The Woman and the Dragon

By Brian C Thomas
The story of the Woman and the Dragon is located in the Book of Revelation chapter 12. This chapter describes a combination of heavenly and earthly warfare events - past and future.
The Woman
"1Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth".- Revelation 12:1-2 (NKJ).
The chapter opens by describing a great sign that appeared in heaven. There is a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a garland of twelve stars on her head. A garland is a form of a crown. As is often the case, to get understanding of prophecy, one must look to scripture in earlier books. In Genesis 37:9, Joseph describes the following dream: "Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me." Here we find almost identical language that describes the woman from Revelation 12:1. Joseph's father gave the following response to his dream, "…and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?""- Genesis 37:10. Joseph's father's response reveals that the sun represented him (Jacob), the moon represented Joseph's mother Rachel, and the eleven stars were Joseph's brothers. The descendents of Joseph and his eleven brothers became known as twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph's dream was fulfilled when he was sold into slavery and his family had to come to him for food during the famine. If we apply the same interpretations to Revelation 12:1, we can conclude that this woman is symbolic of the nation of Israel.

Joseph's Dream (Genesis 37:9-10)
The Woman's Description (Revelation 12:1)
Joseph's Father (Jacob)
Jacob's Descendents*
Joseph's Mother (Rachel)
Rachel's Descendents*
11 - Joseph's brothers
Garland of 12 - Descendents of Joseph and his 11 brothers (12 Tribes of Israel)

*Note: Jacob and Rachel's descendents all became the nation of Israel as God later changed Jacob's name to Israel.
Verse two states that the woman is in labor pain in preparation to give birth to a child. We find similar text in Micah 4:10 that confirms the woman in labor is symbolic of Israel, "Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, Like a woman in birth pangs…"
The Dragon
"3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.  4His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born". - Revelation 12:3-4 (NKJ).
The fiery red dragon in heaven is Satan. His fiery red color represents the blood of the great number of people that have been murdered at his hands. He has seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. A diadem is another form of crown that signified royalty. What the seven heads represent is a bit difficult to determine. A few scenarios are:
Scenario 1: Seven kings of the Roman Empire.
Scenario 2: Seven forms of worldly governments.
Scenario 3: Rome was known as the city built on seven hills. The seven heads represent the seven hills.
Scenario 4: Seven kingdoms of past, present, and future (as of the time Revelation was written) that oppressed the Jews.
It is possible that the seven heads have multiple meanings and include each of these scenarios. No matter which scenario is correct, they are all tied to satan and the overall conclusion of the prophecy remains the same. To gain understanding of these scriptures, we will look back to other passages as well. We find in the book of Daniel and later chapters of Revelation, a beast with seven heads and ten horns. This beast will attempt to deceive all inhabitants of world. I will elaborate on scenario 4. The symbolism is determined as follows:
  • Seven heads = World kingdoms with kings under Satan's control
  • Ten horns = Ten end time world leaders that will be under Satan's control
We find evidence of this in the following scriptures:
  • There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. - Revelation 17:10 
      INTERPRETATION: At the time John wrote this book, the nation of Israel had been under the oppression of five kingdoms in its history - Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media-Persia, and Greece. These were the five that have fallen. Each king in the above scripture represented a kingdom. At the time of John's writing, Israel was in bondage to the Roman Empire. The "one is" found in the above scripture is reference to the Romans. As for, "the other has not yet come" - this refers to a future kingdom which many believe will be the revived Roman Empire known today as the European Union. Time will tell if this last kingdom will be the European Union or some other coalition. The last kingdom will complete the total of seven kingdoms that will have afflicted the Jews. The seven heads of the dragon represent these seven kingdoms that are mentioned in Revelation 12:3.
  •  The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. - Revelation 17:12
  • The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. - Daniel 7:24 
INTERPRETATION: The ten horns represent 10 world leaders that will arise out of the seventh kingdom. Keep in mind that the European Union is made up of several countries, each with a leader. They will all be inspired by Satan to rule with immorality. Another leader will rise from this kingdom to take the place of three leaders. This will be the ultimate evil ruler, the Antichrist.
The text in Revelation 12:4 goes on to state that the dragon's tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to earth. I think this scripture may have dual representation as well, speaking of a past and future event. This describes what happened to the angels that made allegiance with Satan. A third of the angels fell with Satan when he rebelled against God. They were thrown to earth and then became known as demons in Satan's army. Daniel 8:10 gives another account of this event, "And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them". But although satan and his angels were cast from heaven, he still had access to the throne of God where he visits frequently to falsely accuse the saints. The day will come when satan will no longer have access to God's throne. He will be restricted to earth only. This will happen in the middle of the 7 year covenant with Israel which is known as the Tribulation. He and his angels will terrorize all inhabitants of the earth due to their earthly restriction. Evidence of this is found later in chapter 12, "7And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” - Revelation 12:7-12.
The 4th verse in chapter 12 closes with Satan standing before the woman (nation of Israel) waiting to devour her child as soon as it was born.
The Child
"5She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne". - Revelation 12:5.
The woman (nation of Israel) then gave birth to a male Child. Another account of this is found in Isaiah 66:7,"Before she was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child". This male Child is Jesus Christ. The genealogy of Jesus covers generations of Jews beginning with Abraham, continuing through King David, and ending with Jesus' earthly father Joseph. This is why Jesus is often called the Son of David. The identity of this Child being Jesus is confirmed in the following scripture, "'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'- as I also have received from My Father;" - Revelation 2:27. This verse provides the same description of Jesus as Revelation 12:5. We find more confirmation of this identity in, "You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'" - Psalm 2:9. Jesus ruling with an iron scepter is also found in Revelation 19:15. Prophecy is given here that Jesus will eventually return to earth and rule all the nations. All of Satan's evil kingdoms will be destroyed by Jesus' "rod of iron".
To revisit verse 4 of this chapter, Satan was waiting to devour the Child as soon as He was born. This prophecy was fulfilled when King Herod attempted to kill Jesus by killing all male babies in Bethlehem. He did this because the Wise Men had prophesied to him that a king would be born in Bethlehem when the star in the east was seen. King Herod feared that this king would overthrow him. But an angel warned Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, to flee to Egypt to escape Herod's slaughter.
Once Jesus completed His mission on earth of bringing salvation by dying on the cross, He was taken to heaven by God. This was the act of God rescuing the Child and taking Him up to His throne to a safe haven. 
The Woman in the Wilderness
6Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days". - Revelation 12:6.
Much earthly suffering and destruction is in the future for mankind. As bad as things are in the world today, it will become exponentially worse as the Antichrist approaches his time. For example, one-third of the world's human race will be killed as conflict escalates - Revelation 9:15-18. Based on current world population, that is more than 2 billion people. The Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel for a 7 year period in the future. In the middle of the 7 year covenant (3 ½ year mark), he will betray Israel (Daniel 9:27). This is when the Great Tribulation will begin which is the last half of the 7 year Tribulation. The One thousand two hundred and sixty days refers to the Great Tribulation. During this time, the Antichrist will terrorize the inhabitants of the earth with his focus on the Jews. The months in the Jewish calendar average 30 days long. Thus, 1260 days / 30 days in a month = 42 months. Revelation 13:5 states, "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months". This verse is speaking of the beast of the sea which is the Antichrist and reveals that he will rule and make war with the saints for 42 months…42 months / 12 months in a year = 3 ½ years. This calculation lines up exactly with the prophecy given by Daniel in Daniel 9:27. We can find further confirmation for this calculation by looking at verse 14 in this same chapter, "14But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent" - Revelation 12:14. It is repeated here that the woman is going into the wilderness for safety. She will be nourished for a time, times, and half a time. A time equals 1 year, times equals 2 years, and half a time equals a half year. Therefore, a time, times, and half a time is a total of 3 ½ years.
Jesus also gave an account of this Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:15-28. God will protect the woman (Israelites) during this time who are obedient to his word. Jesus gave the following instructions for them, "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" - Matthew 24:15-16. The "abomination of desolation" is the event in which the Antichrist will enter the temple in Jerusalem, proclaim that all worship him as God, and setup a worship center to himself. The Antichrist will kill two-thirds of the Jewish population during this period. But those who are obedient to Jesus' instructions and flee to the mountains will be spared.
In concluding, God gave these prophecies as tools for empowerment and preparation for His people. They are not meant to scare and there is nothing to be afraid of as long as you have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He will protect His people! We find hope and joy in the soon return of our Savior Jesus Christ. Until then, Blessings to Israel and to the only wise God, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Future signs of the second coming of Jesus

Posted in Articles

Until the close of the 1800s it was not very easy to find signs that related to the coming of Jesus.� Of course, the rapture has always been an imminent event, yet back then it was difficult for Bible teachers to make definitive statements regarding world events associated with the second coming of Jesus.�
To keep things clear on this subject it must be emphasized that the rapture is not the second coming. The rapture is when Jesus will come in the air to receive His church from this world.� The Second Coming is when He, along with the church, will return to this earth for His millennial reign seven years later.� We can say without question the world events we see happening all around us point to the rapture, but only as the rapture relates in time to the Second Coming.

There were relatively few Bible scholars and teachers back then who placed significance on the rapture of the church because the Christian world had been led to believe there would be no Second Coming, therefore the rapture was an event no Christian could know anything about.� It was considered to be a gloomy and frightful day that most hoped would occur long after they died — people, in their ignorance, were afraid of the rapture as many still are afraid of it today.� As a result it had no practical relevance to everyday life.� Those who refused to acknowledge the rapture also ridiculed the idea that Israel would ever be a nation again.� It was over, they said.� Israel was dead as a nation and God was finished with the Jew.� Beginning with the Zionist Movement of the late 1800s, however, things began to change.

In 1894 Theodore Herzl covered the Alfred Dreyfuss trial in Paris where Dreyfuss , a French Army artillery officer who was a Jew, was wrongly accused of treason due to his accuser’s anti-Semitism.� Mobs on the streets of Paris were shouting “Death to the Jews” during the trial and Herzl, himself a Jew, had his eyes opened to the reality of the Jewish situation in Europe.� He knew Europe would once again become hostile to the Jews living there, and indications were it would not be very long.� Thus, he began calling for a homeland for the Jews, and modern Zionism was born.

This immediately captured the attention of those few Bible scholars and teachers who had always believed and taught that one day the Jews would go back to their ancient homeland and found a modern state of Israel .� From then on those teachers became acutely aware of signs that indicated God was beginning to move once again in the affairs of His ancient people.

The chief sign of the 20th Century was, of course, the reestablishment of Israel in their homeland.� The fulfillment of that prophecy in itself vindicated those teachers and their insistence on the literal interpretation of prophecy.� They had been ridiculed by almost all of Christianity for the stand they took, but in 1948 a lot of crow was eaten by a lot of biblical allegorists.� Yet, most Bible teachers even today still insist it was all a freak of political nature, and that the reestablishment of Israel means nothing as far as prophecy goes.

Further, what often escapes the attention of most Christians is the fact that prophetic signs pointing to the 2nd Coming will also be found during the tribulation period, that seven-year period of hell-on-earth that will follow the rapture.� The church, certainly, will not see the fulfillment of those post-rapture signs from an earthly perspective because she will be in heaven with her Lord.� There will, however, be a great multitude of those left behind after the rapture that will see them and know exactly what they mean.� Taking a stand on what they know will cost them their heads (Revelation 7: 9ff; 20:4).

Perhaps the first and foremost of those tribulation signs will be when Anti-Christ makes some sort of treaty with Israel as seen in Daniel 9:27 .� The signing of this treaty will do two things.� First it will positively identify the Anti-Christ.� So much speculation is going around today about the identity of this “man of lawlessness…son of destruction” and it is all hogwash!� Nobody knows who he is today, though I believe he is alive and well somewhere — waiting in the shadows for events to propel him into worldwide attention.� Second, it will signal a count-down, for in three and one-half years he will break the treaty (Daniel 9:27 ) and turn on the Jews with a hatred that will consume his every thought and action.

We might wonder at the reason for securing this treaty with Israel to begin with.� We can speculate about the details, but one thing is for certain — whatever the intricacies of the negotiations, his motive will be complete and absolute hatred for Jesus and His brethren-by-birth, the Jews.� He will do nothing that will not enhance his satanic scheme, and that is to secure this present earth and everything/everyone on it for Satan, his god.� The world and even the Jews will not have a clue as to what this treaty will mean, but many will know and they will shudder in fear at the thought of what is coming!

Another sign will be when the Jews rebuild their Temple (Matthew 24:15 ).� Presently Israel , the Moslems and the apostate church are in direct opposition to such an idea.� Israel is not interested because she is a secular state whose leadership and citizenry generally have no interest in biblical matters.� Their only goal is to try to get along with everybody and to simply survive the present struggle with the Moslems.� The Moslems hate the Jews and the State of Israel and would not even consider sharing the Temple Mount with a Jewish Temple.� And the apostate church sees anything having to do with Israel , especially in a religious context, as a threat to her own imperialism and control of the world’s religious masses.� Yet, the rebuilding of the Temple is a tribulation period sign that will point to the 2nd Coming.

There are several groups in Israel today that are working toward the goal of rebuilding the Temple.� Various Temple vessels have already been constructed for future use in the building and garments have been made which the priests will wear during their service in the Temple.� Two cornerstones have already been hewn that will be the first stones laid when the process begins.� I believe this will happen during the tribulation period because I believe the go-ahead for construction will be associated in some way with the destruction of the Russian/Arab coalition of Ezekiel 38 ,39 and/or the treaty mentioned above.

Another tribulation sign is the desecration of that same Temple by the anti-Christ.� This will happen at the mid-point of the seven-year period.� At that time most significant threats to his grab for world-wide power will be out of the way, at least in his mind, and he will see no need whatsoever for continuing his charade with the Jews any longer.� To feign friendship with the Jews will be almost insufferable for him, and by that time he will relish revealing his true character to them.� He will demand their worship in their own Temple and this, in turn, will be intolerable for them.

It is at this point all stops are pulled out and anti-Christ will fully unleash every tool of terror and evil against the Jews.� No holes will be barred and no punches will be pulled.� Jewish blood will flow everywhere.� Persecuted tribulation saints will not miss this sign, either.������

Another sign will be an event the world is somewhat familiar with, at least by name.� It will be the gathering of the armies of the world in a valley in northern Israel in order to stage, consolidate, supply and organize anti-Christ’s forces for the push toward Jerusalem.� That valley is called Armageddon and is mentioned in Revelation 16:12-16 .� Most of the world, and even most of the religious world, associates this last great battle with the valley of Armageddon , but in reality the real thrust of the battle will occur in and around Jerusalem.

Those tribulation saints still alive at this time will see this great gathering and will rejoice for they will know the end is near.� They will understand that Jesus’ return will happen when the total decimation of the Jews is imminent.� That is, when Jerusalem is in the throes of collapse and the remnant of Jews is at the precipice of annihilation.

The culmination of these, and other signs that will occur during the tribulation, will be the return of Jesus, a subject addressed in greater detail in a previous newsletter.

But, the interesting thing about these tribulation signs is to be found in a comparison between how they might be viewed by persecuted tribulation saints then and how most at-ease Christians view the signs of our day.� Could it be that persecution, torture and death will cause them to be more sensitive to what God has predicted than we are?� If so, why?

It might be that the rapture and succeeding events will do for post-rapture saints what all other signs since the late 1800s have been unable to do for most of the pre-rapture saints, i.e., the church.� That is, awaken them from the slumber Peter addresses in 2 Peter 3:3 ,4 .� Sadly, you see, any number of Christians are disinterested in prophetic signs because they have� become comfortable with their place in this world and feel put-upon by all those prophecy teachers and all their warnings.� That, it seems, will not be a problem in the tribulation for those who know the truth and choose to act on it.

One last thing must be clarified.� The term “tribulation saints” has been mentioned several times.� Some might conclude they can simply neglect salvation presently, live as they wish and be saved during the tribulation.� Sort of a second chance deal. � Make no mistake about it: there is no such thing as a second chance.� As long as a person is alive he has opportunity, but death immediately ends all chances for ever.�

Only a fool would think about taking such a risk.� For one thing a person’s next moment of life is not guaranteed, not in this dispensation nor in the tribulation.� Secondly, if a person refuses to choose Christ now when it costs nothing (at least in this country) what makes him so sure he will choose Christ when the choice will cost him his head?� Further, his attitude might put him in that post-rapture group Paul spoke about in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 ; the group that chooses to believe the lie no matter the evidence.

The study of signs is important to an understanding of prophecy, but there is something more important.� We are at the point in the history of the world that we should not be looking for signs so much as looking for the event toward which the signs point!� The rapture of the church should not be a surprise event to any Christian.�� DLM

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Those left behind

Posted in Articles (From the website)

The thrust of Crown & Sickle Ministries is the proclamation of the imminent return of Jesus for His church.� Many issues are addressed in these pages, at prophecy conferences and in those series of meetings held at churches, but make no mistake about it — the driving message is the imminent return of Jesus which is commonly called the rapture.� As you might imagine this dominant theme creates a strong basis for evangelism and rededication.� But, at the same time it causes people to think about those who might not be ready when it happens.�

At times the most heart-felt questions from audiences are not voiced in the occasional Q&A sessions some churches like to have following the presentations, but at the door as people leave.� From time to time people will draw close and almost whisper their questions in an attempt to hide their concerns from those around them.� And among those questions the most distressing have to do with their unsaved family members.� Quite simply they want to know who will be left behind so they can see if those they love the most will “make it or not”.

I cannot answer that specifically, for I do not know such things.� However, I do know what God has said about some of those who will be left behind.� This we shall consider briefly.

Heaven or hell will not be gained by accident

The first thing people must understand is that no one will be saved or lost by accident.� No person will find himself being caught-up in the rapture and wonder how he got there.� Likewise, none will pass from this life through death and wonder how he got to Hades (there is currently no one in hell — Revelation 20:10-15 ) or heaven.� The only exceptions to this are those innocent due to childhood or mental incapacity; there should never be any undue concern regarding the eternal destiny of the blameless (Deuteronomy 1:39 ; Mark 10:14 ).

I believe the best situation is Christian homes where children are taught the truth from birth via words and example.� At the same time, though, if this kind of spiritual environment is haphazard, or if it commands a lower priority than academics, sports, secular achievement, etc., a very serious danger might present itself, and that is the danger of “family” faith.��� That is, a child might be taught the truth, but in such a casual way that it is never connected with individual sin and accountability.� In short it never becomes his or her own truth.� They “become Christians” at a certain age because it is traditionally expected of them.� They might take the attitude that it is, “now time to walk the aisle, make a profession of faith, be immersed…”� In those circumstances the Holy Spirit has little to do with conviction.� In reality it becomes religious protocol instead of a contrite sinner humbling himself before a just, holy and gracious God.

Those who expect to be wafted up to eternal bliss at the rapture or at death in some sort of heavenly up-draft because they were “raised in a religious family” might be surprised.� Jesus had some very strong words about the impotence of such man-made religion.� Though many preachers and congregants alike tend to ignore them, yet their import will resound throughout hell’s eternity: “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 7:21 ).� For those people salvation is wrapped up in family or the upscale, entertainment-inclined church they attend, or who they are around town or what great religious things they do for all to see.

The good ole boy syndrome

When I was a teenager I knew of a preacher who was almost attacked after a funeral by family members of the deceased because he did not preach their loved one into heaven.�� He did not say bad things about him; he just did not punch his ticket to heaven.� And the reason was the deceased was a spiritual reprobate.� But, says the family, he provided for his wife and kids, did not get drunk, worked steadily, helped at the volunteer fire department, would give someone the shirt off his back, etc.� The preacher clearly understood the man might have done all that, but there was one thing he had not done, and that was to make Jesus both Lord and Master of his life.

I have preached funerals of people I had never seen, either alive or even while in the casket.� You see, usually when a family has no real biblical convictions just any old preacher will do for a funeral— as long as everyone is assured the dead man is saved.� Funny how eternity receives no thought until funeral arrangements have to be made.� When survivors are asked about the dead man’s life it is a sure bet they will tell about what a good man he was with detailed examples of his kindness and love for his family.� But, it won’t work, for if heaven was for good ole boys then Jesus was beaten to a bloody pulp, nailed to a Roman cross and forsaken by His Father for nothing.

God says every human is rotten to their core, their hearts are evil, their Adamic natures are in control, their righteousness is like dirty rags before His face, they have no redeeming spiritual value, they are treacherous, vain and obsessed with self.� In short, there is none righteous (Romans 3:10 ).� However, such divine condemnation does not stroke the human ego and salve the human conscience.� We inherently do not like to be told these things.� That is why emergent, self-esteem preachers like those in Garden Grove, CA and Houston, TX never talk about sin and human depravity.� They prefer to singularly emphasize God’s goodness as though that is the sole facet of His character.

In modern religion the test is no longer biblical, but psychological and philosophical, thus most everyone is qualified to “make it to heaven” because, after all, “He was a good ole boy…”� Interesting that God gives no such accolade to any man, much less does He accept it as a ticket for the rapture.

The neglectful

For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard… (Hebrews 2:2,3 NASB, emphasis mine).

You have just read one of the most thought-arresting passages in the New Testament.� The author is writing as a Christian to Christians, and uses the personal, plural pronoun “we” with the context having to do with Christians drifting away from the truth due to a careless attitude (Greek: ameleo).� If words and context have any meaning at all this should get our attention.� This verse forms the nexus of the warnings soundly issued to his Christian readers in chapters 3,4,6, etc.

Nobody knows for sure who wrote Hebrews, but one thing is certain:� he rightly divides the word of God so there is no misunderstanding of what the Holy Spirit was saying through his pen.� He does not speak of those who reject their great salvation, but those who neglect it.� How does a Christian neglect his salvation?� I would like to have seen the author go into greater detail with a neat list of things he had in mind, but he did not.� The Holy Spirit chose to leave it as it was knowing we should have the maturity to figure out the simple things and make the applications.� It is sufficient to say, however, the warnings cited above are adequate for removing any excuse for negligence anybody might offer.

Does this take away from the security of the believer?� Perish the thought (John 10:28,29 ; 1 John 5:13 )!� The Holy Spirit does not have in mind here those who might lose their salvation as one might accidently lose his wallet.� Nor does He have in mind those who might be forcibly removed from God’s hand against their will.� Neither is possible.� However, He clearly and strongly warns about Christians being careless with their salvation to the point where they “fall away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12 ) as a result of their own choices.� Though we tend to recoil at such a thought and offer humanly-inspired arguments otherwise, the fact is it is as� simple as that.� There is no unusual Greek nuance in the translation of ameleo into neglect that could lead to any other conclusion; it means exactly what it says in English.

The a-religious (they accept no religion)

Yes, the wicked among us will certainly be left behind.� Everybody is quick to say the Hitlers, Stalins, Edi Amins, Arafats, Ahmadinejads and other such notables will not make it.� If any in that crowd is religious at all it is a perverted style of Christianity (Hitler), or paganism in such forms as Islam (Arafat and Ahmadinejad).� Some are fully hateful of any form of religion no matter the variety (Stalin).� These are the ones easily identified and condemned by those who like to measure their own religious standing by such comparisons.� Alongside Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong-il just about any junk-yard dog can look like an angel.� But, these men could not care less about being left behind.� They do not accept biblical precepts and are totally oblivious to spiritual matters.

These people are not to be confused with others who call themselves atheists who simply disavow the existence of God.� Rather, they reject God and His word out of hand and are unconcerned about Him even if He might exist.� And here is where things can get sticky.

Recently a friend asked me about the best way to approach someone they know who is in that group.� That person is intellectually brilliant, leans heavily upon their doctoral degrees, and feels no need for God and the Bible.� This person believes God and His truth are spiritual drugs the common people must have to anesthetize them when facing the realities of life.� Though law-abiding and moral this person sees religion as Marx saw it; that is, as the opium of the people.� Marx said religion was for oppressed people who live life through illusions.� The fact of the matter is until that person, and multitudes like them, chooses to allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to soften their hearts they will never be reached.� You see, it is all about the heart, not the intellect.�

At the taking out of the church the God-rejecting intellectually elite will be left behind with only their self-declared intellectual brilliance to answer their intellectually-inspired questions.� And, just as they have always allowed their own intellectual faculties to explain away their need of a Savior, so shall they invite those same intellectual faculties to lie to their mortal consciences about this great and humanly unexplainable Divinely-inspired disappearance.

Who shall be left behind?� Every one who believes they have a better way of living, dying and preparing for the eternal existence of their souls than the plan God has given us.� What shall be their condition?� A hell on earth with pain, suffering, depression and a sense of futility that cannot be imagined by any human being.� Being left behind will be a mind-shaking experience for everyone on earth.� However, for those who have loved-ones taken up in the rapture, who have at least some understanding of the truth and who will know what has happened the event will be a horror too great to imagine.� Their grief will be unprecedented.

These are not pleasant things to think about, yet they must be addressed because they are on the immediate horizon.� Jeremiah wept for his people who rejected the truth, and Amos thundered against those who did the same.� Sometimes I think Christians respond only with weeping.� Maybe it is time to ratchet things up to the thunder level.�� DLM

We have returned to the Temple Mount: A survey of Jewish Presence on the Jerusalem Temple Mount from the Destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE) until the Six Day War (1967)

Click on the link to go to his website:

By Prof. F. M. LOEWENBERG. Sun Jun 12 2011

F. M. LOEWENBERG is a professor emeritus at Bar-Ilan-University in Israel. He was born in Germany and now lives, together with his wife, in Efrat, a town 22 kilometers south of Jerusalem. At the age of 12 he immigrated together with his parents and brothers to the United States. He is a graduate of Harvard University (A.B.), Columbia University (M.S.), and Wayne State University (Ph.D.). He immigrated to Israel in 1971 and became a professor of social work at Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University. He is the author of many books and articles in professional journals.

Early in the morning of June 7, 1967 Israeli paratroopers entered Jerusalem's Old City through the Lion's Gate, the easternmost entrance to the city, and made their way to the Temple Mount. General Motta Gur (1930 - 1995), the commanding general of the paratrooper brigade was not far behind the lead tank. When he reached the Temple Mount he radioed to the General Command: “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” Later in the day he said to his troops, "For some two thousand years the Temple Mount was forbidden to the Jews. Until you came... and returned it to the bosom of the nation."

What is the Temple Mount? Why is it important? What connection, if any, do Jews have with it? And was the Temple Mount really forbidden to Jews for two thousand years?

Ancient Jewish traditions suggest that all of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) prayed on Mount Moriah, the mountain that today is known as the Temple Mount.i Both the First and the Second Temple, the most sacred places of Jewish worship, were located on Mount Moriah. During the Second Temple period the Jews were in control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, but politically and economically were the subjects of various foreign empires. A rebellion against the oppressive Roman rule in Palestine broke out in 67 CE. Three years later the Roman armies, commanded by Titus Flavius Vespasianus, conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple.

It is widely believed that the Jews abandoned the Temple Mount after the destruction of the Second Temple. Though they continued to pray and hope for a return to this holiest place, they lost direct contact with the Temple Mount once they went into exile. The evidence we will present does not support this myth. There were, of course, times during the almost twenty centuries since the destruction of the Second Temple when Jews were not able to ascend the Temple Mount because foreign rulers prevented them from doing so. But whenever permitted, Jews did go up to the Temple Mount in order to pray there.

We will briefly review the highlights of the continued Jewish presence on the Temple Mount during the past two millennia.

Roman rule (70-300). The Jews of the Roman province of Palestine made their last stand against Roman armies on the summit of the Dead Sea fortress of Masada three years after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. But once the rebellion had been put down, Jews were again permitted to visit Mount Moriah, the site where the Temple had stood only a few years earlier. This "liberal" policy may seem strange to contemporary observers but the Romans, who were idol worshippers, did not object to the continued worship of local gods. Once the rebellion had been suppressed there was no longer any impediment to the resumption of Jewish worship on the Temple Mount. And Jews did ascend, as we know from numerous Talmudic accounts.ii

Some Jews continued to offer sacrifices on the Temple Mount on an altar that had survived the destructive fire. There are scholars who suggest that the sacrificial services continued almost without interruption for 65 years following the Temple's destructions, while others suggest that the sacrificial services were resumed only during the three years (132-135) that Bar Kochba's forces controlled Jerusalem.iii

Not only did the Jews continue to offer sacrifices and prayer on the mount, but at least once in the half-century following the Temple destruction did they begin to build a new edifice for the Third Temple. Emperor Hadrian (76 - 138), eager to gain the cooperation of the Jews, granted them permission to rebuild their temple. The Jews started to make the necessary preparations, but before long Hadrian, at the instigation of the Samaritans, went back on his word and the project stopped.iv

When, decades later, Hadrian had put down the Bar Kochba rebellion, he ordered the Temple Mount be ploughed under and the altar that had survived from the Second Temple to be completely destroyed. He also prohibited Jews from ascending on the Temple Mount. Despite Hadrian's decrees and the destruction of whatever had survived from the Second Temple, there is ample evidence that pilgrimages to Jerusalem and to the Temple Mount continued long after 135 CE when Beitar, the last Jewish fortress town of the Bar Kochba rebellion, fell. Hadrian's decree prohibiting Jews on the Temple Mount was reissued in every generation, indicating that it was not rigorously enforced.

Byzantine Empire (300-618). A decisive turning point in the history of Western civilization occurred in the fourth century when the pagan Roman Empire became a Christian country. Jerusalem which had become a relatively insignificant provincial city now became the focus of Christian pilgrimages and worship. A new church was built on the site of Hadrian's Aphrodite Temple. This church became the central religious site for the Christian city and replaced the Temple Mount. Not one Christian building was built on the Temple Mount until the Crusaders conquered the city eight centuries later; instead the mountain served for centuries as the city's garbage dump.

The political and religious changes made life for the Jews of the Roman empire much more difficult. Emperor Constantine renewed the edict that prohibited Jews from living in or even visiting Christian Jerusalem. They were allowed access to the Temple Mount only one day a year on the anniversary of the day when the Second Temple was destroyed. When the Christian Pilgrim from Bordeaux came to the Holy Land in 333, he described in some detail the desolate Temple Mount and made note of a "perforated stone" which the Jews rub with oil once a year on Tisha b'Av. While standing in front of this stone he heard the Jews recite Lamentations and saw that they tore their clothes as a sign of mourning.v

Despite the official proclamation of Christianity, idol worship was still prevalent throughout the empire. Things seemed to change when Constantine's nephew Julian became emperor in 361. As a child Julian was a Christian, but later he rejected this religion and felt a deep revulsion toward it. He believed that making Rome Christian had been a political mistake and epitomized a sickness in the body politic. Among his first acts after becoming emperor was an edict of universal religious toleration that extended freedom and equal rights to the members of all sects and beliefs - pagans, Jews and Christians. Later he promised that he would do his utmost to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem because he felt strongly that its restoration would demonstrate the falsity of the Christian claim that the Church was the true Israel.

Diaspora Jews greeted Julian's plan to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple with great enthusiasm, but the Sages were apprehensive, questioning the wisdom of placing their hopes on a man who was here today and gone tomorrow. Julian was upset by the hesitation of the Sages to join his plan and appointed Alypius, his best friend, to supervise the Temple rebuilding project. The imperial treasury supplied large sums of money and building materials. Many Jews came to Jerusalem to assist the skilled craftsmen and masons in the first step which was the removal of the existing foundations. However, the Christian residents of the city opposed the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple and gathered in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to pray for the termination of the project. All work was halted abruptly when mysterious fire balls killed many of the construction workers. Jerusalem's Christians saw in this unexpected turn of events a great miracle, but Jews suspected Christian arson. Others suggested that a major earthquake in May of 363 caused the cessation of construction of the new

By the latter part of the fourth century the Temple Mount had disappeared from the landscape of Christian Jerusalem. The attempt to erase the Temple Mount from the Christian world was so successful that the mosaic world map of Medaba which depicts Jerusalem in great detail omits the Temple Mount altogether. Jews, on the other hand, never forgot the Temple Mount, even though no ruin of the actual Temple building remained. Wherever Jews lived, they face Jerusalem three times every day to pray for the restoration of the Temple and the renewal of the sacrificial service. More than that - there are indications that Jews actually did go up and pray on the Temple Mount at this time. The Babylonian Talmud cites instructions issued by a late fourth century sage, Rabbi Bibi, that those who go up on the Temple Mount: are not allowed to spit, to carry a walking stick, to wear leather shoes, to carry a coin purse, or to use the Temple Mount as a short cut -- because all of these behaviors degrade the holiness of the place.vii

When Empress Eudocia went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 438 she was greeted in every city on the way by the Jewish population, who viewed her as a messenger of the Redemption which they believed to be at hand. In the Galilee she met with the leading rabbis of the region. They asked her for permission to ascend the Temple Mount once again, something that Jews had been forbidden to do for a very long time (except on Tisha B'av). She immediately agreed with the rabbis and issued a proclamation to this effect. Great excitement gripped the Jews of the area who saw in this edict another sign of the proximity of the Final Redemption. The rabbis sent letters to Jewish communities throughout the world, informing them of the good news and asking them to come on pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the coming Sukkot festival.

More than one hundred thousand Jews came to Jerusalem on that Sukkot festival, according to contemporary Christian sources. There was, however, great enthusiasm because once again Jews were permitted to ascend the Temple Mount. Jerusalem's Christians, however, feared that these developments threatened their primacy in the city. Led by the priest monk Barsauma, thousands of Christians from throughout the country assembled in Jerusalem in order to stop the Jews from going up to the Temple Mount. They physically blocked access to the mountain and threw heavy stones on those Jews who nevertheless tried to go up, reportedly killing four Jewish pilgrims. In a subsequent trial the judge ruled that the accused Christians were innocent of murder since the stones "came from Heaven." The Jews were chased out of the city and did not return for almost two centuries.viii

For 180 years, until the Persian conquest in 618, Jerusalem officially was a city without Jews. But there are grounds to believe that throughout this period Jews continued to go up on the mountain surreptitiously. One supporting clue is a halakhic ordinance included in the sixth century Midrash Shir Hashirim Rabba which instructs Jews on the direction they are to face when praying: "...those praying in Jerusalem should face the Temple site... and those who pray on the Temple Mount should turn to the Holy of Holies."ix

Persian interlude (619-628). King Khosru II of Persia (591-628) invaded Palestine in the second decade of the seventh century in his attempt to re-establish the ancient Achaemenid Empire. The King had agreed with the Reish Galuta, the head of Babylonian Jewry, that in return for supplying 30,000 Jewish soldiers to the Persian army, these soldiers would be given permission to participate in the capture of Jerusalem and a Jewish governor would be appointed to rule over the city. Once the Persians had captured the city, Nehemiah, son of Hushiel, was appointed as governor. One of his first acts was to reestablish the sacrificial service on the Temple Mount. Before long, however, the Persians executed him, either because they feared his messianic pretensions or because they thought that the support of the larger Christian population was more valuable than that of the smaller number of Jews living in Palestine. In any event, the s lost control of Jerusalem after only ten years. The Byzantines regained authority over Syria, Egypt and Palestine in 629 and remained the country's rulers for another ten years.x

Early Muslim rule (638-1099). Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslims in May 637. Upon entering Jerusalem on a white camel, Caliph Omar rode straight to the Temple Mount, thus indicating that the Muslims intended to establish their rule over this site. A Jewish letter written in the 11th century describes what happened next. The Jews who accompanied the Arab invaders showed Omar the exact spot where the Temple once stood. In return they received a number of concessions, including the right to reside in Jerusalem, the assignment to keep the Temple Mount clean, and, perhaps most important, permission to pray on the Temple Mount without interference.xi

Jews worked as servants and cleaners of the mosques that were erected on Temple Mount. As many as twenty Jews were employed to clean the mosques. Other Jews were engaged to manufacture and attach the glass and the candelabras and other things. They also supplied wicks. The medieval Arab historian Mujir al-Din al-Ulaymi (1456-1522) described the role that the Jews played on the Temple Mount in the early Muslim period; he suspected that the Jews took these jobs only to gain a foothold on the Temple Mount so that they could offer their prayers at the place where their Temple once had stood.

It has been suggested that at his time Jews received permission to build a synagogue or prayer-and-study hall on the Temple Mount. Some even indicate that the first wooden structure that had been built over the Foundation Stone was originally meant to be a synagogue, but before it was completed the Muslims expropriated the building and gave the Jews another site on the Mount.

Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099-1187). In 1095 Pope Urban II called on all Christians to rescue Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the grip of the infidels. His appeal was answered by masses of people who on their way to the Holy Land massacred entire Jewish communities in the Rhineland and the Balkans. The religious tolerance practiced by the Muslims was replaced by intolerance and vicious assaults on all those whose religion was different. Within hours of breaching the walls of Jerusalem the victorious Crusaders had murdered almost all of the city's Jewish and Moslem inhabitants.

On the very day of the mass slaughter of non-Christians in the city of Jerusalem, the Crusaders also captured the Temple Mount and there gave thanks to the Almighty for this great miracle. They converted the Dome of the Rock into a church and called it the Temple of God (Templum Domini). Al-Aqsa Mosque became a church, called the Temple of Solomon (Templum Solomnis). The Mount was declared off-limits for all non-Christians as it became the center of religious and civil life in Crusader Jerusalem. The synagogue on the Temple Mount was destroyed by the Crusaders soon after they captured the city.xii

Nevertheless Jews continued to ascend the Mount even during the Crusader years. The most prominent visitor during this period was Maimonides who visited Jerusalem in October 1165. On 21 October 1165 he "entered the Great and Holy House [and] prayed there." Many scholars suggest that he ascended the Temple Mount and prayed near the ruined synagogue or the ruins of the Second Temple.lxiii

The Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela who visited Jerusalem sometime between 1159 and 1172 also wrote that Jews continued to pray "in front of the Western Wall [of the Dome of the Rock], one of the [remaining] walls of what was once the Holy of Holies."xiv The Western Wall that Benjamin described was not the present Western Wall (which did not become a site for prayer until the 16th century) but the ruins of the western wall of the Temple building itself, on the Temple Mount.

Later Muslim and Mamluke Rulers (1187-1516). Saladin regained control of Jerusalem from the Crusader kingdom in October 1187, after he defeated the Crusader army in the battle of Karnei Hittin in the Lower Galilee. He permitted both Jews and Muslims to settle in the city and to worship on the Temple Mount. Even when the Temple Mount was reconsecrated as a Muslim sanctuary, the Muslim authorities acknowledged that the Jews had the right to erect a synagogue on it.xv

Rabbi Menachem Meiri (1249 - 1316), the famous French Talmudic scholar, never visited Jerusalem but had no doubts that in his days Jews prayed on the Temple Mount. He writes, "We have heard that it is the accepted custom to enter [the Temple Mount]" xvi

On the other hand, Rabbi Obadiah of Bertinoro, the well-known Mishnah commentator who arrived in Jerusalem in 1488 wrote that in his days no Jews would go on the Temple Mount.xvii Yet a generation or two later, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi David ben Shlomo Ibn Zimra (1479-1573) wrote that the city's Jews regularly went up to the Temple Mount in order to view the entire Temple ruins and pray there. He added that "we have not heard or seen anyone object to this".xviii

Ottoman Empire (1516-1856). The Ottoman emperors became the preeminent power in the eastern Mediterranean once they had conquered Constantinople in 1453. But it was only in 1516 that Jerusalem became a part of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter, Suleiman I the Magnificent (1520-1566), one of the most prominent monarchs of 16th century Europe, ordered the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem that had been in ruins almost three centuries. His positive attitude toward the Jews of Jerusalem persuaded many European Jews, especially those who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal a generation earlier, to settle in the Holy city. Fourteen years after he rebuilt the city walls Suleiman instructed his court architect to prepare the Western Wall of the Temple Mount as a place for Jewish prayer. He issued a firman that established for all times the right of Jews to pray at the Western Wall. This royal decree was said to have been issued to the Jews in compensation for their relinquishing their legal rights to pray on the Mount itself - which now became off-limits for all non-Muslims.xix

Outlawed visitors. For more than three hundred years everyone who was not a Muslim was forbidden to enter the Temple Mount. Armed guards kept non-Muslims away. Those who disobeyed and were caught on the mountain were executed, unless they were categorized as feeble-minded. But throughout these 300 years some Jews did visit the Temple Mount furtively - some to pray, some to observe, and some for other reasons. Most of these visitors left no record of their visit so that we do not know how many risked their lives. We only know from the Muslim court records of those few who were caught by the authorities.

For example, one morning in 1833 the Muslim guards opened the Temple Mount and discovered a young Jew who had spent the night there. "He had made great havoc among the costly lustres, lamps, lanterns, and the like - whatever, in fact, he was able to destroy. But it was speedily perceived that he lacked reason, and was not much less than downright crazy." The Muslims dragged him off the mountain, threw him into prison and beat him mercilessly all day long. They planned to burn him at the stake, but Mahmud Ali Pasha of Egypt, the ruler of the land, ruled against this punishment. He wrote that the guards who had been negligent deserved to receive a punishment. He ordered that the Jew be freed "because the Jew is also circumcised and is thus somewhat akin to a Muslim."xx

Nineteenth and twentieth centuries. One of the consequences of the defeat of Russia in the Crimean War (1853-1856) was the opening of the Temple Mount to all visitors, no matter what their religion - a concession that the victorious British demanded. The Ottomans were required to pledge that the Temple Mount would be open daily to all non-Muslims (except on Fridays). However, until 1910 each visitor was required to obtain a special permission which was issued only after paying a large amount of money to the official who issued this document.

In response to this new policy the rabbis of Jerusalem once again issued a decree that prohibited Jews from going up to the Temple Mount. Any Jew who dared to ignore this rabbinical decree faced a fierce response from the Jewish community, including being put under the ban. Nevertheless, an increasing number of Jews ignored this ban and did go up - including many prominent visitors to the Holy Land, such as Sir Moses Montefiore, Dr. Ludwig August Frankel, and Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild, as well as many secular Jews from the "New Yishuv".xxi On the other hand, Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the father of the Zionist political movement decided against such a visit in order to respect the feelings of the Jerusalem Jewish community

Just before the establishment of the State of Israel, General David Shaltiel (1903-1969), the Jerusalem sector commander of the Haganah, the Jewish underground forces, consulted with Rabbi Herzog, the chief rabbi of the Holy Land, what to do in the forthcoming war. The rabbi instructed the general that if his forces captured the Temple Mount, they should make every effort to expel all of the enemy forces - but once they had accomplished this, they should leave the Temple Mount as quickly as possible because of the holiness of the place. But Shaltiel never had a chance to follow this directive since in the 1948 War of Independence the Jordanian army occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City and all of its Christian and Jewish holy places. For nineteen years no Jew was allowed to approach the Western Wall or the Temple Mount. This absolute ban was strictly enforced, despite provisions in the Jordan-Israel Armistice Agreement that called for free access to all holy places.

Nineteen years after the Jordanian army captured Jerusalem's Old City, including the Temple Mount, Israeli paratroopers entered Jerusalem's Old City and made their way to the Temple Mount. That was when General Motta Gur, the commanding general, radioed his famous message: “The Temple Mount is (again) in our hands.” Later in the day he issued an order-of-the-day, praising his troops for returning the Temple Mount to the bosom of the nation. He ordered three paratroopers to climb to the top of the Dome of the Rock and unfurl an Israeli flag over it. Four hours later, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered that the flag be taken down immediately.


Avi-Yonah, Michael (1984). The Jews of Palestine: a political history from the Bar Kokhba war to the Arab conquest. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.

Baron, Salo Wittmayer (1952-1983). A Social and Religious History of the Jews. 2nd ed., revised and enlarged. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

Benjamin of Tudela (1960). The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela. Jerusalem. Hebrew University. Based on Adler's edition of 1907. [Hebrew]

Berkovicz, S. (1978). The Legal Status of the Holy Places in Israel (doctoral dissertation, Hebrew University). [Hebrew]

Dinor, B.Z. [Dinaburg]. (1929). "'A House of Prayer and Study' for Jews on the Temple Mount in the Period of the Arabs," Ziyon, 3. [Hebrew]

Elon, Menachem.(1993). Temple Mount Faithful - Amutah Et Al v. Attorney-General, Inspector-General of the Police, Mayor of Jerusalem, Minister of Education and Culture, Director of the Antiquities Division, Muslim WAQF - In the Supreme Court Sitting as the High Court of Justice [September 23, 1993]; English translation in 45, 3 (Spring 1996) Catholic University Law Review. Pp. 866-942.

Gaddis, Michael (2005). There is no Crime for Those who have Christ: Religious Violence in the Christian Empire. Berkeley CA.University of California Press.

Holum, Kenneth (1989), Theodosian Empresses. Berkeley: U. of Calif.Press

Levenson, David B. (2004)."The ancient and medieval sources for the Emperor Julian's attempt to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple". Journal for the Study of Judaism, 35, 4, 409-460.

Madden, Thomas (2005) The New Concise History of the Crusades, Rowman & Littlefield

Mann, J. (1920). The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine under the Fatimad Caliphate. Ithaca NY. Cornell University Library.

Offenbacher, E. (1985). Prayer on the Temple Mount. JerusalemQuarterly 36:129-140.

Panella, Robert. (1999), "The Emperor Julian and the God of the Jews," Koinonia, 23 15-31.

Russell, K.W. (1980), "The Earthquake of May 19, AD 363." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 238, 47-64.

Sagiv, Tuvya. (2003). "Ha-knissa l'Har Habayit - T'shuvat Haradbaz" [Entering the Temple Mount - the Decision of the Radbazö, pp. 46-81 in Kumo v'Na'aleh, ed. Yehuda Shaviv. Alon Shvut:Machon Tzomet.

Schwartz, Joseph. (1850). Geography of Palestine, (trans. I. Leeser). Philadelphia. [Original Hebrew:Tevuot HaAretz. 1845; ed. A.M.Lunz, 1900]

Shilat, Yitzhak (1986). "Building a synagogue on the Temple Mount in our days", Tehumin 7, pp.489-512. [Hebrew]

Shilat, Yizhak. (2003) "Building a synagogue on the Temple Mount in our days," Tehumin 7, pp.489-512. [Hebrew]

Stemberger, G. (2000). Jews and Christians in the Holy Land - Palestine in the Fourth Century. Edinburgh:Clark.

Ya'ari, Abraham (1943). Igarot Eretz Yisrael (Eretz Yizrael Letters). Tel Aviv. [Hebrew]

* The author may be contacted at

i Rashi's comment on TB Pessachim 88a

ii Among these are TB Makkot 24b, TB Shabbat 15a, TB Rosh Hashanah 31a, and many others.

iii M Eduyot 8.6, Rambam H. Bet Ha-bechira 6.15, Ha'emek Davar commentary on Leviticus 26.31

iv Genesis Rabba 64.10

v Avi-Yona (1984), p. 81, citing Itenarium burdigalensi, ed. Geyer, p. 21f. See also Elon (1993), pp. 890-892. Almost eighty years later Jerome described his commentary on Zephaniah 1.6 the mourning practices that the Jews observed on the Temple Mount on Tisha b'Av.

vi Avi-Yona (1984), pp. 196-200; Stemberger (2000), p.208; Panella (1999); Russell (1980); Levenson (2004).

vii TB Berakhot 62b

viii Gaddis (2005), p.246; Holum (1989), p. 217

ix Midrash Shir Hashirim Rabba 4

x Baron (1957), vol.3, p. 23

xi Mann (1920), vol.2., pp.188-89, Dinor (1929).

xii Madden (2005), p. 212; Baron (1957), vol. 4, p. 109.

xiii R. Elazar Ezkari. Sefer Haredim (Mitzvah 83); Shilat (1986), p. 492); Shilat (2003), p. 509-11.

xiv Benjamin (1960),pp. 20-24 (Hebrew).

xv Offenbacher (1985), p.134, citing Berkovicz (1978).

xvi Beit Ha-b'chira on TB Shavuot 16a

xvii Ya'ari (1943), pp. 98-103

xviii Responsa of the Radbaz, v.2, no. 691. See Sagiv (2003) for the full text and a critical analysis of this response.

xix This firman was still in effect in the nineteenth century. One observer noted, " No one is molested... by the Mahomedans, as we have a very old firman from the Sultan of Constantinople that the approach [to the Western Wall] shall not be denied to us, though the Porte obtains for this privilege an especial tax, which is, however, quite insignificant." (Schwartz 1850, p. 260)

xx Schwartz (1850), pp. 417-418.

xxi Many of these visits to the Temple Mount were documented in Dotan Goren's thesis, a summary of which appears at

The Life Of Enoch Part Four


Now let’s talk a bit about the temporary place named Sheol. According to Scripture, it is divided into two different compartments. In the Gospel of Luke 16:19-31, we are told the two compartments “hold the righteous believers and the unbelievers.” The writer of Luke revealed to us the two compartments are not only a distance apart from each other, but there is a chasm between the two.

Verse 23, “And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side.” Then in verse 26, “Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.”

This Sheol is the one which Jesus Christ went down into for three days and three nights. ( “For Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights,” Matthew 12:40.) Now, compare that verse from Matthew with Jonah 1:17, “Now the Lord appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights.” We find that the Messiah actually did go into the heart of the earth. There is no way around this proof. 1 Peter 3:19, “In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared.”

The text of Matthew 12:40, gives us important clues to solve the answer of why the Messiah went into Hell. First of all, let us begin to find out who these “spirits” are that Peter is telling his listeners about. 1 Peter 3:19, “In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient…” The first initial clue Peter has given us is this: (He also went), this meaning is referring to Sheol. But in which part of Sheol was Jesus Christ located? He was with the wicked. After entering Hell, His second event was that He preached. In other versions of the Bible, it mentions He proclaimed. The Greek definition of the word “kerugma” states: 1. That which is promulgated by a herald or public crier, a proclamation by a herald; 2. In the N.T. the message or proclamation by a heralds God or Christ. This is from Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Page 346, Strong’s Number 2782.

The Messiah was in Sheol with the wicked who rejected the message of Noah. Inside Genesis 6:1, (“Their days will be 120 years”) I take this to account that Noah preached 120 years before the actuality of the flood. The book of Genesis gives an account of how men fell away from God. Noah, a preacher of righteousness preached to his generation, but that particular generation was waxed cold. In Genesis 6:11, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness.” Verse 12 states: “God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth.” This is that generation to whom the Messiah made a proclamation. (Those who believed in YWHW) YOD HAY VAV HAY.

Since they would not listen to Noah, they now have to listen to Jesus Christ in Sheol, the place of the wicked. Let us not get off track scripturally. The Messiah did not make a proclamation to the Niphilim Giants nor did He go into any particular region of Sheol where the Niphilim Giants dwelled in judgment. Why I make this statement is quite clear in the scripture, 2 Peter 2:4, “and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment.” Peter tells us of the temporary judgment they are in, but this passage also speaks of a future judgment for the Niphilim Giants, waiting for them.

In these four Chapters, we discussed Enoch’s genealogy, who Enoch was, what Enoch did on earth, where Enoch went, and lastly the two chambers of Sheol for the wicked and the righteous. In the next several installments, the topic we will be discussing is if Enoch could be a candidate to be one of the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation. Then, we will be closing out our final chapters about Elijah and Moses. We will be detailing the account of Moses as one of the true witnesses with Elijah in Revelation.

The Life Of Enoch Part Three

Where Did Enoch Go?

Over the span of centuries, there has been much thought surrounding the enigma of Enoch’s whereabouts. Everyone questions, “Where did he go?” So let’s get started into our Biblical journey! As I detail these crucial events, it is important for my readers to have clarity on this issue. Throughout this article I will be revealing a different view which will be Biblically sound in doctrine. I will be accounting for the Disappearance of Enoch, which is crucial. From our starting point, we need to look at several translations so we can get a bird’s eye view of what the Scriptures are truly saying about Enoch’s translation.

1. And Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, for God had taken him. The Stone Edition, The Chumash

2. Hanokh walked with God, and then he wasn’t there, because God took him. Complete Jewish Bible

3. And he was removed from the midst of the children of men… The book of Jubilees page 19, verse 24

4. And Enoch was well-pleasing to God, and he was not found, because God translated him. The Septuagint with Apocrypha

After reading 1-4 up above, it should be straightforward about the common theme which rings out loud about Enoch; can my readers pinpoint them?

In order they are: 1) Taken. 2) Took. 3) Removed. 4) Translated. Most currently, our Bibles use the word “took”, so intrinsically we shall focus on that word. While investigating the Hebraic definition in our study we need to focus our eyes onto a particular Hebraic word. Essentially this word is “Laqach”, which connotes the word “took”. Let us go ahead and read the text, in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.” Located in the King James Version of the Bible, Laqach is number 3947 in Strong’s Concordance. It’s definitions are:

A. To take

B. To get

C. To fetch

D. To lay hold of

E. To seize

F. To receive

G. To acquire

H. To buy

I. To snatch

J. To take away

Those definitions that I just listed for us are our key words in understanding the background of that particular event. The scripture of Genesis 5:24, is quite striking because it does not mention anything about Heaven, but neither does the Hebraic word “Laqach”- it lacks the word Heaven in its proper description. Contrary to popular belief, humankind did not set foot into Heaven until the 40 days expired which are spoken of in Acts 1:3.

Before I further explain in detail, the book of John 3:13, states: “No one has ascended into Heaven except the one who descended from Heaven the Son of Man”. The Apostle John has given us ample proof in this text that no one had entered into Heaven until after the 40 days were expired in Acts chapter 1:3. The saints from both testament periods were resurrected after Jesus’ initial Resurrection. In Matthew 27:52, we are shown an idea although it is not a new thought. I say this with confidence because even Abraham believed in the resurrection of the dead. Hebrews 11:19, speaks of: He (Abraham) considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead, and as an illustration, he received him back.”

Also found in Matthew 27:52, is this statement of fact: “The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” Then in the book of Acts 1:3, the text reads to us: “Appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Hence, the saints I previously mentioned ascended with their Messiah. It says: “He left them and was carried up into Heaven.” Although the text shows them (the saints) to be absent in this scenario, I firmly believe they were with Jesus during those 40 days. Then, this was their ascension with Jesus Christ the Messiah into Heaven. Another reason why this has to be true is that the Messiah would not leave their resurrected bodies on earth for them to die again.

The Life of Enoch Part Two

What Did Enoch Do On Earth?

We are able to find more about Enoch in Jude 1:14. Here we are aware that he is a prophet: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.”

During the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, Enoch prophesied in the context above that: a) the Lord is coming with His bride the church and the Lord will be judging the unsaved according to their “ungodly acts”; b) The unsaved will be judged by the “harsh things” they have said against Him (Jesus Christ). It is important to note that the church will be coming back with God, but the bride will not partake in any form of judgment of unbelievers with God or apart from Him.

Let us investigate a little further into what the author of the Book of Jude is telling his readers. During the following judgment process of unbelievers, there are two main phrases in the Biblical context, which I have placed in Italics. They are both highly important to know since these are the two main words which God will place on humankind when He puts them under judgment. The two phrases are “ungodly acts” and “harsh things.” These words should be sobering to the unbeliever whose acts and speech are harsh to the Messiah.

The Greek word for ungodly acts is ἔργον ἀσέβεια, this terminology means:, employment, that which any one is occupied

a.that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking

2.any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work.

And the translated words:

KJV (176) - deed, 22; doing, 1; labour, 1; work, 152;

NAS (169) - action, 1; behavior, 1; deed, 13; deeds, 52; doing, 1; effectual, 1; labor, 1; result, 1; task, 1; what...done, 1; work, 34; works, 62. These definitions are from the Christian website, Heartlight’s Search God’s Word.

Secondly, the other judgment for the unbeliever will constitute the harsh things they had said to Jesus Christ. In Greek harsh things is σκληρός oèvὅς.

These definitions mean:

1. hard, harsh, rough, stiff

a. of men: metaph. harsh, stern, hard

b. of things: violent, rough, offensive, intolerable

The translated words are:

KJV (11) - fierce 1 -, 6; hard, 5;

NAS (5) - difficult, 1; hard, 2; harsh things, 1; strong, 1

We can clearly see this judgment is going to be strict on the very words the unbeliever speaks against the Creator of the universe. I believe that these two particular phrases, ungodly acts and harsh things, will be judged in that particular order. The book of Matthew 12:36-37, points out to its readers this important fact. (“I tell you that on the Day of Judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned”).

The Life of Enoch Part One

There are numerous questions concerning whom the two witnesses will be that will prophesy during the Tribulation. Many people believe that one or both of them could be Enoch, Elijah, or Moses. In Jewish literature, there have been more books written about Elijah than that of Moses, or any other figure throughout the Bible. As we go through the three characters of Enoch, Elijah, and Moses, we will unlock the shrouded mystery of why it is important to know who these men were. In addition, I will give reasons as to why I personally believe it is Elijah and Moses who will be the two witnesses.

First, let us start with a series of questions concerning Enoch:

A. What Is Enoch’s Pedigree?

B. Who is Enoch?

C. What did Enoch do on earth?

D. Where did Enoch go?

What Is Enoch’s Pedigree?

Enoch walked with God 300 years after the birth of Methuselah. God counted Enoch a preacher and a prophet who walked in holiness and in righteousness. He was well pleasing to God. Adonai took Enoch up into heaven without experiencing death. I believe in order for us to understand who Enoch is, we must first extract his lineage from the descendants of Adam. The author of Genesis has given us a brief genealogy of where Enoch came from. Genesis chapter 5:20: “Jared was a hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch.” So far, we have established Enoch’s father is Jared. Although this is a brief genealogy, we can still bring out some important information regarding this biblical character.

As we keep reading about Enoch’s pedigree in verse 21 of chapter 5, this is the first introduction to Methuselah, one of Enoch’s children. How many children did Enoch have? Important note, though Methuselah is the only child mentioned by name, it’s well documented that Enoch had more children. Remember that Methuselah was sixty-five years of age when he had his first child. In Genesis chapter 5:22, we are informed of other children Enoch had. “And Enoch found favor in the presence of God three hundred years after he begot Methuselah, and begot sons and daughters.” The details of Enoch’s other children are not known; their names and what they did, are absent from scripture. The Old Testament does not mention any further details about his lineage. However, there is still more to know about the well-known man called Enoch.

Who is Enoch?

Now that we have established a bit of Enoch’s ancestry, our goal is to find out “WHO” he was! Unfortunately, we don’t have much to work with since the majority of his life is absent from Scripture. However, we can still start a molding process about Enoch from what we do know. He is regarded highly, respected, and righteous. Scriptures say he was even godly. In Hebrews 11:5, we are given an account of his faith: “He had pleased God”.

We are also informed in Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God”. In a way, he was very similar to Noah. Let’s take a look at Genesis 6:9, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God”. These two Godly men are both fascinating. They were righteous and walked with God.

In Scripture, we have a detailed account of how long Enoch remained on earth until God took him. Chapter 5, verses 21-24, “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years”. Enoch’s name means Dedication. “His name translated in the Hebrew is חנוך [Chanowk / khan•oke].” The Hebrew name for Enoch can be found in Theopedia, an Encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity.

What I have just written is an account of Enoch’s holy life with God. This important Biblical figure lived to be 365 years of age. He served God the father and was a pastor and a prophet of righteousness who witnessed to the unsaved world of his day. It is pretty amazing what one person can do to change the people and the world around him just by simply preaching the Word of God.