What will the US Peace Plan Look Like?

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Hi friends!  Are you like me…anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the US peace plan?  While I believe the peace plan will offer the Palestinians unprecedented resources to better the lives of their people, I will be shocked if they ever agree to a peace plan with Israel.  Why?   Because they don’t want peace with Israel…they want to convince the world of the Jewish “occupation.” That “sells.”  It gives them a degree of legitimacy on the world stage, and garners the sympathy of those who will financially support them.

But the White House is confident they can cut the “deal of all deals” and have some degree of peace in the Middle East. If the Palestinians will not come to the table, how can that be accomplished?

As you know, President Trump made a landmark trip to the Middle East soon after his election.  During that trip, he began to build bridges with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Emirates, while re-establishing strong ties with Egypt and Jordan.  The past week or so has been full of visits between foreign leaders of those countries and the US and Israel.  They are locking the soon-to-be-announced plan into place.  But how will it differ from the previous attempts at peace?

First, it is not just an Israeli-Palestinian deal.  Trump’s plan is to bring about peaceful coexistence between the aforementioned Arab nations and Israel. For decades, the US has tried to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, thinking that would spawn opportunities for peace throughout the Middle East.  President Trump turned that idea on its head and is offering a new plan: peace in the broader Middle East, forcing the Palestinians to either come to the negotiating table with a sincere desire for peace, or risk losing its Arab allies in the region.  Indeed, I believe that is at stake for the Palestinians.

Will it be a political deal?  Some (including me) think not.  I believe it will be a business/economic deal, whereby relations will be normalized between those Arab countries and Israel, and they will share in initiatives such as transportation, agriculture, technology, etc.  It is believed the Palestinians will be offered the same working relationships and unprecedented aid in making life better for their people, yet they will not be given Jerusalem as their capital.  They will probably be offered land (perhaps in the Sinai Peninsula), but they will likely decline the deal.  (Currently, they are refusing to even talk to the US negotiating team, and to my knowledge, have not even allowed conversations about peace with Arab countries.)

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!”
~Abba Eban, The Jerusalem Post, 11/18/2002

The plan will force the hand of the Palestinians, who will be left out and without an ally in the region, other than Iran and Turkey.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Emirates, Jordan and Egypt will all enjoy the benefits of collaborative efforts with Israel.

Interestingly, when Ezekiel describes the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38), those nations are NOT described as part of the coalition that comes against Israel!  Thus, we again see the stage being set for the Northern Invasion.

Now…one last thing before we call it a day.  Some are saying, “Well, if President Trump is bringing peace to the Middle East, couldn’t he be the Antichrist?”  No.  While he may be successful in closing a deal, it will not be as Scripture describes.  In our English translations, Daniel 9:27 indicates the Antichrist will “make” or “confirm” a treaty with Israel.  However, in Hebrew, the word means “to intensify, to make spectacular.”  Thus, a peace plan could be in place when the Antichrist comes on the scene, and he will intensify it.  “How,” you ask?  By allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple!  THAT is what will win the Jews over!

Finally, the Bible also says the Antichrist will come from the same region as the empire that destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The United States was not around in 70 AD!  The Antichrist will not come from America!  However, if you read this morning’s post entitled Rise of “Mystery Babylon,” you know exactly from what region the Antichrist will come!  So if you missed it, go back and read it!

We live in very exciting times, don’t we!  We are seeing the Lord bring about the culmination of His plan for the Gentiles, and SOON, we could hear the trumpet sound and be out of here!  Keep your eyes on Israel…God’s time piece.  The final moments are ticking away!

Why the Calm? Why the Storm?

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What faithful students you are!  Welcome back!

Today we’ll finish the summary of the live class I’m teaching at 11:00 am each Sunday morning at Calvary PHX in Phoenix AZ.  If you like what you’re reading and are in the Phoenix area, come join the live class.  We’re in Room 209 at the Central campus and there is a seat ready for you!

We are living in the calm before the storm.  Indeed, Israel is as calm and peaceful as she has ever been since rebirth in 1948.  (If you are wondering how I can say that when rockets fired from Gaza recently, see yesterday’s post.)  We know, also, that there is a huge storm on the horizon.  Ezekiel 38 describes that storm and we’ll spend some more time talking about it in the next live lesson.

So, why the calm…and why the storm?  Does God really have a purpose in all this?  Absolutely!

First, let’s talk about what happened in America.  Understand, though, that America is NOT God’s timepiece.  Israel is.  But something significant happened in America over the past few years.  From a spiritual perspective, many believe we were teetering on the brink of the abyss.  For years, our country has been spiraling out of control morally.  We have thrown God out of schools, government buildings and city parks.  Abortions are killing over 600,000 babies a year.  Religious freedom has been trampled while gay rights have sky rocketed to levels unimaginable.  Marriage has taken on new definitions and the dignity of aging adults has been striped away.

But someone (LOTS of someones!) took 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heart:

…[if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Christians began to pray and began to stand up for what is right…and miracles happened.  (If you prayed, you had a part in the miracles!)  One miracle (there were many) was the election of Donald Trump as President.  Many (including myself) were skeptical that a man with such a sordid background would actually stand for things such as the sanctity of life, religious freedom…and Israel.  Furthermore, he was not supposed to win!  Behind in all the polls and lambasted by the liberal media, it took a miracle of God (despite skepticism!) to put Donald Trump in the White House.  Praise God for that!

Our nation is far from perfect and still has the same issues it had before.  But I truly believe God heard the faithful, effective prayers of the righteous (James 5:16), He honored them, and He gave America a short reprieve.  American friends, this is our season!  Time is short and the reprieve won’t last forever.  We must NOT be complacent.

Now the whys.

Why the calm?

  1. God honored the prayers of the righteous!
  2. God is preparing the region for what comes next.  Ezekiel 38 says Israel MUST be living in safety, security and prosperity.  Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and Turkey are all struggling economically.  That will bring about motivation for attack.
  3. God is establishing Jerusalem’s status.  Jerusalem is to be the heavy stone that others will try to lift, only to be injured.  Establishing Jerusalem as the capital, moving embassies there and destroying Iran’s presence on the Israeli border helps establish Jerusalem’s status!

Those things are happening right before our very eyes, and this is the calm before the storm!  Also, as a side note: talk among Jews in Israel is turning to “days of Messiah!”  They are looking for that someone who will bring lasting peace and allow them to rebuild the third temple!  Interesting!

Why the coming storm?

  1. To expose the intentions of man’s heart, and that of the nations.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 provides a laundry list of wickedness that will characterize the last days.  Joel 3:2 warns the nations that God will judge them according to how they treat Israel!
  2. To glorify God and destroy Satan’s plans.  (Read Ezekiel 38.  That’s your homework for next week!)
  3. Set the stage for the hour of trial.  Though believers will be saved from it (Revelation 3:10 and many places in 1 Thessalonians), the Jews will face the hour of trial after God defeats the enemies of Ezekiel 38-39.  They will look for their Messiah, only to find he is the Antichrist.

Despite their own blindness, Israel is the flagship that leads the world to salvation.  So, why does Israel matter?  Because Israel is our insurance policy!  If God is not faithful to the Jewish people, why would we expect Him to be faithful to us?

As we close out this week, why not pray for the eyes of Jewish people to be open to see and recognize the One True Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Some are seeing…let’s pray for a larger harvest!

Thanks for following this week, and I look forward to sharing more in Week 2, as we get into Signs of the Times: Storm Clouds Rising.

History in the Making!

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Welcome back to Why Israel Matters.  If you have found your way here, but have no idea what to make of it, just know that we have just begun a summary of a live Bible study conducted at CalvaryPHX in Phoenix AZ.  (If you are in the area, join us live each Sunday morning at 11:00 in Room 209, Central campus.)  Yesterday I launched the first post, and you can catch it here.

There is no doubt we live in historic times as we view today’s events through the lens of Scripture.  It is a time of prophetic fulfillment, and should lead each of us as Christians to understand that Jesus could return for us at any time!  Thus, we must be ready, as a bride readies herself for the groom.

History was made when President Trump (in December) recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  Not that Jerusalem wasn’t already the capital…just that no one was willing to say so officially.  That was followed by the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.  Along with that, Israel now has the backing of the world’s #1 superpower, and has unprecedented support in the UN from US Ambassador Nikki Haley.  Collectively, those things have never been true in all of history, yet the Bible says Jerusalem MUST be established in order for God’s plan of the end to take place.

Such things must be understood in the context of why Israel matters.  Sadly, many churches today are teaching a different theology: Replacement Theology, which in essence says, “Because the Jewish people rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jews.  All promises to the Jews are now promises to the church.  Thus, the church is the ‘new Israel.'”

Absolutely not!

Other churches are just not teaching about Israel at all.  Some say it is too “political.”  They want nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the Iranian’s stated goal of “wiping Israel off the map.”

But the real issue is Jerusalem.  If you talk about Israel, you eventually have to tackle the issue of Jerusalem.  The Bible says Jerusalem will be a heavy stone in the end.  All who try to move her will be injured!  (Zechariah 12:2-3)  Therefore, it is just easier to avoid the issue of Jerusalem altogether.

But is Jerusalem really “political?”  Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times in the Bible.  Jesus left from there and will return there.  Does that sound political or spiritual?  Furthermore, the Jewish people will ultimately look upon their Messiah there, and Romans 11:26 says ALL Israel will be saved!  Nothing political about that!  It’s a spiritual battle, not a political one!

God chose Israel for a specific REASON and a specific SEASON!  God revealed Himself to Gentiles through Israel!  In fact, Israel is the vehicle of world redemption!  That’s the REASON.  It is through Israel we have:

  • Faith in One God – the Jews gave up worshiping other gods when they went into exile!
  • Word of God – the Bible was written by Jews, in Jewish settings.
  • Son of God – news flash: Jesus was a Jew!

We live in a unique window of time.  This is the SEASON.  God made Himself known through the Jewish people, and He is about to make Himself known TO the Jewish people!

And we ask….why is Israel important!?!  You’ve got your first taste of where we’re going in this study, but we’re not through for this week!  Stay tuned for more!

PS: Have you prayed for Israel today?  Do so…then check back tomorrow as we join the worldwide prayer initiative to pray together for Israel!

Trump: “Prayer Changes Hearts and Transforms Lives”

Welcome back friends!  This morning I shared a “feel good” story about what happens when a Muslim who hated Jews comes to faith in Jesus.  I also promised another “feel good” story today, so let’s fulfill the promise!

This story is multi-layered, as it highlights God’s incredible grace in reaching into the depths to save a criminal.  That, in itself, is a “feel good” story.  But the second layer of the story causes me great joy as well.

May 3 was the National Day of Prayer.  On that day at the White House, Vice President Mike Pence (a very committed Christian) welcomed guests to the glistening white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave before yielding the podium to President Trump.

Past presidents have spoken at National Day of Prayer events, some with glowing words Christians would certainly be proud to hear.  Never did I expect to hear what came pouring from the mouth of our president!  What a tremendous surprise!

I have to confess I was not a staunch Trump supporter during the elections.  In my mind he was the least of two evils.  My skepticism was based on my doubts that he would actually make a stand on moral issues and religious freedom, or that he would truly stand strong with Israel.

Boy, was I wrong!  While I still wish someone would take away his twitter account (ie – that he would quit calling world leaders names), I am so very grateful for the stand he takes on those critical issues.  We have never had a more pro-Israel president, and he has taken unprecedented stance on the sanctity of life, religious freedom and other moral issues.

But, back to the National Day of Prayer.  Wow!  I don’t know where he stands with the Lord in terms of salvation, but President Trump spoke very powerful, Biblical words of truth.  I pray that our President knows and has a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus, and I will always pray that he is guided by God’s wisdom.

Sit down and listen to this 5.5-minute segment of the President’s address during the National Day of Prayer.  I believe you will be blessed!

 

Image result for why israel mattersIf President Trump sticks to those beliefs, we have lots to feel good about!  But how do we place President Trump and his administration into context of prophetic events we see happening in our world today?  We’ll talk about that and much more during our study, Why Israel Matters, Sunday mornings at 11:00 am in Room 209 at CalvaryPHX Central Campus.  We start tomorrow (June 3, 2018), so please join us!  (Info and Directions)