The Reason for Anti-Semitism
Romans 9:1-6 (Introduction) via Revelation 12
Open your Bibles to Revelation, chapter 12. Our topic this evening is still part of our introduction to Romans 9. We'll be dealing with some of the issues that relate to Christians and Jews. This is an important section, in fact, the foundational section in the New Testament as I've been teaching for the last several weeks on why God still has a plan for Israel. He has not turned his back permanently on Israel. There is a temporary shift in God's plan as He closes on this new spiritual entity that came into existence on the day of Pentecost on A.D. 33 known as the Church. The Church is on this earth during this time period since A.D. 33 until the Rapture of the Church. We don't know when that will be. We know it will be before the period known as the "time of Jacob's trouble", a reference to the fact that the focal point of history shifts back to God's plan and purposes for Israel because he will fulfill His promises to Israel through the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant and the New covenant.
So we look at the fact there have been two horrible errors that have plagued Christianity down through the 2000 years of the Church Age in relation to Israel. The first is replacement theology. Replacement theology forms the theological foundation for the second error which is anti-Semitism. What formed the foundation for both of these is really a view of Scripture, an interpretation of Scripture which we refer to as allegorical or a spiritualizing method of interpreting the Scripture. This gradually came into influence in the Church in the 2nd century and became more formalized by the end of the 3rd century and the 4th century under first Origen and then Augustine so that from the time period of roughly 400 A.D. until 1500 A.D., approximate dates, 99.9% of Christians operated on this type of allegorical interpretation where Church didn't mean the Church and Israel didn't mean Israel. The Israel in the Old Testament was the Old Testament church so Israel in the Old Testament meant Christians and in the New Testament Church meant Israel, the spiritual Israel.
Under replacement theology the Jews were completely set aside by God because they were the ones who crucified Jesus and rejected the Messiah. For that they are permanently replaced by the Church in replacement theology. There's no significance today for the Jewish people. There's no significance today for Israel. There's no significance today for any kind of future plan for Israel. That is typical of Covenant Theology, Calvinism, Roman Catholic theology, a lot of these other theological systems, other than dispensationalism. All other systems form some degree of replacement theology now.
As I pointed out in the last couple of weeks, replacement theology has become a strong negative so people today deny they believe in replacement theology because they've identified it with what produced the Holocaust. On the one hand they say they don't believe in replacement theology but on the other hand they say the Jews can't say they're the chosen people. If they're the chosen people then God still has a purpose for them. That's still replacement theology. If you say the Jews aren't the chosen people, that's replacement theology by another name. You just don't want to be associated with that term.
We know in our foundational verse as I've pointed out in the last few weeks that to the Israelites God said, "To whom pertained the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises." They still belong to Israel according to what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 9:4. And the foundation is the Abrahamic covenant which was summarized in the first three verses of Genesis 12. It is an eternal unconditional unilateral contract between God and Abraham. In Genesis 17 when the covenant is actually cut (that means when you have the formal ceremony) God caused sleep to come over Abraham. When God caused that sleep to come on Abraham then God, alone, symbolized by a fiery pot moves between the sacrifices. That indicates that God, alone, is binding himself to this contract. It's not bi-lateral. It's not conditioned upon anything Abraham does. God is the one who bound Himself to fulfill that covenant which means it's an eternal, everlasting covenant.
It's important to understand this issue related to interpretation that:
"When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, make no other sense. Therefore take every word at its ordinary literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise."
That was articulated by D.L. Cooper and it's a great summary of literal interpretation and normal main use of words. Now this is really important. I'll give you an example. Just this week I got a new book hot off the press from Oxford Press. I think it's titled More Desired than Our Owne Salvation: The Roots of Christian Zionism by Robert O. Smith. I had pre-ordered it six or seven months ago. It is a history of Christian Zionism. The author has his PhD from Baylor University and in his bio which I had not seen before, I discovered that he is an Evangelical Lutheran which is generally a replacement theology denomination. He serves with the World Council of Churches on their Palestine/Israel board. Now that tells you a lot about his slant. I've read through the introduction and the conclusion to get his focus and his orientation and I haven't seen anything that set off really big bells. It looks like he had a lot of good scholarship. I'm sure there are going to be things I find within that I disagree with it but what I found interesting is how clearly he understands the issue of hermeneutics in this whole topic related to understanding the role of Israel.
He has a chapter which I haven't read yet on William Blackstone and the document or petition he had which went to President Grover Cleveland in 1891 in order to secure the formal support of the United States to return the Jewish people to their historic national homeland. He predated the rise of official Zionism by six or seven years. So that later on in 1950 Louis Brandeis who was head of the Zionist Organization of America and later was to be a Supreme Court Justice, said that it was not Theodore Hertzog who started modern Zionism but it was a Christian by the name of William Blackstone. So he's very significant but in this author's discussion on Blackstone he points out that what Blackstone was doing was using a combination of literal hermeneutic, literal interpretation, and historicist interpretation so he understood that.
In fact, he also understands very clearly and accurately that this is the same thing that dominated a lot of the popular prophecy and pro-Israel speakers in the 20th century like Hal Lindsey. Hal is loaded with historicism. Joel Rosenberg is doing this right now. You've got a line-up and an alliance between Iran and Turkey and Libya and Russia. That's Ezekiel 38 and 39, they say. See all of a sudden you've slipped into historicist interpretation. Now I know you're wondering what it is. Think about interpretation looking at the future in terms of three tenses. You have past tense, present tense, and future tense. We are futurists. We believe that all the prophecy in Matthew 24 and 25 and Revelation from Revelation 4 on is all future. That means that in the Church Age you cannot go and look at some event going on today and say, "Look, this is fulfilled prophecy." You can't do it. There may be things setting the stage for the future and I think in a vague sense you can say that the return of the Jewish people to the land today is at least a precursor of the return that has to take place prior to or at the beginning of the Tribulation.
There has to be a national government in place to start the Tribulation. The Tribulation doesn't start with the Rapture like some people think. The Tribulation starts according to Daniel 9:24–27 with the peace treaty, the covenant that's signed between the Antichrist and Israel. Well, you've got to have somebody who can sign a peace treaty with Israel for it to start. So the kickoff of that time frame of the seventieth week of Daniel has to start with some sort of national government in Israel being able to sign this peace treaty. Then everything dominoes from there.
What we're seeing now is prophetically significant. I use that phrase because it's not a fulfillment per se but it is an indication that God is working. Today you have roughly five and one-half million Jews that have returned to Israel. Some people say, "That's not important." But that's because you're ignorant. Basically I'm going to call a spade a spade. There's never been a significant return of the Jews to the land of Israel. Somebody might ask what about the time after the Babylonian captivity. Well, you only have 40–45,000 come back with Nehemiah and Ezra. You never had a huge amount. You never had more than say 30% of the Jews return from the diaspora at the time of Christ. Most of them, the vast majority of Jews, during the time of Christ lived outside the land of Israel.
So you never had a time in human history where you've had such a huge number, almost half or 45% of the Jews living in Israel, 45% in the U.S., and the other 10% scattered around the world so we're very close to a time period when we're going to have more Jews living in Israel than outside of Israel. That is, I think, a historically significant event in terms of the fact it's a full bore, irreversible restoration of the Jews to the land. Now does that mean the Rapture is going to occur tomorrow? No. But it does mean God is continuing to set the stage for the events that will take place during the Tribulation.
One of the titles for the Tribulation is that it's the time of "Jacob's trouble". That focuses us on the fact from Jeremiah in the Old Testament that this is a time focusing on Israel. This is not a Christian viewpoint. One of the things I've become aware of over the last seven or eight years is that in the intellectual community, especially the anti-Christian Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic community, there is this idea presented that the only reason Christians support Israel and getting Jews back into the land is because when Jesus comes back, two-thirds of the Jews are going to be killed. They think it's really a plot to get all the Jews back so they'll be killed. So you're really anti-Semitic. That's sort of their orientation.
What I point out in all of these passages in the Scriptures that talk about what eventually happens with the Jews and the end times all come out of Old Testament prophetic context. They don't come from Revelation. They don't come out of Matthew 24 and 25. They come out of Old Testament passages. That's where we get all of those numbers.
Now in previous lessons we looked at issues of hermeneutics, issues of replacement theology, and then last week I started with part one on anti-Semitism. We're going to continue with the second part tonight. Last time I looked at one event in the Old Testament related to anti-Semitism. Today I want to look at why the world hates the Jews and why the Jewish people are unique among all the world's people and have engendered such hatred, such antagonism, and such violence, that is unique to them. Now there are certain ethnic groups that have historically hated each other and fought each other. The Turks and the Greeks. The British and the French used to hate each other and fight each other for a long time. That's beyond the scene now. Other groups have done that but no other group has engendered world hatred.
Last time we looked at some of the different definitions for anti-Semitism. The one that I focused on is the one from the Anti-Defamation League which states that "it is the belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they're Jewish." That's the key phrase, "just because they're Jewish." Blaming the Jewish people coming up with conspiracy theories such as the elders of Zion or Jewish capitalists, or Jewish Marxists is one thing, but blaming the Jewish people because they're Jewish and that's what makes them the source of the world's problems is anti-Semitism.
It can take many different forms. It can take the form of religious hostility because they turned their back on Jesus. It can take the form of economic hostility because they have too many money. It can be political because they have too much influence. But the issue is that there's a hostility and prejudice toward the Jews because they're Jewish. You go back to Genesis 12:3 which says, "Those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed."
Last time I traced the hostility of Satan to Messianic promises set forth in Genesis 4:15 where God promised the serpent He would put enmity between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed. Satan is alerted there's something to do with human descent from Eve and so before the call of Abraham, before there were any Jewish people, there was this assault on the seed of the woman. It starts with Cain's murder of Abel, the invasion of the sons of God, the fallen angels, who take human wives in Genesis 6:1-12.
You have situations that then begin to develop with the seed of Abraham with the attempted rapes of Sarah and Rebekah when they are put within the harem of either Pharaoh and later, Abimelech, the king of the Philistines. The attempt to cheat Esau out of his birthright which created the enmity between Esau and Jacob, and the fear that Esau would kill Jacob, who's the one through whom the line would go. These are all different aspects. The murder of the male children in Egypt by Pharaoh, the attempted murders of David by Saul, later on Queen Athaliah attempts to destroy the royal seed.
Then you see Haman's attempt in Esther to destroy the Jews. The first clear event where Jews are being targeted by other human beings for being Jews is the event in Esther. In most of the literature related to the historical development of anti-Semitism they at least mention this. They don't go back any further. That's a Satanic attempt to destroy the Jews. We have to understand this. You don't have other human beings attempting to destroy the Jews because they are Jews until you get to this event with Haman's attempt to have all of the Jews in Persia destroyed and executed. Later on you have other attempts. Then comes the idolatry of the worship of Moloch which resulted in killing the children of the Israelites and then Herod's attack against the children of Bethlehem to try to destroy the seed, which is Jesus Christ, and then other attempts during the life of Christ.
So what I want to do today is look at the framework for all of this which is given in Revelation, chapter 12, which depicts a future event. What happens in the way which the Apostle John writes in Revelation, he will often introduce a new topic and then he goes back to pick up historical threads so that what he is saying about this situation in terms of its future significance is connected to a historical flow. So that's what happens here.
In Revelation 12:1-2, we read, "A great sign appeared in heaven…" Now there are five great signs in Revelation. In this chapter and chapter 13 we have three of them. These are the woman clothed with the sun in 12:1, a great red dragon in verse 3, and another sign appeared in heaven. The word "sign" is used three times in chapter 13 in relation to the second beast. What happens in this particular section is that there's a pause in the action. You have the first seal judgments, which occurred during the first half of the Tribulation.
That brings us up to the time when the Antichrist really exposes himself and wants to be worshipped in the Temple. This is when he destroys the two prophets that have been challenging him through the first half of the Tribulation period and then we come to this announcement of the seventh trumpet at the end of chapter 11. Then there's this pause that occurs where John goes back to connect some dots for us dealing with the woman, the child, and the dragon in chapter 12 and then the two beasts in chapter 13. Then in chapter 14 he again focuses on another set of people, the Lamb who is the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and the 144,000. These are not temporal. He's not discussing these in a temporal order but it's sort of like a playbill you get if you go to the theater and it identifies who the characters are and it gives you sort of an overview of what the play's action is.
Here we have the introduction of a woman who is depicted as being clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and on her head a garment of twelve stars. You can read this in isolation from the rest of the Bible and you can sit there and say, "Well, I wonder what that can be." A lot of people studying prophecy just sort of generate out of their own imagination what they think these symbols could be. But God doesn't give us His Word in that way. God is always very clear and the symbols that we see in the book of Revelation are not just generated by the apostle John. At this point I just want to say that when you read a lot of this literature about Christians who support Israel, those who are opposed to Christians supporting Israel, often act as if we just sort of generate these theological ideas abstractly, that we don't get them from the Bible. But that's because they come to the Bible with a non-literal interpretation.
Now as Christians who believe in a literal interpretation that doesn't mean that we don't believe there are symbols used in Scriptures so that we can interpret them. We know this is not literally a woman who is clothed with the literal sun and she's not standing on the moon and she doesn't have a literal twelve stars surrounding her head. This is a vision and it's a picture. Each of these elements mean something. So we have the woman and we have to discern the significance of the sun, moon, and the twelve stars. This, as I pointed out, didn't come up for John on the Isle of Patmos. This vision God gives him is designed to connect to an Old Testament passage. This takes us back to Genesis 37. Once again we see the principle that the Bible interprets itself. You don't have to go and gaze at your navel for twenty-four hours, go in the peyote tent with some Western Plains Indians, smoke dope, or whatever else people do in order to somehow come up with what this vision means. It's real simple. You just study your Bible.
Genesis 37 tells us about Joseph, the favorite son of his father, Jacob. As a young boy Joseph is a little pretentious. He's daddy's favorite. He has a couple of dreams that he wants to tell everybody about because he knows they mean he is something special in the plan of God. He gets a little bit of a big head over all of this and ends up irritating his father and irritating his brothers. But beyond that, we understand the significance of the dream. We're told in Genesis 37:9 "Now he had still another dream…"
It's the second dream both indicating the same thing of his preeminence in the plan of God over his brothers. "And he related it to his brothers and said, 'Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.' " In Revelation 12 we had twelve stars. In Genesis, there are eleven, because Joseph is the twelfth one. That's why there's a number difference. And so he tells his father about these same images. Do you think maybe they mean the same thing? Is Joseph's dream trying to help us to understand what John is seeing on the Isle of Patmos? "He related it to his father and to his brothers and his father rebuked him and said to him, 'What is this dream that you have had? Shall I, the sun, your mother, the moon, bow ourselves down before you to the ground?' "
Jacob understands this. He understands that Rachel, Joseph's mother, is the moon and that the eleven stars represent Joseph's eleven brothers. He's very clear on that.
So Genesis 37 gives us the identity of these symbols that are used in Revelation 12:1. So who's the woman? The woman is Israel. She is clothed with the sun which is Jacob, the moon which is Rachel, and on her head a garland of twelve stars, the twelve tribes of Israel. Then in Revelation 12:2 we're told that she was with child. "And she cried out being in labor and in pain to give birth." This is the ultimate destiny of Israel, depicted here as the woman, and she is going to give birth to the Messiah.
Then in verse 3, "Then another sign appeared in heaven and behold a great red dragon…" So we have this beast which shows up. "A great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and on his head were seven diadems." Now where do we go to find the significance of these symbols? We go back to Daniel 7 when Daniel sees a vision of the different beasts that come out of the sea representing different kingdoms. When it comes to the last beast, it's without description. He just can't put words to it. The last beast is the beast that relates to the end times kingdom. That beast has ten horns. One of the little horns gobbles up three of them. So ten minus three is seven. This is why the great red dragon has seven heads. The Antichrist in his rise to power conquers three of the kingdoms of the ten. This is why you have ten horns that represent the original ten kingdoms. The seven heads and the seven diadems represent what happens after the conclusion of that event described in Daniel 7.
So we've defined the dragon and the seven heads and the ten horns. The dragon represents this end time kingdom that is empowered by Satan. It's interesting how you have this imagery of the serpent (nachash) in Genesis 3 and this reptilian creature becomes connected to Satan. It's clear that the dragon is Satan. A lot of interesting connections we could talk about there but it would get us off track. Revelation 12:4 says, "And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth." This is a future event and it's the time when Satan is going to be cast out of heaven and he's going to take with him a third of the stars of heaven.
The term "stars of heaven" is frequently used to describe the angels. They're metaphorically described by the term "stars". This is where we learn that a third of the original angelic creation followed Satan in his rebellion. Babylon, which is the center of all the action, literal, historical Babylon in the future becomes the rejuvenated power base. Its symbol was the dragon. We're told, "And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth." This is Israel about to give birth, "So that he [the dragon] might devour the child."
What this depicts for us is what I already described from looking at those various events from the Old Testament is that the Satanic strategy from the announcement of the gospel in Genesis 3:15 to the cross was to prevent the seed from coming into human history to provide redemption for the human race. That is the first Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament and approximately half of them are fulfilled in the first advent. The rest will be fulfilled at the second coming. The first prediction is that the Messiah will be true humanity and enter into the human race as the seed of the woman so the woman here gives birth and the mission of the dragon has been to destroy the child to prevent salvation.
In verse 5 we read, "And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron…" This is the verse that gives us real clarity on who this child is because the child is said to have the purpose of ruling all the nations with a rod of iron. Where do we get any information about that? We get that from the Old Testament. Psalm 2 is a Messianic psalm and in 2:7 the 'Anointed One' [verse 3] says, "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord. 'You are my Son. Today I have begotten you. Ask of Me and I will surely give you the nations for your inheritance…' "
Now that prophecy is fulfilled in Daniel 7 where there's a scene after Daniel has seen the four kingdoms and sees a vision in heaven where the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] goes before the Ancient of Days [God the Father] and asks for His kingdom. That occurs at the end of the seven years of the Great Tribulation. That's what this is an illusion to in Psalm 2. God the Father says to God the Son, "Ask of me and I will give you the nations of the world as your inheritance." Right now God the Son is sitting in a passive position at the right hand of God and the Father waiting the time when He will ask for the kingdom. He will ask for the nations as His inheritance and the earth as His possession and then the Father says to Him in verse 9, "You shall break them with a rod of iron."
What has already been going on here at the first part of Psalm 2 is that the nations are enraged against God and His Anointed One. This occurs as a prelude to the campaign of Armageddon. Then all the nations come together to fight God. The Messiah will come and He will break the nations with a rod of iron so that's where we get this "rod of iron" terminology. So who wields the rod of iron? It's God's Messiah.
So when we look at Revelation 12:5 and read that the woman, Israel, gives birth to a son who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron that ties this to the prophecy in Psalm 2, the Messianic prophecy. You can't get that if you don't know your Old Testament. This is why knowledge of the Old Testament is so crucial, especially if you want to understand anything about the book of Revelation. So she gives birth to a child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron and her child will be caught up to God and to His throne. This is the Ascension.
Many of us have grown up with the NASA space program. They were honoring Neal Armstrong today. We saw all the early astronauts going up in the Mercury program and then the Gemini program and then the Apollo. Watching people take off in an airplane or go up into space in a rocket is not new to us. But in the 1st century to watch someone just go straight up in the air was something they had never seen, imagined, or thought before. Then all of a sudden Jesus goes up. [Shows an artist rendition of the Ascension] I just think the artist captured a great image here.
So we're told from Revelation 12:5 that she bore this male child who was caught up to God's throne. We know Jesus is there today on the right hand of His Father. Then in verse 6, we read, "Then the woman fled into the wilderness…" The woman is Israel. The woman flees into the wilderness where she has "a place prepared by God." What you don't see here is that between verse 5 and 6 at least 2,000 years goes by. This is not unusual in understanding prophetic literature where the author just hits the high points and leaves a lot out in between.
So the woman is going to flee into the wilderness where she will "be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." That's 3 and ½ years according to the Jewish calendar, a lunar calendar with 360 days in a year. This relates to the second half of the Tribulation period. Now if you remember in Matthew 24 Jesus told them that when they saw certain things happening they were to flee into the wilderness. He told them how difficult it would be if they had children or other circumstances because immediately you need to head out into the wilderness.
This wilderness area is not in Judea proper. They would head south and then over across what is now the kingdom of Jordan into this desolate area around Petra, which was the location of an enormous city governed by the Nabataens back before the time of Christ. God prepares a place there where God will take care of them because they're being attacked. What we learn from all of this is that Satan hates Israel. He had a plan in the Old Testament to destroy the seed and often that took the form of attacks on Israel. In the Church Age the only thing left for Satan to do since he's been defeated at the cross is to try to frustrate God's plan for Israel. If he can stop God from fulfilling the promises he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that God would give them the land.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never owned anything in the land outside the Cave of Machpelah located in Iran and outside of a small piece of real estate that Jacob had up around Shem. They owned nothing in the land God had promised them. He had told them they would have all of this great land from the Great Sea to the River Euphrates and that all of this is going to be theirs. They never owned it in their lifetime. So when are they going to own it? God's got to fulfill that promise by giving them ownership of that land when they are resurrected and brought back during the Millennial Kingdom. If Satan can stop that by killing all the Jews so that God can't keep that promise (as long as there is one Jew alive, God can fulfill His promise), and God is prevented from fulfilling that promise, then Satan can say, "Checkmate. You might have defeated me at the cross but I checked you and you can't be God in control of all these volitional creatures who are doing their own thing anymore than I can so you can't be God." That's the angelic conflict. The first stage was to block the seed and the second stage is to block the fulfillment of the promises of God to the Jewish people.
So, just to fill in a few gaps here on this particular prophecy, where the woman fled into the wilderness. Where is this wilderness? In Isaiah 34:6 we're told, "The sword of the Lord is filled with blood." This is a picture of the great battle that will come about during the Tribulation period and especially at the end in the campaign of Armageddon." It goes on to say, "It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom." This picture here has never happened before. It's unfulfilled prophecy so there will be a great slaughter in Bozrah.
In Isaiah 63:1 and 2 we read, "Who is this who comes from Edom with garments of glowing colors form Bozrah? This One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength." This is terminology used only of deity. Then he says, "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save." This is clearly the Savior who is coming to deliver Israel. Then Isaiah writes, "Why is your apparel red, and your garments like the One who treads in the wine press?" Why, because we just read in Isaiah 34:6 there's been this great slaughter with some of the armies of the Antichrist coming against the Jews.
Micah 2:12 recognizes this as well. We read, "I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold." Now the Hebrew word for sheepfold is bozrah. Bozrah is a location. We just read that He's coming from Bozrah. "Like a flock in the midst of its pasture, they will be noisy with men." [Shows a map and describes locations in Israel] During the Tribulation period at the half way point when these signs appear, such as the Antichrist exposing himself as wanting to be worshipped as God in the Temple, then believers are to literally head for the hills so they will be protected by God. They will head south past the end of the Red Sea and then across into the wilderness area of ancient Edom which is now modern Jordan to Bozrah, which is roughly in the same area as Petra. There they will be protected until finally at the end of the Tribulation period when they are almost completely destroyed they'll finally turn and call upon the name of the Lord.
That is when the Lord Jesus Christ will return and He will defeat their enemies that have them under siege in that location and then he will lead them on a victorious march to free Jerusalem from the Antichrist and defeat the forces of the Antichrist and the False Prophet. What's being pictured here in Isaiah is His return from Bozrah when His garments are covered in blood. What I'm describing here is the ultimate defeat of anti-Semitism which will not occur until the end of the Tribulation. This is what Christians believe based upon what Revelation says when we hold to a literal interpretation. Much of this also comes out of the Old Testament because these prophecies in Isaiah and Micah have not been fulfilled yet. They will be fulfilled in a future time.
Now all of this entire scenario of anti-Israel and anti-Semitism is based upon this angelic rebellion that took place at some time in eternity past. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 tell there was a creature, the highest of all the angels, the most intelligent, the most beautiful, the most talented and capable and skilled of all God's creation. He is filled with pride and rebels against God. He wants to be worshipped like God.
At some point God is going to bring judgment upon Satan and his angels [Matthew 24:41]. God has prepared the lake of fire for them already. It's a perfect tense verb indicating completed action. So the lake of fire has already been constructed. Now why aren't Satan and his angels there now? I think there are a number of reasons. It's not simple. You can't just give a one-shot answer but they're all related. It's a complex of answers. I think at the root of that complex of answers is the challenge that this doesn't fit the righteousness of God. How can a righteous God, a just God, a loving God send his creatures to an eternity in a lake of fire?
This is a major issue today. There are a lot of evangelicals who are turning away from a position of an eternal punishment in a lake of fire. That's because we're turned into a bunch of wienies and wimps. It also reflects the fact that as a culture, contemporary Christianity has a very weak view of sin and total depravity. The Calvinist have a strong view but many others do not. What happens in this issue is that the temptation of Adam and Eve when they chose to sin they plunged the human race into spiritual death. As a result of that they brought all of the horrors of human history into reality, such as famines, war, meteorological disasters, all of these horrible things that happen to people. The tremendous misery that has occurred and it's not because somebody committed genocide. It's not because somebody was a racist or somebody was an abortionist or any other horrible crimes that people think of as the most egregious sin. All of these things happen simply because a lady ate a piece of fruit. Just an innocuous act. Something that people do all the time.
That's what precipitated all of this but that act of eating the fruit was in rebellion against God. Any act of autonomy and rebellion against God, no matter how innocuous it might appear, has the most incredible, horrible consequences. That's why an eternal condemnation in the lake of fire is absolutely and totally just. So what is demonstrated through human history is that this act of rebellion, the act of Eve eating the "apple" is not just this little, innocuous act that has limited consequences, but it is so enormously horrible, worse than anything we can imagine, that an eternity in a lake of fire is a totally justified judgment and punishment.
All of human history is located in the context of this angelic conflict. This is what we get out of Revelation 12. There's war in heaven, angels are waging war with the dragon and the dragon and its angels are waging war. Then we come to Revelation 12:8 and it says, "And they [the devil and his angels] were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven." That doesn't happen until midway through the Tribulation period. This makes the last half of the Tribulation really weird because in the Church Age demons and angels are invisible. But they're going to become visible during the last half of the Tribulation. One reason for that is that the Tribulation is bringing to a conclusion all of these different streams of creatures and their relationship to God that have been part of the angelic conflict.
The final judgment that occurs in this great conflagration of the campaign of Armageddon is that which brings everything to a conclusion. At the end of that battle Satan is going to be bound in the abyss for a thousand years. The Antichrist and the False Prophet are thrown into a lake of fire. By assumption I believe that most of the demons are going to be sent to the lake of fire at that time and there is judgment of all the human beings in history.
The Old Testament saints are resurrected. The Tribulation saints are resurrected. Church Age believers have already been resurrected and the rest of the dead won't come up until the end of the Tribulation period. This is at the end of the millennial period at the Great White Throne Judgment. But it's going to be at that conclusion, at the end of the campaign of Armageddon that there's judgment. It's not the total end yet. There's going to be a time when Satan is released for one shot at the end of the millennial kingdom. What it shows us is that human history is all designed to relate to this angelic rebellion and that's why we have anti-Semitism. That's the only reason we can truly explain why there's only one ethnic group in all of human history that has survived for so long and has become the focal point of hatred and violence and vindictiveness by most of the human race, at least by the other descendants of Shem and the descendants of Japheth.
Revelation 12:8 says that the "great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old, that is called the devil and Satan." This is the passage that connects the dots for us in identifying the serpent for us in Genesis 3 and as the great dragon. He is the one called the accuser, shatan, who deceives the whole world and his angels were thrown down to the earth with him. They're going to be on the earth and they're going to be visible during that last part of the Tribulation. It's going to be weird. You talk about that scene from the first Star War movies where you have all the weird creatures. Yeah, it's not going to be too different. It's going to be weird.
In Revelation 12:10 we read, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of the Christ have come…" See how John has telescoped all of history into this one factor. In the last half of the Tribulation this is going to be when the wrath of God is really poured out on human history. It's when God is going to finally bring to an end the judgment on everything. It's going to take three and one half years in those final judgments, as the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments cleanse the earth of all this sin.
It continues, "For the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." Now remember millions, if not hundreds of millions, are going to be saved during the Tribulation period. These are the ones who are speaking here. In verse 13, "And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child." So the persecution from Satan is going to intensify during the last half of the Tribulation period.
We're not going to interpret this like a historicist and say this applies to anti-Semitism today because it's talking about after the angels and Satan have been thrown out of heaven. It's not talking about before. It's talking about after so it's going to be intensified during this second half of the Tribulation period. What happens as a result of his direct assault on the Jewish people in this last half is that God is going to miraculously and providentially protect them. "The two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness."
God is going to supernaturally protect them so they can escape into the wilderness, into Bozrah where "she will be nourished for a time [one year] and times [two years] and a half. That's three and one half years. That relates to that same number of days we talked about a minute ago. This image of the woman escaping on the eagle's wings comes out of Exodus 19:4, "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself." Was there an eagle flying them out of Egypt in Exodus? No. See this is the imagery here, the metaphor. It's a picture of eagles' power and protectiveness so God is going to, through His power, protect them in their escape.
In Revelation 12:15, "And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood." This is a depiction of the armies of the Antichrist in hot pursuit of the Jews as they're seeking to escape into the area of Bozrah. In verse 16 we read, "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of its mouth." I think that means that God's going to miraculously protect them through some sort of earthquake that causes the demons to be just absorbed into the earth like the judgment on the priests, Dathan and Abiram, in the rebellion of Korah.
Revelation 12:17 says, "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children [the Christians] who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." This ties somewhat to Isaiah 41:17-20 and also Deuteronomy 32:10-11. You can look up those passages later on. What happens during the end of the Tribulation period, to wrap things up, there's going to be this destruction of two-thirds of the Jewish people. Now in today's context this is often brought up that Christian Zionists just want to get all the Jews back there because two-thirds of them are going to be killed. I've always wanted to raise this issue with the people who hold that. In the Old Testament there's a prophecy in Ezekiel 5:2 and 12 of the first destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. and Ezekiel predicted that "you shall burn with fire one third in the midst of the city when the days of the siege are finished." A third of the Jews were killed during that first destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C. "You shall take one third and strike around it with a sword and one third you will scatter into the wind and I will draw the sword after them." In Ezekiel 5:12 it says, "One third of you will die and be consumed with famine in your midst and one third shall fall all around you." That's two-thirds! So the statement that two-third of the Jews being killed during the Tribulation period is not an anti-Semitic statement. That's the number that Ezekiel said. It was later said by Zechariah.
This isn't New Testament Church stuff. This is Old Testament prophecy. Zechariah 13:8 says, "It shall come to pass that in all the land, declares the Lord, that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; but the third will be left in it. I will bring the one-third through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are My people and they will say, The Lord is My God.' " So there is a return back to God that finally occurs at the end of this period.
One other comment on this. If we carefully read through the judgments in Revelation, the trumpet and the bowl judgments, what we discover is that one-quarter of mankind are killed during the seal judgment, a third of those who are left are killed during the trumpet judgment. That means that half of all humanity is killed during the first two series of judgments in the Tribulation period. That's half of all humanity.
So Christians say and teach in terms of prophecy that the Jewish prophets said that two-thirds of the Jewish people will be killed, not by Christians and not by Jesus. They're protected by Jesus when He comes. They're killed by the armies of the Antichrist and Satan. What Christians are simply saying is that this is part of the overall destruction of humanity at this time. Nobody is singling out the Jewish people. This is not an example of anti-Semitism but that's what it's claimed to be.
We understand all of this fits together. It's part of Satan's plot in order to defeat God and destroy the Jewish people. Now next time we'll come back and get back into the verse by verse exegesis of Romans, chapter 9 which emphasizes God's future plan for Israel.