Word from Jerusalem – July 2018

Blessed Lord’s Day, dear friends!

I want to bless you with the latest issue of Word from Jerusalem, the monthly publication of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).  This month’s e-magazine’s focus is on the impact of Israel’s re-birth.

Yes, it is a very big deal, not only in Israel, but for Jews and Christians around the world, as the prophetic impact is eternal!  In May, Israel celebrated the 70th anniversary of her rebirth, and is enjoying great prosperity…just as Scripture says they will!  (Read Ezekiel 38 for evidence.)

This issue contains articles such as:

  • The Impact of Israel’s Rebirth – written by ICEJ VP and Senior Spokesman, David Parsons.  (David was one of the attorneys who helped draft the Jerusalem Embassy Act that paved the way for the US Embassy’s move to Jerusalem.)
  • Learning to Remember: A Visit to Yad Vashem – Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Memorial, Museum and Educational center in Jerusalem
  • Was Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem the Right Thing to Do? – Daryl Hedding (Deputy Director of the US Branch of ICEJ) provides a well-thought commentary on the move of the embassy.
  • …many other articles highlighting the various ministries and outreaches of ICEJ

Here is the magazine.  I pray your are blessed by it!

Life from the Dead!

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You’re back…and I’m so excited for today’s lesson that I’m jumping right out of my skin!  If you’re new here and have no clue what I’m talking about, we’re in the midst of a Bible study called Why Israel Matters.  This week we are focusing on the Jewish roots of our Christian faith and yesterday we hit the meat of Romans 11.  We’ll conclude yesterday’s stream of thought, so go back and catch it if you missed it!

We left off in verses 11-16, establishing the idea that Israel’s loss was gain to the Gentiles.  Because of their transgression, salvation came to the Gentiles and reconciliation to the world.  But, God is not done with them!  For if their rejection meant salvation and reconciliation to the world, how much more will their fulfillment be?  It will be LIFE FROM THE DEAD!

So, let’s pick it up there.  Recall that God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3) was that ALL families of the earth would be blessed.  We have established that the blessing is salvation.  It is intended for all…Jews and Gentiles!  By their transgression, the descendants of Abraham set themselves aside and, in Romans 11, Paul addresses them as “Israel,” not as Jews.  Keep that in mind, as we will come back to it!

The next passage in Romans (verses 17-24) is a stern warning to Gentiles.  So, let’s identify the elements Paul speaks of:

  • Broken off branches = unbelieving Israel
  • Wild olive branches = Gentiles
  • Olive tree = Israel
  • Root = Abraham and his descendants

Because wild olive branches (Gentiles) may be grafted into the olive tree, Paul is illustrating the manner in which we Gentiles attain salvation.  After all, John 4:22 tells us salvation is from the Jews, thus God must establish a way in which we can attain it.

Wild olive trees do not bear fruit!  Thus, only when we are grafted into the cultured olive tree do we attain salvation and produce fruit.  However, broken branches (unbelieving Israel) may also be grafted back into the olive tree.  (Salvation is available to both Jews and Gentiles.)  It is as if Paul said, “So, Gentiles, don’t be arrogant!  You do not support the root…the root supports you.”  Because we have salvation, we must not lord it over those through whom salvation has come.

Then, Paul talks about another mystery!  Romans 11:25-27 identifies the mystery as the hardening that happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.  At that point, all Israel will be saved!  National salvation will come and a worldwide revival as never seen before will take place.  The transgression and sin that once set the descendants of Abraham aside will be removed and Jews and Gentiles will be one as Paul described in Galatians 3:28.

Now, back to verse 15 where we are told Israel’s acceptance will be LIFE FROM THE DEAD.  Ephesians 2:1-3 describes the spiritual state of all people without salvation: dead in trespasses and sin, forever doomed and dominated by the devil.  Beginning in verse 11 of Romans, Paul addressed Israel, rather than the Jewish people.  As “national” Israel set herself aside by transgression, God did not give up on “national” Israel!  In fact, He had “life from the dead” on His mind for all mankind, but illustrated it through His chosen people.

Ezekiel 37 clearly describes Israel as a valley of dry bones, which come back to life.  We know that, after suffering through many attempts at annihilation (including the Holocaust), the land of Israel was re-born on May 14, 1948.  The fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 began, and Israel demonstrated “life from the dead” on that day!

However, that was only a physical rebirth.  God’s promise to Abraham was one of salvation!  While a remnant of Jewish people have gained spiritual rebirth, the nation of Israel still lives in spiritual death.  But Romans 11:26 speaks of a day when ALL Israel will be saved!  God is not done yet…and we have a part to play.  It is our responsibility to move them to jealousy so that God will fulfill His plan.

It is no wonder Paul ends chapter 11 in the manner he does, and we’ll end this week’s study likewise.  But before we do, just know that the study launches into more exciting things as we look at what the Bible tells us lies ahead!  Stick with us!

Now, for Paul’s closing words:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?  Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Watch an Israeli Patriot Missile Blow up a Syrian Drone

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An unmanned Syrian drone entered Israeli airspace yesterday afternoon and was allowed to allowed to operate for 15 minutes while Israeli intelligence ruled out Russian involvement.  Following the delay, Israel fired a Patriot missile that intersected and destroyed the drone near the Sea of Galilee.

Want to see what it looks like to destroy a drone in midair?  You will find the story and a very short video of the missile “hit” on The Times of Israel website.  Here is the link to the article:

To Rule Out a Russian Link, IDF Waited 16 Minutes before Downing a Syrian Drone

Action on the Golan is becoming more and more prophetic every day.  Keep your eyes on Damascus Syria and that entire region as you read Isaiah 17:1 and Ezekiel 38.  The proverbial table is set…we’re just awaiting the Guest of Honor!

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!