Issue 97 Autumn 2010
Greetings in the Lord's wonderful name. Some weeks ago saw the Jewish
‘Feast of Tabernacles' – the only feast where Jews are told to rejoice
in what the Lord has done for them [Deut 16:14]. As part of the grafted
in family of Israel we too can give God the glory for what He is doing
in our world before our eyes.'
The Threat of Islam
Tony Hayward and Women Bishops
Truth is fallen in the street
Chickens and Sheep
Signs of the end of the age - Sign 1 Israel
Roman Catholicism following the visit of the Pope
Christian basics [or what my spiritual dad taught me] [KK]
My spiritual father in God, Edward Marshall taught me [among many other matters] three things that helped me enormously in my early Christian life. I share them here in the hope that they may throw some light on the Christian walk.
1. God has prepared good works for us to do [Eph 2:10]
When I was first born again I tried to do as much for the Lord as I possibly could, and spent much time in frantic spiritual activity.Edward showed me that much of this was wasted because I hadn’t applied to God to see if what I was doing was on His agenda for me. I knew that as a Christian it was my duty to do good works and I chose the good works to do. I had in the back of my mind the idea that perhaps I had to do something to earn my salvation.
But we don’t have to earn, and can’t possibly deserve, our salvation – we do good works to show we are in the good of it. If we apply to God He will show us the good works that He ‘has prepared beforehand for us to do’. They will be in accordance with the spiritual and natural gifts that He has given us. When I realised this I stopped trying to do things for God and began to do things with God. I found that as we each tune into God’s agenda for us so God is able to use us as He desires and the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
2. Difference between salvation & being ‘born again’
I used to be confused between the new birth and salvation – were they the same thing and could I lose my salvation?
I was taught that like human birth being spiritually born again is an EVENT that happens at a particular time & place [though some would say it happened over a period - I have a dear friend who can never remember a time when she didn’t know the Lord] and like human birth it can never be reversed.
Then begins a PROCESS called salvation, by which we are progressively conformed to the image of His Son [Rom 8:29] - a process which will be complete because when we see Him we shall be like Him [1 John 2:3]. That salvation is a process is confirmed by other scriptures e.g 1 Pet 1:9 ‘receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.’ Salvation is the goal [= the end product] of your faith.
So we can truthfully say that we are being saved. We can never lose our new birth in the same sense that we can never reverse our human birth but we can lose the good of it if we do not allow God to progressively conform us to the image of His Son.
When I learnt this truth it clarified my understanding substantially as I saw what it is God wants of me and why I had been born again. I did not choose to be born again – that was God’s own purpose and grace – but I am required to cooperate in the process by which I am changed into His likeness.
Edward also emphasised the need to view the bible as one book – the new is in the old contained, the old is in the new explained. His favourite OT scripture was the hymn of praise in Isaiah 12:1-6.
3. The place of Israel in God’s end time economy
I have Edward to thank for telling me how Israel fits into God’s economy and in particular His end time plans. He was the first to show me that present day Israel is spoken of in scripture – what really convinced me was his pointing out a scripture in Daniel 12:12 ‘Blessed is He who waits and comes to the end of the 1335 days. In the Arabic calendar that date corresponds to the date of the fall of Jerusalem Dec 11:1917 – this fulfilled Jesus’ prophesy in Luke 21. Edward showed me a coin minted in Jerusalem in 1917 and bearing the Islamic date of 1335.
Then he took me to Luke 21:24 where Jesus puts a limit on the time of exile for the Jewish people ‘until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. He mentioned the capture of the Holy City by the Israeli army on 7 June 1967 and showed me that 1967-1917 = 50, the year of Jubilee when all land reverts to its original owner [Lev 23:11-13]. It was God’s plan to prevent one tribe or family getting more than its fair share of the promised land. Land could only be sold for a limited period of time.
The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is foretold in Old Testament prophecy
(a) in Isaiah 43:7-10 ‘bring My sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth’ where clearly the prophet has in mind a far greater event than the return from Babylon
(b) in Jer 31:10 in which the prophet attributes the return to the work of God Himself ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him’ and in
(c) Amos 9:13-15 the prophet speaks of Israel being ‘no longer … pulled up ‘from the land I have given them’ clearly speaking of the times in which we live. Would that the great ones of the earth who aspire to decide how the Middle East should be run [the EU, the United Nations, the USA etc] could see the truth of that.
These three truths I have come to see are pivotal to understanding how God deals with us His children. They are not new but I trust that you will be blessed as you contemplate them.
The Threat of Islam
“It is often thought the main threat of radical Islamism to the West and, indeed, the world, is terrorism. It is also said to be the isolation of Muslim communities, which allows extremists to recruit people to their cause. Such views are not mistaken but they confuse effects with causes. What the world has to recognise is that we are not simply dealing with faith, but with a political, social and economic ideology. Radical Islamism is a worldview. Its nearest parallel, despite many differences, is Marxism.” Michael Nazir Ali former Bishop of Rochester.
Tony Hayward and Women Bishops [PW]
The connection between Tony Hayward and women bishops may seem obscure. The two are linked by the word, responsibility. Tony Hayward was the Chief Executive of B P when the oil leak occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. Up to the 19th April he may well have known little about the Deep Sea Horizon drilling platform.
Suddenly the disaster took over his life. In his position he wouldn’t have known about the day to day operation of the platform but as CEO he was ultimately responsible. The US Congress and all the media looked to him for answers. The £600,000.00 a year pension may have taken away the bitter pill of losing his job. But the prospect of criminal charges still hangs over him.
The Church of England is divided by a debate over the appointment of women bishops.
In 1 Timothy 2: 12 – 14 we read: “and I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man but to remain in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived fell into transgression”.
This verse has often been interpreted as relating to the culture prevailing at the time. It is argued, that as cultural values change, the application of this verse can be adapted.
It should be clear that Paul is not writing from a cultural perspective. In referring back to Adam and Eve he is emphasising that the issue is not cultural but foundational. In God’s created order the man, as the first to be created, carries the responsibility. This principle is emphasised in Romans where Paul keeps referring to Adam’s sin. How unfair when it was Eve who took the fruit. Eve suffered her own rebuke from God, but it was Adam who the Lord called to explain what had happened. Adam immediately tried to deny responsibility by blaming the woman. It didn’t work. Like Tony Hayward, Adam was held responsible.
Man’s responsibility is underlined in God’s judgement of the crime. The woman is told that her husband will rule over her. This is not a sanction allowing a man to dominate, control or abuse. From now on the woman must respect that the man is responsible before God. Pauls advises Timothy that this relationship applies not just in the family but also in the church. Men are responsible before God for upholding the truth. It is men who should teach other men how to exercise this responsibility.
A woman will not be honoured by God for usurping the place of the man. Her works will be found worthless when tested by fire. In contrast the woman who in a submissive spirit uses the spiritual gifts God has granted to her to bless her family and the church will be greatly honoured.
A man is not to rule over either his family or the church in the way that the world rules. The rule that God will reward is that of the shepherd for the sheep. He is to follow the example of the Good Shepherd and be prepared to lay down his life for the sheep. People should be able to see Christ in the way in which a man rules his family or leads in the church.
Men need to be warned that they cannot abdicate responsibility. If they do, God will hold them to account and rebuke them accordingly. If they are part of a church where a woman has been allowed to introduce false teaching God will ask them to explain what has happened. But a man who introduces error will bear his own judgement.
Women who in a rebellious spirit aspire to the role of bishop will receive their reward in this life alone. But women who have received spiritual gifts from the Lord should use them for the building up of the family of God. The church will be impoverished if they don’t, for they are as much a part of the body of Christ as any man. When women are in positions of spiritual leadership either in the home or the church, it would seem that the lesson of Deborah applies (Judges 4). Deborah a prophetess at the time of Israel’s Judges used her gifts for the benefit of the nation. At the same time she did not usurp the role of the men. She sought to build up and encourage the men to take on their responsibilities. “When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the Lord” Judges 5:1
Truth is fallen in the street [Is 59:14] [KK]
An official of the Turkish government has admitted that the sole purpose of the Gaza flotilla was to create an incident that would show Israel in a bad light internationally. With the publication of the UN investigation into the happening, that I wrote about in the last issue of Trumpet Sounds, we read the expected anti-Israel bias and blatant disregard of the truth of the matter. Let’s pray that the world sees this behavior for the scurrilous affair that it is and the report will be completely disregarded.
A recent attempt to break Israeli’s blockade of Gaza passed off without incident as the ship was towed peacefully into an Israeli port. This has generated little comment in the international press as presumably good news is deemed ‘unnewsworthy’.
In our small group that is praying for Israel and its defense against enemy attacks the situation with Iran has been much in our thoughts. We have prayed for divine intervention against the nuclear arsenal that Iran is presently amassing however the Lord chooses to do it. Perhaps our prayers are being answered in a way we have never supposed.
We recently heard of the Stuxnet worm, which is ‘the first known malicious software of its kind unleashed by computer hackers and has opened the door to a new era of cyber-warfare’ [Dominic Waghorn Sky News]. Experts say the worm is designed to destroy or sabotage factories, power plants, refineries or other industrial installations by infecting the nation’s computers though Government sources deny that the nation’s nuclear equipment has been affected.
Israeli cybersecurity strategist Gadi Evron says the worm is so advanced ‘it is almost certainly state-sponsored. This would require a lot of resources on the level of a nation state. Taking into account the intelligence required to attack a specific target, it would be virtually impossible that this is a lone attacker sitting at home.’
Could it possibly be that a nation with a mastery of computer software has found a way to neutralize its enemies – after all as Isaiah says in 54:17 ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.’
Chickens and Sheep [PW]
Not long ago I read an article about some experiments that a group of scientists carried out on chickens. By subjecting the chickens to certain external stimuli they were able to change their behaviour. When the eggs of these chickens were hatched the chicks developed the same behaviour characteristics as their parents even though the external stimuli were no longer present. The scientists were looking for proof that external stimuli can alter our genetic makeup. If proved, it would in their view help explain the process of evolution.
As a creationist I would doubt that conclusion. However there is in the Bible a story which some would dismiss as an old wives tale. It is the story of Jacob and his sheep (Genesis 30: 31-43). Jacob agrees with Laban that his wages would be all the speckled and spotted sheep and goats. To multiply the number of speckled sheep Jacob stands them in front of striped branches. The plain coloured sheep proceed to produce speckled off spring. Although the details given are minimal the story indicates that it is possible for external stimuli to affect the genetic makeup of the offspring. Are our modern scientists discovering something that Jacob had observed 4000 years ago? We need to keep in mind that in the story of Jacob there is another vital factor at work. God had decided that it was time to bless Jacob.
Signs of the end of the age [PW]
Sign 1 Israel
In the last issue of Trumpet Sounds we introduced this series of articles setting out the reasons why we believe that we are living in the closing years of the present age. In that introduction we suggested that central to our understanding of the Second Coming is Israel. Jesus will return to redeem Israel and to reign on the throne of David. Therefore we will start our look at signs with that nation.
Replacement Theology teaches that the mission and promises to Israel all transferred to the church. It is held that in rejecting their Messiah Israel was rejected by God. We accept that Christians have inherited the blessings that God promised to His people. Jesus warned that many gentiles will sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out. Matt 8: 11. But that does not mean that God no longer has a plan for Israel.
The Jews will not be rejected for ever.
We explained in the last edition, that if the church has replaced Israel there would be no reason for Jesus to physically return to the earth. All could be fulfilled from heaven. Jesus returns physically to this world for the sake of Israel. Within the English Protestant church there has been an historic belief that the return of the Jews to the land must precede the Second Coming.
It is recorded that C.H. Spurgeon did not major on preaching on the Second Coming of Christ. His reason was that one primary precondition had not been fulfilled. To quote him; “I imagine that you cannot read the Bible without seeing clearly that there is to be an actual restoration of the Children of Israel”. Spurgeon understood that the Jews must return to Israel before Jesus could come again. Until that time he considered that our priorities lay in fulfilling the great commission.
The 19th Century Bishop of Liverpool J C Ryle also spoke on this subject. “I believe that the Jews shall ultimately be gathered again as a separate nation, restored to their own land, and converted to the faith of Christ.” Ryle saw in scripture that the Jews would first be gathered as a nation to their land and then converted.
In Britain in the 19th Century there was a groundswell of support for the return of the Jews to Israel. ‘The Destiny of Britain’ is the title of a DVD by Hugh Kitson. It goes into much more detail on this subject. If you haven’t watched it, try to get hold of a copy.
Scripture confirms the return of the Jews
In Romans 11: 25 – 29 the salvation of the Jews is promised following the completion of God’s work among the Gentiles. A deliverer will come to remove their ungodliness. This is because they have an irrevocable calling from God. Hosea 2: 14 – 23 confirms that the rejection of Israel is not final. Because of her sins Israel will have to abide many days without Prince and sacrifice. Afterwards in the last days they will come trembling to the Lord Hosea 3: 4-5.
Israel will be gathered back to their land. In the land they will be cleansed from their sin.
It is sometimes argued that the promise of return in Deuteronomy 30: 3 is conditional on repentance. Therefore the present return of the Jews cannot be a fulfilment of prophecy for there is no sign of real repentance. Ezekiel 36: 22 – 28 describes a process whereby Israel is first gathered out of the nations, then brought to repentance v.25. They will be transformed by the Holy Spirit and then God will call them His people. Also In Ezekiel 20: 44 we read of a gathering of Israel not due to their repentance but because the Lord will glorify His name. And in Jeremiah 16: 14 – 18 we read that there will come a time when the Lord will drive them back to the land He gave their fathers. There is no mention of repentance.
Finally when restored to their land the Lord will come to defend Jerusalem against her enemies Zech 14: 3. At that time the nation will come to repentance Zech12: 10. This is the interpretation which Paul gives when quoting Isaiah 59 : 20. “The deliverer will come out of Zion and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Romans 11: 26. When the Messiah comes He will bring Israel to repentance. The order of events in Isaiah 59: 16 -21 is the same, first the Messiah then repentance.
Prophecy could not have been fulfilled
The Jews were dispersed from their land following the Jewish revolt and fall of Jerusalem in AD70. The land was completely cleared of Jews by Hadrian in 135 AD. From that time right up to the 1880’s very few Jews lived in the land. There were small Jewish colonies in Hebron, Jerusalem and Tiberias. Following the Spanish inquisition another group formed a colony at Safed in Galilee. At no time did the number of the Jews exceed 25,000. Only in the 20th century with the nation re-established has the possibility of the other Second Coming prophecies being fulfilled opened up.
Having established that Scripture foresees a return of the Jews to the land prior to the Second Coming we move on to some teaching which Jesus gave on this subject.
A Jewish Reception
Jesus confirmed His expectation of a Jewish reception committee when He returns to Jerusalem. Matthew 23: 39 is the traditional Jewish greeting for the Messiah and is used by the Orthodox Jews to this day (Psalm 118: 26. Matt 21: 9). It only has significance for the Jews. Therefore once again we have confirmation that the Jews will have returned before Jesus comes again.
The Fig Tree
Jesus uses the fig tree to represent Israel and then says that it will be a sign of His soon return. In Luke 13:6-9 there is a parable about a fig tree which bore no fruit. For three years the owner came looking for fruit but didn’t find any. He orders the tree to be cut down. In the same way Jesus came to the Jews for three years looking for fruit. He only found corruption. After a period of delay He sends His armies to destroy the city Matt 22:7, Dan 9:26. The fig tree is cut down.
When Jesus enters Jerusalem at the beginning of the last week, His first action is to drive out the money changers Matt 21:12. This action confirms His disgust at their failure to respond to His ministry. The next day He proceeds to curse a fig tree, saying that it will never again bear fruit, Matt 21: 19. The tree immediately withers. As in the earlier parable the fig tree is used to represent Israel.
Later that day Jesus takes His disciples to the Mount of Olives. There He answers their questions about the future of Jerusalem, and the end of the age. From the Mount of Olives they would have seen most of the route from the Temple. It is likely that the withered fig tree was in view. Jesus says to the disciples learn the parable from the fig tree. I think that all of us in that situation, whether or not we could see the fig tree, would have made the connection. The withered fig tree and the tree which would one day put out leaves Matt 24: 32 are the same. What a dramatic visual aid which must have stuck in their memories.
The fig tree parable is a clear reference to the time when Israel comes back to life as a nation. It is the herald of the summer which represents the glorious time when Jesus returns. The generation which sees the restoration of Israel will not pass away. In Genesis 15: 13- 16 a generation is specified as 100 years. In 1917 permission was granted by Britain and other nations to start establishing a home land for the Jews in Israel. That could be the start of putting forth leaves. Another possibility is 1948 when the nation came back to life. Either way, although we don’t know the date, Israel is a sign that the summer is drawing near.
At various times down the centuries, there have been predictions of the date of the Second Coming. But the return of Christ could not have happened prior to the 20th Century as the Jews had not returned to Israel. Jesus is coming back to an Israel dwelling in her land. Now that Israel is in the land we can live in the expectation of the Second Coming. We don’t know the date of His return but a major precondition has now been fulfilled. Israel is the first sign that the return of Christ is drawing close.
Roman Catholicism following the visit of the Pope [PW]
“There are Christians in the Catholic Church, in spite of not because of,” Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
Near to where I live there is a Benedictine Monastery. I know two of the monks. One is a devotee of Mary of Medjugorje and leads trips to her shrine. In a discussion the other monk declared his firm belief in purgatory. On the other hand the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to make a firm stand on moral issues over which other churches keep silence. Despite some aspects which one respects, the Catholic Church still places many stumbling blocks in the way of simple saving faith in Christ.
This quarterly newsletter has been circulated for the past 25 years. It provides an update on worlds events seen in the light of scripture prophecy and is prepared by Ken Kite and Philip Wren. We seek to help Christians prepare for the final turbulant years which will preceed the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is coming soon, hallelujah.
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