Description: “A Cry in the Dark”
What in the World Is God Doing?
Viewer Screen: What in the World Is God Doing?
In a recent article posted at Israel Shoval, we are granted access to a recent Israel Defense Forces intelligence report which reveals this:
Viewer Screen: IDF intel report: Iran can enrich enough uranium for nuclear bomb within 4 months, Lilach Shoval (Israel Shoval)
“The Military Intelligence Directorate (MID) report, which focuses on the security challenges Israel can expect to face over the next 12 months, estimated that the Islamic republic can enrich enough uranium required to make one bomb, if it decides to do so, within four months.”
An article published at Bloomberg, entitled:
Viewer Screen: Saudi Arabia and Israel See Iran as Existential Threat, Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis (Bloomberg)
. . . reveals that senior Israelis have reiterated their belief that Iran will build a nuclear arsenal unless it is stopped by direct military intervention.
In putting together information revealed by these two articles, we can see that Iran can put together a nuclear bomb soon; and it will unless a military attack changes that direction. Now that the Biden administration is in office, Arab nations understand that the U.S. will not be involved in an attack upon Iran; Israel will need to do it.
The clock is ticking. Israel will soon need to launch an attack. When it does, I believe that the Iranian underground Green movement will take advantage of the chaos resulting from that attack, launching a coup against the Iranian regime. Once the regime changes, the Middle East opens up for the Dan 9:27—seven-year—treaty which will initiate the rapture of the Church and the seven-year Tribulation period. So, keep looking up!
This is: “What in the World Is God Doing?”
What in the Word Is God Saying?
“A Cry in the Dark”
Viewer Screen: “Gathering to War”
By the end of his life, musician Giuseppe Verdi was recognized as a master of dramatic composition. His works astonished the world of music with a power, subtlety, and brilliance that marked the ultimate in Italian grand opera. But he didn’t begin his career with such success.
As a youth, he was denied entrance to the Milan Conservatory because he lacked the necessary training. Although his musical abilities were apparent in childhood, as an innkeeper’s son he did not possess the formal education and background required.
Yet, time does strange things. After Verdi’s fame had spread worldwide, the school was renamed the “Verdi Conservatory of Music.” This turn of events is a reminder that endings are not always like their beginnings.
This is the lesson regarding Israel and her Messiah. When Jesus came to Israel in the first century, he was rejected and put to death by the nation. But fortunately, endings are not always like their beginnings, as Israel will one day soon not only believe in Jesus as her Messiah, but will cry out to him to deliver the nation out of a very dark time.
Last time on End Times Today, we saw that near the end of the Tribulation period, Satan will gather together the armies of the world in an attempt to prevent Jesus’ rule when He returns to the earth. The armies will gather in the valley of Megiddo (the Jezreel Valley) in northern Israel, but then stream down to the Kidron Valley (the Valley of Jehoshaphat). There they will seek to keep Jesus from successfully traveling from the Mount of Olives—the point at which He will return to the earth—to the Temple Mount, where He will ascend His throne to rule the earth.
There will be such a massive gathering of soldiers that the Kidron Valley will not be able to hold them all. Zechariah 12:1-2 pulls back the curtain of this gathering to show us what will actually occur with this massive influx of troops into that region:
Viewer Screen: “Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem’ ” (Zech 12:1-2).
Chapters 12–14 of Zechariah function as one unit. The unit presents Israel turning to the Lord in a time of dire need at the very end of the Tribulation period and crying out to God for deliverance. These chapters also show God’s response to Israel’s cry as He sends Jesus to physically deliver Israel from her enemies.
Zechariah 12:1-2 introduce God as the Creator of the heavens, the earth, and of “the spirit of man within him.” This description indicates the Lord is the Sovereign One, preparing us to see that God will lure the armies of the nations to Judah. Furthermore, as the Creator who possesses all power and sovereignty over His creation, He will fulfill His announcement of judgment upon the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Though Satan will gather the armies to “lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem,” God will be laying a trap for them, utilizing Jerusalem to be “a cup of drunkenness” for these demonically-led troops. While they are “drinking” up Jerusalem by laying siege against the city, they will become prey for God’s judgment—targets to take down as easy as a man in a drunken stupor.
The Lord paints the picture of using Jerusalem as his tool of judgment in verses 3 and 4 in this fashion:
Viewer Screen “ ‘And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness’ ” (Zech 12:3-4).
God reminds us of the seemingly overwhelming odds against Jerusalem in that day by stating that “all of the nations of the earth are gathered against it.” But, when the Lord is on the side of His people, no matter how much in the minority they may be, they become the overwhelming favorites.
The striking of the horses with confusion and the riders with madness will clearly demonstrate that the defeat of the nations’ troops will be due to the Lord’s judgment, not by anything Jewish followers of Jesus will accomplish. Just as in the conquering of the Canaanites by the Joshua-led Israelites, victory will come by trusting the Lord.
However, just as God utilized the Jews under Joshua’s leadership to achieve victory over their Canaanite enemies, similarly, He will employ Jews in the future to obtain conquest over their worldwide enemies. The Lord explains this plan in verses 5–9 of Zechariah 12 where God announces He will make the leaders of Judah powerful instruments of his fiery judgment.
Viewer Screen: “ ‘They shall devour all the surrounding peoples . . .[as God seeks] to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem’ ” (Zech 12:6, 9).
Surprisingly, God will use inhabitants of Jerusalem to deliver her from her enemies. To do that, God declares He will enable the leaders of Judah to destroy those coming against the city.
The Lord grants us insight into how He will deliver his holy city by the hands of His people. God will imbue the dwellers of Jerusalem with His strength to fight against their enemies.
Viewer Screen: “ ‘In that day I will make the governors of Judah . . . like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, . . . the one who is feeble among them [the inhabitants of Jerusalem] in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall belike God, like the Angel of the LORD before them’ ” (Zec 12:6, 8).
To demonstrate His power and glory, God will grant even the weaker Jews in Jerusalem the warrior ability of David, who destroyed tens of thousands of armed men. These descendants of David will be given the conquering power of God with the all-powerful angel of the Lord going before them in victory.
Not only will God allow the nations to come against Jerusalem, He will also employ the siege to accomplish a good purpose for those Jews who have believed in Jesus. The military onslaught will bring great difficulties to God’s people in order to prepare them for a greater eternal experience. Just as is His purpose for trials and sufferings for all believers, God will seek to grow these Jewish believers to prepare them for greater reward in His impending kingdom.
While Zechariah 12:1–9 describes Israel’s future deliverance, 12:10–14 describes what leads up to this deliverance. These verses reveal God’s necessary preparation for the nation of Israel to bring His kingdom to the earth. Take note of verse 10, which declares what God will do for Israel at that time and how Israel will respond:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn’ ” (Zech 12:10).
I have translated this as “spirit” with a lower case “s,” rather than “Spirit,” with a capital “s.” This changes the meaning from the Holy Spirit to “an attitude or principle that inspires action.” I don’t believe this verse is speaking of receiving the Holy Spirit; instead, this is a description of God granting motivation to turn to Him for help. Note that God will pour out this spirit on Jews, “the house of David”—specifically, the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Let me add this:: Though Zech 12 is speaking of “spirit” with a lower case “s,” God will pour out His Holy Spirit upon Jewish believers in Jesus during the last half of the Tribulation period after they have believed in Jesus, as indicated in Joel 2:28.
In returning to Zech 12, keep in mind that faithful Jewish believers in Jesus who reside in Jerusalem during the first half of the tribulation period (under the ministry of God’s two prophets) will flee Jerusalem into the surrounding wilderness at the very middle of the tribulation period—at the occurrence of “the abomination of desolation.” Other Jewish believers in Jesus who choose to stay in Jerusalem and Judea will be hunted down and killed. Thus, Jerusalem will be “cleansed” of all believers before arriving at the time when God pours out “the spirit of grace and supplication.” So, Jews who reside in Jerusalem near the end of the Tribulation period will not have received eternal life prior to the occurrence of Zechariah 12:10.
However, verse 10 provides evidence that these Jews in and around Jerusalem at the time of this great invasion of the armies of the world will believe in Jesus just prior to His return. The statement “they will look on Me whom they pierced” also appears in John 19:37, referring to Jesus on the cross. Here is that statement in that context:
Viewer Screen: “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. . . . that the Scripture should be fulfilled . . . ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced’ ” (John 19:34, 36, 37).
John 19 contributes to our understanding of Zechariah 12:10, indicating to us that the Jews portrayed in Zechariah 12 will come to the realization that the Messiah—Jesus—died at the hands of their ancestors. This is essentially what the Apostle Peter announced in Acts 2 to first-century Jews in Jerusalem. Beginning in verse 14, where Peter identifies his audience, and extending beyond verse 36, he levels this convicting charge:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem . . . this Jesus, whom you crucified, [is] both Lord and Christ’ ” (Acts 2:14, 36).
Thus, it is fascinating that, while Jews in Judea (which refers to southern Israel, including Jerusalem) were responsible for putting to death the Messiah, Jews in Judea will come to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life at the very end of the Tribulation period, as indicated by Zechariah 12. Let’s look, once again, at Zech 12:10:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn’ ” (Zech 12:10).
Once these Jews believe in Jesus, they will direct supplication to God.
“Supplication” is a humble prayer to God. This indicates that these Jews will be brought to humility before God as they recognize they had been opposing the very One who had died for them. In addition, supplication indicates they will then cry out to God for His help. No doubt, the primary motivating factor moving them to cry out to the Lord is that Jerusalem is being ravished by the Gentile armies at that point.
The very end of verse 10 announces that these “ ‘will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.’ ” Since a firstborn son has always been highly treasured in Israel, this shows an intense grieving for the one their ancestors pierced. However, it would make no sense for them to mourn in this way if they did not believe they (again, their ancestors) were responsible for putting to death the Messiah (the Christ). Thus, this is another indicator they will believe in Jesus for eternal life.
The terms “only son” and “firstborn,” in verse 10, also point to Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus is “the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16), “the Firstborn from the dead” (Col 1:18), and, in God’s future kingdom upon the earth, He will be “the Firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Thus, these terms in Zech 12:10 add to the indication these Jews will believe in Jesus for eternal life.
Additional evidence of when these Jews believe in Jesus surfaces from Rev 1:7, which merges Zech 12:10 with Dan 7:13–14 to predict Jesus’ return in this way:
Viewer Screen: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him” (Rev 1:7).
This statement combines the act of these tribulation Jews “looking upon him whom they have pierced” with Daniel’s portrayal of Jesus receiving his kingdom from God the Father. This combination reveals when these tribulation Jews from Jerusalem will believe in Jesus: They will believe just prior to Jesus’ return to the earth to physically deliver them. Thus, this scene in Zech 12 will be played out at the very end of the Tribulation period.
The passage in Zech 12 continues in verses 11–14 with the sustained theme of mourning the pierced one by these Jews. For example:
Viewer Screen: “In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo” (Zech 12:11).
Hadad Rimmon refers to the slaying of godly King Josiah in the plain of Megiddo by Pharaoh Necho (2 Chron 35:20–27). When Josiah was killed, prior to the fall of Judah at the hands of Babylon, the hope of the nation seemed to be gone. The dirges written by the prophet Jeremiah mourning the death of Josiah symbolize the grieving experienced by godly Jews from Judah. The mourning in that future day for the coming King will rival the grieving of ancient Jews for King Josiah.
This very intense and sincere mourning in Zechariah will lead Israel to repentance. This repentance refers to Israel, the wayward son, returning to fellowship with his Father, the Lord God. The Apostle Peter describes what will occur when Israel finally returns to fellowship with God:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘Repent therefore and turn back [return to fellowship], that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, . . . whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things . . .’ ” (Act 3:19-21).
At that time, God will bring “times of refreshing . . . and the times of restoration of all things.” This phraseology refers to the arrival of God’s kingdom upon the earth. Peter makes this promise more explicit when he adds that, when Israel does repent, God will send to the earth “Jesus Christ . . . whom heaven must receive” until that time. Thus, Jesus will bring God’s kingdom to the earth when Israel responds to the Lord with humble repentance at the end of the Tribulation period.
At the very end of Zech 13, the Lord reveals that two-thirds of all of the Jews in the land will be put to death (verse 8), but:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested’ ” (Zech 13:9a).
That is, God will use the trials and sufferings of the Great Tribulation to not only bring the remaining Jews to faith in Jesus but also to refine their faith, to grow them in maturity in preparation for greater reward in God’s coming kingdom.
Then the Lord announces:
Viewer Screen: “ ‘They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, “This isMy people”; and each one will say, “The LORD ismy God” ’ ” (Zec 13:9b).
At this point, the believing Jews will call upon the Lord for deliverance, and He will answer them by sending Jesus to deliver Israel, as indicated in Zech 14:3-4:
Viewer Screen: “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east” (Zec 14:3-4).
God is even now preparing the stage for the events leading up to the return of Jesus. As we will see, when Jesus returns, it will be for deliverance and judgment. Join us here next time on End Times Today when we hear “The Incredible Rescue.”
Questions / Answers
Q: In Matt 24:1, Jesus talks about the temple being dismantled. I’ve always taken that as a reference to 70 AD. In verse 2, the disciples ask “when shall these things be?” …seemingly a reference to the temple being torn down. Does Jesus never answer that in Matthew…as He goes directly to the Tribulation question about the end of the age? --- Dave, Cleburne, TX
A: You're right; Jesus doesn't technically answer the disciples' question about the temple, but I don't believe that is really what the disciples were asking; and, if I'm right about that, then Jesus did answer both of their questions.
Now let’s look at the disciples’ questions to Jesus:
Viewer Screen: “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ ” (Mat 24:3)
Based on the two questions immediately asked following their first one ("Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"), I believe they were not as concerned about the timing of the destruction of the temple as they were about eschatological fulfillment (return of Christ and "the end of the age"); they just assumed the destruction of the temple would occur in the same timeframe. Thus, I believe Jesus answered the intent of their questions. (Jesus answered others' questions in that same way, such as the Samaritan woman's question in John 4:25; the rich young ruler's question in Mt 19:16; etc.) Other evidence of that Jesus answered the intent of the disciples’ questions includes: 1) The disciples never mentioned the temple in their questions; 2) the disciples seemed satisfied with Jesus' answer—at least, we are not told biblically about any follow-up question about the temple, which indicates they weren't really asking about the temple.
Thus, Jesus answered their eschatological questions which concerned the sign of Jesus' coming, which they connected with "the end of the age," which is biblically accurate.
As a side note, I don’t believe the disciples were thinking in terms of Jesus’ return as we think about it. Remember, at this point, they didn't understand Jesus would die and rise from the dead. Instead, they were thinking in terms of Jesus’ arrival as King to establish God's kingdom from Jerusalem.
Thank you, Dave, for your great question. And [to the viewing audience] thank you for joining us today on End Times Today! See you next time!