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THE FLOW OF EVENTS

The Paper was addressed to Evelyn Hammond.
It was published December 28, 2001

FLOW OF EVENTS

While we cannot be certain exactly how political, economic, or military events will unfold, since precise details are not revealed to us, the prophecies give us sufficient information whereby we can use our minds.   We can devise various scenarios, and untold multitudes of people have done so over the generations, but we should exercise care.   Decisions for the future of the world rest on our judgment.

Consider the remarks:

And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them,  "Thus says the Lord; You must drink!

"For behold, I begin to work evil at the city which is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth."

"Behold, I will send, and take a family from the north, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants of it, and against all the nations round about it, and I will make them utterly waste, and make them a desolation, and a hissing, and an everlasting reproach."

These statements describe a sequence: If the "city called by my name" refers to Jerusalem, and if "evil" means destruction, we then can deduce that Jerusalem will first be destroyed.   That will be the trigger event for world judgment.

The Hebrew word ra'ah means to break, or to shatter. It is applied figuratively to relationships that become undone, thus spoiled, broken, or shattered.   Then the translators render it in figurative sense as evil , or afflict. Prefixes to the word are understood as to bring or to work. Thus a better translation of the word is to bring destruction.  A more free translation with the neighboring words then might be rendered as I begin to bring destruction. Various other translations use the words calamity, disaster, and so on, instead of evil .

The word evil is used because it reduces the literal significance of the Hebrew ra'ah to supposed spiritual relationships, rather than material action.  Modern minds do not want to deal with the physical actions of God.   They do not believe in a real, living God; therefore he cannot bring material destructions.

Jerusalem and Judea will first be destroyed.

The natural question is: Who will bring the destruction?   One scenario is that the Muslim nations will begin this action, and that a family from the north then brings retaliation upon the Muslim nations.  However, we see that the family from the north comes against that land, and not merely the Muslim countries.  The family from the north comes against all the nations round about as well as against this land.

Therefore, it seems natural to infer that a family from the north will bring massive destruction of the Near East, including modern Israel, in one swift action.  All the countries, Jewish and Muslim, will be destroyed, from Egypt through Iran.   We cannot say if that destruction extends further to the east, to Pakistan, or further west to Libya and other North African Muslim nations.

DESTROYER OUT OF THE NORTH

The idea of destroyers from the north appears throughout Jeremiah.

Jer 1:15 (MT)

For, lo, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, says the LORD; and they shall come and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah.

It is unrealistic to believe that these kingdoms of the north would set their thrones at the entrance to Jerusalem. The word throne is sometimes translated figuratively as seat of power. Here it represents military power.

As I discussed earlier, the word tribes used in the MT leads everyone to believe that Jeremiah meant the people of the neo-Babylonian empire, subject to the historical Babylonian conquests.   But LXX says in this verse:

I call together all the kingdoms of the earth from the north . . .

The idea of tribes is missing from the LXX. This is another example of interpretative expansion, intended to localize the prophecy to the tribes of the Babylonian empire. But the idea of all the kingdoms conveys much more than tribes. They shall come from much farther north than conquered tribes under ancient Babylonian rule.

(The following verses in Jer 1:16-19 are a statement of God's support for Jeremiah in the face of extreme opposition by the king and people of Judea.)

Jer 4:6‑7 (MT)

Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not, for I bring evil from the north, and great destruction. A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone forth from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant.

The word evil again is from the Hebrew ra'ah, = disaster. The phrases tell us that God will bring disaster from the north, and great destruction.

How easy it would have been for Jeremiah to say that Babylon has set out to make the land a waste.  Why couch it in such symbolic figures, except that the prophecy did not pertain to that ancient kingdom.

Compare again with the words of Jesus:

Matt 24:15‑16

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains . . .

Note how this warning agrees with the words from Jeremiah: flee for safety and flee to the mountains. Elsewhere I explain the reason to flee to the mountains.  Higher elevations will be safer from nuclear fall out, which will drift into lower elevations.

We find confirmation of this instruction in Ezekiel 7:16

And if any survivors escape, they will be on the mountains, like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, every one over his iniquity.

What is the abomination of desolation?   Exactly what it says.  It is an extremely loathsome object that can bring total destruction or complete desolation.  It is nuclear weaponry.   If God =s people among the Jews do not flee from Judea they will be destroyed.

Note how modern translators pervert the phrase by turning it into desolating sacrilege. This insidious transformation of the direct words of Jesus was done under an assumption that Daniel meant an idolatrous profanation of the Jewish altar by Antiochus Epiphanes. See Dan 11:31 and 12:11 and the Commentaries.   Godless erudite scholars and fundamentalist interpreters alike do not understand the literal significance of the word.   After all, who in this world before 1960 could have understood?   So they substituted their blind guesses. Modern godless minds do not believe that God can tell us the future.   They see everything in the Bible as some mysterious cultic expression.

To repeat my previous quotation:

Joel 2:30-32

And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, when the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

Again God's people are urged to flee and escape from Jerusalem and Judea. How many times must God's people among the Jews be told before they will heed?

Matt 24:21

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

Can anyone fail to understand what would cause the greatest tribulation this world has ever seen, or ever will see?

Do the words from Joel and from Matthew not portray the same ominous scene?   What would cause fire and columns of smoke that will turn the sun to darkness, and make the moon look like blood?   Is this not God's great and terrible day of judgment?

Repeatedly Jeremiah described the people from the north:

Jer 6:22 (MT)

Thus says the LORD: Behold, a people is coming from the north country, a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.

We should carefully distinguish between this great nation and all the kingdoms of the earth from the north.   This great nation is not neighboring Babylon but a nation that is stirring, literally, from the farthest parts of the earth.   It is one nation, and not a family of nations. The previous phrases I quoted above show a family from the north. Although all the kingdoms of the earth from the north . . . send their armies to ensure safety around Jerusalem, they are not a family of nations. This one great nation, a family, is the source of the coming calamity.

As Jeremiah said: A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out . . .

Thus we can see the great concern the kingdoms from the north express for Jerusalem and Judea by sending their military power into that land. But they are not the ones to bring the destruction.

Compare with other remarks by Jesus:

Luke 19:43‑44

For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.

How many people today do not believe this is the time of God's visitation and his judgment of the nations?  And so they will be caught in the destructions.  They do not believe; they will die.

Again Jesus warned us:

Luke 21:20

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.

Thus we have confirmation from Jesus himself that the prophecies of Jeremiah did not reflect the ancient historical scene.

Here I have emphasized the difference between the kingdoms of the north , and a family from the north, a great nation that stirs from the farthest parts or the earth. In both cases they come from the north. The first is a plural designation; the second is singular, but a family. How can we put sensible understanding into these designations?

European countries are certainly from the north. Some of them currently express a great concern over the welfare of Jerusalem and Judea. If Muslim countries should seriously threaten the Jews we can realistically conclude that those European countries might send their armies into the Near East to offer protection. Then armies would surround Jerusalem. And its desolations would be near.

We must question any suggestion that surrounding Muslim armies would come from the north. Muslim countries are to the east, west, and south, but hardly to the north unless we infer Syria and Lebanon, two of the lesser Muslim nations.

Other information shows that these nations come from much farther to the north, and can properly be understood as European countries.

THE SEVENTY YEARS

In the previous paper I quoted the passage which spoke of seventy years, Jer 25:11-12. This passage is so important I shall compare MT and LXX:

Jer 25:11

MT: This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

LXX: And all the land shall be a desolation ; and they shall serve among the nations seventy years.

Jer 25:12

 

MT: Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says Yahweh, making the land an everlasting waste.

LXX: And when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will take vengeance on that nation, and will make them a perpetual desolation.

Remember that the reference to Babylon and the Chaldeans in these verses in MT is an interpretive expansion by some later editor who attempted to reconcile Jeremiah's prophecy to his understanding of history. Jeremiah's original manuscript did not have these references.

The crucial question then arises about the seventy years.

This reference has plagued interpreters since ancient times. Invariably, the seventy years is understood in the historical context, misguiding the thinking of everyone because of the MT interpretive expansions. Refer to my previous discussion.

But suppose we took the view that the seventy years pertains to the current world scene, and not to ancient events. What elements in modern events would lead to seventy years?

Some persons have proposed that the Balfour Declaration, asserting the right of the Jews to have their old lands returned to them, opened this date.

Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to Lord Rothschild on November 2, 1917:

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

This was a most significant event for it opened bitterness and a festering wound between the Muslim nations and the "west," or "north countries" that has never been healed.

I personally believed this might be the calendar event to initiate the seventy years. I waited for events to unfold, but 1987 came and went without fulfillment of the prophecy. I then examined the statements more rigorously. If the "they" referred to the Muslim nations "they" were to serve among the nations for seventy years. At the end of the seventy years "that nation" would experience perpetual desolation. In the context of Chapter 25 "that nation" would be the mighty nation from the farthest parts of the earth, certainly not ancient Babylon.

Another important date for the modern state of Israel was 1948 when it became a formal nation. Seventy years from that date would be 2018, much farther into the future, beyond current unfolding events.

But what other dates might be significant in understanding the service the Muslim countries have offered to the nations of the north?

The western nations have a long-standing interest in Near-East oil. On April 24, 1920 a Franco-English agreement on Near East oil and the attribution of the mandates was signed at San Remo. Although this agreement provided for division of resources it did not produce material influence among the Muslim countries.

But another important, and activating, event took place in the 1930's.

The beginning of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco = Arabian American Oil Company) dates to 29 May, 1933, less than one year after unification of Saudi Arabia under the late King 'Abd al-'Aziz. On that date the government of Saudi Arabia and Standard Oil of California (SOCAL then, Chevron now) signed the basic concessionary agreement to explore for oil in the Arabian desert.

In Confronting the Third World United States Foreign Policy 1945-1980, Pantheon Books, 1988, Gabriel Kolko wrote:

. . . by 1950 the Near East's oil reserves were already equivalent to all the rest in the world combined and double those in the United States - and this vast wealth was largely in British concessions. "Control of this source of energy," the State Department's experts advised in September, "important in peace and war, is a desirable goal in itself . . . The U.S. government should seek maximum development in U.S. owned concessions."

The United States proceeded to do so until the Muslim countries took matters into their own hands. Even though they now own and control major portions of oil resources through nationalization, their economies depend on policies that will not upset their dependence on the West.

Since the 1930's the Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran, and lesser countries, have been subject to the will of the nations from the north. Virtually all other Muslim economics hinge around that fact. In such manner Islam has served the nations of the north for nearly seventy years.

A major portion of the heat and power for the nations of the north, especially Western Europe, comes from Near East Oil. North America also depends to a major extent upon this source. Without it we would experience severe economic disruptions. Around this unique economic necessity the fate of the world hinges.

In an article entitled Oil and the Middle East in The Outlook, September 1-October 15, 1999 Ed Shaffer described the convoluted politics which guide international relationships in the region. See:

http://www.web.net/~pef/oil.html

Another useful review of the influence of Middle East oil on world policies may be found at

http://www.mees.com/about/about-archive.htm

No wonder the Muslims have such enmity for us.

The political and economic circumstances of the major industrial nations are tied to the Near East. This relationship has become critical to world fate.

At this point in time it is supremely easy to devise scenarios wherein the Muslim nations produce sufficient fear in the family of the north that the latter brings nuclear destruction against them. Then the land would indeed become utterly waste, . . . a desolation, and a hissing, and an everlasting reproach.

This would be a literal fulfillment of the promises given to Jeremiah by the word of the Lord.

Rev 14:18‑19

Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe." So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.

Clearly, fire is the form of the judgment.

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