Ok friends, as I indicated yesterday, there is method to my madness. As we head toward the weekend, I want to transport you to a weekend over 2,000 years ago. That weekend changed history…and I hope this weekend blesses you immensely as we finish our tour rewind by focusing on that weekend.
To start our weekend journey, I’m inviting you to enter into a study we shared on the Mount of Olives. I’m praying incredible truths from God’s Word come to life for you as I do my best to “put you in the picture” with us. So, only one site is featured today: the Mount of Olives.
Technically speaking, the Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge running north-south, composed of three peaks: Mount Scopus, Olivet and Mount of Scandal. (See pictures and read more about that here.) From Olivet, we enjoyed great views of the Kidron Valley and Temple Mount from the vantage point Jesus often had.
One such instance comes immediately to mind. It was while seated with a few of His disciples in this area where Jesus looked across the Kidron Valley toward the gleaming Temple and told His disciples “not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 24:2). (You will find pictures of those torn down stones here.) He went on to answer their questions regarding signs of the end times.
We picked up on that idea in our teaching time. Are we approaching the time Jesus described to His disciples? We looked to the feasts of Israel to give us context. Passover (Jesus becoming our sacrificial Lamb), Feast of Unleavened Bread (Jesus, the sinless One, pierced, bruised and striped for our sins), Feast of First Fruits (Jesus’ resurrection from the dead to give us new life), and Pentecost (giving of the Holy Spirit and birth of the church) have already been fulfilled!
Next on God’s calendar is the Feast of Trumpets.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.~1 Thessalonians 4:16 [emphasis mine]
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.~1 Corinthians 15:51-52 [emphasis mine]
Indeed, the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled at the rapture…the next thing on God’s calendar! But, now let’s couple that idea with God’s key covenants with His people!
God made a covenant with Abraham, promising land and descendants…and that Abraham and His descendants would bless the entire world. (Genesis 12:3) That blessing is salvation! Yet, we need a tutor to reveal to us our need for salvation. Thus, God made a covenant with Moses. It was the covenant of law, and no one is able to keep it. It’s purpose is to show us how we fail to meet the standards of a righteous God. We need help. We need a Savior!
Thus, in Jeremiah 31:27-34, God promised a new covenant with His people. He would give them a new heart! He provided salvation, a tutor, and a means of entering into that salvation! Then, He went a step further. As we studied while in Caesarea, God offered that same salvation to the Gentiles! (Read the account in Acts 10.)
But, just as we are awaiting fulfillment of the next Jewish feast, we are also awaiting fulfillment of the next great covenant…the Davidic Covenant! In 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 (NKJV), God promises to establish an eternal kingdom. He calls it “My house” and “My kingdom,” and He says it is forever! A descendant of David…a King…is coming!
Sitting right there on the Mount of Olives, we turned our attention to the coming of that King! The prophet Zechariah prophesied:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!~Zechariah 9:9
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Now, put yourself in the picture. You’re sitting on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Kidron Valley, seeing Temple Mount on the other side. Zechariah said the king would come riding on a donkey. (That is clearly a reference to His first coming, as He comes on a white horse in His Second Coming!) Indeed, the King came, but somehow the people missed Him!
Read Luke 19:28-38:
After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. 37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting:
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Indeed, while descending the Mount of Olives, riding on a donkey, the people hailed Him as King! Yet, something happened. Just a few verses later, as He was approaching Jerusalem, we read:
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”~Luke 19:41-44
The people hailed Him as king, believing Him to be the one who would rescue them from Roman oppression, yet Jesus said, “…you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” They did not see Him as Messiah.
Jesus’ response was an anguished lament, recorded in Matthew 23:37-39:
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Jesus, a gentleman, never forces Himself on anyone. Thus, He lamented the fact that, though He longed to gather them unto Himself, they were unwilling, and desolation would come. But He promised to see them again when they invite Him back!
Thus, throughout history, we have seen the Jews face desolation. But God is not done with them yet! He is waiting for His invitation to return. When the invitation comes, He will fulfill the Davidic Covenant, known as the Millennial Kingdom!
However, there are some conditions required for that to happen. First, Israel must be back in her land! The Jewish Messiah will come to a Jewish land, not to a Muslim land or any other land. Secondly, Israel’s historical mission (to bless all the families of the earth) must not fail. They delivered the Messiah, and whether they recognize Him or not, they are a witness to Him. Thirdly, Israel’s destiny is a national one, not just a spiritual one. Israel is not a “spiritual” entity, but a national one. If they have no nation, the Messiah has nowhere to return. Likewise, if the church is the “new Israel” spiritually (as Replacement Theology would have us believe), God lied to Abraham! Each of those conditions has either been met, or is being met even now!
Now, back to God’s calendar, laid out in the feasts of Israel. The next feast to be fulfilled is the Feast of Trumpets…the Rapture! Christians will be taken out of here, and God will prepare His people for the next feast: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. That will come at some point during the Tribulation. Zechariah 12:10 says there will be great weeping and mourning as Jewish eyes are opened to discover the One they rejected. Romans 11:25-27 tells us He will take away their sins and all Israel will be saved!
Then comes the fulfillment of the last feast, the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), and fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant! Again, we turn to the words of the prophet Zechariah:
4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. ….. 16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.~Zechariah 14:4, 16
Are you “in the picture” with us? Are you seated on the Mount of Olives? Do you see Jesus riding in on a donkey, lamenting over Jerusalem, then returning in glory to touch His foot down on the Mount of Olives to establish the Millennial Kingdom, where there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile?
On the Mount of Olives, your mind’s eye sees it, and something within feels it! In this very place, we will worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords beside our Jewish brothers and sisters! Do you hear the invitation: “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
Now, though he was definitely not on our tour, I give way to Amir Tsarfati to put the icing on the cake. Enjoy!