UPDATE: The President made an enormous mistake this week in calling for the Land of Israel to be divided and Jerusalem to be divided along pre-1967 borders. This is in direct defiance of the Bible. It won’t work, and it will bring judgment to the U.S., according to Joel chapter 3. Please pray that the President changes his heart and changes course very soon.
(Jerusalem, Israel) — Three major themes emerged from the messsages delivered at the 2011 Epicenter Conference:
- “The Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near” — “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound and alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 2:1) As we studied the biblical Book of Joel from the Old Testament verse by verse, chapter by chapter, each of the keynote speakers noted that “the Day of the Lord” is a the major theme. The Hebrew Prophet Joel mentions the phrase five times and explains some of the details of the coming series of divine judgments that are coming and the gravity of the apocalpytic future that is rushing towards us. In my introduction to and overview of the Book of Joel (which is the first 15 minutes of the the on-line video on Joel chapter 1 with Anne Graham Lotz), I noted that the biblical phrase of the “last days” refers to the signs and wonders and events that lead up to throughou the Rapture and the seven-year Tribulation, also known frpm the Prophet Jeremiah as the “time Jacob’s distress.” The biblical term “Day of the Lord” refers to the culmination of the “last days.” It is a time of judgment for those who reject the Lord and refuse to follow Him, and also the time of the actual, physical, literal return of Jesus Christ to the Earth when He will win the Battle of Armageddon, win the Battle of Jerusalem, His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives (splitting the mountain in two), and Jesus will set up His literal 1,000 reign over all the Earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem during the Millennial Kingdom.
- “Return to Me,” says the Lord — “‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.’ Now return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” (Joel 2:12-13) Given that the Day of the Lord is coming soon, the Lord says through the Prophet Joel to anyone who will listen to repent and implore God for mercy and forgiveness of their sins before the judgments begin and the Lord comes back. Each of the conference speakers discuss the urgency of turning our hearts away from sin and back to the Lord and several spoke about the process of repentence in very personal terms.
- Do not divide the Land of Israel — In my message about the final chapter of the Book of Joel, I explained the warning to the nations that the Lord gives. I focused in particular on Joel 3:2 (which is 4:2 in the Hebrew Bible) in which the Lord says, “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” The Bible is very clear: the Lord is going to judge all the nations for dividing up the Land of Israel. Let the United Nations and the United States and the European Union and the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government itself be warned. What appears like wisdom to the world — carving up the State of Israel like a Thanksgiving turkey — is direct disobediance to the Word of God and will trigger the most severe divine judgment. This is a hard truth for many to hear and to hold, particularly for Palestinian Arabs and others in the epicenter. But we do Israel’s Arab friends and enemies no favors by denying, obfuscating or trying to explain away the clear teaching of the Lord found in the Scriptures. We must teach the truth. We must do so gently and lovingly, but we must also be clear and firm.
On this last point, we had a special guest on Day 2 of the Epicenter Conference. I interviewed Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and we discussed the Iran threat, the latest violence in the region by Palestinian Arabs, and the future of the peace process. During our conversation, I drew his attention to these Scriptures and urged him not to divide the Land, and to share these verses with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
That’s a very brief summary of the first day of The Joshua Fund’s conference. I’ll share more details in the days ahead. In the meantime, I hope you’ll take the time to begin watching the messages on-line at www.epicenterconference.com.