(Chicago, Illinois) — It was an honor to be on the campus of Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago on Monday and Tuesday. At the invitation of Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of MBI, and Dr. Michael Rydelnik, a professor and head of the Jewish Studies Program, I was invited to teach a class on the Holocaust, another class on modern Israeli politics and society, speak on an evening panel on “Israel & The Gaza Conflict,” tape two programs for Moody Radio, and address the student body — some 1,600 future Christian leaders — on Tuesday morning at chapel.
Here are my notes for the addressed I delivered at chapel: “Three Threats Facing America, Israel and the Church in the Middle East.” I hope you find them helpful.
Thank you, Dr. Nyquist. It is an honor to be back here at Moody Bible Institute and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you. This morning, I’d like to discuss threat grave threats facing America, Israel and the Church and how we as followers of Jesus Christ are supposed to respond, according to the Scriptures.
Let’s begin by reading the first ten verses of Ezekiel chapter 33.
33 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ 7 Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.”
Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet writing more than 2,500 years ago. He was part of the Jewish people that had been conquered and captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and were now living in the Babylonian Empire. And the Lord came to Ezekiel and called him to be a prophet — to hear the word of the Lord, and then to speak it to the people.
In this passage, the Lord says very clearly that He has raised Ezekiel up to be a “watchman” for the people. That is, his responsibility is to see threats and dangers that are approaching with God’s help and insight, and then warn the people about those coming dangers. He is also supposed to warn individuals about their sins, that they might repent of those sins and turn to the Lord with a humble heart for forgiveness.
But the Lord tells Ezekiel that it is not simply his job to be a “watchman.” The Lord will raise up and appoint other watchmen over time. And it is the responsibility of such watchmen to see threats and dangers and sins and warn the people, or they will be held to account by the Lord Himself.
Each of you are future Christian leaders. Each of you have come to Moody to study the word of the Lord and learn how to teach it to others. Each of you, therefore, has a responsibility to see dangers and threats and sins and to lovingly but honestly and clearly warn them to turn to the Lord before it is too late. It is a high calling and a great responsibility, and I urge you to take it seriously.
Today I want to briefly discuss three grave threats we all must see and understand and take action on:
The threat that America is not just declining but imploding — and that our only hope is a Third Great Awakening;
The threat that America and parts of the Church will turn against Israel & the Jewish people; and
The threat that Christians in the West will ignore or turn a blind eye to the barbaric slaughter and terrible persecution of Muslims as well as Arab Christians in the Middle East by Radical Islamic jihadists like ISIS, Hamas, etc.
Let me now share a bit more on each point.
1. America is not simply in decline. We are heading for collapse, for implosion.
There are many reasons for this, including a massive and crushing national debt with no end in sight, the implosion of families through divorce and out-of-wedlock-birth and the assault on traditional marriage, violent crime, drug use, pornography and so forth. I wrote about this in more detail in my 2012 non-fiction book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, so I won’t take the time today to go through each of these issues in detail.
But I do want to discuss one threat above all: America faces the implosion because we face divine judgment for murdering so many unborn children.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland. As I stood in an actual gas chamber that was used to systematically murder so many Jews, political prisoners and others, it was a horrifying experience. I’m Gentile on my mother’s side, and Jewish on my father’s side, and standing there thinking about how the Nazis created these murder factories to kill six million Jews was one of the most painful experiences of my life.
But as I stood in that gas chamber, I could not help but think of how my own country, America — a country I love so dearly — has created murder factories to kill millions of people, as well. I was born in 1967. In my lifetime — since 1973 — the American people have legally murdered more than 55 million babies. If this is not stopped soon, we will reach 60 million. Think about that. If we really get to the point that our nation has systematically murdered 60 million human beings, we will have murdered 10 times more people than the Nazis killed of the Jews.
Now we know how God judged Germany and the Nazi regime through a crushing defeat in World War II, and we believe that the Nazis deserved such judgment. What do we think is going to happen if continue to murder millions of children? We are going to face the judgment of God. It is extraordinary that it hasn’t happened already.
There is hope, but we are running out of time. We could repent as a nation. We could turn from our wicked ways, plead with God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive our sins, and plead with Him to heal our land.
The Bible says, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
This was specifically a promise given to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. But it is a principle we can apply today. We could plead with God for forgiveness, and He could grant it. He could give us a sweeping series of revivals that could culminate in a Third Great Awakening, with hundreds of millions of Americans — beginning with the Church — repenting of our sins, turning to Christ, praying, fasting, reading God’s Word and seeking to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is possible. There is hope. But again, we are running out of time.
But let’s be clear: Without a revival, we are on the road to implosion. Indeed, the threat of implosion is far beyond what the next President or Congress can solve alone — we desperately need a Third Great Awakening.
Will you and I faithfully teach and preach the word of God to the nation? Will America hear the word of the Lord that we have strayed far from the teachings of the Bible and allowed our land to become polluted with abortions and pornography and violence and wickedness of all kinds? Will we admit how far we are from God’s plan and purpose for our lives? Will we confess that our hearts are far from Jesus Christ and plead with the Lord for His mercy and grace and forgiveness? Will we fast and pray and earnestly seek God’s face, and implore Christ to give us a Third Great Awakening? Or will we ignore the word of the Lord and continue in our sins and watch our nation continue to decline, or even implode?
Twice in American history we have seen sweeping spiritual revivals known as the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening, respectively. Millions of Americans repented of their sins during those seasons, became devout followers of Jesus Christ, began to read the Bible voraciously and to obey the word of the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture, however, has America been promised a spiritual revival in the 21st century, much less one that would be so sweeping, so game-changing that it would qualify as a Third Great Awakening. But who knows? Perhaps the Lord will show us tremendous mercy and forgiveness if we all humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways?
2. What happens if — on top of all our nation’s challenges and sins — America abandons or turns against Israel?
In Genesis 12, the Lord God chooses Abram, calls him out of Ur of the Chaldees (located in modern-day Iraq, 220 miles southeast of Baghdad) to go to “a land that I will show you,” which turns out to be the land later called Israel. The Lord promises to bless Abram, and through him bless “all the families of the earth.” Specifically in 12:3, the Lord says, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” As one reads through the rest of the book of Genesis, it becomes clear that this promise from God is passed down from Abram (who is later named Abraham) to Isaac to Jacob (later named Israel) and then to Jacob’s descendants, Israel and the Jewish people. Thus, the Lord is making clear that those who bless Israel and the Jewish people He will bless, and those who curse them He will curse. If America turns against or abandons Israel and the Jews after being their closest friend and ally for so many decades, God warns He will bring judgment upon us.
Psalm 122:6-9 — This passage reads, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”
Clearly, people all over the world, including in America, need to:
pray for peace in Jerusalem, Israel and the broader Middle East
pray for Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
love Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
seek the good of Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
The Lord promises to bless and “prosper” those who do.
3. Followers of Jesus Christ who love Israel and understand God’s Biblical plan for Israel must not be blind to the suffering in the Arab, Iranian, and Muslim world, nor deaf to their cries for help, nor dull to the terror and tyranny they face.
We are witnessing a Radical Islamic offensive across the Mideast, from Gaza to Syria to Iraq.
Leaders in Washington and across the world have been slow to see, and slow to act.
But the Church must step up. We serve the King of glory. Our King was born in the epicenter. He died and rose again in the epicenter. He is coming back to the epicenter — and He’s coming soon.
So we must help our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in the Middle East. We must show Christ’s love and compassion to Jews, Muslims and Christians in the epicenter.
We need to LEARN about what is happening in the region and God’s plan and purpose for the people there. [On this note, I shared with the students why I write fiction and non-fiction books to help educate people about coming dangers and mobilize them to action. I also shared about my forthcoming novel, THE THIRD TARGET, about the threat ISIS poses to the region and America, and that Tyndale and I have decided to release the novel earlier than expected because of how rapidly ISIS is moving. The book will now release on January 6th.]
We need to PRAY for peace and healing and stability and calm in the region, and for open doors for the Gospel.
We need to GIVE to ministries that are doing effective work in the region, ministries like The Joshua Fund.
We also need to be willing to GO to the region if God sends us there to serve Him and serve the people in the name of Jesus.
Is this hard? Yes.
Is this dangerous? Sometimes.
But Jesus laid down His life in love to save us. Will you and I lay down our lives in love to serve Him?
When people and nations are in danger, will you and I blow the trumpet and sound the warning?
May the Lord use you as a faithful watchmen on the wall.
If a nation follows these principles — if they love and bless Israel and the Jewish people, and do not divide the land of Israel, and love and pray for Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem and seek their good — then God will love and bless and show mercy to such a nation.
But if a nation violates these principles — especially chronically and consistently — then there will be a day of reckoning.
The question is: What do we want, a blessing or a curse, mercy or judgment?
Overall, most Americans are very supportive of Israel and find many ways to love and bless her, as well as the Arabs and others in Israel and the Middle East. This is good.
But there are a growing number of voices who say it is time to:
cut off military aid to Israel
divest from Israel
and/or turn against Israel once and for all
Some do so because of anti-Semitism, others out of a belief in isolationism, and others because of ignorance.
Given the high stakes, one of the things we need to do is teach people about God’s love and plan and purpose for Israel and the Jewish people, and why this matters to America. We need to help more people — including our leaders and future leaders — understand why America’s fate is inextricably linked with how we treat Israel and the Jewish people, as well as her neighbors.
I would encourage you to study Genesis 12 through 17, in particular, on your own more carefully.
You will seen how the Lord unfolds the Abrahamic Covenant, piece by piece, step by step, including the fact that this is an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7) and thus cannot be broken or abrogated, and that the Lord has given the land of Israel as an “everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8).