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!)

Exciting Discoveries at the City of David

If you saw my post on Facebook a few days ago, you know that I made a stop at the City of David while in Jerusalem.  (For those of you who missed it, you can find it here.) It was shabbat (and, thus, not open), so I don’t have “fresh, new” photos to post.  However, fabulous news is coming out of the City of David, where they are unearthing tremendous things confirming the Word of God!

Please take a look at these two previous posts from earlier this summer:

Part of my purpose in sharing the sites of Israel this week is to emphasize the fact that the Bible is 100% accurate and trustworthy, and that many of the things we see today are fulfillment of prophecies made long ago!

As we look at these things, I am convinced we are seeing the Lord reveal Himself more and more as the day of His return draws near!  He wants His people to know Him!  Both Jews and Gentiles are welcome at His table, and it is only a matter of time before He summons us to join Him there!

Stay tuned, because I will share with you from the Southern steps of Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and the Garden Tomb over the next few days.

Also, I will be teaching a new study, What in the World is Going On?, beginning this Sunday at Calvary Community Church.  9:00am in the Prayer Room at NW, and 11:00am in Room 403 at Central.  For more information and directions to our campuses, click here.  See you there!

 

It’s Not too Late to Congratulate Jerusalem!

Hi friends!  Do you realize we’re in the midst of a jubilee year for Jerusalem?  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please see Israel’s Jubilee Years.  Indeed, “liberty is proclaimed throughout the land” on a 50-year schedule, just as the Bible describes in  Leviticus 25:8-11!  Interestingly, on our Gregorian calendar, those years happen to end in “7,” the number of perfection (God’s perfection!).

2017 is the 50th anniversary of the 6-Day War in which Israel re-captured the Old City of Jerusalem, including Temple Mount, and reunited Israel for the very first time since 70 AD when the Romans wiped out the city and drove Jews from Israel.  The victory also ensured freedom of access for all faiths to Jerusalem’s holy sites.  It is an incredibly significant year in Israel’s history.

While the 6-Day War victory was officially celebrated in June (on the actual anniversary of the victory), Israel continues to celebrate the Jubilee Year. As Christians who stand with Israel, it is fitting for us to congratulate Jerusalem in commemoration of her Jubilee celebration.

Did you know you can actually send your own personal congratulations to the people of Israel?  Christians from around the world are sending words of congratulations and encouragement, and all messages are being compiled in a special Jerusalem Jubilee Book that will be presented to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Be one of millions of Christians who stand with Israel in this very simple and tangible way.  Send your congratulations!

I will bless those who bless you!  (Genesis 12:3)
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good!  (Psalm 122:9)

Longing for Zion

Image result for psalm 84:1

Oh, the Lord’s timing is incredible!  I want to extend our brief study on the City of David one more day because, literally, just yesterday I received an email from ICEJ containing a recent article regarding the longing for Zion.

If you have followed the past two days, you know that Zion is another name for the City of David.  You also know that ancient Jerusalem was not within today’s Old City, but was actually down the hill to the south.  Ancient Jerusalem was the City of David and the people longed to be in the courts of the Lord!

That feeds right into the article I want to share today!  Take two minutes to discover the Jubilee Years God has used to cause Jerusalem to rise, and why Jewish people throughout history have longed for Jerusalem!

Longing for Zion

One final note:  “Jerusalem” in English is “Yerushalayim” in Hebrew.  When you see a Hebrew word ending in “-im,” you know it is plural.  So, what can we draw from that?  Are there two Jerusalems…one in the City of David and one in the current Old City?  Yes…and no!  Indeed, there are two Jerusalems, but I don’t believe the plurality refers to ancient Jerusalem and modern-day Jerusalem.

I believe it refers to the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem!  Revelation 21:1-2 describes a new heaven and a new earth, and the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  That city is being prepared for those of us who will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

A new Jerusalem…a new Zion!  I long for Zion, too.  Don’t you?

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!