The Calm Before the Storm

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So good to see you back, my friends!  We’re studying Why Israel Matters and are finishing up week 1.  This is simply a summary of the live class being taught at CalvayPHX in Phoenix AZ.  We gather together at Central campus, Room 209 each Sunday morning at 11:00 am and you are welcome to join us!  For those of you outside the Phoenix area, pull up a chair at the virtual study table and join us here online.

We established that God chose Israel for a specific REASON and for a specific SEASON.  The reason is that God chose to reveal Himself to Gentiles through the Jewish people.  As for the season, we are living in an unprecedented time when God is making preparations to reveal Himself to the Jewish people!  Once Jerusalem is prepared and God’s plan is in place, Jesus will return to Jerusalem and, ultimately, all Israel will be saved!  (Romans 11:26)

Much will happen before that day, and a mighty storm is on the horizon!  However, we are living in the calm before the storm!  Even this time of calm is for a REASON and a SEASON.  Israel has never been as calm and peaceful as now.

“But what about the recent rocket attacks from Gaza?”

Ahhhh…..great question…and it didn’t take you long to fire that one out there!  Let me explain.  I know many people in Israel: ministry leaders (some Jew, some Gentile), citizens, military, etc and they all confirm the same thing: while rockets from Gaza are a nuisance and a definite danger to a few (not to be trivialized), there is no huge threat from Gaza.  If they wanted, Israel could wipe out all of Gaza literally in a matter of minutes.  Israel knows that…and the Palestinians know that.  Hamas, the ruling party, knows that, but also knows that Israel will not do that.  Thus, they “rattle sabers” in attempts to attract the world’s attention to their “plight.”

Israel faces nothing compared to wars brought to their borders in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, etc.  Those foes are now either enjoying peace treaties with Israel (Egypt and Jordan), working hand-in-hand with Israel (Saudi Arabia, UAE) or are defeated foes (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc)  Israel is living in peace and prosperity…just as the Bible says she MUST prior to the Ezekiel 38 storm on the horizon.  Ultimately, Israel will be attacked by a superpower (Russia, along with Iran, Turkey and others), and America will NOT be there for Israel.

“But haven’t you implied that this is the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history?”

Wow, you ask great questions!  Yes, this administration is, without a doubt, the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history.  Yet, it is for only a season!

Come back tomorrow and we’ll discuss what happened in America to make it the most pro-Israel administration in Israel’s history, and we’ll talk about why the calm is taking place.

Meanwhile, check into Isaiah 62 and pray for Israel!

What Does North Korea have to do with the Middle East?

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Welcome to May, my friends!  Could this month be one of the most historic ever?  Perhaps it’s a far reach to say it will be, but the potential is certainly there for dramatic history to be made this month.  Here is just a taste of what’s on the world stage as May marchs in:

  • New US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has made the rounds in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other places, rallying support behind President Trump’s foreign policy.
  • Historic peace plans are happening between North and South Korea…with significant impact on the Middle East.
  • It is believed that Iran is now operating on 19 Russian military bases in Syria.
  • Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary (on the Gregorian calendar), much to the chagrin of the Palestinian Authority who has pledged to breach Israel’s borders on or around that day (May 14).
  • The US Embassy is scheduled to open in Jerusalem on May 14, followed by embassies of at least 4 other countries.
  • May 12 is the deadline for President Trump to decide whether or not to pull the US out of the Iranian nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions.
  • Iranian transport aircraft have been discovered flying into bases all around Syria, thought to be carrying troops, missiles, drone parts, and other equipment intended for Israel’s destruction.  A few days ago two of those bases were attacked.
  • Iran continues to clearly threaten Israel and the US with destruction.  (Just yesterday I shared news of Iran’s threat to sink American naval vessels.)
  • Iranian-backed Houthi rebels continue attacking Saudi Arabia from Yemen.
  • Recently, Russia brought in heavily-loaded military aircraft and sea vessels to bases in Syria, unloading them under cover of smoke screen.  Those loads are thought to contain S-400 missile defense systems to protect Russian and Iranian bases in Syria.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ripped the cover off Iran’s nuclear lies, providing very strong evidence that Iran’s nuclear program is alive and well despite the 2015 nuclear deal.

So, what does it all mean, and should we as followers of Jesus Christ be concerned?  Amir Tsarfati gave a recent update that covers all these bases much better than I can. If you’re wondering what the Korean peace deal as to do with the Middle East, you’ll find the answer.  If you’re wondering about Israel’s preparedness for all that is swirling around her, you’ll find the answer.  More importantly, if you’re wondering how to view these events through the lens of Scripture, you’ll find the answer!

Take some time to understand the times and seasons in which we live.  It is critical if we are to be prepared for our Lord’s return.  Enjoy!

PS: Tomorrow is the first Wednesday of the month, which means the designated day of prayer for those of you involved in the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative.  Check back tomorrow for specific prayer points.  Also, I’ve invited others to join me in prayer for President Trump and other world leaders leading up to the May 12 decision regarding the Iranian nuclear deal.  There are plenty of opportunities to pray and I urge you to be faithful in that.  The battle is not won in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm.  Let’s fight the battle!

Will there be a US Strike on Syria?

White House briefing from military leaders (Photo Credit: Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

News is abuzz over the potential US strike in Syria.  President Trump has cancelled a trip to South America in order to remain at the White House to manage the situation, and movement of US vessels and aircraft has been observed in the Mediterranean.  The Pentagon has likely drawn up possible attack options, while the President is soliciting assistance from current allies such as France, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Qatar.  All have called for Syria to be held accountable, though it remains to be seen how active they will be in any military action.

Following Trump’s recent announcement that he plans to pull US troops out of Syria, he now walks a thin line in determining how to orchestrate an effective strike on Syria.

News reports can be found on almost any news outlet, so if you are interested in more logistical detail, just scan the news outlets.  However, I think it is important to view current events through the lens of Scripture, so let’s consider a logical  stream of Biblical thought:

  • Isaiah 17:1 tells us Damascus will be utterly destroyed in the last days.  Damascus and the surrounding area are taking a beating, and should the US or its allies strike hard and relentlessly, Damascus will cease to exist.
  • As you likely know, Russia has propped up the Assad regime in Syria almost from day one of the Syrian civil war.  Putin has become “czarish” and is calling the shots in much of Syria.  No one has attempted to restrain Russia and Putin is smelling the power he so desperately desires.
  • Along with Russia, Iran has set up camp inside Syria.  In fact, it is believed that the helicopter that deployed the latest rounds of chemical weapons took off from an Iranian-controlled base.  That base (T-4) was attacked by Israel soon after the chemical weapons attack, destroying infrastructure.
  • Turkey is the “silent partner” at the moment (though not-so-silent in the grand scheme of things).  Wanting their piece of Syria, their motive is to drive out their arch enemies, the Kurds.
  • Taken together, Russia, Iran and Turkey make up the key players (though not the only players) in the coalition named in Ezekiel 38.  A ruler (Gog) will arise out of Russia and will command the invasion of Israel.  Puting could well be that ruler Ezekiel describes, and we could well be on the verge of that War of Gog and Magog.
  • It is believed by some well-known Bible scholars that the destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1) could be the spark that lights the Ezekiel 38 fuse.
  • Interestingly, the United States is not mentioned specifically in Ezekiel 38, and only as a spectator if one believes the US is a “village of Tarshish” (Britain or Spain), alluded to in Ezekiel 38:13.  (More detail in Week 8 of the study, Looking for the Blessed Hope.)  If the War of Gog and Magog is indeed at hand, we can expect America’s power to be taken away somehow, because they will not be a major world player at that point.  What will happen to diminish or totally dissolve America’s military might?  Internal collapse? External attack? Rapture?  (That’s my pick!)

Most are oblivious to what it taking place in the Middle East right now.  Many of those who do have an inkling are expressing fear.  But let’s anchor Biblical truth here!  As believers in Christ, we should most definitely care about what it taking place in the world.  We should be praying as Scripture commands, and we should be doing whatever the Lord leads us to do.  We must be about our Father’s business!

But, dear friends, Scripture is filled with “do not fear” messages!  We do not have to be afraid of what is happening, or what is about to happen.  We know how it all ends!  As believers in Jesus the Messiah, we are another day closer to joining our Savior for eternity!  Therefore, we stand firm.  We stand bold in our faith.  We stand steadfastly with Israel (while the world turns their back on her).

Prophecy is not meant to scare, but to prepare!  It is time to take stock in what we believe and how we live it out.  It is a time to prepare to meet our Lord!

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”
~Matthew 24:42-44

Are you ready?

Are Israel and the US Planning to Attack Iran…on Saudi Arabia’s Dollar?

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Yesterday, Amir Tsarfati gave an update on what is going on in the Middle East.  While we have to be very careful not to be drawn into sensationalism, there are seemingly major developments that, if carried off, will be earth-shaking.  These developments have to do with a possible US-Israeli attack on Iranian positions throughout the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia’s support of them.

If you missed Amir’s report yesterday, I have posted it below.

Regardless of whether the report proves to be true or not, one thing we know: Jesus is coming soon, and He commands us to be as a bride preparing for the coming of the Bridegroom.  (Matthew 25:1-13)

(The first 10 minutes or so of this video is spent awaiting subscribers to join.  You won’t miss much if you fast forward to the 10:00 mark.)