Trump Officially Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, and Announces Embassy will Move to Jerusalem

President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Jerusalem, and announced plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel…..This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.  It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
~President Trump, December 6, 2017

The announcements are expected to bring joy and celebration among evangelical Christians, and threats of violence and intifada from Palestinians and most Muslim Arab countries.  It will be interesting to see what happens between the growing relationships Israel and the US have forged with conservative Muslim leaders in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Stay tuned.  As more news and reaction take place, we will continue to look at world events through the lens of Scripture.  We are living in last days, so keep your eyes in God’s Word and prepare for the coming of our King!

You will find video of Trump’s announcements here.

The Gog and Magog Coalition Takes Another Step Forward

Well, we seem to keep coming back to the same Biblical prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39.  It is most definitely not the only end time prophecy showing signs of imminent fulfillment, though it seems to be one in which today’s news is almost always relevant.  We focused on an Iranian commander’s threat this morning, and we’ll stay on that theme this afternoon.

If you are not aware, Ezekiel 38-39 describe a coalition of nations/people groups who will invade Israel, only to be totally destroyed on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:4).  I encourage you to read those two chapters of Ezekiel if you are not familiar with them.  I believe you will see that today’s headlines seem to be ripped from those very pages of Scripture.

For example…

Ezekiel 38:2-3, 5-6 names the groups of people (sometimes nations) that will form that coalition.  Remember, that passage was written a few thousand years ago, so the modern country names and boundaries must be determined through study of ancient lands.  Most scholars believe Rosh, Meshech and Tubal are likely parts of Russia or surrounding territory today.  Gog is a person.  In fact, he will be the “czar” of Magog.  Though Russian President Vladimir Putin is very “Gog-like,” it is too early to state unequivocally that he is Gog.  Whoever Gog turns out to be, Ezekiel seems to indicate that he will be the leader of that invading coalition.

Persia is most definitely Iran.  Gomer and Beth-Togarmah are a bit more difficult to identify, but there is strong evidence these regions are modern-day Turkey.

As you know, if you have followed current news at all, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey have been in cahoots for quite some time, and indeed, met together in Sochi Russia just days ago to discuss Syria.  Of course, civil war is going on in Syria and everyone involved has vested interest there.  For that northern coalition, one vested interest is that Syria shares a border with Israel…thus providing a gateway for that coalition to invade Israel, just as Ezekiel says!

However, there are other coalition partners named in Ezekiel 38:5-6.  Along with Russia, Iran and Turkey, people groups from north Africa will join the invasion.  Here’s where we plug into very recent news!  Bloomberg reported just yesterday that Russia has now welcomed Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir into official relations!  One of their first orders of business was the signing of cooperation agreements including in agriculture, nuclear power and mining.  (That guy is trouble!  Read the article for additional detail!)

Ez 38 NationsSo, why is that important news?  Because when Ezekiel 38:5-6 mentions “Ethiopia,” most scholars who have studied the historical locations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 believe “Ethiopia” may well encompass the lands we know today as Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.  (“Put,” by the way, definitely includes at least parts of Libya and perhaps part of Algeria.)

Keep in mind, Egypt and Jordan have treaties with Israel, and Saudi Arabia is becoming more and more friendly with the Jewish state, in attempts to fend off Iranian threats.  Thus, Israel (the tiny nation sandwiched in between Egypt and Jordan) is directly exposed only to the north…on the Syrian border.  Not surprisingly, Ezekiel tells us the invasion will happen from the north!

So, with yesterday’s news, we find one other coalition partner (Sudan) officially joining hands with Russia to become an active member of the coalition!

Events are happening at rapid pace, and every day’s news seems to connect one more piece of the puzzle together.  When will the last piece be snapped into place?  We don’t know…but it could be soon.  Will God the Father send His Son to snatch us away (rapture!) before that invasion occurs?  We don’t know for certain.  But what we DO know is that God has not destined us for wrath. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)  Thus, we could be taken soon!

The real question is: are you ready?

Christian Delegation Visits Jordan

DELEGATION-King-grouppicture

Jordan’s King Abdullah welcomes Christian leaders at the royal palace in Amman

Christians are making significant inroads in reaching out to Israel’s Arab allies.  Praise God for Christian leaders willing to mobilize others in reaching out to Arab nations with respect to persecution of Christians, humanitarian efforts and joint efforts in neutralizing the threat of radical Islam.

A few days ago, a group of Christian leaders, led by Joel Rosenberg, visited Egypt’s President el-Sisi, his cabinet and religious leaders.  That was followed by a trip to Jordan,  to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II last Tuesday.  That capped three days of meetings with senior officials and Jordanian religious leaders.

The report out of Jordan is every bit as encouraging as the one out of Egypt last week.  Joel Rosenberg has posted this report of those meetings on his blog, and I encourage you to check it out!

As Christians, we are to be found faithful when our Lord returns.  Praise God for these men and women who are faithfully carrying forth efforts of reconciliation and peace toward Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus Christ.  Will you take a few minutes right now to thank the Lord for His guidance and goodness, and to ask favor upon the nations of Egypt and Jordan?  Also, pray for great boldness for Middle East Christians.  They obviously live in a very difficult neighborhood and many are persecuted.  Let’s be faithful to pray for them, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will go forth in the Middle East.

A Review – In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem

Less than 20 years after declaring statehood, Israel was faced with extinction.  The Six Day War was a crossroad…Israel would either find a way to survive, or they would be wiped off the face of the earth.

IN OUR HANDSA new film, In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem, tells the story through the eyes of those who were there, and live footage taken during the 1967 war.  Key characters include a young commander of the 55th Paratrooper brigade and his young protege who was pressed into service as an intelligence operative.  That protege provides the majority of the eye witness accounts during the movie.

The groundwork of events leading up to the war draws the viewer in and provides a realistic view of what it was like on June 5 when the Israel Defense Forces carried out a miraculous preemptive strike that very likely saved the state of Israel.

In Our Hands commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, when Israel stood alone to take on Egypt, Jordan and Syria…forces that were several times larger in manpower and military equipment.  Yet, against all odds, Israel not only survived, but tripled the size of their country in only six days!

The struggles faced by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, and the rise of Moshe Dayan as Defense Minister, are key elements in understanding Israel’s strategy and were well-depicted in the film. (Dayan’s daughter provides some commentary.)  Likewise, the valiant efforts of the warriors on Ammunition Hill and other battlefronts are handled realistically, but graphically.  The storyline takes viewers through the entirety of the Six Day War, including air attacks and ground movement into the Sinai Peninsula, tank battles on the Golan Heights, and surrounding and recapturing the Old City. Scenes also describe the challenges faced by Jordan’s King Hussein in his attempt to broker a ceasefire.

Overall, the film was well-done, factually accurate, and was a “jackpot” for history buffs.  Two words of warning, though:

  • The film starts fast by diving right into the details of what led up to the war.  Those arriving late and those distracted by others settling in will miss some key information.
  • Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network (the production company) spends several minutes at the end of the film re-telling the story and weaving Scripture into it.  While I appreciated the Scriptural references and the effort to draw viewers’ focus to Biblical truth, it seemed that he took 10 minutes to say what could have either been woven into the movie, or stated more briefly at the end.  For me, it took away a bit of the “punch.”

Despite those warnings, however, In Our Hands is well worth the time and cost for those who love Israel and are interested in her history.  The Six Day War was “make or break,” so if that is of interest to you, this film is for you!

The movie was to be a one-night engagement.  However, an encore showing is scheduled at theaters around the country on June 1.  Find information and order tickets here.  It is in limited theaters and many of them sold out on May 23, so if you plan to go, get your tickets right away!

Enjoy!