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)

Our Challenge in Combating Anti-Semitism

We’ve concluded Day 3 of a reunion and refresher for those who have attended the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem’s Christian Leadership Conference in Israel.  I was blessed to attend in late-2015, and have enjoyed reuniting with classmates and others who attended between 2010-2017.

Yesterday was a day of challenge for us!  There we sat, in a room full of staunch Israel supporters, yet I don’t believe any of us went to bed last night with the assurance that we have done all we can do to connect the church to Israel.  There is so much to be done, and each of us have our own God-given means of accomplishing His purpose.  Mine is to help others come to deeper realization of our role as Christians in understanding God’s purpose for us.

Daryl Hedding, Assistant Director of the US Branch of ICEJ, led off our sessions with “The Role of the Church in Combating Anti-Semitism,” where we were reminded that decisions made impact generations to come.  When the Holocaust occurred, people declared, “Never again,” yet support of Israel has shrunk consistently since then.  We are losing generations, as each one is making decisions that impact the next.

In Daryl’s work with young people, he illustrates steps he believes (and I agree) lead to that problem in many cases:  Rejection of God’s Word (Humanism) leads to things such as Darwinian evolution, which leads to “survival of the fittest,” then racism and, ultimately, rejection of God’s people (anti-Semitism and genocide).  Thus, it seems logical that, if one gets the beginning wrong (ie – teachings of Genesis), he will stray in the middle (ie – did God really give His Son to save the entire world?), and will likely miss God’s best in the end (ie – eternal life with Him).

The segway for the next session was Psalm 102, where we see and hear the distress of Israel (verses 1-11), before acknowledging the steadfastness of God and His compassion for His people (verses 12-17).  What follows is striking.  Verses 18-22 indicate that those things were written for a generation to come, and that the Lord will gaze upon the earth, set His people free, and bring about praise in Jerusalem.  The challenge: we ARE that generation.  Those living in this time have seen the Lord answer the distress call of the Jews and draw them out of the Holocaust.  He is establishing them in their own land, and will one day soon bring praise to Jerusalem!

2017-0812 CFYV Reunion - Intl Panel

International Panel: Kenya, Malaysia, Scotland, England, Ghana

Yet anti-Semitism grows.  We heard from an international panel of what is going on in their countries.  A bright light is Ghana, where 70% are Christians and the country is very pro-Israel (thanks in part to Israeli aid in developing their military and other humanitarian efforts).  However, Malaysia is primarily Muslim and is totally closed to any sort of relationship to Israel.  In fact, as a whole, they hate Israel and will not allow their people to travel there.  England and Scotland are seeing record numbers of anti-Semitic actions (including violence) and attitudes. Not only have evangelical churches become almost extinct, but only about 5% of those remaining are supportive of Israel (according to the panelists).

Following the panel discussion, we ran head-on into a direct challenge issued by Dr Susanna Kokkonen.  Those of us in the west live in a “spoiled society” and we are tremendously complacent.  Many are content to attend church each week, but how many are active in doing the work of the kingdom?  One such work (though not the only work) is taking a stand for Israel.  However, as it was pointed out, there are Christians being persecuted around the world and, in large part, we do nothing!  We are watching Holocaust-type activity going on against “our own people,” but do not take a stand.  Thus, if we take no stand for “our own,” how likely are we to take a stand for Israel and the Jewish people?

Wow…do you feel “hit between the eyes?”  So did we…and “we” are a room full of people who absolutely love Israel!  Please understand, this is not a guilt trip.  God has called us all to something, and if you are doing that “something,” you are within His will.  But, let’s diligently seek His will!  Let’s petition the God of the universe to direct us.  Let’s see what He has in store for those of us who will make Him Lord, not just Savior!

If we are that generation spoken of in Psalm 102, then the Lord is about to act on behalf of His people!  Let’s be part of the action!

Blessings my friends!

Putting it All Together

Open my eyes to see
the wonderful truths in your instructions.
I am only a foreigner in the land.
Don’t hide your commands from me!
~Psalm 119:18-19

Praise God, His Word clearly describes the signs of the times, and when our eyes are open, He reveals the wonderful truth found in His Word.  We are foreigners and our eternal home is with Him!  So, with those truths in mind, let’s tie a bow on our study of end time signs.

Believing they were living in the last days, Jesus’ disciples asked Him what would be the signs of the last days (Matthew 24:3).  In a sense, the “last days” began after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  However, never in the history of the world have the key signs we have studied over the last few days been evident all at the same time.

Let’s review the signs we have discussed:

Israel was re-born as a nation in 1948…Jesus could not have returned before the Jews were back in their land as Scripture declares.  The European nations are not only congealing into a single entity, but are quickly preparing for the antichrist.  The world is focused more and more on issues (such as global warming) that will unite all nations together and will ultimately lead to “commonality” and One World Order and One World Religion.  Everyone, whether spiritually inclined or not, seems to be focused on the Middle East.  That focus will narrow more and more to simply Jerusalem as time goes on.  Then, there is America…our beloved country!  We will not stand forever and, while I pray we do not stumble into oblivion “on my watch,” the time will come when the Lord’s purpose for America will end.

It is critical that we prepare for the coming of our King, Jesus Christ!

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
~Romans 13:11-12

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

Are you ready?

Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the LORD!

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Happy Independence Day, America!  As citizens of this great nation, we should be thankful for the freedoms we have, and eternally grateful to the men and women in uniform throughout our history who have secured and kept our freedom.  To every veteran and all current military, police and firefighting personnel in America, I honor you especially today with my deepest thanks.

Go with me to Psalm 33.  My Bible includes a header that says, “Praise to the Creator and Preserver,” so why not take a moment on this special day to read the entire chapter and give praise to the One who created the world and preserves it, even in perilous times.  Then, take particular note of verse 12:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

Though many today would dispute this fact, we find mounds of evidence that our nation was founded, not just upon Christian principles, but upon raw dependence upon the One True God.  There are attempts to “re-write” our history, but our forefathers were very clear in their intent in the establishment of our nation.  Let’s observe some of those intentions:

George Washington:

  • “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
  • “Do not let anyone claim tribute of American patriotism if they even attempt to remove religion from politics.”
  • “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”
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Patrick Henry:

  • “It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” 

John Adams:

  • “Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.”
  • Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
  • “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.  I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Noah Webster:

  • “The moral principles and precepts found in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.”
  • “No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
  • “The Bible must be considered as the great source of all the truth by which men are to be guided in government as well as in all social transactions.”

Charles Carroll (delegate to the Continental Congress):

  • “Grateful to Almighty God for the blessing which, through Jesus Christ our Lord, He had conferred on my beloved country in her emancipation.”
  • ” Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

 

Regardless how diligently others try to “re-write” American history, the truth will always be the truth.  Our nation was, indeed, established on the principles of God’s Word.  Yes, as a whole our nation is rapidly sliding off that foundation. Yes, ultimately God’s hand of blessing and protection will be removed, leaving us vulnerable to His judgment.  But that day has not come yet.  That’s why we absolutely must seek the face of God, repent, and plead for God’s mercy.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

But let’s circle back to Psalm 33:12 and address the second part of that verse.  Who are the people God has chosen for His own inheritance?  Most certainly God has chosen the Jews.  However, look at Ephesians 1:1-7:

To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.

Christian friends, Jesus Christ chose us before the foundation of the world!  We are chosen, and we make up a “nation” without walls or borders!  We are “one nation under God!”  Certainly, America honored that idea when our forefathers established this nation on that fact.  However, before the foundations of the world, God created a “nation” for Himself!  That is the Christian nation without borders!  As Americans, we simply get the double blessing of being Christians, living in a Christian land (albeit, changing rapidly).

Our true independence is in Jesus Christ!  Our freedom is in Jesus Christ!  Our life is in Jesus Christ!  Nothing and no one can separate us from that fact!  (Romans 8:31-39)  Rejoice…and celebrate!

In closing, here is a song that so aptly expresses that!  Happy 4th of July…and enjoy!  “One Nation under God”  (Lyrics)