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THE POLITICS OF WAR

Monday, May 1st, 2023

Matthew 24:3-8 (KJV)

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows.

God, through the prophet Ezekiel, identifies the geographic region from which the land, and people, of Israel will be attacked.  In Ezekiel 38:15 the word from God, through Ezekiel, identifies the geographic location as “the north parts”.  Prior to the time of the attack against the land and the people of Israel, the events of which Jesus spoke will be taking place – Matthew 24:5-7.  A couple of those prophesied events should be catching our continued attention as we watch their continued escalation:  “war and rumours of wars” (Matt. 24:6, KJV).  One of the things Jesus did not address in His response to the questions posed to Him by those of the first called out assembly is ‘the politics of war’.  Why?  Because the politics will not change, nor deter, the prophesied attack against Israel.  Undoubtedly the Lord both knew, and knows, exactly what will happen between which countries in order to form a coalition of ‘ten kings’ identified in Daniel as “toes” (2:42-44) and, also, as “ten horns” (7:7-8)

The present politics and positioning of countries and their specific identified leaders, or rulers, may change any number of times and, quite possibly, result in some puzzling alliances.  However, none of these changes can change God’s Word.  God, through the prophet Ezekiel, has plainly stated that the land and people of Israel will be attacked from the north by a huge military force (Ezek. 38:14-16)

One of the political events that is scheduled to take place this week is the visit of the president of Iran to Syria. 

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-04-30/ty-article/.premium/while-israel-bombs-targets-in-syria-iran-is-acquiring-new-standing-in-the-middle-east/00000187-d239-d9b4-abaf-fabf221b0000

There may be changes coming in Turkey.

https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/2023-04-27/ty-article/.premium/is-turkey-finally-ready-to-throw-out-erdogan/00000187-c19e-d0b0-a5b7-d59e48be0000

Additionally, as strange as it may seem to those of us in our Western culture, the leader in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has continued his rule of terror through the entirety of the civil war that began in 2011.  Now look what may happen.

https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/2023-05-01/ty-article/.premium/syrias-assad-closer-than-ever-to-full-normalization-arab-foreign-ministers-indicate/00000187-d822-d9b4-abaf-f8bec4680000

So, who will be the face of the attack against Israel?  I wish I could tell you because that would mean that I know.  But please know that whoever is the face of the invasion, one of the more dependable ways to know, with a certain amount of assurance, of the validity of the coming attack and its timing will be a great earthquake:

Ezekiel 38:19-20 (HCSB)

I swear in My zeal and fiery rage: On that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals of the field, every creature that crawls on the ground, and every human being on the face of the earth will tremble before Me. The mountains will be thrown down, the cliffs will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground.

As always, regardless of the politics, it is hard to misunderstand, and misinterpret, an earthquake.

Revelation 22:20 (HCSB)

He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

WILL THERE BE A COVENANT OF PEACE PRIOR TO THE RETURN OF JESUS?

Monday, April 24th, 2023

Peace does not require the end, or absence, of conflict.  While this may contradict the definition of ‘peace’ which is promoted by the world, it does not contradict the teaching of Jesus.  In John 14:27, Jesus told the first church, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: …” (KJV).  Use your favorite resource(s) and define the word Jesus used for “peace – (eirene)”.  Next, take the definition and apply it to the context and discover what Jesus said in the same context.  In John 15:18-20, Jesus taught the same called-out assembly that they would be, both, hated and persecuted by the world.  Does the hatred and persecution of/by/from the world, in any way, negate the “peace” of/from Jesus?  Absolutely not!  So, peace does not require an end, or absence, of conflict.

In the message from God, through Ezekiel, unto Gog (Ezekiel 38:14-15) a specific question is asked:  “On that day when My people Israel are dwelling securely (safely, KJV), will you not know [this] and come from you place in the remotest part of the north – you and many people with you, who are all riding horses – a mighty horde, a huge army?” (HCSB).  There are those who advocate and promote the teaching, based on Daniel 9:25-27, that “the covenant” (27) is an agreement of peace made by the Antichrist with the nation of Israel that results in the end of conflict.  The focus of this article is not to exposit the verses from Daniel, but to consider the possibility that the end, or absence, of conflict is not necessary in order for Israel to exist “securely” (Ezek. 38:14, HCSB)

Israel has demonstrated the willingness and ability to defend herself from threats and attacks.  Consider the follow article from Israel 365 News:

Of the events which Jesus said would identify “the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:8, ESV) peace is not one.  Jesus taught that “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6, ESV) would be among the events to identify the beginning, and escalation, of the labor pains which precede delivery. 

This article from The Jerusalem Post describes the response by Israel against Hezbollah targets in southwest Syria: 

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-740096

The next article from The Jerusalem Post reinforces the reality that peace does not require the end, or absence, of conflict, because the nation of Israel is under constant threat:

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-739527

In order for Israel to “dwell securely” (Ezekiel 38:14) the existence of an end, or cessation, of conflict, even for a few years, may not need to become a reality.  Make no mistake, Israel will “dwell securely” for however long God has determined, right before she is attacked from the north.  That she will be attacked from the north is an undeniable certainty because God has so said – Ezekiel 38:14-15.  When this prophesied attack takes place, which it will, there will be “a great earthquake in the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:19, HCSB).  Amid the plethora of considerations pertaining to prophecy and the proper understanding of specific events, it is still hard to misinterpret an earthquake.  Let us be watching.

CATACLYSMIC AND CATASTROPHIC: AT LEAST ON THE SURFACE

Monday, April 17th, 2023

The prophecy (inspired message) from God through Ezekiel unto “Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:1-2) addresses the inevitability of his “last days” (38:16 HCSB) attack against “my people Israel” (38:16).  The coming attack is not speculation, it is the prophetic word of/from God and will occur just as God has declared. 

Without any doubt, we are, at the present time, seeing an escalation of the words of wars and conflicts.  The words of our Lord in Matthew 24:6 “You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars…” are continuing to be fulfilled in our lifetime and before our eyes.  This same truth is unfolding in the nation of Israel.  There continues to be copious speculation about the timing of an Israeli attack against Iran and the possibility of an imminent attack against Israel by Iran – or Iranian proxies. 

The following article from Israel Today presents a vivid picture of the rumored attack on Israel initiated by Iran:

The next article also addresses the coming attack orchestrated by Iran:

In addition to the impact of the attack by the “… mighty horde, … huge army” (Ezekiel 38:15) under the command direction of Gog, there will also be “a great earthquake in the land of Israel” (38:19).  The impact of the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria revealed that massive destruction can result from a 7.8 magnitude and a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.  The extent of the damage from the earthquakes, with different epicenters, was truly catastrophic.  As was shared on the blog dated February 27, 2023, along one fault line the land moved “23 feet in opposite directions”

God, through Ezekiel, reveals some of the impact of this “great earthquake” (19) as:  “…The mountains will be thrown down, the cliffs will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.” (38:20).  Without any doubt these things will occur in the land of Israel and may also felt throughout a greater region – surrounding area. 

The coming attack, whenever it occurs, will be, both, cataclysmic and catastrophic in the land of Israel.  Yet, there is hope – but only in God.  Ultimately, the Lord God will display His “greatness and holiness” (38:23) so that the nations will know – take notice, will learn – the existence, power, and presence of the Lord. 

STRONG & BRITTLE: AN UNSTABLE EMPIRE

Monday, April 10th, 2023

In the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, Jesus taught the first church (5:1-2), His called out assembly, and provided them clear and precise truths to equip them to diligently pursue the kingdom of God (6:33-34).  As He concluded the message to them, He emphasized the importance and need for hearing and obeying His words (7:24-27).  His illustration, to emphasize the point, focused upon the need for a stable foundation.  Jesus likened those who build upon the solid foundation, “a rock” (7:24), to “a wise man” as opposed to “a foolish man” (26).  One of the main points of this teaching of Jesus is to emphasize the necessity of a solid foundation, for without it collapse, destruction, and loss is inevitable. 

When the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed the dream about the “great image (statue)” (Daniel 2:31), God, through Daniel, provided Nebuchadnezzar with the memory of the dream and the interpretation (2:28-30).  As Daniel declared the dream and the meaning unto the king, He describes the statue as a representation of empires or kingdoms (2:38-44) with the “small stone” (34, 45) being the final, and eternal, kingdom set up by “the God of heaven” (44)

With respect to “the fourth kingdom” (40-44) here are a couple of things to note.  First, Daniel identifies “the fourth kingdom” as the “legs of iron” (33) with “feet part of iron and part of clay”.  When he declared the interpretation to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel described the following:  “the fourth kingdom” (40) and then “these kings” (44).  He, Daniel, used the designation of “these kings” in connection with “the toes of the feet” which he described as “part of iron, and part of clay” (41-43).  The description of “the feet and toes” (41) and “the toes of the feet” (42) is:  “it will be a divided kingdom” (41, HCSB); “part of the kingdom will be strong, and part will be brittle” (42, HCSB); “will not hold together” (43, HCSB)

Since “the God of heaven” (44, HCSB) has not yet “set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed”, we should conclude that, at the very least, “the feet and toes” part of the statue has not yet come together for their common purpose. 

What might the formation, or coalition, of “the toes of the feet” (42) “kings” (44) look like, and what, amid the myriad of possibilities, might bring them together to form an “iron mixed with clay” (43) kingdom?  From the well of possibilities the following suggestions might be considered:  (1) hatred for the nation of Israel; (2) need/desire for energy, i.e. Israel’s vast natural gas reserves beneath her territorial waters in the Mediterranean Sea; (3) desire for power – such as those “ten horn … kings” (Rev. 17:12) who receive power from “the beast”; (4) maybe ‘d’ – all the above.  Here is an additional consideration for the “strong” and “brittle” alliance, or coalition:  religion. 

Click the links below for related articles from the Jerusalem Post:

“Muslim world must unite against Israel, Erdogan says to Iran’s Raisi”

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-738692

“Iran kickstarts multi-front Middle East war against Israel – analysis”

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-738765

As tensions continue to mount, and escalate, in and around Israel

May we diligently watch to see and identify what is taking place as we pursue building upon the stable foundation of the Word of God. 

RESURRECTION WITNESS

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

The friends of Job who came “to mourn with him, and to comfort him” (2:11 KJV) based many of their responses to him on their personal experiences.  For example, the first words from Eliphaz revealed this basis when he said, “Even as I have seen, …” (4:8 KJV).  The basis for human experience, wisdom, and reasoning is based upon being able to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.  Since none of his friends could rationalize the truth of Job’s innocence, they criticized and condemned his persistent defense of innocence which led Job to call them “miserable comforters” (16:2)

Unlike the human wisdom and reasoning of the miserable comforter friends of Job, faith only requires exposure to the Word of God.  Since the Word of God originates by/from Him, it is more dependable than everything of the flesh.  In 2 Peter 1:16-21, the apostle plainly declares the Word of God to be more dependable than any, and all, personal experience.  In the phrase “a more sure word of prophecy” (19), Peter is inspired to declare the existence of something more dependable than the personal experience of seeing Jesus transfigured.  The Word of God is more dependable than all personal experience and is the source of the “word of prophecy” (19).

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the apostle Paul refers to the Scriptural basis of/for the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the Anointed One of God.  With respect to Christ’s resurrection, he refers to some who saw the resurrected Messiah.  He concluded with his own personal experience with Jesus (8) and identifies himself as being the last one in a series or sequence of seeing the resurrected Christ.  If seeing the resurrected Christ, by any other means than faith, is necessary then we are doomed.  There is no doubt at all that all those who were alive and saw the resurrected Christ have since died.  This means there are no more witnesses to the resurrection.  But, it does not mean the resurrection witness is dead.

When the Lord’s churches live in agreement with the Scriptures, the foundation of “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1), they supply, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, the witness, or testimony, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  When church people will live like the people of God and not the people of the world, the evidence of the resurrection of Christ is declared and made known. 

For example, in Colossians 3:1-4 (HCSB)

So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

As we approach Easter and our attention turns to the resurrection of Christ, let us renew our resolve and commitment to rejoicing in the truth of the resurrection every day and to live in agreement with the inspired message of God which is more dependable than any, and every, personal experience.  By doing so, we will show forth the evidence of the resurrection of Christ until the day He returns.

Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.