Israel in the End Times (Part 6)

TEXT: Romans 11:8-16

In our last message in this series, we talked about how that by the Gentiles getting saved, the Jews will be ‘provoked to jealousy,’ and will desire salvation through Jesus Christ themselves. Paul also informs us that since “salvation is of the Jews” and the Gentiles benefit greatly from that salvation, when the Jews come around to accepting Christ, they will benefit all the more.

As we pick up where we left off, in verses 13 and 14, Paul says, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” By calling himself the “apostle of the Gentiles,” Paul emphasizes his special calling to take the Gospel to those who are not Jews. The Greek word for “magnify” means to make glorious, to clothe in splendour, to honour, to extol, or celebrate. Paul takes pride in his calling to minister to the Gentiles, and one of the reasons why is because he knows he can “provoke to emulation” his own people — the Jews. He wants the Jews to “emulate” or imitate the Gentiles in their acceptance of Jesus Christ.

Ben Witherington and Darlene Hyatt state, “Paul honors and glories in this ministry because it is an honor to lead people to Christ, and he hopes it will even have some good effect on his Jewish kin. Paul sees his mission to Gentiles as indirectly a mission to Jews as well. Even the Apostle to the Gentiles took seriously the gospel priority of ‘to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile,’ though his focus was on Gentiles.”

In the book of Acts, we see that some of the fiercest opponents of the Gospel message, as it was spread across the Mediterranean area, were the Jews. (And we must remember that, before his conversion, Paul was one of them.) It was the Jews who stoned Stephen. It was the Jews who arrested Peter and John after they preached in the Temple and healed a lame man at the Temple gate. After that, the Jews plotted to kill several of the apostles. Paul said that he faced dangers from his own countrymen. Twice in Acts, we see Paul driven out of town by Jews after having preached the Gospel in their synagogue. Jews had Paul arrested and taken to the Roman governor Felix and to King Agrippa. Agrippa told Paul, “Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that he ought not to live any longer.”

Even though the majority of the Jews of Paul’s day had rejected the Gospel, Paul still desired for them to be saved. And that is part of the reason why he was so dedicated to spreading the Gospel among the Gentiles.

Israel in the End Times (Part 5)

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TEXT: Romans 11:8-15

8 According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.

9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Israel in the End Times (Part 5)

Starting this weekend, Jewish communities in Israel, the United States, and around the world will mark the Days of Remembrance leading up to Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, April 16th. The plight of the Jews after World War II caused many Jews and others to realize that the children of Israel needed a homeland that they could call their own, and that led to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 which was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Several Old Testament prophets spoke of the regathering of the children of Israel in their homeland. Isaiah 66:7-8 says, “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” On May 14, 1948, the Jews declared independence for Israel as a united and sovereign nation for the first time in 2900 years. On that same day, the United States issued a statement recognizing Israel’s sovereignty. And, only hours before, a United Nations mandate expired, ending British control of the land. During a 24-hour span of time, foreign control of the land of Israel formally ceased. Modern Israel was literally born in a single day — just as Isaiah had prophesied. Continue reading “Israel in the End Times (Part 5)”

President Obama, We are Pulling for You to Succeed Against ISIS, but God May Not Be with You

President Obama
President Obama

TEXT: 1 Kings 22:13-18

13 And the messenger that was gone to call Mi-cai-ah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?

17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

During the Old Testament era in which God allowed judges and kings to rule His people, Israel, it was traditional for the king or military leader to enquire of the Lord before going to war. In response to such prayers, God would send one of His prophets to the kings and tell him yay or nay. Sometimes, the prophet would say something similar to, ‘Yes, you can go to war because the Lord is with you and you will be victorious.’ However, at other times, the prophet would say, ‘No, do not go to war because the Lord is not with you, and you will not be victorious.’ We see these types of scenarios in the lives of Moses, Joshua, David, Saul, Hezekiah, and the kings mentioned in the passage which we just read — Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and Ahab, the king of Israel.

In Exodus 33:15, when Moses is instructed by God regarding leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land, Moses tells God, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”

In 2 Samuel 5:18-19, when David was the king of Israel, we read: “The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.“

In Numbers 14, when the children of Israel prepared to take the Promised Land after their initial disobedience and refusal to do so, Moses tells them, “Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.”

In 1 Samuel 28, when Saul was faced with the Philistine army, the Bible reads, “And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by prophets.”

Now, at the beginning of 1 Kings 22, we are informed that there were three years of peace between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and Syria. However, in a previous war, the Syrians had seized the Israeli city called Ramoth-gilead. Israel had never retaken the city, and so Ahab, the king of Israel, goes to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and proposes that they go to war together in order to take the city back from the Syrians. Jehoshaphat wisely suggests that they go to God before going to war. He tells Ahab, “Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord today.” So, King Ahab gathers 400 prophets and says, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”

To make a long story short, Jehoshaphat did not trust Ahab’s 400 prophets who claimed to speak the word of the Lord, so he asks for another prophet. King Ahab begrudgingly tells him that there indeed is another prophet in Israel, the prophet Micaiah, but says, “I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” Jehoshaphat has Ahab to call for him anyway, and that is where we come in to this passage today. Micaiah comes and delivers a message that is truly from the Lord, and, just as he suspected, it is not a message that Ahab likes. Ahab learns that although Jehoshaphat has agreed to go to war with him, and although 400 prophets have predicted that He will be victorious, the most important ally that he could have, and the only ally he really needs is not on his side. Micaiah delivers a message that is truly from God — that the joint armies of Israel and Judah will be defeated by the Syrians and scattered across the land.

In light of this background from Scripture, and in light of events that are going on in our world today, the Lord has given me a very specific message for such a time as this. As you know, President Obama announced this past week that he along with a coalition of European and Middle Eastern nations will be expanding the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS). I am led to say to President Obama that I support what you have chosen to do to combat the Islamic State which is slaughtering Christians and minorities indiscriminately in Syria and Iraq. Many Christians support you; the American people support you; it is the right thing to do. In fact, last week, I did a podcast showing the Biblical basis for such action against these evildoers.

Mr. President, let me say that I am a biblically conservative Christian and because of your position on homosexuality and abortion, I did not vote for you in either of the past presidential elections. However, as a biblical Christian, I could not vote for Romney last time either because of his Mormon cult religion that would not allow blacks into the priesthood for years. Plus, one of the first persons he hired on his staff was an openly homosexual individual. Also, I respect Dr. Ben Carson, however, based upon our Christian tradition of respecting governmental authority, I believe that he was disrespectful in using the National Prayer Breakfast to confront you. There are some things that I can commend you on. You seem to be a good husband and father. You appointed Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as the international ambassador for religious freedom after urging from Christian groups; you have also recently appointed Rabbi David Saperstein to that position. I also commend you on allowing American doctors who were stricken with Ebola to come back to the country to be treated. And, I commend you on your program to help young black and Hispanic men, as long as you do not promote homosexuality.

However, I believe that God is leading me to say that He is not with you because of other things that you have done that are displeasing to Him — particularly what you have done to support and promote homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage in this country. I am afraid to say that although there is no reason why the United States and its allies should not prevail against the terrorists of the Islamic State, this could turn out to be another debacle in a long line of debacles that have happened throughout your presidency.

In fact, I believe that a part of the reason why the world is facing this crisis is because you have chosen to promote homosexuality in this country and around the world and you have chosen to not only support abortion, but to fund abortion through your signature healthcare program. You have committed moral atrocities by promoting the homosexual agenda at the United Nations, by withholding medical and financial aid to the people of Uganda when their government decided to enact laws punishing homosexual offenders, and by not taking the opportunity you had to solidify a measure that protects Christian organizations from being sued because they refuse to hire those whose lifestyles are contrary to the Bible.

As you already are well aware, the Islamic world sees America as “the Great Satan.” Part of this is because of America’s unyielding support of Israel. But another part of it is because of the immorality in this country. Although we claim to be a “Christian nation” much of what goes on in our society not only contradicts the Bible, but also contradicts the Muslim Quran, the Jewish Torah, and the Christian New Testament. When you publicly support homosexuality — something which is condemned by the Jewish faith, the Muslim faith, and the Christian faith, two of which you have ties to due to your upbringing — you only further entrench in the minds of many Muslims in the Middle East the view that America is the enemy. That is part of the reason why ISIS is beheading our citizens in Syria. They feel that they are doing the right thing (according to their holy book) by punishing our people whom they see as infidels, unbelievers, and apostates. Mr. President, the truth is many in the faith of Islam have lost all respect for you personally because of what you have done.

Some will recall that in 2007, the then-president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke at Columbia University in New York City and mocked Americans by saying, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like you do in your country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon.” The more the president and others in our society promote this abomination, the more enmity will fester between the West and the Muslim world. The beheadings of Americans and Britons that we have seen is just the tip of the iceberg. The Islamic State is aiming for another 9/11. They have already declared that one day an Islamic flag will fly over the White House.

Although you naively and untruthfully suggested that the Islamic State is not Islamic, we cannot deny that the roots of this conflict are religious — even if the religious nature of the sides engaged in this fight can be traced back to the same figure — Abraham. In response to your comments, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated: It is “an indisputable fact that the terrorist organizations that have most targeted the West, and the United States in particular, are specifically driven by an Islamic ideology and by the unquestioned ambition to further the reach of Islam not only throughout the Middle East but also in the rest of the world.”

Mr. President, the world will not be able to bear another defeat on your watch. What are some of those defeats?

  1. The complete pull-out from Iraq, which many believe was the wrong thing to do. In fact, what President Bush predicted would happen if we pulled out in 2007 is now happening. Bush said, “It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.” That is precisely what we are doing today.
  2. The attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, which left four U.S. officials dead.
  3. The current failure of the state of Libya despite your decision to militarily support rebels’ efforts to overthrow the government.
  4. The fall-out from Edward Snowden’s leaking of massive amounts of data concerning the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance and intelligence practices. Many now believe that America’s enemies, including ISIS, are using this information against us.
  5. Russia’s wrongful seizing of Crimea and its incursion into Ukraine, which led to the re-starting of Cold War tensions between the former Soviet Union and the United States.
  6. The ongoing U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran, which have bore no fruit.
  7. The prisoner swap that the United States government made to bring Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home in exchange for five Taliban leaders.

Mr. President, I say again, the world cannot bear another failure of foreign policy on your watch — much less a defeat at the hands of the ruthless Islamic State who will seize any chance they can to perpetrate terror against not only their own people, but against Israel, Europe, and the United States. More than ever, you need God on your side.

Now, as I close, I want to share briefly with you three steps on how this situation can be turned around for the good of President Obama, the United States, and the world.

1. Notice that God will sometimes not allow victory if there is sin in the camp. Throughout Scripture, we see that many of the military victories of the Israelites were directly tied to the spiritual condition of the nation. Often, God would allow the king to be defeated at the hands of his enemies because of his own disobedience. King Saul is an example of that. He would not submit to the Lord and to the Prophet Samuel, and God allowed him to suffer defeat repeatedly at the hands of the Philistines before he killed himself in battle.

Another example of that is Joshua at Ai. When the Israelites were defeated at Ai, God informed Joshua that it was because someone in the Israelite camp had sinned. As soon as Joshua dealt with the sin and the sinner, the Israelites were victorious over their enemies.

2. Notice that God’s approval is necessary for victory. Right now, President Obama has the secretary of state flying around the Middle East seeking promises of support from Arab nations in the region. However, I want to remind the president of Solomon’s words in Proverbs 21:31: “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.” In other words, you can have all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, but if God is not on your side, you will not win. Or, as the Prophet Isaiah puts it: “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD.” Mr. President, I encourage you to follow the example of King Jehoshaphat and seek the Lord before you go to battle.

3. Notice that repentance is the only way to true blessing. Right now, America has many needs. Not only do we need victory over ISIS in the Middle East, but we need economic and financial stability here at home. The government is coming up with all kinds of plans. Politicians are making all kinds of promises. But all of it is futile if we continue on the path of spiritual and moral decline.

We don’t need another plan or another promise. What we really need in this nation is repentance. President Obama needs to repent of promoting homosexuality, the homosexual agenda, and homosexual marriage. Others in this nation need to do the same. All of us, Christians included, need to repent of our sins and our lack of trust in God. We need to turn back to God and turn back to the spiritual principles of the Bible and the moral principles that are not only in the Bible, but are also in the Torah and the Quran.

When we turn from our wicked ways and seek God’s face, we can be assured that God will be on our side because we are on His side. As Psalm 37:39 says, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.”

________

For those of you who are listening who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior, allow me to share with you how you can get to know Him today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

GLMX #142: Here One Moment and Gone the Next

This past week was certainly among the most turbulent weeks America and the world has ever experienced. It began on Monday, at the Boston Marathon, when a joyous event was turned into a scene of terror. Three people who had gathered with many others to cheer on the runners as they crossed the finish line were killed by two bombs that exploded on the sidewalk. One of those killed was a restaurant manager, another was a young Chinese college student, and the third was an eight-year-old boy who was there to cheer on his father. 183 other people were injured, many of whom had to have legs amputated because of the blast.

This past week, poisoned letters were also sent to President Obama and a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. Thankfully, these letters were intercepted before they reached their destinations.

On Tuesday, a massive earthquake struck the Iran-Pakistan border. The quake was so powerful that it was felt across the Middle East and Asia from Dubai to India. 34 people died from this earthquake.

On Wednesday evening of this past week, a fire broke out at a fertilizer company in a small town in central Texas. Volunteer firefighters rushed to the scene. While they were fighting the fire, a huge explosion occured. It was so powerful that it registered as a small earthquake. 14 people, including the firefighters, have since been confirmed dead, many people have not been accounted for, and dozens more are without homes or material belongings.

Finally, on Saturday, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck a region in southwestern China. At the latest report, over 200 people are dead from this quake and over 6,700 people have been injured.

Many people recognized that so much tragedy in such a short period of time seems unusual. Two CNN reporters even referred to the Boston Marathon bombing, the West, Texas explosion, and the poisoned letters sent to President Obama and a U.S. senator as being similar to biblical plagues that seemed to be hitting the country all at the same time.

The terrible loss of life that struck the world this past week is both astounding and heart breaking. All of the people who died from events that were beyond their control have one thing in common. None of them thought they were likely going to die that day. They were living their lives just like you and I are doing today. They just wanted to go to work, go to school, go to the store, and spend time with their family and friends. They wanted to enjoy a fun sporting event with other residents of their city. They wanted to spend a peaceful evening at home eating dinner or watching TV. Yet, all of them were here one moment and gone the next. In the space of a bomb blast, an earthquake, or an explosion, they each passed from life into eternity.

Such events should cause us to soberly remember that our lives are just as fragile. We are not special. We are no better than those people who died this past week. Hebrews 9:27 says that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” We, too, can be here one moment and gone the next. We can pass from life to eternity in a moment of time by some unexpected, tragic event that is totally beyond our control. Such events remind us that we need to be ready for what comes after death — our eternal destination.