The defenders of Israel

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?” Ezek 38:13

Over the course of the last two years, many events have happened which signal that we are living in the last days. We are witnessing an emergence of a strong alliance between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Britain, as well as a resurrection of her Commonwealth – who  under Britain will become more closely aligned and ultimately opposed to Europe and the Russian confederacy.

Ever since the recent elections in the UK and USA, Theresa May and Donald Trump have been very active rebuilding alliances described in Ezekiel’s Image result for saudi arabia gulf states mapchapter.

We know from Ezekiel 38, that Sheba and Dedan speak out with Tarshish and her allies, against the Gogian invasion. Dedan refers to the territory of Saudi Arabia, while Sheba refers to the Gulf States (Yemen, Oman, UAE, Qatar etc.)

US-Saudi Relationship

Previously under the Obama Administration, the US sought to kindle a friendship with their enemy Iran, to the detriment of their allies – Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This was seen through the Iran nuclear deal which Saudi Arabia and Israel saw as a security threat. This deal dramatically damaged the US-Saudi relationship, as Saudi Arabia and Iran are rival powers (because they are opposing Muslim factions – Saudi Arabia is Sunni, and Iran Shiite). The US appears to part of the ‘young lions’ due to their long relationship with Britain. Although they are not part of the Commonwealth, they are a daughter of Britain, and have consistently been an ally of Britain. Consequently as a young lion, the US’ growing friendship with Saudi Arabia, is scripturally significant.

President Trump has said he will reverse many of Obama’s policies, and this has become particularly obvious in his effort to strengthen alliances with Israel, Britain (rather than Europe), the Commonwealth nations and the Gulf States.

Image result for Rex Tillerson saudi arabia summit
Rex Tillerson at the US-Saudi Arabia CEO Summit

This change in American foreign policy has also been demonstrated by US Secretary of Defence James Mattis’ recent visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss counter-terrorism (the Yemen Civil War),  and increasing military and economic ties. Also Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at a recent US-Saudi business summit, which encouraged increased business ties between the two nations.

Yemen Civil War

Despite not gaining much media attention, the Yemen civil war has dramatically impacted the Middle East – creating 2.5 million internally displaced people, hundreds of thousands of refugees and has triggered increased Western involvement in the region.

The Yemen civil war is a key part of the recent resurgence of a stronger Sheba (Gulf States) and Dedan (Saudi Arabia) alliance, which has also served to strengthen British and Americans support of the Gulf States.

The civil war began in 2015. The war is a dispute between the internationally recognised Sunni government led by President Hadi and the Shia rebel group, Houthi. The Sunni government are backed by Saudi Arabia, and the Shia rebels, Iran. Hence the Yemen civil war is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Like Syria, there are several faction groups fighting (Hadi government, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Houthis), but in its simplest form the Yemeni civil war is a war of religion. Yemen is 56% Sunni, and 44% Shia. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) is fighting in Yemen, to keep Iran (Shia) out of Yemen, to avoid having them as a threatening neighbour. Previously as Obama wanted to side with Iran, the US had condemned Saudi Arabia’s participation in the war. However now with a change in administration and foreign policy, President Trump has authorised increased airstrikes in Yemen to support the Saudis and has recently even offered to give Saudi Arabia military and intelligence support.

As Yemen is part of the Biblical territory of Sheba, Trump’s recent involvement in Yemen and support of Saudi Arabia, is bringing together the alliance of Ezekiel 38 that we expect.

India

India is part of the British Commonwealth, and has recently developed closer ties with Britain and Israel.

In 1947, India gained independence from the British. However due to the internal conflict between the Hindu and Muslim population, the nation soon split into India and Pakistan. These two nations have continued to have a contentious relationship. As Pakistan has become increasing isolated (and wanting to push away from Western influence), they have turned to Russia for military and security support. Likewise, India has begun developing a closer alliance with Israel and now post Brexit, with Britain. The religious divide between these nations, has forced them both to develop alliances in accord with Bible prophecy (Pakistan being an extension of the King of the North territory (Daniel 11), and India a young lion, therefore a supporter of Israel).

In November 2016, Theresa May visited India to discuss a potential trade deal, as the triggering of Article 50 loomed. Previously under the EU, Britain was not allowed to create a free trade agreement with India. Brexit has not only facilitated Britain to leave Catholic Europe, but also pushed them to strengthen their relationship with their “young lions” (the Commonwealth). Although a free trade agreement with India has not yet been constructed, it appears to be only a matter of time. Similarly India has also begun to develop business ties with the other allies of Israel – Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Over the past few years India and Israel have also been developing a closer relationship. India has abstained from voting against Israel in several UN resolutions. In 2015 India and Israel negotiated several extensive trade deals. In November 2016 the Israeli President visited India. In July this year, Prime Minister Modi will visit Israel (the first Indian PM to visit Israel). Previously Indian Ministers have visited both Israel and Palestine to indicate their neutrality. However this time, Modi is only visiting Israel – showing their clear support of Israel.

Britain

As the Brexit process has officially begun, Theresa May is seeking to develop trade deals with non-EU nations (as seen by recent discussion about potential trade deals with Australia, US, New Zealand, Canada and India). Consequently she has turned to her Commonwealth and the Sunni Arab nations to create trade deals, to prepare Britain’s economy for life post-Brexit.

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Theresa May at the GCC Summit

In December, Theresa May flew to Bahrain to meet with the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council: which includes Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait) to develop trade agreements. This month, May has also flown to Saudi Arabia, and met with King Salman, the Crown Prince and other Saudi officials to discuss trade and investments.

Also this month, the Qatar PM flew to meet with Theresa May in London to create a post-Brexit trade deal. Likewise also the UK Secretary of State for International Trade has recently said the UK wants to increase trade with Oman by a billion pounds.

Brexit has not only pushed the UK out of Catholic Europe, but also has forced it to create alliances and trade deals with Sheba and Dedan – preparing the alliances for Armageddon.

Conclusion

While many prophetic events have been occurring in Russia, Syria and Europe, the defenders of Israel have begun to emerge. Tarshish, Sheba, Dedan and the ‘young lions’ have begun to form not only by the creation of alliances with each other, but also their increasing isolation that has driven them to befriend and support Israel. Their unification could drive a wedge between them and the European-Russian confederacy – as Ezekiel 38 foretells.

Imagine, that your time has come.

That moment has finally arrived.

Christ has returned, and you stand before him, about receive the final judgement.

Your mind flashes over the events of your life, the choices you made, the people you befriended, the priorities you chose, the habits you established… and you feel a sense of unease.

Christ turns to you and says;

I know your works, that you were neither cold or hot: I wished you were either hot or cold.

Because you were lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spue you out of my mouth.

For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing’, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.


Christ spoke these words to the ecclesia of Laodicea.

Out of context, one could be forgiven for thinking that this ecclesia had become subject to some dark and insidious form of Baal worship.

Infact the reality was far from it. Their problem was not immorality, or wrong doctrine, child sacrifice, or some other form of blatantly perverted evil.

The influence that repulsed Christ so much, was materialism.


You see, the Laodiceans lived amongst general prosperity and comfort, and they weren’t in any hurry to oppose it.

Where the Smyrnan’s were thankful to have a loaf of bread on the table, the Laodiceans were complaining about the brand of the coffee they were just served.

Where they suffered persecution at the hands of the Roman authorities, the Laodiceans were each tweaking and squeaking their shiny sports edition cars.


Transplant the Laodiceans to our age, and they would’ve had a rort!

The deafening roar of the crowd as they cheer on the chariots at the Colosseum would be old-school entertainment when compared to the pounding roar of the V8 supercar. Better still, the vision of the elite cars projected onto the living room wall, complete with some ground shaking surround-sound, and popcorn.

The age in which we live has mastered the art of stimulating every sensory. Its offering is far more advanced than the classic Laodicean experience.

An array of indulgences are available; sports, TV, movies, social media, personal devices, food, cars, fashion, careers, houses, not to mention the offerings on the internet.

The indulgence is customised to your unique desire, easily justifiable, and innocent enough.

Such was the experience of the Laodicean. But what of the state of their faith?

Oh don’t worry, they read their Bibles occasionally.

But sadly they could tell you more about the Cricket, than they could tell you about the Prophets.

They had no time to study and meditate on their Bible. Perhaps they were too busy?

They rarely made a personal effort to preach the gospel.

The regular feed of TV and Social Media left the welfare of others untouched.

Indulgence was permissible, and the concept of COMPLETE self sacrifice remained just that – a concept.


There is no question of whether or not we live in a Laodicean age.

The question is whether or not we choose to enjoy the same indulgences, or a life of COMPLETE self sacrifice.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”

 

Who are the Christadelphians?

“Christianity was in its earliest days, entirely unpolitical: The best representatives in our time are the Christadelphians.” – Bertrand Russel

“Christadelphians aim to get as close as possible to the faith and practice of the early Christian church.” – The BBC


The Christadelphians reject many of the major doctrines of modern Christendom, and have an understanding of the Gospel that is true to the original teachings of Jesus Christ.

It is recognized – even by historians – that many of the doctrines of the major churches were introduced in many cases under political pressure, or for political expediency. In other cases and especially around the 4th century, Christian practices adopted pagan characteristics in order to entice pagan worshippers. However the doctrines and practices of the Christadelphian community dispense with centuries of pagan and political influence, and are derived only through scriptural precedent.

Continued, personal and independent study of the Bible is the primary emphasis of the community, with sole reliance on Scriptures for guidance in a way of life.

The Christadelphians organise locally into groups called “ecclesias”, which is a Bible word in Greek that means A called out assembly. We have no clergy, and share responsibilities for various tasks among the baptized members of the ecclesia. Our ecclesias associate with one another by having what we term – fellowship, which is Christian association in many forms.

There are Christadelphians in many parts of the world, for example in Britain and parts of Europe, many African countries, the Far East from India to Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, North and South America from Canada to Argentina, and in the islands of the Caribbean. The community includes people of many races and cultures.

A brief summary of Christadelphian beliefs are listed below.

  • The Bible is the only true message from God and was entirely given by him.
  • There is only one God, the Father, who made the world and has a great purpose for it.
  • The Holy Spirit is God’s own power; by which He works out His own holy will.
  • Jesus is the Son of God. He is also Son of man through being born of Mary.
  • Jesus overcame all temptation and died to save his followers from sin and death.
  • Jesus was raised from the dead by God. Later he ascended to heaven but will return.
  • When he returns he will raise and judge the responsible dead and give immortality to the faithful.
  • He will be King over the restored Kingdom of God in Israel and over the whole world.
  • His immortalised followers will help him to bring everlasting righteousness and peace worldwide.
  • The devil is not a supernatural being but is another name for sin, destroyed only in Christ.
  • Salvation involves covering from sin through Christ, and freedom from sin and death at his coming.
  • When man dies he ceases to exist. The only hope of life is by the resurrection at Christ’s return.
  • Belief in God’s Promises about the Kingdom of God and the work of Jesus Christ is essential.
  • Repentance and baptism into Christ by immersion in water and daily following of Christ are all necessary for ultimate salvation.

More Information:

Part 4: Sam and Eliza Johnson

Continued from Part 3…

Samuel Ealy Johnson, Sr. (1838-1915) was born in Alabama, the youngest of ten children. About the time Texas joined the United States, in 1845, his family had moved to the area of Lockhart, just south of Austin the state capital. After his father died, Sam, still barely 20, moved to the Hill Country, west of Austin, where he worked with his older brothers in the ranching business.

Like most young men at the time, Sam enlisted in the Confederate Army when the Civil War started, and served in a cavalry regiment. He participated in several fierce battles, had a horse shot out from under him, and saw many men wounded and killed. After one great battle, he helped the surgeon hold down wounded men while their arms or legs were amputated. He survived the war relatively unscathed and, while we cannot know how much the memory of that war remained with him the rest of his life, we do know that he was a friendly man, unfailingly generous, kind and helpful to others, and that he faced many challenges with courage and good humor. This is what survivors learn to do.

Union soldiers outside Nashville, TN. Winter 1864. (Library of Congress)
Union soldiers outside Nashville, TN. Winter 1864. As the war progressed the Confederacy began to run low on supplies and food, and their camps suffered while Union might, supplies, and transportation facilitated more comfortable winter for their soldiers. (Library of Congress)

When the war was over, Sam entered into business with his brother Tom Johnson near what became the little town of Johnson City, in the Hill Country. The name came, of course, from the Johnson family which settled the area. “City” implies a much larger town than it was actually was; even today the population of Johnson City is only about 1,500. By 1867, he had married and begun a family, and had also started buying and assembling herds of cattle to drive north on the old Chisholm Trail for sale at the railhead in Abilene, Kansas.

His wife, Eliza Bunton (1849-1917), was a daughter of an influential family in early Texas. One Bunton was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico, a signer of the Constitution of Texas, a hero of the Battle of San Jacinto (which secured Texas independence), and a member of the first Congress of Texas. Her family were wealthy landowners, with a plantation and numerous slaves in earlier days. And her mother, Priscilla Bunton, was the first Christadelphian in her immediate family, and the first person buried in what is now the Johnson family cemetery on the Johnson Ranch.

Eliza Bunton Johnson is remembered as a beautiful young woman, with raven hair and piercing dark eyes. She was tall and regal in bearing, an intelligent and educated woman of refinement. Despite her well-to-do background, she became a quintessential pioneer woman, tireless, hardworking, and always ready to care for others — as was so important for people living on the Texas frontier in dangerous times. Eventually, she and Sam had nine children, six of whom were baptized as Christadelphians.

Johnson Settlement
This is the cabin built by Sam Johnson, Sr., when he and Eliza first settled in the area that became Johnson City. In the basement this cabin, Eliza hid herself and her baby daughter while Indians raided the house.

In the beginning of the settlement, Sam Johnson was also required by circumstances to be an Indian fighter. This territory was on the very edge of civilization, and the Indian tribes still encroached here and there. (In fairness, it should be said that the Indians must have felt that the white men were the ones who encroached on their territory.) In 1869, after a particular raid by Indian warriors in which some neighbors were killed, Sam and other men of the area set out to track down the Indian party, leaving Sam’s wife Eliza and infant daughter Mary home alone. When other hostile Indians approached the farmhouse, Eliza took her baby and hid them both in the cellar. Once in the cellar, she used a pre-set wire to pull a rug over the trapdoor to hide their whereabouts. She used a diaper to stifle the baby’s cries, while the Indians ransacked the house. The very site where this happened can still be seen today.

Crow-War-Party
Eight Crow Indians on horseback, silhouetted on the top of a hill. The American-Indian wars took place from the 1600’s to early 1900’s.

As a small child, I was always especially interested in this story, since Eliza Johnson was my great-grandmother, and another of her daughters, my grandmother Jessie, was scripturally speaking still in the loins of her father (cp Heb 7:5,10), and the womb of her mother, at that time. The reader may well imagine how I felt, when it dawned on me that Eliza’s survival of the Indian attack was crucial to my own existence too. Since Grandma hadn’t been born yet, Mom couldn’t have been born either, and I was a long, long way from seeing the light of day — so there was a lot riding on that diaper keeping the baby quiet. Every time thereafter when I heard the same story, I listened intently to be sure that it turned out the same way. When it did each time, I was always relieved. The same ending each time seemed to confirm to me that everything was working out well, so far!

Sam and Eliza and Eliza’s mother Priscilla were converted to the truth and baptized, probably in 1879, through listening to debates between the traveling brother Oatman and local preachers. This is reported from Webberville, Texas, by W.A. Oatman in The Christadelphian for January 1880. Webberville still exists as a very small community just east of Austin.

Sam is said to have waited patiently through several nights of discussions, wondering when his preacher (from the “Disciples of Christ”, now known as “Church of Christ”) was going to bring out his best arguments and demolish this Christadelphian “heretic”. Finally, however, he realized that no more arguments were forthcoming. So he sought out brother Oatman and said, “Please show me what the Bible really teaches.”

This is where my great-grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, spent their last years. It is also on the Johnson Ranch property, and very near the Johnson Family Cemetery.
This is where my great-grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, spent their last years. It is also on the Johnson Ranch property, and very near the Johnson Family Cemetery.

Sam Johnson was an extraordinary character– one of those men who, with his wife by his side, tamed a frontier wilderness and made it a home. He left a mark on the land and the people who followed. He was a cattle rancher and trail-driver, raising and buying cattle that he and his brother herded north over the cattle trails through Oklahoma and Kansas, to the railhead for shipment to St Louis and Chicago and the big eastern cities. He made a fortune, lost a fortune, and repeated the process again in a highly volatile and risky business. In between, he was active in state politics and campaigned for a seat in the Texas State Legislature, but apparently saw public service as a passing duty to be discharged, not a career.

To be continued.


This post is part of a series authored by brother George Booker. Click here to see all previous posts in the series.

New Series: Memories of the Hill Country

A few weeks ago, I wrote about US President Johnson’s relationship with the Christadelphians and how that impacted Israel’s Six Day war.

The post received much attention, but I was especially intrigued after writing the post to receive an email from a relative of the subject; brother George Booker, the grandson of Sister Jessie Hatcher who is the “Aunt Jessie” of the story. Readers might already be familiar with two of brother George’s books which were published via the Tidings; “On the Way” (2014) and “A Bible Journal” (2015).

Since making contact, brother George has accepted an invite to publish a series on this blog which will cover the beginnings of the first Christadelphian American settlers in Texas and their growth right through to the time of President Johnson and beyond.

Its a story that begins with the preaching of the truth in the mid 1800’s amongst a settler community on the very frontier of civilisation. The wild landscape of Texas – as beautiful as it was – didn’t come without trial and hardship for those seeking to build a home and make a living. The challenges of the American civil war and the scuffles between the Cowboys and Indians came to bear on the community, but never stopped the work of the truth. Back then, our brothers and sisters had much to contend with. Their means were small, but their efforts to preach, were tremendous.

So please, join us, as we follow the journey of the Texas Christadelphians through to recent times, and also reflect on the family who later surrounded and impressed US President Johnson with a love of Israel.

I’m sure Bro. George would appreciate any comments or questions, so if anything comes to mind, don’t hesitate to post it in the comments section.

All posts in the series will be located via this link:

https://prophecyandnews.com/resources/authored-series/memories-of-the-hill-country/

The first post in the series will be published soon.

In Christ,

Bro. Michael