NON-STOP RUMORS OF WAR – 15 Aug 2012

No day passes here in Israel without news about whether or not there will be an Israeli attack on Iran’s developing nuclear bomb facilities.  The United States continues its own diplomatic and political ‘wordfare’ on whether Israel could even succeed, and what the consequences of an Israeli initiative could bring to the world, and whether the U.S. would help Israel in the event of an outbreak of war. 

While Iran is given freedom to voice its intentions to wipe Israel off the map; while Syria continues to massacre its own people; while Egypt continues to advance a strict Islamic agenda and to opportunistically encroach in re-establishing control over the Sinai peninsula, threatening the terms of the Camp David peace agreement with Israel; while Israel is acting and reacting for what it  believes is basic survival, stessed out internally on whether to go it alone, or not to out of fear of failure, or whether her prime benefactor will back her up, could the God of Israel be sovereignly overseeing all things to bring His own chosen people and the nations to fear Him and give Him glory?  What if Israel does not strike first, but retaliates to an attack by one or more of its adversaries?  There is Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, plus the others already mentioned.

There are prophecies going out that the war as described in Zechariah 12 will break out in December.  Although the winter is not the usual time to begin a war, it is possible that a war could break out then, but not the one described by Zechariah:  that war leads to the Day of Atonements and salvation of ‘all Israel’, when they see Yeshua/Jesus whom they pierced, and He gives them the spirit of grace and supplication to weep and mourn over their historical rejection and hatred of the One who is their very King and Savior.  

Too much attention is being given by even evangelical Christians to the Mayan calendar, which has the end of the world coming at the beginning of this winter.  Believers in the truth of God, and who know His calendar, should have good news to tell those who do not know what is happening, whose religions leave them stranded.  If we ourselves are deceived, how can we point others to The Way?

A war as desribed in Psalm 83, where all the Muslim nations surrounding Israel come together to try to finish  her off, may be coming soon.  The fall  of Damascus, as described in Isaiah 17, may also be looming in the not-so-distant future.  It is interesting to note that in both of these events the people will fear YHVH, the Holy One of Israel, God Most High.  He will act in such a way that the god of the Muslims will be shown as unable to satisfy the deepest longings of those who are under his dominion.  These people are captive slaves, and Jesus has come to set them free!  The Jewish people will fear the LORD, when they once again see Him powerfully act on their behalf to save them from annihilation, beyond what they or anyone else expected.  From this, they, as in  days of old, could seek to appease Him who chose them for His own special people and inheritance.  In every revival that we read about in the Old Testament, the people found the book of the Law and realized that their God was not pleased with them, and they offered sacrifices to  Him.  Could the ‘holy place’ which Yeshua referred to in Matthew 24 be constructed as an outcome of such wars, as God acts on behalf of His holy name to make Himself known and to put some things in place for the fulfillment of His great plan of the ages, “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven and which are on Earth” ?

OF ROCKETS AND DEMONSTRATIONS – 25 Feb 2011

Last night around 9:40 (21:40) a grad rocket launched from Gaza hit near our neighborhood in Beer Sheva.  The rocket was the first to hit a major city in Israel since the 2009 war against Hamas, which Israel  launched near the end of 2008 because of eight years of thousands of rocket attacks against cities both near to and farther out from Gaza.  Thankfully the warning siren worked properly and lives were saved, even though houses and cars were damaged.  The Islamic Jihad group took ‘credit’ for the attack; Israel responded with air strikes against launching sites.

This overt provocation comes at a time when the whole Middle East (Near East for the Europeans) and North Africa is a powder keg, with uprisings in several countries, and violence a too-characteristic way of dealing with fear and despair.  Instead of brotherly love, we have civil wars and brotherly hatred.  All of these events could be setting the stage for wars and tribulation as prophesied for the end-times, such as what is written in Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, Matthew 24:3-14, 2Thes 2:3.  Many Muslims from these Gentile nations willl, by the sovereign grace and wisdom of God, be saved by the only Mediator and Savior whom God has given for any person or nation. (1Tim 2:1-7)  They will be truly and radically revolutionized with a new heart and a new spirit from the one true living God, who alone gives and fulfills promises of righteousness and peace and Godly joy!

Who really identifies with his people and nation and homeland?  Who really cares for the well-being of their people — both old and young — and fears and trembles at upheavals within the social order?

Next Tuesday evening, March 1, a major demonstration by a sect of ultra-orthodox Jewish people is planned against the Messianic community of believers in Yeshua in the small Negev town of Arad, situated between Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea.  The police have given permission for 200 (after rejecting the initial request for 400) Hasidei Gur adherents and yeshiva (seminary) students, and Yad L’Achim activists and paid ‘volunteers’, to protest the presence of believers in Jesus in Arad, and this in front of the private home of a widow and foster mother who lives in a cul-de-sac (dead-end street).  The Arad Messianic/Christian community has exhibited much patience and general self-control through nearly seven years of being daily harrassed, cursed, having their peace disturbed even in their homes and public places, while the religious and civil authorties have till now conspired together to protect them. 

The believers are fasting and asking for prayer seeking God for the salvation of many of these precious souls for whom Yeshua died to offer God’s forgiveness of their sin of unbelief in Him, which thing leads to all kinds of sins.  The Hasidei Gur do not even believe that the State of Israel is legitimate because to them the Messiah has not come, and only He can bring redemption, which includes the return of the Jewish people to their own land as promised by YHVH God to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and their descendants.  Praise the Lord, Messiah has come, and is fulfilling His redemptive plan to save His people and to fulfill all of His promises pertaining both to the Land of Israel, and to the whole Earth!

Still Living in The Days of The Bible – Part 2 – 5 Jan 2009

I write this unexpected Part Two of our living today in Bible times.  I do so at some risk of what reactions you have, spoken or otherwise, but I hope that for the most part it is for building up of our faith in our God and Redeemer, and to prepare us for even worse to come before the far better ‘end of the Lord, who is very compassionate and merciful.’ (James 5:9-11)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war in the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your (our) obedience is fulfilled.” (2Cor 10:4-6)

Yeshua reigns!  What a relief in days of trouble, and in the day of evil, to hold fast to what we have:  the name of the LORD, Yeshua, and the blood of the Lamb!  These words that we read from the apostle Paul, and are reminded of from the written words of the apostle John, were written in Bible days a little less than 2000 years ago for us today.  Surely we are living in both exciting and troublous Bible times!

Throughout Bible days – and Jesus promises to be with us all the days through the end of the age – there have been those within Israel and within the Church who would make the truth of the written word irrelevant.  It is to the Jews and to Christians – whether Jew or Gentile – that the Word of God has come and to whom He has entrusted it/them.  Therefore, we who know the truth of Messiah are more accountable before the Lord than other people:  we are in covenant relationship with Him through the shed blood of the Son of God for us.

How can we make irrelevant the Bible?  Jesus says that when we make our traditions or the explanations of our interpreters and commentators of greater value than the written Scriptures, we make void God’s word.  By our politics, we can make God’s word void; by so-called knowledge, we can make God’s word irrelevant; by thinking that the future can be changed from what has been planned from before the creation, we dismiss what God says.  By being party to accepting additions or deletions, we say that the Scriptures are irrelevant — dead.  The philosophy of Nietzsche that ‘God is dead’ is that which simply makes God irrelevant.  If God and His Word are rendered irrelevant – by our own understanding versus the revelation of Jesus Christ – then we will be more open to deception by the spirit of antichrist, who plays with the truth just enough to make his lie and evil intent seem plausibly worth accepting, hoping if possible to deceive even the elect.  Yet his perverse pleasure is to have those who are called by the name of the Lord dishonor Him and ourselves through believing the false prophets rather than the plain truth of the Spirit of YHVH:  “and so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which [we] do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as moved by the Holy Spirit”. (2Pt 1:19-21)

I am sobered by the times we live in when the words of Jesus pierce through them with end-from-the-beginning clarity of what has never yet been fulfilled:  “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 like it.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Mt 24:21-22)  These words Yeshua received from His Father – and, praise God, now our Father, too — to speak to us.  God loves us, and so tells us what He knows is good and needful for us to know about His thoughts and ways.  We should be under no illusion, nor deluded, to think that this war will bring peace to Israelis or to Palestinians.  It will not –wars are determined till the end — but we are to act in the present as best we can to carry out our proper duties.  This is true as we pray for and give any counsel to unbelievers.  How much more so for us.

The Spirit of God tells His people to come out from Babylon – the ‘good country’, the material comfort, the alternative and counterfeit ‘promised land’ which the world offers.  Babylon represents a place of freedom and potential and worldly glory, whereas Egypt represents slavery and bondage.  In the Old Testament, YHVH spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the physically exiled Israelis in Babylon to physically “flee from the midst of Babylon, and everyone save his life!  Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of YHVH’s vengeance. . .YHVH has taken out our righteousness.  Come and let us declare in Zion the work of YHVH our God.” (Jer 51:6-10)  In the New Testament, John heard a voice from heaven saying, “Come out of [Babylon], My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.  For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. . . . Therefore her plagues will come in one day. . .for strong is YHVH God who judges her!” (Rev 18:4-8)

If the sons of Issachar knew what Israel should do because they understood the times; if Daniel, through reading the Bible, understood the times and knew what to do; should not we — in the fuller light of history and with the whole Bible in our possession, and with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and leading us into all truth — be discerning the times and knowing what to do?  Are we making the Scriptures irrelevant so long as we prefer to stay with our hearts and maybe our bodies, too, in Babylon!?  Messiah the Lord teaches us like this to pray:  Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. . .lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (the evil one/the evil day); for Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

To return to the issue of putting things in proportion which I wrote about in Part 1:  when one considers how many thousands of Palestinians were killed by the Jordanian government military in 1970 (just to take one example, which a Bedouin today mentioned to me as he praised Israel), and the world let it be, the fact that till now, however terrible it is, that the heavy Israeli attacks on Hamas have resulted in ‘only’ about 500 deaths and many wounded, testifies to the general policy of Israel to minimize the deaths of both enemy forces and civilians caught up in the battle zone.  This is in direct contrast to Islamic jihadist (holy war) policy and efforts.  Yet the world, including many Jewish and Christian people, jump on Israel as barbaric and disproportionate in its response to determined threats to her existence.  War is not hell; Hell is hell.  But war is terrible.  Wars and fights come from lust and covetousness: wanting what someone else has, even if you have to murder to get it from them. (Ja 4:1-2)  This has been the spirit of Islam before there was a religion called Islam! (Ps 83; Obadiah)

WE have been GIVEN the KINGDOM OF GOD.  We need covet nothing of anyone:  in Messiah we have been given an eternal inheritance of all that God has!  Let us fight the good fight of faith, while being, insofar as is possible on our part, at peace with all men, doing good to all, especially to those of the household of faith.  If you want war to cease, let us first examine our own hearts, confess our sin and repent, and then let us look for, long for, love, hasten Yeshua’s appearing, fulfilling our obedience to Him and His Word with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!