THE PROPHETIC WORD AND THE GROWING THREAT SURROUNDING JERUSALEM
This past Shabbat's Haftorah reading in Zechariah finally stirred me to action in the Blogging realm; to read those words in the context of the news of rising anti-Semitism, both in Muslim dominated countries and in the Western world alike, (although it may well be stirred in these western countries, like France, the UK and the Netherlands by rampant Radical Muslimization), and the open threats of ISIL's gains, Syria's and Iraq's rapid disappearance as the Nations we have known, and Iran's declarations and nuclearization, is a Faith Builder.
Let us begin with the TEXT; the Sovereign LORD, YHWH, the Creator and King of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel speaking:
" ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’
“Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the Lord.
“Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in Daughter Babylon!” For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye— I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me.
“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” (emphasis added).
Some may think I got carried away introducing "the Sovereign LORD"; but as I see the situation, it is all about HIM, so we need to pause and reflect on Who He IS, and how we humans fit in this unfolding drama of our times.
We are living in times when to allow our attention to stray from Him to look only at our circumstances is dangerous because we can easily be ensnared by the Father of Lies and succumb to depression, or act in accordance with the Lie. As you all know, I could continue elaborating on this world of the LIE; it is everywhere, often disguised as LIGHT, but I want our focus rather to be LIGHT dispelling darkness.
I love that emphasized portion because we know that we are not alone here: He has roused Himself from His Holy Dwelling! He is not only participating in History, but directing its unfolding.
So, frightening as the advance of ISIL, ISIS, IS or the Arabic DAESH (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or just Islamic State, whatever term we use) into the Sinai and Gaza, and their declaration that the Sinai is "the Sinai Provence of ISIS" may be, and it is certainly unnerving, it must be understood in its context; that is THE SOVEREIGN LORD ALMIGHTY and His purposes as they are revealed in the Bible, His TORAH/WORD. I do not pretend to understand, or be able to explain this, but I am confident that our God, THE SOVEREIGN LORD ALMIGHTY, keeps His Covenants and is finally, however our free-will functions in that context, SOVEREIGN!
To see the threat more clearly, check out this DEBKAfile link: http://www.debka.com/article/24652/ISIS-purloined-rockets-from-Hamas-production-lines-to-attack-Israel-Netanyahu-marks-out-wide-sterile-zone-
This build-up of armaments, all pointing at Israel, is really there, but another reality we must keep in mind is Isaiah 54 where the Holy One of Israel, your Redeemer, says:
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth."
This same Redeemer, their Protector, has also instructed them to move forward and,
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities."
Although we are seeing this growth happening before our eyes, we are also seeing most of the rest of the world, including President Obama, (although, thankfully, not many of the people of the US), the EU, the UN and, of course, all Muslim dominated Nations doing everything in their power to thwart it.
Not only does Mr. Obama let his personal feelings toward Mr. Netanyahu color his policy toward Israel itself in his constant attempt to interfere in Israeli internal growth, he promises his Arab State friends, although some refuse to meet with him, his absolute support in their Nations' defense against a nuclearized Iran (I'll say, if they will believe Obama, they will need to turn a blind eye to his similar promise to Israel and his subsequent withdrawal of that support, as far as he can control that support).
Steven Rosen's recent article in the Middle East Forum is interesting in this context:
Another fascinating aspect of the LORD' word to His people in this Isaiah passage is:
“To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you." (Emphasis added).
This is a very strong commitment that many of us may have difficulty understanding; but it seems to clearly indicate that since He is, according to Ezekiel 36, returning His people "for the sake of [His] Holy Name" and not for their sake, He is doing so in a unilateral way that even they cannot disrupt. This commitment sounds entirely secure; but perhaps has the same action dimension as the promise to Joshua that He would drive the Canaanites out before them, but He used them as the Instrument of Judgment.
This Promise also includes:
“Afflicted city,[Jerusalem], lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.
If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you."
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the LORD." (Emphasis added)
Given such a Promise, we may conclude that the limited physical damage done by the rockets fired from Gaza, and they flew again last week, is because of this very protection.
I'll conclude with an image we brought back from a visit to S'derot, very near the Gaza border, which has been named the Bomb Shelter capital of the world because it is the target of the majority of the 10,000s of missiles fired at Israel from Gaza; and citizens have 15 seconds to get into a bomb shelter when they hear the Red Alert siren. A large factory took a hit and burned to the ground a few weeks before our visit in October, 2014; no casualties. I love the rainbow in the image, a reminder of the Prophecy cited earlier; YHWH's PROTECTION! The children have bomb shelters in all their playgrounds, and school yards. All old schools have new bomb proof roofs built over them and new schools are built with bomb shelters.
Until MESSIAH comes, this is how things are.