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Wednesday
Apr292015

Our response to Israel's Regathering

Someone has commented that this particular passage contains "one of the noisiest verses in the bible." At the same time, to make the historical context absolutely clear, the prophet paints a vivid picture of the Jewish people being regathered to their land:

This is what the Lord says:

“Sing with joy for Jacob;
    shout for the foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say,
    ‘Lord, save your people,
    the remnant of Israel.’
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.

Both the words and the context of this prophecy leave no doubt that it refers to the end-time regathering and restoration of Israel.

 

Monday
Mar022015

Winter news update

World news causes us to turn to our Bibles and seek the face of the Lord. One of the most exciting things about our future is what is ahead for the Church of Jesus Christ.

A Season of Opportunity

I looked and there before me was a white horse!  It’s rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. (Revelation 6:2)

“What is the white horse that goes out conquering and to conquer? Well, in the Roman Empire it was the emperor himself who rode on a white horse. And this rider has a laurel wreath on his brow which is the insignia of a conqueror. It corresponds, actually, to the gold medal in the Olympic games today, the mark of the victor. So the white, I believe, speaks of purity. So here is a conqueror in purity who goes forth totally victorious. My understanding, this is Jesus in the gospel going out to all nations, going out victorious. I envisage a period when the gospel will go out with almost irresistible power and conviction. And, multitudes will be swept into the kingdom of God.

In fact, I believe that in a few years more people will be saved than have ever been saved since Jesus died and rose from the dead. You see, we see this together with the growth of the world population to five billion. Think of that sickle casting in in such a world population. Think of that horse riding out through nation after nation.”

Taken from Derek Prince’s message:  The White Horse of the Gospel  
This message is available to you on YouTube: The White Horse

“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’” (Revelation 14:6-7)

Derek said in his book, Promise Land “Israel is the watershed—the line of separation between nations; rulers and nations will determine their own destiny by how they respond to what God does for Israel.”

The Iranian Threat

At the heart of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a goal of destroying the Jewish state. In November 2014 the all-powerful Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that the Jewish state "has no cure but to be annihilated." The tragic history of the Jewish people in the 20th century has taught them that threats of annihilation must be taken seriously. This is particularly so in the case of Iran which is moving inexorably toward a nuclear weapons capability. (Washington Post)

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel recently speaking to a private group:

“I want to remind you, seventy years ago we didn’t have the ability to speak out. Now we have a country, a government, an army. We have the ability to make ourselves heard. It would be an everlasting crime not to raise our voices against this existential threat which is “a mortal threat to our survival. I am,” he said with particular passion, “firmly committed to preventing it.” According to Ezekiel 36:22-14 ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.

Our thanks to everyone, everywhere, whom are working to spread the gospel. May God bless your efforts and keep you safe. We are humbled by your faithfulness in praying, giving, and supporting us in so many ways.  Thank you!

In His Great Love,

George and Betty Jackson,

Wednesday
Feb042015

A Little Piece of Land

One amazing feature of biblical revelation is the prominence it gives to a tiny strip of land at the east end of the Mediterranean, originally known as the land of Canaan. Most of the events recorded in the Bible as history, or predicted as prophecy, center on this land. In particular, it is the focus of a series of statements contained in Psalm 105:7–11. This passage opens with a declaration of God’s supreme authority over the whole earth:

He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. (verse 7)

The God of the Bible is Lord over the whole earth. The judgments He pronounces do not apply just to one nation or one little piece of land. His authority extends to all nations and the whole earth.
However, God has made a special, unique commitment to one human family, descended from Abraham. This commitment is summed up in verses 8–10.

He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant.

What an amazing Scripture passage! I know of no other that combines so many words to express a solemn commitment of God: covenant, word, commandment, oath, statute, everlasting covenant. There is no language used in the Bible that could more strongly emphasize God’s total commitment.

Every covenant of God represents a solemn commitment, but this one is further described as an everlasting covenant. It remains in force forever. It can never be revoked.

Furthermore, it is expressed not merely by God’s Word; it is confirmed by His oath. The writer of Hebrews tells us why God gives His oath: “That by two immutable [unchangeable] things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation” (Hebrews 6:18). The first unchangeable thing that God gives is His Word; the second is His oath.

The unparalleled emphasis that the psalmist here uses to express God’s commitment naturally prompts us to ask: what does it all center in? What is God so tremendously concerned about? To what is He taking pains to express His total commitment? The answer is given in this verse in Psalm 105:

Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance.” (verse 11)

What is it about? I never read this passage without being amazed that almighty God, the Creator of the universe, the King of the earth, has gone to such lengths to assert the destiny of a little piece of territory at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea. God attaches far more importance to it than most of us imagine!

Somebody else attaches a great deal of importance to it as well—and that someone is the devil. This is why the Middle East continues to draw tremendous conflict.

The verses of Psalm 105 that we have just looked at represent the title deed to the land of Canaan. Just as a title deed specifies the exact identity of the person holding the deed, God also ensures with specific language that we know to whom this land is committed. He refers to “the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed . . . to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant” (verses 9–10). Thus, the covenant goes from Abraham through Isaac (not through Ishmael) to Jacob, whose name became Israel.

I don’t know how God could have said it more clearly or emphasized it more decisively. A person has to have a “theological squint” not to see what that passage is saying. And I have to add that I believe it insults God to suggest that He doesn’t know how to say what He means. To question this passage (or other similar passages) is to say, in effect, “God, I know You said it, but I don’t think You really meant what You said.” That is a position I would not wish to take!

I have personally studied the passages in which God gives His oath in confirmation of His word. I have concluded that it is the most emphatic form of divine declaration provided in the Bible. If Psalm 105 were the only passage of Scripture that records God’s oath confirming His promise to give the land of Canaan to Israel, that would be sufficient by itself to establish this promise beyond question. But God considered this issue so important that He caused it to be recorded in the Bible in forty-six places.* Surely this is one of the unrecognized wonders of the Bible!

The final passage that records God’s oath concerning the land of Canaan is Ezekiel 47:14: “You [Israelites] shall inherit it [the land] equally . . . for I raised My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance.”

Beyond all question, the context indicates that the fulfillment of this promise is still in the future. This rules out any suggestion that restricts the outworking of God’s oath to events that have already taken place. On the contrary, it stretches out into a future to which no limits are set. As long as the land continues to exist, its destiny will be determined by God’s oath.

In the light of all these Scripture verses, it is surely surprising that anyone who accepts the authority of the Bible would raise any further questions. Nevertheless, in the article I mentioned earlier that criticized Israel and advanced the theory that we are all Jews, reference was made to a passage in Romans. Speaking about the Israelites, Paul says:

. . . to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises . . . (Romans 9:4)

The writer of the article reasoned that because Paul speaks of the covenants and promises but makes no mention of the land, God’s commitment to give the land to Israel is no longer relevant.

I find this reasoning—representative of many in the church—to be faulty. The promises in Scripture have countless references to the land, as I have already pointed out, so that if the promises are for Israel, then the land is for Israel. Furthermore, God has committed Himself by covenant with the utmost clarity to give Israel that land. The covenants, according to Paul, remain in effect.

So the conclusion that the land is no longer for Israel must be false. The land is included in both the promises and the covenants. In fact, when Paul said the promises and covenants belong to Israel, he was saying, in effect, that in many different ways the land is given eternally to Israel.

Another argument sometimes used by Christians is that Israel had her chance but was unfaithful and failed God. They say, therefore, that God has changed His mind and the promises given to Israel are now for the church.

When I hear this theory, I find myself mentally looking back over nineteen centuries of church history. I see an endless succession of heresy, apostasy, covetousness, immorality, continual squabbling and division and ceaseless struggles for power and preeminence. I even see professing Christians subjecting their fellow Christians to torture and cruel deaths in the name of Christ.

Add to all this sixteen or more centuries of vicious anti-Semitism, and I am left wondering: Who has been more unfaithful, Israel or the church?

If God could change His mind about His promises to Israel and take her name and give it to some other group, surely He could just as well change His mind about His promises to the church and take her title and give it to some other group. This is an important issue, then, for every Christian to consider.

In the final analysis, our confidence in God’s mercy is based on His commitments in His Word and His covenants. If God can change those commitments and annul those covenants, we are left with no security whatever as Christians. Thus, the issues of the identity and destiny of Israel concern not only the Jews, but also all Gentile believers who have come to God through the new covenant in Jesus.

God’s Boundaries

The God of the Bible, who is the God of the whole earth, has a plan and a place for every nation. Paul declares to the men of Athens in Acts 17:26:

From one man he [God] made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

If God has determined the exact places where nations should live and the times they should live there, He has a place not only for Israel, but for every nation on earth. There is just one important thing to bear in mind: The place He has for Israel is not offered to any other nation.

This does not mean, however, that Arabs or other nationalities are excluded from the territory assigned to Israel. On the contrary, throughout Israel’s history as a nation, God has always made specific provision for people of other nations to dwell among them, accepting both the privileges and responsibilities that doing so entails.

In Ezekiel 47:22–23 God ordains an allotment of Israel’s land that is still in the future. In this passage of Scripture He makes specific provision for people of other nationalities to reside among the people of Israel and to share all their privileges:

“It shall be that you will divide it [the land] by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance,” says the LORD GOD.

God has indeed given the land by an irrevocable covenant to Israel, but He opens the door wide for strangers from all other nations to share it with them, provided they fulfill their obligations.

In addition to this provision for strangers, however, God has given the Arabs a place of their own. At present, the Arab nations from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf number 170 million people. They possess a land mass of 14 million square kilometers. Israel controls only 28,000 square kilometers.

In 1917 the Balfour Declaration promised to the Jewish people a certain geographical area that included the whole of what is now Jordan. Then in 1922, by a stroke of the British pen, Winston Churchill created out of that area an Arab state named Transjordan (later renamed Jordan). By that one act, 78 percent of the total area appointed for a Jewish national home was given to Arabs. Furthermore, Jews are not free to live in Jordan, while Arabs are free to live in Israel.

This means that the rest of the territory now left west of the Jordan is only 22 percent of the original inheritance offered to the Jews. Even in this area the Jews have been subjected to continual pressure and harassment, both by political agitation and by open acts of aggression.

God has warned the nations of the world, however, that a time is coming when He will call them into account for their high-handed actions in regard to the land of Israel. In Joel 3:2 He declares:

“I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.”

In contemporary speech, “dividing up My land” is called partition. This is precisely what the United Nations did on November 29, 1947, when they voted to divide Palestine into two areas, one for Jews and one for Arabs.

A Time of Relocation

The governments of both Britain and the United States have at times sought to influence the allocation of the land of Israel. This has also been the subject of various resolutions of the United Nations. No human government, however, has the last word on this matter. Ultimately, at the appointed time, every nation on earth will occupy the place God has appointed for it.

The twentieth century has witnessed many significant developments that are related to the outworking of God’s purpose to relocate the nations within the boundaries He had appointed for them. At the beginning of the century, God’s time had come for the Jewish people to return to their own land. The stage was set for this by the first Zionist world conference held in 1897.

Then in 1917, one of the most significant years in world history, Jerusalem was liberated by General Edmund Allenby from four hundred years of Turkish domination, the Balfour Declaration was signed by the British government, and the first officially atheist state came into being—that is, the Soviet Union. All these events were part of God’s program to close this present age.

As we look at history, however, it is clear that the Jews did not, for the most part, want to go back to Palestine. A minority was eagerly committed to it, but had it been left to the Jews themselves, few would have returned. It seemed as if God’s purpose would be frustrated.

But then came the holocaust! Our minds reel at the agony and horror of it, yet in the end it served God’s purposes. Nothing less would have uprooted the Jewish communities from Europe, where they had settled and lived for hundreds of years. The pressure of the holocaust impelled them to turn their faces once again to their own land.

These events illustrate two opposite sides of God’s character. He is utterly faithful in His love and yet, if need be, ruthless in carrying out His predetermined purposes. In Jeremiah 31:3 God speaks to Israel and says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. . . .” This love turned the human wickedness of the holocaust into the occasion for Israel’s rebirth as a nation. God thus fulfilled His promise in Hosea 2:15: “I will give her [Israel] . . . the Valley of Achor [trouble] as a door of hope.”

Wednesday
Dec242014

Israel and Judgement of Nations

One major fact in God’s judgment of all other nations will be their treatment of the Jews.

In Matthew 25:31–46 we have a picture of Christ as King at the end of this age on the throne of His glory, with all nations arraigned before Him for judgment. They are separated into two categories: the “sheep,” who are accepted into Christ’s kingdom, and the “goats” who are rejected from His kingdom. In each case, the reason given by Christ is: “Inasmuch as ye have done it [or did it not] unto one of the least of these my brethren.” The nations who show mercy to the Jews will receive mercy from God; the nations who deny mercy to the Jews will be denied mercy from God.

In a measure, this has already been proved true many times in history. For example, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Spain was the dominant nation of Europe, with a high level of culture, a powerful army and navy, and an empire that spanned both hemispheres. But within a century of expelling all Jews from her territories, Spain declined to a struggling, secondrate power.

In my personal memory and experience, much the same happened to my own motherland, Britain. Britain emerged victorious from two World Wars, retaining intact an empire that was perhaps the most extensive in human history. But in 1947–48, as the mandatory power over Palestine, Britain opposed and attempted to thwart the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation with her own state. (Since I was living in Jerusalem throughout this period, I make this statement as an eyewitness of what actually took place.) From that very moment in history, Britain’s empire underwent a process of decline and disintegration so rapid and total that it cannot be accounted for merely by the relevant political, military or economic factors. Today, less than a generation later, Britain, like Spain, is a struggling, secondrate power.

This represents, in part at least, the outworking of a divine principle stated in Isaiah 60:12:

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

God here promises Israel, and also warns all the Gentiles, that He will bring judgment on any nation that opposes His purposes of redemption and restoration for Israel.

Therefore, in seeking and praying for the good of Israel, Gentile Christians need to remind themselves that they are serving not merely the interests of Israel, but even more those of their own nation.

Sunday
Dec072014

Christmas at Home

Merry Christmas from Tennessee:

Being back home in Tennessee is always a gift that we treasure!
   
Christmas here means being together with our friends and family, and whether we are all busy working at our respective jobs, or even when we are miles apart, we really enjoy one another, This is Christmas for us!   

When we are at home we miss the people of Israel and especially Jerusalem.

It was early June, 1967 George and I walked down the street from our house in Hollywood Hills Florida, and for the first time we heard Derek Prince. “Tonight,” he began somberly, “we hear of rumors of war.”  As he leaned forward, we recognized an earnestness in his face. “I’m not sure how many of you realize this, “but as dawn approaches in the Middle East, three Soviet-backed Arab armies are preparing to annihilate the reborn state of Israel. Derek continued, “These rumors are all the more significant when we realize that just thirty years ago Adolf Hitler was making similar threats against the Jews of Europe. Six million of them perished before the world woke up.”

We have had the privilege of working in Israel for the past twelve years. The scripture is much more real to us than it was on that night forty-seven years ago. We immediately made our first trip to Israel, 2 years later we decided to take our children to Israel. Allen and Phillip made the trip, and Doyle turned five years old while we were away.

In our lifetimes the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel has returned to center stage of God’s emerging purposes in the earth. We are all subjected to daily reports of violence in Israel and throughout our world. The conflict of spiritual kingdoms is being lived out before our very eyes. God is not surprised, nor is He unprepared. God is faithfully regathering and reestablishing the Jewish people in their homeland as He is preparing and purifying His Church. We must keep our eyes on God’s purposes, from that perspective there is no fear or anxiety. He has told us what is to come. He has counseled us to rejoice in anticipation. It is our great honor to serve our King in this most unique season.

Fifteen-thousand copies of “Our Debt to Israel,” have been printed this month, and they will be given to the English speaking people visiting Israel in the coming Months.

We thank you for the all the ways you have encouraged us in 2014.   Your prayers are priceless.
It helps us in so many ways, and makes possible what we accomplish.   
Have a wonderful Christmas!

In His Great Love,

George and Betty