The Hand of God, the People of God, the Land of God and the Purpose of God

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Ok, buckle your seat belts, my friends!  We’re going for a ride today!  If you’ve missed the previous summaries this week, I encourage you to look back over posts of the past few days before diving in today.  It all flows together!  So, here we go…

We’re camping out in Ezekiel 36-39, so you may want to have your Bible handy to read more in context.  Look first at Ezekiel 37:26-28:

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.  My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.  And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”

This is God’s purpose…His goal, you might say!  He promises to make a covenant of peace with His people, to dwell with them, to be their God, and to announce to the world that He is the Lord!  Yet, that passage is followed immediately by chapter 38, describing an invasion of Israel, also known as the War of Gog and Magog (or the Northern Invasion).  (Ezekiel 38 is a hot topic that I’ve written about many times, so if you are not familiar with the players and the strategy, click here.)

For that invasion to occur, we find that Israel must be living securely in the land (Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14).  Despite evil intentions of their enemies, Israel has never been more secure in their 70 years back in the land!  Furthermore, we see significant social and economic turmoil in Russia, Iran and Turkey (key players in that invasion).  That provides motive for an attack.  The stage is set and the orchestra is warming up!

While Ezekiel 38:10-12 clearly states Gog’s evil intentions of invading Israel “to capture spoil and to seize plunder,” verse 18 tells us that God will unleash His anger and fury:

“It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord God, “that My fury will mount up in My anger.

The next few verses describe what that fury and anger will entail.  God Himself is going to rise up on Israel’s behalf and take care of business!  Not sure I would want to be on the receiving end of His wrath!

But to close this week’s study, please take time to read the end of each of the chapters we have studied.  See if you can discover the phrase repeated in each:

What was the phrase?  I think the Lord was making His message clear…what do you think?!?

We are definitely seeing the HAND of God use the PEOPLE of God in the LAND of God for the PURPOSES of God!  Every part of that idea must be in place in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled!  Praise God for His faithfulness!

That’s it for this week, but stick with us.  In next week’s lessons, we’re moving “Beyond the Horizon,” where we will examine the state of things once the next event on God’s calendar (rapture) has taken place!  Stay tuned!

BTW – It is not too late to join the live study at CalvaryPHX.  Click here for info and directions.  See you in class!

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.

The Calm Before the Storm

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So good to see you back, my friends!  We’re studying Why Israel Matters and are finishing up week 1.  This is simply a summary of the live class being taught at CalvayPHX in Phoenix AZ.  We gather together at Central campus, Room 209 each Sunday morning at 11:00 am and you are welcome to join us!  For those of you outside the Phoenix area, pull up a chair at the virtual study table and join us here online.

We established that God chose Israel for a specific REASON and for a specific SEASON.  The reason is that God chose to reveal Himself to Gentiles through the Jewish people.  As for the season, we are living in an unprecedented time when God is making preparations to reveal Himself to the Jewish people!  Once Jerusalem is prepared and God’s plan is in place, Jesus will return to Jerusalem and, ultimately, all Israel will be saved!  (Romans 11:26)

Much will happen before that day, and a mighty storm is on the horizon!  However, we are living in the calm before the storm!  Even this time of calm is for a REASON and a SEASON.  Israel has never been as calm and peaceful as now.

“But what about the recent rocket attacks from Gaza?”

Ahhhh…..great question…and it didn’t take you long to fire that one out there!  Let me explain.  I know many people in Israel: ministry leaders (some Jew, some Gentile), citizens, military, etc and they all confirm the same thing: while rockets from Gaza are a nuisance and a definite danger to a few (not to be trivialized), there is no huge threat from Gaza.  If they wanted, Israel could wipe out all of Gaza literally in a matter of minutes.  Israel knows that…and the Palestinians know that.  Hamas, the ruling party, knows that, but also knows that Israel will not do that.  Thus, they “rattle sabers” in attempts to attract the world’s attention to their “plight.”

Israel faces nothing compared to wars brought to their borders in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, etc.  Those foes are now either enjoying peace treaties with Israel (Egypt and Jordan), working hand-in-hand with Israel (Saudi Arabia, UAE) or are defeated foes (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc)  Israel is living in peace and prosperity…just as the Bible says she MUST prior to the Ezekiel 38 storm on the horizon.  Ultimately, Israel will be attacked by a superpower (Russia, along with Iran, Turkey and others), and America will NOT be there for Israel.

“But haven’t you implied that this is the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history?”

Wow, you ask great questions!  Yes, this administration is, without a doubt, the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history.  Yet, it is for only a season!

Come back tomorrow and we’ll discuss what happened in America to make it the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history, and we’ll talk about why the calm is taking place.

Meanwhile, check into Isaiah 62 and pray for Israel!

BREAKING: Did the Obama Administration Secretly Plot with Iran and Mislead Congress?

News is just breaking about possible back channel deals former President Obama made with Iran.  Some are also claiming he misled Congress in attempting to keep those deals secret.

Obama’s alleged dealings with Iran had to do with providing Iran secret access to American banks, despite the sanctions levied by the Iran nuclear deal.  You can read about those allegations reported by Fox News, the Chicago Tribune, National Review, New York Post and others.

Use caution, Christian friends.  While there is compelling evidence to suggest possible impropriety, these are serious allegations that have yet to be proven factually.  I believe most Americans want truth and justice to prevail, and that should be our prayer.  Rather than rush to judgment, pray for God to grant wisdom to those involved in the investigation, and that He brings truth to light.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.
~1Timothy 2:1-3