Jerusalem; Monday, September 28, 2015
Last night Ruth and I joined 4,000-plus people from 80 nations at En Gedi, near the Dead Sea, for the opening celebration of the week-long Feast of the Tabernacles.
The International Christian Embassy of Israel (ICEJ
) invited us because this year’s theme is “Reformation” - a subject close to our hearts. Israel’s President will join us for the celebration on Tuesday.
WHAT DO THE HEAVENS SAY ABOUT JERUSALEM?
This morning, I woke up at 4.30 am to watch the “Blood Moon” over Israel as well as the “Star of Bethlehem” - the magnificent ‘Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Venus.
This was the last of the four blood moons (Tetrad) in this season. It was special because the Lunar Eclipse happened on top of the Super Moon - when the moon is closest to the earth and appears about 14% larger than usual.
This particular Tetrad (four blood moons in a row, every six months) created a lot of excitement because the prophecy movement in America read all sorts of significance into this celestial phenomenon. John Hagee’s 2014 book on the Four Blood Moons became a best seller. For 152 days it was among Amazon’s 100 top-selling books.
The pretext for these prophecies was Joel 2:30-31: ‘And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.’”
Astronomers pointed out that tetrads happen around Jewish festivals because the Jewish calendar is Lunar. The prophets, on the other hand, emphasised that previous tetrads had significant consequences for the Jews: The tetrad of 1493-94 was followed by the Spanish Inquisition; the founding of Israel was followed by the tetrad of 1949-50; the Six Day War happened during the tetrad of 1967-1968.
One American prophet predicted that the current tetrad will be followed by the signing of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Which, in turn, will “mark the beginning of the Final Seven Years to Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth.” Mark Biltz, of El Shaddai Ministries, said that “these signs in the heavens . . . portend major changes, including a possible major war involving Israel and an economic collapse.”
WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT HEAVENLY JERUSALEM?
For months, I have been meditating upon what the Jewish prophets( Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, and Zachariah) say about Jerusalem and how the apostle John interprets their prophetic vision in his book of Revelation.
My conclusion is that the ‘New Jerusalem’ is the Bible’s most powerful vision for reformation. It is a vision of a prostitute . . . an unfaithful city . . . so loved by God, that His beloved Son sacrificed his blood to wash her clean . . . to become God’s beautiful bride — the dwelling place of God.
The Bible’s optimistic vision was meant to inspire God’s discouraged people to “occupy” till the Savior comes. Tragically, American evangelicalism turned it into a pessimistic vision of “evacuation” from this earth. American prophets prompted the Church to leave, for the Anti-Christ, the world God loves and to wait to be raptured into the heavenly Jerusalem when it comes as a gigantic UFO.
Abraham loved God, therefore God gave him a geographic nation - a 'real' estate. His children need to occupy their inheritance. But loving the real estate more than loving the God of Abraham is idolatry — spiritual adultery. This is the sin of prostitution, resulting in Jews loosing their promised land.
The God who gave Canaan to Abraham, has given 'the ends of the earth' to Abraham’s son - the Messiah: “Ask of me and I will make nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2:8). The Messiah said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” . . . therefore, pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is heaven” . . . and “Go! disciple all nations.”
Why? Because he is seated at the right hand of God, not until the Blood Moon rises, but until “his enemies are made his footstool.”
Why did God give all the nations to the Messiah? Because, actually, the ‘son of Abraham’ is the Second Adam. Adam was commanded to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, establish his dominion and rule over all the earth. Instead, Adam bowed his knees before the Devil. But, the Second Adam defeated the Devil and won the right to reign over all the earth - not just over Israel.
God’s mission is to transform Jerusalem — the prostitute — into a beautiful bride. It is to be renewed - to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 60: 1-3; 65: 17-19; Revelation 21: 23-24, etc.).
American missions have done a great deal of good around the world. They have been a blessing to me personally, to India, as well as to Israel.
However, much of American missiology was corrupted by misunderstanding Matthew 24:14. The idea is foolish that the end will come as soon as the last “un-reached people group” has heard the Gospel story. This escapist exegesis ignores the overwhelming teaching of the scriptures that the Messiah is on the cosmic throne. He has both the love and the power to turn all prostitutes into a bride - including the United States of America.
For much of the 20th century, the prophecy movement in America was excited about Jews returning to Israel. The problem is that approximately 70,000 young Israeli Jews come to India every year, in search of the same 'peace' the Hippie sought during the 1970s and 80s.
20 years ago, a couple of Christian leaders examined the motivation of these youths who were exploring Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga, Tantra, Karma, Reincarnation, Spiritism, Astrology, Vegetarianism etca. These leaders sought ways to help these lost Jews find the Messiah. They found my book, When The New Age Gets Old: Looking For a Greater Spirituality
(IVP, 1992) to be helpful. Therefore, they wrote to me, asking if I could expand some of the chapters into little booklets, which could be translated into Hebrew and made available in India, in shops along the Hippie Trail. I lost contact with those people, but the current trip to Israel has impressed that need upon me.
A small book on Astrology has been printed in English and could be translated into Hebrew for Israeli Jews. The text for a booklet on Karma and Reincarnation is almost complete and I am eager to complete the booklet on Yoga . . . Please pray for the financial means to get those booklets published.
It is good for the Jewish people to come and occupy Israel . . . but it is far more important that they return to their God - the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . . . the God who loved them enough to send them His son, their Messiah.
Please pray for God’s anointing for my Bible Study on the reforming vision of New Jerusalem and that it is presented with humility, clarity, simplicity, and power.
Thank you for supporting this important trip financially and in prayer.
Yours for the New Jerusalem,
P.S. In 2008, I delivered the 10-part lecture series “Must the Sun Set on the West?” At that time, not many believed that the sun is setting on America. But now, there is a growing realization that America and Western civilization are headed for the abyss.
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