When we obey God, things the world thinks are impossible become possible. Nearly 40 years ago, God directed me to go to Israel…without telling me why. The only thing that I knew for sure is that I was supposed to meet with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. In the natural, that was ridiculous. I didn’t know anyone on his staff, and there was no reason to expect the leader of the Jewish state to meet with a completely unknown minister of the Gospel.
But the Spirit of God had spoken to me through the wonderful promise of Isaiah 43:19 about the new thing He was going to do in my life. I was at a very low point then, suffering from a serious medical condition that made it very difficult for me to speak and minister to others. I even considered leaving the ministry and finding something else to do. But God was about to replace my desert with springs of water that flowed freely.
In obedience, I made the trip. Through a series of contacts that could only have been the result of divine intervention, I eventually did meet with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in his office. After a few moments of small talk, he asked why I had come to see him. Of course, since God hadn’t told me, I couldn’t tell him! So, I changed the subject as best I could.
After that happened a couple of times, he pressed the point. Reluctantly I told him God sent me but hadn’t told me why. I was so embarrassed, but I didn’t know what else to say! The Prime Minister laughed and said to his secretary, “Shake hands with him—you’ve finally met an honest man!” After we talked a little while longer, Mr. Begin told me that when I found out the reason I was supposed to meet with him, I should come back and see him again. I promised him that I would and left his office.
The next day was the anniversary of the death of Yonathan Netanyahu in the daring raid that freed more than 100 Israeli hostages from the airport in Entebbe, Uganda. As I read the story in the newspaper, the Spirit of God led me to go to the family home and express my condolences. It was on that visit that I met Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time, beginning a friendship that has lasted for decades.
When I returned to meet with the prime minister the second time, I told him that God had revealed His purpose for my trip: to build a bridge between Christians and Jews. With a laugh, he asked, “Like the Brooklyn Bridge?” “A bridge of love and understanding,” I replied. “Then let’s build it together,” he said. And for the rest of his life, I had the privilege of working with Mr. Begin and being his closest Christian friend. The great worldwide prayer movement of the Jerusalem Prayer Team was born that day in the Holy City in the office of the leader of the Jewish state.
I had no idea what God had in mind when we started out. I certainly was the last person anyone who knew me would have expected to be meeting world leaders and speaking to thousands on behalf of Israel. I was terrified to speak in public because I stuttered so badly. My life was gripped by fears, and I had horrible ulcers. I didn’t have any hope, but when God has a plan for us, He equips us to do the work to which He calls us.
When He makes a new way, no one can oppose His plan. No physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental opposition can overcome His mighty power. “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8).
Don’t let negative friends, the media, or critics rob you of faith in God. When a widow went out to gather wood to cook her last meal for her son before they died, she ran into Elijah who said, “Fix me a meal.” She responded in obedience. The next day, and the next week, and the next month, again and again, the oil and meal miraculously continued to flow because of her obedience.
There is a commanded blessing for obedience and generosity. It is time for you to be filled with faith and to have someone filled with faith to come into agreement with you that God will bless and favor your life in every way. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will roar…and the whole world will shake and be amazed by what happens next!
When I began this ministry with my beloved bride, Carolyn, our first daughter was only six months old. We shared our vision for the first time in a tiny church in Indiana during a snowstorm. When we walked outside, our car had caught fire and burned. All we had was $725, and we had given it all to start the ministry.
A man named Gene Darnell approached us and took us home with him. The next morning, he handed me the keys to a new car. He didn’t have the money to buy it outright; he financed it and made the payments on it. He said, “The Lord told me that you are His chosen instrument for the Nation of Israel. Shiloh, Shiloh, Shiloh.” Gene Darnell had nothing to substantiate what he had said, but he was the first to sow a seed into our lives and ministry. God gave us a wonderful blessing through Gene, and He gave Gene a commanded blessing in return.
We climbed into that beautiful Buick Electra and started toward Texas. As we drove through Arkansas, I spotted a sign that said, “Bill Roetzell’s Motorhomes.” The Spirit of the Lord spoke to me, “Stop there and look at travel trailers.” It would have been as impossible for me to buy a travel trailer as it would to buy the Empire State Building. We had no money.
As I walked around the property, we noticed a trailer that was 35 feet by 8 feet and could be towed by a large car. Again, the Spirit of the Lord said, “Believe me for this.” I reached out, touched that travel trailer, and said a short prayer. I later learned that while I prayed, the owner of the company was in his office having his devotions. He looked out the window, saw me, and the Spirit of the Lord said, “This is a man of God. He is going to be My chosen vessel to the Nation of Israel. You are to give him a new travel trailer.” Bill came out and did just that. We hooked that travel trailer up to the back of the Buick Electra and towed it to Texas. Commanded blessing!
Many years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Corrie ten Boom. She told me that while she was in the Nazi prison at Ravensbrück for saving Jewish people from the Holocaust, God gave her a commanded blessing. It was the last verse of Psalm 91: “And with long life shall I satisfy you.” Corrie was 51 years old when God gave her that Scripture. Her commanded blessing was 40 additional years of life and a ministry that changed the world. What will your blessing be in 2021? I can’t wait to find out!
“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.