The Farthest North – Ezekiel 38:6,15

Ezek 38:1-6  Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.

Ezek 38:14-17  Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? 15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” 17 Thus says the Lord God: “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?

With the latest developments in Turkey of an unsuccessful coup last night, and a renewed alliance with Israel after six years of open animosity, can we see anything in the Scriptures that shine some light on this?  Turkey was the seat of the Islamic Ottoman Empire/Caliphate for more than 600 years in the Middle East, supposedly dissolved completely in 1922, in the aftermath of WW1.  The Ottomans ruled in Israel (Palestine) for 400 years.  Islam is a religion of the sword, and was established in direct opposition to the truth of the triune God, Yehovah, and against His Word that is the Bible — both Old and New Testaments –, and against His Son, the Lord and Messiah Jesus, and against His people, the Jews and Christians, and against His city, Jerusalem, and against His land — the Land of Canaan which YHVH covenanted to give to the Children of Jacob/Israel as an everlasting possession, the Land of Israel.

Islam is being revived with a vengeance, and terrorizing the whole world.  They are at war among themselves over the ‘rightful heir’ to the Caliphate, and the spiritual war is ultimately between Satan in the person of the coming Antichrist, and between YHVH, God Most High (El Elyon) in the person of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. God the Father has given all things to His beloved Son, Yeshua, and to all who believe in Him for salvation.  For this, the devil is in a rage, and out to destroy everyone he can.  The Muslim jihadist cry of “Allahu Akbar” actually means Allah is greater, not God is great, as usually reported.  Greater than whom?!  Which God?! (Dan 11:36-37; 2Thes 2:1-4)

Israel is looking for peace in any human way possible.  Therefore, she will never really have peace, until she returns to YHVH her God, through repentance and faith in her only Savior, Jesus.  (This is similar to the story of Joseph with his brothers in Egypt.)  Israel is making agreements with several Islamic countries in a joint effort to combat terror (which can not succeed, since Islam promotes jihad, which for most of us expresses itself in terror to bully and intimidate others into submission.  Turkey, which became secularized following WW1, under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, has, under the current leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, returned to being again a more religious and political Islamic country again.  The coup attempt last night was an effort by some of the military to restore the secularized Islamic character of the State.  It failed, and retribution will be swift and brutal, and Erdogan will consolidate his grip on power more firmly.

Why is this of interest?  The prophet Ezekiel was given a Word of YHVH for us living in the latter days.  Twice in ch 38, which speaks of Gog and the preparation for the war and invasion against Israel in the Land of Israel, the Holy Spirit gave Ezekiel the words translated as the “farthest north”, in vv 6 and 15.  Many commentators have said that this refers to Russia, since it is north of Israel.  Yet all the commentators agree that the reference in v. 15 to Togarmah is located in Asia Minor, i.e., part of Turkey.  (Asia Minor is also the area where the seven churches in Revelation were located.)  So, if the “farthest north” is Asia Minor in v. 15, that same Hebrew expression in v. 6 must refer to the same “far north” country, that is Turkey!

Let us awaken to the events swirling around us, as prophecy and current events increasingly come together to help us understand the times in which we live, and what the Body of Messiah should do in light of that.   “You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe.  I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming, and he has no claim on Me. (Jn 14:28-30)

Three New Years

I remember that before I was a believer, I wondered and asked the question:  Why do we have and remember New Year’s.  I was particularly thinking about the Jewish “New Year” which had become one of the High Holy Days in the synagogue.  The answer that I gave myself, and to my parents, was that there must be Someone who is keeping us (the Jewish people) alive for another year.  It gives an opportunity to thank Him, and to also hope that He would do the same for the next year.

Now, I have what, for me, is a broader and a more personal understanding of the significance of New Years.  YHVH God has given three opportunities to observe a New Year.  He is the God of Creation and of Redemption.  We are all born in the flesh; we  must be born of the Spirit to inherit eternal life.  We are individuals; Israel is a nation, whom God calls His first-born son.  These New Years — new beginnings —  are begun by God, and adopted by His people — whether Israeli Jews, or whether Christians.

YHVH told Israel that for them, the New Year would begin on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the month of Aviv/Nisan, the first full month of Spring of the Hebrew calendar for Israel.  This New Year focuses on the death of the Lamb of God, who died at the Passover, which is the 14th of that month (a Full Moon).  Israel does not perceive the resurrected sacrificial Lamb, but only the Passover sacrifice for deliverance from Egyptian slavery.  Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah is the Lamb of God who died for the sin and sins of every person, both in Israel and for all humanity for all time.  In His death, all died, for He is the representative Man in God’s ultimate plan of salvation, which He conceived before time began.  This first New Year of God’s redemptive calendar is the foundation of the gospel:  Messiah crucified, and risen from the dead on the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week.  By grace Israel was delivered out of Egyptian bondage; by grace all who believe are saved from sin’s bondage.

At some point in her history, Israel began to observe the civil New Year on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the seventh month (Tishri/Etanim) on her calendar in the Autumn/Fall.   This may seem strange, yet for Israel, each year they would be forgiven their sins, and God would dwell among them for the next year, which the Feast of Booths commemorates with joyful celebration, two full weeks after the beginning of the month, marked by the light of the Full Moon. And the Jubilee year is marked from the Day of Atonements, which falls on the 10th of the same month.  Jubilee is a new beginning for slaves, prisoners, debtors and creditors, and land possessions.  The Day of Atonements is the day of the LORD, in which those who accept YHVH God’s sacrifice for forgiveness of sins — both personal and corporate — are saved and justified; and those who refuse His sacrifice and way of righteousness are condemned for their unbelief and unthankfulness.  For an individual — and for Israel as a nation — this experience of being born-again through faith in God’s good news of His Son, truly marks a New Year of a new life in everlasting restored fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It marks new birth, which is needed since we all died with Messiah in His death on the cross.  This new beginning for Jews and for Gentiles upon whom the Lord bestows His mercy will be fully realized at the coming again of the Lord.

The time around the birth of this Son, this Lamb, who was born to die, and to live forevermore to provide for the full reality of the Kingdom of God over all, marks the celebration of the third New Year, and this for all who love Him for who He is and for what He has done, is doing, and will yet do.  God so loved the world that He gave His only unique Son so that whosoever believes in His name should not perish but inherit eternal life.  Yeshua was born near the end of the “world” calendar, in the first month of winter, Chislev/December, on both calendars (and the 9th month beginning with April/Aviv), and puts away the old that the new may come in.  His birth marked a new beginning of God’s intervention in Israel’s and the Gentiles’ affairs in order to take back to Himself all that had been lost by Adam and Eve and subsequent humanity, and deceitfully stolen by the devil to oppose the Sovereign God and His plan that human beings created in His image and likeness would be joint heirs with God’s Son of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day marks the covenant faithfulness to God’s promises given to Abram/Abraham that Israel and the people of God would one day worship Him without fear of any enemies.  We have all been God’s enemies, and the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Messiah takes away that enmity in us against Him, and we glorify Him, who is seated on the Throne!

So, to summarize:

All of the New Years have to do with Jesus Christ, and the celebration of Him by those who are God’s chosen and elect. They quicken an expectation of what God will do, based on what He has promised and has already done:

1.  Yeshua’s Death and Resurrection:  The Lamb of God was slain to redeem His people and set them free to serve YHVH God, and Him only.  He was slain before the foundation of the world, according to the perfect plan of God. And this Lamb rose from among the dead to everlasting life to enjoy the fruit of His suffering and sacrifice!  Israel’s calendar begins with YHVH God’s redeeming them from slavery that they may know and serve Him.

2.  Yeshua’s Coming Again:  All who are born-again through faith in the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus begin a new life unto God.  Israel as a nation still has this promise before them when Yeshua returns to save “all Israel”, the preserved remnant from all the tribes who will see Him whom they pierced, and afflict their souls for all their unfaithfulness and unfounded hatred toward Him and the Father. And the Body of Messiah has the hope of the Lord’s return and the resurrection of their bodies, to rule and reign with Him during His kingdom on Earth.

3.  Yeshua’s Birth:  His coming into the world in the flesh, born in order to be our Redeemer – to be the Lamb of God — who died to declare God’s Sovereign righteousness regarding sin, and His grace toward human sinners.  Peace on Earth, goodwill towards mankind!

These three New Years center around the birth, the death and resurrection, and the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For the people of God, they mark natural birth, death, redemption by new birth through faith by the Holy Spirit, and the return of the Lord.  These three events are each memorialized with a ‘new song’: the song of Moses, the song of Mary, and the song of the 144,000 redeemed from the Earth.  They mark progressive time as the Sovereign Lord of history continues onward bringing to pass all that must be. Till now, the Holy Spirit is bringing all to pay homage to the Son, whether they realize it or not, and whether they rejoice in it or not in fellowship with other worshipers of God in spirit and truth!

Succot Full Moon Lunar Eclipse – 28 Sept 2015

The special and uncommon series of lunar eclipses the last two years which fell twice each at Passover and at the Feast of Booths are finished.  Apart from some interesting astronomy, nothing unusual occurred which could be attributed ominously to these “blood moons”.  The end is not yet, and those who thought it might be do not then know the actual signs of the end, which are still to come.

Although “the heavens declare the glory of God”, for the believer in the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, He warns us against divination.  His [written] Word is a more sure word of prophecy, which we should be heeding as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in our hearts. (2Pt 1:19)

Here is an article, with photos and videos of today’s eclipse, from the Israeli online newspaper Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/life/science-medicine/1.677669

Employment Desert – 17 May 2015

Three small Negev cities face severe unemployment.  The towns of Arad, Dimona, and Yeruham are essentially factory towns, dependent on the major industrial chemical companies for most of the employment.

Due to weakening profit margins, these companies (and other companies in the textile and ceramic industries) have been laying off workers and closing factories and plants, a situation that has been going on for years in Israel’s southern region.  Whole cities are becoming economically impoverished by these actions.

We have seen many times of promises and incentives being given to Israelis to move to the Negev to live, and for companies to invest in the region, only to see that nearly every time other forces and “priorities” take over that brings confusion and doubt into the viability of the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee to faithfully carry out its mission.

The vision of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, of the Negev’s essential necessity for Israel’s future has seen great strides beyond anyone’s realistic expectations.  Yet, the vision of the Biblical Prophets of the God of Israel for Israel’s desert is distinguished from Ben-Gurion’s:  they saw YHVH God as a vital participant in the blooming and blossoming of the desert, still waiting for the Chosen People to return to Him, so that He will bring it to pass in righteousness and justice. (Is 35:1-10; 51:1-3)

Here is a link to today’s story of the cities of Dimona, Arad, and Yeruham striking today to protest the companies’ policies, and the government’s:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/southern-cities-shut-down-to-protest-factory-layoffs/

Racism is a Sin Issue, and Is Nothing New – 4 May 2015

Israel has been beset by protests and riots from the Ethiopian Jewish community the last few days, the likes of which have not been seen here.  The spark was a seemingly senseless attack of an Ethiopian Israeli soldier in uniform by a policeman and volunteer.  Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the Ethiopian soldier, Damas Pakada, who called for calm while also addressing the legitimate grievances of discrimination and prejudice against his community.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-pledges-to-eliminate-deep-problem-of-racism/

Racism is not new, and Jewish people have felt the brunt of it for millennia.  It is grievous to know that it exists among ourselves, which only confirms that we are no different from other human beings beset by sin in our nature, manifesting in all the sins of mankind.  Not all forms of discrimination can be attributed to racism, just as not all criticism of Jews or of Israel can be labeled as anti-semitism.  Even within people and ethnic groups, there are those who are considered the “white ones”, and the others who are perceived as the “black ones”.  And at some point, the lines become blurred, and there are those who will exploit the emotive charge of racism or of antisemitism in order to overthrow righteousness and justice.

I remember taking part in an anti-war protest during the Vietnam War.  The protest march was supposedly to demonstrate against what seemed to have become a war without real purpose and against the unnecessary military violence, with its deaths and destruction.  However, radical elements within the leadership of the march began to steer the means — the march — in a manner which did not justify the ends — bringing the war to a close.  They began breaking store windows and other violent things — not to mention all the vile language — in what was advertised as a peaceful demonstration.  At this point of violence and hooliganism, I dropped out of the march:  it was not what I was about.

I bring this past story up because I know that even today in many of the legitimate battles being waged for human dignity, there are the rabble-rousers who only want to manipulate events for their own gain, often times themselves being only unwittting pawns in a larger struggle.

Satan is out to rob, murder, and destroy all that God intends to reflect His glory and image.  Jesus Christ came into the world which He made, willingly being crucified on the cross for our sins, in order to defeat the works of the devil.  According to the true Word of God, people need a new heart and a new spirit — a whole new worldview of looking at things and gaining some wisdom along the way.  Only as we see the worth of all human beings from God’s perspective — that all are made in His image (still, despite sin), that all of one blood, and that all have sinned and come short of His glory — can we, with supernatural help from the Holy Spirit, overcome our natural prejudices and racist tendencies.

There are many cultural reasons that may not allow for complete integration or equality in all matters, but at the personal human level, there is no essential difference.  Racism is sinful.  Jesus died and rose again to remove that blight from all who become His disciples.  Pride and ungodliness are the root and fruit of racism.  God’s commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This leaves no excuse for sinful attitudes or acts which cause harm or humiliation to our fellow man.  And only by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior from sin who Himself suffered indignities, can those who suffer from racism overcome evil with good in Jesus’ name, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Sovereign Lord! – 5 Apr 2015

As the “World Powers” prepare to give “this world” over to Iran and the Islamic powers with a very bad supposed agreement, it reminds me of how the devil got Adam and Eve to give their God-given stewardship over to him by lying and deceit.  Israel followed suit, and gave her God-given beauty over to Gentile ‘lovers’; and the Church has left its domain to mix with worldly aspirations.  Where would we all be if Jesus was not the Sovereign LORD of things in Heaven and things on Earth!? (Mt 28:18-20; Eph 1:17-23)

On this day that YHVH (the LORD) has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!  Today, Resurrection Sonday, the world’s attention is being drawn to the celebration of believers in Jesus that He, who died on the Passover, rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath, on day one of a new week.   The eternal Son of God took on the weakness of flesh and blood as the Son of Man, and in His death on the cross and His resurrection, He defeated the devil, sin, and death:  there is no “thing” that can succeed in opposing the sovereign will of the Everlasting God in bringing to pass His full redemption for His covenanted people Israel, and for all others who put their faith and hope in Him.  The true God is faithful to His covenantal agreements even when others are not.

Jesus has told us beforehand (Mt 24:25) things which must be prior to His coming again in great power and glory to judge the nations and to bring in everlasting righteousness, establishing forever the Kingdom of God, whose kingdom will not pass away! (Dan 9:24; Dan 7:11-18)

Let the kingdoms of this world do what they may; let all the havoc come that most normal people would dread; yet YEHOVAH and His Messiah/Christ/Anointed One will reign supreme.  In His great love and mercy, He still extends His goodwill and grace to those who foolishly conspire against Him and His people:  “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” (Ps 2; Rev 6:12-17)

Thanking and praising the Living God that Jesus Christ died and rose again!  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Purim 2015: Iran Still Intent on Destroying Jewish People

On the day before Purim, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress to once again warn the United States and the rest of the “Free World” of the clear and present danger posed by modern Persia to the nation of Israel and to them.

In an invitation swirled in controversy both in Israel and in the U.S., Netanyahu seems to have intentionally set the timing to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Purim, in order to show that even thousands of years do not change things:  the Iranian religious and political leaders still seek the destruction of the Chosen People of YHVH God; and, the Jewish people have the right to defend themselves against such a threat.  The law of the Persians can not be revoked when written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring. (Esther 3; 8:8; Dan 6:8,12,15)  History has a long memory!

The danger presented by the PM includes the American political leadership ignoring the “canary in the mine” that is Israel:  if Israel allowed itself to be the sacrificial birdie killed by dangerous ‘gases’, in the hope that others will escape and survive, the truth is that Israel’s survival is the key to all the other nations’ survival.

Relations between Israel and the U.S. may suffer; a better deal between the Allied Powers and Iran may not happen; Netanyahu and his party may not win the upcoming elections for the Israeli government.  Whether yes or no, the words of the PM in the congress — heard around the world — will be found to be true.  And just as in the Scroll of Esther in the Bible, which is the source of why there is such a holiday as Purim, the name of God is not mentioned, neither did Bibi mention His name.  But true to Himself, the God of Israel will act in accord with His covenant, for the sake of His holy name:  it is He who is to be feared; and it is He who forgives sin.

The historic speech can be heard here: http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000003547828/netanyahus-full-speech-before-congress.html

Religious War? – 21 Nov 2014

The recent terrorist attack in a synagogue in West Jerusalem by Arab Muslims from East Jerusalem, in which rifles, knives, and meat cleavers were among the weapons used against Jewish men praying their morning prayers, has brought closer to home the reality that we are entering a religious war, and not only a nationalistic, political war here in Israel.   Among the dead and wounded Jews, a Druze policeman was also mortally wounded and killed as he responded to the terror within the Har Nof neighborhood synagogue.

There are those who remember what Dr. Baruch Goldstein did 20 years ago, when he entered a mosque in Hebron and massacred 29 Arab Muslim pray-ers during their morning prayers, and wounded many others.   As despicable as Goldstein’s act was, it is not comparable as a modus operandi to what took place in the synagogue:  apart from some fringe supporters, the government of Israel and the people as a whole repudiated such use of violence to achieve whatever the goal may be.  The then PM Yitchak Rabin said that he was ashamed to be a Jew.  Such an act taints all of us.  On the other hand, the Islamic terrorists are praised and celebrated, called martyrs, and others are encouraged to go out and wantonly murder Israeli Jews — and any others — in order to rid the land and the planet of particularly Jews and Christians — those who are the living witness of the one, true, living God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah.  This is done in the name of their God, who is not the same as YEHOVAH, God Most High.  The murderous attack by the Jewish terrorist and murderer, Jack Teitel, against Palestinian Arabs and against Jewish believers in Jesus was his act of war, thinking to do God’s will; yet he, too, was widely denounced for his thinking and for his actions.

While most wars seem to have be for economic and political reasons, there have been many religious wars in history; the Crusades come to mind fairly quickly.  The Islamic conquests after its beginnings in the 7th century were all religiously motivated.  There have been intra-faith wars between rival parties within religions; for example, the Jews led by the Maccabees against the Hellenizing Jews and Greeks; Sunni vs Shia Muslims; Catholic vs Protestant Christians.  Hindis have fought Buddhists.  When the Israelis first conquered the Land of Canaan in the 15th century BC, it is stated in what would be considered religious terms:  the iniquity/sin of the inhabitants of the land was full, and YHVH God was bringing His chosen people — the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob — back into the land from Egypt in order to possess it as an everlasting possession, with the stipulation that should they also act as the Canaanites did, then they, too, would be removed from the land as a punishment under the terms of the covenant between YHVH and the Children of Israel.  The return of the Jewish people back to Palestine (the Land of Israel) in the 20th century was both pragmatic, political, and religious, and God in His sovereignty brought both His will and the will of man to coincide.   This return of the scattered Jews from out of nations all around the globe is itself a strategic act of war by the LORD of Hosts against those who seek to prevent Him from fulfilling His covenant promises and glorifying His name.  The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount — the place which God led King David to choose as the place for YHVH’s earthly Temple — and the Muslim efforts to eradicate the validity of Israeli and Jewish history there, is itself an affront and act of defiance to the historical record.

Yet, for the most part, most religions do not teach to engage in war in order to propagate their faith and culture.  Islam does, and there have been many who have written about that, using the Koran and Mohammed’s teachings as a proof.  The God of Israel also instructed His people to use force as needed, under His directions and guidelines, when taking possession, and then defending their natural and spiritual identity and heritage.  This use of force by Israel was not to extend beyond their borders.  Until today, this is generally the way Israel employs its military might and prowess.

The Word of God in the Bible tells us that war was declared already back in the Garden of Eden, when YHVH, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth — including the angels and human beings — let Satan (the devil; the fallen angel, Lucifer) know that his rebellion against God, and his active efforts to spread that rebellion among humanity, whom God created in His image and likeness, would not go unanswered.   The enmity between the seed of the serpent and between the Seed of the woman — this ‘state of war’ between the devil and Christ Jesus — has been the “mother of all wars” since, whether carried on in the heavenlies, or played out here on land, seas, and air.   “Just wars” are those which are perceived as being between good and evil.  While warfare is itself a result of sin and rebellion, it is nonetheless used by God to ultimately defeat all enemies of that which is godly and righteous and good, and to glorify His holy name in the process.  One of our problems is that we have not exercised our senses to discern both good and evil.

Those who believe in Yeshua as Lord and Messiah are also called to engage in what is called spiritual warfare:  this is the war against lies, against the works of the devil, against unrighteousness, against the truth of the true God and Savior.  We are called to take the gospel to the ends of the Earth to all nations and people groups, to deliver people from the lies and darkness of Satan and to bring them into the truth and light of Jesus Christ.  This is effected through preaching, not by carnal weapons or through lying, intimidation, or force of arms.  It is a war for the hearts and minds of men, women, and children — to know and believe the Word of the God who alone forgives sins, and who has power and authority to not only kill the body, but also to send both soul and body to hell.  In His love, and to win this war, God the Father sent Yeshua His only-begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but inherit eternal life.

Jesus won the war on the cross, in His death, and subsequent burial and resurrection!  The sad news is that many people have not heard, or have not believed what they have heard concerning this good news.  The good news is that the Holy Spirit is still at work to bring the many who do repent and believe to saving faith.  The peace which Jesus gives is not the peace which the world gives.   The day is nearing when the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return from Heaven to put an end to all rebellion and unrighteousness, and to establish the true God’s kingdom over Israel, and over the entire Earth and universe!  He alone forgives sin.  “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

War Cry: Come, Lord Jesus!

Shabbat shalom (Peaceful Sabbath),

It is a quiet day; no sirens, no rockets.  Back to ‘normal’.  I think the standard of measuring ‘normalcy’ has been lowered during this last generation, at least in this part of the world.  With this, God is bringing the hiddent things of darkness to light, so that His judgments will be seen to be righteous and true when the necessary time comes in His long-suffering towards sinners (and who isn’t?).  We had a wonderfully refreshing service last night.

Yeshua spoke the parable about the good seed and bad seed sown in the field. (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43)   I hope that I have ears to hear, because He exhorts those who would understand the parable that we must have ears to hear what it means, even though He explains it to His disciples who asked Him what the parable means.  One thing that is clear:  judgment is at the end of the age, and Jesus will send out His angels to make the required separation of what can only be properly judged when all can see.  In Rev 16, the bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on the Earth against His enemies who have fully shown themselves to be so.  The amazing thing is that people still do not repent of their sinful deeds and give the Lord glory!  Sin is very sinful!!

We see in Gaza, despite all the destruction and havoc, those who are hell-bent on Israel’s destruction are completely unrepentant or apologetic to even their own people upon whom they brought such devastation, but continue to blaspheme and to boast of their victory in taking on the great “occupier”!  As I wrote in a previous letter, had Israel wanted to, with all their might and forces they could have demolished all of Gaza.  But it is not God’s way at this time; there are still those in Gaza who call upon the name of Jesus as Lord and Messiah; and there are still others whom our Father in Heaven desires to be saved before that great and dreadful Day of YHVH comes.  Same on the Israel side:  many more Gentiles must be brought into the Kingdom before the partial blindness on the Jewish people as a nation is totally healed.

God’s purpose and time-schedule are given in Dan 9:24, and we see the fulfillment ultimately at the coming again of the Lord Jesus to establish the Kingdom which shall never pass away.  The Holy Spirit is working to fully prepare Israel for that day of revelation when the remnant sees Him whom they have pierced (Zech 12:10 – 13:1), crying out for Jesus/Yeshua to save and deliver them from their enemies and their sin against Him. (Lev 26:40-45)  A holy people for a holy God, full of truth and light inwardly and outwardly.  The glory of God will be manifested, and fill the Earth!  Praise God!

War: Righteousness Exalts a Nation – 19 Aug 2014

Update, Tues., Aug 19:  Sirens and rocket fire have begun again, already before the agreed upon time for the “cease-fire” ended.  Thanks to all for your prayers.

_ _ _ _ _

Shalom,

Israel is ‘anxiously’ waiting to see whether or not the current cease-fire with Hamas will continue after it’s agreed upon termination  at midnight tonight (Mon., Aug 18 in Israel).  As believers, we can wait with a calmer anticipation, not knowing what exactly may be, but knowing the sovereign Lord, Yeshua, who does know, and will see to it that whatever is right and necessary at this time will be so.  I have recently posted three brief reflections stemming from the present situation here:
http://streamsinthenegev.com/reflecting-pool/comment-page-4/#comment-140993

Last night our prayer focus was the horrific suffering by especially Christians in the jihadi Islamic world.  Someone sent a very telling  interview on Jordanian TV with a ‘normal looking spokesman’ from a couple of years ago about Islam’s values and plans, which you can watch here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE7aKk6hgV4&app=desktop

Christians are being targeted by “evangelical” radical Muslims in a similar fashion as the Jewish people were by the Nazis; that is, the evil-doers do not care what stream of Christianity (or of Judaism) one may be of, or whether one is a true believer or not.  The very fact that one is identifiable as a Christian, or as a Jew, is enough to ignite the wrath of the satanic contempt and hatred.  (This same satanic spirit and actions also revealed itself in the accusations and crucifixion of the Messiah, and against those who identified with Him, such as Stephen.  There is nothing new under the sun; and as we judge, let us first judge ourselves. It is all about YHVH and His Anointed Son and people.)

The apostle Peter wrote of the fiery trials that we would face as followers of Jesus.  (1Pt 4:7-19)  And the Holy Spirit through him  challenges all of us in how we are to live and conduct ourselves in the midst of such trials, and even atrocities.  It is certainly not natural!  Only a supernatural grace and power in the fullness of the Spirit is going to enable us to show ourselves true disciples of the Lord in the face of such a flood of evil sweeping the world.  There can be little doubt that the ‘falling away’, which the apostle Paul wrote about in several of his letters, is occuring right before our very eyes, first of all in that which is called the Church.  And as Peter wrote in his passage, God’s judgments begin with us.

We learn obedience through the things which we suffer. (Heb 5:8)  I was reminded of this by an article in a secular Israeli newspaper, Israel HaYom, to which we subscribe.  The article is entitled, “Spiritual Trials, Strategic Rewards”.  You can read the English version here:
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=9625

The opinion writer is calling Israel to obey the Law of Moses (Mal 4:4) if they want confidence to call upon God to help them win the wars against their enemies.  Without godliness and obedience to God, as a people we have no moral strength to defeat an implacable and larger foe.  Isn’t this what Yeshua and His apostles have instructed us?  There are going to wars until the end, both carnal and spiritual.  Yet, in and through such suffering, death, deprivation, fear, we are called to obey Him nonetheless:  we ARE called to a higher standard as the people of the one, true, living God than are others.  Good wins over evil only because Jesus comes back and there is a resurrection of the righteous!! (Mt 24:22; Dan 12:2; 1Thes 4:15-18)

With all this, there are still some efforts going on to stand in the breach connected with the renewed conflict and tension between the  Israeli Jewish believers and the Arab Palestinian believers.  (This is not a ‘neat’ line; there are mixtures and cross-overs in this  unsatisfying terminology.)  There are different groupings among us meeting together for prayers and discussions about what we can and should do in order to go on together in Holy Spirit unity, for the sake of the testimony regarding the truth of the gospel and of the righteousness of God.  Neither love nor mercy are sentimental, but are both based in the truth and holiness of our Father God. PLEASE PRAY WITH US FOR A HOLY SPIRIT BREAK-THROUGH IN THIS REAL AND FELT NEED OF WHAT THE LORD IS WANTING OF US IN THE FEAR OF YHVH.