Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Spectator: Israel Under Siege, Zechariah 12 coming to life

This is an excellent summation of the new geo-political situation in the Middle East regarding Israel and its neighbors. It is easy to read and detailed. Read it with Zechariah in your mind as a backdrop to provide prophetic context.

"The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: 2“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’ "

"6“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem."

7“And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. 8On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them. 9And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." (Zechariah 12:1-9)

The Spectator: Israel Under Siege: The Jewish state faces an ever-increasing threat from Islamist neighbours
Israel_SE

"When Israel last entered Gaza, in Operation Cast Lead three years ago, the Arab World was stuck in the stasis it had been in for a century. Since their last defeat against Israel in 1973, the dictators had stuck to their old borders. Unpleasant, certainly, but not eager for conflict or any other variety of change. Their stance may have included populist denunciations of Israel, but they rarely took any genuine interest in the subject, any more than they took any interest in the welfare of their own people. But Israel’s new neighbours are more than racketeers: they are ideologues..."

"It is obvious why this matters to Israel. The country is surrounded. All its efforts at normalisation in the region have come to nothing. To the north, Lebanon remains dominated by Iran’s proxies of Hezbollah. Egypt and Gaza are under the control of the Brotherhood. Syria is a redoubtable enemy and ally of Iran. But when the opposition have toppled Assad, they will be just as hostile and almost certainly head in the same Islamist direction. In recent days even the majority Palestinian Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has begun to look vulnerable. The situation is now so unstable that the King has had to cancel his visit to Britain after thousands have come out on to the Jordanian streets demanding his downfall."

In my opinion, Turkey and Jordan are the next nations to watch. I've written about Jordan recently, and Turkey is admirably covered in The Spectator's article.


Please continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding of the times. Pray that those with an unregenerate heart would respond to the touch of the Lord and that He would give them salvation. Pray for Christians and missionaries in this region. Whatever you feel led to pray for, please continue praying. Prayer is powerful. See John Piper's exposition of the Revelation verse about prayer in his sermon "The Prayers of the Saints and the End of the World"!

Revelation 8:1–5

"And when he broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake."

John Piper-- Prayer and the Consummation of History
The utterly astonishing thing about this text is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God's kingdom.

In other words, what we have in this text is an explanation of what has happened to the millions upon millions of prayers over the last 2,000 years as the saints have cried out again and again, "Thy kingdom come . . . Thy kingdom come." Not one of these prayers, prayed in faith, has been ignored. Not one is lost or forgotten. Not one has been ineffectual or pointless. They have all been gathering on the altar before the throne of God.
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)

15 comments:

  1. Look at the world. We are definitely living in the end times. Amazing prophecy coming to life. Greetings from australia keep up the good work :) bless ya mate

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  2. Maybe it is time for the Lord to REBUKE men like John Piper and straighten him out.

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    1. Hi Jeff,

      What did you read in the quote that should be rebuked? Let me know...

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  3. The man John Piper. He teaches that salvation is conditional.
    Was a man draws water from a well and finds it unfit, he must see that the well is cleaned and the water fit to drink or abandon the well.

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    1. I have not read, heard, or watched anything by Piper to indicate he teaches salvation is conditional. I have heard him preach that God is sovereign in salvation and it is up to Him, permanently and finally.

      I am not a huge Piper fan, of late he has made some questionable decisions about Rick Warren and his decision to participate in a Lectio Divina session with Beth Moore makes me wonder if he is drifting... but nothing hard and fast to show me that he is drastically off kilter on such a foundational doctrine as salvation.

      If something comes across I'll take a look at it. His quote above is solid.

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  4. According to the map above, Armenia is a Muslim nation.

    But, Armenia is not a Muslim country. It was the first nation to ever claim Christianity. Although, the Armenian Orthodox Church eventually crept in, and stole true Christianity from Armenia, Armenia is not and never was a Muslim nation.

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  5. Armenia is a lot like Israel. They are both Biblical nations, they are both tiny nations, they are both non-Muslim, and they are both surrounded by their enemies.

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    1. I found it interesting that Armenia abruptly ended their 100 year old feud with Turkey in 2009 and normalized relations. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8299712.stm

      In the end, Armenia attacks Israel. Their ancient name is commonly interpreted as beth-Togarmah and they participate in the Gog Magog war (Ezekiel 38:6).

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  6. Perhaps, it's time to distance ourselves from the likes of John Piper - http://apprising.org/2011/05/30/john-piper-rick-warren-foster-williardism

    I was always concerned that Armenia would either join with Turkey or Russia in attacking Israel. It would be a shame.


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    1. It is every person's decision when or if to go away from a teacher or teaching they find varies with the bible. If you decide not to listen to Piper any more that is certainly your decision.

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  7. It isn't what someone else say's about Piper, it is what he teaches in his own book. And, by the way, he also say's with his own mouth that he agrees with the Armenian's.

    http://testallthings.com/2009/05/20/the-false-gospel-of-john-piper/

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    1. I have read what he says from his book in context and listened to sermons, and I believe you have misunderstood his point. He teaches that to be saved one must repent and have faith. That is the condition
      He is saying salvation is conditional- as an example- "you must be born again", the 'must' is the condition.

      I'm satisfied that Piper, at least on this point, is solid. That is not to say that I recommend Piper, dare I say, unconditionally, because I think he could have stated it mush better. Often in his sermons, at least the ones I've listened to. He gets garbled and is not as clear as he might be. So I listen to other preachers who are much more clear, such as MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Don Green and Steve Hadley.

      I believe this evaluation of Piper's book 'Future Grace" (from which Piper argues conditions in grace)is fair. It lists the pros, cons, and unintended consequences clearly

      http://creedorchaos.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/evaluation-of-future-grace.pdf

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    2. Jeff, I think you mistake Armenian for Arminian. I was talking of the tiny biblical nation called Armenia and the Armenians (who are my ancestors). I was not talking about Jacobus Arminius. Don't confuse Armenian with Arminian.

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