In 852 B.C. a battle royal took place on the Heights of Gilead, east of the Jordan River. King Ahab of Israel and his in-law King Jehoshaphat of Judah jointly attacked the Arameans of Damascus. But their attempt to reclaim the territory of Ramot Gilead failed miserably. Ahab was mortally wounded by a stray arrow. Nevertheless, as his life blood drained out of him, he stood upright in his chariot, hiding his wounds from his soldiers to the very end.
Speaking favorably or speaking truthfully?
Before that military clash, as the two Jewish kings had drawn up their battle plans, Jehoshaphat of David’s lineage had asked Ahab if there was any prophetic word of encouragement for them. “Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. And all the prophets were prophesying before them” (1 Kings 22:10). These four hundred royal prophets had hutzpa and were media-savvy in their communication. They declared total success for Ahab’s military operation.
But Jehoshaphat had a sneaking suspicion that he was hearing ‘fake prophetic news.’ He asked if perhaps there was a minority prophetic opinion. Ahab scowled and admitted that there was one prophet who was never invited to these royal press conferences – Micaiah son of Imlah. Ahab noted with vehemence, “But I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8). So King Ahab’s bodyguards hauled Micaiah into the royal presence and warned him, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably” (1 Kings 22:13). Micaiah answered dourly, knowing that it could cost him his life, “As YHVH lives, what YHVH says to me, that I shall speak” (1 Kings 22:14).
The pull on God’s spokesmen to ‘speak favorably’ was strong, and it remains strong in our day as well.
We live in the days of Isaiah’s prophecy, “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the peoples” (Isaiah 60:2). Gross darkness is spreading throughout the world. It is praised by Presidents and Kings. Murder of the innocents, the unborn and the barely born is legalized to the fanfare of joyous shouting. Jihadi terror and its advocates spring up like weeds both abroad and at home. Sneering curses of anti-Semitism and chilling moves to thwart the Jewish’s people’s restoration sweep across the Western world. In so many ways light is flickering out in the West. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI said that the spiritual crisis overtaking the West is the most serious since the fall of the Roman Empire near the end of the fifth century.
People are panicking. They hope with fingers crossed that everything will be alright in the short run – that the world will be turned around morally, economically, spiritually. Some intercessors are declaring that this descent into darkness is only a mild hiccup, and that superpowers will soon witness total and radical reformation.
But here is a challenging question – what if the darkness actually intensifies? What if the forces of evil actually increase their dark beating of wings? What if light not only gets clearer and stronger, but darkness continues to cover the earth and the peoples?
- In other words, what if Isaiah’s prophetic vision is not merely poetry, but is also Last Days guidance?
Location, location, location
Let’s look at the context of Isaiah 60. Is the prophet talking about the church or the Jewish people? Whoever the audience is supposed to be – that will prove decisive for us in understanding the prophet’s message.
Paul hands us a great interpretive key when he quotes two preceding verses (Isaiah 59:20-21) in Romans 11:25-27. There the Apostle makes it 100% clear that Isaiah’s focus is the Jewish people, and that their future national history is the subject of the prophecy here. According to Paul, Isaiah 60 is a Last Days prophecy about the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland.
So what does Isaiah 60:1-3 tell us about the Last Days, about the Jewish people and about the nations?
- “Darkness will cover the earth, and gross darkness will cover the nations” (Isaiah 60:2a).
- At that same time, God will shine the light of His face upon Israel and His glory will be manifestly visible on Jewish faces, “But YHVH will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you” (Isaiah 60:2b).
- The nations will spiritually respond to that light reflecting off of Jewish faces, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3).
The key to world revival and to the Holy Spirit being poured out is the Jewish people. They are at the strategic ground zero of these events. So let’s stay on target and pray for the Lord to move as He has promised – both for the Jewish people and for the nations!
The key to the highway runs through Jerusalem
Every so often one runs into prophetic proclamations that a major spiritual turning is just around the corner for various countries. The sense is often communicated that with just a little more prayer, a little more effort, downward slides will be halted in their tracks and everything will turn out just fine. These things may indeed happen. A great harvest is undoubtedly coming, and the power of God will again melt hearts, heal broken bodies and bring countless numbers to repentance and salvation.
At the same time, it’s worth remembering that the Bible is crystal clear – the fullness of the New Covenant will come about when Israel repents (Romans 11:11-12), and world revival will result when Jerusalem turns to Yeshua (Romans 11:15; Matthew 23:39).
- It is both biblically solid and prophetically helpful to remember the Jewish centrality of these coming events and to keep the centrality of the events front and center in our prayers and activities, even as we contend for the salvation and restoration of our individual countries and peoples.
Getting surprised by surprise attacks
The boiling over of the pot of anti-Semitism – it’s happening in our day. But let’s remember that the pot is boiling over on the left side as well as on the right side. The coming waves of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli attacks are coming from both Leftists and Rightists, as well as from both Islamist jihadis and Christian fascists.
Many times I have heard people ask questions which reveal an underlying anti-Semitic perspective. Some of these even come from believers with a heart for Israel, who pray for her protection and salvation. But these questions still arise, “Why do Jewish people vote Democratic in the USA? Why are Jews so rich? Why do Jews control the banks, the media and the government? Etc., etc.”
Leftist anti-Semitism is often voiced by ‘progressives’ – those people who hate Capitalists, who often hate whites, who are bonded sympathetically or unwittingly to Islamist prejudices against the Jewish people and their state. On the other hand, Rightist anti-Semites hate Jews because they believe that Jewish people have leftist tendencies. Rightists often fear world conspiracies and are easy prey to anti-Jewish and Nazi-like conspiracy theories. Either way, on both sides of the aisle Jews are hated and feared. Anti-Semitism is an equal opportunity employer.
- If you are intercessor who loves the Jewish people, it is important to be aware that attacks against Israel are coming from both sides of the field, and these attacks will intensify in days to come.
Most believers are not prepared for the raging intensity of the coming war against the sons and daughters of Israel. This list would include pastors, leaders and laymen, prophetic leaders and conference speakers. God’s heart for the Jewish people and His priority dealings with them are still a mystery to so many people.
As Rod Dreher has remarked in another context, “For a long time we have downplayed or ignored the signs. Now the floodwaters are upon us – and we are not prepared. The storm clouds have been gathering for decades, but most of us believers have operated under the illusion that they would blow over.” People “can’t bear the thought that it might be true — because then, they would have to make radical changes in their lives” (https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-ben-op-the-flood/).
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo ruefully declares, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
How should we then pray?
- Pray for believers worldwide to receive divine revelation about God’s priority heart and dealings with the Jewish people
- Pray for many to receive illumination from the Scriptures about these matters
- Pray for the release of divine strategies of intercession, rescue and evangelism regarding the Jewish people
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
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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