The Significance of the Word “Desolate” in the New Testament


Series: “Little Gems from Our Study of the book of Revelation”

The word “desolate” (or the related word “desolation”) only appears 12 times in the New Testament. Seven of these appearances are in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and five of them are references to Jerusalem’s condition in Jesus’ day and to what was about to happen to that city. This word does not appear in John’s gospel account, but its final two appearances in the New Testament demonstrate that John, in the book of Revelation, was showing Jerusalem to be every bit the desolate place that Jesus said it was.

Like the previous post, this one is also inspired by a recent discussion here. PJ Miller, of Sola Dei Gloria, observed the similarity between Matthew’s use of the word “desolate” in both chapters 23 and 24:

[1] “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38).

[2] “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

[1] In Matthew 23:38, Jesus summed up what had become of Jerusalem in His lament over that city. Although formerly God’s house, Jesus now spoke of Jerusalem (and/or the temple) as “your house,” for He had abandoned it and left it to them as “desolate.”  About 650 years earlierGod said the same to Jeremiah just before Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC:

I have forsaken My house, I have left My heritageI have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies… ‘Many rulers have destroyed My vineyard, they have trodden My portion underfoot; They have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate; Desolate, it mourns to Me; The whole land is made desolate, because no one takes it to heart” (Jeremiah 12:7-11).

(In two recent posts, we discussed how first century Jerusalem became infested with demons, but how God chose new Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, as His house and His dwelling place.)

Strong’s Concordance defines the word “desolate” (#2048), used in Matthew 23:38, as “lonesome, waste, desert, solitary, wilderness.”

[2] In Matthew 24:15, Jesus warned His followers living in Judea to flee to the mountains when they saw the “abomination of desolation.” Matthew’s Jewish audience was familiar with this phrase, and would understand the reference to Daniel, but Luke quotes Jesus differently for his mostly Gentile audience:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…” (Luke 21:20-21).

So the “abomination of desolation” was in the hands of foreign armies coming to complete Jerusalem’s desolation. The warnings of Matthew and Luke, stated differently, were to bring about the same response: immediate flight. In 314 AD, Eusebius, known as the father of church history, wrote the following about the obedience of Jesus’ followers to His words in Matthew 24:

“The people of the church at Jerusalem, in accordance with a certain oracle that was vouchsafed by way of revelation to the approved men there, had been commanded to depart from the city before the [Jewish-Roman war of 67-73 AD], and to inhabit a certain city of Peraea. They called it Pella [in modern-day Jordan]. And when those who believed in Christ had removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had utterly deserted both the royal metropolis of the Jews itself and the whole land of Judaea, the Justice of God then visited upon them all their acts of violence to Christ and his apostles, by destroying that generation of wicked persons root and branch from among men” (see here for more about this event).

The word “desolation” in Matthew 24:15 is #2049 in Strong’s Concordance, and the definition there is: “from 2048; to lay waste (lit. or fig.): -(bring to, make) desolate (-ion), come to nought.” The word “desolation” in Luke 21:20 is entry #2050, and Strong’s simply points back to #2049. So we can see that all three entries (#2048, #2049, and #2050) are essentially the same word, just as the words “desolate” and “desolation” are essentially the same in English.

“Desolate” and “desolation” appear in Mark 13:14 and Luke 13:35 as direct parallels to Matthew 24 and Matthew 23, respectively. Otherwise, these words only appear six other times in the New Testament.* We’ll look briefly at four of these instances, before looking at their two appearances in Revelation: 

The word “desolation” appears in Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17 (parallel passages), where Jesus responds to the Pharisees who question by what power He was casting out demons: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

The word “desolate” appears in Acts 1:20 regarding Judas Iscariot: “’For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, and let no one live in it.”

It also shows up in Galatians 4:27, in Paul’s argument that God’s people belong to the Jerusalem above, and not the Jerusalem below. He quotes Isaiah 54: “For it is written: ‘Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.’”

The Strong’s entry for Acts 1:20 and Galatians 4:27 is #2048, and the entry for Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17 is #2049.

*A different Greek word for “desolate” appears in I Timothy 5:5, and refers to a widow’s grief.

The final two places where this word shows up in the New Testament are in Revelation 17:16 and Revelation 18:19 (Strong’s #2049), regarding the burning of the harlot and the great city:

And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”

They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’”

As we discussed in a recent post (“Jerusalem, a Dwelling Place of Demons“), “the great city” was first identified as the place “where also our Lord was crucified (Rev. 11:8).” Of course, Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. This city was also aptly named “the harlot,” the same name given to it by Jeremiah (3:6-8), Ezekiel (16:15), and Hosea (6:10) because it was full of spiritual adultery at that time. Revelation 16-19 repeatedly holds “the great city”, “the harlot,” and “Babylon the great” (different names for the same entity) responsible for shedding the blood of God’s saints, prophets, and apostles. Jesus left no doubt who was responsible for shedding this blood, and when the resulting judgment would come: Israel, in His generation (Matthew 23:29-38).

Jesus declared Jerusalem in His day to be a desolate house, and He warned that “the abomination of desolation” would come and complete its desolation in His own generation. John, in his visions of “things which must shortly take place…for the time is near…at hand” (Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:10), saw the outcome of what Jesus prophesied, Jerusalem made desolate and burned to the ground.

Seeing how the word “desolate” is used here in Revelation 17 and 18, concerning the harlot and the great city, is good confirmation that John was showing Jerusalem to be every bit the desolate place that Jesus said it was in Matthew 23 and 24. This desolation was made complete in the year 70 AD. Gratefully, we can rejoice that we are children of the Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26), the new Jerusalem aligned with the new covenant established by the blood of our Savior (Hebrews 12:22-24).

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39 thoughts on “The Significance of the Word “Desolate” in the New Testament

  1. Thank you! Thank you!

    I had wanted to get back over here the last couple days but wasn’t able to. I just read your reply back to my question under the post, “Jerusalem became infested with demons”, and then saw this…I didn’t know where to post my “thanks” Adam 🙂

    Of course i have a question. aha! Hope you don’t get weary with my questions Adam. But frankly, (as im sure you’ve noticed) i don’t get many replies to the type of questions i ask, over at my own blog 🙂

    You wrote,

    Seeing how the word “desolate” is used here in Revelation 17 and 18, concerning the harlot and the great city, is good confirmation that John was showing Jerusalem to be every bit the desolate place that Jesus said it was in Matthew 23 and 24. This desolation was made complete in the year 70 AD.

    Yes amen, i see this was made complete by 70AD.

    What i have been wondering about is this: The judgment poured out upon Jerusalem, which was completed in 70ad with the dispersion of those Jews who survived—where does it state in the Word, that THIS dispersion would end? I’ve read a number of (different) scriptures quoted by bible teachers which (they) say prove the Jews would return, but the scriptures i’ve seen quoted seem to be concerning earlier instances when God had sent the Israelites into captivity, or brought judgment upon jerusalem. Where exactly are the scriptures which speak of the Jews returning after 70ad?

    Also, do these scriptures say they would return AFTER repenting (as they had in the past) and after recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, or, does it say they would return in unbelief?

    Forgive me if my question sounds confusing–i hope you can make sense of it.

    What has brought this to mind has been the circumstances under which they have returned to the land. I’ve read a number of books about the steps which were taken by those who worked (through political avenues) to bring the Jews back to Palestine. I’m sure you’re well acquainted with the people who were involved and the circumstances also, so won’t go into all that. What i have never been able to see, is ‘God’ in it. If you could point me to the scriptures, it would be a big help….

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    • You’re welcome, PJ. And I’m not at all weary of you asking questions. Please don’t ever worry about that.

      As for your question, though, my answer would be the same as what you’ve already believed to be true. 🙂 Concerning the Scriptures which many like to say were fulfilled in 1948 (or are about to be fulfilled now), I also believe they were fulfilled when the dispersed Jews returned to the land under Persian rule in the days of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel. I’m not aware of any Scriptures which have anything to do with Israel becoming a nation in 1948. God allowed a nation to be created in 1948, which has been called “Israel,” but I don’t see any evidence in Scripture that this took place in order to fulfill Bible prophecy.

      As I mentioned in a reply to Chuck, under a different post, the language of Revelation 19:2-3 (“‘He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.’ Again they said, ‘Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!’”) mirrors numerous passages in the Old Testament where such language indicated a final and lasting overthrow. From what I can see in the New Testament, not a word appears about Jews returning to the land, but several times God says that He now abides with the new Jerusalem community, but earthly Jerusalem was in bondage and was about to be cast out.

      Of course, as you know, the New Testament does not say that God has cast away the Jewish people entirely. Rather, they are called to enter the new covenant community, in Christ, and we’re told that a remnant would answer that call. This has indeed happened constantly over the last 2000 years.

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      • Amen. This is the conclusion i’ve (also) come to Adam.

        As im sure it does you, it causes me to ponder upon many things we see and hear today: both in the secular news and from bible teachers. As so many Christians have built their theology around (what they believe) to be an ‘Israel’ today which fulfills prophecy, it makes me wonder “what if”…

        Don’t know if you’re familiar with a Christian author who posts at facebook, La Vigne? He posed a question back in September which i’ve found myself thinking a lot about…i actually copied and saved it because i thought it was intriguing:

        quote,

        “What would happen to the illegitimate and popular prophetic forecast if the state of Israel no longer existed? Damascus, among other cities are still due for complete ruin according to Isaiah 17, so it’s not hard to imagine that the whole region could go up in mushroom clouds of apocalyptic glory.

        If that were the breaking news, (God forbid) another mass exodus from Israel is more realistic as opposed to gathering around a new temple;…..

        Land that could become contaminated and uninhabitable would no longer be desired as a pseudo evangelistic vacation spot nor would it remain as a bone of contention. Scripture says to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as we are deceived into maintaining a humanistic dispensational version of what that means.

        Nevertheless, the only Israel of God today is inhabited by Abraham’s heirs and there’s not a Jew, Muslim or Christian among them; only a remnant, the elect of God.

        I don’t mind being wrong but the capital of the true Israel is Calvary which is built over the empty tomb of the Almighty Himself. Take heed to yourself and do not listen to supposed Bible experts; they’re not even authorized representatives of reality let alone possessing enough wisdom to interpret the obvious.

        It’s our duty to come apart from foolish fantasies and be separated unto the God in truth. As for the peace of Jerusalem, the children who are living out the faith of Abraham and can remain calm during the upcoming events, these will fulfill that prayer. But realize this, we are surrounded by unbelievers; this is no time to be on the wrong side in such a scenario”

        As He wrote, God forbid! but “but what if….”

        What would it do to the (possibly) millions of Christians who have banked on the state being a fulfillment of prophecy? Or who have without question, believed all the other dispensational theological events which are predicted to follow….

        Is it possible that this belief, if totally wrong, is the apostasy Paul warned about?

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      • Thanks for responding, PJ. I didn’t mean to take six days to get back to you. You’re right that many Christians seem to have built a lot of their theology around modern Israel, which they believe fulfills prophecy. I believe I’ve heard of La Vigne, but I don’t remember seeing him around Facebook. That’s an interesting “what if?” scenario he posed. I don’t agree, of course, that Isaiah 17 predicts future ruin for Damascus, Syria.

        Regarding Paul’s prediction of apostasy, are you referring to II Thessalonians 2, in the context of the man of sin? If so, I believe he was telling the Thessalonian believers about what was soon to occur in their own time. I know that the phrase which is sometimes translated as “falling away” (verse 3) is also sometimes translated as “rebellion,” and some believe that this was a reference to the Jewish rebellion that triggered the Roman-Jewish War (67-73 AD). That’s not to say that there isn’t some level of apostasy and deception within the Christian community today regarding modern Israel, because there definitely is.

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    • Nowhere in the NT does it say that Jews would return to Jerusalem after 70 AD. All of the proof texts of dispensationalism come from the Old Testament, and these texts when studied in context have no reference to the modern state of Israel.

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      • Exactly. Quite a number of passages spoke of the return to the land under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel, but are assumed within dispensationalism (and similar movements) to refer to a return in our lifetime, some 2600 years later. Within these movements, the New Testament is hardly at all consulted on these matters.

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      • Quote: “Nowhere in the NT does it say that Jews would return to Jerusalem after 70 AD. All of the proof texts of dispensationalism come from the Old Testament, and these texts when studied in context have no reference to the modern state of Israel”

        I totally agree. After studying many of the OT references used by dispensationalists, I also believe these also point to the fact of there not being another “restoration” after 70AD.

        The State known as Israel today is man-made, nevertheless, God permitted it to be formed. Adam (or anyone else) why exactly do you believe God has permitted this? Its a deception, this I believe….but to what purpose? While I have some thoughts on this (why God has permitted it) would like to hear from others who agree the Israel of today is not a foretold restoration. The evidence of it being totally man-made is overwhelming.

        Any thoughts would be appreciated….thanks!

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      • That’s a good question, PJ, and of course I agree that it’s man-made and that there’s a lot of deception involved. One reason why I believe God has permitted the nation of Israel to be created at this time, and to be such a hot topic in the Church, is so that God’s people would wrestle with all that Scripture teaches concerning the old and new covenants, justice and compassion, the one new man created in Christ Jesus, no distinction between Jews and non-Jews, etc. In other words, all of this is serving to expose any lack of understanding concerning the new covenant and the nature of God’s kingdom in the Church. God means for us to see how all of His promises and plans are wrapped up in His Son, our Savior, Jesus.

        I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on this, as well as those of anybody else. I may have more to add later as well.

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      • Just for those who share my view or who are looking to scripture for a reason for the modern state of Israel and its population of mostly unbelieving Jews. Zephaniah 2:1,2 “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
        2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you.” and Ezekiel 38:8 “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” This return in unbelief is necessary for the “controversy of Zion” (Isaiah 34:8) and for “Jerusalem to be a cup of trembling” (Zechariah 12:2) Nothing about the modern nation/state is a fulfillment of scripture except as a preliminary event necessary for the wars and fulfillment in the yet to come time of “Jacob’s trouble”. I see clearly why the nation is once again on the map and at the center of controversy because I await the literal fulfillment of prophecy by a sovereign God who can not stop loving His unfaithful Gomer. Hosea 6:2 “After two days will he revive us: (2,000 years) in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”(1,000 year millennial reign)?

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      • Quote: “In other words, all of this is serving to expose any lack of understanding concerning the new covenant and the nature of God’s kingdom in the Church. God means for us to see how all of His promises and plans are wrapped up in His Son, our Savior, Jesus”

        Yes, i agree. Also in a manner, it’s existence is revealing a deep deception which many within the Church are under, and have been under for 150 years. It is working to bring it to the surface. This deception has resulted in idolatry, for one thing, and a complete misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God and Christ as the center of all!

        I ponder on the question as to how long God will allow this to continue….if at some point the beliefs of Christian Zionists/dispensationalists will “implode”: and what the results (for them) will be. Or, if God will permit this deception to carry on until the end (his return).

        Since reading La Vigne’s question at facebook a few years ago, (What would happen to the illegitimate and popular prophetic forecast if the state of Israel no longer existed?) i have found myself pondering upon this, and how we see the devotion and glory, rightfully belonging to Jesus, being bestowed upon a people who deny him, and a piece of secular land.

        This is truly a great last-day deception.

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  2. Israel as it is,is NOT the fulfillment of prophecy. But the FACT that that nation is back on the map is a pre-cursor, a step in the necessary process of our march toward the Day of the Lord.
    The fact that it is not a fulfillment, the fact that there are so many prophecies about Israel that have not been fulfilled is proof that there is a yet future work of God to be done. Isaiah 60:12-16 for instance. 60:21 is nice too. Isaiah 62:4 uses the word “desolate”, but only to show the incredible, amazing, Hosea-like love that the Father has for His Gomer.
    PJ Miller Zechariah chapters 11-14 do a wonderful job of picturing Israel, as they see “the one whom they have pierced” as they are given the spirit of grace and supplication to turn as a nation to their God.

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    • Chuck,

      I respectfully disagree with you that Israel’s place on the map today is a necessary pre-cursor to any Biblical prophecy. Since you don’t believe that “Israel as it is” has fulfilled any prophecy (and I agree), I don’t understand how you still see that nation as a signpost for other prophecies to be fulfilled.

      I’m curious. Do you see any present fulfillment for Isaiah 60? To me, the language and the context scream out a picture of the world before Jesus came, and that the darkness was dispelled by the spread of the gospel. And this is the unified interpretation of numerous respected leaders of the past. See these commentaries on verse 3, for example:

      http://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/60-3.htm

      As some did well to point out, Isaiah already prophesied that Jesus would be God’s Servant to be His salvation to the ends of the earth, and that He would be given as a light to the Gentiles (e.g. Isaiah 49:6). In Isaiah 60 we see a time when a light has come to Zion and the Gentiles come to that light. It sure seems like everything that follows in the rest of this chapter is related to Isaiah’s vision in the first few verses, and that it’s all about Jesus and the light of His gospel spreading across our planet.

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      • The church can rejoice in the promises of Isaiah 60, but it is not necessary to rip all of the physical, material meaning out of the text. Camels are coming from specific locations loaded with goods, animals are coming from specific locations to the ‘glorious house.’ Ships are bringing silver and gold all because of the compassion of God on His chosen people. “Forsaken and hated” are replaced with job from generation to generation. “Violence will not be heard again in your land.” These are precious, amazing promises flowing from His heart of love and commitment. Verse 21 is positively astounding, BUT, it is the Lord’s promise to a people and the land that He has chosen from of old. It is all for one purpose, this millennial day of rest..”Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” I would like to emphasize, “of Jacob!” His love will not leave them desolate, period!

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    • Christ, the new Israel is the fulfillment of prophecy. Biblical theology looks to Christ, he is the third temple! Honor Christ!

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      • Dr. Mr, Bean Where do Gog and Magog come from? After a 1,000 years of millennial reign from a literal throne in Jerusalem by Jesus Christ how is it that Satan is able to assemble this group that is as the sands of the sea? Does not sound like a successful period of time as you describe–the whole idea is self contradictory!

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      • Gog and magog come from human nature. The choice is still there, you can refuse even perfect rule, from a perfect God. Adam and Eve? Does that ring a bell?

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      • Mr. Bean your missing the point. In the resurrection there is no marriage according to Jesus–no procreation–so where do they come from?

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      • Patrick, you do not believe in the 1,000 year reign of Christ prophesied in Revelation. A reign that takes place on earth from Jerusalem. Jesus Christ, which means Jehovah Saves, the Anointed King of Israel was clearly understood by the Jews who wrote the New Testament to be in heaven only until the restoration of all things. Acts 3:21. If you think we are living in a world where the “restoration of all things has happened” then I guess our discussion is over. I think it is a time yet to come when “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9 This is one of a plethora of scriptures that does not describe our time here on earth during this age but does describe the amazing 1,000 year reign of Christ, the age to come. This is a theme that runs throughout scripture and requires a physical land and people. Just read Ezekiel 36 and believe what it says instead of trying to change it to fit into your system of thought. Peace.

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      • Chuck, I remember when I was a premillennialist, and how I took for granted what I was taught, that Isaiah 11 and a whole host of Old Testament passages described the 1000 years of Revelation 20. I didn’t stop to question on what basis they were all tied together. Then, at one point, the Isaiah 11/Revelation 20 connection fell apart for me. We’ve probably talked about this before (maybe not), but check out what the apostle Paul did with Isaiah 11:10, the next verse after the one you quoted. Paul quoted Isaiah 11:10 in Romans 15:12 as part of his argument that Gentiles were presently finding their hope in Jesus.

        Here’s the verse he quoted: “IN THAT DAY the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of Him shall the nations inquire, and His resting place shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10). In what day? The same day as Isaiah 11:9 – “They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”; also the same day as Isaiah 11:6 – “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” This post discusses the Isaiah 11/Romans 15 connection more deeply:

        http://kloposmasm.com/2012/01/29/romans-15-shows-that-isaiah-11-is-fulfilled/

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  3. Im not a theologian, but just an average Christian who reads and studies the Word. I have great respect for you all, for God has gifted you with the ability to study and share what the Spirit reveals to you in the Word. I learn much from reading your thoughts and opinions!

    I just wanted to point that out and thank you for sharing posts like this one. They make me think! 🙂

    Even your closing words chuckabean, (“His love will not leave them desolate, period!”} brought a few scriptures to mind for God has NOT left them desolate and without hope. God provided a way for their desolation to be lifted and replaced with salvation and eternal life! It is through faith in Jesus Christ.

    For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10

    They have always possessed the means of their ‘desolation’ being lifted,

    “And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again” Romans 11

    Like all people, from every ethnic group in the world, some have chosen to believe and others have not. This will continue to be the case until Jesus returns.

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    • PJ I am glad that you are reading Romans 9-11. I am also glad that you are not a theologian but just someone who reads the word of God. Please, I beg you, just read those chapters and follow the progression of thought that Paul is clearly laying out. As you are reading Chapters 9 and 10 it is possible to believe that God’s purpose for ethnic Israel is gone, done, past. They come in one at a time through faith in Christ, just like every other person who names the name of Christ, and that is true during this “time of the gentiles”, but what of the progression of thought in chapter 11? In verse 25 Paul prepares us for a big turn of events as he says that the partial hardening that has happened to Israel AS A NATION, is only UNTIL, (that is such an important word in prophecy, that I challenge you to do a study on it) the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; breathless pause… then what will happen, Verse 26″ and so ALL ISRAEL will be saved”, then He quotes Isaiah the prophet, he could have also quoted Zechariah 12 which speaks of God’s faithfulness to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. It speaks specifically in verse 10 of a national repentance, that leads to a national righteousness and therefore Paul can speak of the gifts and calling of God not being revoked. Romans 11:29. You need to read this and see what gifts and calling is he talking about. The point of the remaining verses of Romans 11 is simply that we are all vessels of mercy, it is foolishness to say that Israel was such a bad people and they blew it and we are so much better than them. What we are as individuals they are as a nation, and the same mercy that we need as individuals they need as a nation and they have it because of the mercy and compassion of God. Isaiah 63:7-9.
      Bless you as you continue to study to show yourself approved.

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    • Thank you for these thoughts, PJ. I think those are great examples from Romans 10 and 11 of how Jesus is the means for desolation to be removed from the lives of those living in darkness, whether they are Jews or non-Jews. Indeed, God has not abandoned the Jewish people or left them desolate and without hope. Their former center of worship was left desolate, but that is not true of them as a people. Jesus is their hope, and many Jews have become part of His bride, and part of God’s holy nation, over the last 2000 years.

      God has one holy nation, and it’s not limited to, or dominated by, one single ethnicity. It’s a nation whose members are from many nationalities, who speak many different languages, who practice many different cultures, who give glory to God in many unique and different ways. What a wonderful thing God has done in this present age, and what a wonderful spiritual house He has built.

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  4. Hi chuckabean! Though it’s late here and i do have a few questions for later i would like to at least get one in before bed. aha! The rest will have to wait until im more awake/alert.

    You pointed out the verse 10 from Zechariah 12, saying:

    “….then He quotes Isaiah the prophet, he could have also quoted Zechariah 12 which speaks of God’s faithfulness to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. It speaks specifically in verse 10 of a national repentance, that leads to a national righteousness….”

    From my reading this verse was fulfilled for John points it out (as such) in John chapter 19 in verses 36 and 37:

    36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

    As you can see when read in context, John spoke this as being fulfilled in response to the soldiers, when coming to Jesus (our Beloved Savior) in order to break his legs, found him already dead. So instead, they pierced our Lord’s side….(Hope you don’t mind my posting it in context–i understand its a lot of scripture, but it’s easier then explaining it)

    31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

    Seeing as John pointed to this as Zec. 12: 10 being fulfilled (every bible version i own links John’s words in verse 37 back to Zec. 12:10) how can it be pointing to a future national repentance of modern day Israel?

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    • In order for all the verses in the context of Zechariah chapter 12 to be fulfilled, there had to be a key piece of the puzzle brought in to play. There had to be a “pierced” One, for them to look upon. So Jesus being pierced allows for this scripture to be fulfilled, but obviously a few Roman guards is not what Zechariah is prophesying. He is speaking of specific tribes withing the nation of Israel “seeing” this One and coming to a time of national mourning and repentance.
      I would think of it like this, if I “prophesied” that it would rain hail stones in July and ruin your red car.. and you thought to yourself, I don’t even have a red car, but one day later this month someone gave you a red car, now, a “portion” of that prophecy would have been fulfilled, but it would await the hail storm months later for its ultimate fulfillment.
      Zechariah 12 has a lot of national language in it and the defeat of the enemies, all things that point to a future ultimate fulfillment.
      In my opinion John is simply saying, this piercing is the fulfillment of this part of this verse, not the whole chapter that the verse is in context of.
      Another even more powerful partial fulfillment was on the day that Peter stood and preached, the term “pricked” in the NT greek is almost identical to the Hebrew word for “pierced.” So 3,000 “saw” Jesus pierced in the powerful, anointed preaching of Peter.
      But my bottom line point in most of these discussions is “a remnant is not enough.” God’s promises to Israel are positively HUGE and mind-blowing, completely impossible, unless the Sovereign God was working them out for His glory. He promises a nation of all righteous people, living in the land with generations who walk in righteousness after them, a true light to the nations. (The church gets a partial fulfillment of this, I don’t argue with that, but there is yet to come a literal “kingdom of priests” for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable!!
      Scriptures for a “remnant is not enough”: Zechariah 14:9-21, Jeremiah 31:31-40 especially note verse 34, Ezekiel 36:22-36 especially note verses 33-36 about the rebuilding of physical cities in the land as a witness to the nations, and of course in the context of this original post, pay attention to how often the word “desolate” comes up.
      I believe these promises of spoken of in Romans 15:8 and they do not mean that we, “the church” do not get our promises, but hey get theirs too.
      Blessings on your Sunday.

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      • In Christ, there is no “we” and “they.” The middle wall of separation has been removed, and Gentiles are no longer separated from the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2). There is no Jew or Gentile in Christ Jesus, as the New Testament repeatedly affirms, and there is no distinction or favoritism for one people over others.

        If there remains a separate set of promises for ethnic Jews that do not apply to followers of Christ, let’s consider what that would mean for Messianic Jews (i.e. ethnic Jews who follow Christ). They would be heirs of two sets of promises, while “Gentile” believers would be heirs of only one set of promises. They would be privileged in ways that non-Jewish believers are not. This would negate all of the New Testament texts which state that God’s blessings are equally available to all who are in Christ, that there is no distinction, no favoritism, only equality, and that every spiritual blessing is found in Christ Jesus (e.g. Ephesians 1:3). If God is holding out promises only available to the Jews, then there really is a distinction, there really is favoritism, and Paul was mistaken when he said that EVERY spiritual blessing was already available for all who trust in Jesus, even in his own day.

        All of God’s promises find their “yes” and “amen” in Jesus (II Corinthians 1:20). That was true in the first century, and it’s still true today. God already has a nation of all righteous people – it’s known as the church, the body of Christ, a people who are counted as righteous because we are in Christ, the righteous One.

        Concerning the idea that “a remnant is not enough,” we read this in Romans 9:27 – “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.'”

        The world is not waiting for “a true light to the nations.” That light has come, and His name is Jesus.

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  5. “The world is not waiting for “a true light to the nations.” That light has come, and His name is Jesus”

    Hello Adam. I have wanted to get back over here but have been ill. Forgive the delay but i wanted to respond to your quote (above) if it’s ok… better late then never huh? 🙂

    In many articles and comments from dispensationalists (and Christian zionists) i read where they believe Israel, at some future time, will be “a light to the nations”. How can they believe this? It cannot be so for exactly the reason you pointed out: Jesus came–He IS the true and only light to the nations.

    God’s plan has been and is, progressive. Their belief that in some future time God will regress back to Israel being the light (which they did not fulfill the role of the first time) mystifies me, as does their belief of regressing back to sacrifices in some future rebuilt temple.

    Its as though Jesus coming, and all he accomplished (and fulfilled!) is completely ignored.

    It is mystifying as to why they have this desire to return to types and shadows, and for many Christians it is confusing. I say “confusing” based upon what i read at a number of websites from believers.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and let you know im still alive and kicking 🙂 I want to spend some time today catching up with your latest posts and the comments.

    As always, they are of great encouragement and knowledge.

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    • Hi PJ. I’m always glad to know that you’re alive and kicking. 🙂 No problem about the delay. There are sure to be delays on my end as well, especially with my work schedule being the way it is this year.

      I don’t understand that belief either – that one day in our future national Israel will be a light to the nations. I see it as a regression as well, and a statement that Jesus is not enough, or that Jesus has failed in His role (as the light), or that the church has failed to shine brightly among the nations with the light of Jesus.

      The different ways that people want to return to old covenant types and shadows really is mystifying. At the root of it, I suppose, is either a lack of knowledge about the new covenant, a rejection of the new covenant (in whole or in part), and/or brainwashing from various teachers.

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    • I believe in exegesis not eisegesis, which is why I am not a dispensationalist today even those I was raised in the system and even attended Multnomah School of Bible. The question Where does Gog and Magog come from in Revelation 20 has never been given a clear, cogent, answer in my opinion. I was hoping that you would not dodge the question by proof texting Old testament passages. Christ must remain in heaven until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The first two Jerusalem and Roman Empire. But Christ still has many enemies in the world, still so much work to done. My philosophical problem with dispensationalism is that it is defeatist–you get the world is going to hell and hand basket so I am waiting for the rapture. I choose not to live that way–I don’t think it honors Christ.

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      • Sadly, Patrick we have no history, so you do not know that I am not waiting for the rapture, but see the body of believers on the earth all the way through the time of tribulation being salt and light. Gog and Magog come from the fallen nature of man, and due to Christ’s reign of 1,000 years and Satan’s being bound for 1,000 years the earth has experienced its “day” of rest, but then God gives man the opportunity to follow an “un bound” Satan and because of the “evil” resident in the fallen nature of man, many follow him. There are plenty of scriptures that point to “unsaved” people going into the millennial time. If you don’t know them or missed them in your previous education, I can look them up for you.

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  6. I rejoice in the new covenant, I don’t reject it. I expect the promise of heaven and eternal dwellings and forever to all be true. I expect the same God who made promises to a nation, that involved a land and “feasts” that were HIS feasts, not their feasts and some of which are spoken of as perpetual feasts, to fulfill His promises to them. Israel back on the map and Jerusalem being argued over once again, does not surprise me. I see it as a stone on the path to a true, and literal fulfillment of the new covenant, that was originally made and prophesied about and to the Jewish nation. I have no problem with the word “and”, the church can bask in the light of these promises without having to disqualify in a permanent way, Israel, the land and the nation. I would never down-play Jesus and the things that He fulfilled. Neither were the disciples when they would ask Jesus about the kingdom, and the restoration that had not yet come, but was still expected.

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  7. Outstanding exegesis- the only conclusion one can come to would be that any attempt to rebuild a temple in Jerusalem would be an attempt to undo the curse of Jesus. So far at least the curse of Jesus stands and a third temple does not.

    Patrick Shetler Westminster Seminary Class of 1983

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    • Thank you. Yes, many who are behind efforts to rebuild the temple seemed determined to force God’s stamp of approval on the project, despite what Jesus said and despite the New Testament pattern of declaring Jesus and His body to be God’s temple.

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  8. The Book of Acts is about the restoration of Israel and Peter and 12 are the ones who sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel–look at the court scenes Peter may be on trial but he is the judge. Reading scripture has so much to do with the pre suppositions one brings to the text. Just try reading the Bible without the scofield notes.

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  9. Do the passages in the Old Testament that you refer to as belonging in the Millennium time gap, reference resurrected immortal beings living with mortal sinful human kind? The event described in 20:4-6 seems to me to be a reward for faithful Christian martyrs who gave their lives for Christ. Your picture of the millennium on earth hardly seems like a reward. The context does not mention Jerusalem or the earth. Morris in his excellent commentary makes the point that in Revelation thrones have a heavenly reference not earthly. (Satan’s throne being the exception) Gog and Magog attack the camp of the Saints not Jerusalem. The author deliberately chooses an OT image that refers to the wilderness time and reflects the pilgrim nature of the church. Your referencing Jerusalem into the 20:4-6 text is what my professors called reading into the text. Something that I seek to avoid. I do have a system, a pre-supposition that the NT should interpret the OT and that all biblical texts should be taken to Christ and his cross for proper understanding. This is what Jesus did with his apostles on the road to Emmaus. The gift of the Holy Spirit was necessary for the Apostles to understand the spiritual redemptive nature of the of the Old Testament. I notice that in the gospels for example Peter sees that Jesus is the Christ–after Pentecost he declares that Jesus is both Lord and Christ and refers to Psalm 110:1-2. David’s throne is in heaven is the natural reading of the text and sermon. Hope this helps you understand where I am coming from.

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    • Since God and Magog are only referred to one other time in scripture, I let scripture interpret scripture and go to that section in Ezekiel for a fuller understanding of the events briefly described by John. Since “Christ” means anointed and the Lord’s anointed is used over and over again to refer to the King of Israel. I understand scripture through Christ also, but I think in a way quite different from you. As for Psalm 110 where is the location of Zion? It is good to hear out each others views. It would be my hope that answering each others ‘objections’ has stretched us a little. Peace.

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      • Dear Chuck thanks for the dialogue and the Spirit in which you conducted it.
        Hopefully we will meet again on some other topic.

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  10. I guess I should enter in on the subject of what is God’s purpose for the modern Jewish State, Israel. I do believe that God is on the side of the poor and oppressed of this world. That the Jews were oppressed by the German Alliance Empire between 1932-1945 is obvious. The world responded to the injustice that they suffered. The United Nations (of all groups) created a way for them to return to their homeland. (Of coarse there has been all manner of unanticipated consequences.) The Jews are not the first oppressed people to become oppressors themselves–we may even say that it tends to be standard operational procedure. So i would say that it is several things God’s mercy, human justice, and the illusion of power in manifest destiny type of thinking being made manifest.

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