We Know How it Ends!

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Well, here we are, study mates!  It’s the last lesson of our study, Why Israel Matters.  We’re closing out 11 weeks of in-depth study of Israel, end times and the return of King Jesus.  Let’s finish on a high note!

The good news is that we have read the Book (God’s Word) and we know how it all ends!  We have cause to celebrate, and reason to rest in God’s sovereignty and love.  He guides us every step of the way if we will only heed His voice!  Yesterday we reviewed signs of the times and dove into Scripture that tells us how to live in these last days.  Today, we’ll return to God’s Word for words of encouragement.

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

Friends, we are long past seeing signs “begin to take place.”  A huge sign occurred May 14, 1948 when Israel was re-born, and argument can be made that there were signs before that.  Nonetheless, the signs did not suddenly begin a short time ago…they have been present for a while.  Therefore, the urgency is great.  We can confidently straighten up and lift our heads, knowing our redemption could occur at any moment!

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
~Romans 13:11-12

Our salvation (redemption of these bodies from this earth) is near!  The night is almost gone and the day is upon us, thus we must be awake!  Our Lord is coming for us, and He will take us to a home He has spent almost 2,000 years preparing!  Hold fast, dear friends.  Our time is coming!

Now, the very theme verses of the ministry, Looking for the Blessed Hope:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
~Titus 2:11-13

Indeed, the grace of God appeared, and it brought salvation and taught us to live.  Now, we look expectantly for the Blessed Hope…the rapture that puts us face-to-face with Jesus!  It’s coming!

Just as the Jewish people must invite the King home (Matthew 23:39), we (the Bride of Christ) join with the Spirit to say, “Come!”  (Revelation 22:17)  Jesus’ response in Revelation 22:20: “Yes, I am coming quickly!”

 

PS: To those with whom I have shared the study table, thanks for following.  I pray you are blessed and will share what you know with others.  Though our official study together is done, I invite you to continue to follow as I teach, relate current events to God’s Word, and provide interesting information from Israel each day.  Many blessings!

Why DOES Israel Matter?

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Pull up a chair and hang out for a bit.  This week we are concluding our study, Why Israel Matters and we have covered lots of ground.  So, we’re pulling it all together this week.

Early in the study we discussed some reasons Israel matters.  Do you remember some of those reasons?  Let’s jog the memory.  Israel matters in many ways, including:

  • Socially.  The desire of Israelis to make the world a better place (tikkun olam) is demonstrated in the way they treat other nations.  Often first on scene for natural disasters around the world, a leader in helping third world nations provide food and water for their citizens and sending aid into places like Syria are common for the Jewish state.
  • Geopolitically.  Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, guaranteeing freedoms not possible in other lands in the region.  She is a city on a hill, shining brightly in a dark area.
  • Intellectually.  The “Innovation Nation” is a world leader in medical, agricultural and technological advancements.  The genius of that tiny country impacts the entire world.
  • Militarily.  The IDF (Israel Defense Force) is one of the world’s elite militaries.  Couple their innovation and technological prowess with the commitment of young men and women who clearly understand what they are fighting for and you have the most dominate military in the region.

We’ve discussed those and other reasons why Israel matters.  However, perhaps the most significant reason is because Israel was chosen by God to carry out a unique role in history.  In Genesis 12:3, God promises to bless Abraham and make him and his descendants a great nation.  Beyond that, He vowed that all the people of the earth will be blessed through Abraham.  That blessing is salvation, the greatest blessing ever conceived!

Our Father in heaven knew what it would take to implement that blessing, and it came in the form of a triumvirate of covenants, all of which must be in play in order to obtain salvation:

  • Abrahamic Covenant: the covenant of decision.  God decided before the foundations of the earth that He would devise a way that would allow every person to obtain the blessing of salvation.
  • Mosaic Covenant: the covenant of instruction.  Because the world failed (and still does) to see the need for salvation, God gave the law to Moses.  It’s purpose was to serve as a tutor, to show us our need for redemption.
  • New Covenant: the covenant of ability. God had to design a way in which we could enter into the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant.  Thus, He sent His Son to die for our sins and resurrect to give us new life.  That is the essence of the New Covenant.

All matter, and all are essential.  Just like a 3-legged stool, if you remove any of the three, God’s blessing of salvation falls short!

To add excitement to the mix, the New Covenant has a reward!  One day, Jesus the King will return to earth to rule and reign in righteousness.  All Israel will have been saved during the tribulation and they, along with all believers in Jesus the Messiah will reign with Him during the Millennial Kingdom.  Here is how Revelation 19:11-16 describes that coming:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

At Jesus’ first coming, the Jews were looking for a conquering king…one who would save them from the oppression of Roman rule.  Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was symbolic of a king coming in peace, thus they did not recognize Him as Messiah.  The next time He comes, He will be that conquering king, and they will surely recognize Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Hasten the day, Lord Jesus!

We’re not done, my friends, so come back tomorrow as we continue our study together.  See you then!

The King Awaits His Invitation

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Hold on to your hats, study friends, as we’re taking a whirlwind ride today!

Recall that after Jesus lamented over Jerusalem, He proclaimed they will not see Him again until He hears “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  (Matthew 23:39)  Jesus, a gentleman, is not going to barge on to the scene, but rather will wait for that special invitation, signaling His people are ready to receive Him.

But, before we get there, let’s talk briefly about the immanency of His return.  This week’s study is focused on the return of Jesus to His people.  That occurs after the tribulation, which means at least 7 years after believers in Jesus are taken out by rapture.  Thus, while we see signs pointing to that, we must be reminded that our departure via the rapture is indeed very imminent.

Here are some signs of the times, some of which will happen before the rapture, some of which will happen later.  All of which we see lining up right now!

  • Prophetic signs of Jesus.  Example: Matthew 24 warns of false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars and natural disasters, all of which have greater prevalence now than ever before.
  • Prophetic signs of Paul.  Try reading 2 Timothy 3:1-5 where Paul leaves a laundry list of moral failures that characterize the last days.  We’re living in that time!
  • Prophetic signs of Isaiah.  There are many, but perhaps none making today’s headlines more than Isaiah 17:1, indicating the destruction of Damascus.  How much longer can Damascus stand?  Almost the entire city is destroyed right now.
  • Prophetic signs of Ezekiel.  It is likely no one needs to remind you that the Ezekiel 38 coalition of forces that will attack Israel is now firmly in place on Israel’s northern border.  The stage is set.

Luke 21:28 says:

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

The King is coming, and He is awaiting the Matthew 23:39 invitation.  However, I believe there is another invitation that pleases Him also.  It is found in Revelation 22:17:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

This is a wedding scene where the Spirit of God and His bride (believers!) join together in a chorus of “Come!”  Can you even imagine what heaven will sound like when God brings His family together as one to wed His Son!

It doesn’t hold a candle to it, but perhaps the imagery in your mind is kindled with this:

 

Indeed, the grandest wedding celebration of all time will occur when God establishes His family and brings us all together in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant…the Millennial Kingdom!

Meanwhile, we keep looking for the Blessed Hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)!  (That is the topic of our last week of study together, so be sure to stick with us!)

Inviting the King Back

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So, what is it?  What must happen in order for Jesus to return?  If you have missed the past few days of our study together, scroll back to Monday and start there!

One fateful day, on His way to the cross, Jesus lamented:

Image result for mt 23 37-39“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
~Mathew 23:37-39

His lament was not because of what He would face, but because His people missed the time of their visitation (Luke 19:41-44).  Jesus came as Messiah, and His people missed it.

Now, He must be invited back!  He must hear the words: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  (In Hebrew: “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai!”)

But, press the pause button for a moment.  We’ll circle back to that idea tomorrow, but let’s end with these thoughts today…

Each covenant has something associated with it.  Circumcision is associated with the Abrahamic Covenant, the law (10 Commandments) is associated with the Mosaic Covenant and the cross is associated with the New Covenant.  But what is associated with the Davidic Covenant?

Turn to Revelation 22:16 and Revelation 2:26-28 for clues.  Jesus makes it clear in Revelation 22:16 that He is the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.  Obviously, we’re associating the morning star with the Davidic Covenant, but that’s not all I want you to see.  If we back up to Revelation 2:26-28, we get quite the surprise.  There, we are told those who are obedient to the end will be given the morning star!

Need another clue?  Let’s go to 2 Peter 1:19.  Where will the morning star arise?  Yes…in our hearts!  (Those of us who believe and trust in Christ.)  Jesus, the Morning Star, is once again including all believers (Jew and Gentile) in His special promises!  The Davidic Covenant is not just for Jews!  In fact, when Jesus returns to rule and reign from Jerusalem, Revelation 3:21 tells us we (Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ who were raptured prior to the tribulation) will return with Him and will sit on the throne with Him!

Oh, my Morning Star…can you believe it!?!  The Bright and Morning Star will arise out of Israel to destroy the enemies of God and usher in the Davidic Kingdom!

Can we give a shout of praise!!!

So, study friends, that’s the nugget for today.  But remember, we pressed a pause button!  Tomorrow we’ll release that button and tie this all together.  Be sure to join us!