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We are living in prophetic times...



(What the news won’t tell you about Israel)

So many opinions about Israel these days… But truly, this is nothing new ~ this tiny nation (about the size of New Jersey) has been a center of controversy since it arose from the ashes of the Holocaust in 1948.


Remember: that’s why the United Nations voted to give the Jewish people a homeland after the atrocities of WWII. From the childhood of Moses to the Russian Pogroms of the early 20th century, the Jews had suffered more genocides than any people group on earth – and yet miraculously, they had always survived as a people.


(And if you know your Bible, you realize they must survive; God’s Word states that Jesus will return to Jerusalem, Israel ~ and to a Jewish people who will recognize Him as the Messiah - see Zechariah 12 and 14).


And then: a madman named Hitler, hell-bent on wiping every Jew off the face of the earth, executed the broadest genocide in human history. Over 6 million men, women, and children perished in gas chambers, ovens, ghettos, and prison camps (some historians suggest the actual number of Jews who perished in the Holocaust to be as many as 11 million).

Imagine if your heritage – perhaps that’s British or Congolese, Japanese or Mexican, Irish or Polynesian – imagine if there were an orchestrated effort to slaughter every single one of your people, your relatives, your countrymen – simply because of their bloodline.


Realize: Hitler wasn’t just out to win a war (as made evident by some of his strategic miscues). He was demon-driven to slaughter the sons of Abraham and guarantee that modern Israel would never exist.


Because remember: no Israel, no return of the Messiah.


Satan smelled trouble… You see, the establishment of modern Israel had been planned and agreed upon in principle by the Allied nations with the Balfour Declaration (1917). God – who holds all human history in His hands, and sits enthroned above the nations (see Acts 17:26) – was using flawed earthly governments to help bring about the fulfillment of ancient prophecies (as He used nations like Babylon, Persia, and Rome to help accomplish His plans in Bible times).


And satan tried to interrupt this plan – just as he had attempted with the slaughter of male Hebrew babies in Egypt (Exodus 1-2), and the attempted destruction of all Jews across the Persian empire (Esther 3:13), and killing every male baby in Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:16-18) ~ Hitler’s Holocaust represented satan’s end game, the final attempt to interrupt God’s Plan of Redemption.


Once again, satan lost… And in May of 1948, while the ashes still smoldered from the greatest atrocity in modern history, Israel was reborn in one day:


Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born.

Isaiah 66:8


THAT is why modern Israel exists: God said it would be so. God Himself claimed ownership of the land of Israel – why Israel? Why not Idaho? Or Iceland? Or Italy? Or somewhere else that start with the letter “I”?


I have no idea. But one thing is clear: the One who made the entire earth most certainly has the right to claim His home turf. And He did so, with perfect clarity: God called Israel “MY land” numerous times in the Old Testament (see Lev. 25:23, 2 Chron. 7:20, Is. 14:25, Jer. 2:7, Jer. 16:18, Ezek. 38:16, Joel 3:21, etc).


“The land is Mine” ~ Leviticus 25:23


And as such, He gave it – in no uncertain terms – to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob “forever,” and repeated this covenant to Isaac, Jacob, and repeatedly throughout the OT (for instance: Gen. chapters 12, 13, 15, 17, 26, 28, 35, Ex. 32, Ps. 105, etc). Many times He warned that disobedience would mean exile from the Land (as Scripture shows with the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles), but that in His faithfulness to His promises and to Abraham, He would always bring them back (again, as Scripture displays).


“All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” ~ Genesis 13:15


So… THAT is why one tiny nation founded in a desert wasteland (which is exactly what Israel was in 1948), lacking natural resources or treasures (no diamond or gold mines, for instance) has been the center of strife and battle ever since: it’s a spiritual battle that will only intensify as Christ’s return draws nearer… Because satan just won’t give up.

SO 1948, and Israel was back on the map, but there was more prophecy to be fulfilled – because remember, the controversy over Israel isn’t really about religion or politics or oil – it’s about the fulfillment of God’s plans.


To Whom Does Jerusalem Belong?


Some say it belongs to the Jews, others say it belongs to Arabs, the Pope said it belongs to the three major world religions, the U.N. said they alone can decide to whom Jerusalem belongs (see UN Resolution ES-10/L.22)…


But what does Jesus say? Because let’s face it, HE is the One - not the Pope, not the president, not the chairman of the United Nations - who will split the eastern sky at the final trumpet blast, riding a milk-white steed (Rev. 19) to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 12) to set up shop in Jerusalem…


The Lamb of God shall return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5), and every knee shall bow before Him, every tongue cry out and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! (Phil. 2:10-11) Somebody shout hallelujah!


Well here’s what the Son of God had to say:


“…for Jerusalem is the city of the great King.” ~ Jesus, Matthew 5:35


Yes indeedy, it belongs to God, per Jesus. Your favorite news anchor may disagree. Your favorite politician may disagree. I don’t think Jesus really cares. :-)


That’s why the nations aren’t clamoring to control Istanbul or Manitoba or Addis Ababa or New Caledonia (wherever that is)… “At the end of the day” (as we like to say these days), history’s final chapter won’t be written in any of those places. It all comes down to Jerusalem.


“And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” ~ Jesus, Luke 19:24


Jesus prophesied Gentile occupation of His city – Jerusalem – until a specific time in the future. And history shows us that it happened just as He said ~ Gentile nations like the Romans, Turks, Arabs, and Brits all “trampled” Jerusalem in their temporary rule, until the appointed time: 1967, and the Six-Day War.


Revisionist historians blame Israel for starting the battle, but in reality Israel’s very existence was being threatened by the nations surrounding her. In 1967, Israel’s neighbors (led by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and eventually troops from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Kuwait) were beefing up their war machines and boldly, publicly promising to wipe Israel completely off the map (sound familiar? Shades of Haman or Hitler?) They told the UN peacekeeping forces to leave, because they were about to attack (and the UN team left without raising an objection).


“Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight… We will not accept any coexistence with Israel.” ~ Egyptian President Nasser


“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear—to wipe Israel off the map.” ~ President Abdur Aref of Iraq


What resulted was a wipeout, to be sure, but not what old Abdur had in mind. Considered by many military historians as one of the most unlikely and one-sided wars in modern history, Israel was outmanned and outgunned by enemies on three sides, with the Sea to her west. America and France both refused to help Israel (likely due to fears of upsetting Russia), while the USSR was freely providing tanks, planes, and weapons to the Arab nations.


In the natural, it should have been the end of little, underpowered Israel. There is no earthly explanation for what happened – but there are numerous, documented reports of miracles taking place during that Six-Day War.


Soldiers from both Israeli and Arab forces reported strange occurrences – like Egyptian troops falling under an inexplicable panic, and suddenly retreating for no apparent reason (some of them even destroying their own equipment in the process)… Or the “gigantic hand out of the sky” that some Egyptian soldiers claimed to see, which motivated them to flee from their battle positions… Or “huge white men with glowing swords” standing in the path or Syrian tanks (and prompting them to exit tanks and surrender), and many more.


Who won the Six-Day War? The same One who owns Jerusalem! These nations were messing with the ultimate Man of War, and their machinations were no match.


God won that war, because it was time for Jesus’ prophecy to be fulfilled: the times of the Gentiles trampling Jerusalem were done. And a new prophetic season was beginning: the season before Messiah’s return.


SO: that’s where we find ourselves, and that’s why there’s trouble in Israel tonight as I write. Since Monday, 1,100 rockets have been fired into Israel (shot at civilians) by Hamas terrorists.


Here’s the reality, friends, and it’s something the nightly news won’t tell you: America, the UN, & European nations funnel money to the powers that be in Gaza & West Bank, ostensibly with the goal of helping the truly terrible conditions there. Back in the day, this money went to Arafat and the PLO (Arafat, hailed as a great man of peace by the West, publicly promised to drive every Jew into the Mediterranean Sea – the utter annihilation of Israel, no coexistence whatsoever). Arafat lived like a king, with tremendous wealth and properties… while his people lived in Third-world squalor. It was an utter travesty, but the international powers played the game with Arafat and Co.


Today, this money winds up in the hands of men like Abbas, but with the same result: the few at the top live a life of luxury, while the people below never benefit from the money meant to help them. The corruption is absolute.


And Gaza is under the de facto rule – not of Abbas, not of Israel – but of Hamas, a terrorist group funded by Iran. And Iran’s leadership (from president to parliament) has officially called “for Israel’s destruction” (sound familiar?)


Friends, this week we are witnessing the most intense attack on Israel in many years, and it has the potential to erupt into full-scale war with many casualties.


Hamas terrorists are launching missiles from civilian hubs – even using schools and hospitals – knowing the Israelis won’t retaliate against such sites. When Israel identifies the terrorist camp locations and feels they must respond, they send SMS (text) messages to every cell phone in the area, warning the civilians that they’re in a danger zone and need to leave. They do this to avoid civilian casualties, even though Hamas is indiscriminately attacking Israeli citizens with hundreds of rockets.


As Israelis are running to bomb shelters, the Iron Dome defense system is knocking out the bulk of the Hamas attacks (about 90%). That leaves a deadly 10% falling from the sky into densely populated hubs like Tel Aviv.


SO MY FRIENDS… Is this the beginning of the end? Is Jesus’ return more imminent than what we thought? I can tell you with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY: I don’t know.


But I know who DOES know, and so do you. He calls us neither to fear nor apathy, but He’s calling us to pray.


Please pray for the protection of those in harm’s way, for the terrorists’ schemes to fail, for the fearful to turn to the Messiah and for salvation to be poured out on the inhabitants 0f Israel – both Jews and Arabs.


And please pray for the protection and salvation of the IDF soldiers. My wife Michelle has been corresponding with friends and family in Israel, and the situation is the most intense they’ve ever seen.


The news will not tell you this, but it’s true: the vast, vast majority of Israelis just want peace. And God is doing miracles between Jews and Arabs in Israel, drawing them to salvation and giving them hearts of unity and forgiveness toward one another. Only in the “Sar Shalom” (Prince of Peace) will Israel ever know real peace.


Behind this physical war we are witnessing is the REAL war taking place in the heavenlies. Satan is fueling the terrorists’ efforts to steal, kill, and destroy… So let’s stand in the gap and intercede for God’s peace, truth, and salvation to reign.


If you read this far, you’re a real trooper (I wrote a small book, not a devotional!) God bless you for your heart after the Lord, and for being an active member of HIS army – praying for His purposes and plan of salvation to be victorious in Israel. “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” Ps. 121:4. He’s faithful to His promises to Abraham, faithful to Israel today, and faithful to keep His promises to you, too… He will not change, and He cannot fail. Let’s keep our trust in Him alone.


The Lord bless and keep you,



Matthew

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