As the pace of world events speeds up, values which have stood strong and stalwart for millennia are crashing down like mighty redwoods in a hurricane. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21)
Whereas in the 1980’s and 1990’s the world’s mouth gaped in unbelief as Communism became “commu-‘was’-im” – as the Iron Curtain came crashing down – today it is the West which is collapsing as the East rises phoenix-like out of the ashes. Today it is jihadi Islam which raises its murderous black banners as it terrorizes its way across the heart of the Middle East and North Africa.
The spirit of denial of reality and compromise with evil is dominating the deliberations of Western powers as the modern march of Mordor draws near to the modern ‘gates of Constantinople.’ The West is trapped in moral confusion and deception, while narcissism rules the airwaves and the pubs, the coffee houses and the social media. The termites have gnawn away the foundations of the 21st century Titanic, and all the positive confession in the world has not succeeded in waking up many in the Western wing of Messiah’s body to the imminent collapse of democracy and a biblical framework of values.
In such a turbulent world, with such turmoil roiling all around us, how can we be “observant” Jews and Gentiles? How can we observe what is going on and understand it from a “God’s eyes” perspective? How can we be pro-active in a world shaken by moral, material and spiritual earthquakes?
Horsing around with the Hebrew prophets
A stunning night vision came to the Hebrew prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 1:8-21). Worldwide in scope, it sums up superpower diplomacy and war into a profound revelation replete with horses, evil horns and muscled blacksmiths and carvers of wood. The proper understanding of this vision holds the key to us assimilating God’s age-to-age perspective on preparation for Last Days’ ministry.
Zechariah had been called to stand before the courts of Israel’s Almighty God and speak YHVH’s heart to His own beloved Jewish people, as well as to bring heavenly oracles to the mostly hostile surrounding nations. Just a few years prior to Zechariah’s call to the prophetic, his Jewish nation had been dragged off to exile by the rivers of Babylon, and their wondrous Temple (where dwelt the presence and fire of YHVH in visible form) had been reduced to ashes and rubble.
Yet this agony of Jewish Exile and the triumph of pagan and satanic forces (who were blaspheming the God of Israel and taunting His people Israel; see 1 Samuel 17:26-28) frankly left the world’s superpowers of Zechariah’s day unmoved. And in our day the agonies that Israel and the Jewish people face from concerted Islamist efforts to destroy it and from the cruel rise of modern anti-Semitism – these leave most of the world and much of the Body of Messiah bored and blasé.
On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the (ed. Babylonian) month Shvat, in the second year of Darius, the word of YHVH came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows: I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and He was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom YHVH has sent to patrol the earth.” So they answered the Angel of YHVH who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” Then the Angel of YHVH said, “O YHVH of armies, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” YHVH answered the Angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. (Zechariah 1:7-13)
The current condition of the Jewish people and the way the nations treat Israel – these are the touchstones of God’s foreign policy. That is how He operated then and that is how He still operates.
Remember the days of old. Consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For YHVH’s portion is His people, Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:7-8)
Acc.ording to the Apostle Paul, the calling YHVH has given to the Jewish people, and the gifts He has lavished on them, are irrevocable and not subject to change or re-interpretation (Romans 11:28-29).
So this biblical foreign policy vis-à-vis the nations is still in force, still influencing the super-powers and the United Nations. And that means that these abovementioned power groups are in deep yoghurt from God’s perspective. The eagle eyes of the Hebrew prophets cut through the mumbo-jumbo and politically correct verbiage of international relations. They reveal what God thinks about the shenanigans of the so-called “peace process” and the “two-state solution” – even when such foolish and anti-biblical language comes out of the mouths of rock-stars (http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/07/09/u2-frontman-bono-dedicates-song-to-former-israeli-president-peres/)
“What’s the big deal?”
The world powers of Zechariah’s day couldn’t understand what the big fuss was all about. They concluded that the Jews were a touchy and overly zealous people. Somehow the whole Jewish people had fallen under a spell, so thought the pagan ancients, believing that the God of the universe actually has a covenant with this primitive Jewish race, that their God cares about Israel as a priority, that the Jewish people’s welfare and the treatment they receive at the hand of the nations (and of some believers as well) is a fatefully serious issue in His eyes.
When the nations of the world think that “all is quiet on the Western front,” the national interests of those countries are not in sync with YHVH’s heart for Israel. As Balaam prophesied (Numbers 23:8-9) , Israel is the only nation that stands alone on the other side of the equation (as President Obama recently said in reference to his Iran deal) – the nation that stands alone as looks out for its own survival and counteracts the threats to its own existence.
- When today’s world and modern Christians ignore God’s priority of Israel, they are repeating the ancient sins of Babylon. But God is not mocked, and He responds quite forcefully to the nations’ blithe dismissal of Israel’s continuing calling and divine protection.
“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them” (Isaiah 63:9)
The Hebrew says that in all of the Jewish people’s dire straits (‘narrowness-es’ or tight spots), so YHVH is put in a tight spot, is subject to pressure, is afflicted and is caused pain. There is a clear and undeniable connection between inflicting agony on the Jewish people and inflicting agony on the God of the Jewish people.
- Some believers may think that concern for the Jewish people is simply carnal – a partisan and soulish loyalty. If that were true, then how can one explain the very words of the God who answers by fire, who takes the same ardent stand in His burning love for Israel and in His zealous defense of their existence?
Pouring gasoline on anti-Semitism
There is an evil passivity which has taken root in some corners of the body of Messiah. Because of fear – the fear of standing up and being counted, the fear of standing with the Jewish people as anti-Semitism increases – some leaders and teachers are shrinking back from asking and answering the hard questions. The hard questions include:
- What are believers to do when they see the world oppose the restoration of the Jewish people to their land?
- What are believers to do when they see their own political leaders attempt to divide the Land of Israel and establish a terrorist Islamist jihadi state on the earth YHVH has pledged exclusively to the sons of Isaac (Genesis 25:1-6)?
- What are believers to do when standing with the Jewish people is considered not cool but reactionary, when zeal for Israel’s restoration doesn’t resonate well with Millennials?
Shakespeare may well have prophesied of our day when he had Brutus say the following words: “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures” (Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224).
Zechariah gives us words from the very heart of God, and that dynamic is the core of what the prophetic is all about. Instead of jumping into the fray and standing with the Jewish people, the nations were content to sit out the battle – somewhat like how in recent days the Turkish army was sitting out the battle while ISIS slaughtered the Kurdish forces in northern Iraq.
The nations lack compassion for the Jewish people – for their safety and their flourishing. Their hearts are often cold about such matters. As a result, their “passive bystander” approach only furthers the disaster threatening Israel.
- So the Angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says YHVH of armies, I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease. For while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster. Therefore thus says YHVH, I will return to Jerusalem with compassion. My house will be built in it, declares YHVH of armies, and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem. Again, proclaim, saying, Thus says YHVH of armies, My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and YHVH will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:14-17)
Compassion is the key word here. Are we overflowing with compassion for the destiny and present estate of the Jewish people? In times past, would we be the ones clucking our tongues and not much else, as Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, jihadis or Nazis massacred the Jewish people? Would we have shaken our heads and sagely whispered that “Biblically, the Jews had it coming to them”? Do we not see that the nations of the world (and believers as well) are today being weighed in the balances by YHVH the God of Jacob, and are mostly being found wanting? (Daniel 5:17-28)
God is good, all the time, to Israel
God’s heart toward Israel is overflowing with compassion. His plans for them are good (Jeremiah 32:36-42). He is restoring the Jewish people to Israel in compassion (Jeremiah 30:18). Though He will not leave sin unpunished (Amos 9:8-10), He will abundantly pardon the sin of His remnant who turns to Him in repentance (Micah 7:18-20).
- Our message needs to be fortified with these spiritual vitamins in order to be considered a message of kosher comfort to Zion.
How shall we then pray?
- The nations of this world are hovering on the brink of sealing a deal with the world’s foremost terror regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran. This deal would allow Iran to vastly increase its support of jihadi terrorism against the West, the East and Israel. It would also allow Iran to achieve nuclear capability, while Iran’s leaders repeatedly call for Israel’s total destruction
- Pray that God will change the hearts of world leaders concerning Iran and speak to them in the night and at their banquets, even as YHVH spoke to Babylon’s leaders in Daniel the prophet’s day
- Pray for a revelatory breakthrough for those spiritual bystanders who are passive-aggressive toward the Jewish people, their survival and their restoration to the Land of Israel. Not all who publically proclaim their right theology about Israel are actually Israel’s faithful friends. As Yeshua said in Luke 7:35, wisdom will be judged by her children. The reality of the confession will be rightly judged by the manifested fruit
Your prayers and support 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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