Allen Jackson - God's Timeline?!? - Part 1
It's good to be with you again. Our topic today is "God's Timeline?!?" You don't have to be a biblical scholar or a student of prophecy to know that God's moving in the earth. You just have to be marginally aware of the headlines. Well, understanding what God's doing and where we fit into that, it makes a difference in our daily choices. We're gonna talk about that today. Grab your Bible and a notepad, but most importantly, open your heart.
I wanna pick up a new theme. I wanna spend a few sessions talking a bit about God as being all-powerful. I think we have to pause and remember that. We kind of reduce God to our formal expressions of worship so we think of God in terms of a musical style or a denominational preference or a biblical translation, and sometimes we make God about as interesting as a boring Bible study. In the presentation of Scripture, the revelation of God that we're given is that there is an Almighty God and he's the Creator of heaven and earth, that nothing is too hard for him, nothing is too difficult for him, nothing is hidden from his knowledge or his awareness, that he is all-powerful.
The biblical word is "almighty," but sometimes I think those biblical words kind of get caught in a net in our head and we don't really hear them. They don't make it to the screen of our heart or understanding. And there's just simply that nothing is too difficult for God. He can part a sea or raise the dead or open a blind eye. He can make the sundial go backwards. God can. You know, and we'll have seminars, we wanna have meetings, we'll do Bible studies: "Does God still do miracles"? Don't you know it makes the angels laugh? Do you think the angels attend the Bible studies when we do Bible studies to discuss whether or not there's really angels? I mean, sometimes I'm just amused. And if our Bible studies aren't concerning enough, I promise you the courses they teach in our seminaries are.
So I wanna spend a couple of sessions with this, and in this we're gonna talk a little bit about God's timeline. Seems appropriate these days. Now Israel is in the news a great deal, appropriately so. And I've made a few passing comments about that but I wanna take a minute with that and do just a bit of history. I don't watch a great deal of the news anymore, about 10, 15 minutes is about as much as is good for me. It's as much as good for you too, 'cause the rest is just a rinse and repeat cycle. But there's so much being said that is disconnected from facts and reality, that I think just a little bit of history will help you interpret some of the things you're hearing or at least know which bucket to put them in, whether it bears reflection or simply can be discarded. Because the outlets that communicate information to us, it seems no longer have the responsibility of fact-checking. And when they tell you they're fact-checking, it's usually just censorship.
So with that, we have to be a little bit more aware. So just a bit of information about the land where Israel lives today and that is at the point of this current conflict. Palestine was not an Arab nation in 1948 when the nation of Israel was recognized by the United Nations. So, formerly, technically, the Jewish people did not take over someone else's territory. Great Britain had authority over the Middle East until they became tired of governing the volatile area and they asked the UN to help resolve the problem. And before Great Britain was tasked with administering the region after World War II, the Turks had controlled the area since the 1500s. And just for the record, the Turks are not Arabs. Palestine has never been the name of any country.
The name "Palestine" came from the Romans and it was an attempt on behalf of the Romans after the Jews rebelled again in 130 AD, they wanted to rid the region of any semblance of Jewishness. They moved the Jews out, they populated it with former soldiers, and they renamed it. They wanted to separate Jerusalem and they renamed the city, they renamed the region, and the name that was chosen was Philistia, which got turned into Palestine, but the name came from the ancient Philistines, those people, you know, you all know Goliath and I mean, it's a biblical people back in the Old Testament. But they have no connection to the present-day Arab world. The Philistines were eliminated, removed when the Babylonians marched on that part of the world in the 7th century BC.
Palestine was a region, a geographic region. It was never a nation. There was never a president of the state or a Palestinian governor or government, in much the same way that the Midwest is a region of our nation. We understand it to be a region of territory. It's not governed by some central administration. It's a way of designating an area. Well, the region of Palestine did not have any connection to Arab ethnicity, historically. Muhammad was not born until the 7th century AD. The Romans labeled the area "Palestine" in the 2nd century AD. The UN Partition vote, which took place in November of 1947, extended the opportunity for two nations to be recognized. That was the UN's plan: an Arab nation on the west side of the Jordan River. And the Arab world rejected the partition. The other part of the plan was a Jewish nation as Israel accepted the offer.
And in May of 1948 the modern state of Israel was born. The day after the nation of Israel was born and was recognized, the Arabs declared war on Israel. Five Arab nations and the local populations declared war on the new Jewish state. They broadcast over the radio stations, which was the primary media outlet to the local population, to take a vacation while they drove the Jews into the sea. And to the world's great surprise, those five Arab nations and their standing armies and their united front lost that war. The people on the West Bank could have had peace. They chose war, in an attempt to drive the Jews into the sea. The language hasn't changed much. When the ceasefire was declared, Israel had defended the territory they had been granted, and Jordan controlled the territory on that west bank of the Jordan River and Egypt controlled Gaza.
The Arabs in the West Bank became part of Jordan, and the Arabs in Gaza became part of Egypt. When the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was created, Jordan controlled the West Bank. The Palestine that they wanted to liberate was Israel. I mean, Israel was occupying the land that had been given to them in recognition of the United Nations as a part of that original plan. If the PLO really wanted to liberate the land that had been granted to that area by the United Nations, they should have been fighting Jordan and Egypt. Before Israel was birthed in 1948, everyone living in the region was considered Palestinian, whether they were Arab or Jew. The Jewish-owned newspaper was "The Palestinian Post".
If you want a little broader view of history, Jerusalem has been the capital of only one country: Israel. And King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 1000 BC. And if you do the math, that was more than 1500 years before Muhammad was born. And you hear some things about Israel was a country recognized by the United Nations and they don't have a historic right to belong or some deviation of that. Well, most of the countries in the Middle East are relatively new. Jordan was created in 1922 by Great Britain. They took 80% of the ancient region known as Palestine and they created Transjordan on the eastern side of the Jordan. It achieved independence in 1946. The Syrians were under French control until 1946. Lebanon received independence from France in 1943. Iraq became an independent nation in 1958.
These were nations created from the Ottoman Turkish Empire after World War II when the Turks were defeated. They hadn't existed prior to the San Remo Conference which took place in 1920. If you need a little different perspective, the land mass of the Arab states, not including the non-Arab states, and the non-Arab states in the region would be Turkey and Iran. If we don't include Turkey and Iran, the Arab states occupy about 98.4% of the land in the region. Israel occupies about 1.6%. And the talking point is that there can be no peace until Israel gives up some territory.
The word "Jerusalem" or "Zion" appears nearly 1000 times in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. It never appears in the Qur'an. Now, that's a bit of history. Most of it is in fulfillment of biblical prophecy. But if you'll do just a bit of work and understand the facts of the history, it will help you separate so much of the rhetoric. It'll also help you know that the students that are protesting on our college campuses, they've been programmed with propaganda and they don't know the facts, which is a very poor use of our dollars at some of the most elite universities in our nation and in the world.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, I made it to your outline. There's hope. "C'mon, he's got all this to say and he hasn't got to the first Scripture. We will be here for breakfast". And you may be. No, "In order that Satan might not outwit us. We are not unaware of his schemes". I just wanted to start with this given 'cause it's one that I think sometimes we like to hurry past. There's a spiritual conflict in the earth. What's playing out on the global stage is far more than geopolitical activity or the weakness of our nation or the complete ineptitude of the United Nations. There is a spiritual conflict in the earth and we have tried so desperately to deny it in the church. To imagine that we've outgrown spiritual things, that we've become a bit too sophisticated and a bit too polished and a bit too educated, that we don't have to deal with those things any longer. And in so doing, we abdicate our responsibility.
So I wanna start with a little bit of a location finder. I'm gonna give you a future perspective that clearly the Scripture gives us. And I'm gonna give you a perspective on our past. And then I think I can give you at least a snap shot of the present. We'll start with the future in Revelation 19. John said, "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war". Who's riding that horse? Jesus. And when he returns to the earth, he's coming as a Judge and a Conqueror. Wow, I thought the New Testament was all about a group hug. "His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. And he has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. And he's dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean".
You remember in Gethsemane when Peter rather clumsily got his sword out and says, "I'm gonna do something". And the best he could do was an ear. I've also wondered what's with the expressions on the other apostles' faces. "Really, Pete"? But Jesus's response to him was, "Put it away. If I wanted help, if we needed help, if that was the point of this moment, I could call legions of angels. Tens of thousands of angels". Well, in Revelation 19, he's coming back and this time he's coming with the armies of heaven. "And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. And he'll rule them with an iron scepter. And he'll tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty". God all-powerful. "On his robe and on his thigh he has the name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS".
The book of Revelation is not something new. The book of Revelation is really the summary statement of so much of what we read in the rest of the New Testament. Philippians 2 says: "God's given Jesus a name that's above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord". Remember that? So we shouldn't be surprised when we bump into him, stepping back into time in Revelation 19, that written on his clothing is the name, "The King of kings and the Lord of lords". "And then I saw the beast," the antichrist, a world leader, a politician. The New Testament's being political. Let's just move quickly past that. "And the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. And with these signs he deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image".
So, delusion and deception will be a great part of what's in front of us. What we're witnessing these days, it's more disorienting than any time in my lifetime to try to discern what's real and what's not, what's true and what's false. To understand the information that's coming at us. And now we have technology that is making it even more difficult. But rather than see that as frightening, that same technology's gonna be able to be used to proclaim the gospel in ways we've never imagined possible. Don't spend your time wringing your hands; spend your time seeing the opportunities God is presenting to our generation. We can preach the gospel to every person on planet Earth in a way that's never been even imagined at any other point in human history. But a part of the season is going to be widespread, increasing deception, delusion.
Deception is when you believe something to be true that in reality is false. There's a long list of those things. I don't wanna spend my time in this session with that. But what we're watching is a foreshadowing, it's a tremor, it's more than a premonition 'cause we're experiencing it. But it's simply the beginning point. It will increase in both intensity, in scope, in frequency, in magnitude. All of those things that you're watching, I believe we will see escalate. Including the moving of the Spirit of God. So that if that's where your heart is centered and that's where your hope is anchored, it's a time of tremendous opportunity. But if God has simply been an accoutrement in your life, he's just been an option that you kind of pulled along and you kept in your pocket 'cause somebody told you you might, sort of, somehow, one day, be good if you knew something about that, then it's a pretty frightening time.
"The two of them were thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and the birds gorged themselves on their flesh". It's not a particularly happy last couple of sentences, but it's very important because the God that we have chosen to swear our allegiance to, to enter into covenant with, to be servants of, is triumphant. His authority is exerted over every challenge in the earth or under the earth or in the heavens. It's a prudent choice. So when you and I are working through all of the challenges of submitting to the authority of God because we work through those challenges because all of us have this little internal voice that says no. We watch little kids, you know, when their parents are working with them and I'm always amazed, you can watch 'em in the lobby of the church.
Some little person that can't hardly hold themselves, you know, they're standing there wobbling. And if they pick up a foot, it may not be a good outcome. And the parents will say something and if they can speak, they'll say no. But if they haven't even mastered that yet, I mean, you know, a few pounds of almost balanced but their will, will challenge something that clearly has physical and intellectual and emotional superiority. And we do that to the Lord. We have this sense within us of what God's asking us to do or what we should do or what would be appropriate and what's our answer? Or we see the ultimate expression of that played out on the stage of human history.
And the opportunity of now is to begin to submit to the authority of God in our lives, to begin to choose godliness and holiness and purity, to submit to the authority of Scripture, to actually read it, to act as if it could inform our choices, that it's more important to us than the headlines of the day. That if God says he'll always be with us and that he'll provide for us, that we treat him as if he has integrity and we begin to trust him. Well, that scenario from Revelation 9 is yet before us. The conflict will intensify. It will break into the open. What now seems to be subtle and veiled and hinted at and denied if you challenge it.
The challenges and the denial will ultimately fade away, and the hatred for the people of God will break into the open as much as antisemitism is breaking into the open right before us, our eyes, right now. The most heinous murder of people, targeted simply because they were Jewish. Their homes invaded, their communities invaded, they're brutalized in a way that was intended to inspire terror. It was videotaped. And the world looks on, and the only way to understand the response is in a spiritual component. It doesn't hold together with logic. So what you're watching is a foreshadowing, and understand the hatred of the Jewish people will be directed towards all of God's people. The past is important because it helps us understand God's authority and power for you and me.
Philippians 2 and verse 9, I've already alluded to it. Speaking of Jesus, it said: "God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that's above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". That's our King, the all-powerful God, so that at the name of Jesus, everything will yield, everything will submit. And we have the privilege of calling him Lord. We're his ambassadors. We're given a brief journey through time in which we have the privilege of representing him, not just as preachers or ministers or professional Christ followers, but as men and women who have yielded our lives to the authority of Jesus.
We do business in his name, we carry out our relationships in his name, we form families in his name. Marriage was God's idea. It didn't begin with the state. Therefore they cannot redefine it. There's a greater authority. It's important to know that is an established fact. The redemptive work of Jesus, his substitutionary death, his burial, and his resurrection provided a complete, total, irreversible victory over Satan and his entire kingdom. That's good news. Sometimes if you listen to us pray, you would think we imagine it's a really close contest. You know, in the NFL they say, "On any given Sunday, anyone can beat anyone". Not in this conflict, folks. The outcome has been established. There are some things to be walked through between here and the ultimate resolution of that, but it's not a close contest.
It doesn't mean Satan isn't powerful. Doesn't mean that he doesn't have some authority. But he is defeated. That is important. Look in Colossians 2:15: "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross". It's one of the great paradoxes in the history of Creation that through the ugly, brutal defeat of a cross, the most visible defeat you can imagine, while his enemies scoffed and mocked and celebrated, God brought about the greatest triumph in all of human history. He brought about a victory for the descendants of Adam that changes our existence for all eternity.
That's why the cross is at the center of our story. Jesus said, "No one can be my disciple unless on a daily basis they take up their cross and follow me". I believe in the new birth and conversion and salvation, but please don't imagine that's a one-time prayer and then you just do what you wanna do. We have to come to that cross on a very regular basis and say, "I will submit my will to the Lordship of Jesus. I will offer myself as a living sacrifice. I will say no to ungodliness. I will say no to my carnal impulses. I will yield to the authority of God in my life". Folks, we have to do that on a regular basis. And it's in the cross where we find the strength to stand when we have to endure or persevere or overcome, 'cause we don't do that in our physical strength or in our ability. We are dependent upon a power greater than ourselves.
Hey, in a world of turmoil, it's easy to be frightened. I don't think fear is the appropriate response right now. I think we need courage to lead with our faith. I wanna pray for you.
Father, I thank you that you're moving in the earth, that you're preparing a people for yourself. You're establishing the Jewish people in their homeland and you're purifying your church. Holy Spirit, we welcome you into our lives. Give us the courage and the boldness to say yes to you in every arena of our lives. We thank you for it, in Jesus's name, amen.