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

Image result for why israel matters

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!

Ethiopian Aliyah: Another Reason Israel Matters!

Israel invites Jewish people from around the world to “come home” to Israel.  For years, Ethiopian Jews have been returning.  Here is an incredible “impact story” of those who have returned!  Enjoy!

BTW – Continue following our study, Why Israel Matters, on this website.  I am summarizing lessons from a live class being conducted in Phoenix AZ, and you’re welcome to join in!

What Can We Do to Support Israel?

Image result for why israel matters

Here we go, gang!  We’re into our last summary of week 2’s lesson, entitled We Stand with Israel.  This is part of the study, Why Israel Matters, a live study I am summarizing for you online.  I hope you are enjoying it and I would love to hear your feedback!

We’ve answered some key questions about why it is important to stand with Israel, so if you have missed the past few days, scroll back through them to glean what has been discussed so far.  Today, we’ll finish off our key questions and wind down week 2.

Was Israel’s Founding Legal?

Great question to begin our day!  Some question Israel’s legitimacy, stating that they somehow stole the land from the Palestinians.  That is certainly what the liberal media would like for us to think.  But is it true?  Of course not!  History and international law are both on Israel’s side…not to mention God promised the land to His people as an everlasting covenant!  (Psalm 105:8-11, and many other places)

There has been a continual Jewish presence in the land for 3,000 years (which is not true of any other people group claiming rights to Israel).  After WW1, the land was controlled by the British, and a Christian man proposed the Balfour Declaration, suggesting the land be designated as the homeland for the Jewish people. The legal declaration was made later at the San Remo Conference and ratified in 1922 by the League of Nations (which preceded the United Nations), making the Jews claim to Israel legal.  In 1947, the UN ratified the UN Partition Plan which put into motion what was already legal.  In 1948, Israel declared statehood just as the British were withdrawing control of the land.  All was legal according to the world bodies entrusted to make such declarations.  (Israel was attacked the next day by 5 Arab nations!)

What Can We Do to Support Israel?

This is perhaps the most important question, now that we know why it is important.  Here are some ways to support her:

  • Get educated!  That is part of the objective of this blog and the Bible studies I write and teach.  However, there are dozens of other reputable sources, including Behold Israel, IsraelAnswers, and One for Israel.  (One warning: there are lots of “off the wall” websites, and several “big names” who’s theology regarding Israel is amiss.  Be careful…and be a Berean!)
  • Support Israel politically.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run for office…though you should do so, if called to by God!  However, all of us are able to communicate with our leaders and express our positions regarding matters pertaining to Israel.  Here is a great resource: How to Contact Your Elected Officials
  • Bless Israel financially.  There are ministries who do fantastic work in Israel and around the world on behalf of Israel…just be careful that you know what they do and what they believe!  Here are a few I know to be Biblically solid and have great missions: International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, The Joshua Fund, One for Israel, Behold Israel.  Each of these has incredible leadership and solid missions to bless Israel.
  • Above all…PRAY!  Prayer is vital to the Lord’s work.  It is our way of “seeing where God is at work and joining Him there.”  He puts desires in our hearts and, if we pursue those desires in prayer, He will lead us to understand what more we can do to follow Him in those desires.  Pray for Israel and watch Him grow your faith!

Supporting Israel is more than “just a good thing to do,” it is imperative in order to live in the blessing He promises to those who bless Israel!  As Christians, our roots are firmly planted in Judaism and it is in our best interest to grow in understanding of how we are to relate to Israel.  Stick around…we’re going to spend some time examining that thought in days to come!

Thanks for studying with us!  Though I post almost every day, we’ll pick up the study again next week.  See you then!

Israel’s Economy: One of the Strongest in the World!

Related image

According to United with Israel, Deutsche Bank has just declared the Israeli shekel the second strongest currency in the world!  An analyst reports 6.1% appreciation of the shekel against currencies of Israel’s primary trade partners.

Along with historic lows in unemployment and inflation, the Israeli economy has become the third “most stable and promising” economy in the world.

Israelis is living in unprecedented times, but is it the calm before the storm?  It’s not too late to join us for an in-depth Bible study where we examine this and other current events in light of Scripture.  Get more info here, then come join us on Sunday mornings!