As most of you long-time readers are well aware, we at Tomorrow’s World have for many years been preaching the good news of God’s coming Kingdom, and warning the Western nations that unless they repent of their increasingly godless and immoral ways, God will judge them severely.
Among these, the tiny modern nation of Israel—the modern-day descendant of ancient Judah—is no exception. Indeed, to the degree that the Jewish state identifies itself as a nation striving to obey the God of Israel, it should be especially clear that they have, if anything, a greater responsibility than the non-Israelite nations to exemplify biblical and moral values to the rest of the world.
Yet modern-day Israel is one of the most morally lax nations on our planet, hardly distinguishable from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and other Israelite-descended nations in utterly rejecting the values on which these countries were founded.
Scripture reveals that when the Messiah returns, He will make Jerusalem the capital of the world. Repentant Israelites will serve the King of kings, who will be assisted by the apostles ruling under Him over each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). We look forward to that glorious day when all nations will keep the Feast of Tabernacles and “come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 14:17).
But Scripture also warns of difficult times before Christ’s return. Bible prophecy reveals that Jerusalem will be subjugated by an outside government and military force (Luke 21:20). God revealed to the Apostle John this shocking but sure prophecy regarding Jerusalem: “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months’” (Revelation 11:1–2).
Why would God allow Gentiles to take over Jerusalem? Israel must examine itself with regard to the Ten Commandments and its national behaviors. Has modern Israel fulfilled its responsibility to the entire world? These standards apply to the American and British-descended peoples as well as to the modern nation of Israel. Unless these peoples acknowledge and repent of their immorality, God will powerfully punish and correct them. To avert prophesied destruction, there must be a significant revival in seeking God nationally and individually.
Bible prophecy reveals that religious and political powers will greatly influence developments in modern-day Israel. A great false prophet will deceive billions, even performing miracles such as calling down fire from heaven (Revelation 13:13–14). The prophesied “Beast” power will conquer nations and will ultimately even fight Christ at His return (Revelation 17:11–18)! Remember that “the prince” who will “destroy the city and the sanctuary” was the Roman leader who fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:26) in 70ad. He was a type of the end-time Beast power that will facilitate the Jewish renewal of animal sacrifices with a seven-year agreement (a prophetic “week”) or “covenant”—but, after three-and-a-half years, he will cause these sacrifices to cease. The New International Version states it this way: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ [a prophetic week]. In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).
Jesus told us to watch for the end-time abomination: “‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains’” (Matthew 24:15–16). Matthew, the gospel writer, emphasized the importance that we all “understand”! The Apostle Paul described this future “man of sin… who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
So, dear readers, as I urge you in my article on page 18 of this issue, be sure to watch the Middle East! Current conditions for peace between Israel and the Palestinian unity government indicate that only external pressure will bring about a temporary rapprochement. In fact, Pope Francis hosted a “prayer summit” on June 8 for the leaders of both groups. The Washington Post reported: “Pope Francis brought together the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Sunday at the Vatican to join in prayer and promise to seek peace—though their governments are officially not talking. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas concluded the two-hour ceremony by kissing each other on the cheek and then planting an olive tree, gestures intended to signal a commitment to trying to end one of the longest-running, most intractable conflicts in the world” (June 8, 2014).
Pope Francis’ diplomatic gestures remind us that one key aspect of the Middle East conflict is the tension between different religious faiths. In his thoughtful article “Anathema,” on page 11 of this issue, Mr. Dexter Wakefield points out the sad irony that today’s “mainstream Christian” community typically rejects as heretical those very Christians who hold fast to the original beliefs of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles.
Indeed, as Editor in Chief Roderick C. Meredith explains in his article on page 5 of this issue, the vast majority of those who profess to worship Jesus Christ are in fact practicing a humanly invented religion that in some areas teaches the exact opposite of what Christ Himself taught! Dear readers, you need to be sure that you are following the teachings of the true Jesus Christ! Study your Bible and prove for yourself that Jesus taught the very same practices that we at Tomorrow’s World are striving to restore. This includes observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, following Jesus’ example, as brought out by British writer John Meakin in his “Why the Seventh-Day Sabbath?” article on page 16 of this issue. It includes the “annual Sabbaths”—the seven Festival observances that God gave to His people, ancient Israel, which Jesus Christ and His Apostles observed and taught others to observe—and which still have meaning for “spiritual Israel” today, revealing to us the very Plan of God! And it includes the sincere effort to live by the truth—as delineated by the Ten Commandments—through the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which true Christians receive after repentance and baptism.
Dear reader, God has allowed most people in this present age to be blinded by Satan (Revelation 12:9). But if you are reading and understanding what we are sharing with you in this magazine, He may be calling you to be one of the “firstfruits” who will respond to His message in this present age. I pray that you will not neglect that call!