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AWAITING REDEMPTION

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Isaiah 51:11 "The redeemed of the LORD shall return and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head."

There are basically two Hebrew root words used in different forms to speak of redemption. These two roots are ga'al
and padah. The first of these, ga'al, is most often used when speaking of the act of redemption by payment of a ransom for something that has been lost,

The other word, padah, conveys the idea of redeeming something or someone before it becomes lost. Something of value must be paid to ensure this preservation, thus the act of redemption.

The root of "redeemed" in the above instance is padah and, thus, there is a hint that the "redeemed" spoken of here have been preserved from something and are returning, not to do battle with their enemies, but are coming into Zion with joyful singing.

I suggest to you that this is speaking of the time when Messiah gathers his elect "from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:31). In other words, at the advent of the Messianic era. And what is it that these have been preserved from? It would seem that it is from the last day Pharaoh, the Antichrist, who sought to destroy them.

Remember that the first Pharaoh convinced his countrymen that, because the Hebrews were multiplying in the land, they were becoming a great threat. He even convinced the Egyptians that, should Egypt be attacked, the Hebrews would align themselves with the invaders in an effort to destroyEgypt. Having convinced his countrymen of its necessity, he was able to enslave the Hebrews.

Now, jump ahead some 3,500 years to the mid 1960s. For several years, the Ba'th Party - Resurrection Party - (the party of Saddam Hussein) had been making advances in the Arab Middle East. Ba'thi philosophy was one of Pan-Arabism; a single Arab people whose identity transcended race or family ties. The united Arab people were to avenge 300 years of humiliation by erasing the artificial borders of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan andIraq created by the West.

They dreamt of a single Arab state extending from the Taurus mountains in Turkey to the Atlas mountains in Western Africa to the tip of theArabian peninsula in the east. And, oh yes, that meant thatIsrael, a colonial creation intended to fragment the Arab peoples had to be eliminated.

To those Arab states surrounding her, the tiny Jewish state was a recurrent source of humiliation and a constant catalyst for unrest in the Arab street. Realizing the opportunities for prestige this presented within the Islamic world, the distinguished and eloquent Gamal Abdel Nasser, dictatorial leader ofEgypt, incited Arabs to rise up and follow his leadership.

It was he who encouraged Pan-Arabism for the sake of a) removing the traces of Western imperialism from the Middle East and b) destroyingIsrael. All of his rhetoric came to a head in June 1967.

The Six Day War is the watershed event inMiddle East politics. The Yom Kippur War, the Lebanon War, the controversy over settlements and the final status ofJerusalem, the Oslo Accords, the intifadah - all were the result of that brief war almost forty years ago.

I suggest to you that the Six Day War, a war in which Jerusalem was liberated from the hands of the Islamic world by the way, was the direct result of an attempt by the Arab world to become as one with the goals of diminishing the power of the West and destroying the nation ofIsrael.

Now, just a few short years from the fortieth anniversary of this landmark event, that same message - unity for the sake of the very same goals - is being repeated throughout the Islamic world.

Just recently, at the opening of the 10th Islamic Summit Conference,Malaysia's Prime Minister declared, "Today, we, the whole Muslim community are treated with contempt and dishonor. Our religion is denigrated. Our holy places desecrated. Our countries are occupied.

For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think then we could have devised a plan ... that can win us final victory. Today the Jews rule this world by proxy."

He went on to say that, "We are now 1.3 billion strong....We need guns, rockets, bombs, warplanes, tanks and warships."

At the conclusion of his presentation, the PM received a standing ovation from the congregants, comprised of leaders from almost every Muslim nation, including our "ally" Hamid Karzai ofAfghanistan.

His overall message was clear; for Arab nations to quit the infighting and come together for the good of the Islamic world. At the very least he implied that some sort of confederation of Arab states, armed to the teeth, would produce more fruit, namely the expulsion of Islam's enemies from their lands - read America here - and the elimination of Israel.

In short, like Pharaoh of long ago, Islam is concerned that "the Hebrews" should not be allowed to grow any stronger. As far as Islam is concerned, the time has come to deal "shrewdly with them" and remove any Israeli threat to their agenda. That means war is coming.

David Ben Gurion was always convinced thatIsrael would eventually have to face the emergence of a strong and charismatic individual, another Salah al din, who could unite the Arab world for war. In my opinion, that is exactly what Islamic leaders are clamoring for. I am convinced that is precisely what is going to happen - a last day Pharaoh capable of uniting all of Islam against ALL OF ISRAEL!

Yet, if war is coming that means that redemption is near. Y'shua said, when these things begin to occur, "Look up, for your redemption draws near." Isaiah has prophesied that at some future time, "the redeemed of the LORD" - those preserved from the evil day - will return to Zion, not with war chants but with songs of praise. That can only mean that Y'shua has returned by this time and demolished the enemies ofIsrael.

WhenIsrael began to cry out because of the burdens the Egyptians had imposed on them, the LORD remembered His promise to their fathers and delivered them with a mighty hand. There were certainly dark days during that time, yet, even as Egypt groped in darkness, there was light in Goshen.

Through Isaiah and all of the prophets, God has promised that He will once again redeem - preserve - His people in the coming days of darkness. Frankly, our only hope is the return of the Messiah. Therefore, it is interesting to note that, to "await redemption" in Hebrew is, tzapeh liyeshuah or "await Y'shua." Even so, come quickly Lord Y'shua!

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