|God bless you Brethren,
today we'll have a lesson in geography and history as
well as some revelation of what Jesus is doing now.
Acts 1:9-13, "While they beheld, Jesus was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, two men dressed in white stood by and said, 'You men of Galilee, (the disciples were men of Galilee, NOT Judea), why stand gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, shall return in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven'.
(In other words, the Sign of Christ's parousia Coming would be the Shekinah in the form of a Supernatural Cloud just like the Cloud of glory which received Him up into heaven. And It was. This Sign was fulfilled over Arizona on February 28, 1963).
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount of Olives, which was a sabbath day's journey. And when they'd entered the city they went into an upper room, where they'd abide indefinitely till they received the Promise of the new birth. Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James".
Galilee means "Circuit". Under Rome it applied to a large province although it was originally confined to a little "circuit" of country around Kedesh-Naphtali (north-east of the Sea of Galilee), in which were situated the twenty towns Solomon gave to Hiram king of Tyre as payment for his work in conveying timber from Lebanon to Jerusalem (I Kings 9:11).
In the time of our Lord all Palestine was divided into three provinces: Judea, Samaria and Galilee (Luke 17:11; Acts 9:31). The latter included the whole northern section of the country, including the ancient territories of Issachar, Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali. Its western boundary was the territory of Ptolemais that probably included the whole plain of Akka to the foot of Carmel. The southern border ran along the base of Carmel and the hills of Samaria to Mount Gilboa, and then descended the valley of Jezreel to the Jordan. The river Jordan, the Sea of Galilee and the upper Jordan to the fountain at Dan, formed the eastern border; and the northern border ran from Dan westward across the mountain ridge till it touched the territory of the Phoenicians.
Galilee was divided into two sections, "Lower" and "Upper." Lower Galilee included the great plain of Esdraelon with its offshoots, which run down to the Jordan and the Lake of Tiberias, and the hill-country adjoining it on the north to the foot of the mountain range. It was thus one of the richest and most beautiful sections of Palestine. Upper Galilee embraced the whole mountain range lying between the upper Jordan and Phoenicia. To this region the name "Galilee of the Gentiles" is given in both the Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:15-16).
In 732BC Tiglath Pileser III annexed Galilee to the Assyrian province of Meggido which lends its name to the soon-coming final battle. It seems improbable that the whole population of Galilee was deported, as the ancient rulers were keen to have agricultural production continue and to tax revenues.
Galilee was conquered by John Hyrcanus (175-104BC) and included in Jewish territory. Under pressure from Egyptian and Roman invaders, national patriotism developed rapidly and it became as intensively Jewish as Jerusalem itself. The Province of Galilee was actually a part of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. I'll warrant you've never considered that before now.
The greater part of Jesus' private life and public acts took place within the borders of Galilee. The first three Gospels are chiefly taken up with our Lord's ministrations in this province, while the Gospel of John dwells more upon those in Judea.
With the possible exception of Judas Iscariot (meaning Judas, a man from Kerioth, a village in southern Judah), the disciples were doubtless natives of this fertile area. At that time, Galilee was inhabited by a mixed population. There were Judeans, grafted no doubt on a substratum of Israelites, Syrians and Canaanites. There was the cultivated class inhabiting the Greek cities, and the military representatives of Rome.
Yet it was the common people who heard Jesus gladly, and doubtless these Israelites in the villages of Samaria and Galilee were more receptive to the His Message than they of Judea where Jesus feared to walk openly among the Jews (John 11:54). The Province of Judea took in Samaria, but we noted, Galilee was excluded.
In Judea, the Galileans were looked down upon. Nathanael said to Philip, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth" (John 1:46)? The Pharisees said, "This people who know not the Law are cursed". And when Nicodemus stood up for impartial justice they said, 'Are you also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee comes no prophet' (John 7:49-52)."
Galilaeans spoke a dialect of Aramean differing from the dialects used in Samaria and Judea which betrayed Peter when he endeavored to deny his discipleship. Matthew 26:73, "And those who stood by came to Peter and said, 'Surely you're also one of them; for your speech betrays you'."
When "Jesus cast out a dumb spirit, the man who'd been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed" but the Pharisees accused him of casting the demon out by the prince of demons, Beelzebub," (lord of the house), a Philistine god of Ekron, 25 miles west of Jerusalem (Luke 11:14).
Like the Sadducees, the Pharisees were initially a political party but became a religious party among the Jews. The word means "separated". The chief sects among the Jews were the Pharisees (or Formalists), the Sadducees (or Freethinkers), and the Essenes (or Puritans).
Christ's teaching was in some respects thoroughly antagonistic to that of the Pharisees whom He denounced in the bitterest language, calling them self-righteous hypocrites who sought their own power and glory, and were in the lineage of Cain who was Serpent's seed (Matthew 15; 23). To understand the Pharisees is by contrast an aid to understanding the spirit of uncorrupted Christianity.
1. The fundamental principle of Pharisaism common among all modern orthodox Jews, is that alongside the written Law, an oral law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai that explains It, and transmitted by him by word of mouth. The first portion of the Talmud, called the Mishna or "second Law", and codified by about AD200, contains this oral law. It's a digest of the Jewish traditions and a compendium of the whole ritual law that was completed about AD500, and which came at length to be esteemed far above the sacred text although it must be the most lewd literature in print.
This Tradition or Talmudic Judaism, was very different to the true religion of the Old Testament. The late Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, who was chief Rabbi of the United States, stated clearly. "The return from Babylon, and the adoption of the Babylonian Talmud, marks the end of Hebrewism, and the beginning of Judaism."
2. While it was Jesus' aim to call men to the Law of God Itself as life's supreme guide, the Pharisees on pretense of maintaining It intact, multiplied minute precepts and distinctions to the extent that the whole life of the Israelite was hemmed in and burdened on every side by instructions so numerous and trifling that the Law was Itself lost sight of.
Innumerable instances of these "traditions of men" may be found in the Mishna. Such as the washings before they could eat bread, and the special minuteness with which the forms of this washing were prescribed; their bathing upon returning from market; washings of cups, pots, or brazen vessels; their twice weekly fastings (Luke 18:12); their tithings; and, finally the minute and vexatious extensions to the law of the Sabbath, converting God's gracious ordinance of rest into a burden (Matthew 12:1-13).
It was a leading aim of Christ to teach that true piety consisted not of forms, but in substance, not in outward observances, but in an inward spirit. The whole system of the Pharisaic piety led to exactly the opposite conclusions. The Pharisees sought mainly to attract attention and excite the admiration of men (Matthew 6) and the whole spirit of their religion is summed up, not in confession of sin and in humility, but in a proud self-righteousness at variance with any true conception of man's relation to either God or his fellow creatures.
4. Despite their pretense to piety, they were in reality sensual, avaricious and dissolute (Matthew 23:25; John 8:7). They looked with contempt upon every nation but their own when Israel was charged to be a vessel of God's grace, "a Light to the Gentiles" Luke 10:29; John 7:49). Finally, instead of endeavoring to fulfill the great end of the dispensation whose truths they professed to teach, thus bringing men to the Hope of Israel, they devoted their energies to making converts to their own denominational views, who with all the zeal of proselytes were more exclusive and bitterly opposed to the truth than they themselves (Matthew 22:15).
5. Under Rome the Pharisees secured popular favor and political influence, obtaining a majority in the Sanhedrin under the Herods. In the time of Jesus they were themselves divided by doctrine into several schools, among which those of Hillel and Shammai were the most noted.
6. They believed in a future state and in "a divine Providence acting side by side with the free will of man" (Schaff).
7. Josephus says they lived frugally, and many, such as Nicodemus, Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathaea and Paul were upright and pure.
In the Gospel accounts it is clear that among these claiming to be true Israel, who continually set themselves against the Lord, were the rejected Edomite line. Their king was an Edomite and the land was called Idumea. The remnant of Judah, Benjamin and Levi which returned from Babylonian captivity had sometimes married among the Canaanites with whom Esau intermarried, and according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia (1905 Edition), "Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees and the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view."
Small wonder our Lord said "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourself" (Matthew 23:15). Esau/Edom well knew what they purposed when they plotted Jesus' murder, for He'd exposed their fraudulent claims to Jacob/Israel's blessing.
No study of the "end times" is complete without considering these people, for throughout history Esau has conspired to undermine all institutions that stand as pillars of stability and truth. They've undermined the Bible, fomented unrest and revolution, encouraged drug-taking and sponsored miscegenation, debased the curricula for education, perverted history, destroyed culture and the morals of entire generations striving for world dominion. By their insidious ways they would fain be victims of injustice and persecution, and multitudes are deceived by their propaganda when in fact they are the perpetrators of these evils. Yes, upon their own kind.
Examples of this duplicity and plotting are seen clearly in their apparent opposition to Communism; to Nazism and the Roman Catholic Church, all of which Scripture says, is Esau at work, striving to destroy Jacob to obtain world dominion. Esau is committed to world tyranny and enslavement while Jacob-Israel, is ordained to bring the true Light of God in Christ to whosoever will receive It among all nations of Adam's fallen sons.
Esau and his family left Canaan and went to live in Seir among the Horites whose name vanished to be replaced by that of Edomite. The Horites were kinsmen of the Amalekites after whom Eliphaz, the son of Esau, named his son. The Amalekites were the cause of the first war waged by Israel and it is of singular importance to note that the Lord God Almighty swore that "Because theirs is a hand against the throne of the Lord. He will war with Amalek from generation to generation" (Exodus 17:16). Or until Esau ends the days of man and the day of the Lord ushers in the age of Jacob-Israel, which will be the Millennium.
The Edomite Jews are intent on exterminating Israel. According to Matthew 24:9-13 and Revelation 6:11; 14; 15 many will become Roman Catholic and be complicit in the murder of the 144,000 Israelites. We're going study some prophecy that's about to be fulfilled.
In Genesis 32:3 Jacob sent messengers to Esau his brother ". . . unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom." Deuteronomy 2:5 confirms Mount Seir was given to Esau for a possession, and Scripture says, "Esau is Edom."
Edom bordered Palestine and in Ezekiel 35, God says, "Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it, saying, Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, O mount Seir, I am against you, and I will stretch out My hand against you, and make you most desolate and flatten your cities..."
The reason is in verse 5: "Because you've had perpetual enmity for Jacob/Israel, and delivered them to the sword when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem" (Ezekiel 25:12-14; 36:5). God said in Genesis 3:15 that He would put "enmity between the seed of the Serpent and the seed of Adam." That enmity motivated Edom in Ezekiel's day. It was their motivation in the days of Christ, and it's obvious today for those with eyes to see.
As Edom was intent on putting Israel to the sword, God will have his blood. "As I live, I will prepare you for slaughter, and since you could not bear to live without bloodshed, bloodshed shall pursue you. I'll make mount Seir desolate, killing all who escape and those who return. And I'll fill his mountains, hills, valleys, and all his rivers with Edomites slain with the sword. I will make Edom perpetual desolations, your cities shall never be rebuilt and you shall know that I am the LORD." (The Sovereign Ruler calling forth loyalty and obedient service).
This chapter does not relate entirely to the days of Jerusalem's defeat by Nebuchadnezzar and later Titus. It speaks of the coming destruction of this world in Armageddon, for Edom rules the world today. You'll see the link to Ezekiel 35:6-9 in Isaiah 63:1-6:
"Who is this coming from Edom, in crimson-stained garments from the city of Bozrah? Glorious in His apparel, striding triumphantly in the greatness of his strength?
"It is I Who speaks in righteousness, mighty to save, vindicating My Own Word".
"Why are your clothes red like one who treads out grapes?"
"I've trodden the winepress alone. No one was there to help Me. In my wrath I've trodden My foe like grapes; In My fury I've trampled My foes. It's their blood you see on My clothes, and I will stain all My raiment.
For the time has come to avenge My people, and to redeem them from the hands of their oppressors. I looked but no one came to help them; I was amazed and appalled that no one should support truth and right. So My Own arm brought victory, and My wrath sustained Me. I trod down the heathen in My anger, and made them drink the cup of My wrath until intoxicated, and I spilled their lifeblood on the ground."
There will be a sacrifice of slaughter upon the earth in the last days. Symbolically, Christ will be sprinkled with the blood of the guilty as Aaron and his sons were sprinkled with the blood of the innocent victims (Exodus 29:21; 40:15).
The same image is found in Revelation 14:14-20 and 19:11-21, "and His Name is called 'The Word of God'."
Ezekiel 35:10, "Because you've said, 'Israel and Judah and their countries shall be mine, and we will take possession. We care not that the Lord is there'."
Godless Esau/Edom cares nought for the faithfulness of God and His covenant with Jacob/Israel. He's determined to enslave the people and steal their possessions.
Ezekiel 35:11, "Therefore as I live, says the Lord GOD, I'll repay the anger and envy expressed by your enmity for Israel; and honor My Name among the elect of Israel by My punishment of Edom."
(Esau/Edom recognized that the desolation of the land was due to Jacob/Israel's sin, calling to remembrance Jacob's injury to Esau, but forgetting God's Covenant and His grace. He will punish Israel but He will also punish Edom, and reveal Himself to Israel through their judgment.
Now I don't want you casting your mind back into history when God destroyed Edom, because Ezekiel's looking forward to the time when God will bring the 144,000 to the new birth (chapter 36), and when He'll slay the multitude of Edom who attack Israel -- chapter 38).
Ezekiel 35:12, "Then Edom shall know that I am Sovereign, and that I've heard the blasphemies they've spoken against the mountains of Israel (contrasted with the mountains of Seir), saying, 'Israel is desolate, they are given us to consume'.
In so-saying you've boasted against Me, and I've heard every Word. Thus saith the Lord GOD; 'When the whole earth rejoices, I'll make Esau/Edom desolate. As you rejoiced when the inheritance of Israel was made desolate, so will I rejoice at your destruction, O mount Seir, and all Edom. Then you shall know that I am the LORD'."
When the Gentile dispensation closes, "He who is filthy shall be filthy still" (Revelation 22:11). Esau/Edom is doomed because God is only dealing with natural Jacob/Israel in the Promised Land.
Romans 11:15, "If the casting away of Israel was the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?"
When God blesses Israel, all nations of the world shall be blessed (Genesis 18:18; Galatians 3:8). When God turns back to Israel in the day of vengeance, the first resurrection will commence, and with it, the manifestation of the Sons of God. Vindicated Word.
Romans 8:19, 22-25, "The earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. . . For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the full adoption which is the redemption of our body. For we're saved with this hope: but hope, the object of which is seen, is not hope: for how can one hope for what he already sees? But we hope for what is yet unseen, and patiently await it with confidence."
The whole world of creation rejoices therefore at the prospect of the Feast of Tabernacles after the 144,000 Israelites receive the revelation of their Atonement, prior to their martyrdom for this will be a rejoicing of the whole earth returning to Eden.
These things take place at the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet at the dispensation change. Revelation 12:12, "Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time."
Revelation 18:20, "Rejoice over Rome heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets; for God has avenged you on her."
Revelation 19:7, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready."
Deuteronomy 32:43, "Rejoice with His people you Gentile saints, for He will avenge the blood of His servant nation, and inflict vengeance on His enemies, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people."
When all that bears the name of Edom is subjected to "Cherem", or utter destruction for the glory of God's holiness, the world shall rejoice as Edom rejoiced at Israel's fall, when they imagined they foresaw an opportunity whereby they might steal the birthright or inheritance of Israel. This new rejoicing has to do with Israel's restoration, and Edom's destruction.
Because Edom was included in the Jewish community, Idumeans formed most of the nation, and in Jesus' day, Judah's kings were Idumean. But Edom is a type, and symbolic not literal -- Edom today controls the world by the money power, their United Nations, and Communism.
"Edom" means "red". Brother Branham said red signifies bloodshed, royalty, sin, prostitution and danger. According to the Cabala, red signifies justice for the Jew (The Jewish Encyclopedia (1905), Vol. IV, p. 178). The name "Rothschild" means "red shield", hence the Communists have a red flag and "Gog" is associated with Jewry.
Christ's parousia to Israel will be the dissolution of the Jewish nation, represented here by Edom and Seir. For Rome will break her Agreement with the Jews; forcing the mark of the beast. Most Jews in Israel will become Catholic.
God raised Communism to destroy the false church as He raised Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Israel. After the midst of Daniel's Seventieth Week when Rome breaks the agreement she will make with the Jews, their Communism will blow the Vatican off the map.
Now prove these things in
your own Bibles. By God's grace, we'll follow the trail
of the Serpent a little further more next week. Please
pray for me and for each other. bb981021.htm
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