Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Gate to Prophecy: An Out of Place Altar

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

I want to point out that the discovery of the ancient Eastern Gate has not settled the location of the Jewish Temple. That debate rages on.

One question that arises is this: "If the Temple really was located to the north of the Dome of the Rock, then what in world is the altar that is under the Dome of the Rock?"

Eastern or Golden Gate

The Bible gives us a clue in 1 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 7 where we are told that Solomon had so many animals to sacrifice on the day of the dedication of the Temple that he built a special altar in the middle of the Temple court. Perhaps the altar under the Dome was that altar. We will never know for sure until there is an opportunity to excavate the Temple Mount. As I said before, that's not possible, because even though the Israelis have sovereignty over the Temple Mount, they allow the Muslims to administer it, and the Muslims will not allow any excavations. The reason they refuse to allow excavations is that they take the position that no Jewish Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount, and thus they do not want archaeologists to dig up any proof of the Temple's existence.

Incidentally, the Muslim rejection of the existence of a Jewish Temple is a new position for them, because that was not their attitude prior to the Six Day War when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem for the first time in over 1800 years. I own a copy of a pamphlet printed by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem in 1924. It is a guide to the Temple Mount. And on page 1, there is this comment, "This identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.'" And so, despite all their current propaganda about there never being a Temple on the Temple Mount, one of the Muslim's own official publications says otherwise.

One final point, the location of the Eastern Gate and its relevance to the location of the Temple may still be a matter of debate, but one thing that cannot be disputed is that the Eastern Gate is closed in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Bible prophecy says that one day soon, the Eastern Gate will be reopened when the Messiah returns. Here's how Psalm 24 puts it:

Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gate,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
And who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

The Eastern Gate may have been slumbering for a long time, but it is about to awake and come alive with the return of Jesus.

Are you ready for Jesus' return? If He were to appear today, would you go forth rejoicing, or would you try to hide in terror? The wrath of God is about to be poured out on this world. The message of the Holy Spirit for unbelievers is, "Flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus right now."

So, look up. Be watchful. For our redemption is drawing near!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Gate to Prophecy: A Unique Discovery

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of interviewing Biblical Archaeologist Jim Fleming on Christ in Prophecy. I asked him about his amazing discovery of the ancient Eastern Gate, and here's how he described it.

Archaeology Panel

Dr. Fleming: I can't take any credit for it. I would like to be able to say that after years of study and research I finally found it. Instead, it was a heavy night of rain in the spring.

Dr. Reagan: This is 1969 now?

Dr. Fleming: It is. I was a student at the Masters level in Archaeology. I thought I'd take some pictures of Jerusalem's city gates. As I was walking through the Muslim cemetery on the east side of the city, I got close enough to look up. I was taking a picture of the arch and hadn't realize the rain the night before had loosened the stones at the top of a tomb. Limestone absorbs water, and it was subjected to a pretty heavy rain. Just as I went "click," the tomb collapsed. So, the actual phrase need to be "stumbled upon" discovering the Eastern Gate.

Nathan Jones: You just fell into a tomb?!

Dr. Fleming: Yes, and those that know me well think I had landed on my head! Fortunately enough, though, stones fell in with me that I could stack them up, climb on, jump up, and chin myself and get out, because otherwise there was nowhere I was going.

Dr. Reagan: How far down did you fall?

Dr. Fleming: It was an 8 foot drop. The location was actually was a mass burial grave. There were 46 skeletons. Actually, I didn't count them right away, that was after I found out there was enough stones to get out. Otherwise, there would have been 47 skeletons!

Nathan Jones: There were bones all around you when you were down there?

Dr. Fleming: Probably they were all there due to there having been some disease. I would guess since there was still some cloth and some cartilage that they were buried there about 100 years previously. There were no records for that particular grave.

Dr. Reagan: Did you realize immediately the opportunity you had?

Dr. Fleming: Well, as my eyes got used to the dark, I could see beyond the skeletons the back wall of the tomb and realized it was the earlier wall. It was part of the same line which continued eight feet below ground. What was amazing was the completely preserved stones set in nice wedge shape at the top of an earlier gate, meaning that the original gate is fully preserved.

Dr. Reagan: Do you have any evidence of this? Did you photograph it for example?

Dr. Fleming: Fortunately, I got a picture or two that came out. Uncharacteristic of Middle East efficiency, when I brought my archaeology teacher back the next day after class, they had already cemented over the tomb. It's because it is a Muslim cemetery, which is a sensitive place. I was glad the picture came out.

My archaeology teacher, Dr. Kohavi, didn't seem that impressed. I think he thought I had landed on my head. Back in those days your photos ended up as slides and it took a while to get the picture developed and back. Until he saw the picture he doubted, but then with the picture he realized that yes I had found the original Eastern Gate.

The spring of that arch coming up is exactly under the left hand arch today, which means that the present gate preserves what was probably two arches, because it is the first quarter of that semicircle, exactly below the first quarter of the semicircle above.

Ancient Eastern Gate

Dr. Reagan: I guess it really isn't too surprising to find the ancient gate directly below the current one, because in most of the excavations in Israel don't they find that they built the gates right on top of each other?

Dr. Fleming: Gates have good memories.

Dr. Reagan: Yes. There is a reason for putting a gate where you put a gate?

Dr. Fleming: Yes, there's usually a road to an important site, say like the Jaffa Gate or Damascus Gate. And so, builders tended to use the relative same part of the wall. What's remarkable is that the old Eastern Gate is exactly under the newer one, and that the earlier gate is so well preserved.

Dr. Reagan: How do you end up building gates on top of a gate? Are you talking about debris piling up, or something else?

Dr. Fleming: Yes, cities tend to have dumps outside the gates. Outside the city walls garbage builds up, and so cities need to raise the roads. The closest we get to that in the US is a new layer of asphalt being added say in front of a house. In ancient times, roads and gates kept getting higher because the city is getting higher.

Dr. Reagan: This was particularly true of the Temple Mount, because for example when the Romans destroyed it and well even like when the Babylonians did, they pushed debris off the Temple Mount and all that debris built up and built up, didn't it?

Dr. Fleming: Picture the Temple on the east side of the city, and when the Romans cleared it after 70 AD destruction to build a temple to Jupiter. They couldn't dump debris north, west, or south because that was still city. But, the east was a steep slope in the Kidron Valley, so the eastern side of the city became the town dump.

Dr. Reagan: Isn't archaeology fascinating? I love the way it consistently affirms the historical accounts contained in the Bible.

In the fifth and final segment of our study of the Gate to Prophecy, we'll look at a biblical altar and its relation to the Eastern Gate.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Gate to Prophecy: Eastern Gate Debate

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Dr. Reagan: The Eastern Gate, also called the Beautiful Gate or the Golden Gate, is not only significant in Bible prophecy, but it also plays a key role in a debate that literally rages among archaeologists. That debate concerns the location of the ancient Jewish Temple.

The majority viewpoint today is that the Jewish Temple was located on the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock currently sits. But, no one knows for sure where the ancient Temple was located, because the Temple Mount is under the administration of Muslims, and they will not allow any excavations.

Eastern or Golden Gate

The main reason the Dome of the Rock location is the accepted position or location is because the Dome sits directly over an out-cropping of bedrock where there is a drainage system for blood. Thus, it is obviously an ancient altar.

Those who disagree with the Dome as the proposed location of the Temple point to the Eastern Gate as evidence that the Temple was really located about 250 feet north of the Dome of the Rock. They emphasize the fact that every year a red heifer was sacrificed on the Mount of Olives across the valley and then burned to get ashes for the purification of the Temple Mount. The Dead Sea Scrolls say that when the red heifer was sacrificed, the High Priest stood on the steps of the Temple and looked directly over the Eastern Gate to the pinnacle of the Mount of Olives. That would, of course, place the Temple to the north of the Dome of the Rock.

Back to those who believe the Temple was located where the Dome sits, they've always argued that the Eastern Gate must have been moved to the north after the many destructions of the city of Jerusalem. But, in 1969, evidence was accidently discovered that proved the current Eastern Gate is located directly over the ancient gate. In 1969, an American student named Jim Fleming, who later became a renowned teacher of biblical archaeology, accidently discovered that the ancient Eastern Gate is located directly beneath this one.

Ancient Eastern Gate

Jim was a student in Jerusalem in 1969 when he decided to come over one morning and photograph the Eastern gate. It had been raining for like three days and the ground became very soft. The limestone coverings on the tombs had absorbed a lot of water, and so when Jim got ready to photograph, he climbed up on one of those tombs and the limestone gave way. He fell eight feet into a mass grave. Now, I don't know about you, but if that had been me, I would have climbed on air to get out! Jim realized he had a great opportunity, and so he whipped out his camera which had a flash on it, and he started photographing in a circle. Later on when the film was developed, the picture he took looking directly at the wall showed the tops of the arches of the ancient Eastern Gate sticking up above the skulls and bones of the mass grave. Now the world knows for certain that the Eastern Gate was located directly underneath the currently closed one.

Now that we know that the ancient Eastern Gate was located directly beneath the current gate, the argument that the Temple might have been located some 250 feet north of the Dome of the Rock is a much a stronger argument. Of course, it's not proved, but it makes the argument much stronger. If so, that means the Jewish Temple could be rebuilt without touching the Dome of the Rock, and the Dome of the Rock would be actually located in the spot where the Court of the Gentiles would have been.

It's going to be interesting to see how that all plays out.

In the fourth segment of our study of the Gate to Prophecy, Nathan Jones and I will interview Biblical Archaeologist Dr. James Fleming about his discover of the original Eastern Gate.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Gate to Prophecy: The Two Advents of Jesus Christ

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

At the pinnacle of the Mount of Olives, you'll enjoy a terrific view of the Temple Mount from inside the Dominus Flevit Chapel. I love go there when I take tour groups to Israel because of the fact that it has so much significance in the history of Jesus Christ. When Jesus would come to Jerusalem, He would always stay in the little town of Bethany on the other side of the mountain. Then Jesus would walk over and probably stop somewhere around the Mount of Olives in the morning and pray, looking over the city and the Temple, and then He'd go on down to the Temple Mount.

Eastern or Golden Gate

During the last week of Jesus' life, when He made his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, He rode into town on a donkey. He was hailed "Hosanna, the Son of David." But, that same crowd was yelling for His crucifixion a week later. The Bible tells us repeatedly that Jesus is going to return, and that His return is going to be very different from His first coming.

Let's contrast the two advents of Jesus Christ for a moment. The first time Jesus came, He came humbly on a donkey. But, He is going to return on a white war charger, which is the symbol of a victorious general.

The first time Jesus came, He came humbly to walk to a cross and die for the sins of mankind, but He is coming back to pour out the wrath of God upon those who have rejected the grace, mercy and love of God.

The first time Jesus came, He came with eyes filled with tears. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He wept over the city of Jerusalem. But, it says when He returns His eyes will be like white hot coals of fire, because He is coming in judgment.

The first time Jesus came, He was given one crown — a crown of thorns which was pressed down upon His head until the blood ran down upon His shoulders. But, when Jesus returns, He's going to come back with all the crowns of all the kingdoms of the world.

Every time I bring a group up to the Mount of Olives, I give them that teaching and talk about how the second time Jesus comes He is going to ride down into the Kidron Valley and then He is going to ride up to the Eastern Gate. It's then going to blow open supernaturally as we are told in Psalm 24. Jesus is going to go up on the Temple Mount and He is going to be coroneted the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

Back in about 1987, I brought a good sized group over to the Holy Land, not only to give them a tour of the land, but I brought them over to attend the International Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. About 4,000 to 5,000 Christians a year attend. I brought that group up to Dominus Flevit and I presented the teaching that I just covered in a more extended form.

During the evening, we got ready for the final evening of the celebration, joining some 4,000 to 5,000 Christians walking around the Old City of Jerusalem. Bands were playing, we were singing and waving banners, and we were waving the flags of our country. We walked around the city to illustrate to the Jewish people that there are Christians in the world who stand behind Israel.

We ended that march around the city by walking up the very steep Mount of Olives. When we got to the top, we stood there and watched the sunset over the city. Thousands of pilgrims sang hymns as the sun set. It was a very moving time.

One of the persons that we had in our group was a man by the name of Terry Gibson. Terry was a trustee of Lamb & Lion Ministries at the time. He's a pastor from the Houston, Texas area. When he got back to his room that night, Terry was so moved by what he had experienced at Dominus Flevit and in that march around that city and in that sunset that he experienced over the city of Jerusalem, that he sat down and began to write. He wrote a poem about the Eastern Gate. That poem has since been published in several books. The following is what he wrote.

A Powerful Poem

There is a gate in waiting
In the City of the King
It waits above the valley
And adorns a tranquil scene

Jerusalem is churning
On the north, south and west
Yet the Eastern Gate waits quietly
Above multitudes at rest

On Olive Mount, I stood one day
And viewed this Golden Gate
Amid singing saints and setting sun
In the spirit was my state

Looking o'er this glorious Gate
From atop that blessed mount
Two scenes of great events
I saw, and I now recount

One scene took place in ages past
The other is soon to be
In both there was the Son of God
And this Gate of Destiny

The first scene was triumphant
They hailed Him as a King
There were thousands in the valley
And "Hosannas" loud did ring

Many miracles of greatness
Had He done before their eyes
Giving sight to the blind
Calling forth the dead to rise

His disciples were elated
As they joined this happy throng
But little did they know
That their hopes would soon be gone

So long ago the prophet told
That lowly, He would come
Riding on a donkey's colt
Unbefitting the Righteous One

Yet thousands upon thousands
Stood in the valley on that day
And up the path to the eastern Gate
With palm branches did array

"Save us Son of David"
The multitude did cry
When suddenly, the crowd did change —
And they shouted "Crucify!"

Oh! What price our God did pay
While sinners yet were we
The mocking ones — The crown of thorns
Pierced hands — what agony!

And so the only Son of God
Was hung upon a cross
He'd come to earth in Godly love
To save those who were lost

Then the scene did fade away
And another took its place
For Jesus had said He would return
To redeem mankind's disgrace

On Olive Mount I stood again
I viewed the Eastern Gate
Yet it was closed, sealed with stone
Awaiting a King to coronate

Ezekiel long ago had said
The Gate would thus be so
Until the Prince returned to earth
Then all the world would know

Around the city armies stood
From nations of the world
And smoke and fire were everywhere
The armaments were hurled!

Yet the Golden Gate still quietly stood
While looking upward it seemed
Suddenly the trump did sound
It was the coming of the King!

And then I saw the Lord of Lords
Descending from on high
With multitudes of Heavenly Hosts
Behind Him in the sky

He came and stood on Olive Mount
And then the earth did shake
He spoke and all the armies fell
And the evil power did break

Upon a white and valiant steed
Down Olive Mount did ride
Through Kidron Valley up to the Gate
While the Jewish remnant cried

They looked on Him
whom they had pierced
And grieved as for a son
So bitterly they wept in shame
Yet with grace He did respond

And all the while the numbers grew
Of Angels and the Saints
Millions upon millions
Joined Him in the ranks

They sang "Hosanna to the Son of David"
"Hosanna to the King"
Throughout all heaven and the earth
The loud Hosannas ring

The Gate in waiting trembled
And the stones then blew apart
As the Holy One did enter
His eternal reign to start

Oh! What sweetness in that Day
The redeemed of God shall know
From Mount Zion in Jerusalem
The living waters flow

Are you yearning for that day
When the Lord of Hosts shall come?
Or do you flee in fear
Before the Holy One?

Call upon His name!
Before that coming day
Flee into His loving arms
He will wipe all the tears away.

Wasn't that a powerful poem? I have read that many times to our pilgrimage groups, and each time it just blesses my soul.

In the third segment of our study of the Gate to Prophecy, we'll look at why the Eastern Gate is embroiled in a great archaeological debate.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Gate to Prophecy: A Life-Changing Fulfillment

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

One of the things that excites me the most about Bible prophecy is that we are living in a time when we can see many of the Bible's end time prophecies fulfilled before our very eyes. In the 20th Century, seven of the end time prophecies related to Israel were either fulfilled or were in the process of being fulfilled. They were:

  1. The regathering of the Jewish People from the four corners of the world.
  2. The reestablishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
  3. The reclamation of the Land of Israel from a barren wasteland to an agricultural land of abundance.
  4. The revival of the Hebrew language from the dead.
  5. The reoccupation of the city of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.
  6. The resurgence of Israeli military power.
  7. The refocusing of world politics on the nation of Israel.

All of these events represent the fulfillment in whole or in part of very specific end time prophecies that can be found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

I'm now going to take a look at a prophecy whose fulfillment began before the 20th Century, but it's not in the list of the seven that I just gave you. It's an amazing prophecy whose fulfillment began in the 16th Century and has continued to this day. It has to do with the Eastern Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Eastern Gate

The Gate that Changed My Life

In 1967 when the Six Day War broke out, I was a professor of International Law and Politics, and because I was following international politics I followed that Six Day War very carefully. I will never forget that when the war was over I read a very interesting news article one day. It said that when the Israeli's decided that they were going to take this Old City, which was under the occupation of the Jordanian forces, the logical way to do so was to hit it from the west over at the Jaffa Gate, rather certainly than the Eastern Gate because it was under Jordanian control. The Israeli's, always relying on surprise, decided they were going to hit Jerusalem from the eastern side, coming around under the cover of darkness to hit from that side.

While they were discussing that strategy and the possibility of blowing open the sealed gate with satchel charges and catching the Jordanians by surprise, the newspaper then said that when that suggestion was made an Orthodox rabbi who was there said something to the effect, "No, you will do that over my dead body, because that gate is supposed to be closed until the Messiah returns." Well, I had no idea what that was all about. I had grown up in a church that did not teach Bible prophecy. I knew nothing about Bible prophecy. So, I got out a concordance and I looked up the word gate and I started looking at Bible verses. Guess what? I discovered Ezekiel 44 which has a prophecy that says this Eastern Gate is going to be closed, and it will not reopen until the Messiah comes.

Then I got out the Encyclopedia Britannica and I started reading about the Eastern Gate. It said that no one knows for sure why this wall was sealed and closed, but the best story is that when these walls were being rebuilt in the 1500's by Suleiman the Magnificence that a rumor swept Jerusalem that the Messiah was coming. He called the rabbis in and asked, "What does this mean?" The rabbis replied, "When the Messiah comes, He is going to come from the east. He is going to go through the Eastern Gate, He is going to run all of you aliens out, and He is going to become the Messiah the ruler over the earth." They dismissed the Rabbis and the order was given, "Seal up the Eastern Gate! Put a Muslim cemetery in front of it. That will take care of the Messiah, because He won't walk in a Muslim cemetery and He can't go through a gate that's closed."

That's always been a special story for me, because that event is what got me interested in Bible prophecy. I was hooked from that point on. I could not believe that I was seeing a prophecy fulfilled right before my very eyes during the 20th century at that time. And so, I started studying Bible prophecy intently. That is why I call the Eastern Gate the "Gate to Prophecy," at least as far as it concerns me personally.

In the second segment of our study of the Gate to Prophecy, we'll look at why the Eastern Gate is so important to the two advents of Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Revival of the Hebrew Language: Fulfilled Prophecies

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Dr. Reagan: In the 20th Century, seven of the end time prophecies related to Israel were either fulfilled or were in the process of being fulfilled. They were:

  1. The regathering of the Jewish People from the four corners of the world.
  2. The reestablishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
  3. The reclamation of the Land of Israel from a barren wasteland to an agricultural land of abundance.
  4. The revival of the Hebrew language from the dead.
  5. The reoccupation of the city of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.
  6. The resurgence of Israeli military power.
  7. The refocusing of world politics on the nation of Israel.

Regathered People

Dr. Reagan: When I look at the list of seven end times prophecies related to Israel that have been fulfilled, one that really impresses me is the regathering of the Jewish people back from the four corners of the earth. They were literally scattered all over creation, and by the beginning of the 20th Century there were Jews on every continent and nation, and yet God began to regather them. It is the most prolific prophecy in the Old Testament. I often wonder how anyone can look at what God did in the 20th Century concerning regathering those people and not realize that what is happening is a God thing. The return of the Jews is a miracle of God. And yet, so many Christians are just blind about this amazing occurrence because they have been taught that God has no purpose left for the Jews.

Nathan Jones: I know. They've been taught all their lives that the Jews regathered when they came back to Babylon. But, when you read Isaiah 11:11-12 it clearly says, "In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time." The passage even lists all the nations, and it's not just Babylon that's listed. It goes on to say, "The islands of the sea." That's a term for the entire planet. So, that the Jews are being regathered from the entire planet is a phenomena unheard of in human history.

Dr. Reagan: On top of that, in the very next verse it says, "He is going to regather both Judah and Israel." That's all the Jewish people. And yet, when I was a kid and I discovered that verse my pastor said, "Oh, no, that has all been fulfilled in the return from Babylon." Not correct, for that passage doesn't have anything to do with the Jews returning just from Babylon.

We have lived to see this great return happen in our day.

Reestablishment of the Jewish State

Dr. Reagan: One of the things that I enjoy most about taking people on a pilgrimage of Israel is to take them to Independence Hall. Nathan, tell us how you felt the first time you went there.

Nathan Jones: It's rather kind of similar to Constitution Hall in Philadelphia. I used to live in Philadelphia and visited it a lot. I felt the weight of history come upon me while there. Similarly in Tel Aviv, you can go into Independence Hall and be surprised that it's not a very assuming building or anything, but you are awed that a nation was launched from there. It's a nation that prophetically was foretold was going to relaunch one day again.

If we go back to Isaiah 66:7-8 we read, "Before she goes into labor she gives birth. And before the pains come upon her she delivers a son. Who has heard such a thing? And who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day, or a nation be brought forth in a minute?" And yet, on May 14, 1948, that very verse was fulfilled. To go there and to see the history like a museum recorded in that building makes me kind of feel I'm witnessing a little part of major history happening as well.

Dr. Reagan: Yes, it really does. I of course as well have the same feeling about the comparison you made between Independence Hall in Tel Aviv and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, except for one thing. The Hall there in Tel Aviv means so much more to me because it is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy that we got to see with our very own eyes. Like you, when I go there the thing that gets me is that it's such a small building, maybe at most you could crowd 200 people in there, but they would be shoulder to shoulder.

When Israel declared their nationhood, there was only photographer there to witness it. There was no CNN or Fox News; nothing like that. It was just an event that most the world was not even aware of when it took place. And yet, what a momentous fulfillment of Bible prophecy it was! Harry Truman recognized Israel just 14 seconds later, which actually helped save the state.

Nathan Jones: It is amazing that America at the time could help be a part of Bible prophecy being fulfilled.

Refocus of the World on Israel

Dr. Reagan: Is there any more prophecies from the list of seven end times prophecies related to Israel that have been fulfilled that you would want to mention that has been particularly important to you?

Nathan Jones: Yes, just turn on the news. I've never seen a country the size of New Jersey basically constantly in the news like Israel is. Constantly! The elections that went on in Israel, and in the news all of the time, everyone is concentrating on what are we going to do with Israel? The Middle East is all embroiled over Israel, which prophetically goes back to Zechariah 12:1-3, "That all the nations of the earth would be besieged against her." Of course, we know that passage will find final fulfillment when the Antichrist's army surrounds Jerusalem at the end of the Tribulation, but the entire world even today is focused on who is controlling Jerusalem and what land Israel does and does not get.

This means something. It's important.

Dr. Reagan: It really is important. Particularly it's amazing when you consider the fact that Israel is so tiny. It's only 75 miles wide and only 300 miles long. As you said, it's about the size of the state of New Jersey, yet it is the focus of all of world politics. There are more international correspondents in the city of Jerusalem than any other city on planet earth.

That's because Israel is the center of the cosmic battle between God and Satan. It's where Jesus Christ is going to return, defeat Satan totally, and begin to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Revival of the Hebrew Language: Reclamated Land

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Dr. Reagan: In the 20th Century, seven of the end time prophecies related to Israel were either fulfilled or were in the process of being fulfilled. They were:

  1. The regathering of the Jewish People from the four corners of the world.
  2. The reestablishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
  3. The reclamation of the Land of Israel from a barren wasteland to an agricultural land of abundance.
  4. The revival of the Hebrew language from the dead.
  5. The reoccupation of the city of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.
  6. The resurgence of Israeli military power.
  7. The refocusing of world politics on the nation of Israel.

In this series I've been focusing on was the revival of the Hebrew language. Nathan, how do you feel about that? Do you believe that is really a sign of the end times and that we are living on borrowed time?

Nathan Jones: Just like Israel becoming a nation again after almost 1,900 years, a language coming back from the dead and becoming a national language again is utterly amazing. In comparison for instance, sure people speak Latin, but only in academic circles. But, Hebrew is now again an official language of a country. That means something.

We can go back to Zephaniah 3:9 where it says, "Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder." So, we read in this prophecy that when the Messiah comes back He wants a people group ready to be able to speak to them in a pure language, pure of heart sure, but also pure of speech in the original language of Hebrew.

When looking up this passage, I found depending on the translation, it could be referring to either lips or language. I looked up the word lips which transliterated from the original Hebrew is saphah. This word can mean lips, language, or speech. So, this verse covers both lips which speak from the heart and language.

Reclamated Land

Dr. Reagan: I've listed the seven prophecies that I think are being fulfilled in Israel today. All of them began in the 20th Century and some of them in the early 20th Century. Is there another one of those that you would emphasize is a sure sign that we are living in the season of the Lord's return?

Nathan Jones: My favorite sign concerning Israel comes from one of our trips over to Israel. While we were touring we were heading up north from Tel Aviv up towards Caesarea Maritime. As we are driving down the road, the sides of the highways were covered in flowers. Even when we got around the Dead Sea, there were gardens there where the planters were growing trees and other things. I was just amazed by this agricultural bounty in Israel. I'd read that Mark Twain had gone to Palestine in the 1800's and he said it was a barren wasteland. The people then actually had the few trees there counted for tax purposes. But, when I went through throughout the countryside, I was just amazed at how the Jews have turned that land back into a garden paradise again.

Dr. Reagan: I'm not the least bit surprised that you would focus on that end times sign, because what most folks don't know is that you are a guy who loves plants and who loves to plant everything. In fact, when you first moved to Texas you planted everything you shouldn't have planted, and it all died. In fact, you had to learn that certain plants are made for certain soils.

Nathan Jones: Too true! If only customs would have let the seeds from Israel through.

I love Ezekiel 36:34-35 which reads, "The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, 'This land that was laid waste has become like the Garden of Eden. The cities that were lying in ruins desolate and destroyed are now fortified and inhabited.'" True to this prophetic verse, all the cities are back, the gardens are back, the growth is back, and the production is back. Supposedly, all the new plant life has increased the rain fall in Israel. That's a miracle!

Dr. Reagan: It really is. When I take groups over to Israel, I try to get them to do a lot of reading before we go so they can appreciate that fact, because if you just go and you don't know anything about the background of Israel you don't realize how the land has literally been converted from a wasteland to what looks like the Garden of Eden today. It has become so agriculturally productive.

When you drive through the Valley of Sharon, you can look out the bus window and on one side there are cotton and strawberry fields, and when you look out on the other side you'll see there are peanut fields and there are all kinds of tropical fruit like bananas. Israelis grow every kind of produce over there. It is amazing what has happened!

The Bible promised that when the Jews came back to their land God would bless the land once again, and that is exactly what has happened.

In the fifth and final segment of this series that marvels at the revival of Biblical Hebrew coming back from the dead, we'll continue to explore some of the other end times prophecies related to Israel that have been fulfilled in our day.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Revival of the Hebrew Language: Systematic Approach

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Eliezer Ben Yehuda was very systematic in the way that he went about reviving the Hebrew language as a spoken language.

Eliezer Ben Yehuda

His first step was: Hebrew at home.
Ben Yehuda began to tell all of his friends and associates that they would never revive the language unless they committed to speak only Biblical Hebrew at home. And, I'll tell you, he was a radical about this. He gave strict instructions to his wife that they were to only speak Biblical Hebrew.

In 1882, shortly after they arrived in Jerusalem, their first child was born, a son, who was name Ben-Avi. Ben Yehuda said this his son was going to be the first true modern Hebrew speaking person. He said, "We are not going to allow anybody in his presence for 12 years unless they can speak Biblical Hebrew." Well, nobody spoke Biblical Hebrew, except for a small group of people. So, the young boy had no playmates. If they had somebody over, he would take his son and put him in an isolated room because he was afraid the people might speak Russian or some other language, and he didn't want the boy to hear anything but Biblical Hebrew.

Ben Yehuda was so obsessed that later when he had two daughters he would not let them marry until their suitors could pass an exam in Biblical Hebrew. Needless to say, neither one got married until they were in their 30's. So, this was a man who was really determined in what he was doing in his first step that Hebrew only was to be spoken in the home.

His second step was: Hebrew in the schools.
Ben Yehuda thought the only way he could really revive this language was to get the young people to speak it. So, he went to all the Jewish schools in Jerusalem and he tried to talk the headmasters into introducing Biblical Hebrew. One of the problems with that idea was that most of the teachers were willing to teach it, but they didn't have any written materials for the kids. So, Ben Yehuda began to develop a small group of followers whom he would teach how to teach Hebrew, like he did himself. These teachers began to spread out in the schools of Jerusalem to teach the young people the Hebrew words.

I'll just pause here and say that when Ben Yehuda was reviving this language, he had to invent many, many words. Over 2,000 years there were many concepts, many ideas, and many inventions that there were just no Hebrew words for. Being a purist, Ben Yehuda wouldn't take a word like television or radio and just transliterate it. It had to be a pure Hebrew word with a pure Hebrew root. So, he and his followers would often argue hours over a particular word as he would create word after word after word.

So, the first was Hebrew in the home. Second was Hebrew in the schools.

The third step he took was: to establish a newspaper.
Begun in 1884, this newspaper was Ben Yehuda's way of getting Hebrew out to adults. By establishing a newspaper, he had to become the editor of the newspaper. It was a daily newspaper about news in Palestine as it was called in that time, and news of the world. In the process, he was constantly having to create new words, resulting in constantly publishing new vocabularies of words and testing words out on people. So, the newspaper was the way that Ben Yehuda began to get the adults to read Biblical Hebrew as it was being modernized.

So, we have Hebrew in the home. Hebrew in the schools. And, Hebrew in the newspaper for the adults.

His fourth step was: to compile a dictionary of the Hebrew language.
The dictionary this was really what Ben Yehuda spent most of his life writing. He would travel to England and he would travel to any place where someone found a lost Hebrew word. He was just obsessed with these words. He put together an incredible dictionary of some 17 volumes entitled, Ancient and Modern Hebrew.

By the time Ben Yehuda had died, he had not completed the dictionary. He only had 17 of what I think came to 20-odd some volumes. But, his second wife was able to complete that incredible dictionary. His first wife had died actually of TB.

The fifth step in reviving the language was: the creation of a language council.
Ben Yehuda created a language council in 1890. He put together a group of friends who had been studying with him and working with him, and they became the official council to determine issues of grammar, punctuation, new words, which words would actually would be adopted and used, etcetera.

I was doing some research on his systematic approach, and I just can't begin to imagine all the words that he had to create. We mainly think of scientific words for new inventions, but that wasn't always the case. For example, there were no words in Biblical Hebrew for doll, ice cream, jelly, omelet, handkerchief, towel, bicycle, and hundreds more of just daily words of that nature. Or, for example, there were no words for newspaper, editor, telegram, subscriber, soldier, and fashion. On and on it went. All of these words had to be created. And again, being a purist, Ben Yehuda wanted to create these new words from Biblical Hebrew root words, so it was a major effort.

Seeing Results

Within a biblical generation of 40 years, from 1881 to 1921, Ben Yehuda and his friends were able to revive the Hebrew language from the dead as a truly spoken language. They were so successful that in 1922 Biblical Hebrew was adopted as one of the official languages of Palestine. At that time, the British were in charge of the land and they declared three languages to be the official languages of this land: Biblical Hebrew, English, and Arabic. One month later, after that declaration in November of 1922, Ben Yehuda died at that age of 64.

Some language experts in Hebrew and language experts in general have argued in recent years that Hebrew never was really a dead language that people stopped using. Even at the time of Ben Yehuda, they estimate that 50% of the men could read Biblical Hebrew due to going to the synagogue and reading the Scriptures. Probably 20% of them could have read a book written in Hebrew, but they didn't speak it, and they couldn't speak it because there weren't enough words to be used in speaking it. One expert on language put it this way, he said, "Before Ben Yehuda, Jews could speak Hebrew. After him, they did." And that's true, for Eliezer Ben Yehuda is the one who revived Biblical Hebrew as a spoken language.

Here is a fact that was found in his diary before Ben Yehuda died. In fact, it was published in his newspaper in 1908. Here's what he wrote about himself, "For everything there is needed only one wise, clever, and active man with the initiative to devote all of his energies to it, and the matter will progress all obstacles in the way notwithstanding. In every new event, every step, even the smallest in the path of progress, it is necessary that there be one pioneer who will lead the way without leaving any possibility of turning back."

For the revival of the Hebrew language, that pioneer was Eliezer Ben Yehuda.

Purposeful Burial

Dr. Reagan: The life story of Eliezer Ben Yehuda is truly a remarkable one. And that remarkable story is contained in the book, Tongue of the Prophets, by Robert St. John.

When I went recently to Jerusalem, I found the grave of Ben Yehuda while I was exploring the thousands of Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives. It is the most ornate grave on the side of the mountain, surrounded by a high ironwork fence. What a blessing it was for me to put a stone of remembrance on his tomb!

Like all Orthodox Jews, Ben Yehuda desired to be buried on the Mount of Olives, because Orthodox Jews believe that when the Messiah comes He will come first to the Mount of Olives. The Orthodox therefore believe that those who are buried on the Mount of Olives will be the first to be resurrected.

That belief, of course, is very biblical, because Zechariah 14 says that when Jesus returns He will return to the Mount of Olives, and that when His feet touch the mountain it will split in two. Jesus will then speak a supernatural word that will destroy all the forces of the Antichrist and He will begin His reign over all the earth as the King of King and Lord of lords.

So, the Orthodox Jews are correct in their expectation that the Messiah will return to the Mount of Olives. What is going to surprise them is His identity, for the Messiah is going to have nail prints in His hands.

In the fourth segment of this series that marvels at the revival of Biblical Hebrew coming back from the dead, we'll explore some of the other end times prophecies related to Israel that have been fulfilled, particularly the reclamation of the land.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Revival of the Hebrew Language: Mission of Eliezer Ben Yehuda

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Eliezer Ben Yehuda was the man who fulfilled the Zephaniah 3:9 prophecy which reads, "In those days I will restore the peoples of pure language that they may call on the name of the Lord to serve Him with one accord."

He was born in Lithuania in 1858 to an Orthodox Jewish family. He began studying, reading when he was just three years old. He was absolutely a genius. He excelled in all languages. He learned Hebrew very quickly. By the age of 12, he was already fluent in many languages like French, German and Russian. He was a spectacular language specialist.

Eliezer Ben Yehuda

Ben Yehuda's family wanted him to be a rabbi, but that never was something that he seemed to be interested in. Instead, he decided to move to Paris and study medicine. He was there four years studying medicine.

While he was in Paris, the spirit of nationalism began to sweep across Europe. This is the idea of one nation for every people. The Balkans, like every other group of people there, were wanting their own nation. That spirit of nationalism touched his heart and his soul and he decided the Jews really need a land for their own nation. This was before Theodore Herzl came on the scene. In fact, a number of years before Herzl who is considered the founder of modern day Israel came on the scene, Ben Yehuda had this vision of going back to the Jewish homeland and starting to speak Biblical Hebrew once again. Ben Yehuda believed it was essential if the Jewish people were really going to be a nation for them to have their own special language.

To truly understand what this was all about, you have to understand that when the Jews were scattered by the Romans all over the world after 70 AD, that the Jewish people stopped speaking Hebrew. Those who went into the European area took Hebrew and they mixed it with German and came up with a new language called Yiddish. Likewise, the Jews who were scattered into the Mediterranean Basin took Hebrew and they mixed it with Spanish and came up with a language called Ladino. Jews continued to read Biblical Hebrew in the synagogue for example, or when they were reading the Talmud or various religious papers, but they stopped speaking Hebrew as an everyday language. They were speaking either Yiddish, Ladino, or the language of whatever country they happened to live in. So, Hebrew over the 2,000 years following the dispersion of the Jews all over the world became essential a dead language as far as being spoken by people on an everyday basis.

In 1881, at the age of 23, Ben Yehuda was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was told that he only had a very short time to live. So, he decided that he was going to move to the land of his people, to his homeland. If he was going to die young, he was going to die there. Well, that was about the worst decision one could make in 1881, because he moved to the Holy Land and to the City of Jerusalem. Jerusalem at that time was an incubator of disease. Just about every disease you could imagine was rampant in the city. People were dying of tuberculosis, cholera, yellow fever, and the plague. You name it! But, Jerusalem is where he came to live. And, God supernaturally extended this man's life even with TB for many, many years thereafter.


When Ben Yehuda arrived in Jerusalem, he became obsessed with the revival of the Hebrew language. He would work 12-18 hours a day trying to revive the Hebrew language from the dead so it would become a daily spoken language of the people.

Let me try to give you an example of what I am talking about here. What if I were to tell you that God had spoken to me and said He was fed up with modern English and He wanted us to go back to the pure English that existed in the time of Chaucer when he wrote the Canterbury Tales. That's English from only 600 years ago. Well, Ben Yehuda was going back 2,000 years trying to revive a language! Here's what English sounded like when Chaucer wrote:

"Whan that Aprile with his shoures soote. The droughte of March hath perced to the roote. And bathed every veyne en swich licour. Of which vertu engendred is the flour."

If I told you that God had told me that we've got to go back and revive that language and bring it up to date, I suspect you would be calling the guys with the butterfly nets to have me put away as incurably insane. Well, let me tell you, there were many people who felt that way about Eliezer Ben Yehuda.

He ended up with people attacking him from both sides. For example, the men who later became the major political leaders of Israel in its early years were all Socialists, and they were men who were mainly Agnostics and some were Atheists. They didn't want to speak a biblical language. They wanted a modern language. On the other hand, the ultra-orthodox were also opposed to Ben Yehuda because they believed that Hebrew was a biblical language that should never be spoken on the street. So, he had both sides attacking him all the time. And yet, this man was so obsessed and determined that he succeeded.

In the third segment of this series that marvels at the revival of Biblical Hebrew coming back from the dead, we'll explore the systematic approach that Eliezer Ben Yehuda used in getting Biblical Hebrew accepted.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Revival of the Hebrew Language: Back From the Dead

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Many end time Bible prophecies concerning Israel were either fulfilled in the 20th Century, or else their fulfillment was initiated in that century. One of the most remarkable has to do with the revival of the Hebrew language from the dead.

One of the things that excites me the most about Bible prophecy is that we are living in a time when we can see many of the end time prophecies fulfilled before our very eyes.

In the 20th Century, seven of the end time prophecies related to Israel were either fulfilled or were in the process of being fulfilled. They were:

  1. The regathering of the Jewish People from the four corners of the world.
  2. The reestablishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
  3. The reclamation of the Land of Israel from a barren wasteland to an agricultural land of abundance.
  4. The revival of the Hebrew language from the dead.
  5. The reoccupation of the city of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.
  6. The resurgence of Israeli military power.
  7. The refocusing of world politics on the nation of Israel.

All of these events represent the fulfillment in whole or in part of very specific end time prophecies that can be found in the Hebrew scriptures.

Let's take a look at those prophecy whose fulfillment began before the 20th Century, but which were completely fulfilled during the 20th Century. One of those prophecies in particular is one of the most amazing of them all. What I have in mind is the revival of the Hebrew language from the dead. It's a remarkable story!

A Special Street

I love to take groups to Israel. We always end up in the new city of Jerusalem. When I say new, what I'm talking about is the fact that it is the new part of Jerusalem as compared to the Old City of Jerusalem that is surrounded by the walls. The street called Ben Yehuda Street is sort of the heartthrob of the new Jerusalem. It is very busy there at noon during the day as people come and go to eat lunch, but it's really busy at night. Come down to Ben Yehuda Street during the night time and particularly after the Sabbath ends on Saturday about 9 o'clock at night, and you will see people come from all over Jerusalem where they have fellowship and they eat ice cream. You'll see street vendors of all kinds, people playing violins and guitars, dancers, and tattoo artists. You name it! You'll find it on Ben Yehuda Street.

In Israel, almost every city has a street named Ben Yehuda Street. Just who was Ben Yehuda? What is his name all about?

Eliezer Ben Yehuda

Before I answer these questions, let me read to you a Scripture. In the Hebrew scriptures in Zephaniah 3:9 it says speaking of the end times, "In those days I will restore the peoples of pure language that they may call on the name of the Lord to serve Him with one accord."

Throughout the centuries, Christians as well as Jews have believed that this is a prophecy that in the end times the biblical language of Hebrew would be revived.

In the second segment of this series that marvels at the revival of Biblical Hebrew coming back from the dead, we'll take a look at the life-long passion of the man named Eliezer Ben Yehuda.