taken into custody to the concentration camps of Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. Many Jews tried to escape Germany, but it was too late; history had repeated itself. Those who saw the signs had already made their escape, many to Palestine, the USA and other free countries, just as the Jews who observed Jesus’ words escaped to Pella and saved themselves from the wrath of the Roman troops.
During World War II, the Allies and the papacy knew of the concentration and death camps. The silence from Pope Pius XII was deafening. He—as Cardinal Pacelli—had already made a concordat of cooperation and understanding with Hitler on 10 September 1933. The Roman Catholic Church was again showing its true colours. Its implacable hatred of the Jews continued throughout the war. It continues to this day. A minority of European nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Hungary and Bulgaria helped the Jews at great danger to themselves.
Denmark refused to give up its Jews to Germany. King Kristian X said, “If the Jews have to wear a star of identification, I will wear one too”.
Many Danish non-Jews followed his example. ref 10
The State of Israel
When church leaders in England found out about the death camps in 1942, many spoke out in support of the Jews, but the Vatican remained silent. Those who helped the Jews at that dreadful time have become known to the Jewish people as “the righteous among the gentiles.”
After the war, when the world in general found out the full story of the holocaust, or systematic annihilation of Jews, in which six million died, there was an enormous outpouring of sympathy for Jews everywhere except in many parts of Europe, where anti-Semitism continued unabated.
Great Britain, which had done so much for the Jews under the Balfour Declaration and League of Nations mandate for Palestine, reneged on its responsibilities towards them for fear of offending the Arabs, who were suppliers of Britain’s oil.
At a time when Jews needed a home of their own in Palestine more than ever, after the suffering they had endured, Britain washed its hands of the problem and handed it over to the United Nations in February 1947.
The UN formulated a plan of partition whereby Jews and Arabs would share Palestine. The Arabs would have nothing to do with it and used their best endeavours to scuttle the UN’s plan. The Arabs could never succeed, for they were working against the plan of God outlined by His prophets. On 29 November 1947 the Jews held their breath as the UN plan was decided by the 46 nations, who voted either for or against the partition of Palestine. Many nations abstained from voting. The vote was 33 in favour to 13 against partition. The Jews had their nation. This is what God prophesied about His people through Ezekiel the prophet:
“And I will bring them out from the people and gather them from the countries and will bring them into their own land” (Ezek. 34:13).
On 14 May 1948, when Prime Minister Ben Gurion declared Israel a nation, the Jews finally had a land to call their own once again.
The very next morning, which was a Sabbath, Egyptian Spitfires attacked Tel Aviv airport and the Egyptian army crossed the border, attacking any Israeli settlement in its path. Five Arab armies told the Palestinian Arabs to move aside while they drove the fledgling nation into the Mediterranean Sea. But they did not reckon on the God of the Jews. The tiny nation of Israel, with little more than half a million Jews and surrounded by 100 million Arabs, survived the 1948 War of Independence, which lasted over seven months. The Suez War followed in 1956, the Six-day War in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. By now the Arab nations knew they could not defeat Israel by themselves and some even made peace with Israel. Arab terrorism then began in earnest to turn world opinion against Israel. This Arab-sponsored terrorism gave rise to the war Israel waged against Al Fatah in 1982, the war against Hizbollah in 2006 and the war against Hamas in 2008–2009. Hardly a day goes by without either a rocket or terrorist attack on Israel. That Israel has survived against all odds demonstrates clearly the providence of God:
“Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” (Jer. 30:11).
The establishment of the nation of Israel was the greatest development of the 20th century, a sign to those who knew their Bible that God’s prophecies were sure. Christendom in general has not recognized that the nation of Israel is fulfilled prophecy. Most churches have no idea of
“the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20)
or the gospel of God’s kingdom on earth. They actively work against any who see Israel as a prelude to Christ’s reign on earth. They label these people as Christian Zionists, a liability to peace in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, Israel’s greatest battle is yet to come—Armageddon, which we shall presently consider.
In his bunker before he took his own life, Hitler wrote in his will, “Centuries may pass away, but out of the ruins of our towns and monuments, hatred will grow against those finally responsible for everything, International Jewry and its helpers.”
There was no remorse or repentance and, although Germany made reparations to Israel at the insistence of Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion, the old hatred smoulders away to burst forth in the future. Ben Gurion, quoting 1 Kings 21:19 and the account of Naboth’s vineyard, appealed to Germany in the words of the prophet Elijah to Ahab, “Hast thou killed and also taken possession?”
Germany paid $1000 million in reparations to Israel at a time when it could ill afford it. The actions of the German government of the time amounted to an admission of guilt and a temporary Divine blessing for Germany which allowed it to become the economic powerhouse it is today. Instead of the “centuries” envisioned by Hitler, Germany rose in power as an economic giant very quickly and West and East Germany joined together in October 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Jews’ ancient enemy, the Roman Empire, to be re-established
In Revelation 16 we read Christ’s prophecy about Israel’s enemies:
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of demons working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty …And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:13)
The moves of the nations leading to Armageddon will be mankind’s final attempt to annihilate God’s people. We need to understand the symbols ‘dragon’, ‘beast’ and ‘false prophet,’ for the combined efforts of these powers will see the re-establishment of the Roman empire for a very short time.
The dragon is a symbol of the old Roman Empire, but when Constantine became emperor—the first “Christian” emperor—he moved his throne east to Byzantium, naming it Constantinople after himself.
He prescribed by law that it be called “Second Rome,” largely because of the influence of Rome’s culture and architecture.
From Constantinople the Greek form of Christianity was taken north to Russia where Vladimir, Grand Prince of Russiam, adopted the Greek Orthodox religion, but stayed independent from it forming instead the Russian Orthodox Church. The theology of the Russian Church proclaimed.
Moscow as the Third Rome with the remarkable assertion, “Two Romes have fallen, a third stands and a fourth there shall not be,” ref 10 for meanwhile the Roman Empire in the west had fallen and Constantinople was overthrown by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The Roman “dragon” now lived on in Moscow. To complete the Roman symbolism, in 1472 Russia’s King Ivan III married Sophia Paleologus, niece of Constantine XI, the last emperor of Eastern Rome. Ivan III decided that he was now heir to the Roman throne, naming himself Czar (Caesar) and Autocrat. To his family crest he added a doubleheaded eagle, successor of the Roman eagle, thus doubly establishing Russia as the Roman dragon of Rev. 16:13. ref 10
The beast of Revelation 16:13 is Germany, centre of the old Holy Roman Empire. When Hitler proclaimed his Third Reich, which he claimed would “last 1000 years”, what was he talking about? He was hoping to mimic the old Holy Roman Empire, which lasted 1000 years, from 800 to about 1800 AD. Hitler’s was the Third (Roman) Reich or regime. The first was the Holy Roman Empire; the second was named the “Roman Empire of the German nation”, and was established by Otto Von Bismarck. The Second Reich led the nations into World War I, just as Hitler’s Third Reich led them into World War II. The German monarchs had already shown their Roman attachment, for they were known as Kaisers (Caesars).
The false prophet
The Catholic Church vainly endeavours to label the false prophet of Revelation 16:13 as the prophet Mohammed, but it is clearly the Pope of Rome because he adopted the old Roman emperor’s mantle, Pontifex Maximus, or Chief Pontiff. He is a false prophet because he claims to speak for God, but like the other false prophets of the Bible, he does no such thing. As the head of the Roman Catholic Church reigning from Rome, the city of seven hills (Rev. 17:9), the Pope clearly wears the title of false prophet. Pope Pius XII hoped that Hitler would restore the Holy Roman Empire in modern form and, although the Vatican’s hopes were dashed with the defeat of Germany, the same desire lingers on.
The Roman nature of the dragon, beast and false prophet of Rev 16:13 is complete and corresponds with the symbolism of the iron legs and feet of the image in the prophecy of Daniel 2. Just as Rome and Roman Catholicism have been traditional enemies of the Jews (witness the Arch of Titus restored by Pope Pius VI in 1821), so the dragon, beast and false prophet will work together, endeavouring to eliminate God’s people once again.
They will not succeed. Their troops will perish on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:18–23) and God will preserve a remnant of His people as consistently forecast by His prophets. Gog “the dragon”, of the land of Magog “the beast”, will combine with the other powers mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2–6, urged on by the “false prophet” in Rome looking for another “final solution” of the Jewish “problem.”
Then “God’s fury will come up in His face” (Ezek. 38:18) to bring about the utter destruction of those wicked adversaries of His people through the agency of His son Jesus Christ and his saints. In the process God’s people the Jews will come through the fire of affliction until they finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah and “mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son” (Zech. 12:10). Shortly thereafter the kingdom of God will be set up on earth.
The Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” will finally have been fulfilled.
The ongoing conflict between Roma aeterna (Rome the eternal city) and Jerusalem, the city of the great king, will have come to an end.
Kingdom restored to Israel
God’s word is consistent. Anyone that claims God has cut off His people forever is wrong (Rom. 11:1–2, 15–36).
“restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)
and his people will be elevated in the eyes of the nations:
“In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men… shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew saying, ‘We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zech. 8:23).
The Jews cannot be removed from history, nor will they ever be completely deserted by God. There is the challenge for mankind. It is all revealed in God’s holy word if only people would take the time to read it.
The Jews are another good reason to believe the bible.