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World in Crisis

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World in Crisis

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World in Crisis

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As we watch the news and see the things happening in this world and get very concerned about it – we always need to keep firmly fixed in our minds the hope for the great return of Jesus Christ.

Transcript

[Bob Berendt] It's interesting how the news these days is all bad news. News that's good news doesn't seem to be news, but it would be nice to have a good-news station, wouldn't it sometimes, just to turn it on and hear about the good things that happen in this world, because there are a lot of good things that do happen as well.

But it is important for us to realize that there is an Almighty Creator, Supreme Being, Supreme God, who is totally in control of everything that occurs and happens. He is so much in control that nothing can happen without Him permitting it and allowing it. And that scares us sometimes, because what He allows isn't always what we would like to see happen. We know that those even who are closest to Him sometimes are permitted to go through great times of difficulty and stress. Part of it is, because being God and proving that He is God, He makes prophecies. And when He makes a prophecy, He brings that prophecy to pass. And sometimes a prophecy isn't a joyful one, as Psalm 22 tells us, or even Psalm 23, to some extent. The suffering that His first-begotten, first-born Son had to endure – there are 30 prophecies that were made by God about the suffering that Jesus Christ would go through – before it ever happened. And He had to bring those 30 prophecies to pass. There are many, many other prophecies as well, pertaining to Christ, that God brought to pass. And they were so difficult that Jesus cried out, Father, take this cup from Me, if it's possible, take this cup from Me, but nevertheless, Your will be done.

And that's when sometimes, where we are hung up a little bit, because we don't always know the will of God, but we should know that God is there all of the time, and He permits things to happen that may confuse us, that may make us wonder, and that's where faith comes in; faith and trust comes in where we don't always know the answers. We don't always know why. We may feel, why didn't You do it  differently, couldn't it have been done differently? That's why Jesus said, if it is possible.

But the end result of the great suffering that Jesus Christ went through – and His death – the end result was the absolute proof that God is God, and God was proven to all the disciples and all the followers of Jesus Christ, and the end result was the resurrection of Jesus Christ; that's where it all pointed to. The resurrection of Christ as a witness to all of mankind of what God was capable of doing, what He was doing when He does things His way, and what He certainly will do then with you and with I, myself.

So we see what's going on in the world and we try to grasp and understand it. The Bible tells us you can't serve two masters, you can't serve Satan and God, you can't have a foot in the world and a foot in the church, you follow God or you follow Christ or you follow Satan, one or the other. Paul wrote, you know, you present yourselves slaves either to Satan or to God, to whomever you obey. And so we obey God, that's why we're here on the Sabbath day, and we're very careful about it, we try to be very, very careful and cautious.

I was thinking a little when I was listening to, in a sermonette; in the Bible, the name of God is mentioned about 6,000 times, but is not Yahweh, it's WYHWH. Jehovah's Witnesses will say it's Jehovah, not Yahweh. So people are very, very careful about saying the word or pronouncing it; and Jewish people don't even use the word God, G-O-D, but are afraid for fear of somehow or other insulting Him. But we are careful, we are careful with His laws, we strive to obey God in every way that we can, strive to understand Him, and yet realize, that there's much that we don't understand.

And so we listen – just last week – about this latest disaster of 298 people blown out of the sky by a rocket; and that's followed on the heels of another 300 that vanished somewhere – still not found –  somewhere in the middle of, we think, the Indian ocean. And amongst this rocket blast, there were, I believe, 80 children – totally innocent babies – who were on board as well. And I asked myself, you know, what kind of mentality does it take for the people who are in charge to allow an airplane of public transport to fly over a battle zone, where a plane has been shot down three weeks ago? That's where the transport plane was shot down, over the Ukraine. Why would you let passenger planes fly over there even, you think to yourself, well, they're 30,000 feet in the air, therefore, they're safe? Somebody probably just thought he would save a few gallons of gas, or something like that, and let it fly there, but it was a disaster then, as we know and understand. There are those 600 people that are vanished or dead – and on the same token – in the Gaza Strip there were over 300 people who've died; children who've died, playing soccer out in the ball diamonds. And at the same time, Israel has unearthed at least 20 or 25 tunnels, tunnels being drilled into Israel by these terrorists – of which we saw a little video – of 13 who came out of this tunnel, and they knew they were coming, and they shot them down, which you would do in your own country. But there are over 300 deaths of the people in the Gaza Strip, including children. So that isn't even the tip of the iceberg, it's much smaller than the tip of the iceberg. There are tens of thousands of people who have been killed – millions in the last number of years since the second world war – and refugees. They say there are today, roughly 50 million refugees; about 13 or 14 million that are just traveling around outside of their countries, but within the countries, is 30 or 33 million refugees.

So we see all this happening and we wonder why? Yet we know that God is totally and completely in charge. And it's important for us to understand this and grasp this, and look back and see it.

I gave a sermon in Saskatchewan last Sabbath, rather in Saskatoon, as a result of what's occurring in the world; and I rarely ever give the same sermon twice – and this isn't the same one – but it's based on that one in Saskatchewan, because we need to have this subject firmly fixed in our mind.

So when you think of the plan of God since the time of mankind; years ago, some of us got a time-chart history of the world – I'm not sure if you've seen that – but a lot of us bought it anyway, and I'm going to leave this here for Wayne to put up on the information board. But it's an amazing time-chart just to look at what occurred and happened. And there's one section of it in particular that I thought would be very interesting for you to see, and so I've marked it; and that is where the life-stream of Abraham and Shem all run in together, and the children of Israel come out over there, because there are things that we can learn from this. And so I'm just going to leave this to have a peak at for yourselves if you've not yet seen this particular book.

But in the book of Genesis – when God did speak to Abraham – He said, I won't do anything without letting my servant know what I'm doing. He said the same to Daniel – that's where Daniel had his dreams – and He says the same to you and I, except that, He doesn't give a lot of detail. To Abraham He just said, well, you're going to have all these nations coming from you, and they're going to be 400 years in captivity; but Abraham was the father to, at the least, 24 nations – the 12 from Ishmael and 12 from Jacob later on – and then all the children of Ketura, like Midian, who fathered the Midianites. And he was the father of many, many nations; and when God said that one nation was going to be 400 years in captivity – and I'll take them out – he was referring only to Israel. But God said He would not do anything without telling His faithful servant, Abraham.

God doesn't go running after people; He gives us a glimpse of Himself through the creation, through this great universe of which we live, this wonderful world that we can look and see and drive through and just see the beautiful greenery as everything grows, or at the end of the year, when the crops are taking off and the harvest is done, it's a wonderful, wonderful world that we live in. But we are messing it up very nicely as human beings.

If we go back to the scriptures in the Bible that Paul begins with – as far as Bible knowledge is concerned – Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter covers everything from the beginning to the end, which is an amazing thing to find in one chapter; but going through it, it does make a person wonder just a little, about what is occurring and happening in this world, and what is going to occur and happen. So in Hebrews 11, as it says – referred to as the faith chapter – but in verse 4, the first faithful person is named. The first one who's a faithful person of God, and that is Abel; and Abel lived a long time before the flood, before the flood of Noah's time – a pre-flood generation – he was there; but he offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, who was not talking about it, and God was differentiating then amongst human beings, people who were willing to serve Him gladly, joyfully and completely, and those who were not serving Him very well. Cain didn't serve Him very well, but Abel did. Later on, Abraham did as well. God does tell us that, through Paul, that all humans have faults – He knows that – we all have flaws, we all have faults, we have things to overcome, but God can work and does work within our failings as human beings, and within our faults.

In the run of time, after the time of Abel, and right on through to the time of Noah, we realize that shortly before God decided to destroy the world – actually it was afterward – but He talked to Noah. He looked around and He found Noah, and Noah found grace – the Bible tells us – in the eyes of God. In other words, he obeyed God. Now Noah wasn't a perfect man. After the flood, we know that Noah got drunk and all this kind of thing – that was not a perfect man – he had his problems too. But he did find grace in the eyes of God, certainly compared to everybody else. He wanted to do what was right. And so, 100 years before the flood; God came 120 years before and said, alright, I'll give mankind another 120 years to go. This is all in Genesis 5, 6 and 7, which I won't turn to because we've got 11 pages to speak on today! But Genesis 5, 6 and 7 – Noah's mentioned there – and He said that Noah was 500 years old when Shem was born, and that was 100 years before the flood. And then of course, Ham and Japheth, all three sons of Noah, were born 100 years before the flood, and God had said He's going to give man 120 years altogether. And Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, so we know those boys were about 100 years old when the flood occurred and happened; probably helped their Dad build the ark. I can imagine that, day after day after day of, what are you going to do today? Build the ark, build the ark, build the ark. I don't think they could have built it overnight without any proper tools, and so on and so forth; they probably worked hard with their Dad to build that ark.

He found grace in the eyes of God because he obeyed God. And interestingly enough, when all the animals were put in the ark and Noah and his three sons and all their four wives, that is, Noah's one wife – Shem, Ham and Japheth, one wife each – that's all they had – when they went into the ark, it was God that shut the door. Noah didn't shut the door. And as I said in the past, I don't think you or I would have been able to shut the door either. You've got brothers and sisters and family pounding on the door to get in, and women with children running, as the water began rising. I would imagine that there were people who were clambering to get onto that ark, and maybe sitting on the ark, you know, you just can't imagine what would have happened in the course, in the run of time, when the flood was occurring.

But in the genealogies, there are interesting things to note; and one is that the genealogy of the lifetime of Shem is clearly stated. It tells you exactly how long he lived, and when he died. I can't find anything to tell me how long Ham lived, or Japheth, also sons of Noah. So God, again, was selective, as He was with Abel and Cain. He was selective with Shem and not Ham and not Japheth. As a matter of fact, just a couple of years – when I say a couple of hundred, maybe 200 years after the flood – the tower of Babel occurred. So when everybody had the same language, they all got together and began mocking God, in a sense, determining that He wasn't going to divide them again, and so on and so forth, and built the tower of Babel.

So we are going to go to Genesis chapter 10 then to get started in our thought process as understanding that God is working with everything on this earth; and He worked up to the flood, brought about the flood, said He'll never do it that way again. It doesn't mean He's not going to be angry, that means He's not going to bring on a flood to kill all breathing creatures. In chapter 10 and verse 1 it says:

Genesis 10:1 Genesis 10:1Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and to them were sons born after the flood.
American King James Version×
Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And the sons were born to them...that were born to them...after the flood.

But it doesn't give us the full genealogy of Ham and Japheth. It doesn't tell us when they died. They lived a long life. But Shem lived a very long life, as a matter of fact. It does tell us that. Verse 32 says:

Genesis 10:32 Genesis 10:32These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
American King James Version×
These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.

Notice, it wasn't immediately after flood, because they were all together with one language. It was when something began happening in verse 1. The whole earth had a language and a speech, and God watched all this occurring and happening:

Genesis 11:2 Genesis 11:2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelled there.
American King James Version×
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they...lived there...and they dwelt there. Vs. 3 – Then they said to...each other...one another, Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly...and the bricks were stone, and so on, and they wanted to build the tower of Babel. And so God says in verse 6:

Genesis 11:6 Genesis 11:6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
American King James Version×
...Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.

And you and I live in such a remarkable age, where there's very little that human beings haven't been able to conquer in this world, and do and learn about and think about and utilize. It's absolutely astonishing – in the last 100 years – what has occurred and happened. I didn't see my first airplane till I was about nine years old, you know. And some children, by the time they're nine, have flown all over the place.

But God said, come let's go down and confuse their language that they may not understand one another's speech. The interesting point here is that Shem, Ham and Japheth were alive at that time. And Abraham was probably alive at the time as well (of the tower of Babel and the complete scattering that took place). And from what it appears in this concept of scattering, it appears the children of Ham and Japheth were sent away to different parts of the earth, from the children of Shem, it seems. In verse 8:
Genesis 11:8 Genesis 11:8So the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
American King James Version×
So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Vs. 9 – Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Not only do we have trouble understanding the language of other people – even when you learn a different language – it's difficult to understand the nuances of that and the real depth of what you mean. You almost have to be born into a language to really, really get the nuances of meaning. So to understand each other is very difficult, and so you get people, for example, in the Ukraine, trying to understand what the Russians are saying, or the people in the Middle East – Israelis talking to the Arabs, or talking to the United States in English, and just understanding each other, is very, very difficult. Just ask your wife or your husband, that how many times did you misunderstand something that you clearly said in your mind! Well, we have trouble that way. Chapter 12, it says, the Lord said to Abram, He found Abram:

Genesis 12:1 Genesis 12:1Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you:
American King James Version×
...Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. Vs. 2 – I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.

And here we are, you know, 3,500, 4,000 years later, and we all know Abraham's name. Not only is he great among us, but all of the Islamics – the Muslims of the world – also heed Abraham's name; he's famous. He's famous all over this world like hardly any other name.

Genesis 12:3 Genesis 12:3And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
American King James Version×
I will bless those who bless you.

Now, this is a promise now, a promise God makes to Abraham. And this is a promise of His covenant with Abraham which does not end.

Genesis 12:3 Genesis 12:3And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
American King James Version×
I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse...those...who...curse...you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

So we think right away, we think, well, through Jesus Christ, of course. And that is partly true. But, I'm thinking of this world with all of its refugees – and I was asking this question in Saskatchewan, you know – with all the refugees in this world – who's feeding them? Who's supplying the tents, who's supplying the finances, who's supplying the food to the many, many refugees in various parts? And I tried to find a little bit on the Internet, onto Google, just exactly what, and I just got a few little points.

But there's a non-profit group; although Israel and Syria are officially in a state of war, Israel has provided hundreds of tons of food to assist the Syrian refugees, as written right straight in their definitions of who's helping. It says, food supplies dwindle at the Kenya refugee camp. Concerns are there in the past two years, but the United States has provided nearly 70% of all the food aid in Kakuma. The United States agency and other agencies across the United States, have delivered nearly 385 millions of aid items to Syria in the last two years, 2012 to 2013. The United States is providing food aid, medical supplies, emergency, basic health care, shelter materials (that's tents), clean water, hygiene, education, supplies, and other relief supplies. Islamic relief has stockpiled 30 (has stocked, I'm sorry) 30 hospitals, and sent hundreds of thousands of medical food parcels. Iran has been exporting between 50 (500, I'm sorry) and 800 tons of flour every day by sea and land to Syria. So Iran is trying to help out too. According to the Israeli media, 700 wounded Syrians have been treated in Israel this year alone. On the international humanitarian aid as of the 18th of September last year, the top ten donors (now this is just Syria only), but there is every nation you can think of when you think of all the Middle East areas and problems that occurred and happened there – or the tsunami that took place a few years ago –  the top donors, number one is the United States. Number two is the European Commission. And we know from the European Commission, there's a large number of people of the European Union who are of Israeli background. In other words, we talk about Holland, who's done a lot of good things for a lot of individual people and countries there. Holland, Belgium, France, and places like that; Norway, Sweden and Finland, all do chip in. European Commission – I include them all there – plus Germany of course; Kuwait, the United Kingdom, and Germany then. The European Commission and Germany seem to be separated; but Norway, Canada, Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia. So when you read about the mass of humanitarian aid of this world, the majority of it comes from Israel. And in that reason, or that way even, now, all of the nations of this world are blessed when they have a need; they know where to go and they get refugee help right away.

On the other hand, it doesn't quite happen the same as far as the interaction is concerned with the Israeli nations and others, because there is a definite hatred that is there; the help from the United States is not appreciated.

Recently, that is to say – I think it was last week – there was a statement made in the city of Mosul in Iraq, that Christians have three choices: and one is they can convert to Islam, second, they can pay a special tax, and third, is they can leave the country. That's the choices that you have if you're a Christian. And so of course, they are vacating there.

It's interesting to note as well in the battles with Israel, and even in the Gaza Strip right now, there were a number of fighters of the Hamas who were killed (17 of them); 13 were taken prisoner though. And the prisoners that are taken usually go to jail somewhere in Israel, or are set free, maybe five or ten years later, whatever; if an Israeli surrenders to the Hamas, he comes home in a coffin, one way or the other, there are no prisoners taken. So it's an interesting difference in the way people do things.

Back to chapter 12 of the book of Genesis, as we think about this promise to Abraham going on and on and on and on. Verse 7:

Genesis 12:7 Genesis 12:7And the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, To your seed will I give this land: and there built he an altar to the LORD, who appeared to him.
American King James Version×
Then...the Lord appeared to Abram and said, To your descendants I will give this land.

That's a promise. So in all that's occurring and happening in the Middle East and places like that, it's the hand of God that is guiding this. And when things occur and happen, you wonder, what's the spin-off on that? What's the spin-off on the problems between Ukraine and Russia, for example? Because Ukraine was a strong ally of Russia for the longest time, and Ukraine had no easy time either when Hitler's armies invaded. They were, in a sense, you might say, rescued by Russia. What's the spin-off there? Is it, has it got something to do perhaps, with the fact that Russia supplies 70% of the oil, or something like that, to Germany and to the European nations there, and is now open to contract with China? Is that going to create a problem, because Germany has to get oil somewhere? And the closest place and the best place is Saudi Arabia, down in the south. Is there something happening there?

In other words, we should understand that God is turning the thought patterns of these nations; the kings of the north, kings of the east, and kings of the south – and whatever Israel is comprised of – in the direction that He prophesied is going to happen and take place.

So this is what God says, I'll give you this land. He didn't mean He'll give it to you right now, you'll always have it, no one gets in there at all; no, God gave them the promised land, then He had to kick them out of it. And He'll bring them back though. He'll bring them back a little later on. And so we recognize this as we read and think about the spans of time and all that occurred and happened. To know, for example, that Noah lived for 350 years after the flood took place, and that Abram was born 292 years after the flood. In other words, Abraham (Abram) knew Noah, or Noah knew Abram, and so did Shem. So these people who lived before the flood, and lived a long time after the flood. Shem lived 502 years after the flood took place. And Abram was born 292 years after the flood. So he and Shem died close to the same date, as far as years are concerned; you see that in that big book down here. So Shem lived 502 years after the flood, and he lived 210 years it seems, after Abraham was born. Shem carried the information, no doubt, about Abel. I mean, somebody had to tell someone that righteous Abel was there, and Adam and Eve, and that whole story that went through Noah and Shem, and Shem on then through Abraham, and right then to the promised group; the promised group going through Isaac and through Jacob, to the nations of Israel; because God said to Abraham, or Abram, He would make great nations out of his descendants. He would make Abraham's name great in history. He would be, God would be, a perpetual ally to Abraham. He perpetually would be an ally to Abraham.

Remember the six-day war – when was it, in 1967, when it occurred and happened – the miracle war? God has to have Jewish people, at least Israelite representatives, in Jerusalem. It has to be there to fulfill the prophecy. When Christ returns – in the book of Zechariah – there are going to be people there; they're going to be in the city of Jerusalem. He had to have Jewish people in the city of Jerusalem when Jesus Christ was born. He was to be born of the descendant of King David. He not only had to have Jewish people, He had to have descendants of David, which Mary was, and Joseph was, and Elizabeth was, and others as well. So there were times to fulfill God's prophecies. He brings these things to pass, and that's the course of history. His hand is always there, and He promises, I'll bless those that bless you, curse those that curse you.

At the same time, God allows Assyria and these others, to capture Israel, capture the nations. He allowed Adolph Hitler to do his thing. And that's what allowed the modern nation of Israel to come into being, because of the holocaust, and because Canada refused them entry, and the United States refused them entry, and so you have the Exodus into the land of Israel. And now there are people living there who are not about to move out! He said He would provide blessings though to all the nations through the descendants of the nations of Abraham. And so, we know of course, Jesus Christ, but even the existence of the Bible. You know, I've always thought to myself, isn't it an incredible thing, you know, what the Jewish people have done to preserve the Torah? I mean, that's an absolute miracle that the Torah has been preserved to this day. But who prints the vast, vast, vast amounts of the Torah? Is it the Jewish people? No, it's Genesis to Malachi in our Bible right here. It's right here – we do it – the English people do it, the Brits do it, the United States does it. A blessing to the whole world through Abraham.

So God said, I will give this to your seed then (the promised seed) and at the time of the blessings to Abraham, there weren't an awful lot of people in the world. Abraham was the ninth generation after Noah; ninth generation. And, as I said, Shem was still alive, his great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather.

Chapter 15 of the book of Genesis – just a few of these chapters – in verse 12, here's a promise that was given, sort of, in addition to that, verse 12:

Genesis 15:12 Genesis 15:12And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and, see, an horror of great darkness fell on him.
American King James Version×
...the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.

So God was showing him things that weren't always going to be so good. God knew there would be a rebellion of Israel, He knew that He would have to scatter them, He knew that He would have to continue working with them, and He was going to give them to Egypt, the greatest nation on the earth. At the time, Egypt was the most advanced, technologically, scientifically, educationally; allowed Israel to grow there, and when they became a great nation, God took them out.

Genesis 15:13 Genesis 15:13And he said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their's, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
American King James Version×
...He said to Abram: Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs...not the promised land...and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years...in the land of Egypt, that is what happened.

And this is all written in the scriptures and prophecies to prove the Bible is indeed the word of God. In chapter 16 and verse 10 it says:

Genesis 16:10 Genesis 16:10And the angel of the LORD said to her, I will multiply your seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
American King James Version×
Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude...that's Sarah.

So we know that Sarah and Abram were the two to which the blessings were then given, and of course, we can go back to their children, Ishmael, who was not of Sarah, he was of Hagar. Ishmael was promised he would have 12 nations coming from his progeny as well. So Abraham was the father to a lot of nations besides the 12 that we think of back into Israel – certainly, the nations of Ishmael – and then Keturah had six boys. I'm not sure how many girls she had, but she had six boys – they're all named – one's name was Midian, and the Midianites were a nation. So it seems that all the children of Abraham – all the boys at least that he had as progeny through his wives – that is, through Sarah, through even Hagar – who wasn't his wife but a sort of a substitute – and Keturah; there were eight boys, and they all were then leaders of different nations, and more than just one: 12 from Ishmael, 12 from Jacob, so that's 24, and then the six sons of Keturah. So you can see right away you can probably come up with 30 or 40 or more nations. Chapter 25 of Genesis – this is where he took Keturah – I only wanted to point this out to you in verse 1. In verse 2:

Genesis 25:2 Genesis 25:2And she bore him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
American King James Version×
And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah...the names.

The interesting statement that we can see right away is that these names were given to the sons of the wives, but he had concubines too. I don't know how many concubines, and I don't know how many children the concubines had, but they probably had children, just like Hagar did have. They're not even mentioned. Are they also then to be included later on as leaders of the nations? We don't know that for sure, but it's entirely a possibility. In chapter 26 and in verse 3, God says:

Genesis 26:3 Genesis 26:3Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you, and to your seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father;
American King James Version×
Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands. And I will perform the...promise, or...the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.

So as we see the events of this world, we need to try to keep them all focused in on the overall direction that God is taking His word and His promises and His plan. And it does focus in on the promised land, it focuses in on Jerusalem, all the time. So what's happening in the Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia, is absolutely tied in with what's happening down in the Middle East. It's all getting set up because God's in charge of all of that. In chapter 25, where this is all mentioned, in verse 5 it says:

Genesis 25:5 Genesis 25:5And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac.
American King James Version×
Abraham gave...everything...all that he had to Isaac.

And that made the rest of the boys pretty angry. Not to Ishmael and not to the sons of Keturah. Verse 6:

Genesis 25:6 Genesis 25:6But to the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country.
American King James Version×
...he...gave gifts to the sons of the concubines...and that's the concubines.

So he had children by the concubines too: Keturah, Hagar, Sarah, and concubines.

Genesis 25:6 Genesis 25:6But to the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country.
American King James Version×
...he gave them gifts which he had...while he was still living he sent them...to the east somewhere...away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east. Vs. 7 – ...and then...the sum of the years of Abraham's life which he lived; one hundred and seventy-five years.

And if you add them all together – as you will in this time book – you will understand that Abraham died pretty close to the time that Shem died. So they knew each other very well. And as Shem also saw and witnessed the birth of Ishmael and of Isaac, and individuals that would later on be doing things and would be going various places.

The Bible also explains that God worked with non-Israelites, for example: Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was a great king, who God put in place. And Daniel was a prisoner. When Israel was finished – the ten tribes had gone – and now Judah and Benjamin were now – along with some of the Levites – in Babylon, Daniel was with them (Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego). And also, yet, God was still fulfilling the promises, because in His mind, they still had to come back to Jerusalem. Some of them did, but not all of them did of course. But we understand here that the work that was then done. And Nebuchadnezzar was a king, but God gave power to him. He says, you're the one that's going to take over and destroy Jerusalem. But even when Nebuchadnezzar came – you remember the story – through Jeremiah, God said to the people of Jerusalem, don't fight him, don't fight him, and he'll just take you away and you'll be safe; but they decided to fight him, as you know, because they couldn't believe the temple would be destroyed, and so they all – maybe not all – but an awful lot of the people of Jerusalem died, and in the last battle, they certainly would have all died.

But Nebuchadnezzar was given power, and he thought, I'm great, I'm the greatest, and so on and so forth, and God was going to show even him, that he was made who he was because of God. And so Nebuchadnezzar's dream – I won't turn to Daniel chapter 4 – but that's where he had the dream, and he was shown that God rules in the kingdom of men. That's his final piece of knowledge when he came to his senses again. He said, and this is Nebuchadnezzar's words, that God rules in the kingdom of men, and He gives it to whomever He will. Putin doesn't know it, but he's there because God put him there. And the same with Obama, the same with Stephen Harper, and the same with everybody in this world. Now, God allows Satan to work in them, absolutely; He says that. He allows them to work in their, and He allows them to work in your life and mine if we let that happen too. We have to fight that.

Nebuchadnezzar, after the seven years of illness, acknowledged God, and that was the purpose of it all. And it shows us that God does allow Satan to have great influence, like He did in the case of Job. Satan said, well, I tried to get at him and You wouldn't let me, and then God said, alright, I'll take My hand away. And he was allowed to get at him. And Job was tested, just as you and I are. Chapter 27 of Genesis, chapter 27 and verse 28, or I guess we can go to verse 27. This was the trick that Jacob and his mother pulls on his Dad. It's interesting that Jacob himself was tricked later on, and I've often wondered about that, but, I guess it's sort of like, just. Because when Joseph was sent away to Egypt, and Jacob thought he was dead, he mourned and mourned and mourned for maybe 14 years, never stopped mourning the loss of Joseph. And his brothers came to see their Dad, and they said, yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, we don't know what happened. And for 14 years, they lied to their father, just like Jacob lied to his father. Anyway, God could have found a different way to do all of this, but he came near, in verse 27:

Genesis 27:27 Genesis 27:27And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed:
American King James Version×
And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him.

Isaac said, smells like my son, like Esau, and he blessed him; it was Jacob.

Genesis 27:27 Genesis 27:27And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed:
American King James Version×
Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field.

Isaac was blind, he couldn't see. He touched the fir that Jacob had put on – as Jacob's mother had put on – smelled the smells, it's got to be, it's got to be my son.

Genesis 27:28 Genesis 27:28Therefore God give you of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
American King James Version×
...Therefore may God give you Of the dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and wine.

The nations of Israel, that is to say, what we believe to be Israel, whether it's all of North America, or the lands down-under, Australia, South America, Canada, certainly, the lands of Holland and England. England is like a garden if you've ever been there. It's a marvelous place. The lands that are possessed by the tribes of Israel are the most beautiful lands, most fruitful lands, on the face of the earth. So you have the fatness of, plenty of grain and wine. You have lots of oil in the Middle East, but not any grain or wine to speak of.

Genesis 27:29 Genesis 27:29Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brothers, and let your mother's sons bow down to you: cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be he that blesses you.
American King James Version×
Let peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, And let your mother's sons bow down to you.

Now whether we're talking there about the descendants of Keturah later on – we're not sure – but all this certainly would be involved.

Genesis 27:29 Genesis 27:29Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brothers, and let your mother's sons bow down to you: cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be he that blesses you.
American King James Version×
Cursed be everyone who curses you, And blessed...is he...who...blesses...you.

And so then of course, we know what occurred or what happened there. But Esau comes along, and Esau was very, very, very upset, cause he didn't get the blessing; not the birthright blessing. It was passed on then to Jacob. So we read in verse 37:
Genesis 27:37 Genesis 27:37And Isaac answered and said to Esau, Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now to you, my son?
American King James Version×
The Isaac answered and said to Esau, Indeed I have made him your master.

And it shouldn't be astonishing that all the development of the oils, and the development of the far east, the Middle East, was controlled by interests of British oil, French or United States – Shell Oil – and so on.

Genesis 27:37 Genesis 27:37And Isaac answered and said to Esau, Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now to you, my son?
American King James Version×
...Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?

We just need to look at where the descendants of Israel are and the wonderful lands of this world; we live in one of them.

Genesis 27:38 Genesis 27:38And Esau said to his father, Have you but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
American King James Version×
And Esau said to his father, Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me – me also, O my father! And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

He finally realized the value of the gift that God was giving – as God says to mankind – there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when human beings realize what they have not gained.

Genesis 27:39 Genesis 27:39And Isaac his father answered and said to him, Behold, your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
American King James Version×
Then Isaac his father answered and said to him...here's the blessing, all I can do for you, Esau...Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth.

It doesn't say of the grain and of the wine. So it doesn't surprise me too much that the descendants of Esau have got a lot of oil under the ground, that's pretty fat stuff! That's what they live from, getting the oil out of there.

Genesis 27:39 Genesis 27:39And Isaac his father answered and said to him, Behold, your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
American King James Version×
And of the dew of heaven from above. Vs. 40 – By your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother.

And that's happened up until recently – 1948, I believe – is when the change began to show up. There was a betrayal of all of the Arabs in the first world war – if you've seen Lawrence of Arabia – there's some truth to that, they were betrayed. They thought that they had independent countries afterwards, and they didn't get that, and later on when they did get independence, it was the British that drew the lines, and the French, and others who drew the lines as to where the countries were. So we've got the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites, and all of them mixed up together there.

Genesis 27:40 Genesis 27:40And by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you shall break his yoke from off your neck.
American King James Version×
...you shall serve your brother...and then he says...And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck.

And that's what we see now. We do see the freedom now, from the control of Israel, that is occurring in the Middle East. But God went on to Jacob, and He gave him the promise, chapter 28 – of the promised land – in verse 13:

Genesis 28:13 Genesis 28:13And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land where on you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed;
American King James Version×
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.

That's a promise; that the promised land is going to belong to Israel. And of course, Jewish people read that and they say, well, we're here because God put us there, and God has put them there, because He must have Israelites present in that land at the return of Jesus Christ. There must be Israelites living in Jerusalem. So God put them there, there's no question of that, this is that dream.

Let's go for a moment to II Chronicles, just reading the end of the account with the destructions of these lands and so on. In II Chronicles chapter 36, right at the very end of the book. Cyrus was another hand-selected king that God chose. II Chronicles 36 verse 22:

II Chronicles 36:22 – ...in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.

In other words, a prophecy was made by Jeremiah, and God was bringing it to pass through Cyrus, who He selected a long time ago, who became the leader of the Medo-Persians, who then took over after Babylon.

II Chronicles 36:22 – ...the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus...so God works – Cyrus wasn't Israelite, he was a pagan, but God used him as He used Nebuchadnezzar, as He used the Pharaoh of Egypt...he stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying. Vs. 23 – Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me...well, sort of what Nebuchadnezzar learned in a way...And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!

Maybe Cyrus didn't know what he was saying, but actually, that was the kind of leadership that the Medo-Persian government had. They realized the value of letting a person that influenced people, have their own religious beliefs. So they sent them back. Chapter one of Ezra, right over the page:

Ezra 1:1 Ezra 1:1Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
American King James Version×
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled...and it's quoted again over here. And then it says in verse 5:

Ezra 1:5 Ezra 1:5Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

A total of about 42,000 people, that's all there was. There were a lot more than that, though, in Babylon. This was a small percentage that came back to Jerusalem. They had to build the house of the Lord, because it had to be ready when Christ was going to be born there. So this small group who went back were the Levites and all the rest of that.

Ezra 1:6 Ezra 1:6And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.
American King James Version×
And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock.

They were all donating money, but not many of them went, just this small group; and it was not an easy time, it was a very, very difficult time for them all, but it's a fulfillment of the plan of God. So all these things we're reading about, are sort of like what we're seeing today when this continuation of what is going to happen – which God says is going to happen – is and does and must happen.

We do realize and we do know that at the time of David – right after David and Solomon –  Jeroboam became the king over the 10 houses of Israel, excluding Judah and Benjamin, and much of the Levites. And they were actually fighting each other. We won't turn to it, but II Kings chapter 16 verse 5, and II Kings chapter 17, talks about the king of Assyria coming together with the 10 tribes and fighting the king of Judah. So the kings of Israel fought against the kings of Judah.

And God took them – through the Assyrians – took the 10 tribes away; took them right out of action, up to the north, and that left only Judah that was left.

But the events of this world contain all of that – all of Israel – not just Judah. Right now, of course, what we call Israel is not Israel, it's only a third of the Jewish people of the world, and maybe even less than that, because many, many Jewish people just sort of hid; they didn't want anyone to know that they were Jewish. During the second world war, lots of them changed their names and ran, and did all that, just to live. But God has His plan for some of them, and the only reason that Israel is a nation today is because God has intervened, because God needs this in His plan, and He is putting this in His plan.

There's two little scriptures I want to quickly touch on as well – Acts chapter 26 – just to show us that the Israelites, that they were aware that there were more to the nations of Israel than themselves. In Acts chapter 26, and in verse 4, Paul was giving his account here to King Agrippa, and Paul's just telling King Agrippa what King Agrippa already knew, but explaining to him. And again, we see the shadow, or the hand of God in all that's occurring and happening in the world. He says in verse 2 of Acts 26:

Acts 26:2 Acts 26:2I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before you touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
American King James Version×
I think myself happy, King Agrippa...that was diplomacy...I mean, Paul was smart, he knew exactly how to talk to somebody here. He said...I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews. Vs. 3 – especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.

That's beautiful diplomacy, you know, when you know how to talk to people wisely, and so on, and Paul knew how to do that.

Acts 26:4 Acts 26:4My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among my own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
American King James Version×
My manner of life...in verse 4...from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. Vs. 5 – They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

And so Paul was a real fanatic at that time. He killed a lot of people, including Stephen, and destroyed, or tried to destroy the church to the best of his ability, in all that he was doing.

Acts 26:6 Acts 26:6And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, to our fathers:
American King James Version×
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promises made by God to our fathers.

And so Paul uses this understanding of the promises that go right back to Abel (I'm sorry, to Abraham) but through that of course, to Abel, right back to Adam and Eve, because God made a promise to Eve, as we know, that He would be intervening for them.

Acts 26:7 Acts 26:7To which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
American King James Version×
To this promise...in verse 7...To this promise our twelve tribes...he says to King Agrippa. They weren't there, the tribe of Judah, Benjamin was there, some Levites, and even a small number actually...our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.

That was the one tribe. So Paul acknowledges that there are 12 tribes; King Agrippa knew that there were 12 tribes.

And in the book of James in the New Testament, James starts his book off in the same manner. James chapter 1:

James 1:1 James 1:1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
American King James Version×
...a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:

So he wasn't writing just to the Jews in Jerusalem or that area, he was writing to the 12 tribes. Now, did he know where they were? Some people say, oh, well, he knew where they were and sent a message to them. No, he knew they would get the message somewhere down the line, and God was going to make sure they got the message somewhere down the line; and there is a reason that Christianity is the main religion of the tribes of Israel today, what we know of Israel today.

Let us go to Zechariah. Zechariah – towards the end of the Old Testament – is an exciting book that we read around the Feast of Tabernacles time. But it gives us an insight on what is occurring and happening, what does occur and happen. In Zechariah chapter 1, and again, this is from the word of God – something which we understand, and have to understand, somehow or other – is involved with all that's occurring in the world. In verse 14:

Zechariah 1:14 Zechariah 1:14So the angel that communed with me said to me, Cry you, saying, Thus said the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
American King James Version×
So the angel who spoke with me...Zechariah was saying...Proclaim, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am zealous for Jerusalem And for Zion with great zeal. Vs. 15 – I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; For I was a little angry, And they helped – but with evil intent.

So God certainly did understand that Israel needed to be punished. He sent the Assyrians, built up their nations: the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians earlier than that, and so on, in order to correct Israel, to work with Israel; but they overdid things, the Assyrians overdid things. Certainly, Adolph Hitler did, Joseph Stalin did. Wherever the Jews were. Even in our countries, Jewish people are not loved and cared about; as they should be brothers and sisters of ours. But these countries with evil intent.

Zechariah 1:16 Zechariah 1:16Therefore thus said the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, said the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth on Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
Therefore thus says the Lord...so this is all still part of His plan, God's promise to Abraham. I'll bless those who bless you, curse those that curse you. But there were going to be people who did curse them, and some who blessed them...Therefore thus says the Lord: I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy...and this is always then, an understanding of why it is that Jesus Christ will stand with His feet on the Mount of Olives, and looking straight down on Jerusalem. And you wonder, well, why there? Well that's why right there. That's part of God's plan...My house shall be built in it...that is to say, in Jerusalem.

That's not talking about the temple Solomon built, that was gone. It's not even talking about the temple that Ezra and Nehemiah built, because the Romans ended up destroying that in 70 A.D.; and for the last almost 2,000 years, there has been no temple in Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, after the Romans got finished with it, there weren't any Jews there either. There were no people there, no people of the tribes of Judah. When Valarie and I went to Rome, there were statutes there and freezes there of the Jewish people, who were brought as prisoners out of Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, they built the coliseum in Rome, if you've ever been there and seen the coliseum, it was built by the Jewish prisoners, after 70 A.D.

Zechariah 1:16 Zechariah 1:16Therefore thus said the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, said the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth on Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
My house shall be built in it, says the Lord of hosts, And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. Vs. 17 – Again proclaim, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The Lord will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.

So in the midst of all that we see on a worldwide scale, whether we're speaking about Canada, the United States (Ephraim and Manasseh), Holland or Finland – all the nations of the world – the focus is always, in God's mind, is always ultimately going to be His promise to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob. His promises, which cannot be altered – although sometimes we see it happening – and it's scary, when you're part of it. The blowing up of this airplane was a horrendous event. But it might have been the trigger of an event which is going to have a chain reaction later on to do something which, we'll look back and say, well, that started it. Like there was the assassination of, I think it was the duke of, I've forgotten his name now, arch something or other. What was it? Ferdinand, that's right. I had the name there, but it couldn't come out here. Thank you. When the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, I think it was, it very well started the war off. And so, events like that, God manufactures that, He uses them and gets these things going.

Chapter 2, again knowing what this is all about. Chapter 2 and verse 1:

Zechariah 2:1 Zechariah 2:1I lifted up my eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.
American King James Version×
Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. Vs. 2 – So I said, Where are you going? And he said to me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length. Vs. 3 – And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him. Vs. 4 – Who said to him, Run, speak to this young man, saying: Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls...that is, no protection, no army, no defense; it's going to be inhabited, because God's going to be the Protector. That we know, is the millennium...because of the multitude of men and livestock in it.

And in order to have that in Jerusalem today, you've got to have rain, you've got to have things growing; it's a pretty dry place right now! So obviously, Jerusalem and that area, which used to be virtually jungle. You know, when Samson killed a lion, it wasn't in Africa! You know, it was in the Jordan valley. And there were lions there and there were all kinds of animals, as it was such an abundant land. The forests around Jerusalem were cut down when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city, piled all the lumber up against the wall, burned them and cracked the stones.

Zechariah 2:4 Zechariah 2:4And said to him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:
American King James Version×
...because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. Vs. 5 – For I, says the Lord, will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.

And that is His plan, that is the promise of God to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob, and to all of His people.

Zechariah 2:6 Zechariah 2:6Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, said the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, said the LORD.
American King James Version×
Up, up! Flee from the land of the north, says the Lord; for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven, says the Lord.

And so the 10 tribes, when they were gone out of there, they were scattered all over this earth, all over the globe; and it is an astonishing thing if you study history at all, to know that New Zealand didn't have anybody living there, not even natives, about 400 years ago. When Captain Cook came and found that stuff, Australia had the Aborigines, but there were very few people living there. And, in spite of what people say, North America was pretty well empty too; there weren't millions and millions and millions of people living here. There were more in South America, interestingly enough, but that wasn't given to Israel.

Zechariah 2:7 Zechariah 2:7Deliver yourself, O Zion, that dwell with the daughter of Babylon.
American King James Version×
So...Up, Zion!...in verse 7 he says...Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. Vs. 8 – For thus says the Lord of hosts: He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.

And lots of people have touched Israel, and lots of people are going to touch Jerusalem, but they touch the apple of God's eye.

Zechariah 2:9 Zechariah 2:9For, behold, I will shake my hand on them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.
American King James Version×
For surely...God says...I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. Vs. 10 – Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, says the Lord.

These are promises that God has made, which really have a lot to do with Abraham. But we see things like the holocaust, we see things like the wars that occurred, and even the setback that Israel had; the wonderful 6-day war was great, but after that on the Day of Atonement, Egypt re-attacked, and Israel wasn't quite ready, and they overran a lot of places then too, so you see sorrowful things occurring. There are, I think they said, 1,500 rockets recently were shot into the land of Israel. They don't aim for open fields with those rockets! I don't know why they don't have better aims, but they haven't landed too many in populated areas; and maybe God has something to do with that.

We always go to Zechariah 14 though, and again, this is again the focus on what is occurring and what is happening, and the direction it's going in. In Zechariah 14:

Zechariah 14:1 Zechariah 14:1Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you.
American King James Version×
Behold the day of the Lord is coming...and that's a day of gloom and doom for this world; of great anger of the wrath of God against this world, and against those who have abused His people, the children of Abraham, those who cursed the children of Israel; God is going to curse...And your spoil will be divided in your midst. Vs. 2 – For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

There will be God's people there in Jerusalem, and when the Gentiles come in, it is not a nice scene! Women ravished – which means there will be rape – and the city going into captivity – probably children, those who are useful – the young men get killed. They line them up and execute them and they get killed.

Zechariah 14:3 Zechariah 14:3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
American King James Version×
Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. Vs. 4 – And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Vs. 5 – Then you shall flee through My mountain valley.

There's got to be people left to do that. So, in order for this to occur, and the coming of Christ, where His feet stand on the Mount of Olives – that is the aim of God

Zechariah 14:11 Zechariah 14:11And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
American King James Version×
The people...it says in verse 11...shall dwell in it; And no longer shall there be utter destruction. But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

We don't see that now. The Bible says that when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you know that the climax of things is about to occur. And if we said, well, they're surrounded by armies now; there's armies in Lebanon, armies in Syria, armies in Jordan, you know, yeah, but this is talking about Jerusalem, the city, when these people do then, come in.

So these are the kind of events we do expect and we know are happening, but there is a reason for all of that, and the blessings are there every single day – we're going to read, be reading and use – and it's not good news always. But I wonder, when you look at what's occurring, what is it that is making some of the nations of Israel hesitate to join the EU, for example? You know, England is very, very hesitant to get in, and I think Denmark has not joined, and others are very hesitant and reluctant to even get involved. And there's something that's occurring and happening. Why is France always sort of facing off against Germany? And of course, they face off against a lot of others too, because they are the firstborn son, and want to be that. And why is it then that all the other nations of this world are helped, it seems, by the nations of Israel? And why do we have the ability? We've got so much wheat and so much goods like that, we do not even know what to do with it. And so, when we ask ourselves, who's feeding these refugees, it's basically Israel.

I was looking the other day too, on the Internet. They're looking for another 50 million refugees of the warming trend. So, in other words, in parts of the earth it's getting harder to make a living. And so they're expecting millions of people to migrate to where there's green land and food, and that of course, is Israel. And we wonder, is that the 60,000 children that came across the United States borders that are sitting down there? 60,000!! And they don't come just from Mexico, they come from British Honduras, and on and on and on it goes down there, and you wonder about these things. In the book of Luke, which is the parallel to the book of Matthew 24; Luke 21. Luke was inspired to write these words, just a few verses. Verse 8 and 9, the first thing he says is:

Luke 21:8 Luke 21:8And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near: go you not therefore after them.
American King James Version×
...“Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name...Christ said...saying, I am He, and, The time has drawn near. Therefore do not go after them. Vs. 9 – But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified.”

We sang this very, very fine hymn – God is Our Refuge – and we need to believe that, we need to understand that. Even if we should walk into the valley of the shadow of death, He is our refuge, He was Christ's refuge, He was refuge of the apostles. God knew how Peter was going to die, and God made sure it happened; and James and John. And they knew Paul was going to be stoned. God made sure it happened. But He says:

Luke 21:10 Luke 21:10Then said he to them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
American King James Version×
...“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Vs. 11 – And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. Vs. 12 – But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.” He says in verse 14:

Luke 21:14 Luke 21:14Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer:
American King James Version×
...“settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer. Vs. 15 – for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Vs. 16 – You will be betrayed”...and going on over there. Not a very good scene of time.

So it's important that we trust our Creator, that we understand He is Almighty, He is Supreme, and trust Him. And the chaos that we see in this world right now is the beginning of the dark time. It is not the end of it, it is just the beginning of it.

I'm going to close by going to the book of Daniel, just to glance at the teachings that he gave, that he understood. He wanted to understand God. Daniel, you remember, was one of the prisoners taken out of Jerusalem, and he saw the city being ravished, and all that was occurring; and he was taken prisoner, and was one of the most successful advisers that Nebuchadnezzar had, because he learned how to live in Nebuchadnezzar's land. And we're supposed to learn how to live in this world, wise as serpents. Daniel chapter 10 and in verse 12. This is an angel talking to Daniel, and he says:

Daniel 10:12 Daniel 10:12Then said he to me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come for your words.
American King James Version×
...Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

Sometimes when God doesn't answer our prayers quickly, we think He's not listening, He doesn't hear us, our prayers aren't good enough, or/and we aren't good enough – and we aren't – but He says He makes us good enough. There was a three-week span of time that this angel that was sent to Daniel was not allowed to come because he was confronted by the evil spirits that this world is full of. This is Satan's world, and God, yes, controls it, but He uses that to form and fashion His people, so He will have children who will be like Him, who will hate evil. In verse 13 He goes on talking now about special demons. These are big special demons, it seems.

Daniel 10:13 Daniel 10:13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, see, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
American King James Version×
...the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes...so these angels are called princes, demons are called princes...came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings...plural...of Persia.

So there was the big, big-shot, big king, and then there was the prince, and there was these kings.

Daniel 10:14 Daniel 10:14Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
American King James Version×
Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.

Daniel wanted to know, and this was way back there 2,500 and so years ago. He says in verse 18:

Daniel 10:18 Daniel 10:18Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
American King James Version×
Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. Vs. 19 – And he said, O man greatly beloved, fear not!...that's what God always says to His people, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid, no matter what occurs and happens...Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!...that takes courage...so when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me. Vs. 20 – Then he said, Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia...again, a battle going that we don't always see...and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come...so another battle.

So there are these ongoing confrontations between the forces of Satan and God. And we aren't always aware of that, but we need to understand, therefore, that God is Supreme, no matter what occurs and happens; it'll come about as he promised it. In chapter 11 and verse 3:

Daniel 11:3 Daniel 11:3And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
American King James Version×
Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. Vs. 4 – And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds.

This is Alexander the Great, written 200 and 300 years before he was even born; that he'd be a great king. He conquered the Medo-Persian army of a million men, and set the ten tribes of Israel free. God had a purpose and a reason to bring Alexander out and make him the way he was. 35,000 troops he brought with him, burned his ships, and then ended up wiping out this army of the Medo Persians to set the ten nations free. And again, the reason it all happened was to fulfill the promises of God.

Daniel 11:4 Daniel 11:4And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
American King James Version×
but not...according to...his posterity...he had no children, he divided his kingdom with his four generals...nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these. Vs. 5 – Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion, His dominion shall be a great dominion.

And so all of this goes on explaining a little bit of what Daniel was puzzling about. All this picture – verse 5 right to verse 39 – of all this strife that is ongoing. But it does say in verse 32:

Daniel 11:32 Daniel 11:32And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
American King James Version×
Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery...Satan does that...but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

So it's important that we understand why things are occurring and happening, when it doesn't look good, it looks black and dark and gloomy all around us.

Daniel 11:33 Daniel 11:33And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
American King James Version×
And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.

Remember when John had his head cut off and Peter was arrested? The members of the church got very nervous. They hid inside their house, locked the doors – which is a normal thing to do – you got families who have got to consider themselves. But God's hand was there as well, and it will be.

Daniel 11:34 Daniel 11:34Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall join to them with flatteries.
American King James Version×
...when they fall...or when they have troubles, or when they get killed, or when they're martyred, they'll be helped...with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.

So as the times get nearer and nearer, uh, many people are just going to look for any place to go. And if you say, well, I'll take you to a safe place, then lots of people say, I'm coming, I'm coming, how much money do you need, or something!

Daniel 11:35 Daniel 11:35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
American King James Version×
...some of those of understanding shall fall...but there's a purpose...to refine them...God says. Some of us need refining...to purify them...some of us need purifying...to make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

So Daniel was told this all ahead of time. And the plan of God is so enormous and so great, it makes all of this worth it. So if we can head to verse 40:

Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×
At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind.

So this is the theme that we're seeing ultimately things are going to develop in it. So what we see occurring and happening, verse 41:

Daniel 11:41 Daniel 11:41He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
American King James Version×
He shall also enter the Glorious Land...that's the land we presently call Israel...many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. Vs. 42 – He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. Vs. 43 – He shall have power over the treasures of gold...and so on and so forth.

So these things we understand and know that are happening. But Daniel was just as concerned about the people of God, as you and I are, and of this world. God so loved the world, He gave His Son. And we need to think about that, and more as well. It's not a nice thing to think of 80 kids being blown out of the sky, and their Mums and Dads with them, and complete families just all of a sudden vanishing. It's a frightening thought in this world.

But there still are 12 tribes of Israel that are involved in strife, and will be involved in strife, and as God's people, and as the rest of this world as well. In verse 1 and 2 Daniel writes:

Daniel 12:1 Daniel 12:1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
American King James Version×
At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people...that's what God's promise is to His people...And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered...that's God's promise. It goes right back to Abraham. They will be delivered. Will every single one be delivered? No, some will be martyred. The two we know are witnesses are going to be martyred. Some will die, some will suffer...Every one who is found written in the book...that's God's way of handling a person who's baptized. Vs. 2 – And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake...a resurrection...some to everlasting life...that's the coming of Christ now...Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.

So we read these words and we realize that we have a lot yet to see in the very near future. Daniel, when he wanted to see this, God said, go your way, you're not ready for this, verse 8, 9 and 10:

Daniel 12:8 Daniel 12:8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
American King James Version×
Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, My lord, what shall be the end of these things? Vs. 9 – And he said, Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

We can ask ourselves, are we living in the time of the end? Well, if our eyes are wide open as to what occurred and happened in the history of mankind, and we begin to see on a global scale what's happening, and comprehend and understand this and believe this and believe in God's prophecies, then we're a lot closer than Daniel was. We're right on the edge, and it's a horrendous thing to think of 7-1/2 billion or 6 billion, where they will be at the time of Christ's return, going through the terrors that this world goes through. At the time of Daniel there were few people, relatively speaking. 6-1/2 billion people; the suffering is unbelievable, unimaginable.

Daniel 12:10 Daniel 12:10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
American King James Version×
...Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

Every day, your faith and my faith, is being tested for a very important purpose and a reason. And God has a plan, which He has designed from the very beginning. He promised to Eve in the first place, and Abel became a part of that.  He went on promising it to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, choosing individuals and loving those He didn't yet choose, like Ham and Japheth, and their progeny, that He sent out. He is going to get around to all of them, because they're His people too, His children. So as we watch the news and see the things happening in this world and get very concerned about it – and we should – and pray about it, and shed a few tears – which we certainly should – we always need to keep firmly fixed in our minds the hope for the great return of Jesus Christ, and the world tomorrow, which is God's promise to all of mankind.