On Saturday, March 30, 02 the headline of the Colorado Springs Gazette read, "World denounces Israeli assault on Palestinians." This date corresponds with the historical day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread and causes one to reflect on Israels current situation of death.
A related news item announced full condemnation of Israels current policies by the UN Security Council. Reports continue of escalating violence within Israel and threats of future aggression from Israels neighbors in the Middle East present the probability of an all out conflict in the not to distant future.
Among these looming threats of destruction for Israel and the scriptural description in Ezekiel 37:14 of Israels lifeless condition, Christians hold forth the hope of the Light which pierces the darkness.
On Sunday, Mar. 31, 02 the Christian world celebrated the glorious resurrection of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the Biblical feast day called "Firstfruits." Just days earlier during the Feast of Passover Israel initiated its most ambitious anti-terrorist military campaign to date within the Palestinian controlled areas of Israel when it took over Yasser Arafats headquarters in Ramallah and confined him to the second floor without electricity.
At the same time the Israelis rejected a Saudi proposal approved by the Arab League which offered Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for a list of open-ended demands and conditions that would have made Israel virtually indefensible by earthly standards. In addition the Arab League offered no denunciation of a Passover suicide bombing in Israel that at last count took 22 lives.
Egypts Foreign Minister stated on Mar. 29, 02 that "Israel has sent a message of war" while rockets were launched against Israel from within Lebanese borders on Mar. 30, 02.
Perhaps there will be another lull in the fighting so that Yasser Arafat may be permitted to return to the Gaza Strip (as we understand to be foretold in Zech. 9:5-7) or perhaps he will steal away under the cover of war, but this we can be sure of, and that is that according to the words of God found in Psalm 83, expectations of eventual all-out war are well founded.
This earth shaking war against Israel which will embody the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians could ignite at any time. After these nations are defeated by (God sustained) Israel, we believe the 7 year covenant of Daniel 9:27 (which will begin the countdown for the end of the age) will be confirmed by the wicked prince to come known as Anti-Christ.
It does not appear coincidental that the most recent move by Ariel Sharon to remove the Egyptian educated Yasser Arafat from power began on Passover when Israel commemorates the day that the death angel passed through Egypt and bent the back of Pharaoh. Pharaoh then once again hardened himself against the people of God and his armies met their end in the Red Sea.
This time Israels deliverance will come much slower. Among supernatural victories and divine favor death will fill the house of Israel. Even though she is prophesied to continue to remain until the coming of the Messiah at the close of the final 7 years of this age, she will be tested and purified by great trials in preparation to recognize the true Passover Lamb Jesus Christ.
The final 3 ½ years of the 7 year period of testing will culminate with what the Old Testament Prophet Joel described as the time of the locust and the days of darkness and gloominess (Joel 1:4, 2:2).
Before these final 3 ½ years of great tribulation there will be 3 ½ years of lesser tribulation which Jesus referred to in Matt. 24:8 as the "beginning of sorrows." These days of sorrow are not far off.
During those tremendous days of testing there will be 144,000 Jews, according to Rev. 7:3-8, who will receive divine protection because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The rest of the Jews do not have this solid promise of deliverance.
During the original Passover each Jewish home was protected by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. This sacrifice was a representation of faith looking forward to the day when God would send His only begotten Son as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
Even though Dan. 9:27 reveals to us that the Jews will once again be offering sacrifices during the final 7 years, the Passover blood will be unacceptable to God as they continue to reject His true sacrifice.
We are told by Jesus in John 14:6, " No one comes to the Father except through Me." The blood of the Lamb does not yet shield the nation of Israel from death.
At some point between this very moment and the day that the Anti-Christ confirms the 7 year agreement between Israel and her neighbors the dead and living in Christ will be glorified and caught up to heaven to be with Jesus in the twinkle of an eye (I Thess. 4:15-18).
When Jesus was resurrected almost 2,000 years ago He set free the captive spirits of believers that were being held in the blessed portion of Hell called Paradise or Abrahams bosom (I Pet. 3:18-19, Luke 23:42-43, John 20:17 & Luke 16:22).
We are told in I Thess. 4:13-14 that when Jesus comes back to resurrect the dead in Christ at the Rapture He will bring with Him the spirits of those whose bodies await in the grave. We are then told in verses 16-17 that, "the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
The Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ during the final 7 years of this age are told in Luke 21:28, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, cause your redemption draws near." In the midst of the shadow of death and destruction they are to look upward for the appearance of the Lords glorious light to deliver them. Israel is about to be overtaken by the shadow of darkness and gloominess the Prophet Joel wrote of.
The Christians of 2002 are dwelling on the very edge of that shadow and should be living with joyous expectancy as Gods prophetic light reveals to them the nearness of the final 7 years which will close out this age. The promise of Christ for those who will be caught up to be with Him at the Rapture should realize how equally relevant for them are Christ's words from Luke 21:28, "lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
This very moment you can have this expectancy with assurance in your life by having your sins forever forgiven.
Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross to pay the full penalty for the sins of anyone who would trust in Him for salvation. He then rose from the gave in His conquest over death when He died once for all for those that receive Him as their sacrificial lamb.
He is coming again soon to catch up His blessed Church to Heaven.
Dont miss out on this heavenly opportunity to escape the shadow of eternal death and to step into His light of everlasting life.
We are the living witnesses that the day when things will "begin to happen" is near and that the Churchs departure to glory is even at the door.
Trust in Jesus today.