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Ipswich Christadelphians

"Prove all things, hold fast what is good" 1Th 5:21

Jesus said that JUST before he returned , the world would be in a very bad state

Luke 21: 25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Surely, today’s world must closely resemble that time, there are so many problems facing the world. The EU nations are struggling with their economies, while the UK is undecided as to whether or not to quit. Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander recently said: "There is today a real risk of Britain sleepwalking towards exit because of a prime minister motivated more by the need for party unity than by the interests of the country."

The possible UK referendum has caused concern among the Obama administration as they need a "strong British voice within the EU". Meanwhile the Obama circus juggles with patching its economic woes while he puts his head in the Lion’s mouth to try and tame the Gun Lobby- an act never tried before!

While in the Middle East, President Assad is still clinging desperately on to his control of Syria, with the world fearful of his finally using chemical weapons and concerned at what sort of rule will be imposed if he falls. There can only be more violence and bloodshed whichever way it falls. Then we have Iran boastfully promising to put, not one but five monkeys into space! Is this really to further their interest in Space research or perhaps to demonstrate their capability to launch ballistic missiles at any nearby country?

Watch Israel

But with all this seemingly never ending trouble, the Bible Reader usually wants to see how Israel is getting on; bearing in mind that God intends Jerusalem to be the centre of worship for the world and has warned that ‘he that toucheth you (Jerusalem ) toucheth the apple of his eye.’ (Zechariah 2:8).

And Israel is doing very well at present. Its economy is buoyant and in a few years it is slated to be not only producing all its own oil and natural gas, but also to be able to sell the surplus to other nations, much to the chagrin no doubt of nations like Russia.

Even the amazing weather the world is experiencing seems to be on their side. The large winter storm which hit Israel bringing rain and also snow, was in actual fact good news, for Israel which has just been through seven years of drought. The deluge caused the Sea of Galilee to rise by more than eight and a half inches — the highest rise for a single day since Israel began taking measurements in the 1920s!

Galilee is Israel’s only natural freshwater lake, and a crucial source of water for the country. It provides more than half of the country’s water and the heavy rainfall came just in time as the lake, which two years ago was dangerously low, is now on track to hit a 20-year high!

Rain, a blessing from God
In the Bible rain is a symbol of God’s blessing or His displeasure. Rain can bring refreshment, ensure growth, promote fruitfulness or it can bring floods and disasters. The Scriptures tell us that God uses it in both ways. In Noah’s time, God caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights in order to rid the world of the unrighteous and ungodly.

At the time of the Exodus, God brought rain and hail upon Egypt, to ruin their crops because they refused to obey God and let His people go. In the Scriptures, God makes it plain that He would use His rain for good or bad. To bless Israel when they obeyed Him or to punish them when they rebelled.

For good- Lev 26 3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Or for bad-Deut 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

17 And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

 

The Treasures of the snow (Job 38:22).

snow in Jerusalem

This year God has noy only blessed Israel with rain but also with snow, which only falls in Jerusalem every 5-10 years. Like rain, snow can also be used by God for blessing or correction.

Ps 147 16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. 17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?

And yet the pure white covering of snow is also likened to the covering over of man’s sins thus granting righteousness.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Whenever we see the ugly landscape made lovely by a covering of snow, we should remember that it is God’s will that our sins may be covered and never seen again. All that is needed is that we hear and believe God’s word in the Gospel; repent and start a new life through baptism into Christ.

Fun in the snow?

And yet, while parents and children played in the snow; the enemies of Israel had found a new weapon. In the village of Yitzhar,( an Israeli settlement in the West Bank south of the city of Nablus ) some 200 Arabs came marching up the snow-covered hill from their nearby village of Aurif. When Security officials appeared to ward off trouble, the Arabs, smiling and laughing, shouted that they came in peace and were just interested in have a “friendly” snowball fight. “We are all friends, we want peace,” they shouted. “We just came to play in the snow.”

But, it turned out that they were holding not snowballs, but rocks – which they began hurling at the guards, attempting to rush them and reach the homes of residents. Fortunately, the guards were able to ward off the mob, with no reported injuries.

And in Jerusalem, while young and old were making snowmen, a snow- missile appeared on the Temple Mount near the al-Aqsa mosque. It bore a label "M75" like the long range M75 missiles fired by Hamas into Israel during November 2012. The M75 has changed the balance of power between Israel and Hamas as for the first time the terrorists in Gaza were able to reach Jerusalem with this weapon. This ‘snow sculpture’ can only have been produced by non-Jews as Jews are not even allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, let alone play in the snow! Eventually the sun will shine, and melt this travesty of winter fun.

The King returns to bless the world

Despite its abuse by Israel’s enemies, snow and rain can be used by God to bless as well as punish. And for those who will listen to God’s word , there can be ultimately only blessing, for God likens His word to the refreshing rain.

Deut 32:2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

Not only that, but Psalm 72 which is all about Jesus; likens his reign in the Kingdom to showers which refresh the earth

1 ¶ A Psalm for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. 2 ¶ He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. .... 6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. 7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. 8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

It would seem that while the rest of the world’s nations are suffering, Israel, although surrounded by enemies, is flourishing under God’s blessings. A spokesperson for the Jewish Home ( an Israeli ultra-nationalist and religious Zionist political party) speaking about its ‘meteoric rise’ stated ‘We are witnessing a "Jewish Spring" that is sweeping Israel, and that's why secular and religious Israelis are identifying with us and voting for us. People who believe the existence of the Jewish state is vital for Am Yisrael (the Children of Israel).

It turns out that most Israelis have a strong Jewish identity, one that for many years may have been dormant – but it is there.’

Showers of blessing

rainbow in rain shower

As it becomes more and more prosperous and God centred ,Israel will become more of a prize which will attract Gog to come down to ‘take a spoil’ (Ezekiel 38:12-13) which will bring the Lord Jesus to save Jerusalem and set up his Kingdom. That time cannot be far away!
The Prophet Ezekiel foretells that the Jews will return to their land and to God. In Ezekiel 34, 26 – 28, God promises peace and prosperity "And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid."

So "showers of blessing", will fall on Israel at Jesus’ return and this will result in a blessing to all nations, as the prophet Isaiah promised…..

Ch 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

May the Lord Jesus return soon to begin his great reign!


 

 

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