Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The title of this month’s article is “Gentile Nations and Israel” by Dr. Ernest L. Martin, transcribed from an August 1994 audiotape. It focuses on the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zechariah regarding end time events in and around the land of Israel and Jerusalem. Dr. Martin shows from Scripture some significant points that you will want to be aware of as we live our lives and observe predicted events unfold in the Middle East. Some of you may know this information already. Others may have forgotten some of these points, and glad to be reminded of them. For still others this will be surprising new material.
Read your Bibles (in several translations), look up the passages, and study the contexts in which the passages are cited or quoted. Know the words. Know the placement of the passage within its subject unit, within its chapter or section, within its book, and the placement of that book within the entire Bible.
One interesting thing you will learn is why several orthodox Jewish and Temple Mount organizations in Jerusalem are so eager to place a foundation stone where they — erroneously — think the Temples of God were located. Others believe the foundation stone is the rock under the Dome of the Rock. 1 Every year there are news reports about a desire and even attempts to place a foundation stone, even with a threat of forcing their way to whatever site they think is appropriate.
The placement of the foundation stone has great significance according to a very specific date prophecy, as is shown in this month’s article. That act signals a great change for the prosperity of Israel, the nations around Israel, and the entire Middle East. What those people and Temple organizations might not fully understand, is that their attitude toward God and His will is most important. Their actions must come from a love of God and a love of people, not from a rote action of “doing the deed” as prophesied. Their heart must be right for God to honor their action.
We have the advantage of knowing what God has in store as we study and show ourselves approved of God. We may not be involved in the actions of prophecy, but we can be witnesses to the world that we understood beforehand the significance of what God does in this world.
There are many interesting things to learn in this month’s article. What you learn and know from Scripture will not give you an advantage in the world. In fact, if you live the truth, expect to be hated by the world (John 15:17–23, 1 John 3:13–14). For some people that is enough for them to stop reading and studying the Bible and “get on with their lives” apart from God and truth.
Others want the “quick and easy” message so that they can have an inside scoop on the future. I was guilty of thinking that way in the past; almost 40 years ago I joined a denomination for that reason. Still others do not want to “spend” (waste?) time reading God’s Word directly. After all, it is hard work even though it is God’s way of communicating to you the information He wants you to know about Himself, Christ, and their plan of salvation for you and all mankind. So they only read secondary literature that explains everything to them, hand-feeding them “the truth,” so they can get on with their busy lives and still have an inside track of knowledge. That will not work. In the context of being approved by God, Paul writes:
“STUDY to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
The word “study” is more aptly translated “endeavor” and is literally rendered as: “be diligent,” “make every effort,” “hasten to act,” or “do your best.” The emphasis of the word is “get busy.” Stop, consider, ...:
“And be not conformed to this world [eon]: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove [test] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly [have a sound mind], according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Ask God specifically to increase your “measure of faith” to transform and renew your mind to better test what is God’s will by distinguishing what is “good, and acceptable and perfect.” This is a better request than Solomon asking for wisdom to rule Israel. You will be asking God to do exactly what He desires to do!
“SHOW me your ways, O YHWH; TEACH me your paths. LEAD me in your truth, and TEACH me: for you are the God of my salvation; on you do I wait all the day. REMEMBER, O YHWH, your tender mercies and your lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. REMEMBER NOT the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to your mercy REMEMBER you me for your goodness’ sake, O YHWH.
Good and upright is YHWH: therefore will he TEACH sinners in the way. The meek will he GUIDE in judgment: and the meek will he TEACH his way. All the paths of YHWH are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your name’s sake, O YHWH, PARDON my iniquity; for it is great. What man is he that fears YHWH? him shall he TEACH in the way that he shall choose.”
I know I beat this theme repeatedly like a drum, but our goal at ASK is to help you learn what God has to teach. It cannot be done without YOU studying the Scriptures directly ... personally, just you and God and Christ.
All the material of ASK is designed to help you read your own Bible. I try to craft every article so it is as interesting as possible, striving to take Dr. Martin’s terrific material and, somehow, make it a bit better with references to other ASK and outside articles, and Bible references and quotes so you can examine and learn the context of every Scripture.
We know that some of you are learning because you tell us so, asking great questions (and some you should know the answers to already), and even provide additional information and insights about Scripture that you have learned. Several of you should be teaching along with learning. Perhaps it is time for you to create opportunities to do so and not wait for a pre-set opportunity. It is true that you do not really know a topic until you need to teach it to someone else (Deuteronomy 4:10; Proverbs 9:9, 16:23. 22:17; Matthew 12:34; Colossians 3:16).
You help us give back to you, and provide for others. Your contributions make it possible for ASK to be available and respond to people new to ASK. (Obviously, the people God is bringing to ASK are quality, not quantity!) Until next month, thank you for all your help and your contributions.
David W. Sielaff
1 See the Wikipedia article “Foundation Stone” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_Stone in which late Jewish sources are cited. The Haram esh-Sharif is the remains of Fort Antonia, not the Temple. See http://www.askelm.com/temple/index.asp.
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