The King Awaits His Invitation

Image result for why israel matters

Hold on to your hats, study friends, as we’re taking a whirlwind ride today!

Recall that after Jesus lamented over Jerusalem, He proclaimed they will not see Him again until He hears “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  (Matthew 23:39)  Jesus, a gentleman, is not going to barge on to the scene, but rather will wait for that special invitation, signaling His people are ready to receive Him.

But, before we get there, let’s talk briefly about the immanency of His return.  This week’s study is focused on the return of Jesus to His people.  That occurs after the tribulation, which means at least 7 years after believers in Jesus are taken out by rapture.  Thus, while we see signs pointing to that, we must be reminded that our departure via the rapture is indeed very imminent.

Here are some signs of the times, some of which will happen before the rapture, some of which will happen later.  All of which we see lining up right now!

  • Prophetic signs of Jesus.  Example: Matthew 24 warns of false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars and natural disasters, all of which have greater prevalence now than ever before.
  • Prophetic signs of Paul.  Try reading 2 Timothy 3:1-5 where Paul leaves a laundry list of moral failures that characterize the last days.  We’re living in that time!
  • Prophetic signs of Isaiah.  There are many, but perhaps none making today’s headlines more than Isaiah 17:1, indicating the destruction of Damascus.  How much longer can Damascus stand?  Almost the entire city is destroyed right now.
  • Prophetic signs of Ezekiel.  It is likely no one needs to remind you that the Ezekiel 38 coalition of forces that will attack Israel is now firmly in place on Israel’s northern border.  The stage is set.

Luke 21:28 says:

But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

The King is coming, and He is awaiting the Matthew 23:39 invitation.  However, I believe there is another invitation that pleases Him also.  It is found in Revelation 22:17:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

This is a wedding scene where the Spirit of God and His bride (believers!) join together in a chorus of “Come!”  Can you even imagine what heaven will sound like when God brings His family together as one to wed His Son!

It doesn’t hold a candle to it, but perhaps the imagery in your mind is kindled with this:

 

Indeed, the grandest wedding celebration of all time will occur when God establishes His family and brings us all together in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant…the Millennial Kingdom!

Meanwhile, we keep looking for the Blessed Hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)!  (That is the topic of our last week of study together, so be sure to stick with us!)

Expectant Syrian Mother and Her Baby Saved by Israeli Doctors

Syrians in Israel

Syrians cross the border into Israel to received medical care in Israeli hospitals. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Imagine being a pregnant mother in war-torn Syria.  Your physician reports that a normal birth is impossible and he is not willing to perform a C-section that would almost certainly lead to your’s or the baby’s death.  What to do?

You travel north to Damascus, but are denied entry into the city due to heavy fighting in the area.  Your only hope is to journey to the “humanitarian gate” on the Israeli border in hopes of receiving life-saving treatment.

This is no made-up story.   In fact, this woman was taken to Ramdam Medical Center in Haifa, where a team of Israeli experts in high-risk pregnancies and deliveries perform the miraculous procedure that saved the lives of both mother and baby.

Read the account here: Israeli Doctors Save Syrian Mother, Baby who Came to Israel for Treatment.

Friends, the Syrian people live in dire circumstances.  Those fortunate enough to live through chemical weapon attacks are typically living in poverty and/or in bombed out buildings lacking power and sanitation.  Food is scarce in places.

Are we complacent in our comfortable surroundings?  Are we so “unattached” to what’s going on that we hardly give it a thought?

I’m burdened for the people of Syria, the Gaza Strip, and yes…even Iran, as they live under oppressive regimes.  Scripture teaches us (in many places) to pray for those in need.  Who will stand in the gap?  Who will pray for mercy?  Who will plead for salvation of those without hope?

I will.  Will you join me?

PS: Check back later today for more news on “Operation Good Neighbor”

God’s Word: True Before the News Takes Place!

Hi friends!  Are you amazed at the Bible’s accuracy?  One one hand, we shouldn’t be surprised by it, if we believe the God who scripted it is all-knowing.  On the other hand, we should be amazed and inspired that everything in life (history, geology, anthropology, archaeology, etc) continually confirms the Bible’s veracity.  I just love that about our God and His Word…how about you!?!

Well, headlines confirm Bible prophecy and I was in awe of the Lord’s timing of things when I read headlines yesterday.  This will end with a twist, so follow carefully!

‘I’m Not Bluffing,’ Putin Tells the West, Announcing Advanced Nuclear Weaponry  Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his state-of-the-union address, in which saber-rattling was at its best!  He announced that Russia now has nuclear weapons with almost unlimited range and capability of avoiding missile defense systems.  In other words, he has come up with the mother of all nuclear weapons!  They can reach anywhere, and no one can touch them!

He made other outlandish claims that likely have various degrees of truth, wrapped in a layers of exaggeration.  I suspect we will soon find out how much is true and how much is lie, but the key points are these:

  • It is no secret that Putin is a power-hungry egomaniac who desperately wants to return Russia to world-domination.  He states it is to make the world a much more peaceful place.  How’s that peace plan going in Syria!?!
  • The Bible talks of the rise of a Russian czar that will gather the forces of several nations (Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and Sudan) and will attack Israel from the north to capture spoil and to seize plunder (Ezekiel 38:12).  Israel has oil and gas, and Russia needs it in order to maintain its supply dominance over Europe!
  • Putin complained in his speech that “no one listens.”  Sounds like a kid throwing a tantrum, doesn’t it?  But, in this case, it makes the “kid” very dangerous, because he is dangerously armed and is power-hungry enough to use those weapons.  He has absolutely no regard for human life.  Need proof?  He has NO qualms when Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons on his own people.  (He may even be encouraging it!)  Multiple times he has even denied that the Syrian regime has WMD’s. Dangerous!

New Satellite Photos Show Iran Establishing Another Base Near Damascus
A new Iranian base, just 8 miles from Damascus, has been discovered.  Two hangars, believed to be storing short- and medium-range missiles, are seen on satellite footage.  Additionally, the base is eerily similar to a Syrian base destroyed by Israel in December when found to be a relay post for shuttling missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.  (See more comparison photos at the link above.)

American and Israeli intelligence is aware of the dramatic increase in the number and quality of Iranian ballistic missiles now appearing on Iranian bases in Syria.  Keep in mind that Russia has significant military bases in Syria as well, and now has Su-57 fighter jets (Russia’s top-of-the-line) stationed there also.

What’s the point?

  • Again, refer to Ezekiel 38!  Russia and Iran will attack the Jewish state “on the mountains of Israel.”  Friends, the mountains are Mt Hermon and the area we know as the Golan Heights.  Damascus is less than 30 miles from Mt Hermon, and Iranian troops are massed even closer than that to Israel’s border!
  • While Russia is after oil and gas, Iran’s intent is to spread Shi’ite Islam all the way from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea.  Their motive is a spiritual, apocalyptic one.  Shi’ite Islam holds to the theology that Allah has called them to usher in the coming of the mahdi (Muslim messiah), and the way to do that is to create chaos and annihilate the Jews.  They believe they are called to do that!  Thus, it is not a political or military war…it is a spiritual one!  Christians, spiritual wars are fought in prayer!  We must pray for Israel, and for God’s people (Jews and Christians) to be obedient to God’s plan!

871,000 Jewish Believers in the US  Okay, I just threw you a curveball, didn’t I!  But we’re still on the same theme of news headlines confirming the Bible’s accuracy.  This is a really cool one!

I recommend you read that post by Joel Rosenberg for details of Jews coming to know Messiah.  However, my point here is this: the Bible clearly teaches that a veil covers the eyes of those bound by the Old Covenant (speaking of the Jewish people) because it is removed in Christ!  In fact, read this passage for yourself:

But their (sons of Israel) minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
~2 Corinthians 3:14-18

O, so rich!  Christ removes the veil when one turns to the Lord!  (Whether Jew or Gentile, by the way!)  With that, comes liberty; and the end result is we become transformed by the Spirit of God.

Friends, that is beginning to happen to our Jewish friends!  Their eyes are seeing the Messiah, and the Bible says that is what will happen in the last days!  In fact, Romans 11:25-26 tells us a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, and so ALL Israel will be saved!  If salvation is starting for the Jewish people, might it be that the fullness of the Gentiles is almost complete?

One day, the last Gentile to receive Christ will say, “Save me, Lord!” and suddenly we will all be caught up together with the Lord in the air!  (That’s the rapture.)  The Bible has told us throughout the centuries what will happen, and now headlines are confirming the Bible’s accuracy!

For those of us already saved by faith through God’s grace alone, it is time to live it out.  If you haven’t yet said, “Save me, Lord!” then we’re waiting on you, and you might not have another chance.  Please call upon the Lord and be saved.  Your eternity depends upon it!

60 Minutes Reports on Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons Against His Own People in Syria

On at least 200 occasions, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has used banned chemical weapons on his own citizens.  Rebel groups in opposition to the Assad regime are regularly targeted and attacked, leaving innocent men, women and children gasping for breath following inhalation of deadly sarin gas.

Use of chemical weapons is a war crime, yet Assad has consistently used them in attempts to crush the opposition.  Late last year, the UN investigation was shut down by Syria’s ally, Russia, but 60 Minutes continued a private investigation into an April 2017 attack.  Below is the 60 Minutes report, aired on Sunday night (2/25/2018).

Before viewing the video, however, let’s put things into context.  The Bible tells us that, in the last days, Damascus will cease to exist.  The capital city of Syria is being systematically dismantled by the Syrian regime trying to put down the rebels.  In addition, Russia, Turkey, Iran, the Kurds, ISIS and other terrorist groups are daily fighting for presence in Syria.  Chaos reigns.  Meanwhile, innocent Syrian civilians live in squalor, fighting for their very life.  As if refugee camps are not bad enough, they are attacked by chemical weapons.

The following video is very graphic and not suited to children or those especially sensitive to inhuman actions.  But it is a realistic look at life in Syria these days.  May these atrocities cause us all to diligently pray for those in Syria who desperately need the love of Jesus.

Here is the 60 Minutes report:  What a Chemical Attack in Syria Looks Like