"...whom [the lawless one] the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;"
2 Thessalonians 2:8, above (New Testament) records the time of the end of the Beast's pagan world government (the lawless one).
Revelation, chapter 19, supports the statements in 2 Thessalonians 2. It is also compatible that it is at the Return of Christ the pagan world government of the Beast ends:
Revelation 19:20 - “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.”
The Bible verses above indicates that the next time the world sees Jesus Christ will be when He returns to gather ALL Israel (all those in the New Covenant) out of the world and put down all paganism.
It was important to examine the verses regarding the return of Jesus Christ before we can continue the search for the answer regarding the time Jesus Christ will restore the Kingdom of Israel and reveal WHO Jesus Christ was talking about
Mr. Lindsey,et al, uses the Old Testament quote in Ezekiel 28:25 as his proof text that its prophecy refers to present-day Israel and has nothing to do with the apostle Paul's, "Israel of God" (which is the church under the New Covenant through which the blood of Jesus Christ covered the sins of all the faithful of God through every generation of Man on earth).
Ezekiel 28:25 - 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob.”
There are many problems with stating that this verse is proof that modern Israel fufilled its prophetic requirements.
The inescapable problem with this prophecy and Israel today is that there is no connection to what happened in 1948 in that area of the world or what is happening there today, with Ezekiel 28:25.
The evidence against the claim that this verse has been fulfilled by modern Israel in 1948, is that the assumed connection is simply an invention and the requirements of the evidence for its fulfillment has been ignored.
The Prophet who presented the prophecy, placed the information which would prove fulfillment, in the verse following verse 25 :
Ezekiel 28:26 "And they will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards, and live securely, when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.'"
The majority of Jews of modern times remain scattered around the world. The Jews who have resettled in modern Israel have never lived securely in Jerusalem. Their enemies who scorn them. Sadly, scorn them still.
Not only is there no evidence within this prophecy that modern Israel fulfilled this verse in 1948, the misuse of this scripture comes in direct conflict with the prophecy of Jesus that foretold a much different future view of this area in our world (see above).
The focus, at this point, is the incorrect teachings that attempt to speak to what happened in 1948, which teaches that the re-naming of that geographic area, as Israel, is proof of prophetic fulfillment. As the careful Bible student can see, there is NO prophetic support in Ezekiel 28 for what has been stated falsely regarding this verse.
Ezekiel, itself, provides the prophetic evidence against this end-time teaching error, (in verse 26), and it did not fit the situation in 1948 or today.
The Bible does not present unverifable prophecies. It provides a clear message within a prophecy whereby it can be verified by the people witnessing it (as Ezekiel does by providing the critical information in the following (26th) verse).
For the person who travels along the same theological path with those persons who have so misunderstood the New Covenant, he or she eventually must be logically compelled to ask himself or herself, that if these teaching are correct, did Jesus misunderstand the prophecies of Ezekiel ( a profane idea ).
Ezekiel 28:25 -- Under no circumstances in our world can this verse apply to present-day Israel. Even if there had been a massive conversion to Christ there, it would not apply (and it has been seen through the words of Jesus Christ that there will never be an entire -- generational -- conversion of the non-believing Jews to Jesus Christ).
If this sounds confusing, it is because those who promote this misinformation regarding the end-times (including those during the 1800's who inspired it) have made it confusing by attempting to wed together the New Covenant with the Old Covenant.
The Old Covenant and the New Covenant cannot be wedded together. The New Covenant made the Old Covenant OBSOLETE. It is finished!
When a Christian (who desires to teach others) does not understand a thing as theologically as fundamental as this, it takes a while to untangle the theological tangle that has taken place because of the false teaching.
To begin to untangle the tangle, the foundational point must be made. And that is, that the God Who is worshipped by Christians, is not the God of the non-Christian Jews in modern Israel.
The apostles of Jesus, ( who were Jews ) spoke about what it meant for fellow-Jews to have rejected Jesus Christ. This reality explains why Paul said that he felt such sorrow for his kinsmen according to the flesh who would not accept Christ. ( See Romans 9:2-3 - "...that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,..").
The incontrovertible (beyond dispute) point, is that the God of Ezekiel 28:25 is literally the Christian God (this should help focus-in on the serious foundational biblical problem with the claims within the false teaching being examined).
It is the Christian God who is the God of Abraham. The Bible teaches that the same God, who entered human history (Jesus Christ) is the same God who created the world ( see John, Chapter 1 ).
John 1:10 - " He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him..."
Christians are ( regardless of the race the believer comes from ) a descendent of Abraham.
Looking again at Ezekiel 28:25, the "God" Who is being talked about, is Jesus Christ.
To summarize this problem with the incorrect teachings regarding this passage of scripture, is to understand that Ezekiel 28:25 never could have had anything to do with being able to be fulfilled in our world. The only way a Christian is able to view this prophecy is to see it the way, Jesus Christ saw it and revealed it to the apostle John (Ezekiel's prophecy was looking forward to the 1000 year reign of the Israel of God - who are the people under the New Covenant).
It is because, those who continue this false teaching, did not and have not, made the Bible distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant,--
Ezekiel 28:25 has been incorrectly interpretated and this mistake has brought into the world a massive error of teaching regarding present-day Israel and Bible prophecy studies in general.
Take a fresh look at Ezekiel 28:25-26:
Ezek 28:25 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards, and live securely, when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God."'"
The primary thing that these false teachers should have noted was that what happened in 1948, happened after Christ established the NEW Covenant.
At the point of that realization, every Christian who took his/her Bible information seriously should have known that Ezekiel 28:25-26 could not have been speaking of the world that we live in ( And for those readers who like to debate, this site author has no problem with agreeing that what is said above must be true, only if Christianity is true ).
In other words ( for the sake of debate ), IF Christianity is not true AND there has been no New Covenant established by Christ, then and only then could Ezekiel 28:25-26 be looked at as POSSIBLY speaking of these verses being fulfilled in this world as we know it.
Even then, what happened in that area of the world in 1948, did not and has not met the fulfillment critera of Ezekiel 28:25-26. Which brings the issue back to the fact that these teachings under examination provides no biblical basis by which to claim and teach that modern Israel fulfilled Ezekiel 28:25-26.
The point being made when regarding this issue from a "debate" standpoint, is that even stepping back from looking at this examination OUTSIDE the framework of Christianity, Israel today, did not fulfil Ezekiel 28:25-26. This site author is, of course, taking a look at it within the framework that Jesus Christ did, in truth, establish the New Covenant.
Because the apostles of Jesus ( and Jesus, Himself ) taught that the God of Ezekiel is the Christian God and the non-Christian Jews in present-day Israel do not worship Him, the Christian Bible student can state that modern Israel did not, has not and will not fulfil Ezekiel 28:25-26
Within the Christian framework, would modern Israel be able to fufill Ezekiel 28:25-26 if there would be a massive conversion of the non-Christian Jews there, to Christ?
The answer has to be No.
Ezekiel 28:25-26 speaks of a time when God has gathered all His Israel from among whom they are scattered. The only time God is going to gather His Israel is at Christ's return ( see II Thess. Chapter 2 ). There is only ONE Israel of God. The New Covenant is in effect. The Old Covenant is obsolete.
Ezekiel 28:25-26 will be fulfilled under the New Covenant ( which if one is rational and consistent and Christianity is based on truth, it is the only way under the New Covenant, it could be fulfilled (Interestingly enough, that is exactly what is described by John around 70AD). The prophecy is described in Revelation 20.
Ezekiel 28:25-26 is fulfilled AFTER the return of Christ (which, again, is consistent under the New Covenant). When you read the descriptions of what takes place during the 1000 year reign, what is described is an exact parallel with Ezekiel's prophecy.
In His revelation to the apostle John, Jesus supplied the answer to the question regarding the time of the Restoration of Israel; speaking to John about the TIMES AND EPOCHS Ezekiel was talking about.
Jesus Christ revealed to the apostle John that AFTER He returns to put down ALL paganism on earth, He would install a 1000 year Kingdom for the people of God, on earth.
Revelation presents the sequence of these events:
By the time of Revelvation 20:4, Christ will have gathered ALL Israel (all those in the New Covenant) from every corner of the world as II Thessalonians 2 recorded would happen at the Return of Christ - "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our GATHERING together to Him..." - II Thessalonians 2.
At this point in foretold events, Christ has gathered His people out of the world, paganism has been put down, Satan has been locked up for a thousand years and Jesus proclaims that the Israel of God will be provided a Kingdom on earth for a 1000 years.
Here is the testimony of Revelation 20 regarding the 1000 year reign on earth:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
"Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." Revelation 20:6
After a 1000 years of peace, satan is let loose again:
"And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. "Revelation 20:7-9
The prophetic vision of the 1000 year reign that Jesus showed to John, parallels exactly the prophecies of Ezekiel.
Ezek 38:14-16 - "Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, 'On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it? And you will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days that I shall bring you against My land, in order that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.'"
And....Revelation 20:8 -
“…and [Satan] will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.”
Thousands of years before the words in Revelation would take place, Ezekiel had seen God dealing with the unbelievers of Magog:
Ezekiel 39:6 "And I shall send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD. And My holy name I shall make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I shall not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it shall be done, declares the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken.”
Ezekiel had been told by God that he was telling things that would happen in the "last days." Jesus told John that the last days of Satan will be AFTER the end of the 1000 years of the reign of the Israel of God. Revelation 20:10 describes Satan's last days.
~ Both Prophecies Agree ~
Both Ezekiel and John saw prophecies describing the final days of Satan's last opportunity to challenge God. His end is described in, Rev 20:10 -" And the devil who deceived them [beginning after the 1000 year reign] was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
John revealed the only consistent fulfilling of Ezekiel's prophecy within the New Covenant of "My People Israel"
It was reasonable for Jesus to have waited 70 years to tell His first century followers about the times and epochs of the restoration of Israel. The event is not to take place within the present world. The answer to their question fits only in the context of His 1000 year reign.
Jesus Christ claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God and He said that He saw Jerusalem's future. It is clear that He did not see a time of continual peace there. He did not speak of that type of future in our world for Jerusalem.
The words He used as He told of Jerusalem's future in our world, was that it would be trampled down until paganism has its fullness. If Jesus is the Messiah (and I believe that He is), then the prophecy of Ezekiel cannot come true in this world. Life will not be lived in that region as safe and secure as Ezekiel describes (whatever the boundaries of the words, "trodden down" may signify regarding Jerusalem, it clearly does not signify what Ezekiel 28:25-26 describes below):
"'And they will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards, and live securely, when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God."'"
It is Jesus, Himself, who denied 2000 years ago what Hal Lindsey, et al, teaches today.
God warned the world through Peter, that there will be those who do not teach the truth, "... as also in all his [Paul's] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16
"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;" 1 Thessalonians 5:21