By Gil Afriat
The Bible is clear that God will judge the earth in the end times and that His judgments begin with His household (1 Peter 4:17). Judgement is a word that makes most cringe, but in God’s economy, judgment is an act of grace to remove the things in and around us that hinder His love. In the beginning of the pandemic last year, I felt one of the things that God was doing through this global shaking was to wake up sleeping believers and to cause complacent non-believers to seek Him. I still believe that continues to be an essential part of God’s plan through this pandemic. Throughout the trials and difficulties of the covid crisis, we have seen believers growing in spiritual maturity and committment in our congregation. We have also seen an unprecedented number of Israelis reaching out to us online seeking information about Yeshua. Praise God!
God is now taking things to a deeper level: as this pandemic crisis continues, causing turmoil in the physical, emotional, economic and political realms worldwide, God’s judgement has been exposing weakness and darkness in the corporate Body of Messiah so that we can repent, be sanctified and become the spotless Bride He is calling us to be. The goal is glorious, but the process is painful.
One of the great shakings of this pandemic has been political instability around the world as governments struggle to deal with the challenges of the pandemic, particularly in democratic countries. In the United States, the 2020 presidential elections were possibly the most contentious, divisive elections in that nation’s history, and people around the world closely followed the tumultuous unfolding of the elections and their fallout. On November 8th, just five days after the election, Ron Cantor, our friend and elder at Tiferet Yeshua, publicly shared a word about the election on his Facebook page: Ron felt the Lord speak to him that the election would go to democratic candidate Joe Biden largely because of the idolatry on the part of many believers toward Donald Trump. (You can read Ron’s full word here). In response, Ron received a barrage of vicious attacks from professing Christians, some even cursing him and telling him to go to hell. At that time, Ron was the only public voice not prophesying a victory for Trump, which is what all the public platform prophets were doing.
On January 7th, Jeremiah Johnson, one of those voices which had been prophesying victory for Donald Trump, posted a public apology for inaccurately prophesying a second Trump term (You can read Johnson’s apology here). Though he expected a backlash, Johnson said he never could have imagined the attack that came his way in response. On his Facebook page Johnson shared the following:
“Over the last 72 hours, I have received multiple death threats and thousands upon thousands of emails from Christians saying the nastiest and most vulgar things I have ever heard toward my family and ministry. I have been labeled a coward, sellout, a traitor to the Holy Spirit, and cussed out at least 500 times. We have lost ministry partners every hour and counting.” (for the full post)
I share these stories only to highlight the exposure the Lord is causing to these things in all of us. We asked a family member of ours living in the US how things felt there after all the turmoil and violence surrounding the elections, and he said one verse has been going though his mind a lot recently: the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12) I firmly believe that God is calling all of us to take a long hard look at ourselves instead of pointing the finger at others, and to look at where our hearts, thoughts, and speech are reflecting the world’s values rather than God’s, whether it be in our daily lives or how we express ourselves on social media. Where have we allowed our love to grow cold?
Another end-time warning from Matthew is 24:10-11 God has put on my heart during this season:
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
This verse talks about brothers in the faith betraying one another and hating one another. No, I do not think that what we have seen in this last season is the full end-time fulfillment of this verse. However, seeing brothers in the faith hatefully attacking each other over perceived “loyalty” to a political leader or to the “words of the prophets” is troubling and should be a wake-up call to us all.
The Love Litmus Test
The Word of God is clear about the standard:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
But what about Matthew 22:39 where Yeshua already stated that to love our neighbor as ourselves is the second great command? Actually, Yeshua’s command to His disciples in John 13 is different because He is setting a new standard for love: His selfless and sacrificial love is the standard. For the perfect list of the qualities of Yeshua’s love, we should study 1 Corinthians 13. We should make it our litmus test!
It may seem like an impossible task, and it is if we try to do it in our own strength. We can succeed to love others the way He loves us only if we receive, comprehend and experience God’s unending love for us and His unending grace for our mistakes and failures. When we internalize that, His kind of love will naturally flow out of us. And we will show love to more than our brothers and sisters in the faith; we will love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:44) That is real spiritual warfare!
I have hope and faith God is doing something great in His Body in this season, that God is cleansing us from the ways of the world, and that we will see the Bride rising up in love and holiness to be a witness to a world that is growing darker and more confused by the day.
Thank for sharing this perspective. I agree with it.
As Mary said in Luke 1 “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation… he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones”
While ex President Trump did bless Israel – moving the Embassy to Jerusalem etc, yet there was an arrogance in how he treated those who disagreed with him whether Republican or Democrat. And God cant stand those who are arrogant. May He know even now the Fear of the Lord. I pray that for President Biden as well
I was saddened by all the upheaval and ugliness that has taken place. I do NOT adhere to the platform of the “democratic party”.. it is unfortunate for the U.S. and the people who believe in the sanctity of life. I believe in Biblical and G_dly principals. I keep reminding myself that G_d is still on the throne, He alone is L_RD and nothing compares to His rule and reign. I am worried about our relation with Israel and what will transpire regarding her safety and progress that had been made with the nation’s surrounding her. May there always be Peace and prosperity in Jerusalem, the apple of G_d’s eye. Shalom …..Baruch haha beshem Adoni, blessed is He, who comes in the Name of The L_RD. Amen
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Wendy, and we thank you for your heart and stand for Israel! Even though as Israelis we are very grateful for the brave, bold stand that President Trump took on important issues related to Israel, we remember that He who keeps Israel never slumbers nor sleeps, and He sits above the circle of the earth! And even though we may all feel confused and dismayed about what is happening in our political systems (here in Israel as well), it’s good to remember that our real citizenship is in heaven and He is calling us to be His embassadors of light here on earth. Blessings!
Lacking in sound doctrine has led many down a broad path. Many must repent for their ideological think and come back to the simplicity of the Gospel.
Wonderfully spoken and I agree. Ron was not the only one speaking Biden would be President. There were some others, more softly spoken. I have to admit I was upset because the Body needs to be in agreement praying G-d’s will and I desperately wanted to know what it was. I could see it going either way. I believe we needed the discipline in America and Israel ( we have many of the same issues) but there are great costs to this for the children and those truly unaware of what is happening. Praying for all prodigals to come back home soon by Passover and many souls world wide who will hear and respond to the Father’s call to accept Yeshua His son! Enjoy your articles::) Blessings
Thank you Bella! Sometimes all we can do is pray God’s perfect will, and His ways are so far above ours! It has been such a confusing, tumultous season and there is so much anger in the earthly realm, all the more reason for us to focus on Him and His ways even more. We are also praying to be “leaving Egypt” and all these plagues by Passover this year, by His grace!
Thanks Gil! Very nicely described, and I agree totally. all the best, Jim
Thanks Wendy for a balanced article it ties in to something the Lord showed me at the end of last year. In September 2020 in preparation for the European Network of Communities (ENC) Presidential Team meeting on Zoom I asked the Lord for a word for the ENC and received this:
“The Changes are here to stay, how you respond to them is important, huge needs will be released by this crisis that I have equipped you to care for. The “option for the poor” must not be optional for you, but a necessity. I’m releasing grace through you to care for My sheep – each in his or her area. As I said to Moses:
“I’ve heard their cry for deliverance”.
Each community should ask Me for the strategy for their area as the needs will be different in every place but common to all will be the scale of the need – which will be great!
This time of need is just beginning & with it will come a harvest for My Church; this is the time to learn to really trust Me to provide all that you will need – without this “divine provision” you will be overwhelmed.
Pray much for peace for war is coming on the wings of desperation.”
After I had shared this word and we began to pray in the meeting I also received a prophetic picture:
A very sharp sword, fixed horizontally, was separating some harvested cotton plants, which were being presented to it by a conveyor belt. The good stuff (soft like white cotton wool) went to the left and the bad stuff (like the tough stalks it had grown on) went to the right. After the sword had separated the cotton, the different types of material moved further and further apart from each other.
The sword is the virus and subsequent trouble (especially economic) caused by it and although not caused by God is being used by Him to sift or sort Christians, into those who respond with softness, kindness and love (the good) and those who are hard-hearted and tough and respond selfishly (the bad). This “softness” I believe is about our treatment towards those who are suffering in all sorts of ways because of the time we are in and because of prevailing culture. Our decision now about how we respond will have consequences for us in the days to come, so the soft-hearted and the hard-hearted will become more and more distant from each other after this point in time. In other words our response now, sets us upon a path with two very different directions, one towards love and kindness and therefore towards God Himself, and one towards hard-heartedness and selfishness and therefore away from God. Remember all this “harvest” is made up of Christians.
sorry that should read good article Gil not Wendy
I appreciate this posting and understanding of whats been happening and the way forward. Salutary but encouraging. We fix our eyes on Jesus. He is on the throne.