Saturday, March 28, 2015

Our Passover Lamb

And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. “And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”    Luke 19:29-38  NKJV

Something I noticed rather early on in my life as a believer was the fact that a good many teachers of the Word concentrate solely on the New Testament and seem to avoid attempting to teach from the Old Testament.  When I thought about that, it seemed strange to me considering virtually all of the stories I learned in Sunday School came from the Old Testament!  Adam and Eve, Noah, Joseph and his coat of many colors, Moses and the Exodus, David and Goliath, and so many others I can recall were what became what I could call the equivalent of Bible 101 in my personal growth as a believer.

Something I came to appreciate even more, however, was the fact that there was much more to discover there than just the stories themselves.  As I began to look closer, it was amazing to find that there were many examples of the stories I knew actually being a prophetic picture of events to come.  Now the formal name for this is called typology, and if you are interested there are many resources to help you do that, and since you are reading this, it follows you have a computer so just search typology and see what you can find.  As for now, I simply want to share one example which, considering the proximity to Easter, seems rather appropriate.

When you begin to study the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, it soon becomes clear that although there were times when the people attempted to promote Him as King, He avoided it. A good example is right after the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.    John 6:14-15  NKJV

Yet there did come a day when He did choose to present Himself as King, and we find it revealed in the passage from Luke, which occurred on the tenth of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish religious calendar which was also the beginning of what we now call the Passion Week.  It follows that if Jesus arranged it, there must have been a reason for it, so if we look a little closer we discover that indeed there was.   Jesus was in fact following a script laid out in the Old Testament that we find in the book of Exodus where the first Passover was ordained and observed by the children of Israel while in bondage in Egypt.

Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. ‘And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. ‘Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. ‘Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. ‘And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.    Exodus 12:1-7  NKJV

In hindsight, we see that while presenting Himself as Israel’s King, He also was presenting Himself as our Passover Lamb on the tenth of Nisan with the foreknowledge that the Jews would reject Him, and then crucify Him on the cross.  As I read this passage from Exodus with the Passion Week in mind, it becomes so very obvious what Jesus was doing for us, the Church, in regards to fulfilling the Law as He said that He did.  Because we choose to believe in His sacrifice and atonement for our sins, He becomes our Passover Lamb and it is His blood which saves us from an eternity separate from Him.  

A few days after His presentation, Jesus celebrated the Passover dinner with His disciples.  If you read the account in Matthew, you will find something Jesus said which seems to be prophetic to the Church as well.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”       Matthew 26:26-29  NKJV

According to the Mishnah, a collection of Jewish oral laws and traditions, Jesus is waiting for the marriage feast before He drinks from this cup.  (Mishnah, Pesahim 7:13)  Since we know that the marriage feast takes place after the rapture, is it possible that Jesus’ statement is actually His way of telling us that we will drink this cup with Him on a future Feast of Passover?  Could this be a clue to the season of the rapture of the Church that we are so eagerly looking forward to?

If you have never made the decision to accept the sacrifice Jesus made for you by dying on the cross for your sins, there is no better time than right now to do so.  Simply pray to the Father and ask Him to forgive you for your sins and tell Him you believe that Jesus died for you.  Accept the gift of salvation He has offered you and you too will drink of this cup of along with Jesus on that future day when He will invite all of His believers to join Him.  Jesus Christ is the Passover lamb who died for us, delivering us from our sin to spend eternity with Him.

Keep watching.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Whose Land Is It Really?

A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.  Psalms 24:1  NKJV

By now, I am sure, most everyone is aware of the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party in the election in Israel this past week.  Despite much opposition, including apparent interference by this administration, Netanyahu won the election by what in Israel politics would be considered a wide margin.  Most of the talk, however, has centered on a statement made by Netanyahu in the days before the election which to some, sounded as if he was abandoning his commitment to establishing a Palestinian state.

While being interviewed by the NRG, an Israeli news site, he was asked the question is it true a Palestinian state will never be formed while he was the prime minister.  Netanyahu replied in the affirmative, also going on to state that by giving territory away to the Palestinians for a state would actually, in effect, be giving land away for the establishment of bases for attacks by radical Islam against the state of Israel.  To anyone with a working knowledge of Palestinian politics, and the state of affairs between Hamas and Fatah, the statement by Netanyahu was simply an acknowledgement of the reality of what would happen at this time if Israel were to agree to give up more land.

Of course, the reaction by the world to this statement was easily predictable and swift in its appearance; almost universal condemnation.  Should we really be surprised?

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.  Psalm 2:1-4  NKJV

With this in mind, I thought I would share something today which immediately came to my mind as I followed the events of this past week, and the reaction by Israel’s enemies; “whose land is it anyway?”

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.  Amos 9:13-15  NKJV

God has a message in verse fifteen that the world should pay particular attention to, and that is simply this; Israel isn’t going to go away.  What the world refuses to believe is that Israel cannot, and should not, attempt to give away the land that God has given them.

“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”                            Genesis 17:7-8  NKJV

Granted, for the most part the world does not believe in God, nor the fact that He has the right to “interfere” in the affairs of this world, yet God certainly makes it clear that this unbelief will have no effect on the decisions He will make concerning the earth in general, and Israel in particular.  I have mentioned before that I believe Prime Minister Netanyahu may well be a believer, and certainly has a working knowledge of God’s Word and the promises it contains.  Considering that, is it all that hard to understand some of the statements and decisions he has made in his efforts regarding Israel’s security?

The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.  Zechariah 12:1-3  NKJV

How do you spell “futility”?  Personally, I would say opposing Israel rather than supporting it.  I think it important as well for us to look at what God had to say about bringing Israel back from being scattered among all the countries of the world in His prophecy of the “dry bones” we find in Ezekiel chapter thirty seven.  This prophecy was fulfilled in 1948 when Israel was again established as a nation, and more importantly, notice where God says they will live.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. “Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.  Ezekiel 37:11-13  NKJV

Where does God say He will bring them?  Israel, not Palestine.  In God’s eyes, this portion of land is called Israel, and it is His to give to whomever He wishes.  He chose to give it to the Jews for an “everlasting possession” and also promises to protect that possession.   The talk this week is about how the United States is now “rethinking” its support of Israel in light of the statement made by Prime Minister Netanyahu as a way of forcing them to agree to give up land for a Palestinian state.  I suggest those who believe that could work should first read a book written by William R. Koenig which points out the error of that point of view.  This is the introduction you will find on Amazon about the book, Eye To Eye.

Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel  

What do these major record-setting events have in common?
• The ten costliest insurance events in U.S. history • The twelve costliest hurricanes in U.S. history • Three of the four largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history • The two largest terrorism events in U.S. history
All of these major catastrophes and many others occurred or began on the very same day or within 24-hours of U.S. presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush applying pressure on Israel to trade her land for promises of "peace and security," sponsoring major "land for peace" meetings, making major public statements pertaining to Israel’s covenant land and /or calling for a Palestinian state.
Are each one of these major record-setting events just a coincidence or awe-inspiring signs that God is actively involved in the affairs of Israel?
In this book, Bill Koenig provides undeniable facts and conclusive evidence showing that indeed the leaders of the United States and the world are on a collision course with God over Israel’s covenant land.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zechariah 12:9)

Trying to force the state of Israel to give up the land given to them by God is not only a bad idea; I believe it is also a recipe for disaster.  If in fact our government adopts this position I would suggest it will do so at its own risk.

First and foremost, it’s God’s land.

Keep watching.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Coming Storm

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. ‘For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ ”Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. “For thus says the LORD: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’             Jeremiah 30:1-11  NKJV

Many of us, most likely of an older generation, recognize and understand the meaning of the old expression “taken to the woodshed”.  It refers of course to the location where discipline was meted out in “the good old days” when the majority adhered to another, older admonition called “spare the rod, spoil the child”.  I never quite understood why the woodshed was the location of discipline but always suspected it might be because of the proximity of a lot of wood suitable for finding the perfect “rod”, and of course moving the location of some rather loud expressions of pain away from the house.  In essence, a trip to the woodshed meant judgment was coming, and in truth, I believe this world is walking that path right now.

At some point in time, all believers face the task of reading the book of Revelation and answering the many questions which arise from being made aware of the future God has in store for the world in general and Israel in particular.  I have often found myself explaining what is found there not only to believers, but many nonbelievers as well who are aware of the fact that the Bible makes it clear this world ends rather uncomfortably.  This should come as no surprise considering the number of shows on television, or movies at the box office in just the past few years which seem obsessed with the apocalypse.

Of course, a predictable result of Hollywood’s interest in the events we find in the book of Revelation is that many have no idea what the real reasons behind God’s plan for this world are.  As I have read and studied this book over the years, it can easily be said that the overall, basic purpose of the tribulation is that it will be a time of judgment.  After Jesus returns in the clouds to snatch away (rapture) all believers, what is left is a world of those who did not make the choice to accept the sacrifice He made for our sins and those in turn are going to be subject to His judgment.

This passage from Jeremiah tells us that God has a two part plan for the world during this seven year period called the tribulation, and it is summed up in verse eleven.  Here we see that first of all God intends to destroy all of the different nations where the Jews have been scattered over the years.  The reason for this is for two-fold; first of all it is a punishment for the world’s sins against God, much like the judgment in the time of Noah.  In Isaiah we are told;

“I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.                   Isaiah 13:11  NKJV

The second reason is to punish the world for the way it has treated the Jews over the course of history.  This can be found in a passage from the book of Deuteronomy;

“Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.    Deuteronomy 30:7  NKJV

Yet even through this time of judgment, Jesus told us one of the results would be an unprecedented evangelical outreach to every corner of the world.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.    Matthew 24:14  NKJV

While the Word of God makes it abundantly clear that the first reason for the tribulation is to judge the unbelieving world, it seems just as clear that the second part of the plan He has ordained for this period is to discipline Israel for its unbelief. Again, look at the last part of verse eleven in the passage from Jeremiah 30; “But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’“ The tribulation period will be a time where God deals with His people, the nation of Israel, by revealing Himself to them in ways they cannot ignore.  What will be made abundantly clear is that not only does God exist, but He is their God and they must make a choice once and for all to accept Him as their Lord and God.  The harsh reality is that during this period of seven years, two-thirds of the Jews left on this earth will die.

And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ ”          Zechariah 13:8-9  NKJV

It is these remaining Jews, those who have accepted God as their Lord and Savior, who will see Jesus return at the end of these seven years in order to save them from their enemies.

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. “In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.  Zechariah 12:10-11  NKJV

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”                          Romans 11:26-27  NKJV

While we see the Bible predict the entire world turning against Israel, we also see that God will defend them against all their enemies so that He, and He alone, can deal with them in such a way as that the result is the salvation of the entire nation of Israel.  Fortunately for the believing Church, we will already have been taken home to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, thanks to His promise that those who believe are not destined for the wrath to come.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.    1 Thessalonians 5:9-10  NKJV

I truly believe the coming storm is closer than many think.  If you have never taken the step of asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart and save you from eternity without Him and the wrath that is coming, I encourage you to do that right now.  Simply tell Him you are sorry for your sin, ask Him to forgive you, and accept the sacrifice He made to die for your sins, and He has promised not only to forgive you but to make you one of His own and come into your life and provide all the help you need to begin to live for Him. 

Keep watching.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Who Really Defends Israel?

“And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD.                                 Jeremiah 31:28 NKJV

“Now therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence’: ‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. ‘They shall be My people, and I will be their God; ‘then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. ‘And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. ‘Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’    Jeremiah 32:36-41  NKJV

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves. This is why -- this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel. You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history's horrors.  Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.''  
Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to Congress 3/3/15

If you did not have the opportunity to watch this speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu, in my humble opinion, you missed a speech which I believe was one of the most powerful ever given.  As someone who majored in History and has studied and listened to some of the greatest speeches by world leaders in the modern era, I believe this one by far was one of the most eloquent and direct.  While many might disagree on the talking points the Prime Minister raised, I would suggest that his intent all along was not so much to disparage the “agreement” which is being negotiated, (which he did very well) but rather to make the point we find in his summation above.

Israel can defend itself.

I would certainly not argue that point even when looking at the list of enemies the nation of Israel faces at the present time, and I would remind you that I and many others believe the next major event on Israel’s prophetic calendar is the destruction of Damascus revealed to us in Isaiah 17.  Yet when it comes to defending itself, I would also point out that it is one thing to defend against a smaller, weaker opponent than it will be when the entire world comes knocking at their door.  This will be the case after their destruction of Damascus, as it is explained to us in Ezekiel 38-39 where God allows the armies of Gog and their allies to mass for an attack on Israel in order to reveal Himself to both Israel and the world as the true defender of His people.

“The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them.” ’ “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name—‘after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. ‘When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, ‘then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. ‘And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”                                     Ezekiel 39:23-29  NKJV

In this instance, Israel will not find it necessary to take on the responsibility of defending itself as God chooses to do that Himself by supernaturally confusing the enemy to the extent that they turn on each other and destroy themselves.  Personally, what I find most intriguing about what God has to say in this passage is that the entire nation of Israel, everyone, will “know that I am the LORD their God”.  Some might think it surprising, or somehow miraculous that the coming antichrist will be able to enforce a peace between Israel and its enemies, but I want to suggest that might be rather easy given the fact that the entire world just watched God defend Israel!  I don’t believe too many of Israel’s enemies would need to have their arms twisted to agree to a peace with Israel after watching what God can do.

“And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face. “For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, ‘so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ “I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. “And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. “Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” ’                  Ezekiel38:18-23  NKJV

Who defends Israel? God the Almighty does.  Does Israel really need America as its ally when they have the God of the universe on their side?  The simple answer is no.  This is only my opinion, but as someone who has studied the words and watched the actions of Benjamin Netanyahu for many years, my belief is that he has a personal relationship with God and knows full well who defends Israel.  As a politician, he might desire the friendship and support of the United States, but as a believer, he knows full well who really defends Israel.  And the day is very near when the rest of the world will know it too.

Keep watching.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Purim and the Right to Defend

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them. The Jews gathered together in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could withstand them, because fear of them fell upon all people. And all the officials of the provinces, the satraps, the governors, and all those doing the king’s work, helped the Jews, because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent. Thus the Jews defeated all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, with slaughter and destruction, and did what they pleased with those who hated them.                Esther 9:1-5  NKJV

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in the book of Esther, which recounts the story of how God arranged for the Jewish people to be saved from annihilation.  I say arranged, because in His infinite wisdom He arranges for Esther, a Jewish girl taken in captivity in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, to somehow become the Queen of Babylon.  It is a wonderful story of palace intrigue, corruption, and ultimate justice which is worthy of a Hollywood movie.  It has always been a staple in my years of teaching and was easily one of the most favorite of my high school classes.

The plot, in a nutshell, revolves around the attempt by Haman, an official in the king’s court, to completely destroy all of the Jews because of a personal dislike of Mordecai, a Jew who had adopted Queen Esther when her parents were killed.  Of course, Haman had no idea Queen Esther was a Jew, nor her relationship with Mordecai, which placed Esther in a perfect position to foil the plot.  After Haman had tricked the King into signing a decree which called for all of the Jews to be killed, Esther revealed to the King the fact that she herself was a Jew, and exposed the entire evil plot of Haman for what it really was.

The King was incensed, and ordered Haman to be hung on the very gallows he had built to hang Mordecai on, and, because he could not rescind his own decree, wrote another which allowed the Jews to defend themselves from their enemies, and anyone who intended harm to come their way.  The annual festival of Purim is a celebration of this deliverance of the Jews from the plot by Haman to completely annihilate them.  This celebration in Israel is one of the most joyous, including the giving of gifts, wearing costumes, singing, eating, drinking, and of course reading the Book of Esther in the synagogue.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you probably understand that I find it increasingly hard to believe in coincidence in a world created by an omnipotent God.  I especially don’t believe it coincidence when major events relating to the nation of Israel occur on the anniversaries of their Holy Days and festivals, which, if you have studied at all, you know have happened with great regularity throughout history.  Which brings us to the subject of Purim, and the reason for discussing it today.

In late 2002, the United States began a building up of forces in the Middle East with the apparent intent of deposing the ruler of Iraq, Sadaam Hussein, who was pursuing the capability of weapons of mass destruction with the stated intent of using them on the nation of Israel. I had been invited to lecture on the situation in the Middle East in early 2003 and was in the process of preparing when I noticed the Festival of Purim on my calendar was just a couple of weeks away. Reminded of the story of Esther, the first thought that went through my mind was what if history was about to repeat itself with God's sense of timing thrown in for good measure?

 As the world was watching and waiting, I contacted a few friends in the ministry and shared my thoughts about the possibility that an attack on Iraq could occur on the very anniversary of the deliverance of Israel some 2500 years earlier. So what exactly happened?  The festival of Purim, the 14th of Adar, occurred on Wednesday March 19, 2003, the very day the first bombs dropped on Baghdad.  Now do you begin to understand why I feel there is no such thing as coincidence in God’s world?  But to echo that famous line from the telemarketers on television, “but wait, there’s more!”, which now brings us to the reason I chose to bring this all up.

I’m sure by now the majority of the world knows of the attempts by this administration, as well as others, to negotiate a treaty with Iran concerning their quest for nuclear power, and the fear by many that their true intent is to produce nuclear weapons.  Obviously, because of their stated desire to see the complete destruction of Israel, and the proximity of the two nations, it follows that the nation of Israel seems to be much more concerned about this than the current administration of the United States seems to be.  This would explain, I am sure, one of the many reasons Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking to Congress this week. 

Of course, by now I need not mention the controversy surrounding this speech, and the lengths to which the administration, has and is, going in order to show how much they disagree with the message that is certain to be vocalized in the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu.  I’m not a prophet, but I am reasonably certain that the point is going to be made that if no one else is willing to defend the nation of Israel, they are prepared to do it on their own.  Oh, and one more thing I almost forgot to mention.
Tuesday is when Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress about Israel’s concern for the safety of their existence. 

Wednesday is Purim.

Just coincidence.

 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who [were] in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that [is], the lot), to consume them and destroy them; but when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which [Haman] had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them,        Esther 9:20-26 NKJV

We all need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Keep watching.