Isaiah’s prophetic scenario cuts through the mists of time. There’s a day a-coming when gross darkness will cover the planet, and a heavy fog of spiritual pollution will hang over the entire earth.
That generation will witness a shocking nuclear explosion of spiritual light radiating out from the nation of Israel:
- “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the peoples. But YHVH will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising . . . The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet. And they will call you the City of YHVH, Zion of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 60:1-3, 14)
The streets of the Western world are racked by injustice, murder and riots. The casbahs of the Middle East are rocked by Islamist violence and hostilities. Plagues, locusts, drought and the sword are sweeping across this planet. But God calls us not to lose heart: “When you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33). Days of insurgence and uprising are causing seemingly stable governments to tremble. Persecution of Bible believers (a fixture of the Islamic and Communist worlds) is mushrooming in the vestiges of once-stalwart Christian empires. Family foundations are increasingly mocked and undermined. In the middle of this storm Messiah Yeshua speaks encouraging words to us: “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:23)!
Dark nations, radiant sons of Jacob
God wants us to prepare for what is barreling down the freeway. Though we may be walking through ‘the valley of deep darkness’ (the original Hebrew meaning of Psalm 23:4’s gai tzalmavet, often translated as the valley of death) – and it will get worse before it gets better – YHVH offers the nations a helpful bit of advice: when the going gets tough, look to Israel! When this present darkness starts exploding exponentially, know that the God of Jacob is about to shine His light on Israel in a world-shaking way.
God’s focus in Isaiah 60 is simple: His planetary solution will come through the Jewish people’s revival.
Life from the dead will be manifested through the sons of Jacob (Romans 11:15). The nations will receive even greater spiritual riches when the Jewish people come into the fullness of their divine calling (Romans 11:12). These Jewish gifts and the Jewish people’s calling will fill the Gentile world with spiritual and physical fruit (Isaiah 27:6).
As Hannibal Smith in the A-team would say, God “loves it when a plan comes together,” and this Jewish key is the plan. No need to be paralyzed by fear, depression or hopelessness. Instead, let’s remember that the God of Israel has not been taken by surprise, and that He wants us to trust in His sovereign oversight even now. God’s intercessory train is bound for glory:
- For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness and her salvation like a torch that is burning. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory . . . So your God will rejoice over you. On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen. All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind YHVH, take no rest for yourselves, and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. YHVH has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, “I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies, nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored” (Isaiah 62:1-2, 5-8)
We can be proactive in hope-filled prayer and in biblical vision when so many other foundations are built on shifting sand. Our prayers and our outreach help to birth the Jewish people into their ancient calling – to be a light to the Gentiles and to bring life from the dead to the entirety of our dark planet:
Isaiah prophesies about Yeshua the Messianic Servant in Isaiah 49:6 (see also Acts 13:47 where Paul also applies this prophecy to the Messianic Jewish remnant): “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel. I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
- Intercessory prayer for Israel’s protection and salvation
- Sharing the message of Messiah Yeshua ‘to the Jew with priority’ (Romans 1:16)
- Preparing to shelter, protect and rescue Jewish people in days of future persecution
The flattening curve?
In these days of COVID-19, doctors and world leaders speak of ‘flattening the curve’ (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flattening_the_curve) – the goal of slowing coronavirus infection rates so as not to overwhelm each country’s medical system. The nation of Israel has had marked success in flattening the curve, and has been positively affirmed for this across the globe, and for this we are thankful:
Though the curve may be flattening in Israel for now, there is an opposite curve which is peaking. The Jewish people and Israel are being blamed in some international circles for the creation and spread of COVID-19:
A viral spike in anti-Semitism is happening not only in Iran and the Islamic world. The University of Oxford published a recent survey in the journal Psychological Medicine on May 22, 2020 (http://jpost.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx) revealing that 20% of surveyed Brits believe that Jews created COVID-19 to collapse the economy for financial gain.
In a February 2020 polling of 3011 adults from across UK by Focaldata, the HOPE Not Hate Charitable Trust found that, in answer to the question “Do Jews have an “unhealthy control of the banking system,” 13% of the respondents agreed with this anti-Semitic propaganda, while 38% couldn’t say that this Nazi-like declaration was either true or false, or answered that they didn’t know (www.hopenothate.org.uk/2020/04/26/trust-no-one-findings/).
These British percentages show that fertile soil exists for a pandemic outbreak of anti-Semitism. The known British ‘stiff upper lip’ dynamic may actually point to the distinct possibility that this spreading anti-Jewish poison may be even more virulent in other less reserved nations.
The darkness of anti-Semitism was a benchmark indicator for the plans both of Nazi Hitler and Communist Stalin. The Book of Revelation reveals that Satan’s Last Days priority is the annihilation of the Jewish people (Revelation 12:1-13).
Stay on target
In Star Wars: A New Hope, Gold Five pilot Davish Krail exhorts his X-Wings as they race to the Death Star reactor port: “Stay on Target!” Every U.S. Marine knows the motto ‘Semper Fi’ (Latin shorthand for ‘always faithful’). Staying the course is the apostolic challenge:
- “ … that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Messiah Yeshua. Brothers, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Messiah Yeshua. Let us therefore, as many as are mature, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained” (Philippians 3:7-16)
We are coming face to face with ‘this present darkness,’ As the world trembles, let’s keep our eyes on the prize and hold on:
- Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart . . . Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:1-3, 12-13)
How should we then pray?
- Pray for a revelation of God’s love for all those in the nations who are losing hope due to increasing darkness and wickedness
- Pray for a revelation to humankind about God’s sovereign heart-strategy regarding Israel’s Last Days role as a light to the nations and catalyst for life from the dead for the Gentiles
- Pray for those who are bringing God’s good news to the Jewish people – for enablement, anointing and provision
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army
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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