“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen” (Isaiah 43:18-20).
I know the past year has been very difficult for many people. And because we live in a broken world there will be trouble in this new year as well. But I also believe it is going to be a year when God works in your life in a way that you have never seen before. I believe a commanded blessing will come your way because of your compassion for “the least of these” among God’s Chosen People.
As I was praying this morning, God spoke to me with these words from Deuteronomy 28:8: “The Lord shall command a blessing upon you….” The passage goes on to describe the amazing blessing that God has for you. This blessing rains down on every part of your life — your health, your family, your finances, and so much more. God wants to bless everything you touch!
This is what He did for my people, the Children of Israel, when they cried out to Him from their bondage in Egypt. Not only did God deliver them from slavery, but He protected them from death. On the night the Death Angel passed through the land, the Israelites put blood on the doorposts of their homes, and their firstborn children were spared. But as wonderful and miraculous as that deliverance was, there was even more.
God gave the Israelites favor with their Egyptian neighbors, and they left the land of their former captivity loaded down with gold and gems and possessions, blessed beyond their wildest dreams. That’s what the commanded blessing does.
This is the blessing described in Psalm 133. David talked about the anointing oil that was poured on the head of Aaron when he was consecrated as the high priest of Israel. It flowed down from his head, over his beard, across his entire body, and all the way down to his feet. It covered him completely! That’s what the commanded blessing does.
But notice with me what comes first. That beautiful Psalm starts with these words: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The Hebrew word for unity literally means agreement. The commanded blessing comes when we come into agreement with what God wants to do in and through our lives.
Today I am asking you to come into agreement with God concerning His commanded blessing for yourself, your children and grandchildren, your finances, your health, and your dreams for 2021. As part of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, you are in a unique position to be blessed. The Word declares, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee”(Psalm 122:6). Many Believers have written to me because they are worried. I have good news for you! The Lord is your refuge. It doesn’t matter how great the storms, God will protect His people.
Does the coronavirus have a prophetic significance? To answer your question, YES. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Once more I shake not only the earth but also the heavens…so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27). God is going to shake everything in sight so that He alone is being revealed, the only unshakeable power. Not only for Believers but also unbelievers, He has a great shock and surprise as we realize that our relationship with Jesus has to endure the storm; otherwise, we get exposed for building on a sandcastle.
Now here is the good news. Are you ready for some good news? A great awakening is coming—a divine interruption of the way life has been is coming. The Lord has said to me, Jesus is coming for a glorious and triumphant church, not a limping, broken, panic-stricken church that is hoarding toilet paper.
As I was preparing this message in my prayer room, I picked up an old Bible. I have several dozen Bibles, and a note fell out of this old Bible and as I read it, I started trembling and crying. Here is why. That note was written in 1986 on a Tuesday. I was having breakfast with a minister by the name of David Wilkerson at the Embassy Suites near the Dallas Fort-Worth Airport. That day, he showed me a copy of his letter which was addressed to Rev. Richard Dortch who was running PTL, then under Jim Bakker. It said, “Rev. Dortch, within 12 months from the date of this letter, the judgment of God will fall on PTL. You are fornicating with brick and stone. Flee now and repent. Bats will fly through the empty building.” A month later, I was with Dortch, and he mocked David’s warning saying, “if I fornicate it will not be with brick and stone. These attacks aren’t against me or Jim Bakker, they are against God.”
Of course, you know what happened. It was exactly 12 months to the day that The Charlotte Observer broke the PTL scandal. But during that meeting, David Wilkerson said something else to me that I wrote down. He said, “I see a plague coming on the world and the bars, church, and government shut down. The plague will hit New York City and shake it like it has never been shaken. The plague is going to force prayerless believers into radical prayer, into their Bibles, and repentance will be the cry from true men of God in the pulpit. And out of it will come a third Great Awakening that will sweep America and the world.”
When New York City was the global epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, we saw the first part of that prophecy fulfilled. Things are being shaken that many people relied on. And with all of my heart, I believe the rest of that prophecy will be fulfilled as well. I believe that God is going to send a third Great Awakening that is going to shake America and the world out of this coronavirus.
This new Great Awakening will only come when two things happen. First, the idols have to be removed from their place in the hearts and minds of God’s people. “Son of man,” God said in Ezekiel 14:3, “these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?”
And second, there must be a widespread, sincere, and heartfelt repentance. Revelation 9:20: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of the gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.”
Land for peace is a lie. If Israel follows this path, it will only lead to death and destruction. Much of the world is pushing hard to take away the Bible lands from Israel. They claim that this is the only path to peace. Now some of the leading candidates for president are taking up that cause and using it to rally support for their campaigns. But that ignores both God’s prophetic plan and the reality of history.
In 2005, Israel was pressured into giving up Gaza for peace. It didn’t work. Tens of thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired into Israel since that withdrawal from Gaza. Terrorists have dug dozens of tunnels under the border for use in raids against civilian targets. Israeli soldiers stationed near the border have been kidnapped and either murdered or held for ransom. Twice Israel has been forced into full scale conflicts to try to lessen the incidence of terror attacks.
Over one million Russian Jews have come to Israel. Most of them were very poor, and as a result they moved to the south of Israel, near the border with Gaza, where housing was cheaper. The constant attacks and threats are a huge burden to them. I have visited in their tiny homes and heard them tell me the stories of the PTSD they suffer because of the danger.
I’ve seen the school playgrounds with bomb shelters built in so the kids can reach safety in time in case of an attack. I’ve prayed with Rabbi Cohen whose daughter’s legs were blown off when her bus was bombed. Our Jerusalem Prayer Team members furnished her an advance motorized wheelchair to make her life better. She is living proof that land for peace is a lie.
Any plan that requires Israel to give up the Bible lands of Judea and Samaria to those who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and the Jewish people is foolish. Even worse, it is a direct attack on God’s prophetic promises to the Jewish people. We must NOT let America be part of this plot to curse Israel.
Someone told me recently, “If you want to understand the mindset of the Jewish people, you need to visit two places: Masada and Yad Vashem.” These two monuments to past horrors endured by God’s Chosen People, one ancient and one modern, stand as stark reminders. There has been hatred of the Jewish people in our world for thousands of years. There has been hatred of the Jewish people in our world in recent history. There is still hatred of the Jewish people in our world today, and that hatred is growing.
Masada, the ancient palace and fortress built by Herod the Great, was the final holdout of the Jewish rebellion against Rome that began in 66 AD. Though the city of Jerusalem had been captured and largely destroyed by the Roman forces under the command of Titus in 70 AD, a small band took refuge at Masada, using the stores left there by Herod, and taking advantage of the intricate system for collecting rainwater built for the palace. They were determined not to surrender, no matter what.
The supplies gathered at Masada enabled them to hold out until 73 AD when the Romans finally completed building a massive ramp to wheel siege weapons to the top. But when the soldiers breached the wall, all but two women and five children were dead, choosing suicide over slavery to the Romans. Famed Israeli general Moshe Dyan began the practice of taking elite members of Israel’s armed forces to Masada. They would climb the winding path up the mountain, then in a ceremony at the top would be sworn in for their term of service. The ancient stones echo with their promise, “Masada will never fall again.”
Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, dedicated to ensuring that the world does not forget the six million Jewish people who perished in the Holocaust. The Hebrew name is taken from God’s beautiful promise in Isaiah 56:5: “Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”
A visit to Yad Vashem is a solemn experience for anyone, but for Believers it carries a powerful weight…the horrors that are remembered and exposed at Yad Vashem largely took place at the hands of those who claimed to Christians and claimed to be acting in the name of Jesus. This widespread slaughter, following centuries of persecution, it is little wonder that many Jewish people think that Christians hate them.
The two places, Masada and Yad Vashem, explain clearly the commitment of the Jewish people to defending themselves. They know full well that they are hated. Once a year the world observes International Holocaust Day on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But every day Jewish people remember the horrors of the past. More than 150,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel, and tens of thousands of others around the world are living testimony to the level of hatred directed at them simply because they are Jewish. That is a reason the enemies of Israel expend so much time and energy on denying or minimizing the Holocaust…they know it reveals the evil hatred of the Jewish people too clearly to be concealed or explained away.
In November, students at Oberlin College in Ohio erected a memorial to a group of men who had recently died. Such memorials, both large and small, are not uncommon as friends and family do things to remember their loved ones. This memorial was very different from that. Erected by the Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine, this display was created “in commemoration of the 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli rocket fire this last week.”
The group that put up the memorial described those killed as “unarmed civilians,” but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified 25 of them as members of various terrorist military organizations. The IDF even posted pictures of nine of the “civilians” from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in their military uniforms, with one of the “unarmed” men holding a military rifle.
The Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine posted their large sign along with 34 black flags in the college’s Wilder Bowl, a popular open area where students often meet. The group has long been a vocal supporter of the BDS—boycott, divestment, and sanctions—movement and is openly against the existence of a free and safe Jewish state.
They are not alone. It would be easy to dismiss this as the work of a radical fringe group. But while they are indeed radical in their hatred of Israel, and their views should place them outside the mainstream of thought, Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine is far from alone. College and university campuses across America are hotbeds of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and they openly call for the destruction of Israel.
This marked turn away from Israel is not just taking place in the secular world. Recent surveys show a dramatic shift among young evangelicals. While their parents are strongly pro-Israel, the next generation is not. Support for Israel among young evangelicals is at its lowest point since the Jewish state was reborn in 1948. Many Christian colleges and organizations have joined the BDS movement, withdrawing their investments from Israeli companies and calling on others to do the same.
This shift among young people is a terrifying trend. These are the leaders of the future. And this shift highlights the vital importance of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. We are working to counter the lies behind the BDS movement with the truth. We are working to identify and oppose the enemies of Israel. We are preparing to launch the Friends of Zion Institute to create a place for truth in the online world and equip friends of Israel to effectively support and defend the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
The support of the United States for Israel is so crucial because so much of the world is openly anti-Israel. Just before the end of 2019, the International Criminal Court refused to dismiss the ridiculous false claims against Israel filed by the Palestinian Authority. The ICC only has jurisdiction in disputes between nations, and the PA is not and never has been a nation. Yet the judge allowed the case against Israel’s “occupation” and “war crimes” to continue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The claim by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court that Jews do not have a right to live in the Jewish homeland is pure antisemitism. So is the claim that Jews have no right to defend themselves against those who seek their annihilation. As we celebrate Hanukkah, the ICC issues decrees that are just as antisemitic as those of the ancient Seleucid Empire against the Maccabees.”
The International Criminal Court has willingly allowed itself to become a political weapon in the ongoing war against Israel. Any court that is open to criminalizing self-defense and condemning Jewish people living in the land of Israel is a deadly threat.
Here’s another example. In November of 2019, the United Nations passed a series of resolutions condemning Israel. There were six resolutions issued concerning various countries and human rights issues. There were twenty others issued concerning Israel. Most of these passed overwhelmingly. Even countries like Canada, which once routinely voted with Israel, voted for these condemnations. Here are some excerpts from the resolution “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan,” which passed by a vote of 156 to 6 with 15 countries abstaining.
“The General Assembly, Guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the need to respect the obligations arising from the Charter and other instruments and rules of international law, Reaffirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 73/97 and 73/98 of 7 December 2018, as well as those resolutions adopted at its tenth emergency special session,
Bearing in mind the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities on the ongoing regional and international efforts to resume and advance the peace process, on the prospects for the achievement of peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, and on the viability and credibility of that solution,
Condemning settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as violations of international humanitarian law, relevant United Nations resolutions, the agreements reached between the parties and obligations under the Quartet road map and as actions in defiance of the calls by the international community to cease all settlement activities.”
It goes on and on for five full pages…and this is just one of the 20 resolutions condemning Israel. Several of these resolutions talk about the Temple Mount, but without exception, they refer to it only by its Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” The Jewish connection to the holy site, dating back some 3,000 years, is ignored. Only Islamic claims are considered.