PART 1 OF 2
During the past week of Shavuot/Pentecost, and as Israel marked her 70th anniversary, the embassies of the United States, Guatemala and Paraguay relocated to Jerusalem. These signpost events were historic. As they took place, the local spiritual atmosphere seemed to suddenly, simultaneously shift.
Israelis acknowledge that the relocation of foreign embassies is largely the work of evangelical Christians. Almost overnight, the predilection of many toward evangelicals spiked to a new high. At the same time, some Christians began to anticipate the near fulfillment of Isaiah 62:7, with Jerusalem becoming the praise — not problem — of all the earth. Other believers, sobered by Israel’s recent military confrontation with Iran, are predicting major war in the near future. Given the wide diversity of opinion among Bible believers, is it possible to interpret the watershed events of recent days from a perspective based on the Scripture as a whole?
In attempting to offer a balanced view of recent events, this article summarizes some of the many highlights I was graced to witness this week. It includes mostly observations, comments, and more subjective perceptions by the Spirit. A few key, Scriptural parameters are suggested. Part 2 of this 2-part series will focus much more on a biblical overview.
In summary, the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem appears to have facilitated a strengthening of the governance of God in this city — and likely beyond. To be sure, the American government is not the same as God’s government. However, as the most powerful nation on earth today, America’s tangible recognition of Jerusalem may herald or reflect a new alignment with God’s Kingdom in the earth realm. Such realignment might be expected to release a greater dimension of Kingdom reality among the nations, expressed in part by two embassies relocating just days later. Conflict between the Kingdom of God and kingdoms of this world may increase due to push back by God’s enemies, but in the process, a powerful wave of evangelism may be released internationally.
Witnessing a Watershed Transition in Israel’s Restoration
- To the extent the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem has facilitated a strengthening of the government of God, a significant next step in His progressive restoration of Israel has been taken. This covenant based restoration is described in Ezekiel 36:8-37:28, Isaiah 62:1-12 and many other passages of Scripture. Collectively, the prophets write of a latter days’ Jewish restoration to the Land, followed by a spiritual restoration to the Lord. At this present 70 year marker, there are reasons to believe Israel is shifting into the next phase of restoration, specifically, a return to her God. (Some of these reasons relate to the 70 years time marker and will be discussed in Part 2.)
- YHVH was sincerely honored and openly praised at the embassy relocation ceremony by Jews and Christians together. This represents a turn of events on several levels. One level relates to Israel’s unique separation of faith and state. Long ago, ultra-Orthodox political parties established that Israeli government officials may not lead public prayer in this country. Such prayer would remain the sole domain of approved rabbis. But the US Embassy is officially the United States, not Israel. Therefore, in a historic shift, PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin were able to publicly bless and pray for the people and state of Israel, from within Israel’s borders, in their capacity as governmental leaders.
- American representatives who attended the embassy relocation, including some members of President Trump’s faith advisory team, personally told me that God’s presence had palpably descended on the ceremony. All conveyed their profound sense of a prophetic transition occurring during the event.
- Some of the American representatives I talked with met privately with Mr. Netanyahu. They said the prime minister plans to make available a building in Jerusalem large enough to house several different embassies. This could quickly expedite the process of relocation for several nations.
- I attended a small reception for US Ambassador David Friedman. He is a brilliant and bold but humble Jew who reveres YHVH and needs our prayers. There has never been an American ambassador to Israel quite like him. The fact a few Messianic Jews were invited to attend a gathering of this nature was significant in itself, another sign of gradually melting resistance toward Jesus in the Land.
- I prayed with some of the intercessors from Guatemala who had accompanied President Morales, a strong evangelical, to the opening of their new embassy in Jerusalem. They shared how, through repentance and targeted prayer, God changed the heart of their country and its leadership. Through their testimony, Israeli intercessors can be encouraged that with focused prayer and fasting in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14, God will change hearts in our country and leadership, too.
- One of the Guatemalan intercessors shared an unusual insight almost identical to one that came to me in prayer last August. We both perceived that at least for a season and at least to some extent, an alternate type of United Nations would be established in Jerusalem. We both sensed this happened in connection with a last days’ spiritual harvest. At that time many nations would intentionally align with the God of Israel and His Kingdom rule. As a result, a key Scripture I have been praying for 2018 is, “The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3) To be sure, the complete fulfillment of this verse awaits the Messianic Age. But it seems an aspect of the magnificent promise could materialize before that time and may be worth your prayerful consideration. (Recall that a certain, limited manifestation of Isaiah 2:3 transpired during the reign of King Solomon.)
- Unfortunately, while Jews and Christians around the world rejoiced, God’s enemies raged. Hamas celebrated the US Embassy inauguration by inciting and forcing violent riots at the Gaza border. Sadly, more than 60 Gazans were killed and at least 1,200 injured. As in the past, charges were filed against Israel in the International Criminal Court for war crimes against humanity. Local intercessors began praying for truth to be revealed concerning what had actually occurred at the border. The next day, Hamas admitted that 50 of the 62 who were killed were not peaceful civilians, but official members of their terror organization. Still, the UN Human Rights Commission is demanding a formal investigation — with its likely foregone conclusion. Bear in mind, however, that kingdom conflict is to be expected when longstanding powers and principalities are confronted. (1 John 3:8) In the battle, let us pray for and bless our enemies as Yeshua instructed. Ultimately, the enemy of our enemy is our enemy, The Enemy.
- Ramadan began yesterday and lasts until June 15. Ramadan is the month-long, annual Muslim commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran. Observed with prayer and fasting, it has been historically marked by increased violence and terror. Friends, let us likewise increase our prayer and fasting for the true peace of Jerusalem and Israel during this time. Bear in mind that Israel’s war with Iran is not over. The Islamic Republic is said to be planning a strategic, deadly retaliation for recent Israeli strikes against their military outposts in Syria.
What could be prophetically unfolding — and not unfolding?
- Matthew 25:31-46: First, God is blessing nations with a grace period to align with His Word and heart as sheep, rather than goat, nations, toward Israel. Years ago, I explained in the book Why Care about Israel? that Yeshua’s parable of sheep and goats refers fundamentally (but not exclusively) to Israel. Specifically, the parable’s context and reference to “these brothers of mine” relates to the Jewish people at the end of this age. Thankfully, more Christians are learning the proper interpretation and application of this passage — and impacting their nations.
- Ezekiel 38-39: Second, at a future date of His determination, God will inspire a coalition of nations to attack the Jewish state. He Himself leads this evil alliance to invade Israel when her people “dwell safely, all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8) At that time the country is a “land of villages without walls” whose inhabitants “dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.” The stated purpose of the attack is to plunder Israel’s resources and wealth. (Ezekiel 38:11-12) (Emphases mine.)
Notice that several preconditions in the passage above do not yet appear to have been met — at least not according to a straightforward or literal interpretation. Not all of Israel dwells securely and in safety at this time. Citizens in the north and south periodically endure missile and rocket attacks. Intelligence, army and police forces must daily thwart terror in other parts of the country. Accordingly, Israel is not a “land of villages without walls.” The more than decade old security fence protecting her from Palestinian terror is called a separation wall by her enemies. Fences requiring bars and gates are still needed to shield Israeli borders and internal villages. The main reason our enemies attack us today is not to plunder our resources or wealth. They seek to attack us in order to destroy the Jewish nation due to Islamist or humanist driven hate or ideology. The current, violently ongoing hate seems different from the attack motive of Ezekiel 38:10. In that passage a more sudden, almost random thought from out of the blue inspires an unexpected invasion.
I could be mistaken, but I do not believe the apocalyptic battle of Ezekiel 38-39 is at hand. God’s enemies may try to instigate such an event prematurely. But as His people pray, His enemies’ schemes will fail. (Isaiah 8:10, Psalm 33:10-12)
I believe a great harvest of souls from Israel and the nations awaits. This gracious period of harvest could last only a few, short years — or longer. In any case, I feel we “must do the works of Him who sent [us] while it is still day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4) Thank you to all who join in the joyful work!