Abraham makes headlines, but Jerusalem not off the table.
Abraham and the words of the prophet Ezekiel made headlines during this past week or so, as the Bible is quoted directly in the headlines of the news all over the world
January 28, 2018 - Audio, 19.00 MIN
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Not since the days of Ezra and Nehemiah has the God of Israel been recognized as being at work quite by world leaders as he has the past weeks in the words of Vice President Pence who directly quoted the words of the Bible in front of the world. Trump suggested that Jerusalem is "off the table" but the words of the prophets would suggest otherwise.
Pence In Israel and Trump in Davos – Israel and the Bible are in the News
Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Israel and what is being broadcast on the mainstream media is splashing the Bible all over the news in a way unseen since the days of the prophets.
Israel’s Capital - Jerusalem
The nations, witting or not and willing or not, are projecting God’s message all over the news. Yes, they are putting their spin on it, and for their purposes, but one cannot but be amazed the modern day Cyrus’s and Alexanders are doing God’s bidding.
Addressing the Knesset, Vice President Pence reiterated the notable fact of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel:
It is deeply humbling for me to stand before this vibrant democracy to have the great honour to address this Knesset, the first Vice President of the United States to be afforded that privilege here in Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.
This very statement will become the impetus to bring all nations down to Jerusalem in the very near future.
But Jerusalem is NOT off the Table
Later the same week, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Davos, Trump made clear the stakes to the Palestinians for disengaging with America:
When they (the Palestinians) disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great Vice President to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands. That money is on the table, and that money is not going to them, unless they sit down and negotiate peace. Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace too, or we are going to have nothing to do with them any longer!
He then made a very interesting statement regarding Jerusalem, reiterating what he had done earlier, and what Pence had emphasized in Israel. Referring to the negotiations that have constantly and continuously been stalled over the past twenty years ye stated:
The hardest subject they had to talk about was Jerusalem. We took Jerusalem off the table. So we don’t have to talk about it anymore. They never got past Jerusalem. We took it off the table, we don’t have to talk about it any more…
Well Mr. Trump, if only it were that easy. Jerusalem is not off the table. It is God that has put Jerusalem on the table – as the issue that will drag all nations into conflict:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, When they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, Though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:2–3)
Jerusalem is the cup of trembling that all nations cannot help themselves from drinking, and it will cause them all to reel to and fro like a drunken sailor. It is a burden that will weight them down and crush them when they come to lay siege against it.
Instead of removing Jerusalem from the table, Trump has made it the defining issue. In response, Abbas and the Palestinians have rejected American leadership, and have thrown their hat in with Europe – asking the European Union to be the broker for peace in the Middle East!
Jerusalem is the catalyst that will bring all nations down into the Middle East to the battle of the Great day of God Almighty – otherwise known as Armageddon:
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, And will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, And will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” (Joel 3:1–2)
So, Jerusalem is far from “off the table”. In fact, Arutz Sheva reported that next month the Prime Minister of Turkey is going to visit the Vatican to discuss the issue of Jerusalem, the first visit from a Turkish leader to the Vatican in almost 60 years! We will wait and see what comes out of this meeting.
Growing alliance in the Middle East
In the joint meeting between Pence and Netanyahu, Netanyahu chose to use the opportunity to highlight the growing alliance between the surrounding Arab states and Israel:
Earlier today we discussed both common challenges and common opportunities, in a very turbulent Middle East…. The Vice President and I also discussed opportunities for advancing peace. As countries in the region increasingly realize that Israel is not their enemy, but a great ally of their wishes for a better for future, the chances grow for a broader reconciliation.
Pence highlight the fact of the growing alliance between Israel and its neighbours in his speech to the Knesset, he framed it in terms of Abraham’s children coming together:
Over the past two days, I’ve traveled to Egypt and Jordan, two nations with whom Israel has long
enjoyed the fruits of peace. I spoke with America’s great friends, President Al Sisi of Egypt, and King Abdullah of Jordan, about the courage of their predecessors who forged an end to conflict with Israel in their time.
And those two leaders prove every day that trust and confidence can be a reality among the great nations who call these ancient lands home.
In my time with those leaders, and with your Prime Minister, we discussed the remarkable transformation that is taking place across the Middle East today, and the need to forge a new era of cooperation in our day and age.
The winds of change can already be witnessed across the Middle East. Longstanding enemies are becoming partners. Old foes are finding new ground for cooperation. And the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are coming together in common cause as never before.
We know ultimately that Sheba and Dedan, will stand with Israel as Ezekiel 38 dictates, and Israel will seek refuges in Arabia as Isaiah 19 requires. We are seeing the formation of the final picture.
Israel Rising from the Ashes:
God clearly stated that he would resurrect Israel from the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:11–12)
Vice President Pence testified of the veracity of this fact, although giving the credit to the Jewish people, and not to God himself:
And down through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates of the Jewish
people’s aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers to claim your own new birth of freedom in your beloved homeland.
The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that “even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens," from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed.
Through a 2,000-year exile, the longest of any people, anywhere, through conquests and expulsions, inquisitions and pogroms, the Jewish people held on to this promise, and they held on to it through the longest and darkest of nights….
And tomorrow, when I stand with my wife at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust, we will marvel at the faith and resilience of your people, who just three years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect yourselves, to reclaim a Jewish future, and to rebuild the Jewish state.
Now let’s be clear, Israel did not resurrect itself. This was the God of Abraham’s doing… but none-the-less, the rulers of the most powerful nation on earth acknowledge the fact that the Jewish people have been revived from the grave! This is the Vice President of the United States putting on the public record, that the prophetic word has come true.
Abraham makes headlines
When was the last time the Patriarch Abraham got any mention on the world media? Yet listen to Vice President Pence – as he connects Abraham of the Bible with the land of Israel:
Nearly 4,000 years ago, a man left his home in Ur of the Chaldeans to travel here, to Israel. He ruled no empire, he wore no crown, he commanded no armies, he performed no miracles, delivered no prophecies, yet to him was promised “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky….”
And so today, as I stand in Abraham’s “Promised Land,” I believe that all who cherish freedom, and seek a brighter future, should cast their eyes here to this place and marvel at what they behold.
How unlikely was Israel’s birth; how more unlikely has been her survival. And how confounding, and against the odds, has been her thriving. You have turned the desert into a garden, scarcity into plenty, sickness into health, and you turned hope into a future.
Israel is like a tree that has grown deep roots in the soil of your forefathers, yet as it grows, it reaches ever closer to the heavens. And today and every day, the Jewish State of Israel, and all the Jewish people, bear witness to God’s faithfulness, as well as your own.
It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again; that took the language of the Bible and the landscape of the Psalms and made them live again. And it was faith that rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and made them strong again.
The miracle of Israel is an inspiration to the world. And the United States of America is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends.
The last time you hear of leaders of Empires making public declarations for the people of Israel would be during the days of Darius and Cyrus.
The prophet Daniel records Darius decree that mentions the God of heaven:
26I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:26–27)
Not since this decree has a leader of world power quite invoked wording like this recognizing the miraculous hand of God at work with the nation of Israel in a public decree.
Ezra records Cyrus’ words:
NOW in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1–4)
Nor since the time of Cyrus, has a world leader recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in public proclamation, and encouraged the Jews to go up and build.
We are living in truly miraculous times.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Especially, when the Vice President calls commits to pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
And so we will “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” that “those who love you be secure,” that “there be peace within your walls, and security in your citadels.”
And we will work and strive for that brighter future where everyone who calls this ancient land their home shall sit “under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.”
With an unshakeable bond between our people, and our shared commitment to freedom, I say from my heart: May God bless the Jewish people, may God bless the State of Israel and all who call these lands their home, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Well, one thing is for certain – the promise to Abraham was:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
The time of that blessing will soon be upon us, when Messiah will come and complete the promises made to the fathers.
We cannot but be impressed that we are living in incredible times. When even the leaders of the world see the hand of God at work. Can we not see them ourselves? Can we not be impressed by them and by the nearness of the Lord’s return?
The time has come that we read of in the Psalms:
Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: For the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, And favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion, He shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, And not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: And the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.” (Psalm 102:13–18)
The time has come, and even the nations and the kings of the earth are beginning to recognize it. They are far from faithful obedience, but this has been written for the generation to come… and that is our generation. Let us hear the words of the watchers on the walls who cry out. Let us hear the very words of the Bible in the News and prepare ourselves to meet our God.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.
Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
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