A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label The God of Israel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The God of Israel. Show all posts

October 18, 2023

The Battle In The Middle East Is Centuries Old; The Bible Tells Us The Ending

Whether you are a student of the Bible or not, I think it is essential that the world try and understand the players in the Middle East and how they all might align with End Times prophecy. For myself, I discern that it's increasingly important to look at everything I am seeing through the lens of Scripture. I t's not that I'm looking to be raptured -- (in fact, I happen to think that we Christians will be needed on earth, for a time, to offer words of hope, encouragement, and endurance during the battles leading up to God's wrath against the wicked) -- it's just that I am mindful that Jesus instructed us to be aware of the "seasons" in which we live, and what we see being played out now in the world is a definite "season", or stage, in world history.

That being said, I don't think we can afford to ignore some of the major world events we are seeing before our eyes. And it's really hard to look at them through Western eyes. We, in America, tend to forget that the Bible's inspired writers and prophets were Middle Eastern, and we try to translate and understand their epistles and letters through the lens of today's Western experience.  So, I'm not here to say that I am a Bible expert, by any means, but I have spent a lot of time asking God and Holy Spirit for insight and revelation as to how these age-old prophecies will play out in our time, and coincide with the End Times events spoken about in the Bible.

What has surprised me is that the alliances between groups in the Middle East have existed for centuries, right up to our present-day world. We think that what we see happening in Israel and Gaza today is a new event with only current implications. But, in reality, the rage and passions have never really ceased to exist. This very day, the world's media machines are working overtime to get "their truth" out about the crisis in Israel. Amid the recent rocket launches between the militant Palestinian group Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), both sides of these attacks are scrambling to put forth their side to justify their actions. Just over a week ago, the world was horrified at the atrocities perpetrated against innocent Israeli citizens [both young and old] by the terrorist group Hamas. But just days later, factions of the media and politicians are proclaiming the cruelty and savagery didn't really happen. It's not surprising that people seeking the truth are asking, "Which came first? The chicken or the egg"? 

The historical truth concerning this hotbed of violence is this: Palestine has always been situated at a strategic location between Egypt, Syria and Arabia, and it is the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity.  The Palestinian region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. The region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Sunni Arab Caliphates, the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans, the British and now, modern Israelis and Palestinians.

Boundaries of the region have changed throughout history, due to agreements between nations after various wars, and were last defined in modern times by a French-British boundary agreement (1920) and the League of Nations mandate in 1922.  Today, the region comprises the State of Israel and Palestinian territories in which the State of Palestine was declared. So, in reality, nothing is new.... this territory has long been in dispute and its ownership has often been determined by the victors of war. 

Today's conflicts can trace their roots to the aftermath of Hitler's diabolical Holocaust, and the birth of Zionism.  Of course, to many,  Zionism has become the trademark and secular "dirty word" for any attempt by Israel to defend itself. Originally, this term was understood as a movement for the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. In short, it is the rebirth and renewal in the Jewish homeland established for them by Jehovah God. In today's understanding, Zionism is often seen, by its critics, to mean it as a colonialist or racist ideology that led to the denial of rights, dispossession and expulsion of the "indigenous population of Palestine".

Those who claim that the Palestinians are innocent refugees in their own land, will side with the group Hamas, which was founded in 1987, when several Palestinians were killed in a traffic accident involving an Israeli driver, and the events that followed—a Palestinian uprising against Israel's West Bank and Gaza occupation—led to the founding of Hamas as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. It has since developed a militant military wing, devoted to the elimination of Israel as a state. It is this group who has been blamed for the violence and slaughter in Israel this month.

But once again, the tide of public opinion seems to be turning against the Jews in Israel, as the Palestinian population in Gaza is caught in the cross fire, and Israel is blamed for innocent deaths as they battle to recover hostages and defeat Hamas. As throughout its history, Israel will need to rely on their God to protect and deliver her. Yet, the nations of the world need to be aware ... much about the Jewish state mirrors our own rebellion against the God of Israel. Which nations are going to receive God's purifying discipline? Our own country needs to be careful about how they respond to this powder keg. What's more, are we seeing all the nations lining up against Israel as in Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83?

But the world must also recognize that Israel did not start this war, and history shows that they have not been the aggressors in the modern age. We can go back to a statement made in 2014 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who directly threatened the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, saying, "The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it ... Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it … The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day." Those threats have not, and will not, cease to exist against Israel. And from my limited perspective, it certainly looks [in the current situation] as if events are pointing towards Israel standing alone. And that fits what the Bible has forecast, too.  So, as we watch the world rushing towards the fulfillment of the Bible's prophecies, we can almost see it unfolding before our eyes.

None of us, and least of all me, can predict when and if we are on the precipice of seeing these prophecies achieved. But my discernment is telling me that the time is near; that we need to be right with God, and we need to pray for Israel. For just like we Christians, Her only hope is in God, Jesus (Yeshua), the Messiah. Evil is marching towards Her and the Day of the Lord is at hand. I will admit that I have at least as many questions as I do answers, but there is one thing I know for sure ... the enemies of Israel are the enemies of God. Nations and individuals need to think very carefully before they align themselves with those who God will judge guilty of cursing Israel.  No amount of media and political propaganda can change His mind. History has proven that this was once Israel's ancient homeland, and the Bible declares that it will remain so. That is the Truth of the entire dilemma.

NOTE: I invite you to read my previous posts to get a broader sense of my Biblical worldview. And I will be expanding upon the historical context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Isaiah 34:16       "Seek out of the book of the Lord and read: not one of these [details of prophecy] shall fail, none shall want and lack her mate [in fulfillment]. For the mouth [of the Lord] has commanded, and His Spirit has gathered them."

October 15, 2023

"The Lord Has Chosen Zion; He Desires It For His Dwelling Place!"

At first, this post might seem designed specifically for Christian Believers, but I think it is an important topic for secular readers, as well.  We all need to understand each other and our different opinions concerning the land of Israel. But most of all, we need to understand what Zion means to God.

This subject has been on my mind for some time, and in regards to the current situation in Israel [which will affect the entire world], an understanding of who and what Zion is needs to be clarified. Whenever I write about my Biblical view of Israel and my interpretation of their role in these End Times, I am often called a "Zionist Christian" and I am often typecast with labels like "your pro-Feast, Jewish flair" .... whatever that means.  So I believe it is crucial for readers to know where I stand on Israel and how I view her.

For just a moment, let us table the horrendous news coming out of the Middle East, and focus on the subject of Zion. First of all, when I speak about Israel, most times I am referring to the land according to my Biblical worldview. I see the nation of Israel as that land promised to God's Chosen People in the Bible. And I recognize that there is a distinction between the future prophetic restoration of that land, and the existence of the current state of Israel. I know that Jesus will not return again until God turns the focus of His saving mercies on Israel again, and Israel responds to God through Jesus Christ. That hasn't yet happened in a national sense. 

In fact, there is not much about the modern state of Israel that coincides with the Biblical Israel. And that's where the confusion over "Zionism" comes in. Let me explain this term from my Biblical perspective first.  From an initial understanding of the word "Zion" in the Bible, it is synonymous with "City of God", and it is a place that God loves. (Psalm 87:2-3).  Zion is Jerusalem. Mount Zion is the high hill on which David built a citadel. After King David's conquest of the ancient city, he built his royal palace there, and Zion/Jerusalem became the seat of power in Israel’s ancient kingdom. When his son, Solomon, built the Lord's temple in Jerusalem, the word Zion expanded to include the temple area, what we call the Temple Mount today.

As Biblical time marched on, Zion grew figuratively to mean Israel as the people of God in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom.  I admit it is confusing and covers a wide scope of understanding.

And to make matters even more complicated, in this modern century, the word Zion and Zionist have taken on negative connotations among a wide variety of people. As we've witnessed this last week, there are those who see the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland as illegitimate, and desire to "drive them into the sea" or destroy them completely. And there are obviously those who do not know the history of the Bible, or what it says about the Jews and their ancestral land, and why it is so important to them.  For centuries the Jews had been exiled around the world from the land that God promised them, and there was a collective desire to return and resettle their ancestral lands and to revitalize and cultivate their native Hebrew culture. They longed to return to the Biblical Zion.

But after the atrocities of the Holocaust and with the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, this love of Zion became a nationalistic and political movement, rather than a religious or cultural identity.  Zionism, today, continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the nation Israel and address threats to its continued existence and security. It has little to do with God's view of Zion. 

Let me be clear in explaining my sensitive position, and please read the next couple of paragraphs before you pass judgment ... the state of Israel, as it exists today in the Middle East, does not represent the Israel that will say, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord." They are largely a secular and political state, with no religious connection to Yeshua, their Messiah at all.  They are true political Zionists.  However, the population also includes a sizable number of religious Orthodox Jews who remain blinded to their future, and most probably view themselves as Zionists from a historical, Old Testament perspective. But I also want to point out that there is a growing population of Messianic Jews, who know and believe in Yeshua as the Biblical Messiah, and are evangelizing "in the Name of the Lord". And I praise God for this remnant that is returning to the true identity of Zion in the land.

But the nation of Israel, as a whole, has a long way to go to return to their Scriptural identity. They are still in rebellion and refuse to recognize their Creator and Messiah. Tel Aviv has declared itself the "gay capital of the world", as proclaimed by one Israeli citizen: "Israel isn’t a regressive Taliban state based on ancient scriptures. It is a modern, democratic and progressive society built on democratic values. The people of Israel have chosen to have a free, secular, democratic and pluralistic society where gays are not only tolerated, but where gay culture is celebrated."  Does this sound like the Biblical Zion?

So, having said all this, when I look at modern Israel, I choose to focus my prayers on the small, but growing numbers of Messianic Jews who see the real reason they are "back in the land", and who recognize their calling and purpose. When I say I love and support Israel, I am looking beyond the nationalistic, political reality of the current state of Israel and seeing them as God sees them... His beloved Zion; I see the devoted Jews who have surrendered their lives to their Savior Messiah and are faithfully working to bring about His return.

So, for any Christians who believe in Replacement Theology and accuse me of supporting a Zionist state, you need to understand that I do not share your doctrine. I do not believe that the Church (and especially not the Western Church!) has replaced Israel as God's chosen people. I read Romans 11 and do not try to corrupt it. I accept it word for word ... Gods gifts and His call are irrevocable [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] ... And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.

And for the secularists and atheists who discount the Word of God, I will agree with you that the Zionist State of Israel is not perfect. I do not blindly uphold it as the Israel of the Bible. But you need to understand that it is not yet that Biblical nation of Israel with whom God established a covenant .... but one day it will be. And it is the future Israel that I pray for and long to see come out of its rebellion and recognize its Messiah.  I have close friends who are the beginning of that true Biblical remnant in Israel, and they allow me to see the hope and the promise of Israel's restoration. 

I do not expect this post to change anyone's mind, and it probably won't even help those who disagree with me to understand my position better. I already see people's minds and narratives changing regarding the slaughter of Israeli's this last week... from expressions of horror to voices that are already condemning Israel's divided government and its policies. But if we say we love Israel and we stand with her, we must love Israel through a Biblical lens; we must support her and pray for her to come out of her rebellion and reclaim the covenant of her ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and we must long to see her restored to the fullness of her power in God; restored to her true character and purpose in leading the world to Yeshua.  For all this, I make no apologies. 

And, finally, I pray that the land and people of Israel be returned to the holiness YHWH bestowed on Zion. May the God of Israel comfort them in the midst of this sorrow and tribulation, physically and spiritually living out Psalm 137:1... By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. As we watch this conflagration unfold, let us keep God's view of His land and people in perspective. Let us pray that all Israel will come to know and see His Truth!

Isaiah 60:14      The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.


October 9, 2023

They Gather For Battle In The Valley of Decision

Back in 2016, I wrote a post sharing how God was showing me the Biblical prophecies of what was to come during "The End Times". I was seeing how the world economy, the Middle East, and the growing presence of Russia and China in the area were driving the foreign policies of the nations in the world. At the time, economists were pointing to oil as the driving factor that would cause petroleum-hungry nations to invade Israel in order to control their newly discovered oil fields. This blessing from God would make their production roughly equivalent to that of Saudi Arabia. In fact, the "great minds" of the time were asking if oil might not be "the hook in the jaw" that would pull nations out of the north to the Valley of Jezreel (Ezekiel 38:4).

Fast forward to October 7, 2023, as the world watched [and continues to watch] the horrific evil that has invaded Israel. Our gut reaction is to see this as a battle between Evil and God's Holy nation of Israel. But we must step back and see the 30,000 foot view of all that permeates this tragedy. Biblically, and prophetically, we probably all instantly think of the Gog and Magog war [prophesied in Ezekiel 38] that signals the End Time battle between YHWH and the Anti-Christ [and the nations who support him] who will gather together against Jerusalem. This battle/war will trigger the Lord's fierce anger in the defense of His people in Zion. We also think of Joel 3:14 ... Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.  

Now let's apply these prophesies to the unspeakable images that flashed across our screens in Israel this weekend. I will admit that I endured a sleepless night, crying out to God for Israel. I couldn't erase the images -- the innocent lives subjected to terror; those who were killed and for all those who will yet perish -- and the numbers keep rising. But the entire world needs to understand: this portends the wrath of God and it is real. God formed humanity to bring Him glory. He has set a holy and pure standard for mankind. But when the perfect Judge of the Universe looks upon those who rebel in wickedness and evil, He does not act in a reckless rage; or out of uncontrollable anger, a senseless fury, or an unjust vengeance. It is a precise and controlled response against those who belittle His Holiness and have sinned against Him without repentance. 

Prophetically, God endorses this statement in Ezekiel 38 when He confronts Gog, from the land of Magog. [Note: Gog could be a person, and Magog is the geographical land or territory where he lives. He could also be a "demonic prince" and Magog is the land he has been assigned by Satan]. God confronts this ruler of Magog, and says to its king, Gog: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? ... You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 

There is an excellent series of articles on the website, christinprophecyblog.org that I recommend you read. Dr. Nathan E. Jones, Director of Internet Outreach at Lamb and Lion Ministries, is the author. Dr. Jones gives us a 30,000 foot view of this Gog and Magog war; a war that has had religious leaders and writers speculating as to the participants for hundreds of years. I will emphatically state that I am not qualified to give an expert opinion on the subject, but Dr. Jones's argument is worth reading and praying about. He contends that Ezekiel wrote 2,700 years ago, prophesying a time when the Lord would pull different nations down to Israel so He could destroy them and show the world that He protects Israel. The ancient nations that are prophesied in Ezekiel 38, are now known by their modern names ... Russia, Iran, and Turkey, among them.  

That is definitely interesting and what I imagine most Western Christians will agree with. But there's a bigger picture that we need to see. While I believe that the whole world will see that God intends to protect His land, Israel, I also believe that God brings this Gog and Magog war against Israel to bring the nation to a saving knowledge of Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. You see, we need to understand that Israel, as it stands today, represents God's Chosen People. But, they do not yet walk in their true identity. 

Politically, culturally, and spiritually, the people of Israel are divided, just as we are in this nation. Allegations of corruption in the government; rampant moral decline in their society; and ridicule and persecution exists against the Messianic Jewish believers by their orthodox brothers in the Jewish faith. In many ways, the modern nation of Israel is following the rebellious ways of the Old Testament nation of Israel. Whether the recent [and on-going] events in Israel reflect the beginning of the Gog and Magog war, Dr. Jones wants us to comprehend that there will be a seven-year time period known as the Tribulation that will come upon the earth  following this War. We can be sure that God will make it so that people will know that there is a God. They will have to choose Him, or not. They will have the choice to choose God, or Satan through the Antichrist.    

This impending war will happen in the valleys of Israel. For myself, I'm not so caught up in which valley(s) -- whether the Valley of Jezreel or Jehoshophat -- as I am in discerning that people will need to make a decision... multitudes and multitudes will need to decide! Not only will the Gentile and Muslim nations need to make a decision regarding Jesus, but the inhabitants of Israel, too. Many people romanticize the Israeli people, thinking that because they are God's chosen, they worship Him and are followers of Yeshua. But for the last 2,000 years the Jewish people have been mostly at odds with their God. Like many in America, they are mostly Secular Humanists. But as God has always done, He is raising up a true remnant in Israel that will lead the world to the knowledge of the One True God. 

If this war in Israel turns out to be the Biblical End Times War prophesied By Ezekiel, we are seeing the wicked armies of Satan carrying out his orders against the Israeli citizens. And the world will soon see that Yeshua, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah will not abandon His people and He will orchestrate a miraculous victory for tiny Israel. We will see that God will use the evil perpetrated in Israel to bring His remnant to salvation! They will call on the Name of the Lord and be saved to witness to the rest of the lost world! The heart of God's people will turn back to their God. 

The events prophesied in the Bible are definitely coming together! We can see the coalition of nations coming against Israel, and their armies joining forces to destroy the Israeli people. We see the hatred and wickedness that fuels their evil hearts, and we cry for the suffering of the people in God's holy land. But does the world understand that God will not let evil go unanswered? He will soon step into world affairs and destroy the invaders. The Bible tells us that an earthquake will shake all of Israel, and the armies of Satan will suffer pestilence and bloodshed; torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. The whole world will know that God will defend Israel! 

So, when I say that "they gather for battle in the Valley of Decision", I mean that in reality and prophetically. Every nation and people will look upon the coming battles with trembling, and will answer for their contribution to the slaughter we are witnessing in the Holy Land. And everyone will have to make a decision ... do you say "Yes" to the Ancient of Days, the God of Israel? Or do you side with the rebellious ones whose fate lies in His hands? Will you pray for the innocent lives lost in Israel; for their families; and that they will be restored to righteousness through knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior? Will you join with me to pray for those whose hate has been stored up and incited by the Prince of Darkness whose jealousy of Israel has led to this conflagration? Will you pray that these haters will meet the Holy and Righteous One who loved them enough to die for them -- yes, even them -- IF they will repent and turn from their evil ways? Will you join with me in praying, "Lord, the world needs You! Come, Lord Jesus"!

Ezekiel 38:23     So [then] I will show My greatness and My holiness and make Myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.