A Demonic Strategy for the Deceiving of Israel

Prof. Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (January 2013)

Introduction

We are in various ways indebted to Israel, but mostly for their facilitating role in receiving and recording the Word of God, which was made available to us through the ministry of first generation Jewish evangelists. But the covenant people, like the Gentiles, are exposed to intensive, demonically-inspired deception in order to deprive us all from our spiritual heritage in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. All the followers of the Messiah should accept it as their highest calling: (a) to proclaim the true Gospel message with its liberating power to all nations, starting with the Jews; and (b) to warn all people, but particularly Israel, against the devastating effects of spiritual deception. In this article, the devil’s strategy for the spiritual blinding of Israel is exposed. Only the light of the true Gospel can dispel the darkness of delusion. The Messiah is full of grace and truth (John 1:14) and His Word is the only timeless standard for divine truth.

The aim with deception

Spiritual deception is, during the last days of the church dispensation, a very common characteristic. One of the important reasons for this phenomenon is that, through strong delusion, the world is rapidly being prepared to accept the false Messiah in stead of the true Messiah, thereby inadvertently subjecting themselves to the false theology of the renegade kingdom of “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4). Deception of this nature is proclaimed among all nations, but specifically also among the people of Israel. Erroneous thinking with regard to the person and identity of the Messiah has proved to be very popular among gullible, postmodern societies in which people have become estranged from God’s Word. All indications are that religious deception will ultimately give rise to a global movement in which virtually the whole world will follow the Antichrist in amazement and also worship him as the “saviour” of the world (Rev. 13:3-4).

Demonically-inspired deception of Jewish people is particularly intense in view of the fact that, according to the Bible, a faithful remnant of them is destined to be reconciled with the true Messiah and will subsequently play an important role as the people of God during His millennial reign of peace. The sinister purpose with this campaign of deception is that Jews should continue to reject the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, and obstinately proceed to expect another Messiah, who is Satan’s impostor.

The Lord Jesus reminded Israel of the serious implications of rejecting Him as Messiah and Saviour. Should they do so they would spiritually embark on a wrong journey which will lead to becoming followers of false prophets and false christs, and ultimately also of the false Messiah: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive” (John 5:43).

The devil’s objective is to influence the entire Christian church to defect from the true Christ in order that, together with Israel, he may subject the whole deceived world to the authority of his false Christ (2 Cor. 11:2-4). However, in this article we will specifically investigate the deception imposed upon Israel as this nation, according to a large body of biblical promises, will play a major role in the revelation and functioning of God’s kingdom on earth. The following are the four most significant promises which will be fulfilled in the end-time with regard to Israel:

·        The entire remnant of Israel will be saved when Christ returns to Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation period and set foot on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4-5; Rom. 11:26; Zech. 12:10; 13:9; Jer. 31:31-34).

·        The saved Israel will al be restored to their own land and dwell safely in it (Isa. 11:11-12; Jer. 23:6; 31:7-8; Ezek. 39:25-29).

·        Israel will be the Lord’s special witnesses among the nations and fill the world with fruit for God’s kingdom (Isa. 27:6; Rom. 11:12).

·        The throne of David will be restored in Jerusalem, the Messiah will reign from it and the nations will go up to Jerusalem to be instructed by the Lord (Acts 15:16-17; Isa. 2:2-4; Jer. 3:17; Zech. 8:22-23; 14:16).

These are all important characteristics of God’s revealed kingdom on earth, and it is evident that Israel will play a central role in it. This kingdom will replace the Antichrist’s false kingdom which will have been established on earth during the preceding seven years of the tribulation period, and that is the big reason why the devil will do everything in his power to prevent the fulfilment of promises on the restoration of Israel and the second coming of Christ. He fully realises that if he can bring to naught Israel’s physical and spiritual restoration in their land, and also conquer and kill the Messiah when He comes (Rev. 19:19), he will have proved the Bible to be wrong and will then be able to perpetuate the Antichrist’s satanic kingdom. We are now approaching a very intensive and decisive phase in Satan’s rebellion against the kingdom of God.

A dual strategy

It is obvious that two different strategies are applied in the struggle against Israel. The first one is aimed at destroying them, and with a view to this end the devil instigates Israel’s enemies to arm themselves in order to utterly destroy Israel as a people. We read about this evil objective in Psalm 83:4: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” Israel is continuously involved in hostilities and wars with the nations around them. They are indeed engaged in a battle for survival, and because of these threats they have a pronounced expectation on the coming of the Messiah to finally save them.

The second strategy is more subtle but equally devastating to the continued existence of the nation. This strategy refers to spiritual deception and is aimed at preventing Israel’s spiritual revival and salvation, in order that they should not be able to fulfil their calling as God’s people. In this context, the devil does not approach Israel as a vindictive enemy but he comes as an angel of light to offer them a (false) messiah, as well as the repetitive practising of obsolete religious institutions. In this way he hopes that they will accept and worship his false messiah, thereby completely alienating themselves from the true God. A comprehensive programme has been devised for the spiritual deception of Israel. It entails the full revival of their Old Testament, legalistic religion, as that would ensure that the majority of Jews will not accept Jesus Christ’s gospel of grace which has replaced the law. The following are aspects of Israel’s traditional faith, in which Christ is not at all recognised as the fulfilment of Messianic prophecies:

The temple service

Israel’s traditional religion revolves around the temple service and cannot be properly expressed without a fully functioning temple in Jerusalem. Modern Israel is on the threshold of the revival of their Old Testament temple culture and the reverting to these practices will have far-reaching consequences for the entire Jewish nation – including their form of government. The following reforms are contemplated by the leaders of the temple project:

·       According to religious leaders, the roots of the Jewish culture should be derived from the temple service, which demands the building of a temple in the prescribed place on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The end-time restoration of Israel in their own land is not seen to be complete before a temple as the highest expression of Israel’s political and religious life, as well as a cultural centre, has been put into operation. The temple is regarded to be the heart of biblical Jerusalem and the entire nation. This sentiment is shared by many Jews as evidenced by the large number of entries on Jewish Facebook pages.

·       According to the orthodox Jewish faith there can be no reconciliation between God and man without regular sacrifices in the temple for the remission of the people’s sins: “… without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11). Orthodox Jews who do not accept the final sacrifice of the Messiah as the Lamb of God (cf. John 1:29; Heb. 10:1-18) allow themselves no alternative but to revert to the Old Testament’s sacrificial service. Jews who do not share this conviction with them are despised as apostates and even enemies of Israel. This group includes all the Messianic fellowships in which Jesus Christ is proclaimed as Messiah and Saviour, and they experience strong opposition from orthodox Jews.

·       A new basis for international relations is envisaged through the temple service and its associated form of government. Isaiah 2:2-4 is often quoted in support of their vision since this scripture describes Jerusalem as the world capital where a government of righteousness for all nations will be established. God will rule and His reign will bring about the end of all hostilities among nations. The building of the so-called “third temple” is associated with the coming of the Messiah. Under His rule Israel will be a blessing to the whole world. However, orthodox Jews deny that Jesus is the Messiah, so they are inevitably waiting for a false Messiah.

Preparations for the rebuilding of the temple are in an advanced stage, giving rise to great expectation for the soon coming of the Messiah – the one who will, according to orthodox Jews, restore the temple service and the Torah. Various religious bodies that became redundant during Israel’s Diaspora are now revived to assist in restoring the temple culture.

The new Sanhedrin

The Sanhedrin is a traditional Jewish council of religious leaders which was, during biblical times in Israel, the highest judiciary body within the framework of the Torah. On 13th October, 2004, after almost two millennia, a Sanhedrin was again instituted in modern Israel. This body, however, does not enjoy official status in Israel and is only recognised by orthodox Jews. The new Sanhedrin is composed of 71 prominent rabbis and other Jewish scholars.

The founders of the modern Sanhedrin say they only do their duty in constituting such a council. During the time of the second temple (the Temple of Herod during the first century) there was a Sanhedrin which was the supreme body responsible for the administration of justice from a religious point of view. The 71 members of the Council were seated in a semi-circle in a special room on the Temple Mount.

At meetings of the present Sanhedrin the possibility of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem is a major subject for discussion. Rabbi Chaim Richman, one of the executive members of the Council, said it is most fitting that the new Sanhedrin should contemplate the building of the temple since it is of great significance for the cultural and religious identity of the Jewish nation. He expressed his disappointment at the withdrawal from certain parts of Israel’s territory by their government, thereby relinquishing Israel’s dream of full restoration. The Sanhedrin seeks ways to strengthen the roots of the Jewish faith by again uniting Israel as the Chosen People around the temple service and the Torah.

The members of the Sanhedrin do not recognise the present democratic government of Israel and committed themselves to electing a king for the land. This is a dangerous course upon which orthodox leaders have embarked since the false messiah will pretend to be a descendant of David and lay claim to the royal throne of Israel.

In an effort to honour the demands of the Torah the Council has written to all governments early in 2007, impressing it upon them that the world is on a disastrous course. In terms of Isaiah 2:2-4 they proposed that the temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem in order to again experience the presence of God in the pursuance of peace on earth.

For obvious reasons, the Sanhedrin will welcome the false messiah when he appears on the scene since he will pretend to be the true Messiah who will speak to their hearts by allowing Israel to rebuild the temple. Great disillusionment will soon follow his coming.

The Temple Institute

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Sanhedrin is also CEO of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. This Institute collects and manufactures furniture, altars, special equipment, and robes for priests, which are all needed to resume the temple service. They have already made golden lampstands, a bronze laver as well as a golden crown for the High Priest. The robe of the High Priest is ready, as well as garments for 120 priests. All these items still need to be purified by sprinkling them with specially prepared purification water (cf. Num. 19:1-9). To be able to prepare this water they first need to find a red heifer with no hair on it of any other colour. The heifer must then be slaughtered and burnt, after which a small amount of its ash can be used to prepare holy water. The problem is that, for the sake of continuity, the remains of the previous red heifer’s ash must first be found and placed on top of the present heifer when it is ritually burnt.

Archaeologists are still searching for a container with ash that was used during the time of the second temple, as well as the Ark of the Covenant, both which were hidden in an unknown place. Should the ash of the previous red heifer not be found in time, and no heifer which complies with all the demands of the Torah is available in Israel, the temple equipment cannot be purified.

Chaim Richman says: “The temple equipment has been made in a state of impurity since all of us are presently impure. And we will remain impure until we find a red heifer of which the ashes can be used for purification ceremonies in the way prescribed by the Torah. Should no red heifer be found the High Priest will enter the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement in a state of impurity.”

What great advantage do we enjoy in the New Testament to be purified by the blood of the Lamb when we approach the Lord’s throne of grace through the torn veil! We do not need earthly priests as mediators as we have a great High Priest who has prepared the way for us (Heb. 10:19-22). By their own making, orthodox Jews are forfeiting the privilege of being purified through sprinkling by the blood of the Lamb.

Schools for priests

Various Jews from the tribe of Levi are trained as priests in special schools in Jerusalem and New York. There are 613 Old Testament laws with which they have to acquaint themselves. In July 2007, a big conference for priests and Levites was held in Jerusalem. Jews with the surname of Cohen are descended from the first priest, Aaron, and may be trained as priests.

A new altar for burnt sacrifices

The modern Sanhedrin is so strongly committed to reconciliation with God by way of Israel’s Old Testament sacrificial service that they started building an altar in November 2009 according to biblical instructions. After completion of the altar, invitations were extended to Jews all over the world to attend the Passover in Jerusalem on 29 and 30 March 2010 (rabbinical date) when Paschal lambs would be slaughtered and sacrifices made on the new altar. Enough lambs would be made available to Jews to conduct the sacrifice as described in Exodus 12.

However, the Israeli government did not give permission for the planned sacrifices as they feared that such an act would lead to renewed uprisings among the Palestinians, who already have control over the Temple Mount and strongly resist the idea of rebuilding the Jewish temple.

A new approach

The sensational news from the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem is that the third temple will be a house of prayer for all monotheistic faiths, of which Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the most important. The Lord’s words in Isaiah 56:7 are quoted as justification for this announcement: “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This statement is wrongly interpreted in a multireligious way in order to also give recognition to non-Biblical faiths such as Islam.

A Jewish website, www.godsholymountain.org/ promotes the idea of “God’s holy mountain” as being open to all faiths. According to present planning the religious activities in nearby Islamic mosques as well as Roman Catholic sanctuaries will be integrated with the temple service. The executive director of the Temple Institute, Jehuda Glick, says that they are waiting on the coming of the Messiah as only He can authorise the building of the temple.

The multireligious thinking which is foundational to the campaign for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem is exactly in accordance with the biblical account of the temple for the coming tribulation period. John says that in the end-time a false messiah will appear on the scene and that he will be followed and worshipped by the members of all religions: “And all the world marvelled and followed the beast … and they worshiped the beast, saying, who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? … And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:2-7).

The promise in Haggai 2:9 is also quoted with regard to the rebuilt temple: “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former. … And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts.” This promise is extended by the Sanhedrin to all nations without any demand that they should abolish their own form of faith. Leading orthodox Jews have embraced the multireligious idea of a temple for all faiths, and it is quite evident that the false Messiah will sooner or later show up to give permission for the building of the third temple.

Government of the Antichrist

The Antichrist will not only be recognized by Israel as their Messiah-King (cf. John 5:43) but also by all nations of the world. This false prince of peace will be globally accepted and recognized as religious and political leader by way of formal treaties. The covenant with him will be in force for seven years, which is known in Israel as a year-week: “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate” (Dan. 9:27).

The tribulation of seven years is clearly divided into two halves. The first half is characterised by a false peace when all deceived faiths will recognise the Antichrist as their mutual messiah. The second half of the tribulation is characterised by a military dictatorship as well as the forced worship of the Antichrist as the god of this world. At the beginning of the year-week all nations will be allowed to continue with their own religion on condition that all of them recognize, worship and follow the new world leader as their mutual messiah. The Antichrist will be Messiah to the Jews, Christ to the deceived Christians, Krishna to the Hindus, the fifth Buddha to the Buddhists, and the Imam Mahdi to the Muslims.

All the major religions will fully support this self-declared God-man – including deceived Christian churches which will still be functioning virtually full strength after the rapture. These will be the churches that had previously rejected the virgin birth, deity and resurrection of the true Christ, together with various other fundamental Christian doctrines. Because of their spiritual treason against evangelical Christianity they will be committed followers of the false Christ of all religions and fully express themselves in his global culture of sin. The Bible describes this false Christ in terms of his true character as the “Antichrist” (1 John 2:18) and “the man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:3).

The building of the third temple in Jerusalem will fit in 100% with the Antichrist and his plans as he will, in this way, realise two major objectives: Firstly, through the reinstitution of animal sacrifices he will ensure that orthodox Jews refrain from taking refuge in Christ and be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Secondly, he will plan to use the Most Holy Place in the temple to declare himself to be God during the middle of the tribulation period, thereby entering the final phase of his rebellion against God.

So strongly will the Antichrist be motivated by his inclination of self-deification that he will eventually exalt himself above all religions by raising his position from messiah to that of God. Paul describes him as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4).

On this occasion, after 3½ years of tribulation, the Antichrist will not only order the termination of the daily sacrifices and offerings in the rebuilt temple, but also abolish other religions and have their places of worship demolished or burnt. The beast (i.e. Antichrist) and the kings who rule with him “will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:16).

The revival of Israel’s orthodox faith during the building of the third temple will, therefore, only last for 3½ years and end in a great tragedy for them. The Lord Jesus gave clear counsel to Israel on what to do on that ominous day when the Antichrist will declare himself to be God and also defile the temple by setting up an image of himself in the Holy of Holies. Israel will immediately realise that he is a false messiah and then revoke their covenant with him. They will then have to flee from Jerusalem and surrounding areas in great haste since the Antichrist will try to annihilate all people who reject him as God and Messiah (Dan. 11:44-45). The true Messiah described their flight as follows:

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation [the image of the Antichrist], 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. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matt. 24:15-22).

Long ago, Daniel referred to this end-time dictator and said: “And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation (the image of the beast). … Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god. … He shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many” (Dan. 11:31, 36, 44).

Israel’s continued national rejection of the deity and Messiahship of Jesus is paving the way for them to wrongfully enter into a covenant with the Antichrist. They will only at a very late stage discover that, because of their own leaders’ wrong choice and deceptive counsel, they have made a very costly mistake. Erroneous religious perceptions always, in the first instance, come from the father of lies (John 8:44), but people who unwittingly accept these lies will have to bear the consequences themselves. Deceived Israelis are heading for the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) when their self-appointed Messiah will confront them with the impossible demand of worshipping him as God.

The true Messiah will only at the end of this time of great anxiety return and set foot on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4-5). On that dramatic day, Israel will look on Him whom they have pierced and bitterly grieve for the sins which they committed through many generations of rejecting Jesus (Zech. 12:10). He warned them that their house (Jerusalem) would be left desolate until, at His second coming, they will say to Him: “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Matt. 23:39; cf. Ps. 118:26). Only then, the names of the idols and false prophets will be cut off from the land of Israel and only the true Messiah will be served (Zech. 13:2).