Sunday, July 18, 2010

Apocalypse Soon- Jesus Ruling on Earth

4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Isaiah 2:4
In this study I shall try to simply exhibit some of the vast number of verses which promise the coming rule of Jesus on earth. This series that I have envisioned is what I would term bibliocentric- that is, I am trying to present the verses as they appear in Scripture. Essentially I am trying to present an inquiry based study of prophecy. In so doing I am trying to remove some of the opinion which sharply divides even Christians on this great topic.
In establishing an inquiry into what God actually says I am not trying to remove my opinion; as a Christian I have quite sharp opinions that probably do a lot to shape apocalypse topics chosen. Having said the obvious, that my biases will color my reading, it is still my contention that someone should present what God has said on this important topic.
Comments, both published and unpublished, are always welcome. I have noticed that many of those who disagree with me are evidently ignoring the scriptures; they speak for themselves. Thus, disagreements with me tend to fall into a larger disagreement with God himself. God speaks; we believe. That should be all there is to it. If we disagree on anything, we should be limited to disagreeing over what God has said and not being silly enough to contend that while God may have said it, I do not choose to believe it.
(all Bible quotes are from NIV)
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.

Isaiah 46:10
3 I foretold the former things long ago,
my mouth announced them and I made them known;
then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

Isaiah 48:3
God clearly tells us signs of the end of our age; his purpose will stand, regardless of time having passed, and he will do as he promised. It is our job to try to figure out what he has promised; not whether he is truthful or not. Hence I have chosen inquiry. If you choose to comment on this presentation do not be surprised if I continue to present to powerful argument of Scripture back at you.
If the Bible has no value in shaping your concept of who God is I will be arguing first and foremost that you should accept the authority of the revelation of God. And that is a whole different argument than Christians commonly have over interpretation. In my introduction I purposely chose a famous passage of Scripture that has not come to pass. It is a prophetical statement and must come true. Isn’t it wonderful that God has foretold of a time when all peoples should live at peace with one another?

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling [a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11: 6-9
The Bible clearly tells us of a time when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD. Has that come to pass yet? Not in my study of history! It is a forward event, yet to be fulfilled.
There are hundreds of verses on the topic of the Lord ruling the earth. I present just a few of them, for I have already taken up more than a page on my blog and that is more than most are willing to read. I have chosen two passages for emphasis, (one of which we will study today and one in the next post) but if you desire for me to send the several pages of scriptures I have found thus far, I will be glad to email them to you. It does make a fascinating study.
The first passage is from a minor prophet, Zechariah. In the fourteenth chapter Zechariah reveals some very apocalyptic things to us. In verse two he seems to be referring to a sacking of Jerusalem:

2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

But the next verse definitely skips to the end times:

3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake [a] in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Here we learn two very important facts. First the feet of Jesus touch the Mount of Olives and cause a great valley to form, running east to west. After he provides this avenue of escape for the Jews, then the second important thing happens. He returns with all of his holy ones. Who are the holy ones? That would be the saints of God. We are already with Jesus before he makes his awesome visible return to rule on earth.

Zechariah further tells us important things about that day:
8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea [b] and half to the western sea, [c] in summer and in winter.
9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

Living water will pour out of the Mount of Olives spreading outward to the seas east and west. The Lord will be the king of the whole earth. Now Zechariah tells us more things:
12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
This passage always reminds me of the famous scene where the Nazis' faces melt in Indiana Jones (The Ark of the Covenant). Evidently there is not much of a war. Such great terror and confusion strike the enemies of God that they spend the rest of their short lives trying to destroy each other.
This is the dramatic end (check out prior post here) of the seven year tribulation period as I shall hopefully later show. For the prophet Zechariah now turns to a more pastoral scene:
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD [d] will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
Zechariah ends telling us of a Jerusalem that becomes the center of the world. All nations go there to worship the King of Kings.
In my next post I will cover the other, more well known scripture that talks of Jesus ruling in Jerusalem. Someday God will judge us all on one basis: did you believe him? You do not have to understand all that he says; you do have to be willing to believe it. The old saying is: God says it, I believe it, that’s all there is to it. An excellent Bible study to see how God looks at us is in Hebrews 11. I commend it to your study. I do hope this post has given you food for thought.