Bible in the News
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God wants us all to see his hand and believe in his existence and activity in the world. The following verses from Ezekiel demonstrate the point:
Ezekiel 20:42 “42 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers.”
Ezekiel 22:16 “16 And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel 36:11 “11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel 38:23 “23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
Annexation or Sovereignty appears to be near
Last week, Peter Owen wound up with some comments about the potential annexation of Judea and Samaria by Israel. This would be a momentous sign of our times. The opposition of the world is as much a sign of the times as well as the event. This is the controversy of the age. The world will oppose them to their own destruction.
We see Israel gearing up for applying sovereignty, and the world opposing, there are voices of opposition even in Britain. France is strongly opposed, as is much of the rest of Europe. The Arabs are all against it and Jordan is especially riled. They threaten a massive conflict if Israel moves forward.
This is significant because when the Lord comes, he is seen bringing judgment on that area.
Isaiah 34:4-8 “4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. 5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. 6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. 7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. 8 For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.”
Isaiah 63:1-4 “1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
Edom is used symbolically in scripture, but here the coming king is seen following the path of Israel when they approached the land under Moses and entered under Joshua.
As far a sign that reveals God’s hand is concerned, one that is unlikely to happen feels like much stronger evidence than one that seems like it could be the natural course of events.
This one, for me, falls squarely in that category:
Isaiah 60:14 “14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
It was just on Israel National News about German Gentiles coming to Judea to assist in the building of the land. Out of Love for God’s people they came, purely as volunteers, and even paid for some of their own materials to assist in building.
The Hebrew word for despised in that verse contains the Hebrew word for Nazi. This is a fulfillment on both levels. This doesn’t completely fulfill the verse, as it says ALL they that despised thee. This is the day of small things. We would expect a similar trend to grow until it is ultimately fulfilled in the Kingdom age.
In 2005 I was on a trip to Israel with James Diliberto, and came across someone in the old city who told us about the Rosh Chodesh march around the gates up to the temple mount. This was a procession of singing psalms and praying, especially praying for the ability to ascend the temple mount and for the temple to be rebuilt. It was a joyful procession of singing and dancing. (There is a video on the video version)
The next day we went up to Har Bracha to the house of Nir Lavi. He had started a farm for olives and vines. He quoted for us the verse that was his motivation to do so, which was:
Jeremiah 31:5 “Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.”
When I looked it up to see the context, I found that the previous verse was amazing:
Jeremiah 31:3-7 “3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. 4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. 5 Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. 6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. 7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.”
They would again go out with tabrets (frame drums with or without bells) and in the dances of those that make merry. We had seen that the day before.
The day following a family arrived that had come to help on the farm. It was the Wallers in the time before they started Hayovel with their 11 children. Sometime after they had begun helping Nir on Mt. Blessing, they came across this verse:
Isaiah 61:4, 5 “4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.”
Which seemed to speak of themselves. Completely amazing things coming to pass in the earth. The smaller details, it may seem, but with God’s fingerprint all over them.
Hayovel is now an organization that brings hundreds of volunteers to Israel a year to help farmers in Judea and Samaria. They have increased the gross domestic product of the area by something like 200%, have been mentioned in peace talks as an impediment to the two-state solution and more. This no longer a small thing in the corner.
The reaction of the locals and the farmers speaks volumes about how likely this prophecy was to come to pass. (Video on the video version) Reactions like “when I first saw this, I thought, these people are not normal”, “they were like angels sent from God” to “it was written in the prophecies but now we see it with our eyes…”
These people are coming and doing back-breaking farm work for the love of the people and because it says that those who bless them will be blessed. They want to receive the blessing of God.
Another thing that is interesting about the planting of the vineyards all over Judea and Samaria is in light of this verse:
Amos 9:14, 15 “14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”
They will plant vineyards and THE PEOPLE would not be pulled up. God’s people are symbolically his vine. He says that they will come and build the wastes and plant the vineyards, and the people would not be pulled up again out of their land.
There is one last bit of news that I would like to close with. It has been very recently discovered that some Dead Sea Scroll fragments that were thought to be blank and had been sold to a university for the study of the ancient leather, have been discovered to have letters on them. One of them is thought to be related to the book of Ezekiel and chapter 46 verses 1-3, which read:
Ezekiel 46:1-3 “1 Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. 3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.”
Scroll discoveries have before seemed to have contextual significance. The great Isaiah Scroll purchased for Israel at the very time the state was declared. Ezekiel 37 at in Massada. We hope this finding has also been at a fitting time as well.
This has been Tim Billington with this week’s Bible in the News. Come back for more next week, God willing.