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Re: Fire Kindled

"I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already
kindled!" (Lk12:49)

Considering the day-to-day volatility of the middle east situation, by 
the time you-all read this, who knows what will have become of Barak's 
ultimatum (and extension) for the Palestinians to stop attacking
Israelis, or be prepared for the consequences.

However, from Scripture, we know things will escalate. Yes, there will 
be some sort of "peace" arrangement (Dan9:27) at the beginning of the 
70th week, but we also know that the area will erupt. While Arafat 
pretends to shuttle around in "peace talks", his true heart has been 
manifestly clear, that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. While the 
PLO -pretend- in front of the TV cameras to be outraged at the 
"unprovoked killings" of their people at the hands of the "brutal" 
Israeli soldiers, they are offering -money-...  that's right, MONEY... 
to the families of those who are injured and/or killed in their 
confrontations with Israel. Every dead person is worth $2000 to the 
surviving families. And furthermore, based on their Jihad, they 
-WELCOME- death. When they die fighting Israel, they gain guarantees of 
eternal life, and special recognition by Allah.  They are not 
"victims".  They are premeditating "martyrs". To them it doesn't 
totally matter that more of them are dying, than are dying of Israelis.  
If Israelis die, they have been successful in stomping out the enemy of 
Allah. If -they- die, their martyrdom has just promoted them in -their- 
"heaven".  It doesn't really matter -who- dies, as long as there is 
"sacrifice" to Allah. So you see, there is no real motivation for the 
PLO to stop the violence. The Palestinians are like Klingons, "It is a
good day to die!"  So, with the monetary promise, they can go taunt the
Israelis, and if they die they get rewards in 'heaven', and they know
their families will receive compensation for their death. What a

Add to this, Saddam Hussein's recent comments. If only somebody would
give him access to some territory a bit closer to Israel, he has
offered to provide the Arab world with the "solution" they seek. He has
boldly offered the ability to go in and, by himself, eradicate Israel
out of the world .  [Editor: Wasn't "solution" the word Hitler used
against the Jews during WW2 ?]

And Russia within this past week has sent people to Damascus, Syria to
discuss the Israel "problem". Syria and Iraq make up the ancient
Biblical "Assyria". They are also communicating with Arafat. Why not 
with Israel?

We have looked at the appropriate Scriptures enough in the recent past, 
I'm not going to post them again here. The purpose of this study is 
slightly different. All this is for laying the groundwork for this
study's topic.

As much as I hate war and violence, in the case of the middle east, I
am actually 'glad' that they are not arriving at peace just yet. Let me
explain, and quote from something I wrote to my friend recently:

You know...my observations of the middle-east violence has me actually
'cheering them on'. (I use the word "cheering", because I can't think
of a better word). It is not that I 'enjoy' what I am seeing/hearing,
but it is that I realize that these things -must- happen...and thus,
within my heart I am 'glad' that they are not arriving at successful
"peace", and that the clashes continue, because I know that the
violence hastens along God's plan for the ultimate culmination of
everything. Like I have said at other times, the sooner they "get on
with it", the sooner it will be over.

And here we get to the passage with which this study opened. Those
words were uttered by Jesus Christ. Christ came to set a fire. But 
first, He came to die. He had a "baptism to be baptized with" (Lk12:50) 
And notice how He says, "..how I am pressed down until it is 
accomplished!"  When Jesus died on the cross, it was the most 
horrendous thing He had to look forward to; and then, to go through. 
But it HAD TO BE accomplished if sinful man was to be redeemed.

In like manner, before Christ comes to set up His peaceful rule of 
earth, there is a series of events which MUST BE FINISHED before that 
can happen.  You see, Christ's coming to earth had two goals.  1) the 
acceptable year of the Lord,  and 2) day of vengeance. (Is61:2)  When 
Jesus made that comment, He was looking ahead to #2; but realizing that 
His 'present' task (#1) was at that time (Lk4:19) to die on the cross
to provide salvation, to make the Believer "accepted in the Beloved"
(Eph1:6)  But He knew the Day of Vengeance was yet to come. And 
foreseeing it, even 2000 years ago, He could have wished for it to
already be past tense.

Notice the nature of those events. "But who can endure the day of His
coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's
fire, and like fuller's soap. And He shall sit as a refiner and
purifier of silver. And He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge
them as gold and silver, that they may be offerers of a food offering
in righteousness to Jehovah." (Mal3:2-3)

The days that are yet coming are so horrendous, that unless their time 
had been on a short schedule, "no flesh would be saved". (Mt24:22) Over 
half the world's population will be decimated by the time all is said 
and done. The prophet uses the expression, "And it shall be, everyone 
WHO IS LEFT of all the nations..." (Zech14:16)  Most of the people will
be killed, and so the question will be, "who is left? ..is anybody left?"

And Jesus says that one of His missions is to set a "fire" on earth.
And, Oh, that it were -already- kindled. Notice what He says in another
place, "The woman has grief when she bears, because her hour has come.
But when she brings forth the child, she no longer remembers the
anguish, because of the joy that a man is born into the world."(Jn16:21)

I can not begin to imagine what childbirth must be like. I would guess
that the expectant mother does not 'joyfully' anticipate the pain that
is coming. But she knows it is, on schedule. It comes. But then, a
typical mother is 'happy' after the birth. Now, it would seem to me
that, once the contractions begin, that the most desirable scenario is
to "get on with" the birth, and "let's get it over with". Let's not
prolong the matter, if possible, for many hours of grueling labor.

In similar fashion, what we are seeing now is the "beginning of
sorrows". (Mt24:8)  So, now that we are into it, let's "get on with it" 
and get it over with. What is needed to complete it? According to 
prophecy, there -will- be some major battles and wars. So, what does it 
take to get them fulfilled? Let's get on with it! The sooner it is 
done, the sooner it is finished.

We are exhorted to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love 
[Jerusalem] shall prosper." (Ps122:6)  But when we know Jerusalem's
peace will only come -after- there has been war, should we not rather 
pray, at this time, for "war"? Sound crazy?  Well, again, we know that 
God's Word -will- be fulfilled. We know that these wars precede peace.

However, for all the turmoil where things don't -quite- seem to be 
taking off yet, we know that one thing yet remains, before everything 
can be let loose. That which we have termed from time to time as God's 
"starting gun".  The point at which the Church has been raptured out, 
and the One restraining (Holy Spirit) is removed (2Th2:6-7);  and the
total focus is again on Israel. The preparations keep rumbling.  But
that seven-year 'race' cannot begin until God says, "Now!"  God's
preparations are for "an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year"
(Rev9:15)  It is 'on schedule'; a -timed- event.

If we are praying for the "peace of Jerusalem", then our prayer must be 
like John's, in agreement with the Lord's Word, "I am coming quickly...
Yes, come, Lord Jesus." (Rev22:20)