March was a great month. Please continue to pray for us. We have some dates open in 2016 and would love to come to your church for a revival or a Revelation Bible Conference. Our Revelation Bible Conferences are new, different, refreshing and exciting. Pray about hosting one of our conferences. It would be an inspirational time of encouragement.
Israel, Arabs and the End Time
By Charles Massegee
Almost immediately after God touched my life and called me to preach in 1953, I had a love for the Jews, and an unquenchable, unexplainable thirst to follow current events and Bible Prophecy pertaining to Israel. I do not know where I got this desire. I do not remember being taught it. It just happened and I’m glade it did. It has been one of the most inspirational ventures of my life. With great interest, I have followed God’s national dealing with Israel. For example, just think about what happened in the 20th century, a brief 100 year period. At least four major undeniable prophecies were fulfilled.
1. God terminated the scattering of the people of Israel between 1918 and 1922, Daniel 12:7.
2. Jews begin returning to their homeland in 1922 and are in the process of taking total possession of their land.
3. The fig tree, Israel, that was uprooted in 70 AD, was replanted and came alive in Israel becoming a nation May 14, 1948, Matthew 24:32-33. In addition, that fig tree is growing very rapidly right before our very eyes.
4. God united a divided Jerusalem with the six-day war of 1967.
According to Daniel 12:6-9, the secret that would begin unlocking our understanding of the prophecies concerning Israel during the end time would be the termination of the scattering of the people of Israel and their return to their promised land.
In Daniel 12:6, Daniel asked God, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” God answered Daniel, “When the scattering of the power of the holy people (Israel) comes to an end, all these things shall be accomplished,” Daniel 12:7. Daniel said, “I heard, but I did not understand”. Then he said, “O my Lord, what shall be the issue and final end of these things,” Daniel 12:8? God answered, “Go your way Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end,” Daniel 12:9.
In other words, the secret that would begin unlocking our understanding of the prophecies for these last days would be modern day evens concerning the nation of Israel, beginning with the termination of the scattering of Israel.
Beginning in 70 A.D. when General Titus and the Roman Legion crushed the Jews, destroyed the Holy Temple, killed the Jews as a nation, and scattered them to the four corners of the earth, the population of Israel begin to decrease and continued to decrease until 1918. God told Daniel that when there was a termination of the scattering of Israel, the seal to the understanding of the book of Daniel would be opened. It would no longer be a sealed book, but an open book that we could understand. The book has now been opened.
Before 1918, there were less than 25,000 Jews in Israel. Sometime between 1918 and 1922, Daniel’s prophecy of the termination of the scattering of the Jews was fulfilled. All of a sudden in 1922, instead of decreasing in population, over 85,000 Jews had returned to their homeland in four years. In 1932, there were almost 200,000, in 1937, there were 430,000 and in 1945, over 500,000 Jews had returned. The population was 650,000 in 1948 when Israel became a Nation and in 1974, there were over 3,000,000 Jews in Israel. Today there are around 6,000,000 Jews in Israel and increasing everyday.
This prophecy has nothing to do with the church. It has everything to do with a covenant God made with the nation of Israel. When reading the Bible we cannot help but see that God not only deals with people as individuals but with people as a nation.
There are sincere Bible believing Christians who believe that God is done with Israel. That Israel is fulfilled in the church. Among them are some of my best friends whom I love and respect very much. They believe the church has replaced Israel and the nation of Israel has nothing to do with prophecy. This is called replacement theology. Even though I don’t like that terminology, I don’t know what else to call it. They use the Scripture in Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” This issue is not a hill to die on. However, I believe it is much more important than one might think.
I agree that our unity in Christ transcends ethnic, social, sexual distinction and nationality, but this has absolutely nothing to do with God replacing His promise to Israel and giving it to the church. These earthly distinctions remain. Physically a Jew is still a Jew. A Gentile is still a Gentile. I am still a male. My wife is still female. God’s promises to us as male and female do not change. I believe this Scripture is saying we are all “in Christ” and positioned as full and equal sons and heirs of God.
Let us read verse 29 of Galatians 3 again, “And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” In context, what is “the promiss?” This promise in context has to do with God’s righteousness being by faith and not by works.
In order to keep this Scripture in context we need to begin reading with verse 5 of Galatians 3, “Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Therefore, know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed’, So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Those of us who put our faith and trust in Christ are the children of Abraham not the children of Isaac, because that would rule out the children of Ishmael being included in the covenant of salvation by grace. The promise of salvation by the grace of God without any mixture of works is for Jews and Gentiles, for the descendents of Ishmael as well the descendents of Isaac. However, the Bible makes it clear that the promise of the land is confined only to Isaac and his descendents, not to Ishmael and not to the church.
Please stay with me here. What is the promise in Galatians 3: 29 talking about? It is “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”. This promise here has nothing to do with the land. It is not talking about the covenant of grace concerning the land, but the covenant of grace concerning salvation by grace for Jews and Gentiles, Isaac’s seed and Ishmael’s seed. God loves all equally, Jews and Arabs. Jesus Christ died for Jews, Arabs and the rest of us Gentiles so all of us could enter into God’s wonderful covenant of salvation by the grace of God. Why do we need to enter into this covenant of grace? Because we are all sinners.
Modern day Arabs claim descent from Ishmael and rightly so. God is not very flattering when it comes to describing Ishmael and his descendents. Concerning Ishmael God says, “He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all the brethren”, Genesis 16:12. The brethren are the Israelites. Is God’s description of the Arabs correct? If so is it fair? Well, God is not any less flattering when He describes the Jews and the rest of us Gentiles. God says, “Man is born a wild donkey,” Job 11:12. Even concerning babies, the Bible says, “They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies,” Psalm 58:3.
I must say again that the covenant pertaining to the land was with Isaac and his descendents, not with Ishmael’s seed and not with the church. God said to Abraham, “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed; and you shall call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him (Isaac) for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I will bless him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear into you at this time in the next year,” Genesis 17: 19-21.
The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:15-18, “Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it, (we cannot add the church). Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, and to seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to your Seed who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, CANNOT ANNUL the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, THAT IT SHOULD MAKE THE PROMISE OF NO EFFECT. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise”.
God made a covenant of grace with Abraham over two thousand years before the first coming of Christ. This covenant was all of grace. That is, God did everything. It was an unconditional covenant, and depended solely and entirely upon God’s promise and His ability to keep His word. This covenant was with the nation of Israel, the seed of Abraham in Isaac, Romans 9:7, not Ishmael, Genesis 17:18-21. God promised the decedents of Isaac the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, Genesis 17:18-21. When God says everlasting, He means everlasting. Therefore, I believe this promise is still in effect, and as true now as it was when God first gave it. This age, the world as we know it will end, but this earth will last forever. Over 123 times the Bible makes it clear this planet earth will last forever, and I believe God’s promise to Israel is forever.
Four hundred thirty years after God made His covenant with Abraham, He added another covenant at Mount Sinai, which was a covenant of works. Please notice when the secondary covenant was added; it did not set aside the first covenant, nor did it supplement the covenant of grace. It had nothing to do with the carrying-out of God’s covenant to Abraham, which preceded it by 430 years. It had only to do with the enjoyment or loss of the blessings dependent upon their obedience. Of course, we know that they failed under the covenant of the law. The result was that God came to chasten them and scatter them throughout the entire world.
At this point, many well meaning, Bible believing Christians get off base. They misunderstand the Abrahamic covenant of grace. They think that because Israel failed under the Sinaitie covenant of the law, (as everyone else fails under the law), that it is the end of God’s national dealings with the nation of Israel. Therefore, they seek to spiritualize God’s covenant, and forget its primary interpretation to Israel, and begin to apply it exclusively to the church of this dispensation.
They argue this way: The Old Testament was typical. The covenant of Abraham applies, since Calvary, to the Church and not to Israel. God is all done with the literal nation of Israel, and they will never go back to possess the promised land of Palestine. The Promised Land to them becomes heaven; Israel becomes the Church; and poor Israel is left with a broken promise from God. It is true, spiritually speaking, when we are born again (baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ) that we are all equal, Jew and Gentile alike, and we are one “in Christ,” This makes us the spiritual seed of Abraham with the promise of a New Jerusalem, a new earth and a new heaven, but this does not annul God’s promise to Israel as a nation. We are talking about two different promises. One having to do with the promise of both Jew and Gentile being saved by faith in Christ without works, and the other promise relative to the nation of Israel returning to their homeland and claiming what God promised them.
Please notice very carefully, what Paul says under inspiration in Galatians 3:17. He is setting forth the truth of grace, proving that when we are saved by grace, it is forever, never to be lost and when God says it is everlasting, He means it is everlasting. While our disobedience after we are saved brings upon us God’s displeasure and God’s chastening to be sure, and may mean the loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, it does not in any way affect our eternal life and salvation which is God’s free gift, independent of our own works. God’s promise of eternal life is unconditionally given.
Paul uses the covenant of grace to Abraham and the covenant of works at Sinai, and says, “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect,” Galatians 3:17.
Please let us not hurry over this passage; it’s too all-important. Paul says this: Although Israel failed under the law and came under the judgment of God because of her sin; He does not set aside or annul that unconditional covenant of grace, which He made 430 years earlier.
Now, says Paul, so also God deals in grace with us. If He keeps His promise to Israel in spite of their failure, He will also keep His promise to us who have trusted in Him in spite of all our sins and failures. However, if God fails to keep His word to Abraham, then how do we know that He will keep His promise to us? His promise that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and the promise that “he that believes My word shall never perish.”
You see, this question of whether Palestine still belongs to Israel, and whether they will ultimately return to possess it forever, is far more important than it appears on the surface. The implications are of tremendous importance to every believer. If I cannot be sure God will literally restore Israel to the land, according to His clear promise, how can I be sure of my own salvation? We have nothing but God’s word to cling too. If God fails to keep His word to Abraham and his seed, Isaac, in which He said, “I will give to you and to your seed after you, the land of Canaan wherein you art a stranger,” then how do we know that He will keep His promise, “To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name?”
God’s unconditional promise of grace cannot be destroyed by man’s failure or disobedience.
Abraham and Sarah got ahead of God. They were so desperate to have a child they orchestrated a situation that produced Ishmael. Isaac’s seed and Ishmael’s seed have lived in conflict in every generation. There is just “bad blood” between the two and only Christ can reconcile it.
To make it even worse in modern times Hezbollah (Arabic for the “Party of God”) has taken the leadership, calling for the total destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state. Iran and Syria are providing weapons and money in support Hezbollah.
In addition to Hezbollah, there is Hamas, a radical religious and political organization also calling for the destruction of Israel replaced by a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital. Hamas is made up of radical Muslims paying suicide bombers to become martyrs for the cause and promising them all kind of exotic gifts in heaven. Now we have ISIS. There is one thing all three groups of Muslims believe, and that is that Allah is the one and only true God. They are destined to rule the world. America and a few other nations can slow the process down, but only the coming of the Lord can stop it, Daniel 2.
ISIS will gain control of all the Muslim countries first and then the world. They already have a body like a leopard, feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion. Before it is all over, their name may change several more times, but in the end, God calls them Babylon the Great. It’s no mystery any longer. Babylon the Great, (the kingdom of the antichrist), will be made up of old Babylon, literally and symbolically, with a religious head and a secular head. How do I know this? Because the antichrist stature of Nebuchadnezzar will be standing when Jesus comes. He will strike it at the feet and the whole Satanic Empire of the antichrist will bite the dust literally, and that dust will be blown away as if they never existed, Daniel 2:44-45.
God loves the off spring of Ishmael, (all Arabs including the Palestinians), but His covenant concerning the land of Canaan is with Isaac and his seed. However, God’s covenant of salvation by grace is with the seed of Abraham and that includes the descendents of Ishmael.
Back in the late 60’s I was president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists for three years. Hyman Appleman, a Jewish evangelist, spoke at the conference one year. As he stood to speak, he noticed a Palestinian evangelist in the crowd. He called out, “Shorrosh, come up here”. Anis (ah-NEECE) Shorrosh respectfully complied. Appleman put his arm around the former Palestinian refugee and said, “Brethren, herein is the power of God demonstrated. Only in Christ can Arab and Jew be united.”
Then, in the custom of the Middle East, he kissed the younger evangelist. The emotional scene brought tears to participants and onlookers alike as the Arab returned the kiss to the Jew.
How can this be? Palestinian Arab and an old Jew loving one another? Is it possible? Yes! But only in Christ. There will never be peace in the Middle East until the Prince of Peace returns.
What is next in the war that is going on right now between the Jews and Palestinians? If I understand it right, there will be a peace pack sighed and the nation or nations that guarantee this peace pack will produce the antichrist. I think it will be Turkey. Keep your eyes on Turkey. They are flying under the radar right now, but I think we will learn they are behind the whole thing that is going on with ISIS
The most urgent question today does not concern the end of history but the end of this day. Are you ready for the next world? Have you asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and become your Savior? Have you turned your life over to Him as your Lord? Are you living by His Word? Are you in His will? Being ready for Heaven is the most joyful and fulfilling way to live on earth. We cannot influence events in Israel, or the rest of the world, but we can influence events in our homes and in our churches.