In light of everything that has been taking place in Israel over the past 2 weeks, people are asking me difficult and big questions like – Does the Bible tell us why is there so much hatred directed towards the Jewish people? And where’s God in all of this?
The truth is there’s no simple place to start. So, let me begin with what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 9:3-5 – and we’ll start unpacking it from there.
Paul said this, “For I wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, TO WHOM pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises – of whom are the fathers and FROM WHOM, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all the eternally blessed God.”
What he’s saying, is that he carries a tremendous burden for his own people that he can’t get away from, and that the Jewish people were called and set apart by God as HIS Chosen People. They were given covenant and incredible promises that were filled with His glory, to the point that when Christ came to redeem the world, he came through the Jewish people.
Deuteronomy 14:2 tells us, “For you (and it’s talking about the Jewish people) are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
That’s why Satan hates the Jewish people, because it’s through them that the Law of God, the prophets, the Scriptures, and the Messiah Jesus Christ came into the world.
NOW, you also have to understand how God feels about Israel and the Jewish people. Check this out – it’s an incredible passage - Zechariah 2:8 says, “For thus says the Lord of hosts – He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”
Which literally means “pupil” – even further this statement is a metaphor that etymologically translated means “the little man of the eye” and the picture that God is giving us, is very profound. Have you ever stood close to someone and saw your own reflection in the pupil of their eye? Well, that’s what this passage is talking about, “the little man of the eye” and whether the Jewish people recognize it or not, God is saying that He is so close to them that they are the reflection in the pupil of his eye.
And I can say with absolute certainty that God sees everything that is happening in Israel right now, and that He will not allow the Jewish people or the nation of Israel to be destroyed.
Even further, the prophet Daniel saw the supernatural deliverance and protection of Israel that God promised in the end times. You might not know this, but according to the Bible the archangel Michael has been given the task of protecting Israel, and standing watch over the Jewish people.
Daniel 12:1 says, “At that time (talking about the end times) Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation – event to that time. AND at that time your people shall be delivered…”
And despite the fact, that the Jewish people today are largely secular, God has given them incredible prophetic purpose in these last days, including the promise that ALL Israel would be saved. That’s why if we don’t recognize how deeply Israel is connected to God’s prophetic plan, there’s no way that we are going to understand the end times. The trouble is that a significant part of the modern church believes, that because the nation of Israel largely rejected Jesus when He came the first time, that God has somehow dismissed His covenant with them. Which leads people to argue that all the references in the book of Revelation concerning Israel, need to be viewed allegorically, and that they are talking about “the church” but referring to it as Israel, in a purely spiritual sense.
Which sounds spiritual – BUT it’s actually a doctrine of devils that has infiltrated a lot of “so-called” Christian teaching. You’ve got to get this in your heart, because all through the Old Testament, God made promises to Israel that directly impact the end times.
For example - Hosea 3:5 says, “Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days.”
Meaning that the salvation of Israel is directly connected to the end times.
Which begs the question – why have the Jewish people throughout the centuries – and even today - struggled so deeply with their relationship towards God?
Let me answer that question through one of the most overlooked and prophetic representations of Israel’s relationship to God in the Bible. The story can be found in the Song of Solomon. NOW, I’m not saying that there aren’t other lessons illustrated in this book, or that there aren’t applications for the modern church, but the storyline of this book illustrates the critical choice that Israel still faces.
In the Song of Solomon, the young Shulamite woman represents Israel, and she falls in deeply in love with a humble shepherd. BUT because she’s so beautiful the king is also vying for her affections. Now, this is where it gets interesting, and you have to see it through the lens of Bible typology to understand it. The king is clearly a type of Christ – BUT - the shepherd is also a type of Christ. SO, as this incredible love story unfolds, the young woman eventually chooses the shepherd. Which brings us directly to the heart of what God is saying, Israel needs to accept the shepherd in order to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. The problem is that the Jewish people have always struggled with this decision.
When Jesus came, declaring that the Kingdom of God was upon them, they were looking for the Messiah to come as a conquering king AND they were looking for him to overthrow the Roman Empire and deliver them from their political oppression. Essentially, they were looking for the Messiah to take his seat on David’s throne, and restore the political might and wealth of Israel.
And this expectation came from their understanding of the Old Testament prophets. For example, Ezekiel 37:24-25 says, “David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them – Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, where your father’s dwelt; and they shall dwell there, their children, and their children’s children, forever – and my servant David shall be their prince forever.”
Interestingly, the stumbling block that we were just talking about from the Song of Solomon, is also in the passage that we just read from Ezekiel - THE shepherd and the king are the same person. Look at it again, “David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them – THEN they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob…”
SO, before Christ returns to reign on David’s throne, Israel has to accept Him as the shepherd, and that’s why when Jesus came, He was largely rejected because they were looking for a king, not a shepherd. The difficulty, is that many Jewish teachers in that transitionary period between the Old and New Covenant had selectively read, and contextualized passages like Ezekiel 37:24-25 to fit their social, cultural, and political desires, and as a result, they ignored any picture of the Messiah that they didn’t like, which caused them to miss salvation when it was standing right in front of them.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in Romans 10:1-4 which says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, BUT not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. FOR Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
AND if I’m being honest, that doesn’t sound remarkably different than the largely secular society in Israel celebrating the Feasts of the Lord or observing Shabbat. The problem is that when anyone contextualizes the Word of God to fit their own form of cultural, political or social righteousness, regardless of their motivation, sincerity or passion, they miss seeing Jesus for who He really is.
In fact, no other writer in the New Testament talks more about the relationship between the church and Israel than the Apostle Paul.
Romans 11:1-2 says, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” So, as Paul is helping to build the New Testament church, he’s also adamant that God has not rejected Israel – AND if you follow the text through verse 5, he goes on to use the ministry of Elijah as an example, that God will always have a remnant in Israel, regardless of how the spiritual condition of the nation looks outwardly – AND this still applies today.
Now, go to Romans 11:7 which says, “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Paul was saying that the Jewish people of his day, tried to receive the favor of God by following manmade traditions and pursuing a legalistic righteousness, which hardened a lot of people’s hearts and caused them to reject Christ. However, on the other hand, there were also some who saw Jesus for who He was – and as a result, God gave them grace and made them righteous through their faith in Jesus Christ.
WHY – because according to Acts 4:12, “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
See, it’s through faith in the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross that we are saved – and there is no other way.
Which brings us to Romans 11:8-10 which says, “Just as it is written: God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day. And David says, let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block, and recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always.” In other words, the table of self-righteousness that they’ve set (talking about the Jewish people in Paul’s day) is going to become a heavy burden, that only becomes heavier through time, and that this burden of self-righteousness will eventually become an obstacle in their lives - that hardens their hearts towards God even further.
Paul continues by reminding the believers in Rome that this hardness of heart, and spiritual blindness was a reoccurring theme throughout the Old Testament. At this point in Romans 11:11-24, Paul brings it all together by declaring that Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ isn’t final, and that as the gospel continues to spread throughout the world, that the goodness of God working through those who believe is going to stir something in the heart of Israel – BUT as the church we have to see that the root of salvation came to us through the Jewish people. Even further, he uses the picture of an Olive Tree to represent the kingdom of God and its blessings, and to illustrate that we’ve been grafted into their covenant with God, through faith in Jesus Christ.
NOW, he concludes by saying in Romans 11:25-27, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in – AND so ALL Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob – FOR this is My covenant with then, when I take away their sins.”
And in verse twenty-nine, Paul tells us that “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”
Which is why this brutal attack on Israel that’s taking place right now is such a demonic thing. It is a direct attack on God’s Chosen People, and it’s another attempt of Satan to destroy their prophetic destiny – and stand in opposition to God’s declared purpose for the Jewish people.
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of hearing the voice of God. At the same time, I recognize how easy it is to allow trouble and all the evil that we see happening around us, to stop us from clearly hearing His voice – AND yet, as believers who are living in the days that Jesus prophesied would come, nothing could be more important than hearing the voice of God.
Do you remember in Matthew 24 when the disciples ask Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
To which Jesus replied, “Take heed that no one deceives you” because AS THE END OF THE AGE APPROACHES there are going to be false Christ’s – wars – famines – pestilence – and earthquakes – all of which are the beginning of sorrows.
Jesus continues by saying “THEN” great persecution will come for the sake of the gospel as the message of Christ goes into all the world.
With that in mind, listen to these statistics: According to a recent United Nations report there are more than 41 million people – in 43 nations of the world who are teetering on the edge of famine.
According to our State Department: There are 10 active wars taking place in the world – and 8 active military conflicts that are recognized by the United States Government – AND there are violent conflicts involving 64 countries, involving 576 militia groups – not including terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda.
According to the CDC: the global death toll from Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 4.6 million people world-wide.
AND in a study done at Gordon-Conwell’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity - there have been over 1.2 million Christian’s martyred in the past 15 years alone.
Which sounds a lot like the list of signs that Jesus gave them to identify the sign of His coming and the end of the age.
As I was taking all of this in, the Holy Spirit led me to read Revelation 1 – AND when I got to verse 9, I could feel the presence of God flood the room. It says, “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
SO, as John set out to write the things that Christ was showing him, he reminds us that he was put on the prison Island of Patmos because of religious and political opposition for the true message of the gospel.
To the point that he refers to himself as a “brother and companion in tribulation and the kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ.”
NOW what hit me about this, is that John is essentially saying that “his circumstances and distress have only served to strengthen the kingdom of God within him – AND that regardless of the outward problems that he’s facing, that there is a spiritual endurance that has been revealed in his life because he refuses to allow his immediate distress to stop him from seeing Christ!”
I need to say this because there has been a tremendous amount of one-sided teaching on faith that has led a lot of people to believe that if they have enough faith that somehow, they will become exempt from the problems of life, and this fallen world.
According to Hebrews 11:1-2 the Bible tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – and that through faith the elders obtained a good testimony.”
The chapter goes on to tell us that by faith – people like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, and Moses found favor from God – AND that by faith the walls of Jericho fell – by Gideon, Sampson, David, Samuel, and the prophets subdued kingdoms – obtained promises – shut the mouths of lions – quenched the fire – became strong – and even received their dead raised to life.
THE PROBLEM is that most people never finish the chapter - which tells us that others were tortured – beaten – imprisoned – stoned – sawn in two – killed with the sword – some were even forced to wander around hiding in deserts, and mountains, and caves.
Yet, the Bible tells us that ALL THESE people were of one faith and that ALL of them were approved by God because of that faith, regardless of whether they subdued kingdoms or lived in troubled times.
I believe that too many Christians allow the problems of the world to speak louder than the voice of God, and take up so much space in their heart that they seem bigger than God.
What I’m saying is that as believers we need to be courageous and filled with faith, knowing that if we will take on the same attitude as the Apostle John that the troubles of our day can literally serve to energize and strengthen our relationship with God – AND that nothing can stop us from hearing God’s voice or seeing the glory of God in our lives!
The other day I was thinking about how unsettling it’s been over the past couple of years to watch the news, AND in spite of Sean Hannity reminding me of what Jesus said in John 14 at the close of every program, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” - I still find my heart weighed down by so much of what I see happening in our nation and world.
I mean here is just a spattering of recent headlines from the last week or so…
Clearly, we are living in a world that is encumbered with deep problems, and as a Christian, I find myself thinking about how to respond to these things in prayer – knowing that the at the root, the problems that we are facing are ultimately the result of the spiritual battle that raging all around us.
Remember, that the enemy has one mission and that is to steal, kill and destroy – and to be honest, he is extremely effective at it.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
And I think that there is a danger of simply glossing over what the Holy Spirit is saying though the Apostle Paul. He is trying to tell us how the enemy has aligned himself against this world and is painting a picture of demonic military ranks. Let me show you what I’m talking about…
First – Paul uses the word “principality” which in the Greek means “ancient times” but is also used to describe those who hold incredibly high positions of rank and authority – SO by using this word, the Apostle is telling us that at the very top of Satan’s demonic army are fallen angels that are so powerful that they have held their high positions since ancient times.
Second – Paul uses the word “powers” which actually means “delegated authority” if you study out the Greek word, and it describes a class of demons that operate under the authority of the principalities that we just talked about - AND these "powers" likely have authority over regions, like we see in Daniel 10, when the Prince of Persia withstood the angel of the Lord, that was sent to Daniel with the answer to his prayers – and it was only when the angel Michael showed up that Daniel’s messenger angel was able to break through the satanic stronghold in that region.
Third – Paul then lists the “rulers of this dark age” which is an interesting phrase in the Greek, that describes an organized and trained demonic army, that are being given tasks and assignments to carry out.
AND fourth – Paul describes the “spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places” and this phrase describes a plurality of malevolent, evil, vicious, and vile entities that have set themselves against this world and everyone who lives in it.
I know that this is a bit sobering, and even difficult to wrap your head around depending on how you were raised. I mean the thought of a very real war in the spirit realm, that is driving force behind every form of evil and wickedness in this fallen world, just isn’t rational… is it?
Well, let me answer that with another question – Is it rational for a Christian to believe God’s Word?
Of course, it is.
That’s why the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13 that we are to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
He further tells us to: center our life in God’s truth – that we are to boldly stand in the righteousness that was given to us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross – that we are to be people of great faith as we encounter the enemy – that salvation is meant to guard our mind and heart – and that we are to be people who are on the offensive spiritually, and use our prayers to destroy the work of the enemy!
BUT living in this type of authority requires us to take God at His Word and come into agreement with Him.
Because spiritual authority operates in conjunction with the Law of Agreement, that God established when He created Adam and Eve.
The Law of Agreement is this: the more we come into agreement with God and His Word, the more of His goodness He is able to release into this world – BUT when we sit by and do nothing or come into agreement with the lies of the enemy, then darkness increases.
The problem is that many Christians are way too spiritually passive – Oh, they pray and ask God to do something about the devil – BUT then absolutely nothing happens, because God has already done something about the devil – and He is waiting for us to use the authority that was won by Christ on the cross.
One of the most common mistakes that I see, is that many Christians mentally acknowledge that Satan is defeated, and that his authority has been stripped from Him – AND that’s where it stops.
BUT the news headlines aren’t going to change unless these wicked, vile and malevolent demonic forces are challenged by people who are willing to stand in agreement with God's Word and pray in great spiritual boldness. That's why, I want to challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to specifically put things on your heart for prayer, as you watch the news - and I challenge you to be bold, to be courageous, and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit - because your prayers truly matter.
Scriptures for further study:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
1 John 5:14-15
We live in a very uncertain world. If you don’t believe this all you have to do is turn on the television and spend 30 minutes watching world news — the U.S economy is in crisis, violence in our cities is out of control, war always seems eminent in the Middle East, we are on the brink of a new cold war with Russia, and there are literally millions of people who have crossed our Southern Border illegally. It seems that shootings at schools and public places in America are on the rise – AND our political landscape is completely polarized.
I could go on, but I think you see where I am going with this…
There is no doubt that we are living in uncertain times, but we need to remember that the Bible was written (by and to) people who lived in uncertain times. Whether it was Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery, or David facing Goliath, or the intense persecution that faced the early church as Christianity spread during the first century.
However, I’ve seen that the Word of God takes on its greatest relevance during times of crisis, uncertainty, and turmoil. My point being that while life is uncertain, God is not - and as Christians, this perspective should ground our lives – in the knowledge that God is still in control, and it should dictate how we speak, act, and live.
Let me show you this from the life of Hezekiah – you can read the story for your self in 2 Chronicles 29-31.
Let me give you some context…
In 722 BC, shortly after the death of King Solomon, Israel was divided into the Northern Kingdom, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Seven years earlier, a 25-year-old Hezekiah became the king of Judah.
AND while Hezekiah didn’t grow up with strong spiritual convictions, he married the daughter of the prophet Zechariah, and his best friend happened to be the prophet, Isaiah.
Well, at the time that he came to the throne of Judah, Israel had become apostate and were completely engrossed in worshipping the false gods of the pagan nations around them, and the Temple of Solomon had been turned into a storage unit for the royal family. BUT if you read the story from our text above, you’ll find that Hezekiah spent more than a decade working to bring about repentance and spiritual reformation in Israel.
BUT by the time we come to 2 Chronicles 32, Sennacherib, the King of Assyria had turned his sights towards the Southern Kingdom of Judah, and he raised a massive army to lay siege to its cities.
Yet, here is Hezekiah living a righteous life and doing everything possible to bring about revival, and then this happens?
My point being, that in times like this, it’s easy to lose your faith perspective and allow a spirit of fear to take root in your life and begin to call the shots.
Amazingly, Hezekiah understood that while life and its circumstances can be uncertain – that God is not! AND the moment that learns that the King of Assyria is planning to attack, he steps out in incredible faith by ordering that the walls of Jerusalem were to be inspected and any weak areas repaired, and he fortified the entire city. Then, knowing that the Assyrian army would have to cross large desert areas, he blocked off all the remote springs and wells throughout the region – so that the enemy would have no access to them, and no place to find water.
To make a long story short, Hezekiah fixed what was broken and strengthened what was weak – because he refused to give the enemy a foothold into his kingdom.
Listen closely to what I am about to say, because I believe that this is incredibly relevant for our times: there is no doubt that as believers we are on the front lines of a political and cultural war that is attacking the very foundation of anything that resembles conservative or Biblical values, literally calling good, evil – and evil, good.
AND it seems that in this demonic war, there is nothing that is off the table – the very definitions of right and wrong – moral and immoral – just and unjust – are under attack in both a civil way and ideologically.
Look at what King Hezekiah did — After setting all this in motion, King Hezekiah boldly addressed the nation saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” — 2 Chronicles 32:6-8
When the enemy attacks, you must strengthen your life, speak words of faith, walk in absolute assurance of God’s faithfulness, AND you have to look closely at your life and determine if there are things that will empower the enemy against you.
See, just like Hezekiah there will be times when standing for what is righteous and serving God will require tremendous courage.
What's Happening in Our World Today...
These articles cover current events and world issues from a Biblical and prophecy based perspective, with an eye for showing the believer how to pray, and live victoriously in these prophetic times.