WAKE UP ISRAEL:IT IS TIME TO PRAY FOR DELIVERANCE
P.C. Johnson, U.K.
IN this year of 2007, surely, it is now necessary for Israel to recognize their true identity and ask our divine LORD God to cleanse and deliver us from iniquity and the chaos of these times.
In God's word, the Holy Bible, Ezekiel records the following prophecy in chapter 36:37-
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this (deliverance) be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; ..."
Chapter 36 of Ezekiel prophesies the final restoration and cleansing time just prior to the predicted glorious second advent of Jesus the Christ as King of all Israel and redeemer of all mankind.
The reader may ask, why now? Over the centuries many have looked for the second advent of Christ but their timing then was premature. Again, why not? The
Bible tells us why.
In all the countries of the world today, people see, hear and read through the media, stories of universal chaos, anarchy and trouble. Most people now have first
hand experience of such troubles. Surely we must all desire that somehow, ways can be found to stop such troubles permanently. These troubles have always
existed in the world, but it is no exaggeration to say that they are far worse now. We have become hardened to these things,but personal experience emphasizes to us how bad things have become. Paul tells us that just before the return of Jesus the Christ at His second advent, troublesome times will come. From II Thessalonians 2:3 we read:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (second advent) shall not come, except there come a falling away (universal sin and apostasy) first,..."
These troubles are forecast in the Bible, in many places together with an approximate forecast of timing. That time is now and the near future.
You dear reader are living in that time. The Bible describes it as the "latter days" and also as the "time of Jacob's trouble". It also gives an accurate description of the world chaos of today in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21... In these, Jesus tells His disciples about the chaos that will prevail just before His second advent:
Many false Christs shall come and deceive many. There will be wars and rumours of wars. Nation shall rise against nation. There will be famines, pestilences,
earthquakes, signs from heaven (i.e. the first heaven, that is the heaven of the clouds), Christians will be hated of all (non Christian) nations for Christ's name's sake.
Christians will suffer affliction and some even death. Many shall be offended and betray one another. There will be universal iniquity (disobedience to God's divine
laws). Many shall lose their faith in Christ.False prophets will deceive many.The gospel of the Kingdom and God's word in the Bible will be taught in all lands - this has already been done.
After these things there wil lbe signs in the sun, moon and the stars. Men's hearts failing them for fear. The powers of heaven shall be shaken, (this applies to the
first heaven and the second heaven of the stars).
We have all seen the enormous destruction originating from adverse weather in the heaven of the clouds and from earthquakes. Indeed, great tribulation now exists world wide. The Bible says that the days will be shortened, possibly meaning that these last events will come quickly together - see Matthew 24:27. All things are possible for God, so it may also mean a literal shortening of the days. Lastly, "the abomination of desolation shall stand in the holy place" - Matthew 24:15.The holy place refers to mount Moriah in Jerusalem where Abraham (in being tested by God) was to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice (but God stopped him at the last minute Genesis 22:2); and where David built an altar I Chronicles 21 :26; and also where Solomon built the Temple. II Chronicles 3:1.
In the 7th century AD, the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque, was built on the same spot. The reader can draw his/her own conclusion in view of Matthew 24:15 above.
Repeating II Thessalonians 2:3 Paul tells us ".. that day (second advent) shall not come, except there come a falling away first...". We can understand that it indicates severe iniquity.Verse 7 goes on to tell us - "..he who now letteth (hindereth) will let, until he be taken out of the way." This means the restraint by the Holy Spirit on Satan's activities will be withdrawn. Verse 8 then tells us "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
Matthew 24:29-30 describe the moment of the start of the advent of Jesus the Christ:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory".
This will happen very quickly as Matthew 24:27 tell us:
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
These events were prophesied much earlier by the prophets such as Isaiah in chapter 40:5
" And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
Jesus advisesus in Luke 21:28
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
When the house of Judah was exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar about 586 BC, the prophet Ezekiel was exiled with them. God required him to sustain and teach them in their captivity and to act as watchman over them. Further reading of Ezekiel reveals that the prophet's inspired words from God applied to all Israel, both the house of Judah and the house of Israel.
The long history of Israel relates a sad story of repeated disobedience of God's laws and precepts, followed by repeated chastisement and repentance. In Ezekiel 14:3 we read how God instructed him to speak to a group of elders who came to him (Ezekiel) to get him to enquire of God. God tells him in Ezekiel 14:3
"Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?" (Meaning God will not listen to them).
The rest of the chapter reveals that God will 'cut them off' from the midst of His people Israel. However, verse 22 of chapter 14 reveals that a faithful remnant will always exist in Israel;
" Yet, behold, therein (Jerusalem) shall be left a remnant. ..."
In Ezekiel 36:16-38, the prophet reveals how God will restore Israel in righteousness and bring them back to the holy land. In verse 22 he says;
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake."
Inother words- do not think that I (God) will do this (restore Israel) because of any good in you, you have none, but because of my mercy and promises to Abraham and the fathers.
The reference in Ezekiel 36:37 above is here repeated:
"Thus saith the LORD God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of lsrael to do it for them "
Several times in scripture, as in Ezekiel 14:3 above, God indicates that where people "set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of iniquity before their face." He will not listen to them or grant their requests. Why then should God help his Israel people today,when the stumblingblock of iniquity is so widespread in our nations? Why Indeed. But Ezekiel in his chapter 36 verse 37 above and. in verse 25 of the same chapter prophesies that God will cleanse and help Israel when they enquire of Him.Verse 25 says;
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols, will I cleanse you."
Two quotations in scripture need to be kept in mind here:
1) When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, God had promised Abraham that if there were ten faithful people there, He would not permit the destruction. Sadly, only four were found - Lot and his wife and two daughters - who escaped. So Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
2) In 1 Kings 19:10 we read how Elijah thought he was the only faithful one left in Israel. But God said to him in verse 18: "Yet I have left me seven thousand in
Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal......."
From these quotations it is clear that where there is universal unrighteousness God will not save (or be enquired of). But when many faithful people exist in Israel (and of course in all mankind) God will certainly listen and help.
In scripture the word 'remnant' is used many times in relation to the faithful people who, we are told, will always be present in Israel. Isaiah records in his chapter
"Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom and Gomorrah."
Zephaniah records an important defining description of the remnant of Israel in chapter 3:13,
"The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth "
Perhaps it would be best for us to learn this statement by Zephaniah, to remind us of our duty to Almighty God! Ezekiel confirms the constant presence of a remnant in Israel in chapter 6 verse 8:
''Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries."
We now come back to Ezekiel 36:37 again;
"Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them."
As part of Israel, we must be faithful to our LORD Jesus, the holy One of Israel. We can then be sure of His help for our nation(s) where the stumbling block of iniquity exists among our peoples.
The time frame for the fulfilment of this prophecy in Ezekiel 36:37 could be any time after the prophecy. The context however reveals it to be this present time of the
'latter days', 'the time of Jacob's trouble'. Jeremiah refers to this in his chapter 30 verse 7:
"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it."
These two prophecies Ezekiel 36-37 and Jeremiah 30:7 are obviously linked. Therefore it is surely the time for Israel to enquire of Almighty God NOW TO SAVE US, HIS PEOPLE, FROM THE GATHERING STORM OF TROUBLE.
Before enquiring of God we must be sure that we do not hinder Israel being 'saved out of it' through idols in our heart and a personal stumblingblock of iniquity.We
must be sure we are worthy of such a blessing. If we possess such iniquities, as we saw in Ezekiel 14:3 the LORD God will not answer or save us! The Jeremiah 30
prophecy shows that God will save Israel. The doctrine of the ever faithful 'remnant' in Israel helps to confirm this. As individuals though, if we have that stumbling
block or iniquity,we may miss out on this blessing.
As members of Israel,what does God require ofeach one of us? Primarily we must be true believers in the gospel of Jesus the Christ and His salvation. This is also
the New Covenant that God promised Israel. As true believers, we must still avoid the personal stumbling block of iniquity.The prophets, Jesus, the apostles, Paul,
John, Peter, Timothy and many others, did not spend most of their time exhorting everybody to obey God's law,commandments and precepts for nothing!This rule
is in the words of the hymn: 'TRUST and OBEY, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!'
Both Paul and James make this clear in their writings. Paul tells us that faith without charity is dead. James says much the same, that the outward expression of faith is
good works. Neither charity nor good works alone without faith in the salvation of Jesus the Christ will save anyone because of universal sin, which can only be
cleansed by Jesus Christ who is also God.
With faith and obedience, three simple actions help us to behave in a manner acceptable to Almighty God, work, watch and pray.
The Bible advocates work in many places. Exodus 20:9
"Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work."
The seventh day was a special day between Israel and God. It was called the 'Sabbath' when no servile work was permitted. Isaiah assures us in 32:17 that the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:13 tells us, Every man's work shall be made manifest. 2 Timothy 4:5 advises us to.. .do the work of an evangelist... by our actions as well as our words. James 1:25 informs us that ...whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, ...he being a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. Micah 2:1 wams us ...Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! Haggai 2:4 says ...work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts. John 6:29 goes further, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him (Jesus) whom he (God) hath sent. Psalm 62:12 promises us, ...thou (God) renderest to every man according to his work. Proverbs 16:3 gives excellent advice, Commit thy works unto the LORD,and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 3:6 gives a positive rule. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. God has given us all our work to do, which must be done always in a righteous, unselfish and honest manner.
Three main objectives come under this heading in the Bible.
(A) The first is to always watch for the foretold signs of the 2nd advent of Jesus the Christ as detailed above. In Matthew 24:42 Jesus says Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Mark records similar advice in chapter 13:37 where Jesus says, And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. In Matthew 26:41 Jesus says Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Luke 21:28 repeated here gives us Jesus' resounding words; And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. These last four words 'your redemption draweth nigh' reveal the moment of our national redemption - at Christ's Second Advent.
(B) Secondly, we have to watch out for and avoid numerous evil tricks of Satan, who is always trying to lead us astray.We all need God's help in this. Jesus tells us (Matthew 26:41) that we 'watch and pray that we enter not into temptation'.
(C) The third directive is to watch out for the chance to help others. The Bible gives many instances of such opportunities, visit the sick, love thy neighbour as thyself, give to the poor and needy etc. The story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-35 should be read. This is the classic example of the work or deed in helping others. A priest then a Levite (both supposed to be holy men) saw an injured man lying on the roadside, ignored him and passed by. But the Samaritan (not an Israelite) had compassion on him, and cared for him in deed, and made subsequent care arrangements for him. Further advice is given in many references - 'continue in prayer and watch in the same'; 'Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye may be worthy to stand before the Son of Man' (Jesus); 'Watch and stand fast in the faith'; 'Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain'.
Jesus taught us the LORD's Prayer which is probably the most repeated of all prayers. Jesus also gave us instruction on how to pray in Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy (heavenly) Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Jesus goes on to say, ...use not vain repetitions... that section of Matthew 6: 1-18 is worth reading here...
Solomon when dedicating the new Temple, in a long prayer to God recorded in 1 Kings 8:45 says, ...Then hear thou in heaven their (the children of Israel's) prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. In this case also the whole chapter should be read. Psalm 65:2 confirms that God hears ALL prayers:
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. However as we saw above, God may not answer the prayer of the unrighteous, but his answer will always be as He sees right and in accordance with His will and our faith.We are told in Proverbs 15:8...the prayer of the upright is his (God's) delight. But in Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Jesus talking about strong faith in Matthew 17:21 says, Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. See the context.
The Bible records various hours when prayers were made by various people - David at morning, noon and evening; deacons in continuous prayer; the Jerusalem
Temple at (our) 3pm.; Joseph also had fixed times of prayer. We can of course pray at any time; but fixed times of prayer, as a perpetual habit, are strongly
In all prayer, it is never too late to pray, even for situations long past such as when one has forgotten to pray in the past or a realization that a prayer should have
been made way back.We have an Omnipotent God- of infinite power. Jesus himself said in Matthew 19:26 but with God all things are possible. God will act on late prayers. James in chapter 5 verses 15-16 tells us The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 1 Peter 4:3 reminds us: But the end of all things is at hand: (the Second Advent) be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. Paul in Ephesians 6:18 advises us; Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. In Colossians 4:2 Paul says; Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.
Undoubtedly, the very best place for personal prayer is as Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, alone in ones own room in quietness, Similarly prayer in the open quietness of
deep countryside under God's heaven alone with God, can be a wonderful experience. These two situations can each bring conviction of the truth of the statement;
"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of". Finally, we should always include the words in our prayers to God 'if it be thy will', which is one of the many meanings of the simple word 'please' which I am sure would be acceptable to Almighty God.
James 1:22 reminds us; ... be ye doers of the word, (of God) and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. In verse 25 James then says; But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, (the best way to live as taught by Jesus) and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, (the righteous work of God) this man shall be blessed in his deed. Matthew 21:22 records the ultimate promise of Jesus concerning prayer; ...all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Our blessed God in his mercy pleads with us, as recorded by Ezekiel in his chapter 33 verse 11:
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
God's desire is for us to avoid the stumbling block of iniquity, and his word shows how to do this, and why we must work, watch and above all pray for our own
and Israel's deliverance.
Hebrews 13:20-21 gives us this wonderful prayer:
" Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
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