Grace and Truth

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Jacob’s Two Wives: a Picture of Israel and the Church

Jacob’s life in the Old Testament is a picture of dispensational truth.  As we know, his life was far from perfect, yet God still used it to teach us some eternal truths about God’s program for both Israel and the Church.

Remember: The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed. The New Testament sheds light on the Old Testament. And the New is concealed in the shadows of the Old – it is hidden, but it is there for those who like to search for hidden treasure.

 

God’s Program: Israel & The Church

  • Christ came the first time to Israel and was rejected by those He came to save
  • They have been set aside for a time
  • He is now calling out a Gentile Bride, the Church
  • After she is called out, He will return again to Israel
  • This time He will be their Saviour, Deliverer and Lord
  • Then He shall establish His kingdom on earth
  • And every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord of all

 

God made a covenant with Abraham:

“Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:15-18

Then the covenant was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob

Abraham               —›             Isaac         —›             Jacob Israel

(God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel”).  Israel had 12 sons, which became the 12 tribes of Israel: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Isaachar, Judah, Levi, Mannaseh, Naphtali, Rueben, Simeon, Zebulun

 

God’s promises were made to Israel

Sometimes the Church forgets that the New Covenant was made to Israel & Judah:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 (emphasis mine)

But Israel rejected their Messiah, as prophesied in Isaiah 53, so God turned to the Gentiles

The Gentiles

“And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Isaiah 49:5, 6

  • “I will call them My people who were not My people and her beloved, who was not beloved” Romans 9:25
  • “Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” Romans 11:25

So now the Gentiles are being brought in to the New Covenant that God made with Israel.  As Gentiles we are as branches from a wild olive tree, being grafted in to the Jewish olive tree, ie the New Covenant that God made with the House of Judah and Israel.  We are grafted in by faith in the Messiah Christ Jesus. (see Romans 11:16-24).  By faith He is making “one new man”, that is His Bride/the Church, from both Jew and Gentile believers.

“He is  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:14-16

However God has not finished with Israel “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jer 31:3

Which leads to …

 

Jacob & His Two Wives

Genesis 29

Jacob here is a picture of Jesus Christ:

The Type : Jacob The Anti-Type : Christ Jesus
Jacob chosen by God, even though 2nd born son Christ is the Second Adam
Esau forfeited his birthright, it passed to Jacob Adam forfeited his birthright. God sent the second Man who is to receive the birthright of the firstborn Son of God: ie the dominion of the earth
Jacob was hated by his brother Esau Christ was hated by His brethren
He was driven in to exile in a far country Jesus left His Father’s house and came to earth
Jacob was treated badly in a far country, became as a servant

 

Christ came as a bond-servant in human form and was crucified
He married a bride in a far country Christ purchased His bride with His shed blood in the far country ie the earth
Then returned to claim his possession / inheritance Christ will come again to claim His possession/ inheritance, the earth

 

Jacobs Two Wives, Rachel & Leah

Jacob chose Rachel first. He laboured for her.  But at the end of his labour he didn’t receive her, he received a different bride, Leah.

He then served 7 more years for Rachel.

But second bride Leah was fruitful and bore Jacob many children.  Rachel was barren: until she cried out to God in distress.

Jacob chose Rachel first but she was set aside for a time while Leah bore many children and took her place.

Rachel = Israel

Leah = the Church

Israel today is barren and the Church is fulfilling the purposes of God. However when the Church is taken up in the rapture, then the Lord will deal with Israel again, in the Tribulation.  It is when Israel cries out to God in distress that she will too become fruitful and many will turn to Jehovah through the instrument of Israel.

“…that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness 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 (Israel); for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins’.” Romans 11:25-27

Hanukkah holds hidden secrets to end-time prophecy

menorah-300x183

Most Christians think of Hanukkah as “that nice little Jewish holiday,” but they miss the deeper meaning, says best-selling author and Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. They picture Jewish families spinning dreidels, lighting menorahs and eating fried potato pancakes. But there’s more to this eight-day holiday, which begins at sundown Sunday. “It actually holds a big,… Continue reading


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The UN, The Pope, Israel & The Significance of 70 Years (Ten Shemitahs)

“Welcome to September 2015. There are numerous events that are quickly coming upon us that might – or might not – have bibsprophetic implications. All we are sure of is that this is a season to watch and pray. We prayed for the Church worldwide to do just that and to not be deceived by false prophetic messages.” Intercessors for Israel

Some significant known “world” events are about to take place shortly.

Readers will no doubt be aware of some, if not all and more, of the forthcoming events as noted below:

 

Extract From the “Prophetic Calendar 2015”

PLEASE PRAY!  The Kingdom of God days are right before us!   Pray for the peace, Shalom of Jerusalem Psalm 122 and confess Psalm 91 over Israel and the people in the land. We have been confessing these two Psalms over Israel over and over again as there is power in God’s word and God is faithful, He watches over Israel and His covenant with the people and the land.

September 13-14 – End of the Shemitah year. In 2001 and 2008, both Shemitah years ended with the beginning of Wall Street crashes.

September 15 – The UN General Assembly will begin.  This will mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Charter.

France plans to introduce a resolution would “set an 18-month timetable for Israelis and Palestinians to agree on a two-state solution. It would call for recognition of Palestinian statehood if the talks do not bear fruit.”

September 20 – The re-established and self-declared Israeli Sanhedrin composed of 71 sages are placing Pope Francis on trial. If Pope Francis chooses to ignore the summons, he will be judged in absentia.

September 23 – Yom Kippur and also marks the Jubilee of Jerusalem to the day.

September 23 – Yom Kippur – The Pope and Obama scheduled to meet. (This note added by this writer).

September 24 – Pope Francis will address Congress. This will be the first time a Pope has ever addressed Congress.

September 25-27 – The United Nations is going to launch a brand new sustainable development agenda for the entire planet. The agenda includes provisions regarding environment, economics, agriculture, education and gender equality. On September 25th, the Pope will travel to New York to give a major speech kicking off the UN conference where this new agenda will be unveiled.

 

Comment: The Significance of 70 Years (or Ten Shemitah Years)

70 years is a significant time period. Biblically it represents man’s promised lifespan – three score and ten – and 70 years was also the time the Israelites spent in captivity in Babylon for their transgression against God’s commands regarding the land.

Seventy years ago, 1945 being a Shemitah year, a number of significant events took place. Following is a list of some of them, one of which is already noted above:

  • WW II ended. Many nations have recently celebrated its ending; much of these celebrations have been conducted with pride and self-aggrandisement. God hates pride. It was pride that led to Satan’s downfall.

 

  • The US exploded two atom bombs in Japan, so bringing in the era of the atomic bomb. It was a horrific and barbaric act, especially when a second bomb was dropped after the results from the first were known. This writer is not a pacifist, but cannot condone the US’s actions then.

 

  • The United Nations charter was adopted. Undoubtedly the UN was set up with good intentions aimed at bringing order to the world, especially after the horrors of WW II. Unfortunately its record has not been good. Not only has it been in the forefront of plans to bring in “New World Order” agendas but it has failed miserably in administering its mandate, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, where it has mostly assumed a partisan position. For instance some 2300 Security Council resolutions have been passed since inception; a disproportionate number of which were directly and extremely hostile towards Israel.

bible_prophecy1

 

Currently: the World and the Church

  • The world is in a mess right now. Civil morality must surely be running at its lowest level since the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah, not far from the levels of violence and depravity seen then. The world’s economic situation is extremely fragile and likely to get worse. The security situation in the Middle East is out of control. Europe is facing a huge influx of illegal migrants. Africa is in a shambles and so it goes on!

 

  • Despite all the grandstanding and posturing by politicians, central bankers and security and military personnel, they clearly have lost control and don’t know how to resolve these problems.

 

  • Worst of all, the Christian churches are also in disarray with many succumbing to political correctness. Many are now only Christian in name and do not adhere fully to God’s word.

 

  • Yet for many, life somehow mostly seems to carry on as normal.

 

The Near Future: The World and the Church

  • The deal between the P 5+1 nations and Iran is likely to be ratified soon in the US and the UN. A number of nations in the Middle East, especially Israel, are vehemently opposed to it fearing for their safety.

 

  • Palestinian statehood is looming nearer. This will undoubtedly involve Israel being forced to give-up land and parts of Jerusalem.
  • The UN is to push the issue of gender equality (no doubt with an increased push for enforcing the special privileges to be grantedun to same sex couples). Christians will increasingly find themselves on the “wrong” side of these agendas.

 

  • Man, as represented through the UN, will continue to defy God.

 

Conclusion

Expect major problems and tumults in the near future as the world continues to defy God, especially regarding His land – see Joel 3:2. God will not stand idly by forever. We surely are in the season of Judgment.

(When we speak of God, we mean the One and only God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Triune God.)

 

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in our series “Bible Prophecy”.

 

Related Articles:

The Shemitah

2014/2015 Blood Moons: A Wake Up Call

Bible Prophecy: Warning to Nations

Bible Prophecy: Significant and Dangerous Times for Israel


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The Shemitah

At this time there is a lot of discussion going on about “The Shemitah”. So what is it and why should we be interested in it?fact sh

Before I begin to answer these questions, I want to mention that the notes which follow will not attempt to cover this subject in great detail but will try to give a brief outline about it, so that readers will have a better idea of what it is. For anyone wanting to study it in greater depth, I would refer them to the many good publications available giving more detail about the Shemitah.

 

A Day of Rest

Without stating the obvious, everybody knows that the week consists of seven days – from Sunday, the first day of the week, through to Saturday the last day of the week. In the Book of Genesis we read that after six days, when God had finished His creation, He rested on the seventh day, blessed it and made it holy (Genesis chapter 2 verses 1 to 3).

When God rested on the seventh day following His creation, He thereby established the seventh day as a day of rest and holiness. But it was not until the Israelites had left Egypt in the Exodus that we learn where, for the first time, they were commanded to observe the Sabbath. There we read that the Sabbath was to be a day when the Israelites ceased any worldly activities, rested and devoted the day to the Lord; the Lord laying down severe penalties for anyone who did not observe it (Exodus 31:14 – 15).

For Jews, Saturday is the Sabbath, the day of rest, the day set aside to worship God. The word Sabbath is a Hebrew word meaning rest. Christianity has moved away from Saturday worship to Sunday worship. I am not going to go into any discussion here about which day is the right day to worship, especially as I believe that we as Christians should anyway be continually worshiping our God and not reserve that for only one day in the week.

 

A Year of Rest

So while we understand that every seventh day should be regarded as a Sabbath, what is not as well known is that every seventh year is a Sabbath year. (I use the present tense because it is a permanent requirement by the Lord even though it is not properly observed today.) In Leviticus chapter 25:1 – 4, we read where the Lord commanded the children of Israel that, when they came into the land He was to give them, the land itself was to observe a Sabbath to Him. They were to work the land for six years “But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord”.

Not only was the land to lie fallow, but the year was to be kept separate because, unlike any of the previous six years, no work was to be done: no sowing, planting or gathering was to take place. The lands, fields, vineyards and groves were to be left to the poor and anyone could eat from them (Exodus 23:10 – 11). In ancient times this could be easily done, but in this modern world it would be much more difficult to achieve and would be a somewhat radical undertaking. Yet the Lord commanded it and would undoubtedly prosper those who abide by it.

 

The Sabbath Year and Connection to God’s Judgment

In Leviticus chapter 26 the Lord tells the Israelites that He will bless them if they keep His commands: these include references to the land. However, as He did with His commands concerning the keeping of the Sabbath day, He also told them that He would punish them if they disobeyed Him regarding the rest the land was to receive, again laying down punishments they would get in the event of disobedience. In verses 33 to 35 of Leviticus 26, the Lord clearly told them what sort of punishment they could expect if they disobeyed His commands regarding the land. He said: “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its Sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the Sabbaths you lived in it.”

Many years before they were taken into captivity in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah was given a word from the Lord warning the Israelites that because of their disobedience they would go into captivity in Babylon for seventy years. They were also told that when the seventy years were completed they would return: their punishment would be over because the land would have received the rest it had been denied previously (Jeremiah 25:11 – 12).

It is an interesting historical fact that the Israelites were in the land for 490 years: from the time they occupied the land until they were led away in captivity to Babylon. In that 490 year period there were seventy Sabbaths. We know that the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon for seventy years, as prophesied by Jeremiah in chapter 25:11 – 12, that being their punishment and also the time required for “the land to enjoy its Sabbath years all the time that it lay desolate and they were in the country of their enemies.”

 

source: idisciple.org

source: idisciple.org

The Lord’s Release – Shemitah

In addition to the requirement to observe Sabbath years, the Israelites were also required to cancel all debts on the last day of each Sabbath year. The Lord commanded that on the last day of the Sabbath year, all debts were to be cancelled. In English this is referred to as “the Lord’s release” (Deut. 15:1 – 2). It is from the Hebrew for “release” that we get the word “Shemitah”. In the Hebrew calendar the last day of a Sabbath year is Elul 29 which, by the Gregorian calendar, falls mainly during the month of September, although on a few occasions it occurs during the first few days of October.

Although the last day of the seventh year was called the Shemitah, in time the whole year was referred to as the Shemitah year. The Shemitah is a reminder that God is the source of all blessings; both spiritual and physical and when God is removed from life then removal of the blessings will also follow.

 

The Shemitah and Israel Now

Now that many Jews are back in most of the land, and are themselves in control of it, do they observe the Lord’s requirements for the Sabbath year and the Shemitah day? The answer is basically no, although there are examples of some who have done so and are known to have prospered from it. However, the majority do not but, with the help of rabbis, many amongst them who are convicted to try to keep the Shemitah year and day, resort to all sorts of manoeuvring to get around the biblical requirements. For instance, some schemes involve “selling” land to foreigners or special courts at the beginning of the Shemitah year, continuing to work the land, and “buying” it back at the end of the year. They have devised similar schemes regarding the release of debts on Elul 29! The idea behind these schemes is that the law applies to Jews and not to foreigners or special courts; the latter being regarded as acceptable because they are not individuals, so are not bound by the Lord’s decrees.

So in a roundabout way many in Israel today are keeping the requirements of the Sabbath year including the release of debts on its last day. However, religious Jews do not accept these practices and one can only wonder what God thinks about all the scheming going on regarding the land and the release of debts on Elul 29. In the example of the exile to Babylon, we have seen that the Israelites were severely judged and punished when they failed to observe Sabbath years.

 

The Shemitah and Other Nations

The big question facing us now is: “Does the Shemitah apply to nations other than Israel”?

I cannot find a direct biblical answer to this question although we do know that God does punish gentiles and nations, including Israel, for disobedience towards Him. However, as Jonathan Cahn suggests in his book The Mystery of The Shemitah, throughout history there have been many recorded events that have occurred at the time of the Shemitah, or shortly afterwards, negatively affecting nations; too many to be written off as mere coincidence. These events have taken the form of economic or other problems or the start of wars. The other question we need to consider is whether the Shemitah applies when the Jews are not back in the land and in control of it as was the case before 1948. Even here the answer appears to be yes, especially when we look at the example of developments against the Jews of Germany in 1938, a Shemitah year.

 

When is the Next Shemitah?

It is important to note at this point, that going back to ancient records, Jewish scholars have been able to accurately identify when the fact sh 2Shemitah years occur. Even as I write now we are coming to the end of the current Shemitah year. It ends on Elul 29th which this year is from sunset on 13th September, 2015, through to sunset on 14th September per the Gregorian calendar; about a month hence.

Before listing some of the “upheavals” that have fallen at the end, or about the end of Shemitah Years, it would be well to consider the timing of the Shemitah years. They begin on Tishri 1, or Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish civil year, and end on Elul 29. It is important to point out here that in the northern hemisphere the Shemitah year begins and ends at the time of the summer harvests. As pointed out earlier this is usually during September.

 

Notable Events Which Occurred At or Near the End of Recent Shemitah Years

1973. The “Yom Kippur War” – October 6th to 25th. Although the war began badly for Israel, it managed to win that war but it took a heavy toll on Israel and Israelis. More importantly, the longer term aftermath of this war resulted in enormously negative consequences for Israel itself and the world at large – the rise of Arab hegemony. I consider its negative after-effects to equal those of WW1 and WWII.

1987. The big “Black Monday” stock market crash on October 19th occurred only four weeks after the end of the Shemitah year on September 23rd. In this instance the fallout from the crash turned out to be surprisingly small although it took two years for global markets to recover.

2001. The stock market plunge on September 17th and the following global economic and political uncertainty was undoubtedly triggered by the Al Qaida attacks in America on 9th September, 2001. The stock market was immediately closed and reopened on September 17th, the last day of the Shemitah.

2008. The infamous GFC – Global Financial Crisis. The stock market crash happened on September 29th 2008 – Elul 29th!

2015. 13 – 14 September ? ? ? September 17th is the final Day for US Congress to vote concerning the “Iranian Deal” – the deal aimed at curbing Iranian nuclear expansion. It is a bad deal for Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, yet is being promoted otherwise by the US Administration and the key nations involved in the deal – the P5+1.

Everyone can hardly fail to realise that the world is in turmoil, economically, militarily, naturally and spiritually and is surely ripe for judgment. The news is full of it; a lot predicting very difficult days ahead.

Thus the final question we need to ask is: “Are we likely to experience any major negative developments in the world this September or within a short time after the end of the Shemitah year and after the day of the Shemitah on 17th September?”

All I can suggest is: “Don’t be surprised if major upheavals occur during the coming months”.

In closing, I would like to remind readers that, as Christians, we need to remember Jesus’ injunction:

“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in our series “Bible Prophecy”.

 

Related Articles:

Blood Moons 2014/2015: A Wake Up Call

Bible Prophecy: We are close to Christ’s Return

Bible Prophecy: Warning to Nations

 


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Bible Prophecy: Significant and Dangerous Times for Israel

bloodmooninjerusalem

source: pray4zion

Blood Moons, Passover & Nisan

When God prepared to take the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He decreed that the first Passover would take place on the eve of the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish religious calendar. Subsequently that first month was called Nisan. He further decreed that each year on the eve of 14th Nisan through to the eve of Nisan 15th, Passover would be celebrated as a festival to the Lord. The full story is found in Exodus chapter 12.

This year, 2015, Passover was celebrated beginning on the eve April 3rd through to the eve of April 4th.

We believe it is also important to point out that this year two blood red moons, total lunar eclipses, occur/ed. The first has already occurred on April 4th, Passover, and the other will occur on the 28th September, Feast of Tabernacles.  In Genesis chapter 1 we read that they, the two lights in the sky, serve as lights and also signs, but in Joel chapter 2 we read that the sun will turn dark and the moon to blood before the coming of the Day of the Lord. In Matthew 24 Jesus also refers to the moon failing to give its light at a time when the Son of Man appears again.

While we do not wish to place undue emphasis on the appearance of blood red moons over Israel, we would like to point out that when they have occurred in the past, significant events have occurred which had a great impact on Israel and the Jews.  According to ancient Jewish tradition, a lunar eclipse is a harbinger of bad things for Israel.  If that eclipse is blood red, tradition regards it as a sign that war is coming.  And blood red moons that happen during Biblical festivals seem to be particularly significant.

Another  date  of  significance  occurred  this  year.  That date  being  13th Nisan,  or  in  the Gregorian calendar, April 2nd 2015, the day before the eve of Passover commenced.

Nisan 13th, 474 B.C.

King Xerxes (One night with the King)

King Xerxes (One night with the King)

But first, before we look at the importance of this date as it relates to 2015, let us go back nearly 2500 years to Nisan 13th, 474 B.C. The book of Esther chapter 3 records that on that date King Xerxes of Persia, modern day Iran, issued orders, sealed personally by him, for all the Jews to be killed and annihilated on the 13th day of the last month of the year, called Adar; that was to be eleven months after the signing of the initial decree.

These orders had been engineered by Haman, one of the king’s nobles, who held a grudge against the Jew Mordecai  and his people.  Later we read that  through the intervention of Queen Esther, the

Haman (One Night with the King

Haman (One Night with the King

tables were turned on Haman and all those who planned to kill the Jews.  Not only was Haman hanged but the king issued a decree enabling the Jews to arm and defend themselves on the very day that the Jews were themselves to have been annihilated on Adar 13.

Nisan 13th, 2015 (2nd April, 2015)

Fast forward now from 13th Nisan 474 B.C. to the 13th Nisan, 2015 – or 2nd April, 2015, the day before Passover Eve.

What happened of significance on this day this year that is of concern for Israel?

source: news.com.au

source: news.com.au

On that day the P5+1, US, UK Russia, France China plus Germany, announced that a framework deal had been agreed upon between themselves and Iran (Persia) to enable Iran to continue with elements of its nuclear programme. Once the final agreement is signed, set for a future date, sanctions will be lifted. Of course Iranians were Jubilant, but many called for the destruction of Israel and Jews.

We know full well that Israeli leaders are very concerned about the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran and that the agreement so far does not appear to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in the near future; something being played down, especially by president Obama. Furthermore president Obama has also played down the need for the agreement torouhani include a clause recognising Israel, as he seemed concerned that it would jeopardise any agreement. Surely that alone speaks volumes about Iran’s trustworthiness!

So in modern times, as in the times of Esther, there are those who are actively seeking to wipe Israel off the map even to the timing of such events lining up with the biblical past; Iran being in the forefront of that movement.

Conclusion

Can we draw any conclusion from these events?  Yes we believe we can.

Within the next few months Israel can expect to have to face some very difficult times, even a threat to her very

source: thomfiles.wordpress.com

source: thomfiles.wordpress.com

existence but in the near future can also expect an “Esther” to arise and turn the tables on those plotting to destroy her, even to retribution against them – the end date, as it was in 474/5 B.C. was 13 Adar, sometime in March 2016.

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in our series “Bible Prophecy”.


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Bible Prophecy: In the News?

As we sit in front of our televisions and observe the present conflict going on between Israel and

Source:wikipedia

Source:wikipedia

Hamas in Gaza, one cannot help but recall that Gaza is sometimes mentioned in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Following are a few important scriptures concerning Gaza and we cautiously ask whether any of these scriptures have any relevance to this present conflict?

Firstly, we wish to point out that some of these scriptures prophesied events that were to take place shortly after those prophecies were given; when God was angry at the way the Philistines had treated His Covenant People. However, it is also worth pointing out that the Bible is often written with “multiple fulfillment” in mind; that is there may be numerous fulfillments of a particular prophecy until the final prophetic fulfillment occurs. The classic example is the appearance of the antichrist. A number of antichrists have already appeared, such as Antiochus Epiphanes, until the “final” antichrist appears. This is confirmed in 1 John 2:18 where we are told that many antichrists have already come. So is it possible that those prophecies of old have any relevance to the situation in Gaza today?

Whether they point to the present conflict or not, they are nevertheless important to consider in the light of this present conflict.

Jeremiah 47:5

Verse 1 of chapter 47 of Jeremiah tells us that the prophecy was written before Pharaoh attacked Gaza and in verse 5 it was fulfilled when Pharaoh attacked. Yet we have to ask the question whether it is not being fulfilled yet again at this point in time? It reads:

“ Gaza will shave her head in mourning; . . . “

Gaza is presently in a terrible state; much of it because its own foolish behaviour towards Israel.

Amos 1:6-7

6 This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom, 7I will send fire upon the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses. . . . . “”

It is thought that the “whole communities” referred to in that scripture were in south Judah. Yet, in many ways does this not describe what has been going on there now? Certainly through use of their tunnels, Hamas operatives planned to abduct Israelis and take them back to Gaza where they were to be held hostage and possibly even killed. Certainly Gaza has had reprisal heaped upon her.

 

Zephaniah 1:14 reads:

“The great day of the Lord is near- near and coming quickly.”

Verses 4 to 7 of chapter 2 are about judgment on Philistia, of which Gaza was a part. Here we specifically look at verse 4 of chapter 2 which reads:

Gaza will be abandoned . . . “

In these passages Zephaniah is exhorting all to repent, not only Gaza, before the destruction comes that will sweep over the earth in the day of God’s wrath.

Zechariah 9:5

Zechariah chapter 9 is a Judgment on Israel’s enemies. In verse 9 we read:

“. . . . ; Gaza will writhe in agony, . . . “

Surely we can say that at this time Gaza is in agony; presently as the Israelis try to destroy the bases from which rockets and other acts of war have been aimed at her. But there will come a time when God Himself does it – for His own name’s sake.

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.


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Bible Prophecy: Brother Against Brother

When we look at what has been going on in Syria since the beginning

Image courtesy of transconflict.com

Image courtesy of transconflict.com

of 2011 and when we look at what is going on in Iraq at present, we surely cannot help but be horrified by all the seemingly senseless killing going on: faction against faction, each wanting to be in absolute control. We know that religiously all the combatants essentially follow the same faith, although we know they have split into two main groups, Sunni and Shia, and mostly they also have the same ethnic heritage; the majority of Syrians referring to themselves as Arabs while Iraq’s dominant ethnic group are regarded as the Iraqi Arabs.

This is not about who is right or who is wrong in the conflicts taking place there at present, nor is it about the involvement of the US, Russia, Britain or Europe, whether directly or from behind the scenes, but it is an attempt to try to get some understanding of the root causes of the whole situation there.

As Christians we cannot help but be reminded of Ishmael and Esau from whom the Arabs are descended. At this point it will be meaningful to look at a few scriptures regarding these two “patriarch’s” of the Arab people.

Firstly, and importantly, we learn that through “the angel of the Lord” God granted a special blessing to Ishmael. Speaking to Hagar, who was then pregnant with Ishmael, “the angel of the Lord” said:

“I will so increase your descendents that they will be too numerous to count”. (Gen. 16:10.)

Later in Genesis 17:20, God reaffirms this promise to Ishmael.

hagar

However, in Genesis 16:12 the angel of the Lord also announced to Hagar that her son, Ishmael,

“will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. (Gen 16:12.)

As for Esau, we learn that included in Isaac’s blessing to him, were the words that he was destined to “live by the sword”. (Gen 27:40.)

In both these scriptures, without being too simplistic, we seem to find a fitting and vivid description of the incessant feuding that goes on between the Arabs themselves, their neighbours and others: a situation that has been going on since those words were spoken by God and by Isaac and one which we surely are witnessing going on now in Syria and Iraq?

In time to come we will see this happen again; but on this occasion it will be a much larger conflict than any the world has witnessed to date. It will also be a conflict in which God Himself gets directly involved on Israel’s behalf. At that time God will intervene and through His intervention he will magnify His Name. As a result both Israel and the nations will know that He is the Lord; that it was He who defeated Israel’s enemies.

Here we refer to the war described by Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39 of his book, when he tells of a vast army led by Gog of Magog which comes against Israel: most commentators interpret this army as being a coalition of Arabic nations led by Russia.

God uses a number of supernatural events to all but wipe out this vast army. However, one interesting method God uses is found in Ezekiel 38:21 where He says: “I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother.” Not only will God use a number of supernatural means to defeat the coalition led by Gog, but the coalition of Israel’s enemies will turn on itself!

It will surely be a repeat of what we are witnessing now and what has been foretold in God’s Word and, in view of what we see going on at present as well as noting who the parties are that are now involved, dare we ask whether we are even now seeing the build up to this terrible war?

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.

(Note: All quotes are from the NIV Bible.)


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Blood Moon Coming Tomorrow (Passover) Night

The Blood Moon will be visible in our sky’s here in Mid and Eastern Australia (!) tomorrow night (Passover night on blood moonTuesday).

“The total lunar eclipse on 15 April is one of two for this year, and will begin before the Moon rises, says Dr Nick Lomb, consultant astronomer and curator, Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory…

Lomb says a twilight total lunar eclipse is quite rare.

“Just as the Sun is setting, the Moon will be rising, and it will be totally eclipsed, which should be fairly spectacular,” he says.

But because the eclipse will happen so low in the sky, to see it you will need to make sure there are no trees, hills or buildings in the way.

“The essential thing is to have a really clear view towards the eastern horizon.”

The Moon will already be eclipsed when it rises at 5:28 pm AEST, but at that stage the sky will still be quite bright, warns Lomb

“So it might be hard to see a slight reddish fudge on the horizon,” he says.

But wait five minutes for the Sun to set and you could be in for a treat.

“It’s a fair chance it will become a reasonably bright reddish Moon,”
says Lomb.

He says while the Moon is usually blood red, because the Earth’s atmosphere refracts light from the Sun, this colour is not guaranteed.

This is because the atmosphere could make the Moon too dark to see. But, says Lomb, since there is no volcanic activity around, this is unlikely to be a problem.

By 5:46 pm AEST, the Moon will be in the middle of Earth’s dark shadow and from 6:25 pm AEST it will start leaving the shadow.

Even if there are clouds, Lomb says people should still be able to see this partial eclipse, lasting until 7:33 pm AEST.

“Even if people can’t see the Moon when it’s red they should still be able to see the Moon creep out of the Earth’s shadow and that’s still interesting.”

From:   http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/04/14/3984921.htm

Read more about the significance of the Blood Moons here

 

 


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Bible Prophecy: Do Not Be Deceived

deceptionIn Matthew 24:3, when four of Jesus’ disciples asked Him “ . . . what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age”, before listing the events that would occur prior to the end of the age, Jesus warned them in Matthew 24:4 “ . . . Watch out that no one deceives you. . . . ” In Mark 13:3–5 and Luke 21:7-8 we also read about this interaction between Jesus and those disciples.

The first thing to note in the disciples’ question is that they linked Jesus’ coming again and the end of the age together. Jesus, in His answer, did not refute this so we can know that His coming and the end of the age will happen simultaneously. It may seem obvious but is, nevertheless, worth highlighting.

Following up on His warning to those disciples not to be deceived, He immediately warns them to be on the lookout for the appearance of false Christs’ and not to go running after them. Most Christians would automatically assume that, since they are followers of Jesus, know and regularly study God’s Word and regularly fellowship with other believers, such a thing could not happen to them. Clearly, in the way Jesus warned His disciples and ultimately us, that will not necessarily be the case and should be a sobering reminder to us that it is possible to be deceived. However, we surely can also take some comfort from Jesus’ answer when He tells us to “Watch Out”, meaning that if we are alert we can avoid being deceived.

Many Christians believe that we are nearing the end of the age and that many of the signs Jesus and other prophets spoke about are beginning to manifest themselves. That being the case, we are surely nearing the time when Christians could face being deceived. So what are we to do and to watch out for?

If we stop to think about what we are to watch out for, surely some answers are already staring us in the face? The main one, we would suggest, is the falling away from the faith, or apostasy, that is continually taking place today and the deception that goes with it; a situation ripe for false Christs to appear and be followed. In Matthew 24:10 Jesus said it would happen. These are His Words: “At that time many will turn away from the faith . . . . .” In many Christian denominations we constantly see God’s Word being changed and watered down by their leaders and accepted by many in their congregations. In doing so these leaders and congregations have not only moved away from God’s Word but are also setting themselves up to be deceived by false Christs. It seems easier for them to fall into line with secular standards than keeping to God’s standards.

The uncomfortable reality is that you will know you are on the right track not to be deceived when you start beingtruth ies persecuted! In Matthew 24:9 Jesus said: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Some Christians around the world are already facing such persecution.

We believe we need not only “Watch Out” but need to warn other Christians not to become complacent or compromise God’s Word, in addition continually asking God to help us keep to His path. Of course, we also need to carry on with our efforts to bring the Gospel to the notice of others who do not yet know or have a relationship with Jesus.

(Note: All quotes are from the NIV Bible.)

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.

 

 


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Blood Moons 2014/2015: A Wake Up Call

blood moonAs Russia begins the annex of Crimea, Israel closes all of its foreign embassies around the world – for the first time ever – (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/23/us-israel-diplomacy-idUSBREA2M0ER20140323?feedType=RSS), Turkey shoots down a Syrian plane overnight (http://www.smh.com.au/world/turkey-shoots-down-syrian-plane-20140324-hvlzy.html) and the mystery of missing flight MH370 continues, we are certainly living in interesting times.

To top this off the first of the Blood Moons is due in 3 weeks, on Passover, April 14, 15.  This Blood Moon will be the first in an unusual Tetrad of Blood Moons falling on Feast days in 2014 and 2015. In the Bible the books of Joel, Acts and Revelations talk of the Blood moons as one of the signs of the Day of the Lord.  Could these signs be pointing to something significant for us?

Enoch Lavender has written on this fascinating topic…

Davo’s Big Break

David – or Davo as his mates called him – was over the moon. After years of patiently developing his business, his business ideas had caught the eye of the prominent Chinese business leader Mr. Wang. Mr Wang had announced that he was going to make a special trip to Australia to see David and find out more – and they had excitedly arranged to meet at the airport.

There was only one catch – they were to meet on Chinese New Year and Davo had no clue what this meant. “I reckon it must be on the 1st of January”, Davo said to himself, “she’ll be right mate!”

So on the 1st of January, Davo got up early, put on his best business suit and even combed his usually unkempt hair. “Today’s the day”, he thought to himself excitedly. Getting to the airport just in time, Davo was surprised to find no sign of Mr. Wang. Davo waited for hours, looked up and down the different parts of the airport and asked repeatedly at the information desk, but no one could help him. Finally Davo headed home. Disappointed, he thought to himself: “Why didn’t Mr. Wang come as he said he would?”

Soon Davo settled back into his ordinary routine and forgot all about Mr. Wang and his appointment. Then one February morning Davo was wakened by his phone ringing. With a sleepy voice he discovered to his surprise that it was Mr. Wang himself. Today was Chinese New Year! Mr. Wang asked with a disappointed tone in his voice: “David, why weren’t you ready for my coming?”

We all have an important appointment coming up with THE Mr. Wang Himself – Jesus our Lord and King (Wang means ‘king’ in Chinese). He is indeed coming soon! But to be ready for this once-in-a-lifetime divine appointment, we need to make sure that we too are on the King’s calendar.

The King’s Calendar

Many of us have a hard time reading the book of Leviticus, but in it are contained some very important treasures. Leviticus chapter 23 outlines for us the King’s calendar. Let’s read in verses 1-2:

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”

The word translated ‘feast’ here, does not really refer to parties, food and celebrations – although God does indeed through some great celebrations. The Hebrew word for ‘Feast’ is actually better translated as ‘appointment’ – a ‘divine appointment’.

Note that God describes them as ‘My feasts’. They are not some antiquated Jewish customs to be brushed aside – they are His Divine appointments with us.

We will be learning more about the Divine Appointments later this year, but it is sufficient for us to now know that:

  • There are 7 Divine Appointments and they all prophesy and foretell a future event that is important in God’s calendar
  • The first 4 Divine Appointments where fulfilled on the Day during Jesus’ first coming in great detail
  • The last 3 tell us of His Second coming – and warn us to be ready for the soon coming King

7 feaasts

The big questions for us to consider are:

  • How close are we to the last 3 Divine Appointments?
  • Will we see them in our lifetime?
  • Are we ready for them?

Signs in the Sky on the Divine Appointments

There are many things happening in our world that we should watch – including significant developments concerning Israel, the Nations, and concerning the great harvest of people coming into the Kingdom from every tribe, tongue and kingdom! All this points us to the fact that we are living in a time where Bible prophecy is being fulfilled at a scale that has not been seen in history since the time of the Book of Acts. I believe we are indeed getting closer to the Lord’s return!

The Bible tells us to look for signs in the sky as we get closer to the Lord’s return. One of many verses that say this is found in Acts 2:20:

The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”

The most literal way of interpreting this is that there will be solar and lunar eclipses around the time of the Lord’s return.

 

A Pattern of Signs in the Sky

A few years ago, a Messianic Pastor called Mark Biltz made a startling discovery of a pattern where from time to time 4 consecutive lunar eclipses take place – precisely on the first and last ‘appointments’ or Feasts of the Lord for 2 years in a row. This is an extremely rare event, and what is even more interesting is that it appears to happen at times when there are prophetically significant events taking place on the earth.

Let’s have a look at an overview of when it has happened in the past when these signs have been in the sky:

blood moons table

Around the time of Jesus death there were 4 partial lunar eclipses in a row on the ‘Divine Appointments’ – as if God Himself was signalling to all of mankind the importance of this event!

Since then, it has occurred 7 times – coinciding with:

  • Major Persecution of Jews and or Christians
  • Islamic attempts at conquering Europe (and the World)
  • The Restoration of Israel and Recapture of Jerusalem

As we enter into 2014/2015 it is therefore important to watch and pray for Jews and Christians, for Israel and for the Islamic World.

Returning to the pattern, it is extra interesting to note that the 7th lunar eclipse cycle happened at exactly the time when Jerusalem was being recaptured by Israel – and 7 is the number of ‘completion’. It was truly a time of Divine completion of ancient prophecies!

The next time this will happen will be in 2014 and 2015!

For more information, have a look at this brief overview:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EcCfFjko4U

 

Ok – sounds interesting – now what?

As a Church, we are being encouraged to fast, pray and spend extra time to seek the Lord at this time. Make sure your own life is in order with God. If you are struggling with issues, take them to the Lord and maybe get one of the leaders to stand with you in prayer that you might be able to live fully for the Lord.

Also, please pray for Israel and the Middle East at this time – her sworn enemies would like nothing less than the extermination of Israel and hope and dream for that day to come. Iran seeks to clandestinely build nuclear weapons and recently released a video proudly showing them launching a nuclear strike. At the same time other terrorist networks are seeking biological and chemical weapons to add to their arsenals. Daily anti-Semitic propaganda is being published across the Middle East, and the level of general hatred for the Jews is comparable to the situation in Germany at the time when Hitler came to power.

So, let’s fast a meal when we can and spend extra time to seek God at this crucial time in history. We are called to be history-makers and we have a role in interceding for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Enoch Lavender has a B.A. in Intercultural Ministry from Harvest Bible College (2008) and was a youth leader for 3 years in ECCC – Eastern Chinese Christian Church.  Enoch is actively involved in a range of ministries including Shalom Israel, Ebenezer Emergency Fund and Teach All Nations (Dr. Kameel Majdali). 
Enoch has been studying Hebrew and Hebrew roots for the past five years, and has a keen interest in the Middle East from a Bible prophecy perspective