Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The first of this month’s articles is titled “Biblical Meteorology” which is a transcribed taped lecture by Dr. Ernest Martin. It details the various aspects of weather and climate as used in the Bible, in the history of Judea and the entire world. Keep in mind that even though this article was presented in 1977 it is remarkable how up to date the information is. Note where Dr. Martin gives his opinions rather than biblical facts.
God communicates often through means of the weather. Certainly the flood of Noah must be considered such a “communication” from God. It communicated His judgment. So too God communicates His mercy with all generations after Noah by His creation of the rainbow to tell that He never again will use a flood to judge all mankind (Genesis 9:13–16). 1 This is true, even though in the future God will use torrential rains as a judgment against Gog and his armies (Ezekiel 38:22). God even identifies rain in due season with His Word (Isaiah 55:10–13).
If Israel seeks God, He will “rain” righteousness upon them (Hosea 10:12) which is a metaphor for blessing. Although God causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust (Job 5:10, 36:27–28; Jeremiah 10:13, 14:22, 51:16; Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17; Hebrews 6:7), He will give cursing or blessing depending on Israel’s faithfulness to Him, as God said to Israel as they prepared to enter the promised land (Deuteronomy 11:13–17, 28:12, 23–24) and at the dedication of the Temple at Jerusalem at the time of Solomon (1 Kings 8:35–36). God uses rain as a punishment against His people (Isaiah 5:6; Jeremiah 3:2–3, 5:23–25, 10:13, 14:1–22; Ezekiel 14:13; Amos 4:7–8; Haggai 1:10–11; Zechariah 14:17–18), and as a sign of healing and blessing toward His people (Hosea 6:1–3; Malachi 3:10–12).
Read all of Psalm 147 which intimately links rain and snow with blessing and prosperity. No rain, no blessing, no prosperity. What is the state of Israel at the present time? It is a barren land, except where water is extracted from the Jordan River and from deep wells. Where there is water, the desert blooms. But that water is not coming from abundant rain in due season — not yet.
A second article, also by Dr. Martin, is “The Two Witnesses.” It presents the biblical material about who these men will be — and who they cannot be — when the events involving them begin to happen as prophesied. A point of contact with the Dr. Martin’s article about meteorology is that like Elijah, the Two Witnesses during their 1,260 days of prophesying (Revelation 11:3), will,
“have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”
The area affected by the Two Witnesses shutting heaven is surely the same as that affected by Elijah’s stopping of the rain (as Christ stated, Luke 4:25) — the land of Israel. There is no reason to think it would be different.
Conditions are extremely dry in Israel at the present time. The land today is a wilderness, a desert with the diminishing water supply becoming an increasing problem, environmental as well as political. God says that when He rescues and renews Israel the land will receive renewal. The image he uses is Eden:
“Thus says the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be built. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”
After scattering Israel among the nations (verse 19, this happened in the past), God gathers Israel from among the nations (verse 24, this is happening in our time). However God’s cleansing has not yet occurred (verses 25, 33). One of the benefits of that cleansing is that the land of Israel shall become like Eden. This will occur through an abundance of rain, and not through wells or taking water from the Jordan River.
For the nations to acknowledge that the blessing of Israel comes from Him it will be necessary for abundant rains to return to Israel in such quantities — over a period of several years, perhaps decades — so as to make the land of His name like Eden. (These verses do not apply to the millennium.)
Israel has done much with the resources at hand to produce an agricultural bounty sufficient to sell and export food to other nations, but the land is definitely not like a garden today. It is hot and dry. Without drawing huge quantities of water from the Jordan river and deep wells, Israel would return to desert conditions in a short period of time. However, a change is coming; the comforting of Zion is yet to occur:
“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”
The nations later will attack a land like Eden when they come against Israel before the day of the Lord:
“A fire devours before them; and behind them a flame burns: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.”
Regular rainfall will return to the Land of Israel. The Eden-like nature of Israel just before Christ’s Second Advent suggests a cooler and moister climate along the latitude of the Mediterranean basin, North Africa, and the Middle East. Whatever the mechanism, whether global warming (still hotly debated in 2005) or cooling, the climate in these middle latitudes will undergo a change that likely will bring more moisture to those latitudes and taking moisture from higher latitudes in North America, Europe, and Asia.
God’s Word is like measured rain in due season (Isaiah 55:10–13) that accomplishes God’s purposes. So too your words of appreciation honor us and refresh us. Your prayers and financial support encourage us tremendously because you tell us that we provide you with solid biblical understanding, primarily through the study and work of Ernest Martin. Through your support this work is available to the entire world through the internet and publications, which is — I firmly believe — what God wants at this time. God is pleased with our united efforts. Thank you so much for your kind words, prayers, and continued support.
1 The rainbow also is present around God’s throne at God’s appearances, Ezekiel 1:28 and Revelation 4:3 and 10:1.DWS
David W. Sielaff
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