Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Timing versus Conditions

Right now I am staring at a picture in my Facebook news feed of Masai women in Tanzania in their traditional clothing and ornaments. It is the picture graphic of a short article by 
Cody Archer of Revive Israel on how it is not the many signs of the end times that matter, but rather it is the existing CONDITIONS that are the key to the days just before Yeshua returns.
What conditions? These two: 1. A significant Remnant of His believers in Jerusalem and 2. the Good News having reached every people group on the planet.
I am struck by this because last night I listened to the US President laying out how they planned to proceed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What he was emphasizing in his speech about the military strategy that would guide what the US does next is that he intends to measure success by the conditions that exist, not by arbitrary timing restraints.
Now people are more pleased by arbitrary timing deadlines. They like to know that on such-and-such a date thus-and-so is going to happen. That is true in the political realm and it is equally true in the spiritual realm. That is why in terms of last days prophecies we have seen sooooooo many date setters.
They based their dates on the signs of the times that they determined proved we had to be on the doorstep of the second coming. Many of their arguments are compelling cases but can I tell you that a compelling case can be made using scripture for just about anything and many cases of totally erroneous theories or doctrines have been made over the history of the Bible.
Timing can be interpreted but conditions cannot.
When the US pulled out of Iraq based on timing rather than on conditions, the mission there was sacrificed to please the people. It gave us the rise of ISIS and we have paid dearly for not remaining in place until the favorable CONDITIONS existed.
Many of you may be thinking right now, There she goes again being more political than spiritual.
You may not think much about it but truth is, Yeshua is the Commander of the Armies of Heaven. We are in a battle for the souls on the earth, and do not think that He has some arbitrary time frame guiding His command of what happens next. No: He is in the battle until the favorable conditions exist.
There is not going to be a 'pull out' of His troops on the earth until the two conditions He is looking for exist. Those conditions are Matthew 23:37-39 and Matthew 24:14 - a significant number of believers in Jerusalem are welcoming Him to return as KING and all of the people groups of the earth have had the opportunity to receive Him as LORD.
All the other signs of the times are "not yet".
As Matthew 24:6 reveals: And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

My Prophetic Scrapbook

Today I was emailing with a good friend. We were talking about Christian prophecy teachers and it reminded me of something I haven't thought about in a long time. Thought it was worth sharing here: I got deep into a study of end times prophecies myself in the late 1980's. I had one of those huge photo scrapbooks that the pages were sticky and had an overlay of vinyl on top so you could re-position things easily. What I did was take photocopies of all the prophetic scriptures in my Bible and I would cross reference the specific mentions of the same thing, like say in Revelation it would talk about X and then in Daniel it would also talk about X. I would cut out those passages and position them next to each other in the scrapbook. Then I could see what else Revelation was saying in the passage and what else Daniel was saying. Some words, imagery or terms had several mentions in the Bible and would I add them all on the same page of the scrapbook to try to see a bigger picture of what X was all about. It became a massive scrapbook - you would not believe how many of the prophecies cross-reference by special words, or imagery and terms! Also, I looked at which prophecies had already been fulfilled in history, and I noticed that some prophecies that had already been fulfilled could also be fulfilled in the last day. I had an encyclopedia of ancient history and could literally follow the nations that were spoken of symbolically in history. It was such a deep dive into prophecy done over maybe the space of a year that it became mind-boggling to me. The more I cross-referenced, the more I found that was cross-reference-able! Soon I could not get all the passages of scripture on one scrapbook page and had to start going with putting them on 2 facing pages....then it spilled over into needing 3 pages. I stepped back from it at that point because it was too mind-boggling. I didn't realize it then, but the point I should have taken from the experience is that the New Testament and the Old Testament are never to be read one without the other. I have long believed that but did not realize until just now how God showed me the deep truth of that in my prophecy scrapbook period. When I stepped away from it, I decided that whatever God was going to do, it would be enough if I could recognize it when He was doing it. Right after that period is when I discovered the Messianic Jews. It was like God was answering the desire of my heart to recognize when the times came upon us, because there is no greater prophetic indicator of the last days than the rise of Messianic Jews, and especially those in Israel. They are the key sign bar none. Many people have a hard time really believing that the Jews are going to come to faith in epic numbers. I have seen that throughout my walk since 1982. They ARE going to believe - that is exactly why God raised up the Messianic Jewish movement. They are the witnesses in Israel to other Israelis. Yes, we should help Israel as Christians BUT we should be aligned in our helping with the Israeli Messianic community. Full Stop. Honestly, there are too many Christians in Israel (or coming in and out) that will not have anything to do with the Messianic believers there because they don't want to hurt their relationship with Israelis who believe in Jesus. That is the most negative message a Christian can send to an unsaved Jew! Because Israeli unsaved Jews will accept the help and support of Christians with the understanding that 'your religion is your religion and our religion is our religion and you have no right to try to convince us that your religion should be ours.' That is the understanding that most Christian ministries who are in Israel or who work with the Israelis in immigration, humanitarian, etc. have to abide by. So the only witness to Israelis is through the Messianic Jews - and that's okay, that's what God intends. But the Christian ministries that keep their distance from Israeli believers - personally I believe they are all going to be kicked out of Israel at some point and that is going to make them mad, like Luther got when he defended the Jews and then became furious because they didn't respond to his kindness by accepting faith. Never mind that it was not the time God had for Jews to come to faith, nor was Luther to be the witness to bring them. I believe in helping Israel in all the ways the Christians are helping Israel - only I believe unless they are aligned with the Messianic Jewish believers in Israel, in relationship and in helping Israel as an honest expression of Christian faith, then it is a wasted deposit of seed that will not bear the fruit (or VERY little fruit in comparison). Not acknowledging the place of spiritual authority that God has placed in the Israeli Messianic Jews for their own country is exactly the kind of arrogance against the Jews that Paul talked about in Romans. There is always order and chain of command in the kingdom of God - including related to Christians going into Israel apart from relationship with the Lord's body in Israel. Why is that? Because there is also an anointing as was indicated in the first generation of apostolic leadership, Galatians 2:8: "For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles." It is a classic mistake of Christians who want to be a part of what God is doing in the salvation of all Israel to ignore this spiritual chain of command as if it could not matter in the least. The time is right for this understanding to break forth as we work in right order toward the salvation of "all Israel".