AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 9

September 17th, 2018

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 9

September 17, 2018

The abilities of the two witnesses, to carry out the work they have been given the authority to accomplish by the testimony of God, is outlined in Revelation 11:5,6. Please bear in mind that these abilities, according to the Greek text, does not necessarily infer that they will use them. It simply states they have the abilities and authority to use them, if they so desire. The President of the U.S. has the authority and ability to unleash atomic weapons, but he may never choose to do so. It is the fact that he has both the authority, and the ability, to do so, which has kept our enemies from launching them against us.

Revelation 11:5
And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Kenneth Wuest’s translation of this verse gives the best understanding of it I have yet encountered.

Revelation 11:5
And if, as is the case, anyone desires to injure them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and indeed consumes their enemies. And if, as is the case, anyone shall desire to injure them, it is a necessity that in this manner, in the nature of the case, for him to be killed.

The “fire” coming out of their mouth, used as a figure in the Old Testament as “fire” coming out from the lips of a prophet, does not mean literal fire will flow from their lips like a circus flamethrower. I believe this “fire” used in Revelation 12:5 is of the same character as the “fire” from the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet.

It refers to the word of God from their mouths foretelling what terrible fire is to come down upon the enemies of Israel.

Jeremiah 5:14
Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Jeremiah 23:28,29
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. [29] Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

I rather suspect the two witnesses, as prophets located in the Negev with Israel, will be warning their enemies that if they launch weapons of fiery mass destruction again Israel, they will do the same to them. The brimstone and fire that comes down so often from heaven, following the sixth seal, is an unleashing of natural phenomena by God from His creation, and this is the 1260 day period of the testimony of the two witnesses before Armageddon. The two witnesses will, at times, ask God to produce volcanic eruptions in specific areas in response to the actions of Israel’s enemies.

Revelation 11:6
These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

James 5:17-18
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. [18] And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

Just as it was absolutely necessary for Jesus and His first disciples to perform miracles to show they were from the God of Israel so will it be necessary for the two witnesses to do the same to prove they come from the same God. The happenings of verses five and six are limited to 1260 days, according to verse three, so the elimination of rain from the atmosphere will happen in this time period. I suspect the rain will be stopped from Dan to Beersheba, where the armies of Antichrist will be located. However, it may be stopped over the entire earth, or in many selected areas. Also, the future plagues are likely to be made up of earthquakes, famine, and pestilence. It appears God will advise the two witnesses before these plagues occur, then they will pass it on as His word to the occupants of the world. The miracles listed in verse six were actually performed by Moses and Elijah during their lifetimes. In the vast majority of miracles performed by Moses and Elijah, God let them know beforehand what was going to be done to their enemies, and they went and told them the word God had given them. Although some of these things may be as often as “they will,” I suspect most of them will be announcements of what God has told them He is about to do.

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 8

September 10th, 2018

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 8

September 10, 2018

In Parts 1 through 7 an attempt to build a case has been made to show that: (1) The Two Witnesses represent the prophet Elijah and the law giver Moses, (2) They are figuratively representative of the O.T. Assembly of Israel and the local N.T. Assemblies (Churches) of this present age, (3) They are real flesh and blood men, (4) The N.T. Churches are linked to Elijah through John the Baptist, who preached in the spirit of Elijah, and the Assembly of Israel is linked to Moses, who gave them the Law, the first five books of the Old Testament, and (5) John was the Elijah only to those who believed his message that the Messiah had arrived, and the kingdom was at hand. A case has been made to show that one of the two witnesses will preach in the spirit of Elijah, with the same message of repentance that John preached to Israel, a message of repentance. Sackcloth, the garment of repentance, will be the dress of both witnesses.

Revelation 11:3
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

I believe the man preaching in the spirit of Elijah will go into the Negev wilderness with the one-third of Israel that survives the future attack from the north, and that most of them will eventually believe his testimony, and he will become their Elijah.

Malachi 4:5
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

When the religious leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John if he was Elijah, he answered the question directly, saying, “I am not?” He did not lie, for they did not believe his message concerning the Messiah. He was the Elijah only to those who received his message by believing it. Jesus made this spiritual distinction clear in Luke 11:13-15. Only men and women who received John’s message possessed spiritual ears.

Matthew 11:13-15
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. [14] And IF ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. [15] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Since all Israel is still in unbelief, a second Elijah will be sent to them during the last 1260 days before the final battle of Armageddon.

Romans 11:32
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

II Corinthians 3:15-17
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. [16] Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. [17] Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Immediately after the transformation, where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, in answer to a query based on what the unbelieving scribes had stated concerning the coming of Elijah, indicated that their Elijah would eventually come and “restore all things.” John did not “restore all things” during his ministry, so Jesus must be referring to the Messiah of unbelieving Israel, who is yet to come.

Matthew 17:10,11
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? [11] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

The restoring, or restitution, of all things will not come to pass until the Second Advent of Jesus, which is still in our future, and will be the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord among Israel. At the present time the Messiah of Israel has been received up into heaven until the times of restitution of all things occurs, which will being in the times of refreshing. Most of Israel will turn to the Lord in the Negev wilderness, and their sins will be blotted out. I believe the message to be preached by the two witnesses is found in Acts 3:17-21.

Acts 3:17-21
And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. [19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Acts 2:19-21
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: [20] The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: [21] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 7

September 4th, 2018

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 7

September 4, 2018

It has been established in Parts 1 through 6 that John came and preached in the spirit of Elijah, and was the Elijah for any who believed his message. It was proven that John was the messenger sent to announce the Seed who was the messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ. It was shown that John and Jesus both preached for Israel to repent, because the kingdom was at hand. But Israel as a nation rejected the message of John and of Jesus. It was clearly stated that if they did not heed their message, the land of Israel would be smitten by a curse. They did not heed it, and the Lord smote the land with a curse. It was a warning that Jesus taught in a parable picturing Israel as a fig tree.

Malachi 4:5,6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a CURSE.

The word used for “earth” is “erets,” which in most cases is translated as “land.” Israel would not repent and turn to the Messiah, so the land was cursed and they were plucked up out of it.

Luke 13:5-9
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. [6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The certain man is the Father, the vineyard is the world into which Israel was supposed to spread the promise of a Messianic Seed through Abraham, the fig tree is Israel, and the dresser of the vineyard is the Messiah. Jesus was “journeying toward Jerusalem” at the time he gave this parable of the fig tree. He had labored for three years to see fruit produced by the fig tree in repentance and the receiving him as the Messiah, but had found none. He was soon to be cut off in the extra year, the fourth year, he had requested. And because of the rejection the fig tree Israel dried up under a curse, and was cut off from the land.

Mark 11:12-14
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: [13] And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. [14] And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

Mark 11:19-21
And when even was come, he went out of the city. [20] And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. [21] And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou CURSEDST is withered away.

As the Son of God, he knew there would be no figs on the tree. He used it for an example of what was going to be done to Israel because of their rejection of his message. A day passed between the time the fig tree was cursed, and the time it withered away. It was some 40 years from the time of his rejection until Israel withered away, and was carried from the land. Their temple became spiritually desolate when they rejected him, and physically desolate when Titus destroyed it and carried Israel into captivity.

Matthew 23:37-39
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. [39] For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Luke 21:24
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

The leaves of Israel were still green when they crucified him, but as he spoke to the women of Jerusalem, who were weeping as they followed him to cross, he warned them that the day was coming for their children when Israel would dry up, and be carried away.

Luke 23:28-31
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [29] For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. [30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. [31] For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Israel is showing leaves again, but still has no fruit.

HOW LARGE IS THE ANTICHRIST’S KINGDOM?

August 31st, 2018

How Large is the Antichrist’s Kingdom?

January 25, 2002

August 31, 2018

Virtually all prophetic teachers of today are certain that the kingdom of antichrist will cover “all the earth,” or “the whole world,” or “wherever men dwell,” or “the face of the whole earth,” or “all that dwell upon the earth,” or “the earth and them which dwell therein,” or “throughout the whole world,” or “in all the world,” or “Asia and the whole world, etc.” They may be correct, and I am prepared for such an event, but I really believe his kingdom will only affect those sections of the world known to the inhabitants of Israel when John wrote the Book of Revelation. Before I make my case in Scripture, please consider the following:

USE OF THE HYPERBOLE IN PROPHECY

THE WORD HYPERBOLE COMES FROM THE GREEK – IT MEANS “TO DELIBERATELY THROW OUTSIDE OR INSIDE A MARKED LINE FOR EFFECT, MAKING THE AREA LARGER OR SMALLER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS, EXAGGERATION FOR EFFECT, NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY, EXAGGERATING OR DIMISHING BEYOND THE FACT, EXCEEDING THE TRUTH.” IT IS USED AT TIMES IN PROPHECY TO IDENTIFY A SMALL AREA AS ONE THAT IS MUCH LARGER. IT IS NOT A LIE BECAUSE THE HEARER OR READER IS ACQUAINTED WITH THE USE OF HYPERBOLE AS AN EXAGGERATED STATEMENT. THE EXPRESSIONS “THE WHOLE EARTH, ALL THE WORLD, WHERESOEVER MEN SHALL DWELL ON THE EARTH, ETC. ARE, AT TIMES, NOT REFERRING TO THE ENTIRE SURFACE OF THE EARTH FROM POLE TO POLE, AND AROUND THE 360 DEGREE EQUATOR. I BELIEVE THIS HAS CAUSED MANY TO EXAGGERATE THE SIZE AND STRENGTH OF THE FINAL EMPIRE OF ANTICHRIST. GOD USES THE HYPERBOLE QUITE OFTEN THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE.

Daniel 8:5,21,22
[5] And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
[21] And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. [22] Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

(And yet we know that the Empire of Alexander did not stretch across the FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH)

Daniel 2:32-34,38,39
[32] This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, [33] His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. [34] Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
[38] And WHERESOEVER THE CHILDREN OF MEN DWELL, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler OVER THEM ALL. Thou art this head of gold. [39] And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule OVER ALL THE EARTH.

(And yet we know that the Babylonian Empire did not extend WHERESOEVER THE CHILDREN OF MEN DWELL, and we know that Alexander’s Empire did not bear rule OVER ALL THE EARTH as we know it today)

In these next verses we are going to see how God means for us to be able to delineate between the whole world as we know it today, and the whole world as it was known in prophetic times. We are certain the fourth beast was the Roman Empire, and we know it did not dominate the whole world as we know it today. However, we know for certain that Christ’s coming kingdom will dominate the whole earth as we do know it today. So when we see the expression UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, we can say it represents the earth as we know it today.

Daniel 7:3,23-27,11-14
[3] And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
[23] Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour THE WHOLE EARTH, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. [24] And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. [25] And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. [26] But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. [27] And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
[11] I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. [12] As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. [13] I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. [14] And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Now, as you read the expressions describing the size of the antichrist’s kingdom in Revelation, go back and forth to Daniel and compare his expressions concerning the world coverage of those kingdoms with John’s expressions of world coverage in Revelation.

Revelation 13:1,2,5-12,16,17
[1] And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. [2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
[5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. [6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. [7] And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over ALL kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [8] And ALL THAT DWELL UPON THE EARTH shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. [9] If any man have an ear, let him hear. [10] He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. [11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. [12] And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth THE EARTH AND THEM WHICH DWELL THEREIN to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
[16] And he causeth ALL, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that NO man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelation 17:12-18
[12] And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. [13] These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. [14] These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. [15] And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. [16] And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. [17] For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. [18] And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.

Please note that both Daniel and John, when referring to the world as we know it today, used expressions marking it as being “under the whole heaven,” or “from one end of heaven to the other,” or “the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”

Daniel 7:27 + Matthew 24:31 + Mark 13:27
[27] And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
[31] And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, FROM ONE END OF HEAVEN TO THE OTHER.
[27] And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the UTTER-MOST PART OF THE EARTH TO THE UTTER-MOST PART OF HEAVEN.

Romans 1:8 + Colossians 1:5,6 + Acts 19:27 + 24:5
[8] First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.
[5] For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; [6] Which is come unto you, as it is IN ALL THE WORLD; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
[27] So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom ALL ASIA AND THE WORLD WORSHIPPETH.
[5] For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

Revelation 12:9,17
[9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth THE WHOLE WORLD: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
[17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Daniel 2:39-44
[39] And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule OVER ALL THE EARTH. [40] And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. [41] And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be DIVIDED; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. [42] And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be PARTLY strong, and PARTLY broken. [43] And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall MINGLE themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not CLEAVE one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. [44] And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

This final kingdom of antichrist does not sound like a kingdom that dominates the whole world as we know it today. It is to be a kingdom partly strong, and partly broken, and the individual parts don’t cleave together very well. It sounds like a bunch of the descendents of Ishmael, the six sons of Keturah, and the two sons of Lot mingling their blood lines together to form the Islamic world Israel now faces. They certainly have never gotten along with Israel, and they cannot get along with each other. But they will come together as a rag-tail empire to attempt to destroy Israel. I really believe most of the believers in this world are going to be waiting for an antichrist that will dominate every nation on this earth, and I don’t believe it will happen. He will arise in Syria, lead 10 Islamic nations against Israel, control the area once dominated by the Old Roman Empire, and that will fulfill all the prophecies written about him as dominating “all the world.” This has far reaching implications if I am right, such as the mark of the beast only being put on those sections where the Old Roman Empire once stood.

I suspect a lot of believers won’t recognize him as being the antichrist because he does not take over the whole world as we know it today. In any case, I realize he may dominate the whole world as we know it today, so I am prepared for that possibility, and will simply gulp and swallow a lot of crow if I am wrong.

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 6

August 28th, 2018

AN EXPOSITION OF THE TWO WITNESSES – PART 6

August 28, 2018

In Parts 1 through 5, I presented a case to show that: (1) The two witnesses of Revelation 11:3 are two flesh and blood men who preach in the Spirit by which Moses and Elijah proclaimed God’s word, (2) They represent the Assembly of Israel, who dispensed the Old Testament Word and its Law by the Spirit, and the local called out Assemblies of Christ known as churches, who dispense the Word by the Spirit in the New Testament Law of Liberty in Jesus, (3) John the Baptist was, and is, the spiritual Elijah for all who believe his message that Jesus was, and is, the Messiah, and (4) Israel rejected the gospel message of both John and Jesus, for which they have paid a terrible price. The price that they have paid has been under a curse associated with them as the fig tree of God. Luke quotes Malachi 4:5,6 in Luke 1:16,17, and gives us an inspired interpretation of the “heart of the children to the fathers,” in order that we will not be led to understand it as our immediate families. Malachi is referring to the need for the children of Israel to turn back to the faith of their forefathers, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, David, etc.

Malachi 4:5,6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and THE HEART OF THE CHILDREN TO THE FATHERS, lest I come and SMITE the earth (erets – land) with a CURSE.

Luke 1:16,17
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and THE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WISDOM OF THE JUST to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke interprets “the heart of the children to the fathers” to mean a turning of repenting hearts of “the disobedient to the wisdom of the just” that justified their forefathers. John came to turn the disobedient children of Israel in his lifetime to repent of their ways and turn back to the faith of their fathers in Messiah. It was a cry to be made “just” by repentance, and thereafter live by faith. It is this sort of faith that is to be passed down from generation to generation.

Romans 1:17 – For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The JUST shall live by faith.

The souls of the generation of John’s day had lifted up their own works to justify themselves, and would not live by faith in God’s promise of a seed, for the righteousness they possessed was self-righteousness.

Habakkuk 2:4
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the JUST shall live by his faith.

Their faith was not in the promised seed of Genesis 3:15, which was reaffirmed through Abraham in 22:18.

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Galatians 3:16,6,7,26
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [6] Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. [7] Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. [26] For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

John came preaching repentance, because the seed had come, and the kingdom was at hand.

Matthew 3:1,2
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, [2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Seed came preaching repentance in reaction to the gospel, because the kingdom was at hand.

Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The nation of Israel rejected the message of the Seed and of John, and God smote the land of Israel with the curse of Malachi 4:6.

Lord willing, I will cover the curse in Part 7.