Part 2 of 2
Last week, part 1 of this 2 part series described how the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem could pave way for new realities of governance in this city – and beyond. That article also described several other events which, considered together, suggest a new season of Kingdom breakthrough in Israel and the nations. This week, Part 2 considers the convergence of this breakthrough with Israel’s 70th anniversary. It highlights some of the pivotal implications of this new season and suggests how we should pray.
Is it mere happenstance that watershed events seem to be unfolding simultaneous with Israel’s 70th anniversary? The Scriptures indicate special significance may be attached to quantifiable realities of 70. Examples include:
- A 70 year period of Israel’s first exile was followed by a return to the land. (Jeremiah 25:11-12, Daniel 9, esp. v.2))
- 70 is the number symbolizing all nations of the earth. (Genesis 10) Israel was instructed to sacrifice a total of 70 bulls during the Feast of Tabernacles. (Numbers 29:13-35). The Jewish people have long understood this as an act of intercession on behalf of all nations.
- 70 sevens of time are determined for Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:24)
- The number of the children of Israel that went down to Egypt and became a great nation was 70. (Exodus 1:5)
- The biblical lifespan of man is said to be 70 years. (Psalm 90:10)
- 70 represents councils of spiritual authority. (Numbers 11:17, Exodus 24:1, Judges 9:2, Luke 10:1)
To the extent God’s ways can be quantified, the number 70 suggests fullness of purpose. It can, therefore, imply a change of season in His interactions with humankind.
After 70 years of Israel’s restored statehood, a tipping point fullness of physical restoration may have been reached. The prophetic Scriptures indicate God would exile the Jewish people worldwide. Then, in the latter days, He would return them to the land and restore the nation. But Israel’s restoration is gradual and twofold. First, she is restored physically to the land. After that, she is restored spiritually to the Lord. (Ezekiel 36:8-37:28, Zechariah 12-13) The New Covenant affirms this same, twofold process. (Matthew 23:39, Romans 11:26-27)
In 2018, the Jews’ physical return has been largely — but not entirely — accomplished. At the same time, we are witnessing an uptick in salvations, healings and general openness among Israelis to the Gospel and Holy Spirit. Moreover, certain markers of maturity have been observed this year in the indigenous Israeli Body of Messiah. Now is the time to pray for Israel’s spiritual restoration and salvation!
Seventy years of Israeli statehood is likely to have important implications for the nations. Very recently, and related to revised US policies, some nations of the world are shifting their stance toward the Jewish state. Once firmly set against her, particularly as members of international bodies, they are demonstrating a certain favor toward Israel. One indication is the relocation of the embassies of America, Guatemala and Paraguay, with others planned in the near future. In the UN, some nations are slowly but steadily changing their historic anti-Israel voting habits. As explained in Part 1, this could reflect a grace period in the spirit of Matthew 25:31-46, in which states are being given opportunity to turn from being goat to sheep nations. Pray that many might receive grace to turn to the God of Israel and His Word, and as a result, toward Israel.
According to Isaiah 2:3, there is coming a time when the law will go out from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Evangelicals have traditionally believed this reality materializes after Messiah returns, during the Millennium. Certainly the climactic fulfillment of the prophecy does not take place until then. But could there not be a season in this present age when some — or many — nations as well as individuals align rightly with His Kingdom rule from Zion? (Psalm 2:6,10-12) Countless Christians from abroad who came to Jerusalem this month said, Yes!
With this, of course, God’s enemies would not be pleased. Push back and conflict of kingdoms would be expected. (Matthew 11:12, Ephesians 6:12, Psalm 2, 1 John 3:8) It should not surprise us, therefore, that some nations are raging anew against Israel. But we should not consider them beyond God’s reach. He wants to extend redemption and salvation to all peoples. We are to bless and pray for our enemies to receive an outpouring of His Spirit, too. The Scriptures reveal a period of fierce tribulation will cover the earth shortly before Messiah returns. We do not know exactly when that will transpire. For now, God’s heart is to extend mercy and grace wherever He knows it will be received before that day strikes.
As explained in Part 1, despite recent flare ups with Iran, it does not appear we are on the brink of battle described in Ezekiel 38-39. Israel could, however, be headed toward a greater level of warfare with Iran in the very near future. Should this occur, we are to pray in faith that through it, many Iranians and Israelis would turn to Messiah. A severe judgment against Iran, followed by blessing, is prophesied in Jeremiah 49:34-39: “I will shatter Elam [ancient Iran] …and destroy her king and officials…Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come.” This passage may have been already fulfilled, in whole or part. Nevertheless, it reflects God’s heart of mercy. Therefore, my personal prayer is that He would mercifully shatter the demonic entities ruling Iran and restore her people to Himself.
Besides Iran, both Hamas-run Gaza and the Palestinian Authority are nearing a crisis. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is now in year 13 of his elected 5 year term. In and out of the hospital, his health is failing. The 82 year old is not expected to live much longer. No likely successor to the dictator-style president can be identified — other than the Iranian backed, terror group Hamas. When Abbas leaves office, a dramatic shift in the Palestinian government is expected. Pray for this shift to result in Israel’s further restoration and many Palestinians turning to Jesus.
Finally, consider that several nations, including the US, still cling to their various, so-called “land for peace” plans to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These plans all require that Israel release stewardship over at least some of her biblical heartland. God, however, earnestly warns nations not to divide His land. “I will gather all nations together in the Valley of Yehoshafat, I will enter into judgment there for My people Israel, My heritage whom they scattered among the nations, then they have divided My land.” (Joel 3:2, emphasis mine)
God’s covenant with Israel involves land as well as people. His purposes on earth will not be realized apart from fulfillment of the covenant pertaining to both. Therefore, no attempt to wrongly divide the land can be blessed. Those who scatter His people or divide His land cannot at the same time align with His governance. We must pray for our governments to engage in God’s peace plan only.
Thankfully, as followers of Messiah in Israel and around the world pray, some nations are changing. We should be encouraged to keep praying more, not less. A season of grace is upon us, converging with Israel’s 70 years of restoration. But this does not mean we can passively watch prophecy unfold. More than ever, let us joyfully continue according to the incomparable prayer of Yeshua — that His kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, even in our day. (Matthew 6:13) I think we can all agree for a season like that!