The bulk of the history of the world after the fall of mankind revolves around who, in fact, will rule over creation in the end.


There is a common thread through much of Christendom that goes something like this: Israel committed the one sin which “broke the camel’s back” by not recognizing her Messiah, so God punished her by forgetting the many promises which he made to her regarding her future, and instead “replaced” her with a new assembly commonly called “the church.” Of course, this is not true, but that hasn’t stopped the propagation of the malignant supersessionist doctrine through the centuries. Even among the most “enlightened” evangelical denominations—or non-denominations (pick whichever applies best in your situation)—the vast majority of its pastors and teachers either actively teach replacement theology, or passively allow it to be believed.

Even Israel has thought at various times through history that God must have forgotten her. Isaiah, writing in ancient times says, “But Zion said, ‘Yahweh has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.'” Yet Yahweh himself refutes this in the very next verse, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (1)

Interestingly, Yahweh instructs the Gentile nations throughout the earth to declare, “…Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.’ And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.” (2)  This doesn’t refer to the limited return of Judah from Babylon. We’re talking about an as-yet future fulfillment. Unfortunately, the grafted-in-but-wild-olive-branch church (3) does not always understand its role in proclaiming this good news to its natural-olive-branch big sister. The “rulers…the authorities…the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (4) are more than happy to keep this situation as the status-quo. As a result, the grafted-in-church misses out on much of its purpose.

As long as the church body does not bother the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places with the things that are important to them, the rulers of this age are content to allow the church to exist without much interference. It is only when the church takes God at his word–and his purposes for her seriously–do the powers begin to quake with fear. We have seen how believers are persecuted when they threaten the powers’ authority over men. This is obvious in places like North Korea, China and areas where Islam has the most control.

But what does this have to do with “forgotten” Israel? Much.

Those who align themselves with the promises that God made to Israel will be punished in this world. The spirit of this age will make sure this happens. The time is coming when—in the name of “religion”—forces will arise and will try to, or will “kill us and claim that they are doing God a service.” (5)

What exactly is it that would cause the “rulers of this age” to take such violent measures? It’s actually very simple. There is a prophetic future history in which God declares that he is going to establish his theocracy over creation, ruling from Zion. Much of Christendom is sleep walking through time while the whole drama of history is being played out, and it is imperative that we understand that the bulk of the history of the world after the fall of mankind revolves around who, in fact, will rule over creation in the end.

Art Katz wrote, “When we come to talk about Israel, we will see that Israel is not just a subject or an issue in itself, but what makes Israel profoundly important is that it is the key to the establishment of the theocratic rule of God. Ruling and reigning is the principal struggle over creation and Israel is set right in the midst of it. Israel as a nation presently has no consciousness of these things, but the church must be conscious of it or it will not understand why God has got to be so ruthless in His dealings with that nation. He needs to prepare it {Israel} for its own place in the rule of God, because the theocratic rule {in the millennium} must take place with that nation and in its own land: For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3b). This is not poetry, but literal, and the powers of darkness know it better than the church. We need to be clear as to what God’s intention is, because it is over that that the principal issue of Israel is going to rage. The powers of darkness want to exterminate that nation whose survival and restoration to their God is the key to the bringing in of the theocratic rule of God. (6)

We do a great disservice to the disciples when they asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (7) I cannot overstate the number of times I’ve heard something like this, “Oh, the disciples were so hard headed that, even after 40 days of Jesus’ explaining things to them, they still couldn’t get things right!”

It was not a stupid question. It was, in fact, THE question. Of course, the disciples only understood it in a nationalistic sense, because they still did not recognize the greater significance of the coming Kingdom. Jesus did not chastise them; instead he told them that the timing for such things was up to the Father. And the new assembly of believers in Israel’s Messiah—most of whom would be Gentiles—would be God’s instrument in bringing Israel into that restored place, ultimately ushering in the government of the Kingdom of God on earth in the coming millennium, centered in Jerusalem. Why else, as clearly described in Zechariah 14, would the surviving non-Jewish non-Israelite Gentile nations be required to appear yearly in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with their Jewish brethren? (8) Because Yahweh the King will be sitting on the throne. We call him Jesus.

The bulk of Christendom states that national Israel has no future prophetic role to play in the affairs of men. It could not be more wrong. Some Christians agree that Israel has a significant future prophetic role, but want to limit the church’s involvement with the future hardship that Israel will endure. Although God’s church is not destined to experience his wrath, it will be persecuted by the rulers and authorities, not just for preaching about the coming kingdom of heaven and the gospel of the cross of Messiah Jesus, but also for remembering the many promises which God made to her seemingly forgotten big sister, Israel. One of those was that a descendant of king David would sit on his throne in Jerusalem—a real, physical throne.

Instead of the mutual animosity that the historical church has had with the cultivated-olive-tree, an awakened church must one day reach out in love to a stumbling and partially hardened Israel, causing her to be jealous for the loving relationship that the grafted-in-wild-olive-branch has with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Until then the church will not fulfill one of its primary roles which God has assigned, and the rulers of this age will do whatever they can to prevent this inevitable awakening. The question is, what will have to transpire so that we remember this forgotten task, and how painful will that reminder be?


  1. Isaiah 49:14-16
  2. Isaiah 62:11-12
  3. Romans 11:11-31
  4. Ephesians 6:12
  5. John 16:2
  6. Katz, Art. Apostolic Realities: The Principalities and Powers
  7. Acts 1:6
  8. Zechariah 14:16-19

Prophecy in Pictures

Today’s students of eschatology nearly unanimously agree that we are living in the “last days,” to use the Biblical term. We can all agree that the world seems to be careening down a path of no return. What is not fully agreed upon in the eschatology community are the specific meanings and possible connections of current world events related to as-yet-unfulfilled Biblical prophecies.

Living most of the time in Israel, we fall somewhere in the middle between those who see prophecy being fulfilled in nearly every world event and those who don’t see any real connection of world events compared with Biblical prophetic language.

But there are some things that have been happening recently which portray alliances and geopolitical wranglings in ways that are eerily similar to those written about in the Bible. From our view in the Front Row Seat, we’ve decided to publish those connections which we find of interest—those which might not be “prophetic” at this moment, but which tend to give us real life examples of how events might be unfolding. Here are a couple of pictures for this week:

Prophecy in Pictures – 101: Ezekiel 38-39


These three gentlemen have met together more than once in the recent past, and none of them ever seem to be up to any good. This picture brings to mind the passage from Ezekiel 38 and 39, which reads in part, “And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out…Persia…with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you.”

Now you might be asking why I didn’t include “Gog, of the land of Magog” from “the uttermost parts of the north” in my reference, since many believe those terms represents Russia in some way. It is possible that these names mean modern day “Russia” but that has not yet been proven to my satisfaction. However, we do know that Russia has close relationships with two other actors mentioned in this same passage: Sudan (biblical Cush) and Libya (biblical Put). So, Russia could definitely be involved in this alliance.

Easily proven are two of the remaining “big names” in the photo: Turkey and Iran. The ancient name Beth-togarmah represents an area today we know as Turkey and adjacent areas around the Black Sea. Tubal and Meshech are well attested in Greek and Assyrian records as also located in the area of modern day Turkey.

“Persia” in this list is much easier, since we all know that Iran was known as “Persia” until 1935.

So, is this a fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39? I don’t think so, but if it happens in our lifetime, we can take a look at this picture and say, “Remember when…?”

Prophecy in Pictures – 102: 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4


This photo was taken about a week ago. Although Jared Kushner is in the photo, he’s not what I want to draw your attention (although he has been involved in this Middle East Peace process since Trump became president.)

Instead, take a look at the logo of the conference: Peace and Security in the Middle East.

When I first saw this, my mind went immediately to the term “peace and safety,” which I used to see in many English translations of the Bible. I thought, “Wow, that’s really close to that verse in Thessalonians!” Then, I opened up my ESV (our preferred translation these days), and it read:

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,‘ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4

Just as Neville Chamberlain prematurely exclaimed, “peace for our time,” after meeting with Hitler in 1938, I can imagine delegations from all over the world exclaiming “peace and security!” some day in the not-so-distant-future when a “peace agreement” is negotiated between Israel and other nations in the Middle East.

I don’t believe this conference in Warsaw is what Paul is referring to, but if you see this declaration happen in the near future, “…you know that he is near, at the very gates.” – Matthew 24:33

Stay tuned for more from the Front Row Seat!

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem


Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, is famously quoted as saying, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” We see the truth of this statement playing out in real life, time and time again here in Israel.

For instance, a couple of days ago, Gaza fired 460 rockets into southern Israel over a 24-hour period—I had to silence my phone for nearly a full day because of the sheer number of Red Alert notifications. The Iron Dome system was activated to intercept approximately 100 of those incoming missiles. You might be asking why the Iron Dome system was only used on 25% of the rockets when 460 were launched. The reason is that the Iron Dome system is designed to shoot down only those missiles which are calculated to hit populated areas, meaning those that will hit “open ground” are allowed to get through the “dome.”

As good as the Iron Dome system is (the best in the world), it does not have a 100% success rate, so a number of Gazan rockets were able to penetrate the shield and landed on Israeli homes and apartment buildings. Amazingly, only one person was killed by the incoming missiles; ironically, this victim was a West Bank Palestinian man who was working in Ashkelon at the time.

Although hundreds-of-thousands of Israelis were huddled in their bomb shelters for a good bit of that 24-hour period (including friends of ours who live in that area), the flare-ups and wars with Gaza do not present an existential threat to Israel. This is not to minimize the tremendous stress and shock that one experiences when sirens sound, alerting you that rockets are being shot into your neighborhood—we can personally attest to that stress. Gaza just doesn’t have the power or resources to destroy Israel. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other true threats.

Whenever you see a major flare-up like the one we just saw in Gaza, you can be certain that a bigger problem is building from some other direction. Sun Tzu, writing in The Art of War says, “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

So if deception is a basic truth of warfare, then you can be certain that what we see in the physical world is just a mirror of the things happening in the spiritual world, and that the noise that we hear happening in one place is really just a distraction to make us unaware of the bigger problem. The same thing is happening in Gaza. They aren’t able to destroy the Jewish state, but they still are a constant thorn in Israel’s side. This type of back-and-forth low-level warfare and national stress—and most certainly some rather substantial wars, as well, with Iran/Hezbollah/etc—will eventually set the stage for an agreement that appears to give this Land some long-deserved peace.

But that “peace” will be a deception. Some individual or entity will appear to give Israel a guarantee of peace and safety for a period, but is instead setting it up for destruction. The Hamas charter states that Gaza’s basic goal is to destroy the State of Israel. Of course, Israel would rather have peace, but how does one make permanent peace with an entity bent on its annihilation? Golda Meir makes a great point in her quote, and there is much truth in her statement. However, the agreement that will eventually be signed will enforce a type of peace and stability—without any real changes in the hearts of those who surround them—such as the Gazans.

Just as Sun Tzu warned, however, this reinforced covenant that Israel willingly makes will actually be another deception. So although there are wars and rumors of wars happening all the time here in the Land, keep your eyes focused on what is happening in other realms, both spiritual and physical. The enemy of our souls, Satan, is the father of lies. It is his natural language, and so we must all stay alert to his schemes, both in our personal lives as well as the world around us. We cannot allow the latest political scandal or our favorite sports team’s win/loss record to draw our attention away from more important eternal things. Because it won’t matter who won the last game—or who is elected president—when these things happen.



A few nights ago we had a special set of emergency exercises in the moshav (neighborhood) where we live. For about 4 hours or so, first responders from the Golan went through four or five possible scenarios, two of which were a severe earthquake and a terrorist intrusion. SMS messages to residents’ phones were included in the exercise to reflect the kind of texts that would be sent in case of the real event. One message I received on my phone read in part, “…report of infiltration of terrorists…must remain in your homes with doors locked…” while an explosion—for greater realism—rocked the neighborhood. How did we prepare for the exercise? Meg went to Katzrin for an hour of exercise of the physical (and painful, sweaty) sort, and I decided to watch a movie on Netflix. All in all, a typical evening.

But all the action reminded me of the bigger picture and some questions. Why are we even having these exercises? The earthquake part I can understand since we had about a dozen small earthquakes in a two-week period earlier in the summer. But the terrorists? How would they even get to where we are? The fact that I’m even asking the question shows that there’s a lot more going on around us than we’re told in the news.

Conversations that we’ve had over the past week or so indicate that many believe a war is coming—and coming sooner rather than later. This includes conversations with both Israeli Jews and Golani Druze. What fascinates me about this is that each group is coming from very different political situations and news sources, yet they are all arriving at the same conclusions. Of course, the “next” war is always being discussed here, but people really seem concerned. And these are all people who have lived through numerous wars.

All of this talk about war contradicts what I currently see and hear around us. For instance, today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar. As of this writing, the country has literally been shut down for 24 hours already, with another few hours to go. Flights in and out of Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) stopped yesterday at about 1:30pm and won’t restart until about 9:30pm tonight. All public transportation stopped more than 24 hours ago. The roads are empty. The gates to our moshav (which sit on, and therefore closed, a main road) closed yesterday at 6:00pm and won’t reopen until 7:00pm this evening. All television channels are off the air. I cannot personally imagine such a scenario anywhere in the States outside of a catastrophe.

Other than the birds and our windchime, I can hear NO sounds outside. It’s exactly what Yom Kippur is supposed to feel like: a super-sized Shabbat, allowing the Jewish population an entire day to contemplate repentance and atonement. It was also exactly this kind of day 45 years ago when Israel was surprised by a multi-pronged attack by Syria and Egypt. Iraq soon joined in, and Jordan supported Syria in various ways. People here in our moshav told me about how they knew that a new war had just started when Syrian fighter jets flew over our moshav on that Day of Atonement in 1973.

It would be very surprising if a sudden war like that broke out today. There have been no real indications of anything happening soon, and that’s counting the nearly weekly Israeli bombings in Syria of weapons caches belonging to Iran and Hezbollah. They euphemistically call this kind of action, “mowing the grass,” which is a bit funny considering the fact that there are virtually no yards with real grass in Israel. Even with the unfortunate and somewhat ironic downing of a Russian plane by Russian anti-aircraft missiles—shot wildly by the Syrian army a couple of nights ago—everything is calm, at least on the surface.

Maybe that’s why we had the emergency exercises earlier this week. Although no one is expecting anything, they want everyone to be ready in case something does happen. How do you prepare for an earthquake that you can’t predict? You practice what to do in case it happens, so that your responses come automatically. It’s like a tornado or fire drill when we were in school. And here, they’re simply readiness exercises performed during times of quiet, and the reminders to make sure your bomb shelter is ready to go. You probably already know how we fared on that matter, but if you don’t know, you can find out here.

I wonder, are there areas in our lives that we should be “exercising,” things we need to be “practicing?” If the Lord came back suddenly, would we be ready? Are we sleepwalking through our lives—acting as if we are ready, but in reality, ill-prepared for things to come? What regrets would we have if the Lord took us home today? Where would that “home” be?

“But understand this: If the owner of the house had known in which watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. For this reason, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Matthew 24:43-44