Signs of the Times

Most Believers I speak to today firmly believe we are in the Last Days. Many have become almost obsessed with trying to interpret and unravel the Bible’s mysterious End-Time prophecies, and keep a keen eye on politics and world events—especially those that involve Israel or the Middle East. The news is scrupulously analyzed by many watching for specific prophetic signs: a ten-nation confederacy, the Antichrist’s emergence and identity, the mark of the beast, the rebuilding of the Third Temple, the Bear of the North—Russia— and the cataclysmic rise of catastrophes and natural disasters. Although these signs are indeed found in the Scriptures, they are apocalyptic texts—veiled and cryptic. Not even scholars of eschatology can interpret these texts with a great deal of certainty.

While all the above signs are certainly important, there are other clear signs taking place today that are to varying degrees overlooked or ignored. Yet they are some of the clearest signs we have pointing to the end of the age and the soon return of Yeshua. Indeed, God has given us clear signposts, and He desires we be wise as the men of Issachar, who understood the times . . . (1 Chronicles 12:32 NIV).

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The term Last Days actually has a dual application, referring first to the time period following the death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus), and second to the days immediately preceding His return. Looking at Luke 21, one can clearly see this principle: “And while some were talking about the Temple, how it was decorated with beautiful stones and offerings, Yeshua said, ‘As for these things you are looking at, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!’” (Luke 21:5-6). Herod’s Temple was destroyed and Jerusalem sacked in 70 A.D., fulfilling Yeshua’s words. As you continue reading through the terrible warnings of what is to come, much is applicable to the horrific Roman devastation that occurred at that time. However, verse 24b, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,” was not fulfilled until 1967 with the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War. And verses 25-28 are looking forward to a time yet to come, when Yeshua returns: “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. And upon the earth nations will be confused by the roaring of the sea and its waves. People will lose heart from fear and anticipation of what is overtaking the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, stand straight and lift up your heads, because your salvation is near!”

SIGN 1:

A RESTORED ISRAEL AND JEWISH JERUSALEM

A predominant prophetic sign that we are in the “Time of the End” is the re-establishment of Israel, and Jerusalem returning to Jewish sovereignty. These major, and seemingly implausible, events for nearly 2,000 years have to occur before Yeshua’s return. According to the Bible, Yeshua is returning to Israel, and specifically to Jerusalem.

  • Israel Rebirthed. . . in a Day

    After nearly two millennia and a succession of foreign rulers, on May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion declared the restoration of the Jewish State, Israel, saying, “In order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” Isaiah seemed just as incredulous, challenging: “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children” (Isaiah 66:8). We have seen it—in our lifetime!

  • Jerusalem Restored into Jewish Hands

    Yeshua himself declared that “Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). In June, 1967 Israel won a miraculous victory by defeating vastly superior Arab armies surrounding her in what came to be known as the Six-Day War. The Jewish people took back the city of Jerusalem after almost 2,000 years, fulfilling this important prophecy. Some argue that because Israel returned sovereignty of the Temple Mount to the Arabs following this victory, this prophecy is not fully realized. I would argue to the contrary.

  • The Desert Will Bloom and Blossom

    The prophet Isaiah saw a time when “The wilderness and dry land will be glad. The desert will rejoice and blossom like a lily” (Isaiah 35:1). It’s almost impossible to believe, but the fledgling State of Israel has developed such revolutionary agricultural methods, that even the sand produces lush crops! In her short time of existence as a modern State, Israel became one of the largest exporters of roses to Europe.

  • The Hebrew Language Revived

    According to the prophet Zephaniah, God would “restore to the people pure speech, so that all of them may call upon the Name of ADONAI and serve Him shoulder to shoulder” (Zephaniah 3:9). In the late 1800s, Russian immigrant to Israel, Eliezer Ben-Yehudah, revived the ancient Hebrew language, giving the returning exiles of Israel a common language.

Israel and Jerusalem are back in Jewish hands. The people of Israel scattered throughout the world are returning to their biblical Land and to their God.

The time of His return is near!

SIGN 2:

ISRAEL SURROUNDED BY CONFLICT AND THE RISE OF GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM

Anti-Semitism has existed since the time that Abraham was set apart by God’s call to be a blessing to the families of the earth. There has never been a time when the Jewish people have not been victimized by Satan’s savage attacks against them. Even today in America, the Anti-Defamation League reports the highest level of anti-Semitism since World War II ADL Global 100- Index of anti-Semitism http://www.adl.org).

At its core is Satan fomenting hatred among men against the Children of the God of Israel, generation after generation. He cleverly disguises each campaign with a compelling lie wrapped in a plan designed to rid the world of a perceived ill blamed on the Jews. From the very first attempt to destroy the Jews—Pharaoh’s murder of all the male Hebrew babies—to Herod’s order to kill all male babies under two years old 2,000 years ago, the serpent’s scheme was to defeat God’s plan to bring forth the Messiah of Israel. He failed—miserably!

Yet, the campaign of hatred marches on because the great redemption story is not over. Because the Jewish people and Israel play a major role in Last Days prophecy, Satan is still hard at work opposing God’s plan. The impetus he is using to rally hatred against the Jewish people today is a powerful anti-Israel (and pro-Palestinian) deception, wrapped in false humanitarian claims and causes. Understand: Deception is a hallmark of the Last Days (Matthew 24:11). For the minuscule size of the country, the lack of natural resources, or strategic seaport, one has to question why Israel is always at the center of world controversy—her existence continually hanging in the balance. We see Israel at the epicenter of a boiling cauldron of increasingly violent factions rising up within the vast Arab lands surrounding her. The world has been told, and has almost mindlessly accepted, claims that all unrest in the Middle East is Israel’s fault—that if the Jews would give the Land “back to the Palestinians,” there would be peace in the world, and terrorism would end. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The stage is set to draw all nations into a final cataclysmic showdown in the Middle East; the nations may think it is against Israel, but they will find out it is against her God!

“Moreover, in that day I will make Jerusalem a massive stone for all the people. All who try to lift it will be cut to pieces. Nevertheless, all the nations of the earth will be gathered together against her” (Zechariah 12:3).

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SIGN 3:

THE REGATHERING OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE PHYSICALLY BACK TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL FROM THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH

Israel should not exist. She should have disappeared hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago with the rest of the “ites” of the Bible: the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Canaanites, etc. These and all the other great nations mentioned in Scripture, including the mighty Philistines, have vanished, yet Israel remains—against all odds. For two millennia the Land has been overrun by foreign aggressors, and her people scattered to the far reaches of the earth, and threatened with expulsions, persecution, and annihilation.

Without a homeland until 1948, Israel should have assimilated and ceased to be a recognizable people group. That they did not disappear completely into the cultures in which they settled throughout the world stands as evidence for God’s existence and faithfulness. The Scattered Tribes of Israel are a fascinating mystery to the world, but they are not really lost. The Lord knows where they are. He promised to regather them in the Last Days, and He is doing that in our time!

“’Therefore, the days are quickly coming,’ declares ADONAI, ‘when it will no longer be said. “As ADONAI lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” Rather, “As ADONAI lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had banished them.” So I will bring them back into their land that I gave to their fathers’” (Jeremiah 16:14-15).

It will also come about in that day that my Lord will again redeem— a second time with His hand— the remnant of His people who remain from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. He will lift up a banner for the nations, and assemble the dispersed of Israel, and gather the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth(Isaiah 11:11-12).

These are the Children of Abraham scattered to Africa, Asia, India, Europe . . . the remote corners of the earth. God is gathering them today, back to Israel—miraculously restored to receive her returning Children: Ethiopian, Chinese, Sephardim, Asian, Russian, and on and on!

Through Jewish Voice you are witnessing this miracle and touching the lives of many of the Remnant of Israel that God is regathering—the Beta Abraham, Beta Israel, and Gefat of Ethiopia; the Yibir Jews of Somaliland; the Lemba Tribe of Zimbabwe; and the Bnei Menashe—the Sons of Manasseh, discovered in far northeastern India!

This aliyah, or return of the Jews to their biblical homeland, is yet another important sign that the Messiah’s return is approaching.

SIGN 4:

THE GOSPEL IS PROCLAIMED TO THE NATIONS

“This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

The word used in this passage of Scripture is the Greek term ethnos, which actually means “a race,” “a tribe,” or “a people group.” Modern technology makes it possible for the Gospel to be preached to every ethnos—people in the most remote areas of the planet. This is yet another important sign that the Last Days are upon us.

Today the Gospel is being preached to ethnos throughout the world, yet only a handful of ministries are reaching out to the Jews. This is tragic, not only because the Jewish people need to hear the Good News that Messiah has come, but because God has put a high priority on reaching the Children of Israel with the Gospel. Consider Paul’s commitment to this mandate: “After passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went to the Jewish people; and for three Shabbatot, he debated the Scriptures with them” (Acts 17:1-2).

Paul not only wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16 NIV), he lived it out on his journeys around the Mediterranean sharing the Gospel. Unfortunately, over the centuries, this mandate to take the Gospel to the Jew first has been lost.

The Gospel is to be preached to the Jew first, and then to the Gentiles. That’s what Paul did, and that’s what we do at Jewish Voice. I believe that every time a Jewish person turns to faith in Yeshua, we move that much closer to Messiah’s return. In fact, Scripture seems to indicate that Jewish people embracing Jesus as Messiah is actually key to His return! “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you [the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem] say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:39 NIV).

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SIGN 5:

THE BLINDNESS COMING OFF THE EYES OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

“For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes—that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25).

Another astonishing indicator is the phenomena of Jewish people coming to faith in Yeshua all over the world—in numbers not seen since the book of Acts. Through the ministry of Jewish Voice alone, we have seen some 55,000 Jewish people respond to the Gospel since 1999! For more than nineteen centuries, the number of Jews openly professing faith in Yeshua was extremely small, and most were assimilated into the Church. All that changed after 1967. The miraculous return of Jerusalem to the Jewish people sparked a great revival. Often called “The Jesus Movement,” this revival was unique from all previous revivals, as Jews started coming to faith—in significant numbers. The Jesus Movement gave birth to the modern Messianic Movement. Before 1967 there was not a single Messianic Jewish congregation in the world. Today more than 350 Messianic Jewish congregations—nearly 100 in Israel alone—proclaim Messiah with a visibly Jewish witness. And from a trickle over the past 2,000 years, today there are tens of thousands of Jews in the United States who express some level of faith in Yeshua!

In the same way the miraculously restored State of Israel is a visible declaration of divine fulfillment of physical restoration, the Messianic Jewish community is a visible declaration of divine spiritual restoration to all the world. God always keeps His covenants. Satan would like to eradicate the Jewish people, thereby proving God and the Bible untrustworthy, but it will not happen!

God is opening long-blinded eyes and softening thousands of Jewish hearts just as the Scriptures promised. This is an obvious fulfillment of biblical prophecy—and a clear indication that the Last Days are upon us.

Through Jeremiah, God promised Israel a new covenant: “’No longer will each teach his neighbor or each his brother, saying: “Know ADONAI,” for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.’ It is a declaration of ADONAI. ‘For I will forgive their iniquity, their sin I will remember no more’” (Jeremiah 31:33). At the Last Supper, a Jewish Passover Seder, Yeshua lifted the cup of Redemption and, sharing it, announced it was the cup of the New Covenant in His blood. There is a misconception that all the Jews rejected Jesus. In reality, the entire initial community of faith was Jewish. The Jews took the Gospel to the Gentiles, and eventually the Church became almost entirely Gentile and unrecognizable to the Jewish people. However, we are living in a time of Jewish revival!

IN CONCLUSION

All around us, there are signs that the world is being made ready for Messiah’s return. The most important of these, as we have seen, is the restoration of the people of Israel to a right relationship with God. Do you want to know what’s next? God has promised a glorious salvation for the remnant of Israel!

Then I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn

- Zechariah 12:10

“In that day a spring will be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and impurity” (Zechariah 13:1).

I’m convinced that we are not very far away from this time.

Are you eager to see Yeshua’s return? Ask God to give you His heart of love and compassion for His people. Ask Him to give you a burden for their redemption, and ask how He would have you participate in His glorious Last Days’ harvest among His chosen people. You will pray with more passion, develop an urgency to share your faith, and perhaps find doors open to greater involvement in Jewish ministry!

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