In the book The Last Trumpet: The Mystery of God is Finished and a New Age Begins, author Robert Johnston explores biblical prophecy and the promises of God that relate to the end times. This excerpt is from chapter 1.
The Day Jesus Wept
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
THE WEEK WHEN Jesus was crucified is perhaps the most meaningful time in history to understand God’s plan for the ages, including the tribulation period and end of the age. We must wrap our minds around the reason Jesus was crucified and understand that we cannot simply attribute it to Israel’s transgres- sion. In fact, their transgression has meant riches for the rest of the world (Rom 11:12). For the most part we as Christians have erroneously looked at the persecution and suffering of the Jewish people throughout history as affliction coming from God because of their unbelief and disobedience (As foretold in Deuteronomy 28:62–66), when from God’s point of view they are a nation still beloved and dear to him (Rom 11:28). We must change our thinking to conform to God’s and view their persecution and suffering as coming from Satan.
When Satan orchestrated the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, he thought he had achieved a victory, but Christ arose. Likewise, when the Jews were driven from their homeland and dispersed among the nations, Satan again believed he had achieved a victory by destroying God’s chosen people. But after almost nineteen hundred years passed, he observed that their bloodline still remained, even though they had no nation of their own. It was then that he devised a plan to completely eliminate their bloodline from humanity through an orchestrated event called the Holocaust. Today not only does their bloodline remain but they have also been regathered to their own nation, where Satan will again try to destroy them prior to the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period (Ezek. 38–39). Understanding God’s chosen nation is the key to understanding the tribulation period, the end of this age, and the beginning of the new age. “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]” (Rom. 11:29 AMP).
For over nineteen hundred years, the Jews have been separated from God’s plan for them as a nation, but God has called them back home from many nations to complete that plan in this age. As we see them grafted back into what God has planned for them, we find that both Christians and Jews are merging into the same plan, which will lead to the ultimate defeat of Satan and those who serve him as well as the end of this present age.
We must establish a foundation in response to the prophecies Jesus gave to his disciples in Matthew 24 regarding the “last days” and “the day of the Lord” before we can proceed with his foretelling about them. We must be cognizant of the fact that Jesus knew he was about to be “cut off” from the land of the living according to the foreknowledge of God (Dan. 9:26). Israel was also about to be “cut off” from God’s plan for them as the result of their transgressions and rejection of the Messiah (Rom. 11:19–22). It is also important for us to comprehend the extent to which Israel had fallen into apostasy, which is the great sin of deliberately turning from God.
Jesus attributed this apostasy to the religious leaders of the day. When Jesus’ disciples reported to him that one of his statements had offended the Pharisees, Jesus replied, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matt. 15:14 NASB). With these thoughts clearly in mind, we will set the stage for the temporary cutting off of the nation from God’s plan by reviewing a few of the activities during the two days before the Passover celebration and Christ’s crucifixion (Matt. 26:2).