Why Israel Matters – Week 3 (Signs of the Times)

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Welcome back study friends!  If you just stumbled upon this site, we are moving into week 3 of a study entitled Why Israel Matters.  It is being taught live at CalvaryPHX, but I’m posting summaries online for those outside the Phoenix area who wish to follow along.  You are welcome here!

Over the first two weeks, we have established that God has ordained a season, for a reason, and that we are living in the calm before the storm.  In fact, the title of this week’s lesson is “Signs of the Times: Storm Clouds Rising.”  We know, despite the present calm, that a storm is coming.  How do we know?  We see the signs!  So, let’s dig in to discover those signs and what God’s Word has to say about them.

In Matthew 16, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees…the “smart people” of the day.  He was telling them about signs.  Let’s pick it up in verses 1-3:

The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”

As usual (it seems), the Pharisees and Sadducees were testing Jesus, asking for signs from heaven.  But Jesus rebuked them by stressing that, despite how knowledgeable they were about weather signs, they did not know how to discern the signs of the times.

A similar thing happened when Jesus addressed the crowds that followed Him.  These were not necessarily the most learned people, but simply those who followed His teaching.  Check out Luke 12:54-56:

And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way.  You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?”

Indeed, they too missed the signs of the present day.  But what signs had they missed, and what signs were they about to miss?

The Old Testament prophets made a living telling about signs!  Among many other things, they prophesied of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection.  Here are examples of OT prophecies Jesus fulfilled, though the crowds and others “missed the signs!”

Prophecies 1

Prophecies 2

So, I’m wondering…are we “missing the signs?”  As children of God, our Father is not into keeping secrets from us.  In fact, I believe He desires to share the “secret things,” even as He did His people, in order that we may discern His guidance.  (Deuteronomy 29:29)

Do we see His signs, or are we too busy looking at the things around us to notice?  I don’t want to be caught discerning the weather when there is so much more He wants us to know!  How about you?

Check back in tomorrow when we peak into a conversation Jesus had with His disciples!

Iran admits it assisted Al-Qaeda in 9/11 attacks

What has been rumored, appears to have been confirmed…Iran played a part in the 911 attacks in America.

If you think Iran’s sights are set only on Israel, think again! They would like nothing better than to destroy America. The Iranian nuclear deal was certainly a nice concession to help move them toward that goal.

Signs of the times! Though what happens in America is relatively insignificant in the scheme of end time events, the evil perpetrated out of Tehran is more than relevant! Are we ready for the return of King Jesus?

Behold Israel

Iranian official admits to its involvement in Sept. 11 attacks; Iran agreed to not stamp passports of terrorists and Iranian intelligence monitored their movements; US judge orders Iran pay $6 billion to victims and their families.

Tribute in Light

Iran admitted its involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City for the first time.

Mohammad-Javad Larijani, an international affairs assistant for the Iranian judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, gave an interview on May 30, admitting Iran’s involvement in assisting Al-Qaeda terrorists, confessing that the terrorists’ moves were “under the complete supervision of the Iranian intelligence”. He is the first Iranian official to publicly acknowledge Iran’s role in the attacks.

In the interview, Larijani referred to the investigation following 9/11, stating “The lengthy report of the 9/11 commission which was headed by figures like Lee Hamilton and others mentioned… in two or three pages, queries…

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Israel’s Response to Fire Kites from Gaza

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Kibbutz Nir-am

In response to Palestinian fire kites from the Gaza Strip, the children of Kibbutz Nir-am had a response!  They floated balloons filled with candy into the Gaza Strip.

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The Hamas-backed Palestinian threat of launching 5,000 fire kites into Israel on the final day of Ramadan failed to match the expectation, though 11 fires set by incendiary kites were quickly extinguished by fire fighters and volunteer citizens.

Earlier that day (Friday), Israeli military aircraft fired warning shots at a terrorist group in Gaza preparing to launch kites.  A military spokesman stated, “The IDF views the use of incendiary balloons and kites with great severity and will operate to prevent their use.”

Israel is now using “re-purposed” radar technology designed originally to detect gliders to track down fire kites.  Drones are now being used to intercept incendiary kites.  Over the past 2+ months of the Palestinian “March of Return,” almost $1.5 million in damages has occurred in Israel (due primarily to fire damage to fields and forests), and more than 130 Palestinians have lost their lives, many of whom are members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Image may contain: textThe battle is between good and evil.  Make no mistake, neither the Jews nor the Palestinians are perfect people.  But consider the principles in play.  One side launches a “peaceful” protest in which they hurl grenades, explosives and rocks at soldiers, burn tires and fly hundreds of incendiary kites and balloons into Israeli territory, sparking dozens of fires.  While the other side responds by sending “peace” balloons, filled with candy, into the Gaza Strip in return.  Which do you see as most peaceful?

Let’s pray for the “good,” and plead for the “evil.”  That evil is perpetrated by Hamas.  The citizens, particularly children, are brainwashed to hate Jews and encouraged to murder them.  Pray that the “good” demonstrated by the people of Kibbutz Nir-am provides opportunity for Palestinian young people to turn from the evil imposed upon them.

Pray for all to know true peace that only the Prince of Peace can provide!