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Final Returns

by the Editor

"Judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it" (Psalm 94:15).

A few weeks ago Ed Christainsen preach a sermon from Acts 1:8 in which he brought out the last words of Christ to his disciples before His ascension were ‘to be witnesses . . . from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth.’ Ed went on to say that now the order is reversed. The light that has shown upon the nations in calling out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14) is returning to Jerusalem to bring life from the dead (Romans 11), not only restoration life to the people of Israel, but to the whole world.

Shortly afterward, I was in a conference where another minister and I were accosted for believing that God has not forsaken Israel. The claim was made, "It doesn’t HAVE to be that way. Salvation doesn’t HAVE to return to Jerusalem."

The message upon our hearts is, It HAS to be that way when the Word of God declares it to be. When Gentile blinders fall off in studying God’s Word, the message is so bright and clear, you’re "slain in the Spirit"!

The context of the passage in John 10 where Jesus walked in the Temple during the "Feast of the dedication", is an interesting study. It brings out the misunderstanding of the religious leaders for His message. They thought because he said, "I and my Father are one" that he was making himself God Almighty.

Shortly after this confrontation, Jesus "went away again beyond Jordan....and there abode" (V. 40). Is this not a simile of what has happened the past 2,000 years? The Good News has been proclaimed among the nations. Now the "torch" is returning to whence it came – Jerusalem. The words of the Master (in this same chapter of the book of John) give hope for healing, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (V. 16). This harmonizes with Hebrew Scriptures, such as "...in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one" (Zechariah 14:9).

Faxed Facts

Meanwhile darkness intensifies. As I was preparing this editorial, our friend John Stembridge faxed leading articles from his hometown paper, The Miami Herald. The headliners read, "Dade outlaws bias against gays" and "Allowing same-sex marriages could enhance traditional values". The latter was on the editorial page. Across from it they printed a very small part of Stembridge’s response regarding violence in America (incorporated in his article on pages 3 and 4 under the sub-topic "Any Murder is Too Many").

Another fax came the same day from The National Unity Coalition for Israel. Esther Levens’ headliner is, United States Pledges $900 Million for Palestinians Despite Evidence of Corruption and Wasted Funds.

The U.S. is giving another $400 million, bringing our total to $900 million, part of a $3 billion pledge of support for the PA over the next five years by several nations, including the U.S.

Esther cited the London Sunday Times report that British aid earmarked for poor Palestinians had been misused. An internal PA report found that 40% of its annual budget had been wasted, misused or stolen through kickbacks to PLO and PA officials. Meanwhile Arafat refused to cooperate with the U.S. General Accounting Office to provide a basic accounting of where U.S. funds were spent. The PLO has assets of more than $10 billion hidden away, the paper reported.

Caught Between

Another side to the coin is the "Palestinian Arab" – the common people themselves. They are afraid of both "authorities" – Israel’s and the PA. They’ve been betrayed by their own people who search them out and murder them for selling property to Jews. If they were allowed to operate in peace with Israel, their economy would zoom upward. How does justice fit into the scenario? Is God not interested in Ishmael’s descendents’ welfare and prosperity? Yes, surely God is an equal atonement provider for the sins of all people. He is not willing that any should perish but that all men should be delivered and come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4).

We are seeing a fraction of the darkness which the Prophet Isaiah said would "cover the earth [nature also groans] and gross darkness the people" (60:2). Stay with us; Isaiah doesn’t leave us in darkness.

Darkness roars, but it can’t blow away light. The last part of Isaiah 60:2 is: "but the LORD shall arise upon thee; and His Glory shall be seen upon thee."

A few years ago Elmer Josephson had a night vision which (in the language of The Revelation) depicted the fading of the Philadelphian Church Age (in which he ministered in his early years) into the Laodicean Age (which for the most part depicts Christendom today). He described seeing night come because the Light of God could not be seen. But then the window of the Kingdom opened!

The cup of iniquity is fast coming to the full mark and the LORD will declare that enough is enough! Let us not go down spiritually now in the hail of lies insulting our ears every day, but let us be strengthened by the great anchor of hope – with total faith in God who cannot lie and in Whom is NO DARKNESS at all. He has spoken and HE WILL make it good (Num. 23:19).

He has left the light on for us! We’ll be glad we’ve walked in it.

Some last words of Wisdom:

During one of our last staff devotions with Elmer Josephson before he left us for his eternal home, he said, "Total faith, plus total obedience equals total victory. Faith and unbelief have no fellowship."