Reunited in Love of Israel

What a blessing to reunite with dozens of like-minded friends who love Israel! I’m in Washington DC, joining a couple hundred fellow graduates of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem Leadership Conference.  Those Leadership Conferences, held at the Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Jerusalem, seek to bring together Christian leaders from around the world to study specifically about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

At last night’s reception, I counted at least 15 of my 27 classmates from 2015, and we had a great time catching up with one another.  Most of us are actively involved one way or another in sharing the truth about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.  We were greeted by Dr Susanna Kokkonen (Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem) and welcomed by Shaya Ben Yahuda (Yad Vashem International Relations Director), both very dear friends of ours.  We were also welcomed by Cary Summers from Museum of the Bible, a supporting partner in the Conferences, as well as these Reunion/Refresher events.

During the evening, we were reminded that anti-Semitism is on the rise and, though painted with a different brush, is still the same picture the world ignored prior to the Holocaust.  After that, the world said, “Never again,” yet the BDS movement and Jewish hatred on college campuses (often sparked by radical Palestinian agendas) are rampant.  Friends, as Christians we cannot be silent.

As the evening progressed, we were treated to a special live production of “Portrait of Courage: A Call to Action,” performed by volunteers of Operation Exodus.  This was a depiction of what life was like in Jewish communities in Europe prior to the Holocaust, how covertly things changed, and the life-saving results of a few non-Jews who took action (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) to rescue Jews from the rampage of the Nazi killing machine.  It was quite moving and very well done, and certainly served as a call for us not to be silent in the current state of affairs.

Operation Exodus is dedicated to fulfilling a mission the prophet Isaiah described this way:

Thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations
And set up My standard to the peoples;
And they will bring your sons in their bosom,
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
~Isaiah 49:22

Indeed, God is calling the nations to bring His sons and daughters home.  Yes, we have a responsibility in that!  Given the current rise of anti-Semitism, there is a growing call for American Jews to return home.  Most seem very happy and content in America (just as they were in Europe), but I wonder…will the same sudden destruction, brought about by American anti-Semitism, overtake them like a storm, as the German version in the 1930’s did?  God forbid!

Those ignorant of past mistakes are bound to repeat them.  Let’s not be part of that crowd.

At the end of the program we saw a short video about a group of young men who individually made aliyah (return to the homeland).  More tomorrow, but I leave you with this:

For Zion’s Sake – August 2017

Ok gang…how many of you love Israel?  How many of you long for God’s blessings that are promised when we bless Israel?  (Genesis 12:3)

Well, you have the perfect opportunity to show your love for Israel by joining millions around the world who bless her in prayer today!  The first Wednesday of every month is ICEJ’s call to prayer I spoke of yesterday.  It is called the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative, and I invite you to become part of the global movement of God as you pray.

There are lots of ways to get involved, but I believe the best way is to either form your own prayer group, or join one that is already in existence.  There are prayer group locations worldwide, and there is incredible power when we pray together.  However, if you are absolutely unable to join a group, please pledge to pray on your own.   Either way, don’t miss out on your blessing!

Now, here is a guide to help you pray:

PRAISE: “Lord, You are the Mighty One of Israel who makes promises and keeps them.  We praise You for this and marvel over Your amazing track record in fulfilling Your pledges. Amen.”

PROCLAIM: The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: “Surely I will no longer give your grain as food for your enemies; and the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored.”  (Isaiah 62:8, our key verse this month)

PONDER: The Lord is described as making a vow with His right arm.  Symbolically, the right arm represents strength and dexterity.  He promises that Israel will no longer toil to the point of exhaustion, only to hand everything over to the enemy.  He has sworn.  Sworn, in its most literal form means, “to seven oneself,” seven being the number of perfection and completion.  It’s as if the Lord repeats His declaration seven times.  We can count on a time that Israel will be able to keep her food and drink, her bread and wine, for which she labored and not have it stolen by the enemy.  And it is for this we pray.

PRAY:  From the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative page, click on “Current Prayer Guide” for this month’s prayer points.  By using these prayer points, you will be joining believers from all over the world in blessing Israel!

Meet you at the foot of the throne!

PS: As always, if you are in the Phoenix area, I invite you to join us at Calvary Community Church tonight at 6:00pm in Room 301.  We’ll be there…will you join us?

Turkey and Russia Cozy Up

Once a faithful NATO ally, Turkey has made an about-face during the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and is headed full-steam into alliance with Russia.  Not only that, Erdogan is inciting Muslims to inundate Jerusalem (particularly Temple Mount) as often as possible to overwhelm the Israeli security forces tasked with keeping the peace on and around Temple Mount.

Indeed, Turkey has cut a deal with Russia for state-of-the-art, Russian-made S-400 missile systems capable of destroying ballistic and cruise missiles on the ground and in the air.  Meanwhile, Erdogan (in an attempt to wrest leadership of the Sunni Muslim world), is calling on Muslims to “defend Palestine just as we defend Mecca and Medina”.  Thus, his call for chaos in the Old City.

But let’s place this all in context.  What we see happening in today’s news is ripped from the pages of Bible prophecy!  First of all, Turkey and Russia (as well as Iran, ISIS, the Syrian government, rebels, Kurds and others) are all engaged in Syria…just a stone’s throw from Israel’s border!  Isaiah 17:1 promises that a day will come when Damascus (Syria’s capital city) will be utterly destroyed.  With it’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, God only knows the catastrophe that could ensue once those fall into the wrong hands.  (I’m not sure there are any “right” hands in Syria right now!)

Once that occurs, look what’s left:  Russia, Iran, and Turkey literally at Israel’s borders.  And where do you think they will head next?

Surmise all you want, but God told the prophet Ezekiel about a very specific war that will take place in the last days.  That is the War of Gog and Magog, described in Ezekiel 38-39.  In those chapters, God identifies the nations that will come against Israel.  They are listed by their ancient names, but guess what modern-day nations are among them!

If you said, “Russia, Iran, and Turkey,” you are correct!  They will be joined by African nations (primarily modern-day Sudan and Libya), and they will invade Israel in an attempt to wipe her out. (I’ve written an entire section of a Bible study about the Northern Invaders.  Check out Terror from the North.)

My friends, God doesn’t give us specific dates and hours for these things and His coming to occur. (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13)  However, He does give us “times and seasons.”  (Luke 12:54-56, Matthew 24:32-34)  We are living in the time and season of His return.

Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 each tell us that when we see the signs of the times taking place, we know the kingdom of God is near.  God’s Word also tells us what to do when we see these signs:

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
~Luke 21:28 ESV

“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
~Luke 21:28 NASB

“So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
~Luke 21:28 NLT

Where are you looking, my friends?  Stand…straighten up…lift up your heads…look up…for your redemption is near!

Shabbat shalom!

 

Alignment of the Northern Invaders

We’re continuing our “Signs of the Times” mini-series, and we’ll look to the north today.  The Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy regarding an invasion of Israel by a Russian-Iranian coalition is perhaps one of the best-known prophecies in recent years, and it is certainly a clear sign of the times.  We’re taking a look at key signs that tell us that the end of the Gentile age and the rapture of the church are at hand.

Ezekiel’s prophecy is well-documented and has been described on this blog.  (See Terror from the North) However, let’s put it in context of what is happening right now.  Russia, Iran, and Turkey (among others) are clearly identified as nations that will invade Israel in a huge battle often referred to as the War of Gog and Magog.  Interestingly, Syria is not mentioned in that coalition.

That seemed odd to some, prior to the beginning of the civil war in Syria.  Ultimately, Isaiah 17:1 tells us that Damascus will be utterly destroyed.  Today, we realize how close to reality that might be.  The point is that it opens up the opportunity and the “avenue” for an invasion from the north into Israel.

Now, consider recently breaking news:

  • Israeli intelligence discovered that Iran is building weapons factories in Lebanon and Syria. Israel has been relatively successful in detecting and taking out the transfer of missiles and other weapons, thus Iran has moved production right to the borders of Israel.
  • One of those factories is a former Syrian research facility that produced chemical weapons Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used on his own people. The use of this facility is obviously a provision made possible by Assad, and has Russian involvement.  It is believed that North Korean and Russian intelligence and Iranian money are developing weapons and the means to deliver them from a short distance into Israel.
  • Iran has apparently leased an airbase in Syria to accommodate Iranian fighter jets. The proximity of weapons factories, coupled with a base within such close proximity to Israel leaves very little time for defense of an airstrike.
  • It is reported that Iran has also leased other air, land, and sea bases in Syria that will accommodate at least 5,000 militiamen poised to attack Israel.

All these issues pose immediate threats to Israel, and all have Russian involvement.  That makes strikes on these facilities very difficult for Israel, as strikes that would endanger Russians on the ground would almost certainly invite harsh military action.

Could these circumstances be the stage on which Damascus will be destroyed?  Furthermore, is the alignment of the northern coalition setting the stage for the War of Gog and Magog?  We don’t know for sure, but never in the history of the world have events that could lead directly to action described in Ezekiel 38-39 lined up simultaneously.

Fellow Bible students, prophecy is not meant to scare, but to prepare!  We are commanded by our Lord to know and understand the times in which we live (Luke 12:54-56), and we must be prepared for the coming of our Lord (Matthew 25:1-13).  The signs tell us He is coming soon!