The crisis over President Trump’s Covid diagnosis serves to highlight the growing divergence between God-fearers and those in rebellion against their Creator. I even heard in my spirit, ‘the Beast has been released’, but I will come back to that with a word of explanation.
What I am particularly seeing, however, is a modern-day picture of Elijah’s great contest with the false prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel. All the more so in light of plans to build a temple to Baal in New York City.
Baal in fact represents a host of false deities, but it was King Ahab whom the prophet first put on the spot with the accusation: “You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals.” (1 Kings 18.18) Then Elijah addressed the people: “How long will you waver between two opinions?” (v21)
The prophet was up against 450 challengers, so it was a real David v Goliath situation, but the test of truth was: “The god who answers by fire – he is God.” (v24) And it’s the fire of the Spirit and of judgment to which he is surely referring.
Significantly, Elijah then went about repairing the altar as he reminded the people of their calling. He even asked for huge amounts of water – in the midst of a drought – to be poured on the sacrifice, a sign of absolute trust in the God of Israel to demonstrate his power over nature, and all of creation.
The once-for-all sacrifice for sins of Jesus Christ the righteous is what the current worldwide battle is about – the “war against the Lamb” (Rev 17.14) – with Israel continuing to play a leading role, as the prophets always said they would.
It’s worth noting that the location of the Mt Carmel contest overlooks the great plain of the Jezreel Valley, also known as Armageddon, setting for the battle of the ages when an alliance of nations invading the Jewish state are destroyed, as were the prophets of Baal. (Zech 12.9)
Is Donald Trump, for all his gaffes and apparent clumsiness, being used to ‘repair the altar’, as it were, as he deliberately defies political correctness by attempting to restore a Judeo-Christian agenda to the nation – seeking to recover values around the sanctity of life, for example, but cutting off funding for abortion providers?
He has also recognised the sovereignty of Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, and helped them sign a peace deal with their Arab neighbours. But all the hordes of hell, including a deadly virus, have been summoned to challenge his authority.
Mr Trump has kept his promise to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, and to protect the unborn. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the watching world should know “America’s foundation as a Judeo-Christian nation”, adding: “Faith in the public square is not only lawful but righteous.”
Mocked and ridiculed at every opportunity by a media swamped with empty humanist dogma, Trump has so far refused to budge from his determination to challenge the liberal left. Of course he doesn’t get everything right, but there is something of the no-nonsense spirit of Elijah about him.
For too long, false prophets in the world of media, politics and the church have encroached upon the major institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, refusing to recognise God’s authority. Encouraging immorality and idolatry in all its forms, as successive UK governments have been doing for decades, will lead to the same disaster visited upon those 450 false prophets on Mt Carmel.
Can we not see the bigger picture? That God has raised up a Cyrus figure to help Israel fulfil its destiny and call for a rebuilding of the body of Christ at home.
I’ve no doubt Cyrus was a flawed character, but the Lord ‘moved his heart’ (Ezra 1.1). I have it on good authority that Donald Trump responded to a gospel invitation at the 95th birthday party of the late evangelist Billy Graham in 2013, which means he could still be a relatively new follower of Christ. So give him a break, and pray for him. He carries a heavy burden, but has evidently submitted himself to the One who holds the future.
However you identify the Beast of Revelation, it covers the means by which a torrent of anti-God edicts are passed which will usher in fierce persecution of believers who will be identified by refusing to take some kind of ‘mark’ without which they will not be able to buy or sell (Rev 13.16f) – a scenario that could materialise anytime soon.
But there is a mark that believers should display – that they ‘sigh and cry’ over the detestable practices they see around them. (See Ezekiel 9.1-11). Those who are called to preach the gospel have a duty to warn of the judgment to come.
David Soakell, of Christian Friends of Israel, has produced a short, but shocking, documentary on the horrors of constant bombardment.
Screaming children are seen running for cover in the city of Sderot, close to the Gaza border, where they are not only having to cope with severe Covid restrictions but also with regular rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists. When the siren is sounded warning of an incoming mortar, residents have just 15 seconds to reach a bomb shelter.
Viewers are asked to imagine how they would feel if, for example, they lived in Bristol and had to endure daily rocket-fire from Cardiff, while the rest of the world turned a blind eye.
But this rocket barrage in the south is nothing compared to what lies in store for those who oppose the God of Israel, and his Son Jesus Christ, except the boot will be on the other foot. For the time will come when the armies of many nations will fall under the fiery judgment of God on the plain of Armageddon in the north. (Ezek 38.22 & 39.6)
It’s time to choose whose side we’re on.
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International; and King of the Jews, also available from Christian Publications International.