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!

A New Season Begins for God’s People in God’s Land

At the ICEJ/ACLI Conference this week, we were reminded of the significance of “jubilee years” throughout Israel’s modern history.  To place it in Biblical context, read Leviticus 25 (particularly verses 8-10)to discover the Lord’s plan to designate years of jubilee every 50 years.   Those years were established as years of redemption for those who gave up land they could no longer afford, or who went into slavery because they had no other way to live.

Over the course of recent history, we have seen the Lord remain faithful to implement jubilee years for the Jewish people.  For example, in the 1860’s, Charles Warren, an officer in the British Royal Engineers, was prohibited from excavating areas beneath Temple Mount.  Thus, he moved his operation south, where he discovered the ancient City of David in 1867.  This was historic because it put King David’s kingdom on the map, verifying a critical part of Jewish history.  More importantly, it became the first season of aliyah (returning to the homeland) for the Jewish people.  Jubilee!

Fifty years later (1917), British General Edmund Allenby liberated the city of Jerusalem from Arab oppression.  British forces not only captured Jerusalem, but established a strong fortified line to ward off Israel’s enemies.  On December 11 of that year, Allenby refused to ride into the city on horseback (as victorious leaders were prone to do), but instead dismounted and walked through the Jaffa Gate because he believed that no conquering king other than Jesus should ride into the city!  Again, property was returned to its rightful owner (Israel) in a jubilee year…50 years after Warren’s discover brought aliyah.

Fast forward another 50 years to 1967 and Israel prevailed in one of the most critical battles of all time.  Egypt’s President Gamal Abdul Nasser, having been fully embarrassed by failed attempts to conquer Israel in 1948 (War of Independence) and 1956 (Suez War), concocted a plan to cut off shipping to Israel, thus choking off their livelihood.  Not only that, he enlisted the backing and military support of Syria and Jordan.  But, knowing of the plan, Israel launched a preemptive strike that caught Egypt and her allies totally off-guard.  Not only did Israel soundly defeat the Arab aggressors, but in so doing, they regained control of the Old City of Jerusalem (held by the Jordanians)!  It was a miraculous victory, only possible through the hand of God who was faithful to His promises!  Jubilee!

Fifty years later (2017) another jubilee year occurred.  Donald Trump surprisingly won the US presidential election and one of his campaign promises was to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, per the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.  The law mandated the move be made no later than May 31, 1999, but it had one caveat: the President could sign a 6-month waiver if it was a security risk.  Every US president since that time promised to move the embassy, yet signed waivers every 6 months, delaying the move.  Yet, in December 2017, President Trump made a surprising announcement containing two very key points: he recognized Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel and he officially decreed that the US Embassy would move to Jerusalem!  Jubilee!

Well, on May 14, 2018, Israel’s 70th birthday (on the Gregorian calendar), the US officially opened that embassy in Jerusalem…and the celebration continues.  Israelis are rejoicing in the streets as they celebrate yet another jubilee!

So, you may have known all that, so what’s the point?  Great question!  It is now a new season in Israel.  Things will be different there, as they are each time a jubilee year occurs.  Once possessions are returned to a poor man, life changes!  Moreover, Israel has now been a reborn nation for the same number of years she was once in Babylonian exile.  Not that the two events are linked in many ways, but it seems somewhat interesting that, just as Cyrus helped restore the land to the Jews after 70 years, so the US has helped to restore the land to the Jews.

My point is this: the US remains a critical vessel in God’s plan for Israel.  Our nation has been abundantly blessed, because we have chosen to bless Israel.  Biblically speaking, we know that, one day, the US will cease to be the strong ally that partners with Israel today.  Israel will stand alone.  But until that time, dear friends, it is vitally important that we continue to bless Israel individually, corporately through our churches and nationally through diplomacy, military coordination and assistance.

Rejoice, for the jubilee year has brought a new season to Israel!  (And stay tuned…I’ve got lots more good stuff to share from the conference!)

The Iran Deal is Nixed, but What Other News Can We Expect over the Next Few Days?

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Netanyahu attends a Victory Day parade (WWII Soviet victory over Nazi Germany) ahead of meeting with Putin  (Photo credit: PMO)

Welcome back friends!  As you know, President Trump has pulled the US out of the Iranian nuclear deal.  However, that’s only one of the many newsworthy events expected in the next few days.

Certainly, there is fall-out from Trump’s announcement yesterday.  Netanyahu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, European leaders, as well as some Arab states have all responded to the news in one way or another.  (See various comments here.)

Also,  the Israeli Air Force took care of business by destroying Iranian missiles aimed at Israel.  (See this morning’s post.)

2018-0508 IDF Tweet

Big news for sure, but other “newsy” days are ahead.  Here is a recap of what is on tap:

  • Today – Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.  (See yesterday’s post for more info about that meeting.)  Information is just coming out about that meeting, where Netanyahu is said to have thanked Putin for engaging in a conversation about regional issues, and warned the Russian premier that Iran’s ambition is another Holocaust.  Putin’s response: “We remember the tragedies of the two world wars, about the lessons of history which do not allow us to become blind. The same old ugly traits are appearing along with new threats: egoism, intolerance, aggressive nationalism and claims to exceptionalism. We understand the full seriousness of those threats.”  Time will tell!
  • Related imageSunday, May 13 – Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים‎, Yom Yerushalayim) is the day Israel celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War.  Though Israel was victorious in the War of Independence (1948) and the Suez War (1956), in which they legally took control of their land, part of Jerusalem (and what is known as the West Bank today) fell under control of the Jordanians.  When Israel was threatened again in 1967, they were again victorious, reuniting Jerusalem.  Obviously, that is much disputed to this day, as there continues to be argument over the “pre-1967” borders.
  • US Embassy SignsMonday, May 14 – Israel will celebrate her 70th anniversary and the US will officially open its embassy in Jerusalem.  Many protests are expected, particularly from the Palestinians who continue their “March of Return” protests along the Israeli security fence.  Hamas if fueling the riots there, and they are expected to grow in intensity.
  • Tuesday, May 15 – Palestinian observance of nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), marking the establishment of the state of Israel.  Again, protests in Gaza and the West Bank are expected to reach a fever pitch during these days.
  • Wednesday, May 16 – Guatemala will officially open their embassy in Jerusalem.

As you can imagine, opportunities for conflict over the next few days abound.  Pray for peace, and pray for wisdom of world leaders.  Things are boiling beneath the surface and the eruption is bound to occur at some point.

As believers, we know these to be “birth pangs” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:1-8 and Mark 13:1-8.  Never in the history of the world have we seen the stage so fully set for end time prophecies.  Not to set dates or predict when the rapture (next thing on the prophetic calendar) will happen, but to simply say:

You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
~Matthew 24:6-8

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

Our Lord could tarry, but our duty is to be ready, and to be about our Father’s business as we wait.  Keep that in mind as we navigate the days ahead!

PS: Stick with me, as I hope to report from the ICEJ/ACLI Conference and a celebration in a few days at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC.

“Jerusalem is Not Holy to Muslims, Enough with this Lie!”

Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein stated the obvious (but ignored):

“Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims…enough with this lie!”
~Arutz Sheva, 3/16/2018

Consider these facts Klein pointed out in the above-referenced article:

  • Jerusalem was Israel’s capital under King David 3,000 years ago, and has never been the capital of any other country.
  • When the Arabs conquered Israel in 716 AD, Ramla became their capital, not Jerusalem.
  • Jewish holy books mention Jerusalem 700 times.  It is not mentioned in the Qur’an even once.
  • Arabs have never cared enough to invest in Jerusalem.
  • When Jordan controlled Jerusalem between 1948-1967, everything of importance was built in Amman, not Jerusalem.
  • During that time, Jerusalem became a slum, lacking water, electricity and plumbing,

No matter how you slice it, the land belongs to Israel.  (See 8 Principles Regarding Israel and Her Land)  However, that doesn’t mean there will be no challenges.  Let’s pray for Jews to live in righteousness in their land so they may reap the benefits of God’s full promise to them!