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Part One: Understanding Israel and End-time Prophecy

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God's Tsunami: The Principle of Prophetic Alignment

By Peter Tsukahira
Guest Columnist Chapter One

Prophetic Alignment

The principle of prophetic alignment is foundational to an understanding of God's word as a living reality. Many things are labeled "prophecy," but only some of them are what I refer to as "prophecy with a capital P." Prophecy with a capital P is when God's inspired word in scripture converges with His actions in history. These major events of prophetic fulfillment reveal God's will in our times. They are the great redemptive events of our day, and they form the basis for other types of prophetic utterances and actions among God's people.

When God acts in history to fulfill His inspired word in scripture, we need revelation to recognize it. Many times God moves in important ways, and we miss it because we fail to see the prophetic significance of the event. It is essential to know what the word of God says and to make the proper prophetic alignment between an important event and God's inspired word.

Jesus' Sermon in Nazareth

Jesus taught and demonstrated that His life and ministry were completely in agreement with the prophecies given to Israel by the biblical prophets. There was nothing of more importance than Jesus' sayings and actions, yet many people failed to recognize who He was. A clear demonstration of Jesus' teaching method is found in Luke's account of Jesus' first sermon in His hometown synagogue.

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
Luke 4:16-21

Jesus was aware of the controversy He was creating through His ministry in the Galilee. Significant miracles were taking place regularly, and large crowds were following Him from place to place. He knew the great question in the minds of His friends and neighbors related to His identity and the source of His authority to preach, perform miracles, and gather followers. In the synagogue, Jesus read the scripture portion that we know as the first verses from Isaiah chapter 61 (of course, there were no chapter and verse divisions in those days). The people in the synagogue understood that this scripture referred to the Messiah because of the words in the first verse, "…He anointed me…." The Hebrew word for Messiah comes from the same root word as the verb "to anoint." Messiah simply means the "one anointed by God."

Jesus applied this powerful Messianic prophecy to Himself. By preaching this way, Jesus related the events surrounding His ministry to the inspired prophetic words of the scriptures. His listeners were free to accept or reject His interpretation of prophecies that were written hundreds of years before His time. Even though He was the perfect Son of God, not everyone believed what He said. Some received revelation and followed Him, but many only listened and were unconvinced. Those who believed in Jesus discovered God's will and began to follow a "new and living way." Believers entered the kingdom of God while skeptics missed out on the greatest event of their time. Many people in His day had access to Jesus and heard Him speak, but only some understood the life-changing truth His words could bring. The difference was revelation.

Ezekiel's Prophecy

Events in Israel today need to be understood in the same manner, that is, by finding the alignment between recent history the words of scriptural prophecy.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, " Thus says the Lord GOD: ' I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, ' says the Lord GOD," when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
Ezekiel 36:22-29

In these verses, God says that He will do something with Israel so that all the nations will acknowledge Him. He emphatically states that it is not for Israel's sake that He will act. In other words, it is not because of divine favoritism or because of Israel's goodness that God will do these things. God says it is not because Israel is so deserving or righteous, but for "My holy name's sake." God's action with Israel will be a demonstration of His sovereignty. God will do this thing because of who He is. What is it that God says He will do? The next verse reveals His plan:

For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
Ezekiel 36:24

Since the founding of the State of Israel, three million Jewish people have returned from every continent on the planet. Some might say that these words of scripture are of historical relevance only, and that they relate to Israel's Babylonian captivity. However, Israel was dispersed to only one nation at that time. In these verses, God says He will gather them from "all the countries" and "from among the nations." The repeated use of the plural indicates a far wider dispersion and a greater regathering.

Why has God gone through such trouble to restore the Jewish people to the land of Israel today? Doesn't He know that bringing millions of Jews back to the Middle East will spark enduring conflict with the neighboring Muslim nations? Doesn't God understand that this conflict will threaten to destabilize the politics of the entire world? Ezekiel's prophecy tells us that God is not doing this for the sake of the Jewish people, but because of His own character and reputation. Furthermore, God is acting on behalf of the nations so that they will all recognize who He is! According to Ezekiel, Israel is again God's instrument, His means to show His glory and His character to the entire world.

Seen in this light, we can understand why God has provoked such controversy by bringing the people of Israel back to their inherited land. It is His design to stir up the nations and cause people everywhere to examine their beliefs about the Jews, Israel, and ultimately, God Himself. The existence of Israel is not a testimony to the strength, goodness, or virtuous qualities of her people. Israel's existence as a nation today is a testimony to God's faithfulness and His covenant-keeping character. It is God's name that was profaned during the centuries of the Jewish dispersion because God's enemies took the opportunity to scorn and persecute His chosen people. However, through the prophet Ezekiel, God says His endurance of that shame will have an end, and He will regather the people to whom He made so many everlasting promises. Ezekiel's prophecy does not end there. God says that He will do yet more for Israel after the regathering.

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:24-28).

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God further says that after He regathers Israel, He will purify and transform the nation. According to this prophecy, God will not wait for Israel to be a holy people before bringing them back from the nations. After their return, He will cleanse the people and put a new heart and spirit within them. Today, many of the Jewish people that are returning to Israel are bitter and broken from their experiences in the nations during centuries of wandering and persecution. Some older Israelis still have Hitler's concentration camp tattoos visible on their arms. Deeper scars endure in the souls of the survivors. Others have come back still clinging to the idols of the nations where they sojourned for so many generations. In fulfillment of the scriptures, God is cleansing and transforming hearts in Israel today. The re-emergence of Messianic Jews in Israel, the preaching of the gospel in Modern Hebrew, and the formation of indigenous, believing congregations are evidence of this prophetic fulfillment.

Part One: Understanding Israel and End-time Prophecy

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More at Peter Tsukahira's Web site

Peter TsukahiraPeter Tsukahira was born in the United States and is now a citizen of Israel. He lives with his family on Mt. Carmel in the city of Haifa. Peter is Director of the Or HaCarmel Ministry Center and one of the pastors of Kehilat HaCarmel, and Israeli Messianic congregation. He is ordained by World Challenge International Minister's Fellowship, founded by Rev. David Wilkerson. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Church Growth International, founded by Dr. David Yonggi Cho.

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