Monthly Archives: February 2009

February 27, 2009
In the not so distant past, on a cold February evening, fifteen teenagers and two counselors from a residential facility for troubled youth were on a holiday outing at Convict Lake in the High Sierras.  What began as an adventure ended in disaster.
Toward evening, some of the boys ventured out onto the ice, ignoring posted warning signs as to the dangers of thin ice. – As their counselors called for them to return, they ignored their cries and within minutes, four of them had fallen through the ice.
What ensued over the next several hours were frantic efforts to save the lives of these foolish young people. Tragically, three of the teens and four rescuers lost their lives that evening — all because they failed to heed the warning signs.
I bring this story to you because it reminds me of how people today are ignoring God’s warning signs of the coming earthly tribulations and His imminent return.
2 Peter 3:3-4 says, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming He promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’”
Is this how you feel? Has there been too many “crackpots” like me out there saying that “The day of the Lord is upon us?”
Well then, let me share some specific scripture to convince you that “He is at the door”!
First, Matthew 24:32-34 states, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree; as soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you will know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”
Now I know I spend a lot of time talking about Israel/Jerusalem, but Jesus said it would be one of the super signs of the last days. (Note: for more information on this subject, go to the Teaching tab and click on Israel/Jerusalem.)
A couple of quick points — Zechariah 12:3 says, “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…” – With America’s recent dramatic change in direction, its no longer difficult to see Israel standing alone.
In addition,
Luke 21:20 states, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.” — Is she not surrounded by hostile nations? — Is she not becoming more isolated by the hour?!
Again, Jesus said that when Israel comes back into existence, not one generation would pass. — So what is a generation? Sixty to eighty years? Let’s be conservative for a moment and guess eighty years, from 1948. Another interpretation could be that the generation didn’t start until 1967, after the Six Day War, when Israel gained the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan River (including east Jerusalem), and the Golan Heights. Israel’s territory grew three-fold. – Perhaps ‘tender’ was 1948, and ‘Put forth its leaves’ was 1967. — That generational time frame would be somewhere between now and 2028 to 2047.
Of course, we know that no one knows the exact date but we do know the season. — The current alignment of world powers, the collapse of ethical and moral values, and the weakening influence of our churches and their leaders are just a few of the indicators of the era directly preceding the return of Christ.
Secondly, Jesus said in Matthew 24:22 — “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” — Never before has this been a reality to mankind. — In the days of bows and arrows, catapults and horse-drawn war wagons, this prophecy wasn’t even conceivable. – But today, in this generation, just a few well-placed weapons of mass destruction can end it all.
Continuing, in Matthew 24:14, Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Was this even possible just a few years ago? — But now with the likes of the Internet, satellites, and all the modern ways of communication, this will and is being accomplished very rapidly.
What about Revelation 9:14-16 where it says, “It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great River Euphrates.’ and the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.”
In the days this was written they couldn’t even begin to imagine this kind of number. – They might have thought it was a misprint! — Also notice in verse 14 where it mentions the Euphrates River. That, of course, is east of the Promised Land and who lives in that area? — Just so happens that there is a country (the only one) who can now field an army of this enormous size. You guessed it! — China, the King of the East.
Still not convinced?
Then turn to Daniel 12:4 where it says, “But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” – This passage comes at the end of the Book of Daniel, after his vision of the end times. It is uniquely descriptive of our generation.
We travel all over the world and even off the globe in search of knowledge. The explosion of knowledge in just the last one hundred years is incredible! — My mother was born in 1914 and what she experienced and shared in her lifetime is astounding. – No other generation can possibly even relate to this. – Another end-time prophecy fulfilled.
One more to share is Revelation 13:16-17 which says, “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” – This is talking about a government that rules the world and requires this ‘Mark of the Beast’ to buy or sell. — Up until just the last few years it was difficult to even believe that a one-world government could ever exist. — But with the current collapse of the world economy and the rapid deterioration of America as the only super power, it is not just speculation, but hard reality.  The world is going to need a ‘savior’ and scripture tells us who that will be.
And combined with this is the current technology such as RFID (radio frequency identification). These are small pencil tip size computer chips that can easily be placed in our hands or foreheads allowing only those with this technology to buy or sell anything. — Those of us who refuse this method of consumerism will not be able to perform the daily functions of life. hence, the Mark of the Beast’ prophecy can now be easily implemented. — Surprised?!
Are you convinced yet? – Certainly there are many more scriptures I could mention, but hopefully you get the picture. — On an interesting note, there are many prophecy teachers who believe there isn’t a single prophecy still required to happen before the Rapture occurs. — I certainly can agree with this. There will, however, be plenty more fulfilled during the Tribulation Period.
In conclusion, add them all up and you have a persuasive case for these days truly being the Last Days. Matthew 24:33 says, “Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” — Jesus said it, so I believe it.
Remember that the Lord’s command is to “fear not”, for these things must come to pass. Scripture promises that we will never face something more than we will be able to handle. Trust in the power of God sees us through difficult and exciting days.
Fear achieves nothing but paralysis and pain. I encourage you not to go there. It is better to hope than to fear. Our hope is in the love that Christ has to offer those who follow Him. Our hope is also in the day of justice when all things will be put right, and in the day when we enter into our reward and rest. — We must focus on our hope — not fear.
Finally, I hope you will become familiar with the Bible’s prophetic passages. These are great times to be alive. — We are watching the unfolding of scripture right in front of our eyes. – Let’s make sure that we are right with God.
Until next time, 
Red

On more than one occasion in scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree. Hosea 9:10 states, “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert: when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree…” I believe that when Jesus spoke of the fig tree in the Matthew and Mark passages, He was referring to the re-birth of Israel.

Also too does Ezekiel 36 and 37 refer to the regathering of God’s people once again. When the nation of Israel comes back into existence, Jesus was saying, it is a clear sign saying that His coming is near.

Of course, we know this prophecy was fulfilled not that long ago. On May 14, 1948, against all odds, the Jewish people returned to their homeland and were re-established as a nation.

This was and is unprecedented in human history for a nation to essentially cease to exist, then to come back into existence once again. — Why? — Because God said so. (Ever hear again of the Amalekites, Jebusites, Perrezites, Amorites, Hittites, or Canaanites?)

After the State of Israel was declared in 1948, a war of independence left the city of Jerusalem divided. — Jordan retained control over the old city, including the Temple Mount and most historic sites. — During the 6-Day War in 1967, Israeli forces once again captured the old city and re-unified all of Jerusalem. — The City of Jerusalem was under Jewish control for the first time in many centuries. Bible prophecy had been fulfilled perfectly.

In Zechariah 12:2-3, God said, “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.”

So when God says that Jerusalem will be the focal point of the last days scenario, we see this already happening. — You can hardly scan today’s headlines without reading something about conflict in the Middle East. — So often it centers on Jerusalem/Israel.

There are many, many passages of scripture that specifically say Jerusalem will be at the heart of it all. Jerusalem, of course, remains at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many Arab leaders world-wide insist that the old city and entire West Bank are rightfully Palestinian territory and must be ceded back as a condition for peace.

We watch this happen and see this conflict continuing.

Scripture tells us that God will gather all the nations of the world together against Jerusalem. As well as Zechariah 12:2-3, which we’ve already seen, Zechariah 14:2 also says, “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it…”

The only true peace that will ever come is when the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Prince of Peace comes back and establishes His Kingdom on Earth.

This is what we need to be looking for!

Let’s look at some of the prophetic scriptures of Jewish national fulfillment —

Isaiah 43:1 and 5-6 says:

“But now, that is what the Lord says —
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”

And…

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, give them up!
And to the south, do not hold them back.
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughter from the ends of the earth.”

Ezekiel 11:17 says:

“Therefore say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.”

Jeremiah 16:14-15 says:

“However, the Lord’s day is coming, declares the Lord, when men will no longer say, ‘As surely s the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt’, but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north, and out of all the countries where He had banished them. For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers.”

Jeremiah 31:4,8 says:

“I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O virgin Israel”. And “See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return.”

In anticipation of this great day, King David wrote in Psalm 126:1-2, “When the Lord
brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled
with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The
Lord has done great things for them.'”

The regathering of the Jewish people and the re-birth of Israel is no historical
aberration! The restoration of Jerusalem/Israel is a prelude to the return of our Lord.
— The Bible says, “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in His glory.”
(Psalm 102:16 KJV).

Scripture makes it unmistakably clear that when the Lord returns, it will be to a
sovereign Jerusalem controlled by the Jewish people.

Shifting gears for just a moment, let’s talk about the “Oslo Accord” and its offspring,
the “Roadmap to Peace.” – both talk about Israel’s withdrawal from Jerusalem. — Any
Jewish leader that supports this withdrawal and/or the division of Jerusalem is the
wrong leader. Simply put, the current “Roadmap to Peace”, which is currently supported
by the U.S. Government, cannot work. In fact, we can now see the results of Israel’s
withdrawal from Gaza. In a comparative look, it would be like putting a base of
operations for Al Queda on the Potomac!

Bluntly stated, Islam wants Israel pushed from the land. An indicator of this, Iran,
which is on the verge of nuclear weapons, wants Israel utterly “wiped from the face of
the earth.”

God has set up this final stage of man’s history exactly as His prophets predicted. –
This is exactly why each and every one of us should set our priorities on bringing as
many as possible to the saving faith in Jesus.

Continuing on, Jerusalem means the “City of Peace” – Lasting peace will not come to her
until the Messiah returns. Isaiah 2:4 says, “He will judge between the nations and will
settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their
spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they
train for war anymore.”

Jerusalem is now, and will be in the future, the center of the world. There will be no
world peace until there is peace in Jerusalem. She is like no city on the face of the
earth because Jerusalem is nothing less than the City of God.

Israel without Jerusalem would be like a human body without a heart.

II Chronicles 6:6, 7:16 and 33:7 says, “I (God) have chosen Jerusalem….that my name
be there forever, and my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually….In Jerusalem,
which I have chosen – I will put my name forever.”

Now go to Ezekiel 37:1-14 and read about the miracle of the “dry bones.” — The
prophet Ezekiel more than 2600 years ago, prophesied the resurrection of Israel from
the Gentile graves in the lands to which she had been scattered. — Again, this
happened on May 14, 1948.

Ezekiel also prophesied about the holy war that will take place in Israel some time
after the restoration to independence (Ezekiel 38 and 39). (See separate study.)

God gave Ezekiel a vision of a valley of dry bones. In Ezekiel 37:11 God told him, “Son
of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.”

In the vision, God took Ezekiel to a valley full of dead bones that were dry and
scattered. This was God’s physical portrayal of the nation of Israel.

Remember that Israel ceased to be a nation in A.D. 70 when the Jews were scattered to
the end of the earth by the Roman army under Titus. It would be more than 2,000 years
before Israel became a recognized state.

God asked Ezekiel a perplexing question; “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these
bones live?’ ” (Ezekiel 37:3)

Ezekiel responded by saying, “O Lord God, you know.” (verse 3) — In other words, he
was saying “I don’t see how its possible. – Death has done its work. – Life is gone. –
Lord, if these bones live, it will require the miracle-working power of Jehovah
God.”

In response to Ezekiel’s question, God told him to do something very strange. — It was
the strangest message to the deadest congregation in the history of preaching!

God told him to preach the Word of the Lord to the dry bones. —“Again, he said to me,
prophecy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.’ “
(verse 4)

Ezekiel’s faith conquered the limitations of his carnal mind, and he obeyed the voice
of God.

(Note: We need Ezekiel to preach in many of todays churches.)

It is a Bible fact, – obedience brings blessing, and disobedience brings judgement. —
Ezekiel looked at the valley full of scattered, dry bones and preached this
message:

“Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you,
and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with
skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the
Lord.'” (Ezekiel 37:5-6)

Ezekiel proclaimed that God was going to do a supernatural work that would make those
dry, lifeless, scattered bones live again. It would be a reversal of death and
corruption.

In perfect obedience to the Word of God, Ezekiel said:

“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and
suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked,
the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was
no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:7-8)

Notice that the restoration to life for the bones was a process. It was not an
instantaneous event.

The bones were dry, scattered and dead for a very long time. The dry bones in Ezekiel’s
vision represent the nation of Israel during the Diaspora, beginning in A.D. 70
(Ezekiel 37:11 means, “cut off”) – Gradually the bones came together and the sinews and
flesh came upon them.

It was at this point of Israel’s restoration that people like Theodor Herzl (Beginning
of the 20th century), the father of Zionism, began to call the Jews back to Israel. The
sinews and flesh continued to come together as the Jews of the earth returned to Eretz,
Israel, to drain the swamps and transform the desert into a rose.

On May 14, 1948, at 4:32 p.m., the State of Israel, after 2,000 years, was reborn.
Ezekiel’s prophetic vision was fulfilled;

“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: surely I will take the children of Israel
from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side
and bring them into their own land.'” (Ezekiel 37:21)

God made it exceedingly clear that He would bring the Jews back to their “own land”. He
would not bring them back to the Palestinian’s land. He would restore them to the
promised land of the eternal covenant God had made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and
their descendants.

At the conclusion of Ezekiel 37, the nation of Israel had been physically reborn. Today
they have a flag; they have a constitution; they have a prime minister; and a Knesset.
— They have a police force, a powerful military, and the world’s best intelligence
agencies. — They have Jerusalem, the City of God. — They have a nation. — They have
everything but spiritual life.

Like the dry bones of Ezekiel 37, Israel awaits the spiritual awakening of the breath
of God and Coming of Messiah! ~R.M.

“/>———-Ever
wonder why such a small spot on the earth constantly dominates center stage in today’s
world? – No other nation occupies the planet’s attention like tiny Israel. Author and
Christian Jew, Joel Rosenberg, calls it the epicenter.

Jesus said the re-birth of Israel will be one of the major signs of the last days.
Matthew 24:32-35 says, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: as soon as its twigs
get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see
all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth,
this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Also Mark
13:28-29 NIV)

On more than one occasion in scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree. Hosea 9:10
states, “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert: when I saw your
fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree…” I believe that when
Jesus spoke of the fig tree in the Matthew and Mark passages, He was referring to the
re-birth of Israel.

Also too does Ezekiel 36 and 37 refer to the regathering of God’s people once again.
When the nation of Israel comes back into existence, Jesus was saying, it is a clear
sign saying that His coming is near.

Of course, we know this prophecy was fulfilled not that long ago. On May 14, 1948,
against all odds, the Jewish people returned to their homeland and were re-established
as a nation.

This was and is unprecedented in human history for a nation to essentially cease to
exist, then to come back into existence once again. — Why? — Because God said so.
(Ever hear again of the Amalekites, Jebusites, Perrezites, Amorites, Hittites, or
Canaanites?)

After the State of Israel was declared in 1948, a war of independence left the city of
Jerusalem divided. — Jordan retained control over the old city, including the Temple
Mount and most historic sites. — During the 6-Day War in 1967, Israeli forces once
again captured the old city and re-unified all of Jerusalem. — The City of Jerusalem
was under Jewish control for the first time in many centuries. Bible prophecy had been
fulfilled perfectly.

In Zechariah 12:2-3, God said, “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.”

So when God says that Jerusalem will be the focal point of the last days scenario, we
see this already happening. — You can hardly scan today’s headlines without reading
something about conflict in the Middle East. — So often it centers on
Jerusalem/Israel.

There are many, many passages of scripture that specifically say Jerusalem will be at
the heart of it all. Jerusalem, of course, remains at the heart of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many Arab leaders world-wide insist that the old city and
entire West Bank are rightfully Palestinian territory and must be ceded back as a
condition for peace.

We watch this happen and see this conflict continuing.

Scripture tells us that God will gather all the nations of the world together against
Jerusalem. As well as Zechariah 12:2-3, which we’ve already seen, Zechariah 14:2 also
says, “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it…”

The only true peace that will ever come is when the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and
the Prince of Peace comes back and establishes His Kingdom on Earth.

This is what we need to be looking for!

Let’s look at some of the prophetic scriptures of Jewish national fulfillment —

Isaiah 43:1 and 5-6 says:

“But now, that is what the Lord says —

He who created you, O Jacob,

He who formed you, O Israel:

fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”

And…

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

I will bring your children from the east

And gather you from the west;

I will say to the north, give them up!

And to the south, do not hold them back.

Bring my sons from afar

and my daughter from the ends of the earth.”

Ezekiel 11:17 says:

“Therefore say: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the
nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will
give you back the land of Israel again.”

Jeremiah 16:14-15 says:

“However, the Lord’s day is coming, declares the Lord, when men will no longer say, ‘As
surely s the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt’, but they will
say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the
north, and out of all the countries where He had banished them. For I will restore them
to the land I gave their forefathers.”

Jeremiah 31:4,8 says:

“I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O virgin Israel”. And “See, I will
bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among
them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great
throng will return.”

In anticipation of this great day, King David wrote in Psalm 126:1-2, “When the Lord
brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled
with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The
Lord has done great things for them.'”

The regathering of the Jewish people and the re-birth of Israel is no historical
aberration! The restoration of Jerusalem/Israel is a prelude to the return of our Lord.
— The Bible says, “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in His glory.”
(Psalm 102:16 KJV).

Scripture makes it unmistakably clear that when the Lord returns, it will be to a
sovereign Jerusalem controlled by the Jewish people.

Shifting gears for just a moment, let’s talk about the “Oslo Accord” and its offspring,
the “Roadmap to Peace.” – both talk about Israel’s withdrawal from Jerusalem. — Any
Jewish leader that supports this withdrawal and/or the division of Jerusalem is the
wrong leader. Simply put, the current “Roadmap to Peace”, which is currently supported
by the U.S. Government, cannot work. In fact, we can now see the results of Israel’s
withdrawal from Gaza. In a comparative look, it would be like putting a base of
operations for Al Queda on the Potomac!

Bluntly stated, Islam wants Israel pushed from the land. An indicator of this, Iran,
which is on the verge of nuclear weapons, wants Israel utterly “wiped from the face of
the earth.”

God has set up this final stage of man’s history exactly as His prophets predicted. –
This is exactly why each and every one of us should set our priorities on bringing as
many as possible to the saving faith in Jesus.

Continuing on, Jerusalem means the “City of Peace” – Lasting peace will not come to her
until the Messiah returns. Isaiah 2:4 says, “He will judge between the nations and will
settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their
spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they
train for war anymore.”

Jerusalem is now, and will be in the future, the center of the world. There will be no
world peace until there is peace in Jerusalem. She is like no city on the face of the
earth because Jerusalem is nothing less than the City of God.

Israel without Jerusalem would be like a human body without a heart.

II Chronicles 6:6, 7:16 and 33:7 says, “I (God) have chosen Jerusalem….that my name
be there forever, and my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually….In Jerusalem,
which I have chosen – I will put my name forever.”

Now go to Ezekiel 37:1-14 and read about the miracle of the “dry bones.” — The
prophet Ezekiel more than 2600 years ago, prophesied the resurrection of Israel from
the Gentile graves in the lands to which she had been scattered. — Again, this
happened on May 14, 1948.

Ezekiel also prophesied about the holy war that will take place in Israel some time
after the restoration to independence (Ezekiel 38 and 39). (See separate study.)

God gave Ezekiel a vision of a valley of dry bones. In Ezekiel 37:11 God told him, “Son
of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.”

In the vision, God took Ezekiel to a valley full of dead bones that were dry and
scattered. This was God’s physical portrayal of the nation of Israel.

Remember that Israel ceased to be a nation in A.D. 70 when the Jews were scattered to
the end of the earth by the Roman army under Titus. It would be more than 2,000 years
before Israel became a recognized state.

God asked Ezekiel a perplexing question; “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these
bones live?’ ” (Ezekiel 37:3)

Ezekiel responded by saying, “O Lord God, you know.” (verse 3) — In other words, he
was saying “I don’t see how its possible. – Death has done its work. – Life is gone. –
Lord, if these bones live, it will require the miracle-working power of Jehovah
God.”

In response to Ezekiel’s question, God told him to do something very strange. — It was
the strangest message to the deadest congregation in the history of preaching!

God told him to preach the Word of the Lord to the dry bones. —“Again, he said to me,
prophecy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.’ “
(verse 4)

Ezekiel’s faith conquered the limitations of his carnal mind, and he obeyed the voice
of God.

(Note: We need Ezekiel to preach in many of todays churches.)

It is a Bible fact, – obedience brings blessing, and disobedience brings judgement. —
Ezekiel looked at the valley full of scattered, dry bones and preached this
message:

“Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you,
and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with
skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the
Lord.'” (Ezekiel 37:5-6)

Ezekiel proclaimed that God was going to do a supernatural work that would make those
dry, lifeless, scattered bones live again. It would be a reversal of death and
corruption.

In perfect obedience to the Word of God, Ezekiel said:

“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and
suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked,
the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was
no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:7-8)

Notice that the restoration to life for the bones was a process. It was not an
instantaneous event.

The bones were dry, scattered and dead for a very long time. The dry bones in Ezekiel’s
vision represent the nation of Israel during the Diaspora, beginning in A.D. 70
(Ezekiel 37:11 means, “cut off”) – Gradually the bones came together and the sinews and
flesh came upon them.

It was at this point of Israel’s restoration that people like Theodor Herzl (Beginning
of the 20th century), the father of Zionism, began to call the Jews back to Israel. The
sinews and flesh continued to come together as the Jews of the earth returned to Eretz,
Israel, to drain the swamps and transform the desert into a rose.

On May 14, 1948, at 4:32 p.m., the State of Israel, after 2,000 years, was reborn.
Ezekiel’s prophetic vision was fulfilled;

“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: surely I will take the children of Israel
from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side
and bring them into their own land.'” (Ezekiel 37:21)

God made it exceedingly clear that He would bring the Jews back to their “own land”. He
would not bring them back to the Palestinian’s land. He would restore them to the
promised land of the eternal covenant God had made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and
their descendants.

At the conclusion of Ezekiel 37, the nation of Israel had been physically reborn. Today
they have a flag; they have a constitution; they have a prime minister; and a Knesset.
— They have a police force, a powerful military, and the world’s best intelligence
agencies. — They have Jerusalem, the City of God. — They have a nation. — They have
everything but spiritual life.

Like the dry bones of Ezekiel 37, Israel awaits the spiritual awakening of the breath
of God and Coming of Messiah! ~R.M.

“/>——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————Israel/Jerusalem———-Ever
wonder why such a small spot on the earth constantly dominates center stage in today’s
world? – No other nation occupies the planet’s attention like tiny Israel. Author and
Christian Jew, Joel Rosenberg, calls it the epicenter.—Jesus said the re-birth of
Israel will be one of the major signs of the last days. Matthew 24:32-35 says, “Now
learn this lesson from the fig tree: as soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves
come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you
know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will
certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and Earth will
pass away, but my words will never pass away.”- (Also Mark 13:28-29 NIV)—On more than
one occasion in scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree. Hosea 9:10 states, “When I
found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert: when I saw your fathers, it was
like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree…” -I believe that when Jesus spoke of the
fig tree in the Matthew and Mark passages, He was referring to the re-birth of
Israel.—-Also too does Ezekiel 36 and 37 refer to the regathering of God’s people
once again. When the nation of Israel comes back into existence, Jesus was saying, it
is a clear sign saying that His coming is near.—Of course, we know this prophecy was
fulfilled not that long ago. On May 14, 1948, against all odds-, the Jewish people
returned to their homeland and were re-established as a nation.—This was and is
unprecedented- in human history for a nation to essentially cease to exist, then to
come back into existence once again. — Why? — Because God said so. (Ever hear again
of the Amalekites, Jebusites, Perrezites, Amorites, Hittites, or Canaanites?)—-After
the State of Israel was declared in 1948, a war of independence left the city of
Jerusalem divided. — Jordan retained control over the old city, including the Temple
Mount and most historic sites. — During the 6-Day War in 1967, Israeli forces once
again captured the old city and re-unified all of Jerusalem. — The City of Jerusalem
was under Jewish control for the first time in many centuries. Bible prophecy had been
fulfilled perfectly.—In Zechariah 12:2-3, God said, -“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.”—-So when God says that Jerusalem will be the focal point of the
last days scenario, we see this already happening. — You can hardly scan today’s
headlines without reading something about conflict in the Middle East. — So often it
centers on Jerusalem/Israel.—-There are many, many passages of scripture that
specifically say Jerusalem will be at the heart of it all. Jerusalem, of course,
remains at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many Arab leaders world-wide
insist that the old city and entire West Bank are rightfully Palestinian territory and
must be ceded back as a condition for peace.—-We watch this happen and see this
conflict continuing.—Scripture tells us that God will gather all the nations of the
world together against Jerusalem. As well as Zechariah 12:2-3, which we’ve already
seen, Zechariah 14:2 also says, -“I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight
against it…”—-The only true peace that will ever come is when the King of Kings,
Lord of Lords, and the Prince of Peace comes back and establishes His Kingdom on
Earth.—This is what- we need to be looking for!—-Let’s look at some of the
prophetic scriptures of Jewish national fulfillment ——Isaiah 43:1 and 5-6-
says:–“But now, that is what the Lord says —-He who created you, O Jacob,–He who
formed you, O Israel:–fear not, for I have redeemed you;–I have summoned you by name,
you are mine.”—-And…—-“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;–I will bring your
children from the east –And gather you from the west;–I will say to the north, give
them up!–And to the south, do not hold them back.–Bring my sons from afar–and my
daughter from the ends of the earth.”—Ezekiel 11:17- says:–“Therefore say: ‘This is
what the sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back
from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of
Israel again.”—Jeremiah 16:14-15- says:–“However, the Lord’s day is coming, declares
the Lord, when men will no longer say, ‘As surely s the Lord lives, who brought the
Israelites up out of Egypt’, but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who
brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north, and out of all the countries
where He had banished them. For I will restore them to the land I gave their
forefathers.”—Jeremiah 31:4,8- says:–“I will build you up again and you will be
rebuilt, O virgin Israel”. And “See, I will bring them from the land of the north and
gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame,
expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return.”—In anticipation of
this great day, King David wrote in Psalm 126:1-2, “When the Lord brought back the
captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done
great things for them.'”—-The regathering of the Jewish people and the re-birth of
Israel is no historical aberration! The restoration of Jerusalem/Israel is a prelude to
the return of our Lord. — The Bible says, “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he
shall appear in His glory.”- (Psalm 102:16 KJV).—-Scripture makes it unmistakably
clear that when the Lord returns, it will be to a sovereign Jerusalem controlled by the
Jewish people.—Shifting gears for just a moment, let’s talk about the “Oslo Accord”
and its offspring, the “Roadmap to Peace.” – both talk about Israel’s withdrawal from
Jerusalem. — Any Jewish leader that supports this withdrawal and/or the division of
Jerusalem is the wrong- leader. Simply put, the current “Roadmap to Peace”, which is
currently supported by the U.S. Government, cannot work. In fact, we can now see the
results of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. In a comparative look, it would be like
putting a base of operations for Al Queda on the Potomac! —-Bluntly stated, Islam
wants Israel pushed from the land. An indicator of this, Iran, which is on the verge of
nuclear weapons, wants Israel utterly “wiped from the face of the earth.”—-God has
set up this final stage of man’s history exactly as His prophets predicted. – This is
exactly why each and every one of us should set our priorities on bringing as many as
possible to the saving faith in Jesus.—Continuing on, Jerusalem means the “City of
Peace” – Lasting peace will not come to her until the Messiah returns. Isaiah 2:4 says,
-“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They
will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will
not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”—Jerusalem is
now, and will be in the future, the center of the world. There will be no world peace
until there is peace in Jerusalem. She is like no city on the face of the earth because
Jerusalem is nothing less than the City of God-.—-Israel without Jerusalem would be
like a human body without a heart.—II Chronicles 6:6, 7:16 and 33:7 says, -“I (God)
have chosen Jerusalem….that my name be there forever, and my eyes and my heart will
be there perpetually….In Jerusalem, which I have chosen – I will put my name
forever.” —Now go to Ezekiel 37:1-14- and read about the miracle of the “dry bones.”
— The prophet Ezekiel more than 2600 years ago, prophesied the resurrection of Israel
from the Gentile graves in the lands to which she had been scattered. — Again, this
happened on May 14, 1948.—-Ezekiel also prophesied about the holy war that will take
place in Israel some time after the restoration to independence (Ezekiel 38 and 39).
(See separate study.)—God gave Ezekiel a vision of a valley of dry bones. In Ezekiel
37:11 God told him, -“Son of Man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.”—-In the
vision, God took Ezekiel to a valley full of dead bones that were dry and scattered.
This was God’s physical portrayal of the nation of Israel.—Remember that Israel
ceased to be a nation in A.D. 70 when the Jews were scattered to the end of the earth
by the Roman army under Titus. It would be more than 2,000 years- before Israel became
a recognized state.—God asked Ezekiel a perplexing question; “And he said to me, ‘Son
of man, can these bones live?’ “- (Ezekiel 37:3)—Ezekiel responded by saying, “O Lord
God, you know.” -(verse 3) — In other words, he was saying “I don’t see how its
possible. – Death has done its work. – Life is gone. – Lord, if these bones live, it
will require the miracle-working power of Jehovah God.”—In response to Ezekiel’s
question, God told him to do something very strange. — It was the strangest message to
the deadest- congregation in the history of preaching!—God told him to preach the
Word of the Lord to the dry bones. —“Again, he said to me, prophecy to these bones,
and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.’ “- (verse 4)—-Ezekiel’s
faith conquered the limitations of his carnal mind, and he obeyed the voice of
God.—-(Note: We need Ezekiel to preach in many of todays churches.)—-It is a Bible
fact, – obedience brings blessing, and disobedience brings judgement. — Ezekiel
looked at the valley full of scattered, dry bones and preached this message:—“Thus
says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and
you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin
and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.'”
-(Ezekiel 37:5-6)—-Ezekiel proclaimed that God was going to do a supernatural work
that would make those dry, lifeless, scattered bones live again. It would be a reversal
of death and corruption.—-In perfect obedience to the Word of God, Ezekiel
said:—“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise,
and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I
looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but
there was no breath in them.”- (Ezekiel 37:7-8)—Notice that the restoration to life
for the bones was a process. It was not- an instantaneous event.—-The bones were dry,
scattered and dead for a very long time. The dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision represent
the nation of Israel during the Diaspora, beginning in A.D. 70 (Ezekiel 37:11 means,
“cut off”) – Gradually the bones came together and the sinews and flesh came upon
them.—-It was at this point of Israel’s restoration that people like Theodor Herzl
(Beginning of the 20th century), the father of Zionism, began to call the Jews back to
Israel. The sinews and flesh continued to come together as the Jews of the earth
returned to Eretz, Israel, to drain the swamps and transform the desert into a
rose.—-On May 14, 1948, at 4:32 p.m., the State of Israel, after 2,000 years, was
reborn. Ezekiel’s prophetic vision was fulfilled; —“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the
Lord God: surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever
they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own
land.'” -(Ezekiel 37:21)—-God made it exceedingly clear that He would bring the Jews
back to their “own land”. He would not bring them back to the Palestinian’s land. He
would restore them to the promised land of the eternal covenant God had made with
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.—-At the conclusion of Ezekiel 37, the
nation of Israel had been physically reborn. Today they have a flag; they have a
constitution; they have a prime minister; and a Knesset. — They have a police force, a
powerful military, and the world’s best intelligence agencies. — They have Jerusalem,
the City of God. — They have a nation. — They have everything but spiritual
life.—Like the dry bones of Ezekiel 37, Israel awaits the spiritual awakening of the
breath of God and Coming of Messiah-! ~R.M.

February 13, 2009
I was watching TV the other evening and noticed a commercial about some new anti-depressant. There seems to be a lot of these types of commercials lately, but this one was a bit different. It’s message said to take this as an additional medication to the current anti-depressant because a large percentage of the people on their original medication were still feeling the effects of depression — so this additional medication would help. — What?! Is it because the other stuff isn’t any good or the depression is more severe? 
If we think about this for a moment, it’s no wonder people think they need this societal opiate. — Just what are we seeing and hearing? 
— To name just a few:
 ◆    Families murdering one another
 ◆    Incomes, jobs, and life savings evaporating
 ◆    Politicians lying to us on national TV.
Examples —
Richard Nixon
“I am not a crook”
Bill Clinton
“I did not have sex with that woman”
Barak Obama
“There is no pork in this stimulus package”  
(Great role models!)
 ◆    Our children being subjected to the constant barrage from hell through the Internet, video games and movies
 ◆    Moral degradation being forced upon us
 ◆    Unprecedented natural disasters
 ◆    Recession, depression, socialism, communism
Where does it end?
So where does a person turn in times like these? — Anti depressants? Alcohol? Drugs? The edge of a cliff?
How about God? — History shows us that in times of crisis, people often try this. — Look for a moment at the few months following the 9/11 attacks. Church attendance across the land increased dramatically. — But then what happened? — As soon as the trauma of the event wore off, the attendance slipped back to normal.
And herein lies my point. First of all, I as a Christian can’t imagine what it must be like to face the issues of these days without Jesus. — And that’s exactly what folks are looking for when they come searching in our church places.
And what are they finding? Programs, entertainment, various attempts at self-help, wealth formulas, and on and on. For the most part, it’s predictable and empty.
So instead of finding hope for a new way and meaning for their lives, they end up leaving the way they came — empty, helpless, and feeling more hopeless.
What we see surrounding us today in every city and town are church buildings which are no more than clerical caskets — lined in rich cloth and covered in gold — and buried in complacency.
It’s truly tragic that so much of the world is in the church and so many of the church are in the world that there is no difference between the two. — To bring this point home, a Christian brother told me of an experience he had last summer. He’d gone to an outdoor multi-church event that was designed to expose certain neighborhoods to the church. After observing for a time, he made this profound discovery. He stated that he couldn’t tell the Christians from the non-Christians! — Did that hit home or what?!
So what’s happened to our well-intentioned attempts to serve our Lord? – Let’s quickly look at the seven churches in Revelations 2 and 3 and some stark examples. — Five of them had serious issues:
       1)    Ephesus – was once strong, but had lost its first love. It had become lifeless, forgetting the passion and excitement of its original love for Jesus. (Sound familiar?)
       2)    Pergmum – had fallen under the influence of the pagan culture in which it lived. (Don’t be fooled! The secular and ’emerging’ movements we see today are no different — just more ‘modern’)
       3)     Thyatira – became part of an evil cult. (Matthew 24:5 states, “…for many will come in my name, claiming ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many.”)
        4)    Sardis – became so cold and dead that only the names in the church directory could indicate any living members. (Nothing more need be said.)
        5)   Laodecia – Lukewarm, wealthy, lazy, rich, in need of nothing. (At least  in their minds. – Jesus said He would spit them out of His mouth – Rev. 3:16).
A vast majority of our churches today have fallen into many of these same trappings. When people come searching for an answer, mostly all they’re getting is ‘ear candy’. II Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 
Dr. D.A. Criswell reminds us of the true character of an anointed leader of God: 
Quote — “Whenever there is a true prophet of God, He will preach judgement. These modern so-called ministers of God speak all things nice. Modern pedagogical (or art or science of teaching) methods admonish never to mention things negative. Ignore them and they will not exist.”
He continues:
“There is not any Hell and there is not any devil and there is not any judgement of God. All that is now intellectually passe’ We have evolved beyond that — So we stand up and speak of the love of Jesus, and we speak of peace, and we speak of all things pretty and beautiful — but the same book that tells us about the good, tells us about the bad. The same Revelation that speaks to us about Heaven, speaks about Hell.”  — Unquote.
Let’s look for a moment at the two scriptural passages that show us how to do church. First, Matthew 25:34-36 says, “Then the king will say to these on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Next, Acts 2:42-47 states, ” They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the Temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
What a concept! — I think that during the times of crisis, if people were to find this kind of place, the attendance would not recede and the need for anti-depressants, for the most part, would fade away.
In closing, the evening news is a commentary of the darkness of our world. It is a graphic visualization of the absence of God in many places in our communities. — So, what is the real problem? — It is not just the presence of darkness — it is also the absence of light.
We can pierce the darkness in the name of Jesus!
Light exposes darkness and light symbolizes the presence of God. Light represents all that is good! —
“We are the light.” —
Until next time,
Red
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