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Thank you for your welcome. I tell people when you invite me you get two for the price of one! Thank you.
Now, Ruth and I always begin with a proclamation. God has shown us over about the last five or six years that there is no more powerful weapon that God has committed to His people than the proclamation of Scripture. Not preaching, not explaining, but proclaiming. For many years God called me to be a teacher of the Scriptures, I always felt I had to explain everything. But then just after Ruth and I got married He began to put in my mind the word proclaim. That has had over the years a major influence in my ministry. I realize there are times when we can proclaim and the Holy Spirit will do the explaining. We don’t have to explain everything.
Also, I would say I think it is no exaggeration that neither Ruth nor I would be alive here today if we had not learned the power of proclamation, because we both went through a period of serious illness and I think it was the proclamation of the Scriptures that turned the course of the battle.
So, the proclamation we’re going to make today is taken from Psalm 33:8–11, which I believe is very appropriate for the special season that we’re in. Psalm 33:8–11:
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance.
I want to turn for the opening passage of Scripture to a passage that’s already been read here, that’s Zechariah 9. The title of my message is “Sons of Zion vs. Sons of Greece.” We’ll read in verses 12 and 13.
“Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope;
Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.
For I have bent Judah my bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim.
And raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece;
And made you like the sword of a mighty man.”
Originally I only intended to preach on verse 13 but as I was preparing I was gripped by the phrase “prisoners of hope” and I began to ask myself, What is a prisoner of hope? Who is a prisoner of hope?I came to the conclusion that I am a prisoner of hope and maybe many of you also are. You see, a prisoner is somebody who’s bound, who is not free to move, who’s held in place by something. The hope that I have in my heart determines where I am; it holds me in place. The place it holds me in is Jerusalem.
What is the hope I have? The hope that God will fulfill every covenant and every promise that He ever made to Israel concerning the city of Jerusalem, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. I have that hope, I can’t escape from it. It’s in me. I didn’t put it there, the Lord put it there. When God saved me I had no special interest in the Jewish people, I knew very little about them. I was a soldier in the British army and the British army sent me to what was called the Middle East. I spent four-and-a-half years here in the Middle East, ended up in this land, which was then called Palestine, married a Danish lady and became a resident of Jerusalem. Actually, I was living with my family in Jerusalem in 1947 and ‘48 when the state of Israel was born.
I wonder if there’s anybody else here today who could say that? You were here when the state was born? So I experienced the birth pangs. I can recall when 600,000 Jews were surrounded by 40 million Arabs with six highly armed modern armies. In the natural it was totally impossible that the state would survive. But, it did. I personally consider that to be as great a miracle as some of the military victories that are described in the Bible. My association with this land goes back actually nearly 50 years.
Through the study of Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit, I am gripped to this hope. I cannot get away from it. A few years ago Ruth and I owned a small condominium in Hawaii on the big island on the west coast: two rooms on the seventh floor of a building that looked right over the Pacific Ocean. And every night we could see the sun set in its glory. Life was very simple, all we had to do was go to the grocery store and buy groceries and just keep living. Sometimes I yearn a little for Hawaii because life is not simple in Jerusalem. You’d agree with that, those of you who live here. At the moment it’s even less simple than usual, I won’t go into those reasons.
But, I’m a prisoner of that hope. Let me just pause for a moment. How many of you would say “I’m a prisoner of the hope of the restoration of Israel”? That’s why you’re here. God bless you. So many countries, it’s wonderful.
Well, God says to the prisoners of hope, “Return to the stronghold.” The stronghold, I understand, is the Lord Himself. Nahum 1:7 says:
“The Lord is good, He is a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knows those who trust in Him.”
The word returnsuggests that somehow people have got away from where they should be. I believe that’s true of the church, I believe it’s true of Israel as a nation. Probably most of us here are exceptions but I believe God’s word is “return to the hope.”
While we were praying and discussing the course of these meetings the word hopewas brought up with great emphasis. I want to return to that emphasis later in my message.
Now I want to deal with the theme of the sons of Zion and the sons of Greece. I need to say that I was really as much a son of Greece as anybody who’s not Greek had ever been. I started learning Latin when I was 9 and Greek when I was 10. I spent the next 15 years studying Latin and Greek, and the last 5 years at Cambridge University studying Greek philosophy. I became what is called in the jargon of Cambridge, a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. My two most admired persons were Plato and Socrates. I look back and I can’t believe it was true, but my fellowship dissertation was entitled “The Evolution of Plato’s Method of Definition.” Can you believe that! And I hope I won’t sound boastful but I grew up among what you’d call the ruling classes of Britain. And remember, Britain was a very class structured country, and still is to some extent, much more than most European nations, certainly more than Denmark. I mixed with the people who were to be the future leaders of Britain in every field. Eton College, where I was for 5 years, has contributed twenty-five prime ministers to Britain. I want to say that we were mostly sons of Greece. We were all theoretically Christians. I never heard about being born again till I was 25 but we respected Christ and Christianity. But, we also respected the Greek poets and tragedians and philosophers. I would say Plato was more often quoted than Paul. We would mention the names of the Greek gods without exactly believing in them but certainly not disbelieving in them. They had a really important place in our thinking. We would more often express ourselves in quotations from Greek writers than we ever would think of quoting from the Bible.
So, we were really sons of Greece.
You don’t need to turn there, but in Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about an image which portrayed the future course of Gentile empires. The head of it was gold, which represented Babylon; the shoulders and the arms were silver, which represented Medo-Persia; the belly and the thighs were bronze, which represented Greece; and the legs were iron which represented Rome. That was the succession of empires that followed Nebuchadnezzar. All has been worked out in history.
But sometime ago it occurred to me that the procreative organs are found in the belly and the thighs. And if you analyze history, Babylon has had very little real influence on Western history. Persia has had relatively little influence. Rome has had a great influence but you need to remember that Rome defeated Greece militarily but Greece defeated Rome philosophically; the Romans came under the thinking of the Greeks. So, the procreative life that issued from that historical background was the life of Greece. It’s hard for people who are not familiar with it to realize how much the thinking and the culture of Europe and the countries that have been influenced by Europe have been under the dominion of Greek thought.
It always amazes me, this is by the way, that later on a famous Catholic theologian would try to produce a version of Christianity that agreed with Aristotle. I mean, of all the impossible things to ever achieve, that probably is at the head of the list. But it illustrates the influence that Greek thinking had on so-called Christians.
Now, one reason why the world is so unstable and unsettled today, though we do not easily understand it, is the influence of humanism, which is “man is the measure of all things.” That’s humanism, encapsulated. What man decides is what matters. What man calls a thing is what is real. And against this, there is the background of complete instability. Nothing is absolutely permanent, nothing is absolutely settled. There are no moral absolutes, no absolutes of any kind. The whole universe is in a state of continuing flux and in the middle of it all what man decides is what matters.
So I thought I would look up the dictionary definition of humanism. I’d always thought about humanism, if I thought about it at all, as a rather neutral influence that just expected man to work out his own problems and solve his own destiny. But when I read Collins English Dictionarydefinition of humanism, it shocked me. It says:
Humanism: the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.
The two words that impacted me were denial and rejection. I suddenly realized that humanism is a very strong negative force.
You see, there are different ways of rejecting people. You might meet me walking down the street one morning and say, “Shalom, Brother Prince.” I might push you away and say, “I don’t want to talk to you.” That would be rejecting you. But I think a more cutting rejection would be if I didn’t pay any attention to you, if I just walked past you as if you weren’t there.
Now, atheism pushes God away and says, “We don’t want you.” Humanism just walks past as if God wasn’t there. And really, that’s a very conspicuous feature of our contemporary culture, especially, I think, in Israel. The majority of Israelis live as if there was no God. There are great exceptions but I think basically that is the dominant thinking pattern of Israel.
Interestingly enough, just about the same time the present government was elected in Israel, a new administration came into being in the United States. And both of them are totally dominated by humanism. That’s also true of the majority of European nations, certainly Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France. I’m not able to speak in detail about every nation but the power that dominates the thinking, the culture, the values and the course of action is the power of humanism. I never realized how powerful it was until I got involved in this study, “The Sons of Zion and the Sons of Greece.”
And interestingly enough, the dramatic shift in emphasis in Israel and in the United States took place just about the same time. Administrations came into being that were really totally humanistic in their outlook. Prime Minister Rabin, the first day of his new office, said of the Jewish people, “We are a nation just like any other nation.” When I heard that statement I shuddered but I didn’t realize the implications of it until later.
I believe that humanism is the ultimate tactic of Satan to raise up the Antichrist. I’ve been interested in principalities and powers, I’ve taught about them for years. I recognize the power of Islam and I read a book by George Otis III called “The Last of the Giants” which implied that Islam was the last. I believe Islam is a giant but it’s not the last. In fact, I believe it’s going to be crushed. I believe it has to be crushed and I believe Brother Lance Lambert gave a prophecy in 1986 which predicted the overthrow of the Kremlin and the overthrow of Islamic fundamentalism. The first part has been fulfilled and I believe the second part will be fulfilled. If you don’t have a copy of that prophecy, apply to Lance. I have them, I’ve made copies of them. I distribute them. I believe that they are a guide to planning the future. I believe a lot of Christians, not to say other people, are planning their future as if everything was going to go on the same. In my opinion, it isn’t. We are headed for ever-increasing crises and judgments of God. It is foolish to build your life on the supposition that 10 years from now nothing much will have changed. I doubt whether we’ll be able to recognize the world if we’re still alive 10 years from now. The dominant force is not Islam but it’s humanism.
If you read in Revelation 13:18, you find chapter 13 is devoted to the Antichrist and it says at the end of the chapter:
“...here is wisdom, let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast [the Antichrist], for it is the number of a man [or the number of man].”
Essentially, the Antichrist will be the ultimate enthronement of man in the place of God. In 2Thessalonians 2 it says, again speaking of the Antichrist, in verse 4:
“He opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.”
And then a little further on in verse 9:
“The coming of the lawless one [the Antichrist] is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs and lying wonders . . . “
And let me say to you as someone who’s been a Pentecostal more than 50 years, and I’m now dubbed a Charismatic, you know the difference? Pentecostals speak in tongues, Charismatics have glossolalia, that makes the difference. So now we’ve become respectable. Unfortunately we have lost an awful lot by becoming respectable, too. Anyhow, the problem with both Pentecostals and Charismatics is they look for signs and wonders. If you believe that everybody who performs signs and wonders is from God, you are a candidate for the Antichrist because he will perform signs and wonders such as have seldom been seen.
So, coming back to that verse:
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.”
That is a thought that has been impressed upon me again and again. The only security is to receive the love of the truth. That word love, the Greek word agape, is something passionate. It’s not just reading your Bible every day or having a quiet time, it’s having a passionate commitment to the truth. An attitude that seeks out the truth and that will not buy anything that is not the truth. Solomon said, “Buy the truth and sell it not.” Truth is costly, it has to be bought. It takes time, it takes prayer, it takes commitment. It’s easy to sell truth. I don’t want to even think of any particular personality but they’re in the Charismatic movement. There are a lot of preachers that have sold truth for the sake of popularity.
Basically the gospel message is not a popular message. Jesus said, “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” You never hear that verse quoted by multitudes of preachers today. It’s never heard in many churches. People have sold the truth for popularity, for numbers. My personal desire is to hold on to the love of the truth, to cultivate it, because I believe that the greatest single weapon that Satan has against the human race, and always has been, is deception. The only protection against deception is the love of the truth.
Paul says “they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.” That’s the way to be saved. You’re saved now, but you’ll only remain saved if you cultivate the love of the truth. Just as you’ll only remain saved if you endure to the end. Jesus said, “he who has endured to the end shall be saved.” You’re saved now but will you endure? You’re saved now but will you hold on to the truth when it’s unpopular, when it’s a very small minority that really believes the truth and obeys it? Will you hold on? That’s the cost of being saved.
And then, this is a frightening statement:
“For this reason [that is because they did not receive the love of the truth] God will send them strong delusion . . . “
Have you ever pondered on that? It’s an astonishing statement. This is not being deceived by Satan, this is being deceived by God. God will send them strong delusion. That’s His judgment on those who play around with the truth. We don’t always like to accept it but when King Saul rejected the Word of God, God sent an evil spirit to him. Not Satan, but God. I think the ultimate judgment of God is to send you a spirit of delusion. I do believe the only safety is to receive the love of the truth and go on loving the truth. And the love of the truth is progressive. “The pathway of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day.” So if you’re only living in yesterday’s light, you’re a backslider because the pathway of the righteous gets brighter every day.
The Christian life is hardly ever compared to a position, it’s always compared to a walk, and that is progressive.
And so I believe myself that this force of humanism is the ultimate weapon of Satan to prepare the world to receive the Antichrist. I want to say that I don’t believe that time has yet come. It could come if we didn’t do something. I think the Lord has the believers here in the world for one purpose, amongst others, is to hold back the power of Antichrist until God’s purposes are fulfilled.
God has two, amongst others, two main purposes: the completion of the church and the restoration of Israel. I believe you and I here in this prayer conference, one of our main assignments is to hold back that force of humanism. Personally I do not have the faith to rebuke it. I can’t just say, “I rebuke you,” and off you go. I do believe I can ask God to intervene. Sometimes we have to say like the archangel Michael, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan.” Like the priest in Zechariah, “The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you.” God says He will be very gracious to us when He hears the voice of our cry. He waits sometimes a long while to hear that cry.
Let’s turn to the sons of Zion. I’m glad that Lance is due to follow me. I haven’t told him what to say but I’ve given him a few hints. I believe he’s the right person to say it. I’m not really very well versed in Jewish culture or traditions or history but I think it’s no accident that December 13th came in the middle of Chanukah. It’s strange how the Lord seems to observe the Jewish holidays for the crises. And Chanukah was the point at which the influence of Greece that had practically taken over the Jewish people was defeated and turned back. That’s really, when you celebrate Chanukah, if you do, that’s what you’re celebrating, is the overthrow of the spirit of humanism that wanted to make the Jewish people just like the Greeks. Lance will go into further detail, I do believe, on that so I’m not going to dwell on that. But, it’s a very illuminating subject.
Now I want to say that God is angry for various reasons. When Ruth and I were on our way to a sabbatical at the end of 1990 in Hawaii, and don’t imagine it was a time of leisured ease, it was the hardest time of our lives. I ended up in hospital and nearly died. Ruth had to look after me and do a lot of other things at the same time. That’s where we learned the power of proclamation. But, we went there to seek the Lord. On our way there in Dallas, Texas, in the hotel where we stayed the night, the Lord spoke to us and He said, “I am a God of anger and I am angry with those who claim to be mine but do not live as if they belong to me.” He told us at that time to pray for His elect in the United States that they would not be dragged down into the gutter together with the rest. We do need to remember that God is a God of love, He’s a God of grace, but He’s also a God of anger and a God of judgment. If you don’t believe in God’s judgments you have a very limited understanding of the Bible and of history.
And so I want to speak of two situations which provoke God’s wrath against the people of Israel. I don’t think I have to explain here what I mean by the word wrath [pronounced wroth]. I have trouble with Americans because they don’t know what I’m talking about. They say wrath [pronounced rath]. I was brought up to say wrath [wroth] and I’m going to go on saying wrath [wroth]. Anyhow, as long as you know what I mean, that’s the important thing. I want to turn to Numbers 14 for a moment and point out to you two particular things which have provoked God’s anger against the people of Israel. The first is described in Numbers 14:29–30:
“The carcasses of you who have murmured against me shall fall in the wilderness. All of you who are numbered according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above, except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. You shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.”
What provoked God’s anger? The failure to obey Him to enter the land He had promised. That’s amazing to me because they had previously worshiped a golden calf. Surely that was a terrible sin but that sin did not cause God to refuse the promised land to them. But when they despised what God had provided, God said, “That’s it. None of you will ever see that land.”
I have observed in studying Scripture and looking at people’s lives that one of the things that provokes God’s anger is rejecting His grace. That’s what made God angry with Esau. God says in Malachi, “Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated.” And in Hebrews 12 Esau is equated with fornicators, although we never know he committed fornication. What provoked God’s anger? He despised his birthright and for that God said, “No more.”
I have preached both to the British and to the Americans, our nations have despised our birthright. We between us have had more light from the Word of God and more opportunity to know the truth than any other nations in history and we have despised our birthright. To me the ultimate judgment of God is inevitable. I may not be popular but I do not believe that anything can turn back the judgment of God on the United States. They have passed the point. But, God has a wonderful elect in the United States who are extremely precious to Him and for them God told us to pray.
So the first thing that made God angry, so angry that He would never revoke it, was refusing the land He had promised. That’s not according to our standards. We would expect God to be more angry about a lot of other things than that.
The second is described in Ezekiel 20:32 and following, and again, these words are addressed to Israel:
“What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles [or the nations], like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’”
God says that will never happen. The Prime Minister may say it but God has said no. It will never happen. And now listen to God’s reaction to that desire of the Jewish people to lose their special identity. I’m not Jewish and so I’ve had to learn this thing, as it were, from the outside. I’m amazed that the Jewish people want to be like the other nations. Having come from one of the other nations and being a citizen of one of the other nations, I can’t see what it is they want to imitate. But I’m in a minority.
Anyhow, this is God’s response to the desire to lose their national identity.
“As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you were scattered with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead my case with you face to face.”
That raises a lot of interesting questions of prophetic interpretation, but we won’t come into that. But notice God was extremely angry with the desire of Israel to lose their God-given identity and become just like any other nation. It provoked His wrath.
I think this is a recurring feature of Jewish history. As I say, it astonishes me. But I can see, for instance, prior to World War II there was that strong desire of many Jews in Europe to lose their identity, to assimilate. And I think, as a matter of fact, who would dare to offer a reason for the Holocaust. But I think, in a way, that was one major factor in the Holocaust. God said, “I will rule over you with fury poured out.”
I realize that doesn’t cover everything and I realize there are wounds that some people carry that I have no healing for. But nevertheless, God will never permit the Jewish people to lose their identity. Never.
Now I want to deal with the sons of Zion only briefly. How would I define the sons of Zion? There’s Zionism that brought the state of Israel into being. I respect and honor those pioneers. But I’m talking about a different kind of Zionism because most of them were Socialists and had no real faith in the Word of God. It’s one of the miracles of history that God used them to achieve something they didn’t believe in! It’s just one of the ways God operates. He’s used a lot of people to do things, like Cyrus. I mean, I don’t know. Nebuchadnezzar. God even calls Nebuchadnezzar “my servant.” He calls Cyrus “my servant.” I think in some ways Winston Churchill was God’s servant, although he never became a believer as far as I know. God has some unexpected servants and maybe you’re one of them!
Anyhow, sons of Zion I call Biblical Zionists; that is, Zionism that’s founded on the Bible. I think they have one basic text which is the opening words of the Bible:
“In the beginning God . . . “
That’s Biblical Zionism. In other words, everything has its source and its origin in God. God is the ultimate, His promises and His decrees ultimately will determine the course of human history.
I read an article in theJerusalem Postrecently which really touched my heart. It was called the In Focus section about some Jewish settlers in a place called Fardaron, which is a tiny little settlement southeast of Gaza. This is a full-scale interview. Some of you saw it, I’m sure. A very, very beautiful photograph of a Jewish mother with her baby in her arms. I mean, it was a beautiful face. These two or three paragraphs describe the result of an interview with the people in Fardaron. They said:
“We have had many meetings with senior IDF officers. [IDF is the Israeli army.] “And when we asked them about the situation on the roads, who will be in control, how they will protect us, they have no answers.”
“This is not very encouraging. Despite the pressures, the fears, the uncertainties, the five residents of Fardaron and Netsareem spoken to this week said without exception that they have no intention of leaving their settlements. Their reasons are summed up in the handwritten petition [to Rabin] posted on the Fardaron bulletin board.”
This is the petition:
“We the undersigned know and believe that all of Eretz Israel [that’s the land of Israel] belongs to the people of Israel, according to God’s Word in our Torah. We believe that God is with us and that with His help we will continue to build the state of Israel.”
“The residents say they are acting responsibly toward their children by remaining in what is essentially the eye of an unpredictable storm.”
Then the lady who was nursing the little baby says this:
“There are values more important than life,” says Doytch, discreetly nursing her infant. “Torah, for instance.” Doytch’s neighbor, (unintelligible), 31, the father of three, concurs. “My responsibility is not only to my children,” he says, “it also extends to my people.”
To me, that is the material out of which biblical Zionism will be built. I notice that they were not primarily concerned about security, material prosperity, an easy life, or the safety of themselves or their families. There was another value that took precedence over all of those. How many people are there like that in the world today, in any nation? Not many. And when I read that I thought about the words of Revelation 12:11:
“They [the believers on earth] overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Now like others here, I’ve taught a great deal on spiritual warfare and spiritual weapons. I’ve taught about the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony. But I want to point out to you that there’s only one kind of person who’s qualified to use those weapons and that’s stated in the last part of the verse, “they did not love their lives to the death.” My interpretation of that is for those people to do the will of God was more important than to stay alive. I believe that’s really a question which each of us is going to have to face. The way the world is going and the forces that are being unleashed, I think we’re going to have to ask ourselves which is more important for me, to stay alive or to do the will of God?
The early believers who had that attitude overthrew the Roman Empire. They never had any marches, they never published any manifestos, they had no TV preachers. But, they had one thing, commitment.
I don’t believe that Satan in the least bit fears uncommitted believers. The only ones who threaten him, who can use the weapons of his defeat, are those who do not love their lives to the death.
I want to say that obviously as a believer in Yeshuathere’s more to it than what I read in the testimonies of the people in Fardaron. But you know one thing Jesus said, “If you believe Moses you’ll believe in Me.” The problem is the majority of Orthodox Jews don’t really believe Moses. That’s why they don’t believe in Yeshua.
This is just a subjective impression. I have a feeling that a kind of change is coming, that there’s going to be an alignment of people who normally you wouldn’t expect to see aligned together. The key to that alignment will be people who take God seriously. There are a lot of definitions of faith that are offered but one that’s come to me many times is faith is taking God seriously. I have observed in the Charismatic movement in the United States, I think it would be true to say, the majority of Charismatics do not take God seriously.
A well known Charismatic preacher whose been a personal friend of mine for 20 years made some right off-the-wall statements while he was preaching. When he was challenged he said, “My people know better than to take me seriously in everything I say.” Now, that’s surprising but what was amazing was nobody reacted to that statement. It was regarded as normal.
I believe this conference is designed by God to release a new kind of seriousness into the body of Messiah. I’m 78 years old. What have I got to live for if it isn’t for the purposes of God? I believe God has kept me alive because he has a task for me to do. I believe God has a task for me to do that’s in some way connected with Israel. And for me it’s much more important to complete my task than to stay alive.
Now, you’re not all as old as I am but one day some of you may be. Let me tell you, it will come a lot quicker than you expect!
I want to do one more thing, which is promote this little book of mine called The Destiny of Israel and the Church. That’s what it’s called in Britain. Unfortunately, the people who published it in the United States chose to change the title, so in the United States it’s called Prophetic Destinies: Who is Israel? Who is the Church?If you buy both books you’ve only got the same message twice. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you! The aim of this brief book is to try to be accurate in the identity of Israel and the identity of the church. I think Satan has introduced the most tremendous amount of confusion in both. Many, many people have no idea really who Israel is. I think even more people have no idea who the true church is. I say in the book one of these statements, “Basic truth is usually simple. The truth is Israel is Israel and the church is the church.” God is not so poor that He has to rob Israel to keep His promises to the church.
Now, the most important part of the book, and this is why I held it up, is the appendices. You know what appendices is? It’s the plural of appendix! That’s the problem with my classical background, there’s some things I just can’t go along with. Like, make the word media singular, I just can’t do it. I mean, there’s no way I could ever do it, that’s all. You can do it if you wish but I can’t. It is plural.
There’s another thing I was brought up, was never to split infinitives. You know what splitting infinitives is? Well, Americans habitually, I’ve got over that. I can split infinitives without getting indigestion. You know, splitting infinitives is to put something in between the “to” and the verb; like “to seriously think.” I would always say “to think seriously” or “seriously to think,” but not “to seriously think.” I mean, we would have lost marks in any composition.
But, to return to the subject of appendices, there are two. There are two appendices which are extremely important. Number one is a list of all the places in the New Testament where the word “Israel” or “Israelite” occurs. I list 77 and I give the reference and a brief extract from each one. I say on the basis of that, Israel is never used as a synonym for the church. Never. It has no basis in the New Testament. Israel is often used as a type or a pattern for the church but it is never the name for the church. So, anybody who claims that the church is Israel is absolutely in direct contradiction to the New Testament.
Now the other appendix is even more interesting. If you read the book, some of you may have, don’t answer. But the other appendix quotes every passage where it is recorded that God swore with an oath to give this land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants. It says in the letter to the Hebrews when God gives His oath, it’s done by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie. We may have strong consolation. The first immutable thing is God’s Word, the second immutable thing is His oath. When you join God’s Word to God’s oath there is no way that God can say a thing more emphatically than He has said it.
Now, I have listed every place in the Bible where it says God swore with an oath to give this land. How many places do you think? Five? (someone yelled 47?) That’s right, you read the book. Isn’t that amazing that the Bible records 47 times that God swore with an oath to give this land.
You cannot find anything else to which God has added His oath as much as four times. I think He swore four times to David. It’s an astonishing fact. I mean, if we once really see it, it gives us a totally different perspective on the situation in the Middle East, if we’re Bible believers. If we’re humanists, what does it matter what God says?
I would like to turn for a moment to Hebrews 6 and just read from verse 13:
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”
Notice that to obtain the promise, notice I’m splitting an infinitive, you have to patiently endure. I mean, I swallowed but I did it. I’ll never forget the first time I went to a filling station in Canada and I had to call petrol, “gas,” I didn’t think the word would ever get out of my throat.
“And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus, God determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, [His Word, His oath] two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie...”
And then the reason is given:
“...that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”
You see how we’ve come back to hope?
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
There are two pictures given of this hope. Number one, it’s like the horns of the altar. When a man was being pursued, if he wanted a place of refuge, if he could get to the altar and hold on to the horns of the altar and not allow himself to be dragged away, he was safe unless he had committed some special crime.
And number two, it’s compared to an anchor. In my simplistic way I say to myself, Why does a ship need an anchor?The answer is a ship floats in an unstable element which is water. But to secure its position it has to make contact with a stable element. It passes the anchor through the water into the rock, or whatever it may be, and it’s the stability of the rock that holds the ship firm in the midst of an unstable element.
And brothers and sisters, we’re living in a very unstable world politically, socially, economically and in every way. We need an anchor that will pass through time and fasten in eternity. The hope is the anchor. Isn’t that wonderful?
First of all let me read two brief prophecies that were given in this room about two-and-a-half months ago. We had a four day conference which was unique because it was attended only by residents of Israel. No tourists. Sponsored by Israelis and paid for by Israelis. The first such conference in the history of Jerusalem in this century. I had the privilege of being the speaker. I say privilegesincerely, I consider it to be one of the greatest privileges of my life. We had only as many people as this hall could contain. The final night I spoke about entering into the exercise of spiritual gifts. We went from tongues to interpretation to prophecy. Then we went on a little further but I gave people the opportunity to exercise prophecy. I was standing here watching I would say probably 100 people at least receive the gift of prophecy. Probably many of them had before.
Then I asked if there were those who felt they had something that was for the benefit of the whole congregation. A number of people came up. The most remarkable thing was the complete harmony in the messages that were given. I’m going to read just two of these messages. The first was given in English, the second was given in Hebrew and has been translated.
This is the first message:
“Lift up your heads, for your redemption is very near. I have told you that I will move swiftly and I am moving swiftly. There are things that are happening in this nation that you do not understand. I say to you do not try to understand everything that is happening, for behind the leaders of this land is my strong hand and I am in control. I know my people and I know what I am planning, and it is too high for you. Do not try to understand every detail but understand this, I am in control. You can trust me and I will keep you if you will continually lift up your eyes to me. Again I say, your redemption is very near.”
The second one which was given originally in Hebrew:
“Be strong and courageous because the times ahead are difficult times. But my strong arm is stretched behind you and the path is paved before you. But see that you are walking on this path and that you don’t stumble. See that it is only my strong arm that supports you and nothing else.”
I believe really those are a word for at least all the believers in this land and probably for all believers everywhere.
I want to suggest in closing three themes for prayer which I submit to the leadership. They are prayers that I myself feel I can pray with faith. Number one, that God will intervene against the spirit of humanism.I do not feel that I can go out or even we can go out and simply challenge the spirit of humanism. It is far too big for us. But, it’s not too big for God.
Now, if God gives you faith, I won’t question that. But I have had considerable experience in spiritual warfare and I’ve seen people who’ve got into serious trouble because they went out like lone rangers challenging something that was much too powerful for them and they ended up usually in disaster.
The second is that God will raise up sons of Zion worthy to inherit this land.You have to bear in mind that God’s problem is not the land, it’s the people. The land is here. Maybe it needs care and change but the real problem of God is the people. In Ezekiel 36:33 God says this, and this whole chapter is devoted to the restoration of Israel to the land.
“Thus says the Lord God, ‘On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities I will also enable you to dwell in the cities and the ruins shall be rebuilt.’”
So the final occupation of the land by Israel will not take place until they have been cleansed from all their iniquities. I suggest that when we pray for the raising up of the sons of Zion we should have that in mind: a people who are pure, who are holy. I happen to be naive enough to believe that God will raise up 144,000 young Israelis. Not 143,999 and not 144,001, but 144,000. That’s my personal belief. It says they will be virgins, they will be undefiled by immoral sex. I don’t want to be cynical but you’d have to look a long way in Israel to find 144,000 that answer that description right now. But I believe God is going to raise up a generation of younger Israelis. In fact, I believe He’s starting to do it. I believe they are going to be the ultimate messengers of the gospel to the nations.
The first half of Revelation 7 describes them, the second half describes a great multitude that no one could number out of all nations, peoples, tribes and tongues. I believe the second is the fruit of the first.
So, my faith is positive but we cannot set aside the moral requirements of God and pray into being something that is contrary to His moral requirements. That’s my second.
My third suggestion which is based on a word that God has given to Ruth and me twice over the last 10 years. This is personal, subjective, you don’t have to accept it. God spoke to us twice and said, we believe He spoke to us, He will raise up a leader who will do His will whom the people will follow.It doesn’t say he’ll be a believer in Yeshuabut he’ll be one who will do His will and the people will follow.
You see, if you study the history of Israel, every time Israel was in a crisis, how did God respond? He raised up a leader. He never sent a committee, it was never a parliamentary party. When Israel had parties, as they did in the time of Jesus, it was a disaster. God’s answer is a man. Somebody said God uses men, not methods. I believe somewhere not too far away there is a man whom God will raise up.
Let me repeat those three without any further comment.
Number one, God will intervene against the spirit of humanism.
Number two, God will raise up sons of Zion worthy to inherit the land.
And number three, that God will raise up a leader who will do His will whom the people will follow.
If there’s one thing that Israel desperately needs today, it is a real leader. The same is true of most other nations but we’re only talking about Israel.
I’m really finished but there’s just one more thing that’s important. Who can tell me what it is? We’ve talked about prayer, what have we not talked about? My answer is praise. Enter into His courts with thanksgiving and into His gates with praise. That’s the only way into the presence of God. I want to give you two verses, favorites of mine, that will prompt us to allow excited, jubilant praise.
You see, two years ago God brought back to this land mainly from the CIS 400,000 new immigrants, which is approximately 10% of the Jewish population. Translate that into the same proportions. It would mean that in the United States they would have 27 million new immigrants in two years. The United States is a powerful, wealthy, well-equipped nation. They wouldn’t even contemplate that number of new immigrants. If it were in Britain I believe it would be about 6 million. And Israel has done it. I mean, we overlook this fact. The media don’t give any credit. The fact is it is an amazing miracle. If you take the regathering of the Jewish people into this land over the last 50 or 60 years, it is one of the most amazing miracles of history. The Jewish people have been scattered for 2,000 years; some of them for 2,500 years like Batia’s family. Amongst all nations and under continuous pressure to assimilate, and they emerged unassimilated.
My first wife was a Dane. She used to say if you scattered the Danes amongst the nations and came back after 200 years, you wouldn’t find a Dane anywhere. It is an amazing miracle. We need to recognize it; we shouldn’t close our eyes to it. We should get excited about it.
“For thus says the Lord, ‘Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations. Proclaim, give praise and say, “O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.”’”
The last one is a prayer. But before that is praise, shout and proclaim. How many of you know what the word shout means? It doesn’t mean to sing loud, it means to shout. I can’t sing but I can shout. I’ll shout in a moment. I’ll get my wife to come shout with me.
Verse 10 of the same chapter says:
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles [or the coastlands] afar off.”
Now this is the word:
“He who scattered Israel will gather him and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”
Not merely is the Lord going to gather Israel. Brothers and sisters, He’s going to keep him, He’s going to guard him, He’s going to protect him.
Come on, Ruth, and we’ll say that. There are certain Scriptures we say never less than two or three times a week and many times more.
“He that scattered Israel will gather him and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock. Amen!”
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