Longing for Zion

Image result for psalm 84:1

Oh, the Lord’s timing is incredible!  I want to extend our brief study on the City of David one more day because, literally, just yesterday I received an email from ICEJ containing a recent article regarding the longing for Zion.

If you have followed the past two days, you know that Zion is another name for the City of David.  You also know that ancient Jerusalem was not within today’s Old City, but was actually down the hill to the south.  Ancient Jerusalem was the City of David and the people longed to be in the courts of the Lord!

That feeds right into the article I want to share today!  Take two minutes to discover the Jubilee Years God has used to cause Jerusalem to rise, and why Jewish people throughout history have longed for Jerusalem!

Longing for Zion

One final note:  “Jerusalem” in English is “Yerushalayim” in Hebrew.  When you see a Hebrew word ending in “-im,” you know it is plural.  So, what can we draw from that?  Are there two Jerusalems…one in the City of David and one in the current Old City?  Yes…and no!  Indeed, there are two Jerusalems, but I don’t believe the plurality refers to ancient Jerusalem and modern-day Jerusalem.

I believe it refers to the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem!  Revelation 21:1-2 describes a new heaven and a new earth, and the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  That city is being prepared for those of us who will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

A new Jerusalem…a new Zion!  I long for Zion, too.  Don’t you?

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

Word from Jerusalem – June 2017

The latest edition of Word from Jerusalem is out, and contains articles of great interest.  In this issue you will find:

  • “Longing for Zion” – interesting insight into why a longing for Jerusalem remains for Jews
  • “ICEJ to Trump: Move the US Embassy” – details about a position paper the US branch of ICEJ delivered recently to President Trump, regarding moving the embassy to Jerusalem  (A second article entitled, “This is the Year to Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem” is included, and outlines reasons for support of moving the embassy.)
  • “US Branch Report” – find out what the US office is doing to show support to Israel, and to influence America’s leaders
  • “I See Jerusalem in Your Heart” – the story of Juha Ketola’s five year tenure as ICEJ’s VP of International Affairs
  • “We Call You the Miracle Man” – a moving testimony of healing for the ICEJ – UK Director

Enjoy the June issue of Word from Jerusalem:

Ethiopian Jews are Coming Home!

I am very excited about the news out of Israel that additional planeloads of Ethiopian Jews are coming home!

After the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of Jews in 70 AD, God’s promises to Abraham…namely, land and descendents…seemed empty and forever doomed.  However, the Jewish people, despite being scattered literally all over the world, never ceased being Jews, and never lost the seemingly instinctive desire to come home.

Over the decades, particularly since Israel’s statehood in 1948, Jews have indeed returned to their homeland, Israel.  The world has witnessed waves of Russian Jews, European Jews and Middle Eastern Jews return in droves.  But what about the Jews that were scattered into places such as Africa, where the means of returning home seem so impossible?  With God, all things are possible!

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
~Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27

Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth.
~Isaiah 43:5-6

A few years ago, the Israeli Knesset decided to arrange for the return of Ethiopian Jews, and what fantastic timing.  Today, Ethiopia is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years and the effects are devastating.  The food crisis is the worst in 30 years and, if that was not enough, Islamist militants have targeted Ethiopia because of their involvement in the 2006 military intervention in Somalia.  It is time to bring the Ethiopian Jews home!

Indeed, our God is faithful, and He is bringing sons and daughters back from the ends of the earth!  Just this week, the first of several aliyah (return to the homeland) flights sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, touched down at Ben Gurion airport in Israel!  Check it out:

To understand the gravity of it, realize that many families from Ethiopia have been separated for years (some as long as 3 decades), awaiting the time families would be re-united in Israel!

They are returning, and it is important to understand that, to a large degree, Christians are showing their love by making it possible.  The Ethiopian Jews could never afford to return to Israel on their own, and neither would they even know how to go about returning.  But we (Christians) have an embassy in Jerusalem acting on our behalf!  ICEJ exists to show the love of Christ to the people of God!  (They also show God’s love to Arabs, Palestinians and other people groups besides Jews.)

The Christian Embassy has committed to sponsoring the entire first year of renewed Ethiopian Aliyah, set at some 1,400 persons, as well as additional monies to assist with the very important absorption phase as these Jewish olim (immigrants) adjust to the new language and culture of Israel.

Most of us reading these words right now have never experienced drought, terrorism or the insatiable desire to “go home.”  We live in luxury while many simply yearn for home.  If you are touched, as I am, by the need to help scattered Jews return home, please consider partnering financially with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.  I know them personally and can assure you they work “as unto the Lord,” putting in hours and hours of sacrifice in order to be a part of God’s plan in Israel.  For more information, click here:

HELP ETHIOPIAN JEWS MAKE ALIYAH

Will you join me in this effort?  Together, let’s partner in the “impossible” thing God is doing!

Manchester and Egypt: Look Around…and Understand the Times!

Welcome back friends!  As I spent time at the ICEJ Summer Conference last weekend, world events were spinning faster than I could keep up!  However, since returning home, I have sifted through the news and have tried to view things through the lens of Scripture.  I hope you view news the same way…otherwise it is scary and tends to make little sense.

Image result for manchester massacre 2017However, many things make lots of sense when filtered through the Word of God!  For example, last week, just after President Trump exhorted leaders of 50 Muslim-majority countries to drive out terrorists and extremists from their countries and their places of worship, a Muslim suicide-bomber blew up a concert in Manchester, England.  Before the week was done, radical Islamists massacred a busload of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Image result for egypt bus bomb 2017Both are incredibly horrible events, yet one garnered much more publicity than the other.  Why?  Because news out of Europe is “big news.”  (I’ll share more about Europe in the coming days.)  News outlets, celebrities and high-society types jump onboard, tweeting and commenting on the attack of innocent people.  I am not saying they should not be upset, or even that they should not be letting their voices be heard.  My point is this: Christians are persecuted every single day simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ, yet the world seems to turn a blind eye.

Well, the Apostle John warns us of that!

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
~John 15:18-21 [Emphasis mine]

Yes, those who hate and persecute Jesus Christ will hate and persecute us too.  Persecution of Christians is real…just ask Pastor Umar Mulinde.  (BTW – Arabs have entered into Ramadan, the holiest…and bloodiest…month in Islam.  Oxymoronic, I know. But such is the case with radical Islam.)

To Egypt’s credit, they sent Air Force jets to bomb the ISIS perpetrators in the Sinai.  Was that a response to the groundwork laid by the Trump administration prior to his meeting with Arab leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?  I don’t know.  But let’s hope it is a sign that Arab nations will begin taking action against terrorist groups operating in and from their nations.

To carry this theme a bit further, why was President Trump so warmly received in Saudi Arabia by many Muslim-majority countries?  After all, Trump has spoken very bluntly about limiting entry to America for those from nations supporting terrorism.  In the Arab world, an attack (even verbally) on one nation often elicits a joint reaction from the rest.  Yet, Trump was greeted with pomp and circumstance, and by all appearances, was welcomed warmly by the Arab nations represented in Riyadh.

I see a couple of possible reasons for that.  First, could it be that they see a US President willing to stand strong with his allies and not sell out to evil regimes for the sake of notoriety? Secondly, Sunni Arab nations (who were represented at that meeting) are scared to death of a nuclear (Shi’ite) Iran.  Back channel negotiations with moderate Sunni states has gone on for months (if not years) with Israel and the US.  The Sunnis are warming to Israel and the US because they know the true enemy is not Israel, but rogue regimes such as Iran and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

One need only to look at the list of nations in Ezekiel 38 to figure out this alignment through Scriptural lens!  In that chapter, God’s Word clearly indicates that Russia and Iran will form a coalition, including Turkey and Libya (and perhaps some other minor players), that will attack Israel from the north.  Notably missing from the list of attackers: Jordan (who has a peace treaty with Israel), Egypt (who has a peace treaty with Israel), Syria (who will likely be destroyed or at least powerless as a result of the Isaiah 17:1 prophecy), and Saudi Arabia!

Saudi Arabia does not attack!  Sure, they are listed in the Ezekiel 38 prophecy (Sheba and Dedan, in verse 13), but notice that, rather than participate in the attack, they basically sit back and ask silly questions.  (BTW – some say the US could be included in that group as well!  It might be a stretch, but if the US is included in end time prophecy, it is here in Ezekiel 38…sitting back asking silly questions!)

You see, my friends, the Bible interprets current events for us!  We simply must view what we see and hear on the news through the lens of Scripture.

There is more news that took place while I was away, and I’ll comment further in the next few days.  But be assured: God’s Word will steer us straight.  To understand the times, we just need to get into God’s Word and find out what it has to say!

See you back here tomorrow!