For Zion’s Sake – April 2018

Only days ago we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful celebration of the most glorious event in all of human history!  Our Lord set us free from sin when He died on the cross and resurrected three days later.  But with salvation comes obedience to live according to His will.

While we are all on our own individual paths of discovering and discerning His will for each of us, there are hundreds of specific things the Bible teaches that all of us are to do.  For example, these verses teach us to pray for Israel:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…
~Psalm 122:6

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent…
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
~Isaiah 62:1, 6-7

Thus the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has declared the first Wednesday of every month a day of prayer for Israel.  Isaiah 62 is the chapter from which we glean prayer guidance, and tomorrow is that day, so I want to lead you in a time of devotion and prayer.

PRAISE

Eternal God, we praise You.  You are able to transform desolations into delights.  The forsaken become desirable in Your hands.  Keep us mindful of this during the dry and lonely times.  Amen

PROCLAIM

It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married.”
~Isaiah 62:4

PONDER

In this verse, Zion is called by four names.  Two are negative and in the past, while two are positive and yet to come.  God promises that the people and land will undergo a transformation from “Forsaken” and “Desolate,” that is, from those who have been turned from and left astonished and devastated, to “My delight is in her” and “To be a Husband, to be Married.”  That which was destitute and ruined becomes a delight.  According to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Zion is “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).  It is for this that we pray.

PRAYER

Join with thousands around the world in these Prayer Points for April 2018.

PS: There are several ways to get involved with ICEJ’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative:

Blessings to you as you follow in obedience to the Lord’s command to pray for Israel!

Through the Lens of Scripture: Macron and the EU

When we gather at our virtual study table, we often talk about viewing today’s events through the lens of Scripture.  So, pull up a chair and let’s go back to a news piece from a few days ago and put it into Scriptural context.

Consider Emmanuel Macron: “France is back at the core of Europe.”  Read the article and you will discover Macron hyping a “stronger Europe,” and that France is perhaps the linchpin that brings it all together.

The EU is currently a coalition of 27 European countries, but Macron makes it clear that he does not intend “to wait for all the people around the table before moving forward.”

“If some people are ready to be more ambitious, to go further in terms of integration and ambition of what makes you sovereign as a power in this global environment, to defend your values and your interests, let’s move,” Macron said. “Those who don’t want to move forward should not block the most ambitious people in the room,” he said.

Global environment…the most ambitious people in the room.  Key phrases!  By the way, he gave his speech in English (as he often does on the world stage).  Do you ever wonder why?

Well, I don’t claim to be a prophet, but here are some thoughts:

 

  • Daniel 2 describes the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that the prophet Daniel interpreted.  The dream makes known a succession of kingdoms, including a fourth kingdom (revived Roman empire) described as feet and toes of iron and clay.  (Verses 40-45)  Iron and clay do not mix.  This is a divided kingdom.  The passage also indicates that iron will crush and shatter all things.  In other words, the iron portion of the kingdom will subdue the clay portion.  Could it be that Macron’s French empire and the other “most ambitious people in the room” become the kingdom of iron that crushes all others?
  • Daniel 7 provides another glimpse into a similar dream God gave to Daniel himself.  In it, the same succession of kingdoms was described, and when it came once more to the fourth, Daniel again describes a kingdom that devours and crushes others.  (Verses 23-25)  The kingdom is characterized as having 10 horns, which represent 10 kings.  Is it possible that the 27 nations in the European Union will be whittled down to the 10 “most ambitious,” who will ultimately make up this 10 king coalition?  We know this passage of Scripture to be indicative of the antichrist, and we have previously noted similarities between characteristics of Emmanuel Macron and the antichrist.  I am not saying he is or isn’t the antichrist…only questioning whether or not the stage is being set for fulfillment of Daniel’s vision.
  • Revelation 17:12-18 also describes the rise of the antichrist, called “the beast” in this passage.  It predicts that 10 kings (horns) will “give their power and authority to the beast,” who will then be destroyed by the Lamb of God!
  • When Macron speaks of “global environment,” it is no coincidence.  One World Government has been on the rise for ages, and Macron is among those pressing for it.  Revelation 17-18 talk specifically about the rise and fall of mystery Babylon…false religion and false government.

Finally, regarding Macron’s speech in English.  While we have to be careful not to make too much of it, I do find it interesting that Macron consistently speaks the most common language of the day.  If you want to lead multi-national coalitions, speaking different languages, it might behoove you to speak the language that is understood by the most people.  A vast number of Europeans speak (or at least understand) English as a second language.  Thus, is it any surprise that Macron would abandon use of his native tongue in favor of a common language?

Signs of the times?  It certainly looks like it!  Is Macron the antichrist?  It is too early to say for sure.  The point is not to identify who the antichrist is, but for each of us to determine for ourselves whether or not the stage is set for the last act.

As Christians, we likely won’t be here when the antichrist is revealed, so we don’t need to know who he is!  But we DO need to know and understand the season in which we live.  Jesus is coming…are you ready?

Glory to God in the Highest!

Mary did You Know has been recorded by dozens of artists and is a Christmas favorite.

But it is an intriguing question: Mary, did you know?  Did you know your baby boy would walk on water?  Give sight to the blind?  Calm a storm?  Raise the dead?

Furthermore, what must it have been like to have an angel announce your conception before ever having relations with Joseph?

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
~Luke 1:30-33

Imagine being told you will be the mother of the Son of the Most High, who would one day rule a kingdom without end!  Could any of us have imagined what that meant?  This had never happened before.  Exactly what does it mean that one will be Son of the Most High?  Exactly what kingdom would He rule?

Fortunately, God had given prophecy of the coming Son of the Most High, so though it may have come in a much different form than Mary would ever have imagined, it was not totally unknown.  Yet, still so mysterious!

With the benefit of hindsight, we marvel at the birth of the Son of the Most High, and we understand the historic perspective.

But what about His Second Coming?  Again, God has given us prophetic foresight of the coming of our King.  Yet, we don’t fully “get it!”  To some small degree, we are like Mary.  We’ve heard the prophecies of His Second Coming and believe them, yet His coming will undoubtedly be in a different form than our human minds can conceive.

God is like that!  If our human minds could fully comprehend the vastness of God, our God would be too small!  However, while humanness prevents us from full understanding, our faith takes us to whatever depth we will allow the Son of the Most High to take us!

He is coming back again.  We don’t know when, nor do we know what it will look like, but prophecy tells us so, and our faith confirms it.  As you celebrate the birth of  the Son of the Most High, be assured that He will come again, then will ultimately sit on the throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever and ever.

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
~Luke 2:10-14

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
~1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

“Behold, I am coming quickly…”
~Revelation 22:12, 20

Maranatha!

PS: Here is a fun rendition of Mary did You Know?  Enjoy…and Merry Christmas!

For Unto Us a Child is Born!

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Hi friends!  As we approach Christmas Day, let’s turn our thoughts to the One who came the first time as a Servant, but will someday return as our King.

The prophet Isaiah foretold of a coming King in Isaiah 9:6:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Sure enough, a child was born…but the government did not rest on His shoulders.  That is what caused such consternation for the Jewish people.  They were looking for a ruler…someone to rescue them from the tyranny of Roman rule.  Yet Jesus, when He was born, grew to become a servant, not the knight in shining armor the Jews expected.

So, what are we to make of the promise in Isaiah 9:6?  The child (Jesus) was born, but the government did not rest on His shoulders.  To make matters worse, He went away!

The prophecy only makes sense if we understand that it is not completely fulfilled yet.  Indeed, Jesus was born.  We know that from historical record, and it was recorded clearly in Luke:

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
~Luke 2:4-7

But one day, that child born in a manger will return, not as servant this time, but as King!  The government will rest upon His shoulders when He fulfills the Davidic Covenant during the Millennium, taking His seat upon the throne.  He will be worshipped as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  (Zechariah 14:16-17, Revelation 19:16)

So this Christmas, let’s call His name Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.  Honor Him, praise Him and worship Him today!