Category: Israel

Jerusalem: A Cup of Trembling

A Cup of Trembling

By Jack Kelley

This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, Who stretches out the Heavens Who lays the foundations of the Earth, and Who forms the spirit of man within him declares, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.

On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves” (Zech 12:1-3).

True, the ultimate fulfillment of this passage will come at the very end of the age, but a careful reading shows the progressive nature of the prophecy. First the surrounding nations will be sent reeling, with both Judah (West Bank) and Jerusalem besieged. Ultimately all the nations of the earth will be involved, and those who move against Jerusalem will wind up injuring themselves. And please don’t miss the way the Author identifies Himself: the One Who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth and forms man’s spirit within him. Not much doubt as to Who’s speaking, so we better pay attention.

When Will These Things Happen?

It’s safe to say that all the nations of the earth are troubled over Jerusalem today. They realize the ease with which the whole world could be drawn into a conflict in the Middle East. And almost all are already aligned against Jerusalem. Remember, the prophecy is initially focused on the surrounding peoples and indicates that Judah and Jerusalem will be besieged. The degree to which this part of the prophecy is already being fulfilled is frightening. Much of the land bordering Israel has become little more than an armed camp, filled with troops at the ready.

Hezbollah has been moving their rockets and missiles into position again with Lebanon’s full support, while steadily increasing their inventories of weaponry. Syria also has troops along Israel’s northern border as well as missiles set to fire upon Israeli cities. In the South Hamas and the PA are no less prepared. Recent reports confirm that large numbers of rockets and missiles from Libya have turned up in Gaza. Together, these next door neighbors claim that every city in Israel is now within missile range. In it’s headline report on Dec. 5, 2011 Debkafile assessed the likelihood of war in the Middle East, including an Israeli attack on Iran, to be very high between mid-December and mid-January. The US and Russia have both stationed powerful fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean against this possibility. There’s still time for diplomacy but for now no one believes a diplomatic solution will be forthcoming.

Psalm 83

As a result, this is beginning to look like a run-up to Psalm 83, a battle that’s never happened, but involves all of Israel’s next door neighbors in an effort to “destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Psalm 83:4). The Psalmist pleads with God to pursue Israel’s neighbors with His tempest and terrify them with His storm so they will perish in disgrace (Psalm 83:15-17). I believe his prayer will be answered because this outcome is necessary to set the stage for Ezekiel 38-39.

Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus

We should also consider what could be a related prophecy from Isaiah 17. It was partially fulfilled in 732 BC when the Assyrians conquered Damascus (Aram). But never did Damascus cease to be inhabited as the prophecy requires (Isaiah 17:1). In fact to this day Damascus is described as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, over 5000 years and counting. The fortified city in vs. 3 was Samaria, capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The Northern Kingdom consisted of the 10 tribes of Israel who rebelled in the religious upheaval that followed King Solomon’s death and was allied with Damascus against Assyria. Like Damascus it was defeated and its people carried off into captivity. Since Damascus was never destroyed and never ceased being inhabited, the world may have seen a partial fulfillment in history that points to a total fulfillment yet future to us.

Validating Prophecy

This is not unusual in Bible prophecy where the complete fulfillment of a passage may unfold over thousands of years. You receive an example of this in the mail every Christmas. It comes in the form of a Christmas card that says,

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6).

The passage goes on to explain that He will sit on David’s throne and reign in peace forever.

Only the first phrase of this passage has come to pass. The Child was born, the Son was given. The rest of the passage awaits His 2nd coming, but the fact that He was born confirms that the rest will take place as well. Partial fulfillment is the Lord’s way of validating End Times prophecies thousands of years in advance.

The Oracle against Damascus is a lot like the one against Babylon in Isaiah 13-14, where Babylon is also described as being so totally destroyed that it would never be inhabited again. For many years scholars believed this prophecy was fulfilled when the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon about 535 BC. It took the Gulf War to show us that Saddam Hussein had spent billions re-building Babylon, and to realize that Babylon was never destroyed in the manner the Bible describes. It has in fact been occupied almost continuously since its construction 2700 years ago. The City of Babylon will play a major role in world events at the end of the age before its final and total destruction, foretold in Rev. 18.

Back To Damascus

Admittedly the Oracle against Damascus in Isaiah 17 is somewhat more obscure. Scholars who place fulfillment of this passage in our time rely on four things:

  1. The phrase in vs. 1 “Damascus will no longer be a city”
  2. The multiple use of the phrase “in that day” through out the passage (vs. 4, 7, 9) which often hints of the end times
  3. Men will “Look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel,” see below,
  4. The mention of many nations in vs.12-14 would seem to include more than just Assyria.

Regarding point 3 there was a temporary revival in the southern kingdom under King Hezekiah that spared Jerusalem from the Assyrians, but nowhere is a revival in the northern kingdom or among the Arameans (Damascus was the capital of Aram) or Assyrians mentioned in history. And yet in Isaiah 19:23-25 Assyria is mentioned with Egypt and Israel as being called “My people, My handiwork, and My inheritance” by God in the millennium. This reconciliation with God is still in the future.

Soon And Very Soon

The USA and Europe have been warning Israel that an attack on Iran would not only result in a wider war in the Middle East, but would also deliver a severe blow to an already reeling world economy. Because of this US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently said that Israel has to come to terms with a Nuclear Iran, an Islamized Middle East, and reliance on the US for protection.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said sometimes making a risky decision carries a heavy price, but the price for not making it would be heavier. Reliable observers interpret this to mean when the time comes to attack Iran, whatever repercussions it could cause will not be considered in light of the threat to Israel’s continued existence. We’ll soon know whether that time has come.

You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2826

Is Elam [Iran’s] Destiny Spoken of in Jeremiah 49:34-39?

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.

And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.

For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them:

And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD.

But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.

Matthew Henry Commentary on Jeremiah – Jeremiah 49:34-39

The Elamites were the Persians; they acted against God’s Israel, and must be reckoned with. Evil pursues sinners. God will make them know that he reigns. Yet the destruction of Elam shall not be forever.

But this promise was to have its full accomplishment in the days of the Messiah. In reading the Divine assurance of the destruction of all the enemies of the church, the believer sees that the issue of the holy war is not doubtful.

It is blessed to recollect, that He who is for us, is more than all against us. And he will subdue the enemies of our souls.

Koenig’s perspective: This could very likely be separate from Iran’s role in the Gog and Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39. Could this happen in 2011-2012?

A side note: Purim begins at sunset on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, and ends at sunset on Thursday, March 8, 2012.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2668

Turkey: Starting Something with Israel

In another maneuver to make trouble between Washington and Jerusalem, the Turkish Hurriyet carried a made-up story accusing US Republican sources of leaking a UN Report which maintained Israel’s Gaza’s blockade – and therefore its interception of a Turkish vessel and flotilla in May 2010 – was legal. The report, leaked to the New York Times Friday, Sept. 9, also criticized Israeli commandos for excessive force for defending themselves in a clash which led to the deaths of nine “peace activists” aboard the ship.

The report was commissioned by the UN Secretary General from a panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Jeffrey Palmer.
Hurriyet charged that the Palmer report was leaked to the NYT by the same friends of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who arranged his speech last May to the two Houses of Congress.

debkafile sources report: The Turkish newspaper’s spiteful claim was slanted to upset President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who have been trying to mend the Ankara-Jerusalem breach, and justify the fury of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his foreign minister Ahmed Davutoglu at being caught in the wrong by the UN panel (which accused them of not doing enough to prevent the violence and the flotilla’s “reckless” mission).

Friday, Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador, suspended defense contracts with Jerusalem, announced legal action against senior Israeli figures in European courts, threatened to bring the dispute before the international court and “take measures for freedom of maritime movement in the Mediterranean.”
Israel continued to brush off the Turkish ultimatum to apologize for the nine deaths and end the Gaza blockade.  Hurriyet quoted an unnamed Israeli official as replying: “They can go to hell. They will see what respecting international maritime law means when… our navy sails into the international waters of the Mediterranean.”

US sources told debkafile that the Erdogan government’s outpouring of vindictive misinformation with a view to upsetting relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government would cut no ice. Mixing in American domestic politics to misdirect its international crises was a dangerous game.

The Turkish Navy, they added, is no match for Israeli missile boat technology and their electronic jamming and tracking systems. Neither do the Turks have advanced submarines like Israel’s German-made Dolphins or close air cover.

US sources following the dispute also dismissed as hollow Davutoglu’s follow-up threat Saturday, Sept. 3: “If Israel persists with its current position,” he warned, “the Arab spring will give rise to a strong Israel opposition as well as the debate on the authoritarian regimes.”
Washington sources condemned such statements as beyond the acceptable diplomatic bounds. “It sounds as though Ankara is threatening to stir up the Palestinian and Israeli Arab populations against the Israeli government and army. If that’s what Davutoglu meant to say, Turkey is sailing very close to the wind and risks President Obama and European governments suspending their participation in NATO operations in the Middle East.

Should Israel complain to the UN Security Council about Turkish war threats and the incitement to revolt by one UN member against another, Western powers would vote for a resolution of condemnation against Turkey.

debkafile‘s sources in Washington and various European capitals warn that the unbridled vendetta Erdogan and his foreign minister are waging against Israel will boomerang against them. Early Sunday, Sept. 4, an American official proposed “calling their bluff.” He disclosed Turkey may try and act as though it calls the shots as the leading Middle East diplomatic and economy, with enough leverage over the the Arab uprisings to channel their fury against Israel. However, Turkey is far from being on solid ground. Indeed, he reveals, economically Turkey is no better than a paper tiger, hiding a galloping crisis behind its anti-Israel rhetoric:
1. Ankara’s published impressive GDP growth rate of 11 percent is artificially inflated by out-of-control credit pumped out by its central bank to create a short-term bubble. In fact, Turkey is fast sliding into deep economic slump. Its current account deficit has reached almost the same crisis level as those of Greece and Portugal and its currency faces devaluation.

Last week, Turkey’s military chiefs, traditional guardians of the country’s secular constitution, resigned in a body in protest against the imprisonment of scores of high-ranking officers for allegedly plotting against the government.
Erdogan is therefore locked into the twin crisis of a failing economy and a deep rift within his administration. US and European intelligence circles wonder about his ability to govern for much longer. They are concerned that he may drum up a military clash between the Turkish and Israel navies to distract popular attention from the troubles besetting his country. ” For the Turkish prime minister, that would be a no-win road,” said those sources.
2.  They also criticized as unwise the Turkish foreign minister’s implied threat to bring the Arab Revolt to Israel’s doorstep. He would be better advised, they said, to deal with the far more palpable danger of the  Syrian uprising spilling over into Turkey.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1886

God is Shaking the Nations

Jan Markell from Olive tree Ministries is on March 23rd wrote an interesting article around how 2011 seems as if the signs from Matthew 24 and the accompanying birth [pains have increased and that maybe God has turned up the switch in regard to Matthew 24 fulfillment.

She lists the things that have occurred in the world since the beginning of 2011 and asks and rigjtly so is God shaking the nations? I beleive He is. Things are happening so quickly and in so many places that the world is being put on notice that Christ’s return is very near even at the door.

While we do not know the exact day or hour (that is what the Word says) we are commanded to know the times and seasons and to be alert to the soon coming. This article is right on track with this and also points out the need to educate and inform people to the soon return of the Lord.

Scoffers in the church need to step aside as the truth of this Glorious Day should be our message to our people when they ask about all the troubles and turmoils in the world.

Enjoy the article as I am attaching it in it’s entirety.

Keep looking up!

God Is Shaking the Nations

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1444

Archaeologists Find the Tomb of Prophet Zechariah

Archaeologists in Israel believe they have found the tomb of the prophet Zechariah in a newly discovered church. The church is 1,300 years old and was uncovered in Hirbet Madras in central Israel. It is marked on the Madaba Map as the tomb of Zechariah.

The Madaba Map is an ancient mosaic map of the region that includes modern Israel. It was found ion the 6th century in Jordan.

Zechariah lived around 500 BC. His book is very prophetic in nature and is a bridge between Daniel and Revelation.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1297