Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Israel and Prophecy - Will 2018 be a year of more fulfilled prophecies?

I used to be allergic to this subject. I found people's obsession over doom and gloom eschatological interpretations of the Scriptures to be so... so void of Jesus. So what's changed? Regardless of how people deal with this subject, I feel something big is about to happen. 

I've studied these Scriptures for 20 years and at first I couldn't admit that the Jewish return to the land of Israel was a fulfillment of Prophecy. Ezekiel spoke about a return but it wasn't just the Jews but also the sons of Joseph or all the tribes of Israel. And he also spoke of this resurrected Kingdom being led by none other than the King and Messiah, Himself. (I've written many posts on Israel and they can be found here).

However, as many are pointing out, the cycle of 70 and 50 years is undeniable. In 1917 the world power (the British Empire) declared their mere intent to grant the Jews a homeland in the Land. 100 years later the world's superpower, the USA, declares Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state. All of this highlights something really crazy to think about - the Jewish people have not ruled in Israel for over 2 millenia and have not even inhabited the land as a majority people for an almost equal time. That a people would return to their homeland in such droves after 2000 years! Unprecedented!***

Now, in 1948 the State of Israel was established. but only 19 years later, Jersusalem is given back to the hand of the Jews. Understand that this is precisely what Jesus spoke about - the Nations would rule Jerusalem and when the "Fullness of the Nations" come in (see Luke 21:24-28), then the end time things He spoke of would happen. 50 years after the Jewish reconquest of Jerusalem, in 2017 Donald Trump would declare it the capital of Israel.

So what might happen in 2018 - which will mark 70 years since the modern State of Israel was founded? Possibly war and the turning en masse of Jews to Jesus and the signs of the Son of Man.

Zechariah spoke of all these things. He described a great war on Jerusalem (very distinct from the battles we see in Ezekiel 37 and 38 by the way). He spoke of specific clans of the tribe of Judah (the Jews) mourning the Messiah - when they realize they rejected Him all these long years ago.

And in just one verse he so plainly reveals to all the Jews that the Messiah is God and had to be crucified (these are great stumbling blocks to the Jewish way of thinking today).

1) That the Messiah is God.

"They will look upon Me..."

2) That the Messiah God was pierced...

"They will look upon Me whom they Pierced".

Even the very first word of the Bible speaks of the nailing of the Son of God to the cross. The Piercing was in God's mind even in the Beginning.

In my many years of studying the history of the Middle East and observing what has been going on, I believe this level of global and regional attention on Jerusalem is indeed unprecedented.

Now the probability of war in the Middle East is not new. By the way, the Middle East is a very dark place spiritually - to the spiritually discerning this oppression is obvious (I personally feel this particularly when I land there and as soon as I set foot back in the West). I believe the enemy's focus on the Middle East is precisely to thwart God's plans - the more the Holy Land and the all peoples claiming they are Abraham's descendants drown in blood and devour each other in extremism and hatred the more the devil feels good that he somehow desecrates and tarnishes God's name.

The movement of the Church among the Jewish nations is also something really amazing. And the number of the Jewish people turning to Jesus as Messiah is rising higher and higher and they are developing very strongly (check out this ministry called One for Israel to see more on this). I think this is the age that Paul spoke about in Romans 11. A great turning to the Lord of the descendants of the ancient Israelites is about to happen. It maybe that the war of Zechariah 12 will precipitate all of this and that it will end in the sign of the Son of the Man in the sky that Jesus spoke of.

But what does all this mean for us?

Jesus spoke of these times and the NT pays a lot of attention on this matter. But all this attention on the end times, the focus is not to frighten or make the believers distracted in these future and very obscure happenings. And indeed, these are all very unclear and murky and they are so on purpose I believe. God only allows us to understand a sufficient amount when it comes to the end times, even the angels are not privy to much information. He gives us neither too much so that we lose focus of the Kingdom nor too little so we are caught off guard.

Instead, He reveals enough for us to awaken to our own righteousness, to our inheritance in Christ, to the power of the Spirit He has for us, and to the love of God for us and the world. We have so much capacity to change the world, just by understanding who we are in Him and what we have and letting these things work their way in our daily lives.

So we need not cower in fear or become obsessive, sounding all ominous as we shout and panic and make youtube videos saying the end will come specific days and work people up into a cult-like frenzy. No! Instead, we need to "lift our heads" and "be alert", "praying at all times" because you do have a role to play. You are not just another one of the many Christians on this planet you so much in His attention that He has counted the hairs on your head and keeps it updated... every second. Now what that role is exactly, I don't know and we don't know exactly how these events will unfold either.

But we do know they are near and this should remind us to set our mind on the things above and our hearts on seek His Kingdom first and above all.

Here's to a an amazing time ushering in the Fullness of the Times, the Return of Israel to the King and who knows what amazing and awesome things afterwards! 

Peace and grace to you all.

***Don't let anyone fool you, occupation is wrong, stealing land is wrong, apartheid is wrong, imprisoning 1000's without trial is wrong, stealing water is wrong, kicking people out of their land is wrong, discriminating against people according to their ethnicity and religion is wrong and destroying homes is wrong and all of these things have been committed by the Israeli state. I write this because many Christians politically support these activities either because of ignorance or the only other alternative is because they are not truly CHRISTian. And to be totally fair... Stone throwing against unarmed civilians is wrong in any conflict, teaching your children to victimize themselves and martyr themselves and hate and hate and hate is also wrong. Arguably the most revered Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafet, led his people to kill thousands in his country and elsewhere (see so-called Lebanese civil war), occupied land, stole houses and committed great massacres (my own town was on the brink of suffering this fate even as many villages did suffer it somehow my hometown was miraculously saved before I was born). 

The good news is that most Israelis and Palestinians long for peace and want to reject these things - they're societies however and leaders just seem stuck in a cycle of violence that started generations ago.

And now... enter the Blessed Peacemakers Jesus spoke about!

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