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Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

Roses on Your Grave

posted by jfletcher

And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won’t forget to put roses on your grave.

Even at a Sunday afternoon dance recital, Israel is never far from my mind. While watching the tiny dancers and earnest teenagers show grandparents and parents the payoff for all those lessons, my mind—I’m being honest—strayed.

While serving as a booster seat for my niece, Lauren, who was straining to see her dancing heroes, I looked around and then down.

I saw them. The bouquet of roses. This led my mind down a wooded path in which the Rolling Stones were into their country thing, back in the halcyon days when the boys were closer to Johnny Cash than disco. The song, “Dead Flowers,” probably refers to drugs, but just like everyone else, I can twist the meaning to fit my own reality. For me, the lyrics perfectly describe Israel’s seemingly precarious position in today’s world.

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The weekend’s promised violence from those who simply don’t like Israel is a dead-ringer for the person in the song that strives to send dead flowers to an adversary. One presumes the adversary in question is in some way in a position of some weakness, lashed to a post of whippings and harassment.

Certainly, the Jews have been harassed for millennia, but we are living in the days of the miracle of the Return. My father grew up in the days when Jews were herded into ghettos—Warsaw, et al—and I grew up in the shadow of Entebbe and the Six Day War. Think of that, the Jews went in one generation from the Holocaust to the astonishment of a hostage rescue in the heart of Africa. They are more than a legend in their own time, they are what Herman Wouk said of the hero of Entebbe, Jonathan Netanyahu…Israel is an ember of sacred fire.

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So if people see Israel and don’t like it (“Nakba, anyone?”), they menacingly send the Jewish state dead flowers every morning, dead flowers in letter bombs, and dead flowers to religious celebrations.

But a powerful truth has emerged, one that pulsates with biblical prophecies writ large: Israel will outlive all her enemies, and she will in the end certainly not forget to put roses on their graves.

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Happy Birthday, Israel!

posted by jfletcher

“Before she went into labor,
she had the baby.
Before the birth pangs hit,
she delivered a son.
Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
Has anyone seen anything like this?
A country born in a day?
A nation born in a flash?
But Zion was barely in labor
when she had her babies!
Do I open the womb
and not deliver the baby?
Do I, the One who delivers babies,
shut the womb?” (Isaiah 66:7-9, The Message)

Well, it’s here. That’s probably what they said at 4 p.m., the 14th of May, 1948, in Tel Aviv. Israel’s declaration of statehood was read by David Ben Gurion, and the United States—or, more specifically, Harry Truman—recognized the fledgling state.

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This was a gigantic miracle, and a gift of God’s grace, for it shows that He keeps His promises. After such a long exile, the Jewish people are back in their ancestral land.

Israel’s neighbors promised a war was coming on May 15, and they made good on their word, but the baby had already been born.

On a trip to Israel in 2002, I visited Independence Hall, and was the only tourist there. This was during the Second Intifada, and the Palestinians have promised another one is coming. For today, though, I celebrate enthusiastically Israel’s Independence Day.

At Independence Hall, I saw a copy of the scroll from which Ben Gurion read. It is a tangible reminder that the Bible’s prophecies are sure, true, and always on time.

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Long live Israel!

Israel's Scroll of Independence

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Weary?

posted by jfletcher

One of the common criticisms of the Bible is that it is irrelevant, a human product full of mistakes.

Of course, the reality is, it’s neither of those things. As is discussed in this space—and will be a theme we hammer again and again—Bible prophecy is a jarring proof that Scripture is far ahead of its critics. It is a tremendous source of comfort for the rest of us.

There’s a lot of fear these days. A news report just from today tells us that widespread layoffs of state employees from around the country could commence this summer; many states are broke.

And I read last week that the earthquake that devastated Japan lifted a section of the sea floor measuring 150 miles long and 85 miles wide…and slammed it back down.

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Catastrophic things are happening in our world today. But Jesus Christ, far more than a revolutionary philosopher, has told us with certainty that in Him is true peace and rest from the assaults of this life. Here is your homework: read Ezekiel 37, and then contemplate recent history and the return of the Jews to their ancestral land. This is prophecy writ quite large. Gargantuan, in fact.

Next read Matthew 11:28 and reflect on that. As an individual existing on this planet, you should listen to the voice of Jesus.

How does that make you feel?

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Earth-shattering Prophecy

posted by jfletcher

When the predicted earthquake didn’t hit Rome on May 11, what did you make of that?

Rome is still there!

Reuters circulated a story about the prediction of the late seismologist Raffaele Bendandi; it is said that he predicted a devastating earthquake would hit Rome on May 11, 2011. In fairness to Bendandi, who died in 1979, it is not clear that he made the prediction.

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Evidently others may have embellished.

Rome's Collesium

In any event, Rome had fewer tourists than normal that day.

The whole affair made me think that had I known in time, I would have planned for a Roman holiday (warning: bad joke in your rear-view mirror). I do not put much stock in the predictions of humans, but the predictions of God are another matter.

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For example, the Rome earthquake prediction will go the way of typical human prophecies. Yet the predictive prophecy found in the Bible is breathtaking in its detailed fulfillment.

Tyre fishermen spreading out their nets

Take the strange case of Tyre. Mentioned in Ezekiel 26, the description is that the fortress at Tyre (off the coast of modern Lebanon) would one day be demolished. It is even said that it will be just bare rock, where fishermen will spread their nets.

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Ezekiel lived in the sixth century B.C. Tyre was indeed demolished a few hundred years later in 332 B.C., when Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army built a causeway to the fortress and destroyed it.

I’ve seen photos of Lebanese fishermen drying their nets exactly as Exeziel said.

Some scholars would say Ezekiel’s prophecy was written after the fact, but the evidence doesn’t fit that scenario. Some people don’t like the idea of a God who can predict the future, so they twist and malign Scripture.

While man’s predictions often fail, God’s never fail. What are we to make of that?

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