Longing for Zion

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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!

Will President Trump Achieve Peace in the Middle East?

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President Trump left his mark in Saudi Arabia and in Israel, setting what seems to be a friendly, but straight-forward tone.  Praise God for that.

Hopes are high in some camps that President Trump will accomplish what no other US President has been able to do: strike a workable, lasting peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

While I believe the Bible is true when it says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), and that God’s Word is clear that we are to strive for peace with all (Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14), and that God commands (not suggests) that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122), neither the world, nor the Middle East, will know peace until the Prince of Peace comes to rule and reign here on the earth!  Yes, we should be peacemakers, we should strive for peace and we should pray for peace…all of which invites the Prince of Peace to return!

Thus, my faith in what the best negotiators in the world are able to do is very limited without entering our Lord Jesus Christ into the equation!  I do not believe there will be man-made peace in the Middle East.

First, don’t think for a moment that any Jew will willingly give up the most holy city in the Jewish faith.  Yet, that is a condition of the Palestinians in order to have peace.  Secondly, don’t think for a moment that President Trump will strike the ultimate deal.  The Bible says that “peace” will come when a leader rises up out of the revived Roman empire to sign a peace treaty with Israel.  That will not be Donald Trump…it will be the antichrist.  The revived Roman empire, I believe, will be Europe, and we’re seeing Europe “ripen” for the rise of the antichrist.

 

However, if you are looking for the antichrist, you are a bit early!  Several things must happen before he is revealed.  First, believers must be taken out of here!  Raptured!  In 2 Thessalonians 2, we are taught that the “man of lawlessness” (antichrist) will be revealed once the “one who restrains” (Holy Spirit living in believers) is taken out of here.  As believers, we should not waste our time looking for the antichrist because we won’t be here!

But, that is all tribulational talk.  Still other things must happen before that.  For example, a czar will rise out of Russia to lead the great coalition described in Ezekiel 38-39.  Israel must be in her land in order for them to have a Jewish target to attack!  Thus, just as prophesied in Ezekiel 36-37, Israel was re-born in 1948 and reunified in 1967!  For the Jews to give up Jerusalem would render those prophesies untrue.  No prophecy in the Bible has ever been rendered untrue!  (Some may not yet be fulfilled, but all that have been are rendered absolutely true!)  So, don’t look for a miraculous peace deal to be struck until the antichrist is revealed.

Frankly, I believe there is yet something more that will happen prior to the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion and prior to the rise of the antichrist, and that is the fall of Damascus.  Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011.  Rebels are fighting the Assad regime, the Kurds are desperately trying to retain their land, Russia has entered the picture and is working hand-in-glove with Iran (their partner in the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion) to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (a ruthless tyrant who has killed hundreds of thousands of his own people).

Damascus is known to have one of the largest (if not the largest) stockpiles of WMD’s on planet earth.  Radicals such as ISIS and Hezbollah (backed by Iran) are salivating to get their hands on them.  The destruction of Damascus, as prophesied in Isaiah 17:1, could happen at any time.  Might we wake up one morning to the news that chemical and/or nuclear weapons were detonated in the struggle over Damascus, and that the city no longer stands?  Might Israel have to take action in Damascus because WMD’s are being transferred to Hezbollah to be used against Israel, or to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which is set up right on Israel’s border?

Indeed, the fall of Damascus will open up clear “lanes” for the Russian-Iranian coalition to come out of the north, just as predicted in Ezekiel 38-39, to attack Israel…who will STILL be in the land and in control of the land.  (ie – there will be no Israeli-Palestinian “peace plan.”)

Once the invaders are defeated , the antichrist, itching to be the hero, will be revealed and will initiate a “peace plan” that will fool them all!  The tribulation will swing into full action, but we (Christ followers) will be out of here!

So, will Trump negotiate the mother of all peace deals?  Heavens no!  He is not the antichrist…and no peace deal (including that one) will stand.  Only when the Prince of Peace Himself STANDS (literally and in bodily form) on the Mount of Olives at His Second Coming will there be true, lasting peace!

So, pray for our President and other world leaders.  Should they strive for peace?  Yes, the Bible teaches that.  But let’s send up “laser-pointed” prayers by joining the Holy Spirit in asking the Prince of Peace to come!

 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
~Revelation 22:17

Living for the King’s Return

Dear study friends, you have persevered to the end and I am most grateful for the opportunity to gather around the study table with you.  We’re going to finish the study with a challenge, and I have some very special things to share with you today.  So let’s dive in!

This week we have focused on the timing and the imminency of Christ’s return.  We know that no one other than the Father Himself knows the day and hour, but that we are admonished to understand the times and seasons in which we live.  We are experiencing the birth pains that proceed the very last days.  We also remember that Israel must be back in her land in order for Jesus to return.  Thus, we have some timing mechanisms that tell us that we’re living in the times leading up to His return.

However, perhaps nothing reveals God’s calendar of end times than the Jewish feasts.  (If you missed that teaching, catch it here.)  Likewise, God’s Plan of the End lays it out in diagram form.

Beyond that, we took a look at prophecies of Jesus, Paul, Isaiah and Ezekiel who all verify that the time in which we live lines up with Bible prophecy.  The return of the King is imminent!

How should we then live?

More than any other time in history, it is time for the Bride to prepare for the arrival of the Bridegroom.  Immediately following Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 24 regarding signs of the last days, He speaks to His disciples in a parable (Matthew 25).  He describes 10 virgins, 5 of whom were wise in preparing for their Bridegroom, though they knew not when He would arrive.  The other 5 were foolish.  They were unprepared when the Bridegroom appeared to take them away to the marriage feast, while the wise virgins went into the marriage feast and the door was closed.  Here is how the parable ends:

Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
~Matthew 25:11-13

It is a most-sobering warning, so we must be ready!

The apostle Paul stated it differently in Romans 13:11-12 when he said:

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.

The hour has come and we must wake from sleep!  Our salvation (not just “saving” salvation, but salvation of our bodies from this world) is near!  The day is at hand…we must wear the armor of light!

But the key verse to the ministry the Lord has called me to (and namesake of this blog) is found in Titus 2:11-14:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Notice:

  • God’s grace brought salvation through the Jews (the vehicle of world redemption), and it was for ALL (Jews and Gentiles).
  • Again, we are exhorted to live in light of His coming, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present age.
  • We are to look for the blessed hope…the rapture of the church (the finish line for spiritual Israel) AND the glorious appearing (the finish line for natural Israel)!
  • He WILL redeem us through the vehicle of world redemption (the Jews).
  • As a result, we are a part of the “special people” He purifies for Himself!

It all makes sense!

But, I want to show you one more passage that I discovered as I finished writing this study:

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 desires take the water of life without price….He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
~Revelation 22:17, 20

This is so cool!  We (the Bride of Christ) join the Holy Spirit in saying, “Come!”  Who is to come?  Anyone outside of redemption…not the least of which is natural Israel!  They are “thirsty,” they need the “water of life!”  Soon, they will say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matthew 23:39),” and the King will answer the “Come” of the Holy Spirit and the Bride…as well as that of natural Israel!  We join natural Israel in inviting the King home!

Surely He is coming soon!

Bless you for sharing time at the study table!  I pray you have been blessed.  While the study ends today, I will continue to share Scriptural truth and commentary on today’s events through the lens of Scripture.  So, continue to stop by…and please pray for faithfulness as we await the return of our King!

Finally, I have a special announcement tomorrow, so be sure to tune in!

What Does it Take to Bring the King Home?

Buckle your seatbelts, friends…we’re taking quite a ride today as we close out this set of lessons entitled, “Bring the King Home!”  I pray you are blessed as we discover deeper things about our part in the Davidic Covenant.  If you just stumbled onto this page, we are looking at part 5 of a lesson entitled “Bring the King Home!”  Today’s portion will make little sense without the first four, so review them here:

Yesterday, after discovering the parallels between the return of David to the Jewish people and the return of Jesus to the Jewish people, I promised the best is yet to come…and I pray you find that to be true today!

We’re talking about the Davidic Covenant.  Yet there were three other covenants (discussed in weeks prior) that proceed the Davidic Covenant:

  1. Abrahamic Covenant – where we focused on God’s promise of land and descendants to Abraham
  2. Mosaic Covenant – where we focused on the law given to Moses because the world did not recognize a need for salvation
  3. New Covenant – where we focused on the cross of Jesus’ death, to purchase our salvation

In looking at the Davidic Covenant, we will focus on the Morning Star, introduced at the conclusion of a verse we looked at previously this week:

I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.
~Revelation 22:16 (NKJV)

Indeed, Jesus Christ is not only the Root and Offspring of David, but is also the Bright and Morning Star, given to us! (Revelation 2:26-28)  In fact, 2 Peter 1:19 tells us that we would do well to pay attention because the morning star rises in our hearts!  Friends, in the heart of every Christian rises the morning star!  Jesus, the King of the Davidic Covenant, resides in us, and rises in us!  Thus, we certainly have a part in the Davidic Covenant!  Indeed, we are told we will sit with Him on His throne!  (Revelation 3:21)  Astounding!

Numbers 24:17 also tells us that the star will come out of Jacob (Jacob represents transformation and reconciliation) and that a scepter will rise out of Israel.  The Bright and Morning Star will destroy the enemies of God and will usher in the Davidic Kingdom!

But, it all hinges on this:

For I [Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star] tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
~Matthew 23:39

We have a responsibility as Christians.  As the Morning Star rises in our own hearts, we must pray faithfully for Israel to fulfill her destiny.  She has one great and final purpose of God: to bring the King home!

Though we still have other lessons to go, I want to end this one with these very profound questions:  As Christians, do we find our final satisfaction only in the New Covenant?  Are we satisfied that God decided to save us through the Jewish people, and He sent His Son to purchase our salvation?  (For which we should be very grateful, BTW!)

Or are we prepared to make payments toward a debt we cannot ultimately pay?  Will we fulfill our call to pray and to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy for the Messiah they gave us?  You see, only when the Davidic Covenant is fulfilled will God’s purpose for the Jews be fulfilled.  The Morning Star rises in OUR hearts.  Will we allow it to shine brightly in these last days?

We’ll catch our breath for a few days, but stick around to catch the next set of lessons, God’s Call is Irrevocable.  I’ll save your seat at the study table!