Conclusion

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Pattern Recognition in the Apocalypse

Conclusion

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Conclusion

 

In the preface of Pattern Recognition in the Apocalypse the danger of apophenia was noted, that is; “The human tendency to see patterns that do not actually exist”.  This exposition has guarded against the perception of causal relationships between events which are, in fact, unrelated by contextualising those events in their contemporary historical situation together with their intertextual roots and structural ordering.

 

For example, Anthony Siew noted that Rev 11.1 to 14.5 is a literary unit in the form of a chiasm delineated by an inclusio 1   The use of this literary device for structuring the section that commences with the measuring of the temple and witnessing (Rev 11) followed by the birth narrative (Rev 12) and the beast transformations (Rev 13) makes a linear sequential reading improbable. Although the seals, trumpets and vials provide sequential readings (e.g., one seal automatically follows the other) even so we need to proceed with care. The seals are for a large part retrospective from John’s viewpoint as they look backwards to the sacrificed Passover Lamb (the cross) in order to find a uniquely qualified individual who is able to open (and therefore activate) the seals. 

 

In modern parlance, if we were watching a movie, this would be considered a “flashback”. The director or screenwriter is able to construct this artificial interlude by showing the past in order to bring the audience up to speed. The screenwriter is omniscient in that he knows how the movie starts and how it will end and he is able to introduce his main character as having a “flashback” so that the audience understands how the past history of the character interacts with the present. Some of the methods used in literature and film making are also used in the Apocalypse; in fact they are built into the structure of the vision:

 

Flashback is a literary device wherein the author depicts the occurrence of specific events to the reader, which have taken place before the present time the narration is following, or events that have happened before the events that are currently unfolding in the story.

 

Analepsis (plural analepses) A form of flashback in which earlier parts of a narrative are related to others that have already been narrated.

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A flashforward (also spelled flash-forward; also called a prolepsis) is a scene that temporarily takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television and other media.

 

The interpreter must therefore take care and realize that a “time-element” is also present – not everything looks forwards (some looks backwards as well=flashback) other events are parallel (happening the same time – think here of a “split screen” in a movie) and yet others depict the conclusion before it has actually happened (prolepsis=flash-forward). The chiastic structures of the Apocalypse contain both analepsis and prolepsis and therefore (especially in the vision section) a sequential linear reading is somewhat forced.  For example, do the beasts of Revelation 13 only look forwards to beasts that will appear in John’s future?  Perhaps they also look backwards (as the seals did) in order to show John a recognizable beast that then transforms into something similar-yet-different in the future of John and his readers?  The same with the birth narrative in Revelation 12, is it looking backwards, or forwards (or perhaps both?) from John’s perspective?

 

The fact is that scripture employs multiple patterns in the form of allusions, types and echoes that constantly “flashback” to the OT in order to depict patterns of a cosmic battle from the beginning of time. In Rev 12.17 the followers of Christ are referred to as the “seed” (of the woman) an intertextual link with Eve who was promised that her seed (Christ) would conquer the serpent (dragon).  In Rev 11.10 (second woe) the inhabitants of the earth rejoice and in Rev 12.12 the inhabitants in heaven rejoice and a woe (last woe?) is pronounced against the inhabitants of the earth. This indicates that events on earth and in heaven are running parallel, with two different viewpoints (split screen) being shown simultaneously. What seems like victory to the beast-followers is actually the beginning of their defeat. Think here of the death of Jesus (perceived as a victory by his opponents) which defeated sin and death and ultimately gave birth to his church

 

John 16:20-22.  20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.  22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

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One commentator calls the cross the “transvaluator” because it transforms (worldly) values of pride, ambition and self-righteousness; it upends all human values. The cross was perceived as foolishness by the Greeks and a stumbling-block by the Jews. It judges the world and everything the world represents by crucifying the flesh and what seems like a defeat to the world is in effect a great triumph against the world. The world may laugh, rejoice and scorn but God will have the last laugh.   2 

 

Bearing the above in mind interpreting the Apocalypse is best suited by a polyvalent approach. Some sections look backwards and seek a partial fulfilment in the ministry of Christ (the faithful witness in Rev 1.5) and the early pre-70 CE church, but it also looks forwards (from John’s viewpoint) at an intermediate fulfilment in the period between 70 and 135 CE. Finally, it extends even further to the end (our time) for the final fulfilment. 

 

If we are correct in understanding the Apocalypse as presenting repeat patterns and if we are correct in understanding the Apocalypse as initially delivered to pre 70 Jewish believers (Jewish Christians) with the implicit warning that a negative response would see the nation cast off   3    then it logically follows that the pattern is set to repeat once more when the times of the Gentiles are finished. Such is the point that we have now reached --- the nation has returned to the land but still rejects the messiah --- the Apocalypse dictates that a repeat pattern of witnessing, birth and persecution will emerge.

 

The beast is then a recurrent pattern that keeps reappearing at certain intervals. Each time the beast reappears he has a slightly different manifestation. Emergence of the beast and his acolytes in their various formats is associated with Jewish temple worship and/or a virulent form of rabbanism that was conceived in Babylon. The birth and witnessing also reoccur in different yet similar configurations. The “faithful witness” is Jesus himself but John the Baptist is the forerunner (first Elijah) to be followed by second Elijah at the finale. However, Stephen, the disciples and the Holy Spirit were also first century witnesses as were first century Christians put to death by Nero in the Coliseum. There was no doubt witnessing and martyrdom during the Bar Kochba revolt. Applying the above principle of recurrent patterns a proposed overview of the Apocalypse looks as follows:

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Overview

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The seals were a first century phenomenon that ended with the destruction of the temple in 70. The trumpets found their first fulfilment in the Bar Kochba revolt and the thunders describe in detail the fall of Jerusalem/Betar in 135/6.  The little book (Biblaridion) that interrupts this section assures John (and his readers) that the Jews are not permanently cast off.  In the second century the seventh trump was not sounded and did not herald the vial-plagues…instead the nation was exiled and Jerusalem officially became a Gentile city. The seventh trump was not sounded and the kingdom did not materialize. The “whenever” aspect of the trumpets assures that they will repeat (second fulfilment) once the Jews returned from exile (1948).   This time, once the trumpets recommence they will continue at a rapid pace with the seventh trump incorporating the vial-plagues culminating in Armageddon and the return of Christ.  The seals, trumpets and vials are therefore repeat patterns that culminate with the Kingdom of God.  Similarly, the witnessing, which results in repentance by a minority and the birth of a covenant community…is also a pattern repeated throughout sacred history and will also repeat at the end (including martyrdom). At each stage of this pattern the nation could have repented and the kingdom would have been established. God always sent his prophets to the nation before passing judgement. Christ made it clear that John the Baptist was not Elijah but that second Elijah was yet to come. Therefore a repeat pattern will ensue with a contest between the beast and the witness right at the end.  The witnesses will (once again) be martyred ---but this time the seeming victory of the powers of evil is short lived --- the divine response is immediate and devastating. Hallelujah.

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Calculating dates

 

An example of pattern recognition and symmetry might be Sir Isaac Newton’s interpretation and calculation of the return of Christ in 2060 known as the Yehuda manuscripts.  4     Newton interpreted Revelation as depicting the corruption of the Church and used the “day for a year principle” from Daniel to achieve this.   5     A similar date can be achieved by adding the cycle patterns that we have discovered to the date when the nation of Israel became independent (1948+42+21+49 =2060).  The same date is achieved using different methodologies and more likely than not they are both wrong.

 

Revelation was given to encourage and comfort the saints to assure them that ultimately all their tribulations were under divine control. Previously it was noted that a pre-70 Christian would have read Revelation differently to a post-70 Christian and that patterns are a deliberately flexible means for allowing for alternatives depending on the response of the nation.  In this we might think of Israel in the wilderness who should have reached the Promised Land within a couple of weeks instead of forty years. Yahweh declared that they would “know his breach of promise” (Num 14.34) and the same warning was given to first century Christians (Heb 4.1-5).  In other words, God is able to either accelerate or delay his promises in reaction to the response. He is able to interrupt the process completely to inaugurate the “times of the gentiles” (when the Jews are cast off). This makes it impossible to “calculate dates” but we are still given important “sign-posts” and the closer we are to the destination the clearer the picture.

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Day of Atonement War

 

The most important “sign” that has occurred in this generation is the return of Israel to the land. There can be no national reconciliation without the existence of a nation. Of course, that does not neglect the possibility of yet another national defeat and dispersal but the historical anomaly that is Zionist Israel is a clear sign of imminent events.

 

With a closer look at national Jewish history in the light of revelatory patterns one particular event stands out, namely the Day of Atonement war.  On the Yom Kippur war of 1973, Egypt and Syria, backed up by expeditionary forces from other Arab nations, launch a surprise attack against Israel on their Holiest Day, Yom Kippur. After absorbing the initial attacks, Israel recaptures lost ground and then pushes into Egypt and Syria. Subsequently, OPEC reduces oil production, driving up oil prices and triggering a global economic crisis.

 

Recognising the patterns revealed in revelation delivers a number of cycles   6    , but more likely than not they are all wrong or inconclusive at the very least (Matt 24.36). However, although dates are not calculable and although the divine schema maintains the flexibility to be directed however the Father wills, one cannot but help note that since 1973   7     dramatic events have occurred that are now in the process of reshaping the Middle East and that have repercussions for the whole world.  For example, the fall of the twin-towers resembles the fifth trumpet with the “smoke from the abyss” darkening the sky and the emergence of demonic creatures might well be an apt description of adherents of the Islamic caliphate.

 

The subsequent fall of Iraq (Babylon) and the “Arab spring” that is reshaping the Levant and destroying the stability achieved by the Western powers after the fall of the Ottoman Empire is largely driven by neoconservatives heavily influenced by American Jews, who wield more power in every field (politics, legal and media) in the USA than they ever did in the courts of Babylon or Persia.  Suffice to say that these events (meant by Israel to counter the rise of Iranian-Shiite power) have failed and caused a backlash of terrorism and refugees. The Zionist nation of Israel stands behind the curtain influencing and shaping events. A summary of important world events, particularly from the perspective of the Middle East for this period:

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1. 1973+7=1980

(1973-1980)

Yom Kippur War, global oil crisis

2. 1980+7=1987

(1980-1987)

The Lebanon War

3. 1987+7=1994

(1987-1994)

The First Intifada

4. 1994+7=2001

(1994-2001)

The Second Intifada, Israeli Prime Minister assassinated by Jewish religious fanatic

5. 2001+7=2007

(2001-2007)

Twin Towers, Afghan War begins, 2003: Iraq War begins, Scud missiles fall on Israel (Babylon falls)

6. 2007+7=2015

 

(2007-2015)

GFC, Arab Spring: revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya follow, as well as uprisings in Yemen and Bahrain, Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defence against the Palestinian-governed Gaza Strip. ISIL gained global notoriety in early 2014.The worst Ebola virus epidemic in recorded history. Terror attacks world-wide.

7. 2015+7=2022

 

(2015-2022)

Turkey and Russia intervene in the Syrian Civil War. An outbreak of the Zika virus. Donald Trump is elected President of the United States. Refugees and terror. War in Syria continues.

 

It is tempting to see this last “seven” as inaugurating the kingdom especially as we have seen an exponential increase in global turmoil but the Jewish “super shemita” (Jubilee) of 2016-17 did not herald any particular result  8     although we are significantly closer to another global economic crisis (the result of not forgiving debt as the Jubilee demands). Suffice to say that events point to an emergent pattern of increasing chaos with climate, disease, war and debt interacting in unknowable ways. However, although a date is not calculable, we continue to observe the signs and the onset of a messianic movement in Israel together with the establishment of temple worship would be a crucial sign of the proximity of the end (and may be the result of a temporary Israeli-Arab detente). That religious Jewry has been planning a temple for years, electing a Sanhedrin, choosing priests and appealing to authorities is a known fact.  9    The project also finds support from Christian Zionists.

 

If such a project ever came to fruition it would be an abomination to God and a sure sign of the end, thus completing the patterns established in Revelation.

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Things hereafter

 

The Apocalypse is not a crystal ball that allows us to predict the future, nevertheless it does contain repeat patterns and therefore we should be awake and informed so that we are able to recognise those patterns. The exposition presented in this book demonstrates the importance of the Jewish people in the events that have occurred and in the coming tribulation. It is therefore necessary to inform ourselves on the history and influence of the Jewish people both in a historic and contemporary sense. Let us commence by observing that they are a chosen people:

 

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:  6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel (Exod 19.5-6).

 

Of course, the Jewish people often did not keep the covenant and suffered the consequences of disobedience.  Because of this their history is one of great adversity but also great success –profoundly so – as they have managed to retain their identity against the odds (and this is God’s doing). The Jews have always managed to gain positions of power – Joseph was second to Pharaoh, Daniel was a royal adviser, as was Nehemiah and Mordecai. These were all faithful men (and influential women like Esther). Beyond these Biblical examples contemporary history demonstrates the success of the Jewish people, who despite adversity have shaped the twentieth, and twenty first centuries and this with a global population of only about 0.2 percent.  The Jews have always had their hands on the levers of power and one explanation of their success attributes it to education as Jewish children were taught to read and study the Torah in special Babylonian schools for centuries.   10     Moreover, Jews were often forced to urbanize, leaving their farms behind to settle in cities and learn new trades. The combination of high literacy and new skills   11     gave them an advantage over their counterparts and this could often lead to envy and resentment. Nevertheless, this cannot all be attributed to Jewish ingenuity; there is no doubt that God preserved his people despite their intransigence and disobedience.

 

God will fulfil his promise to Abraham because it is unconditional but that does not mean that disobedience will not be punished. Any critique of the Jews is often labelled as anti-Semitic and that charge tends to shut down any debate or fact finding but we must take off our rose tinted spectacles and cease from a sycophantic attitude towards the Jews in order to perceive the real truth of the matter.   Facts are facts and we must consider them carefully and dispassionately without falling into the trap of either anti-Semitism or Jewish cheerleading.   12 

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Jewish influence

 

There can be no doubt that Jews shaped the last century and the outcome of that shaping was not for the best.  Albert Einstein developed the theory of Relativity and from that we get nuclear weapons,   13     Karl Marx proposed communism which has lead to the death of millions and Sigmund Freud was the father of a form of psycho-analysis that delegitimized personal responsibility   14 .    These three Jewish men shaped our century for better or worse (worse I would argue). But Jewish influence does not stop there and many of our current problems including “multiculturalism”, neo-conservatism and many other humanistic liberal ideas (feminism etc) are attributed to Jewish academics. There are Jews to be found nearly everywhere in the world but the largest populations are in Israel and the USA with roughly six million at each location.

 

Jewish influence in the world of media,   15     academia,   16     finance and politics   17     is impressive (to say the least). Almost half of American billionaires are Jewish one of the largest most influential global banks (Goldman Sachs) is Jewish; the last three chairs of the Federal Reserve (Greenspan, Bernake and Yellen) are Jewish. The Federal Reserve, the central bank of the USA more or less sets economic policy for the world and has ruined the global economy and widened the wealth gap globally by debt creation and Quantitative Easing.   18     The founder of Google and Facebook are Jews and many other prominent positions are held by Jews.   19     It is fair to say that Jews in the USA wield considerable influence in shaping public opinion and policy making.

 

Many Jews are politically liberal and have had a huge social impact by promoting “political correctness” and “diversity” something that they do not tolerate within their own communities leading to the charge of either hypocrisy or subversion (more on this anon) but there are also many conservative Jews who promote the “neo-conservative” agenda that so ruinously destroyed the Middle East (more on this anon). Although the Jewish community (in the USA) is not politically homogenous it is extremely influential both to the “left” and to the “right” of politics and from both directions their input has often had destructive consequences.

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Some History

 

Jews have been attacked and slurred in anti-Semitic literature such as the Protocols of Zion – a fabricated treatise which supposedly describes a Jewish plot to “take over the world”. However, even Kissinger remarked; “any people who has been persecuted for two thousand years must be doing something wrong.” The clever Jew may well be a stereotype but stereotypes are often based on real world perceptions.  The communist Bolshevik revolution is often said to have had Jewish origins, although an exaggeration Karl Marx was Jewish and Leon Trotsky who was a prominent party leader was also Jewish.   20     Moreover the Frankfurt School   21    , a Jewish philosophical-political spin off from Marxism has influenced academic thinking on “multiculturalism”, “diversity”, “political correctness” and “tolerance”. It is a form of cultural Marxism propagated by German Jewish intellectuals that became very influential in American universities and has spread globally. The Frankfurt school was a research institute set up in Germany during the 1920’s. They were instrumental in developing an intellectual base for cultural Marxism under the “critical theory” framework. The task of the Frankfurt School, then, was first, to undermine the Judeo-Christian legacy through an “abolition of culture” (Aufhebung der Kultur in Lukacs’ German); and, second, to determine new cultural forms which would increase the alienation of the population, thus creating a “new barbarism.”  A deliberate strategy to undermine and atomize the foundation of western societies   22     – the thinking is that it is a “survival strategy” – if society is not homogenous and accepts all sorts of deviations and perversions then it is easier for Jews to live unnoticed. However, Jewish society itself does not accept the preaching of the “Frankfurt School” as they have strict laws on segregation and intermarriage etc (at least religious Jews do). Jews from the Frankfurt School fled Nazi Germany and spread their poison throughout American Universities and we reap the consequences today.

 

A reaction to the onslaught of cultural Marxism has been the rise of neo-conservatism which also has largely Jewish origins. As reported in the Jewish newspaper Haaretz; “In the course of the past year [i.e. 2003], a new belief has emerged in the town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history”.   23 

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The whole sad history of “weapons of mass destruction” (that did not exist) and the freedom and democratization of Iraq that led to its inevitable decline and the rise of ISIS started with a Jewish think-tank.  One cannot help but think that the balkanization of the Middle East is in accordance with the Oded Yinon Plan for the formation of a greater Israel devised in 1982 (recommended reading).   24    So, both cultural Marxism and neo-conservatism achieve the same outcomes – whereas cultural Marxism ferments societal anarchy and breakdown, neo-conservatism results in national anarchy and balkanization.   When everyman’s hand is against his brother (in both a national and cultural sense) then little energy is left to demonize and persecute the Jews.  If this was the intended agenda then it has been largely successful. The Oded Yinon programme of territorial expansionism (or sphere of influence) in the Middle East is still within reach of the Zionists and instability in the surrounding nations makes such an outcome more rather than less likely.

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Turning Points

 

The goal of this exposition is to recognize that biblical patterns repeat. The belief is that the trumpets (associated with the Day of Atonement) began a repeat cycle in 1973 with the Day of Atonement War which would mark the first Woe with the fall of the twin towers. Many conspiracy theories circulate around this world changing event and no matter what one believes there is more going on than meets the eye (the truth will never be known) but with hindsight it is unbelievable that a man living in a cave in Afghanistan brought down seven buildings with two aircraft without the slightest leak of any information to any of the global intelligence agencies (it begs credibility). Nevertheless, this event changed the geopolitics of the Middle East and sowed the seeds of the GFC and the coming economic catastrophe (caused by Quantitative Easing) that is set to utterly devastate global economies. The problems facing humanity are manifold and they are growing – global warming, financial crisis, war, pollution, societal breakdown etc.  In the first and second centuries the Jews successfully manipulated the super-powers of the day – both Rome and Babylon (Parthia) and used them as weapons to persecute first century Christians and promote their own agendas.  It seems that the Jews are repeating the same strategy in modern times – if we substitute Rome and Babylon with the USA nothing much has changed.

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The role of Islam at the end

 

Islam also has a role to play in the end time scenario –mainly because they are hostile to the Zionist state and also because they have administered the temple mount for the last eleven hundred years. Whether or not some sort of rapprochement will be reached is debatable but at the moment we are seeing factional power struggles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. There is an indication that ten kings cede their power to the beast for a brief period and this makes a short accommodation with Israel likely. Interestingly, the territory promised to Abraham (and coveted in the Yinon plan) was settled by ten different peoples who have been absorbed by the current Arabic nations.

 

Nevertheless, the current factional struggles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims has morphed into proxy wars involving the super-powers with countries like the USA, Saudi and Israel trying to prevent countries like Iran, Syria and Russia forming a Shiite block across the Middle East. The situation is fluid and complex but a massive power struggle is underway and it all started with the first Woe (fall of the twin towers).

 

To this mix we have to add that Muslims also expect Jesus (a prophet in their eyes) to return, they also expect a deceiver (a bit like the anti-Christ) to appear and somewhere in this mix is the Mahdi  who will bring back worship of true Islamic values, and bring the Ark of the Covenant to light.  25     The picture presented by Islamic eschatology is rather confused and therefore ripe for manipulation.  It is possible that some sort of agreement could be reached between Judaism and Islam about sharing the temple mount. It is also possible that the Jews reach a situation where the Muslim nations are so weakened that they expel Muslims from the temple mount but it is difficult to envisage such an outcome –it is more likely to be done by agreement.

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Reconstructing the temple

 

Fundamentalist Jews wish to rebuild a temple on Mount Zion. They have already made the temple instruments and selected the priests.   26     They have also lobbied both Putin and Trump. If such a temple was ever erected and Mosaic sacrifices recommenced it would be an abomination to God. It would literally be the “image of the beast”. Unfortunately, if that event occurs many Christians (Christian Zionists) would act as unqualified supporters and cheerleaders in the mistaken belief that it is God’s will.

 

Nothing can be known with any certainty but we can observe that the conditions are right for some sort of repeat pattern.  The exact form of that pattern is as yet undetermined but we should be able to recognise the pattern when it occurs.  It will encompass either an agreement with the Muslims or their subjection and this would mean either an expansion of territory or an expansion of Israel’s sphere of influence. It may well lead to the building of a Jewish temple on a “shared” platform or possibly (but less likely) the removal of the Dome of the Rock.  27 

 

Judaism survived in Babylon for nearly 2,000 years and reinvented itself there. Subsequently, other “holy books” were written such as the “Zohar” (Cabbalism) which is nothing different from the sorcery that the Apocalypse warned about.  Surprisingly (or perhaps not really), although these doctrines appeared many centuries later in Spain they were attributed to Rabi Akiva’s direct followers. This is pertinent because it was Akiva that supported the false Messiah in the second century.  28 

 

The Jews are as yet unrepentant and will not allow Christian preaching in Israel. In the words of Paul they are still “enemies of the gospel”.  A repentant remnant that recognises Jesus Christ as the messiah and the son of God is therefore necessary before the Lord returns.  And how will they hear unless someone preaches to them?   That is the work of the witnesses – God always sends his prophets to warn his people before unleashing judgement. We need to urgently revise our opinions on the Jews and the Jewish state – yes, they are beloved for the father’s sakes (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) but unstinting loyalty and sycophantic support is untenable because they are still alienated from God.