The streets of Baltimore are smoldering. A few days ago they were burning. The embers of Ferguson, Missouri are still glowing. In previous years American cities like Compton, Long Beach, Watts and Detroit also saw outbreaks of rioting and violent demonstration. The Rolling Stones’ words continue to resonate, “Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy. Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy” (Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, ‘Street Fighting Man,’ May 1968, Abkco Music Inc.).
Social cracks and fissures in the sidewalks of America are of great concern to all who love and respect that country. Those who see Uncle Sam as the Great Satan no doubt see these events as portents of its collapse, but believers are called to different tasks – to pray for national repentance and confession, for national turning toward righteousness, and for the forsaking of nationally embraced sins.
The 1848 riots which spread like wildfire through the streets of Paris, Vienna, Berlin and Baden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848_in_the_German_states) eventually wound down, and it was actually the middle classes who benefited economically from that unrest. Karl Marx spoke fatefully of these then-future riots in his Communist Manifesto (published February 1848): “A ghost is haunting the streets of Europe – the ghost of Communism.”
The past 160 years have sadly manifested the broken economic and social promises of Communism. Yet for those who are willing to learn from history, there is at least one lesson – that riots do not necessarily lead to social justice or economic betterment. Riots could indicate the approach of sociological earthquakes which have the potential to devastate a country and collapse its prominent standing.
Who remembers Babylon?
Jeremiah and Ezekiel were well acquainted with Babylonian social and political developments, and they had no problems recognizing Babylonian military insignia. But our own recollection of those days is somewhat dimmer, less precise and fading. Ancient battles, conquests, expulsions and refugee problems have passed on and passed into eternity for the most part. The one people-group from that time which continues to have earth-shaking significance, even in our day, is the Jewish people, the sons and daughters of Israel. And their destiny is the hinge for Planet Earth’s tomorrow.
- This is what YHVH says, Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears. for your labor will be rewarded, declares YHVH, and they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares YHVH, and your children will return to their own territory (Jeremiah 31:16-17)
- And the word of YHVH came to Jeremiah, saying, “Have you not observed what this people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which YHVH chose, He has rejected them.’ Thus they despise My people, no longer are they as a nation in their sight. Thus says YHVH, If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established, then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them” (Jeremiah 33:22-26)
- Therefore all who devour you will be devoured. And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity. And those who plunder you will be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey. For I will restore you to health, and I will heal you of your wounds, declares YHVH, because they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; no one cares for her” (Jeremiah 30:16-17)
- For I am YHVH your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. Since you are precious in My sight, and since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life (Isaiah 43:3-4)
As events shake the ground under your feet, stay on target through remembering the centrality of Israel’s calling and destiny in these Last Days (Romans 11:28-29).
The God of Israel is a Holy Fire and He uses fire
The prophet Isaiah paints YHVH in fiery colors. He declares that the Holy One of Israel judges all nations (and even His chosen people Israel) with fire, devouring and purifying:
- And the Light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day (Isaiah 10:17)
The coming of Messiah Son of David is described in similar word-pictures:
- Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and He will clear the way before Me. And YHVH, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His Temple. And the Messenger of the Covenant, in Whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says YHVH of armies. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to YHVH offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to YHVH as in the days of old and as in former years (Malachi 3:1-4)
The return of YHVH to this earth on the Day of Judgment will come with fire as well:
- For behold, YHVH will come in fire and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire (Isaiah 66:15)
Though most people think of fire as Satan’s exclusive preserve, the Scriptures point out that even Satan’s ultimate destiny is connected with the lake of fire:
- And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:9-10)
God’s messengers are like fire
The psalmist describes the grandeur and awesome nature of God’s creation, pointing out that even the mighty winds move in the service of YHVH: “He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers” (Psalm 104:4).
Ancient Jewish understanding occasionally used the terms “wind” and “spirit” interchangeably – (ruach in Hebrew). So the writer of the Book of Hebrews dovetails with this usage, declaring: “And of the angels He says, ‘who makes His angels winds and His ministers a flame of fire’” (Hebrews 1:7).
The Hebrew word seraph actually means ‘burning one’ – an angel aflame who stands in the presence of YHVH, the God of Jacob whose very presence is like fire (Exodus 24:12). YHVH’s eyes are a flame of fire (Revelation 1:14; 2:18; 19:12). He sits on a throne beneath which flows a river of fire (Daniel 7:9-10). And the fiery angelic seraphim who minister to YHVH stand next to an altar burning with fiery coals (Isaiah 6:2, 6).
The fiery Jewish army of the Last Days
The prophetic Scriptures talk about a day yet to come, when the fiery God will stretch out His hand and use His fiery Jewish people to start a fire among the nations. The exegetical context in these passages is distinctly military.
- In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:6)
- Then the House of Jacob will be a fire and the House of Joseph a flame. But the House of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, so that there will be no survivor of the House of Esau, for YHVH has spoken (Obadiah 1:18)
What are we to be looking for and praying for in days ahead? How should we prepare for these amazing challenges when the nation of Israel become “a mighty army, exceedingly great” (Ezekiel 37:10-11)?
How shall we then pray?
- Pray for God to grant us all revelation, illumination and understanding about these passages of Scripture. God has much truth He still wants to impart to those who are earnest in heart
- Pray that God will help us all to recognize these events as they develop and to know how to pray for His strategies to be fulfilled
- Pray for all believers in Yeshua to be led by YHVH to prepare for these events, to equip themselves and others – both to protect God’s people Israel in these Last Days, and to equip the remnant of that nation as they equip Israel to enter into its prophetic calling
Your prayers and support really do hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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