Watch, Warn, Plant, and Pray :: By Cynthia Nuara

The blood moon eclipse on January 20/21 (seen in North and South America in its totality and either totally or partially elsewhere) has caused a lot of talk as to its significance. However, all total lunar eclipses tend to have a rusty-red tinge, hence the term. The blood moon spoken of in scripture will occur during the Tribulation when there will be natural disasters of unimaginable proportions. The brethren in Christ will be raptured before this occurs. And though it’s relatively rare that the eclipse occurred on a supermoon, something significant did occur on January 20 that appears to be the real reminder of where we are on God’s timeline with Israel.

In the daylight hours (Israel time) on January 20, an Iranian missile from Syria was launched toward the southern slopes of Mt. Hermon in the Golan, which was packed with Israeli skiers. Fortunately, the Iron Dome intercepted it. In response, Israel launched an unusual daylight attack on Iranian targets surrounding Damascus in Syria, and another after sundown. The attacks were acknowledged by Israel, which is also unusual, and the strikes were said to have been quite destructive.

No doubt, there has been a serious step-up lately in what is going on in the Middle East. Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel explains it in his update at this link.

Interestingly, these strikes occurred immediately before and during the beginning of the traditional Jewish holiday Tu B’Shvat (The New Year of the Trees). It is a one-day holiday that began as the sun went down on January 20. Prophetically significant? Perhaps not, but it does remind us of certain scriptures, as we will see.

According to the site Hebrew4Christians, this day is associated with the beginning of spring in Israel when the earliest-blooming trees begin their fruit-bearing cycle. When the ancient Temple stood in Jerusalem, Tu B’Shvat served as the day the firstfruits of the trees that had turned 4-years-old were brought as offerings (Leviticus 19:23-25, 26:3-4).

This practice was discontinued after the destruction of the second Temple in 70 AD, followed by the Romans actively driving the Jews from their homeland.

This 70- to 80-year (Psalm 90-10) generation bore witness to the re-blossoming of the nation of Israel (May 14, 1948). Israel was a desolate wasteland before the Jews returned. Ezekiel 38-8 speaks of this as well as other scriptures that speak of last days events. Here are just two of those examples:

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1).

“Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel… Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things” (Jeremiah 31:5).

Between 1948 and 1951, the largest migration ever to reach the shores of modern Israel occurred.

“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them… Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he” (Jeremiah 31:8-11).

When the Jews returned to Israel, one of the first things they did was to plant trees. Tu B’Shvat now serves as a national arbor day in which new trees are planted and the rebirth of the Jewish homeland is celebrated. It is customary to eat the firstfruits of the Land of Israel on this date. – source

It is those who are in Christ who have the firstfruits of the Spirit. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23).

Is creation groaning these days? Yes, with greater intensity and frequency. And contrary to what the global government pushers would have people believe, it’s not caused by man and cows.

Here is another passage that speaks of the Jews returning to Israel in the last days, which will see “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (also known as Daniel’s 70th week and the Tribulation):

“For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again (reverse) the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it…

“For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished…

For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after… Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it” (excerpts from Jeremiah 30).

Armageddon will occur in the lifetime of those who witness the return of the Jews to their homeland after worldwide dispersion (Joel 3).

Though the eclipse that just occurred is not the one since the Tribulation has not yet begun, looking up at the skies likely reminded the brethren of the glorious moment that will occur one day soon, when Christ will appear in the clouds to take us Home to glory (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

This step-up in activities regarding Israel and Syria would appear to be leading up to the eventual fulfillment of Isaiah 17 when Damascus will be annihilated in one night. Other parts of Syria and northern Israel will suffer as well when this occurs. The prophesied nations will shortly thereafter attack Israel. But God will personally intervene in a spectacular way and destroy the invaders.

We can assume that the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39 will occur during the prophesied “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Daniel’s 70th week; the Tribulation). Why is that? Because the last seven years (Daniel’s 70th week) – before Christ’s physical return to Earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom – is set aside to turn the still mostly secular Israel back to God. The fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39 will do just that:

“So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done,’ says the Lord God. ‘This is the day of which I have spoken’” (Ezekiel 39:7-8).

All, be they Jew or Gentile, that are left to face the Tribulation will be without excuse.

Israel is the key to last days prophecy. As prophesied, the attention of the whole world is on Israel (Zechariah 12). This chapter speaks of the destruction of the nations that come against Israel – and Israel’s recognition of the Messiah, Christ Jesus.

In the following verses in Luke 21, Jesus was speaking to the Jews, as the church did not officially begin until Pentecost (in Acts); however, we all are seeing the beginning of the prophesied convergence of signs that tell us we are in the very last days when God’s wrath will be poured out on the unbelieving world during the tribulation.

“And they (the disciples) asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said… Ye shall hear of wars and commotions… Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven…

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

“And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled… Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (see Luke 21:7-32).

As for those in Christ:

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

May we with urgency watch and warn, plant the seed of the Gospel to as many as we can (Romans 10:9-10), and pray that it bears fruit in the form of changed lives.

“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37).