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.

Remembering Israel’s Miraculous Victory in the Six-Day War

This morning we considered how Israel miraculously saved the world in 1981 by taking out the nuclear facilities of a madman.  Now, let’s go back in time to 1967, when Israel’s very existence was in jeopardy.

The day was June 5 and several Arab neighbors had their sites set on destroying Israel.  The Jewish state faced the choice of doing nothing and getting attacked from every side, or launching a preemptive strike that seemed to be their only possibility of survival.  They chose survival, and attacked Egypt.  The rest is (as they say) history!

Check out how the tide turned, resulting in the infamous recapture of Jerusalem!  The Holy City was back in Israeli hands…never to be taken away.  As you enjoy the story, give praise to God for His faithfulness to His people!

 

PS: We’ll return to our study, Why Israel Matters, tomorrow, so stay tuned!

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!

What’s the Big Deal about Jerusalem?

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Unless you just crawled out from under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard the US Embassy is now open for business in Jerusalem, just months after President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But what’s the big deal?  Why is Jerusalem so important, and why is it so important to have our embassy there?  Why does the tiny country of Israel matter anyway!?!

You may or may not know the answers to those questions, but we’re going to take a deep dig into those questions, and as we dig, I believe we’ll find nuggets we never expected to find!

What am I talking about?  I’m talking about the new Bible study I am about to begin teaching this Sunday.  The urgency and passion I have for this study far surpasses even those I have done before, causing me to believe the Lord has very meaningful plans!

If you follow this blog and are in the Phoenix area, this is a “don’t miss it” event!  We will put current events (and there are lots of them!) into Biblical context as we explore Israel’s past, present and future.  In the end, you will know with certainty what the big deal is about Jerusalem, and why Israel matters!

Join us for Why Israel Matters:

  • 11:00 am Sunday mornings
  • CalvaryPHX Central campus
  • Room 209  (southwest corner of campus)
  • Open to young adults (12 and older), as well as adults of all ages
  • Children’s Ministry is available (no cost) for children under 12
  • No cost to the study

Directions and more information

Invite family and friends, and I’ll see you this coming Sunday (June 3) in Room 209.