We are told of two times when Jesus expressed His agonizing
yearning to be spared the merciless torment and separation from
His Father that would soon take place at His crucifixion.
We read in Mark. 14:33-36 and Matthew 26:38-42 how Jesus was
deeply distressed and that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful,
even to death. Jesus at that time affirmed that all things were
possible for His Father and asked if it were possible to be spared
what was about to take place without defying His Father's will.
It is then shared of Jesus in Matt. 14:38-39 how like the disciples
who could not overcome their fatigue, His Spirit was truly ready,
but the flesh was weak.
The other time Jesus considered His fate on the cross Jesus expressed
His desire to be at that moment at a future fire. Jesus spoke
of the fire in a unique and revealing fashion in Luke 12:49-50,
quoting we read, "I came to send fire on the earth, and
how I wish it were already kindled. But I have a baptism to be
baptized with and how distressed I am till it is accomplished."
Jesus' human nature was agonizingly aware of the terrible death
He was about to undergo and He spoke of this death and subsequent
resurrection as being His baptism. With prophetic candor Jesus
shared how He wished the fire of the great tribulation could
already be lit in His day to bring on the close of the age.
Jesus knew full well of the merciless suffering His body would
be forced to endure and He also knew of how the suffering of
all of mankind would continue under Satan's rule until the day
of His return after the Tribulation.
Contrary to what some want to believe, God has never been indifferent
to suffering. Jesus allowed Himself to be used of His Father
at the exact time and in the precise manner required to accomplish
the victory and redemption of the world that could only take
place on the cross.
Jesus would not rush it, that is why He delayed His triumphal
entry into Jerusalem and told many that He had healed not to
say anything. Nor would He hinder His appointment with the cross
even though He anguished in His soul with thoughts of not having
to endure it.
With thoughts of what would soon be done to Him as a man, Jesus
brought into view in John 17:1-5 His eternal nature that existed
before there ever was such a thing as the world.
Soon, in a miracle incomprehensible to the human mind, Jesus
the eternal Christ would be separated from God His Father as
He became the bearer of the sins of the world on the cross, "Jesus
spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father,
the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify
You, "as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that
He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. "I have glorified
You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given
Me to do. "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself,
with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
Jesus, who was made in the likeness of sinful flesh according
to Romans 8:3, wanted to go home and He wanted the trials of
this age to end as soon as possible. It is not wrong for Christians
to desire likewise. That Jesus would speak of the fire of the
tribulation in such a profound manner brings forth a rather simple
but intriguing question, that is, "how will God start the
fire, is there an actual match of sorts?"
On March 27, 04 it was reported on CNN that President George
W. Bush will meet with the leaders of Israel, Egypt and Jordan
in April. The urgent meeting has been motivated by Israel's March
23rd assassination of Shiek Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual
leader of the Islamic terrorists organization called Hamas.
Israeli leaders had shown none of their previous level of restraint
when it came to arousing the wrath and indignation of the Islamic
nations that surround her and world opinion as a whole, when
rockets were launched at the wheelchair-bound Hamas leader as
he came out of a Mosque after morning prayer.
This unprecedented action of Israel reveals a posture of unreserved
commitment to all out war if necessary. A number of Middle East
commentators believe that the assassination of Shiek Ahmed Yassin
will be viewed as the spark that ignited the next major Arab/Israeli
This is a provocative illustration when we consider how in Psalm
83:13-14 God has described Israel's neighbors in the last days
as chaff and wood and as mountains that will be set on fire,
while in another passage God has described Israel as a torch
among the sheaves and a firepan in a woodpile.
In verse 6 of Ch. 12 of the Old Testament Book of Zechariah we
read from the Lord of the last days, "In that day I will
make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and
like a fiery torch in the sheaves: they shall devour all the
surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem
shall be inhabited again in her own place - Jerusalem."
The day that the Lord is speaking of here is the day of both
His judgment and deliverance. It is not just a 24 hour day, but
it is a reference to the earthly time period which introduces
and includes the glorious Millennial Reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-7).
The day of the Lord will encompass a thousand years when considered
in the prophetic light of Psalm 90:4 & II Peter 3:8.
The precise point in time when the Lord Jesus Christ will take
His great power and will begin to reign, as is revealed in Revelation
11:7, will be midway through the fast approaching 7 year Tribulation
Period. This is why in the Scriptures we find references to the
day of the Lord being either a time of dreadful judgments or
incomparable peace and joy. This is the moment of time Jesus
yearned for in Luke 12:49-50.
The time of God's fiery judgment is almost upon the world. Great
trials will usher in this day. There will be ever expanding wars,
famines, pestilences, cataclysmic environmental disruptions and
economic upheavals. A great uneasiness spawned and growing by
the spirit of Anti-Christ continually ripples around the globe
and is being felt by people at every level of life. Its essence
is undefinable because so many areas of existence are being affected,
yet its relentless toll of despair upon the souls of mankind
is readily apparent to those with even a modest amount of discernment.
It will take fire to cleanse the earth of its malignancy and
Israel is the match.
While many feel a great change is coming and is indeed even anticipated
by those who imagine a utopian world apart from the will of God,
the undefinable element we spoke of just as assuredly causes
even more to feel that the changes taking place are somehow being
manipulated behind the scenes and are going to ultimately prove
grievous and even disastrous.
Leadership around the world has been rapidly changing. Dictators
are being replaced, old kings are dying and tumultuous elections
of so-called democratic rulers spawn uncertainty. These political
upheavals are in harmony with God's last days preparation in
what we might term a "reshuffling of the deck."
It is very likely that in the near future, men who are now being
put in power will be dealing with the most destructive and wicked
time ever witnessed by the human race. A time of devilish powers
inspiring men with evil plans.
As the Scripture from Zech. 12:6 pointed out, It is the governors
of Judah in these last days that demand special attention. It
is to be these men who will be forced to contend with the time
we are told of in Daniel 12:1 which, "shall be a time of
trouble, such as never was since there was a nation."
Who will lead Israel during these days?
Fearful reflection comes to the mind of astute Israelis as they
watch the hatred all around them grow and consider what fate
they would be looking at if all of the secret and known concessions
of former Prime Ministers Yitzak Rabin and Ehkud Barak had had
time to further erode the security provisions which were established
after each previous attempt to annihilate their nation.
Desperate efforts had been taken in an attempt to quickly change
the laws in Israel so as to allow Benjamin Netanyahu the opportunity
to run in the election for Prime Minister. Mr. Netanyahu had
declined to run unless the Knesset resigned because he felt the
change in Israeli law as insufficient to accomplish his goals.
Ariel Sharon then became the main contender against Mr. Barak
As of April 14, 04 Mr. Sharon received unprecedented U.S.
support by President Bush for denying Palestinians the right
of return to Israel, the keeping of West Bank settlements and
the continued construction of the wall separating Israelis from
In 2004 it has become obvious to Israel that the agenda of Ehud
Barak would have endangered Israel beyond measure, but still
Ariel Sharon is looked upon as a warmonger and is facing possible
ouster from office over accusations of receiving bribes.
It is a personal belief that Scriptures such as the one we quoted
in Zechariah 12:6 indicate that in the closing years of this
age, those in leadership over Israel will be among those who
recognize the Lord Jesus (Yeshua) Christ as their true Messiah
and will have their hearts of stone ignite into godly flames
of faith and courage. They will need this supernatural empowerment
because of the unbelievable devastation they will have endured.
Whoever is in power over Israel when the next war starts may
well be the man who will be God's torch bearer into the Tribulation
First will come the final stage of the Iraqi-Arab/Israeli war
of Psalm 83 and Jeremiah Chapters 50 & 51 which will preclude
the 7 year tribulation. Then during the first 3 ½ years
of the tribulation will come the Magog (that is Russian) /Islamic
invasion of Israel found in Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39. The
consuming fires of war will continue to grow when the Anti-Christ
and his union of nations break the 7 year tribulation covenant
with the Jews and will seek to destroy the nation of Israel and
all those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ (Dan. 9:27
& Rev. 12:17). After this, at the close of the tribulation,
the entire world will gather to do battle at Armageddon (Rev.
16:16) where we are told in Zephaniah 1:18 that, "...the
whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy."
Revelation 4:20 tells us that blood will run the length of Israel
to the depth of a horse's bridle. Always Israel is found in the
heart of the conflagrations, and always she remains as victor,
a torch that never goes out.
In Zechariah 12:6 the illustration God gave us of the leaders
over Israel in that day, is as a torch put in among bundles of
stalks. The world needs to watch this tiny country closely because
God makes it clear that the nations aligned against her will
be consumed and devoured in the final days by the governors of
Judah on"the right and on the left." They will be like
moths drawn to a flame.
Never before will the world have witnessed such a demonstration
of supernatural empowerment upon a nation.
Only God knows if it will be Ariel Sharon or some other who will
at first foolishly put his confidence in the Anti-Christ's promises
and only God knows who will become the growing flame which will
be leading Israel at the close of the Great Tribulation before
Christ returns with all of His saints (Jude 14-15 & Zech.
14:1-5). This we can be sure of with a simple review of the news
of our day, the time of fire is near at hand, the day of fire
that Jesus wished was here almost 2,000 years ago.