Middle East Meltdown 021 – Overturning Roe; Q and A 2Ezekiel • Dr. Andy Woods • June 26, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
MEM 021 – Overturning Roe / Q & A 2
By Dr Andy Woods – 06/26/2022
Father, we’re grateful for today. It’s not even a day that I would see coming but what you did on Friday is historical and we praise you for that, we acknowledge you for that. Help us not to just, you know, go on with routine without recognizing your hand in human history. I do pray that you’ll bless our time together in Your Word, both in Sunday school and in the main service that follows. So that we can receive from your word, we’re going to just take a few moments of silence to confess any sins that we may have committed against you. We acknowledge Lord that we do this not to get saved again, our position is secure, but so fellowship, if broken, can be restored. We, Lord, are grateful for the promise of 1 John chapter 1, verse 9 (1 John 1:9). I do pray, Lord, that the word of God, as it’s taught today, will minister to the needs of your people. There are countless needs out there that a mere preacher or teacher can comprehend or see but you know what they are and I do ask that Your Word today, as it’s taught, would minister to your people at the deepest level. I just pray You’ll be with everything and everyone here at Sugar Land Bible Church from start to finish and I want to lift up the children’s ministry and the youth group that’s meeting now. I pray for those that are ministering in those environments. I pray that you will give them the grace that they need to teach correctly to that age group and we look to You, Lord, for great things because you’re the God of great things and we lift up all of these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. 2:07
Well, if you can locate Ezekiel chapter 39, verses 4 and 5 (Ezek 39:4-5) and as people are kind of filing in, I want to take a couple minutes to say something about, what I think, what most people think, is a historic Supreme Court decision that happened on Friday. I want to make a few comments about it in the Sunday school hour and then I’m going to repeat basically what I’m saying here for the benefit of the people coming just for the Genesis study. The reason I’m doing this twice is it’s kind of an interesting dynamic. We actually have more online viewers for Sunday school than the main service. But we have a much bigger attendance for the main service than for Sunday school. So that’s why I wanted to repeat this twice. Sugar Land Bible Church going back to its inception and you can see this in position statement number one, which was on the books here, you know, long before I got here and when I saw this as part of our position statements I was overjoyed, but Sugar Land Bible Church from its inception on the controversial issue of abortion has taken a position.
SLBC Position Statements # 1
SANCTITY OF LIFE – We believe that the fetus, from the moment of conception, is a person (Psalm 139:13-18). We also believe that all persons are created in the image of God regardless of age, health, function and/or condition of dependency.
The position of Sugar Land Bible Church is that when you get into the subject of abortion you’re dealing with a child and not a choice. The world kind of looks at it as a choice, that’s not our position. Our position is not a quality of life position, it’s a sanctity of life position and here’s what position statement number one says. It says on the sanctity of life: We believe that the fetus from the moment of conception is a person and you’ll notice that it quotes there Psalm, 139, verses 13 through 18 (Psa 139:13-18) and it goes on and it says: We also believe that all persons are created in the image of God regardless of health, age, function and /or condition of dependency. So in other words, an unborn child cannot be factually distinguished from a born child. The Bible knows no such distinction. In fact, in Luke chapter 1, verse 41 (Luke 1:41), there’s a Greek word that’s used to describe John the Baptist leaping for joy in his mother’s womb and that Greek word is “brephos” and then one chapter later, the identical Greek word is used to describe the baby Jesus lying in the manger. That’s in Luke chapter 2, verse 12 (Luke 2:12). So in other words, Luke, who by the way was a what? Was a physician, you see that in Colossians, 4, Luke, when he put together the gospel of Luke, says that an unborn is no different than a born. So as you probably know, our culture has been enmeshed in a controversy, largely going back to the infamous Roe vs Wade decision in 1972/1973 and back in that time period, there was a man named Harry Blackman, who wrote a majority opinion for the Supreme Court. The decision was seven to two and basically what Harry Blackman said is: An unborn child is not a person within the meaning of our constitution and once that decision became public or published, it launched a huge controversy that’s gone on for the last fifty years. So you’re dealing with pro-abortion versus pro-life; pro-choice versus the sanctity of life and that decision granted a woman a constitutional right to have an abortion. So what happened on Friday is that decision was reversed. That infamous decision is no longer the law of the land in the United States of America and the question is, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Our perspective on it is, it’s a very good thing and I want to give you four reasons and before I give you those four reasons, Roe vs Wade has been analogized to another very significant decision that was made in a case called Dred Scott. In the Dred Scott case, Civil War era, right in that time period, Justice Taney wrote a majority opinion and he basically said: A slave is not a person within the meaning of our constitution and fortunately, over the course of time, that decision was overturned not by the Supreme Court but it was overturned by three post-Civil War constitutional amendments, called the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments and so, in the same vein the Roe court came along and basically said, an unborn child, obviously they weren’t dealing with slaves, slavery was a thing of the past, thank God, but along the same lines, they said, an unborn child is not a person within the meaning of the constitution and so a lot of us for a long time have been very troubled by that decision, you know, embarrassed by that decision and it’s very interesting to me that fifty years later, God worked providentially. I mean, you can’t deny the work of God in this and that decision just got overturned. It’s very interesting to me that this happened fifty, forty nine, fifty years after Roe hit the books and there is something in the Bible called the year of Jubilee. Basically, it talks about on the forty ninth year, all debts are to be forgiven personally, as you move into a freedom of the fiftieth year and every time I think of that number, I can’t help but thinking of the exact timing of God, you know, with Roe versus Wade. It’s almost like He honored His year of Jubilee by allowing this decision to get overturned on the forty ninth, you know, to the fiftieth year. 9:43
So with all of the acrimony, you know, going on in the culture, you know, why would we at Sugar Land Bible Church salute, commend, celebrate the overturning of Roe versus Wade? Let me give you four fast things and I’ve had the chance to be on a couple of media spots, podcasts and things of that nature because things have been happening so fast. I wrote down four quick things and so these are the four things I want to share with you very briefly this morning before we get into our Sunday school lesson. Number one: It’s a victory for the constitution. The reason it’s a victory for the constitution is you can read the constitution until your eyeballs bleed and you will not find in it any reference to a constitutional right to have an abortion. In fact, when the constitution was written and ultimately when the Fourteenth Amendment, which a lot of this jurisprudence comes out of, was brought into existence, all of the states that ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and all of the states that ratified our constitution had laws on their books prohibiting abortion. So for Harry Blackman to find in the constitution some sort of constitutional right to have an abortion, is basically what he did, is he rewrote the constitution. You know, we condemn here at this church through our Bible teachings, allegorical interpretation. What Blackman did to the United States constitution was allegorical interpretation and you really have to strain at a gnat or gnats to find this so-called constitutional right. Now, if you want to change the constitution, that’s fine. There’s a way to do that; it’s called the amendment process and you’ll find the amendment process described in article 5 of the constitution. Our founding fathers were smart enough to understand that the constitution might have to be changed at times and so they put into the text of the constitution a mechanism to do that called the amendment process which is designed to be deliberately difficult and it places the power to change the document in the hands of the layers of government that are closest to the people. So that those changing the document can be held accountable. So Harry Blackman when he wrote that decision, just looked at article 5 and the amendment process and he just almost thumbed his nose at it and he said, I will change the constitution and he did it in an area where he wasn’t qualified to do it. There is absolutely nothing in legal training that teaches you how to be an expert on when life begins. But he took that expertise upon his own shoulders and he got six other Supreme Court justices to cooperate with him and Roe vs Wade became the law of the land. So when the current Supreme Court on Friday says there is no constitutional basis for Roe vs Wade and overturns it in the now famous Dobbs case, what they did is they got us back to the constitution, which to my mind is a victory. So that’s victory number one. It’s a victory for the United States constitution itself. 13:37
Second reason, this is a victory, is it’s a victory for the people. When Harry Blackman wrote Roe versus Wade and created a constitutional right to have an abortion out of thin air, basically what he did is he took that whole controversial issue and he federalized it. Meaning, the people are not smart enough to figure this out on their own so we will make the decision for them. So that’s been the state of the law for fifty years. Many, many state legislatures have tried to pass laws restricting abortion. You know, I had the opportunity a few years ago to travel to Austin and speak before a legislative committee and they only give you three minutes to speak and so you guys knew I was in pain, right? Dealing with regulations on abortion clinics in the state of Texas and here we went through all this work. You know, we stayed up late I see Bruce and Cindy Bond back there, you guys, I remember were very involved in that and you go through all this work, you get this done and then some court comes along and just renders the whole thing unconstitutional. So that’s what’s been going on in the United States of America for fifty years, is the people really can’t make a decision on this because the federal courts, the judiciary, has federalized the issue. So what just happened with the Dobbs’ decision is, they said: There is no constitutional right to have an abortion in our constitution and so we are sending the issue back to the states. Which to me is wonderful because it’s taking the issue away from a bunch of unqualified, really, life-tenured, unelected Supreme Court justices and it’s now allowing the state governments to debate the issue. So some states like our state of Texas, we have Jason, is that your name? And Joe visiting from Missouri. Some states like Missouri, some states like Texas will, God willing, I think Missouri already has passed restrictions on abortion. Other states like California and New York will continue to have very liberal policies on abortion and so the United States will kind of start to look like a checkerboard. You know, the blue red dynamic will kind of exist in the United States, but as far as I’m concerned, this is very positive because now the people actually making the decision are the people accountable to you at the ballot box, the elected representatives of the state government. So because the decision has been shifted away from the federal judiciary to the people is that not a victory for the people? And don’t be misled into thinking that the whole issue of pro-abortion versus pro-life, the Supreme Court has ruled now the issues over, you shouldn’t think that way. Now it’s just getting started. We haven’t even been able to debate the issue for fifty years and now we’re actually going to have a discussion about it. We’re going to be hearing at all the different state governments from, theologians, Biblicists, constitutionalists, philosophers, medical experts and we’re actually going to have a real discussion about this, when does life begin? A discussion that we couldn’t have had or we haven’t been able to have for fifty years. So, (a) It’s a victory for the constitution; (b) It’s a victory for the people because it puts you in the driver’s seat. Now, keep in mind what the Bible says, to whom much is given much is what? Much is required. So if you go to sleep on this and your state moves in a pro-abortion direction and you don’t say anything, you got really no one to blame but yourself this time around. Before we could just blame the federal judiciary. You can’t blame the federal judiciary anymore. It’s sort of like being at a wedding where, you know, the minister officiating the wedding, you know, basically makes the statement, does anybody oppose this marriage? And if you stay silent, you’re consenting. Essentially, that’s what’s happening right now. Because the decision has been moved to the state level, if you sit on your hands and you stay silent you’re consenting to evil. To me, that’s progress because at least now we have a chance to raise our voices and speak against evil. So this is a victory for the constitution, it is a victory for the people. 19:07
Number three, it’s a victory for science. Isn’t that what they’ve told us for the past two years? Trust the science. How many times have we heard that? Trust the experts. Well, here is the reality of Roe versus Wade when Harry Blackman authored it in 1972, 1973 and countless legal scholars have chimed in and made this point. That decision was made in a scientific vacuum. The science that we have today concerning what is happening in the womb of the mother, the moment she knows she is pregnant, that science, and it’s obvious it’s a life in my opinion. it’s just a matter of a sonogram, it’s just a matter of going to certain apps on your phone, they show you very clearly what is happening in the womb of the mother, it’s a life. That’s why so many young people are moving in the pro-life direction because they have the apps and they understand the science in a way that Harry Blackman didn’t understand it in 1972 and 1973. So when Harry Blackman wrote that decision he basically made it in a scientific vacuum. He did not have the expertise that we have today and now that expertise is going to be brought to the surface where we’re going to have an actual national discussion, at least a state by state discussion, concerning when life begins. So we’re dealing with a victory for the constitution, we’re dealing with a victory for the people, we’re dealing with a victory for science and then there’s a fourth way that this is a victory for: It’s a victory for unborn children. I think it was Ronald Reagan who made a very, you know, prescient yet obvious statement. Everyone who is pro-choice or pro-abortion has already been born and that’s why when you see these opinion polls, hey! 53 % of the American people favor Roe versus Wade, I’m always thinking to myself, well, did you poll the unborn on that? Because I think if you actually polled them, and I would assume they would be pro-life, that it might tip the opinion poll a little bit more in the pro-life direction. This Roe versus Wade mindset, it has killed or destroyed more lives than all of our wars, even including the Civil War, combined. Just to describe what’s happened in the United States of America since 1972, 1973, think about, in a nation of three hundred and twenty million people, think about if every one out of every six people just disappeared. Think about that, or one out of every five people just disappeared. If you can sort of fathom that, you can understand what Roe versus Wade has done by prohibiting state governments from legislating on behalf of the unborn and so what now has the ability to happen is state laws have the ability to come into existence to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Now, your Bible over and over again says, raise your voice, speak out and plead the case for the helpless and I can’t think of anybody more helpless than unborn children. I mean, who is their advocate? And there actually is a reason why the elderly, because the infanticide mindset, the depopulation mindset, wants to eradicate the unborn and it wants to eradicate the elderly. Every nation that moves in a quality of life direction rather than a sanctity of life direction, declares war on two groups of people, the unborn and the elderly and the elderly have been able to survive, you know why? Because they’re already born. They can speak out. They can politically organize. They can raise their voices. The unborn can’t do that and so what has just happened is a wonderful thing. It’s something that I didn’t think would happen in my lifetime. Roe versus Wade is the law of the land and then later on in another case called the Casey case, they upheld Roe versus Wade and so I just said to myself, well, that’s it. Roe versus Wade is the law of the land and God said, I have another perspective and God intervened and so now, state governments have the ability to defend human rights, to put a law in between an unborn child and that unborn child’s murder and eradication. I realize that this is a difficult subject to address because when you address it directly, as I’m doing right here, there are people within the sound of your voice, there are people in the building, there are people listening online that essentially have been involved in abortions or financing on abortion or paying for an abortion and when you move in a pro-life direction as our church does, you run the risk of offending them and saddening them and convicting them and if you find yourself in those circumstances, I would just say the grace of God is available. The reason I say that is because three of God’s choicest servants in the Bible had blood on their hands, right? And you know who they are, one of them was Moses, another one was the apostle Paul and Pat, who am I forgetting? And the third one was David, there we go. I got to ask my front row students here what’s going on and so the grace of God was available for all of those people. 26:11
I will say this also in addition to the obvious Providence and the sovereignty of God in the overruling of Roe versus Wade. In 2016, you remember that Donald Trump was running against Hillary Clinton. You will remember that Donald Trump got the majority of the electoral vote, but he did not get the majority of the popular vote. Do you all remember that? And I’m not here to promote Trump but I’m just here to say this, had that election gone the opposite way and it very well could have and in fact, it almost did. You would not have on the Supreme Court right now (a) Brett Kavanaugh, whose life as you know, they tried to destroy in the nomination process and you probably may also be aware of this, you would never know it from the mainstream media, that there has been an assassination attempt on Brett Kavanaugh, are you aware of that? That someone showed up at his house with the will and the means to kill him, but had Brett Kavanaugh not been appointed to the court, this decision that we saw on Friday wouldn’t exist. Had Amy Coney Barrett not been appointed to the court, this decision that we saw on Friday wouldn’t exist and had Neil Gorsuch not been appointed to the court, this decision that we saw on Friday wouldn’t exist and all of that to say, as you look at all of the particulars of this, it’s obviously the sovereign hand of God at work. I mean, God allowed an election that very easily could have gone the other way to come into existence because it has been God’s purpose to put constitutionalists on the United States Supreme Court so that the infamous Roe versus Wade decision could be and would be overturned on the year of Jubilee and who could have put that together other than God? And I realize that there have been a lot of people in the pro-life movement that have worked feverishly to see this day come into existence and we at Sugar Land Bible Church salute them. But ultimately we want to give glory to where it’s due, it’s the Lord himself because this is clearly God’s work. So let’s just take a second and give the Lord a hand, can we do that? So we commend the United States Supreme Court, we salute the United States Supreme Court on this decision and by the way, you should know historically, that the United States Supreme Court has reversed itself over two hundred times, because the argument that you’re hearing is they’re not respecting settled law. Well, let me ask you a question. How much settled law was Harry Blackman respecting in 1972 and 1973. Harry Blackman destroyed settled law. Harry Blackman trashed settled law. So just keep that in the back of your mind when you hear the liberal Talking Heads saying, the United States Supreme Court is not accepting settled law. Nonsense! What the United States Supreme Court just did, is it made right what was unsettled in 1972 and 1973 and so there’s a lot more I could say about this and you guys that are here for Sunday school are going to hear the exact same thing in the Genesis study and so I just wanted to bring this to your attention, because there’s a lot of people pontificating about this, a lot of people saying all kinds of things about it and I thought we should deal with the issue aggressively here at Sugar Land Bible Church, especially since this is part of our Sugar Land Bible Church position statements and give the glory where it belongs, to the Lord. The Supreme Court has reversed itself over two hundred times. The Supreme Court has made some wonderful decisions in the past and it’s made some absolutely awful decisions. One of those awful decisions was a case called Plessy versus Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. Separate but equal and the United States Supreme Court in roughly 1954 right in there, in a case called Brown versus Board of Education reversed Plessy. When our Congress in the post-Civil War acted with the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments they reversed the Dred Scott decision. There have been other really terrible decisions that our court has made, one of them that comes to mind is the Korematsu decision, in the World War II era, which basically said if you’re Japanese, even if you’re Japanese American, you can be quarantined. The Supreme Court made a terrible decision there and so my point is just because the Supreme Court says something, it doesn’t make it right and there have been two hundred times where our Supreme Court has come to its senses and said, we got it wrong and that’s just what happened on Friday and so let’s give the Lord one more round of applause. Now, how in the world am I going to transition from that to discussing birds of prey in Ezekiel, 39? I’m going to try. 32:39
So, essentially what we’ve been dealing with in Ezekiel, 36 through 39 is those passages in the Bible that I think are prophetically in play right now, because they deal with activities in the Middle East that God is setting the stage for.
- Ezekiel recommissioned (33)
- False shepherds removed (34)
- Edom destroyed (35)
- Israel’s restoration: physical & spiritual (36)
- Israel’s restoration illustrated (37)
- Means of restoration: Northern invasion (38)
- Results of the Northern invasion: conversion (39)
- Millennial Temple (40‒46)
- Tribal land allotment (47‒48)
Chapter 36, you’ll remember, is the great prophecy of Israel’s physical and spiritual restoration in the last days. Ezekiel, 37, that prophecy is illustrated through two word pictures. The skeleton coming to life number one and the two sticks coming together and by the time you get outside of Ezekiel, 37, you see a very clear order. God is going to restore the nation of Israel physically first and then He’s going to restore them spiritually, second. The question at that point becomes what is the means or the tool that God is going to use to bring His unbelieving nation gathered in unbelief back to spiritual life and the answer is this tremendous northern invasion that’s described in Ezekiel, 38 and 39, where God is going to put the nation of Israel under so much duress and so much pressure that they’re going to have no one to hope in other than God and God is going to come through for the nation by protecting them during a time period when they will need protection. So we have spent, I think, nineteen lessons going through those chapters 36 through 39, verse by verse and then I asked you guys to submit any questions you might have on this and boy! Did you guys ever? My inbox is exploding as we speak. If you have a question on this, just put MEM in the subject heading or subject line or Middle East Meltdown so I’ll know which emails to focus on. Some of you asked the same question and so I tried to pick the questions that seem to be on most people’s minds and so we covered I think three questions last time and here are seven more and given the amount of email I’ve gotten on this, we’ll probably be continuing this into next week and probably the next couple of weeks but it’s a question on the timing of the birds of prey. 35:35
- Timing of the birds of prey?
- Is Gog killed in battle?
- Second seal judgment?
- Coincides with Rapture?
- Resurrection during Millennium?
- Israel and the Antichrist?
So here goes, it says, my question has not so much to do with the timing of the Ezekiel, 38 war as it does with the aftermath of the war. The burial of the bodies for seven months and the birds feasting on their flesh. My understanding of what you have said is that you tend to place the Ezekiel war near the beginning of the seven year tribulation period ,somewhere around the first and second seal judgments and the described aftermath of Ezekiel, 39, at the end of the tribulation period, which is when I think you say the birds will feast on the flesh of the dead bodies and so whoever asks this, I don’t want to give the names but they accurately represented my view on this in terms of timing. They go on and say, my reading of Ezekiel, 36 has me thinking that the war intended to attack Israel is stopped in its tracks on the mountains of Israel by God before it really gets started and what God quickly destroys, the would be invaders, so to speak, if this is the case and the war does not drag into the latter part of the second half of the tribulation, my mind doesn’t track with the idea of the flesh eating feast taking place near the end of the seven years. I’m thinking that the burial of the dead bodies over a seven month period would start relatively soon after God destroys the invaders and the birds feasting on their flesh would take place at the same time while there are bodies still unburied available to eat. Can you please help me make sense of this? Where am I confused? What am I missing? So basically this is somebody that has gone on for more of the popular position today that this is a war that takes place before the tribulation period even starts and then, therefore the birds feasting on the corpses is something that transpires before the tribulation period even starts. One of the things that God says will happen, as this battle comes to its conclusion, is the birds and beasts will feast on the carnage and that’s why I actually had to open up forty five minutes ago to Ezekiel 39:4-5.
- Divine annihilation of the coalition (38:19-22)
- Birds and beasts feast on the carnage (39:4-5, 17-20)
- Seven-month burying of the dead (39:11-12, 14-16)
- Seven-year burning of weapons (39:9-10)
- Israel’s salvation and restoration (39:22, 29)
Let’s remind ourselves of what that says: You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field… Verse 5… You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD… And then jump over to Ezekiel, 39 and notice verses 17 through 20 (Ezek 39:17-20): As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood… Verse 18… You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you… Verse 20… You will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war, declares the Lord GOD… So one of the things that’s predicted here is that the aftermath of the battle is going to be so many corpses that’s the birds of prey are going to be summoned to gorge on these corpses and we’ve talked about that and the question is, when does this gorging of the birds of prey take place? I believe other scripture clearly puts that at the end of the tribulation. So you might hold your place in Ezekiel and go over to Matthew, 24 and look at verse 28 (Matt 24:28): Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather… Now, what’s interesting is Jesus, when He outlined this event, put it not at the beginning of the tribulation, not before the tribulation starts, but He put it at the end. How do I know that? Well, what are the three rules of real estate? Location, location, location. What are the three rules of Bible study? Context, context, context. In what context does this gorging by the birds of prey occur? Well, if you back up to verse 27 (Matt 24:27), it says: For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be… Not the rapture but the second advent of Christ, which occurs when? At the end of the tribulation and drop down, if you could, to verse 29 through 31 (Matt 27:29-31): But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky… That’s the second advent… and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory… Verse 31: And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect… Now, who is the elect? Israel… from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other… So you’ll notice that Jesus here is talking about the end of the tribulation period and in the process of talking about the end of the tribulation period, He talks about these birds gorging themselves on the corpses. So we can use Jesus, who I think is a pretty good Bible interpreter, Amen? To help us understand Ezekiel when Ezekiel describes the same event he must also be talking about something at the end of the tribulation period. 42:52
Look if you could at Revelation, 19, verse 17 (Rev 19:17). Now, Revelation 19, as you know, is the return of Jesus to the earth. In fact, even before we get to verse 17, what does it say in verse 11(Rev 19:11)?: I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war… Verse 15 (Rev 19:15): From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty… Revelation, 19, verses 11 through 16 (Rev 19:11-16) is one of the most graphic descriptions you have anywhere in the Bible concerning the second advent of Jesus Christ to the earth; this is not the rapture. In the rapture He comes in the air for the saints. This is talking about the second coming when He comes to the earth with the saints and right in the context of talking about this, he starts talking about, John does, the birds of prey. Notice verses 17 through 19 (Rev 17:19): Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great… Gee, sounds like Ezekiel, 39, doesn’t it? Verses 4 and 5 and verses 17 through 20. Verse 19: I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army… This is Jesus at the end of the seven years returning with his army from heaven to establish His kingdom on the earth. Look down at verse 21 (Rev 19:21), it says: The rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse… And look at the end of verse 21… and all the birds were filled with their flesh… So Ezekiel talks about these birds of prey gorging themselves on the corpses. Now, Jesus in Matthew, 24, puts that at the end of the tribulation period. John in Revelation, 19, puts that at the end of the tribulation period. This is part of the logic as to why I think chapter 39 is not describing something at the beginning of the tribulation period or before the tribulation period starts, but it’s flashing forward and talking about something at the end of the tribulation period and I’m not the only one who believes this. Charles Feinberg of these birds of prey prophecies says this, he says:
Charles L. Feinberg – The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 230-31.
“Now there is presented the third emphasis of the greatness of the invasion and the subsequent slaughter at the hand of the Lord. Incidentally, the figure gives a clue as to the time setting for the entire passage. It is the same scene as that a Revelation 19, the great supper of God, and the chronology is clear. The events will transpire at the end of the great tribulation and just before the millennial reign of the Messiah of Israel.”
That’s what we’re talking about here, timing. The greatest debates in prophecy concern not what but when, timing. All of Christendom believes in a rapture of some kind. The debate isn’t the rapture, the debate is when. Pre trib, mid trib, post trib, that’s a timing issue. All of Christendom believes in Christ’s kingdom. The issue is when, timing. Amillennialism or post millennialism putting it before the second advent of Christ and then pre-millennialism putting it after, subsequent the return of Christ. Christ comes back first and then starts His kingdom. By the way, at Sugar Land Bible Church we are pre pre. Pre tribulational, premillennial. Pre tribunational meaning that the rapture will take place before the tribulation period. Premillennial in the sense that don’t expect the kingdom of God to come on the earth until Jesus first touches down on planet earth. A lot of churches will just take a position on what. Our church takes a position on when, which makes our view controversial, because the real controversy revolves around not the what question but the when question and so what we’re dealing with here an Ezekiel, 39, is not so much are there going to be birds of prey gorging on the corpses, we’re dealing not with a what question but a when question. When is this going to happen? Charles Feinberg says very clearly, this happens chapter 39 the birds of prey at the end of the tribulation. He’s taking a position not on what but when and he says they’re in the underlined portion: “It is the same scene as that of Revelation, 19, the great supper of God, and the chronology is clear. The events will transpire at the end of the great tribulation and just before the millennial reign of the Messiah of Israel.”
This of course is not surprising because Ezekiel also talks in chapter 39 about another event which will take place at the end of the tribulation.
- Divine annihilation of the coalition (38:19-22)
- Birds and beasts feast on the carnage (39:4-5, 17-20)
- Seven-month burying of the dead (39:11-12, 14-16)
- Seven-year burning of weapons (39:9-10)
- Israel’s salvation and restoration (39:22, 29)
This is the salvation of the nation of Israel. If you look at Ezekiel, 39, verse 22 (Ezek 39:22), it says: the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward… Israel is converted in other words and then you drop down to chapter 39, verse 29 (Ezek 39:29), the very last verse in chapter 39 and you see what is happening there in terms of the conversion of the nation of Israel: I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD… This is speaking of Israel’s conversion, which is not before the tribulation period starts. It’s not something that happens in the first half of the tribulation period, it’s something that happens at the very end along with the birds of prey gorging on the corpses. That’s why I am putting chapter 39 in a different time sequence in chapter 38. Chapter 38 early on, first half of the tribulation. We have a question on that coming, if we can get that far. Chapter 39 is the end of the tribulation. What is God doing in the tribulation period? He is bringing Israel to the place where they call upon Him and He returns to rescue them. Matthew, 23, verses 37 through 39 (Matt 23:37-39) talks about this, it says: Jerusalem, Jerusalem… Jesus speaking… who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather [episynagō]… That’s the Greek word episynagō where we get the Jewish word what? Synagogue. He’s speaking to the Jewish people here. That’s why He says, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. I wanted to have synagogue with you in my first coming. But He goes on and He says, you were not willing: How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling… Who’s the you? It’s a collective pronoun speaking of the whole nation. You didn’t want Me, the problem wasn’t Me, the problem was you and by the way, that’s a wonderful passage on volition. I mean, God could have come and jammed His kingdom right down their throats whether they wanted it or not, but He conditioned the manifestation of the coming of His kingdom to Israel’s response to her king. So they said, we don’t want you, Yeshua. That’s what the national leadership said in the first century. You can read all about that rejection in the gospels. So with sin comes a consequence, right? The consequence is in verse 38: Behold your house is left to you desolate… What house are we talking about? It’s the temple. It’s like the shekinah glory of God leaving the temple as described in the book of Ezekiel. That is the same kind of imagery here. Jesus is leaving the temple and it’s interesting that in the gospels He referred to the temple as My Father’s house. He was angry that the money changers had turned My Father’s house, which is a house of prayer, into First Colony Mall. That’s what He was upset about and He overturned the money changers tables. That’s the meek and mild Jesus that we’re so accustomed to, right? And it’s interesting during those exchanges, He kept saying, My Father’s house, My Father’s house, My Father’s house. Did you catch what He says in verse 38? At your house. Because I’m leaving. Why am I leaving? Because you don’t want me, you don’t want me as your king. Now, if Jesus were a replacement theologian, who taught that God is through with the nation of Israel, He would have stopped talking at verse 38 but He doesn’t. He says something else in verse 39. He says: For I say to you… Who’s the You? Go back to verse 37, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. So He is collectively using that second person plural as sort of a collective pronoun related to the nation of Israel: For I say to you from now on you will not see Me… And is that not the truth for Israel? They’re not a Christ fearing nation today, they’re not a Christ fearing people, nationally. So exactly what Jesus says happened, Jesus departed. For I say to you you will not see me until you say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord… Psalm, 118, verse 26 (Psa 118:26). That’s why it’s in quotes. It’s a Messianic psalm and what he is saying is, you will not see me again until you nationally acknowledge me as the Messiah and only when you nationally acknowledge me is the Messiah, will I come back to the earth and rescue you from the beast and establish my one thousand year kingdom. 55:36
Now, Dr Toussaint in class, who by the way was an expert on Matthew’s gospel. If you’re looking for a good commentator / commentary on Matthew’s gospel, you can’t get a better commentary than Dr. Toussaint commentary entitled “Behold the King”. I mean, that’s like the highest level of the Matthew commentary coming from the right perspective available and doctor Toussaint in class said this: I want you to understand it this way, the whole world could get saved and yet if tiny Israel does not turn to her king and cite Psalm, 118, verse 26 (Psa 118:26) then the kingdom will not come to the earth and the opposite is true. The whole world could reject Jesus and yet, if tiny Israel embraces her king, which prophetically we know that they will, then the kingdom of God will come to the earth. Now this, what I’m talking about here, is not popular preaching in Christianity, who has been deceived into thinking, going back to Augustine in the fourth century, that we’re bringing in the kingdom. In fact, you can go to conferences today called “Kingdom Builder Conferences” in Christian circles where their goal is to bring in the kingdom and what this is saying is man, the Gentile church, the Gentile predominant church will never bring in Christ’s kingdom, because God has set everything up according to Israel’s national response to her king and so what is happening in the book of Ezekiel is God is bringing the nation of Israel to the point of a crisis where they will actually trust in her king and once that happens, then the second coming will occur and then the kingdom of God will manifest itself on planet earth. So when Ezekiel predicts the salvation of the nation of Israel in the same context with the birds of prey gorging on the corpses, he’s obviously talking about something not at the beginning of the tribulation, not in the middle of the tribulation, not before the tribulation, he’s obviously talking about something at the end of the tribulation because he’s talking about the conversion of Israel which will trigger, boy! We use that word “trigger” a lot. Do you ask yourself what triggers God? In the whole abortion debate a lot of our states like Missouri, anticipated that Roe versus Wade could be overturned and so they put trigger laws on the books saying should Roe verses Wade be overturned, this state will become pro-life and Missouri was the first one to do that. Missouri is now a pro-life state. Something that was constitutionally impossible fifty years ago and I was listening to Attorney General Ken Paxton talking and he says we have the same laws in effect in Texas. It’s just going to take a couple of months for them to go into effect. So we’re now in a circumstance where the whole state of Texas has the potential of being triggered with the Dobbs decision and becoming pro-life and you say to yourself, I wish the Lord had put me alive and more exciting times. This is exciting times we are living in. So what triggers God? What triggers God is the conversion of the nation. It triggers Him in the sense that He says, okay now you want me? And He comes back and He rescues them from the beast and He establishes His kingdom on the earth. So the conversion of Israel triggers the second advent and all of us understand that the second advent is an event that takes place at the end of the tribulation. It concludes the seventieth week of Daniel. So this is where my view on it is very different than a lot of Bible teachers who are sort of putting these two chapters together and putting them very early in the tribulation or before the tribulation starts. I don’t think you can do that with chapter 39 because very clearly through the prophecy of the birds of prey and very clearly through the prophecy of Israel’s restoration, you’re talking about events at the end of the tribulation period. So again I’m seeing chapter 38 with the second seal judgment early on, but then Ezekiel, 39 flashes forward and it describes the end of a process. Not just the end of what happened in chapter 38 but the end of all of the end time prophecies. What are they trying to produce? A restored Israel and the kingdom of God on the earth and so I think it’s a mistake as far as timing is concerned to put these two chapters together. I think chapters 38 and 39 occur at totally different time sequences in the tribulation period and to ram jam and cram them together, as many Bible teachers do, I think is playing footloose and fancy free with some of the details in the Bible. 1:01
Question number two which we can’t answer, because I’m a literal interpreter and the clock says 10:46. So Lord willing and if nothing monumental happens between now and next Sunday and you don’t get another political discourse for me, we’ll try to answer. Oh! By the way you are going to get a political discourse from me next Sunday because next Sunday is July 4 Sunday, right? 4th of July weekend Sunday. So as is common we do a sort of a political talk, I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to say, it’ll probably have a lot to do with the Dobbs decision. So you’re actually going to get politics and world view next week. So if you’re the kind of person that feels a pastor should never comment on current events happening in the culture, you might want to take next week off, because next week we will be having a fireside chat and I will supply the fire, Amen? Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for prophecy, studying your word. Thank you for giving us a complete canon of scripture where we can work out these details and thank you, Lord, for your providential sovereign work on Friday. You obviously had that planned. It’s a strategy that You implemented and we praise You for it. Help us not to be lax or lackadaisical and to understand that now the battle is just heating up. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. Happy intermission.