“Whereby are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises that by these ye might be a partaker of the divine nature; having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” II Peter 1:4.
During my recent trip to Jerusalem, I sat on a large stone beside an ancient olive tree on the Mount of Olives. The Holy Spirit of God kept shouting into my spirit, “Jesus is coming soon!” In my sixty-three trips to the Holy Land, I have not heard that before.
I opened my Bible and began to read Matthew 24. In verse two Jesus warned the Israelites that the temple would be dismantled stone by stone. The Romans, under Titus, razed it in 70 AD. In verse three, Jesus’ disciples prodded him for more information:
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
He answered with a lengthy discourse on the signs of the end of the age and of the Gentile domination of Jerusalem. After years of exile and dispersal among the nations, Gentile rule over the Jewish homeland ended on May 14, 1948 when Israel was reborn.
Isaiah asked the question, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children.”
In Psalm 102:16, we are reminded that “When the Lord shall build up Zion then shall He appear in His Glory.”
Another sign of the end time is deception. Luke wrote of Jesus’ warning: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.”(21:8)
Jesus gave the disciples another yardstick with which to measure the march toward the end time:
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
In other words, it would be life as usual. People would be going about the mundane chores of living – eating, drinking, marrying, working, playing – when Jesus would step out on the clouds of glory and declare that time would be no more.
Not wanting to leave them comfortless, Jesus encouraged his followers by telling them that when they saw those things begin to come to pass – earthquakes, wars, threats of war, famine – they were to look up, for their redemption was drawing nigh.
Jesus’ account sounds suspiciously like it came straight from today’s headlines or weather reports. In a recent newspaper article, the author wrote of a threat to shipping traffic: “An island of ice is drifting across the Arctic Ocean…” He also wrote of other phenomenon, “It’s been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc…with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia.” We can add to the list volcanic eruptions, floods, devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and/or conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Balkans, Uzbekistan, Angola, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Kashmir, among other areas. It seems even the more liberal media recognize the biblical aspects of world events today.
Many believe the number one threat to world peace today is Iran. Several months ago, I spoke at the Israeli Knesset and at a major Israel university on that subject. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed that Israel would be wiped from the map, which in and of itself is interesting: Israel as a country does not appear on maps in Muslim countries.
It was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who said of Israel’s enemies, “They have the oil, but we have the matches.” Those “matches” would include ballistic missiles, Temple weapons, the Samson Option, and other means of self-defense. The truth remains that Iran is a screwdriver turn away from having nuclear capabilities, and Israel is in its crosshairs. How long will it be before Israel has to assume the responsibility for stopping Iran from launching missiles capped with atomic warheads?
I have stood with Israel at The Hague, in Geneva, Switzerland, in Madrid, Spain, in Amsterdam, and wherever the occasion arises to support the Jewish people. I met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s spiritual advisor in New York City. I’ve read the Iranian president’s speeches at the UN, especially his account of being enveloped in a green aura:
“On the last day when I was speaking, one of our group told me that when I started to say “bismullah Muhammad”, he saw a green light come from around me, and I was placed inside this aura,” he says. “I felt it myself. I felt that the atmosphere suddenly changed and for those twenty-seven to twenty-eight minutes, all the leaders of the world did not blink. When I say they didn’t move an eyelid, I am not exaggerating. They were looking as if a hand were holding them there, and had just opened their eyes.”
When Ahmadinejad came on the scene, I was shocked to hear a repeat of the exact anti-Semite hate rhetoric that first poured out of Hitler’s pre-war Nazi Germany. Horrifyingly, the president of Iran challenges the validity of the Holocaust. How could Ahmadinejad dare to doubt the Holocaust, or suggest that Israel should be moved from the Middle East to be relocated somewhere in Europe? Yet none of this was fiction. Ahmadinejad was serious and his rhetoric was government policy.
When I travel to speaking engagements in the States and abroad, the question I am asked most as I speak at various venues is, “How do you do what you do?”
The answer goes back to three simple words delivered to me by a pastor from Houston, Texas: “Follow your favor.” I was in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas when a man walked up to me, grabbed me by my coat sleeve, and just about scared me witless. He shouted, “Peace, peace, peace! Oh, seed of Israel, the hand of the Lord is upon you. You will be a mighty witness to your people. Out of the pain of your cellar, out of the residue of your wounds, the Light has shined. Follow your favor. When the angel appeared to Mary, he called her ‘highly favored.’ You, too, are highly favored. You must respond as did Mary, ‘Be it unto me according to Your Word.’ That’s how God wants you to respond today.”
That man was John Osteen, founder, and until his death, pastor of Lakewood Church. He was the first man who believed in me. Each time we talked on the phone, he always ended his conversation with “Follow your favor.” After one such chat, John said to me, “Mike, you don’t teach prophecy; you live it. Just continue to follow your favor.”
That favor has taken me to the Kennedy School of Law, the Israeli Knesset, the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Giants Stadium in New York, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mogadishu, Beirut, Jerusalem, Kurdistan, and Iraq to name a few. Because of divine favor, I have been a confidant of most of Israel’s prime ministers and Jerusalem’s mayors. I have met kings, queens, and princes; presidents, sheikhs and queens. During the first Persian Gulf War, I was invited to travel briefly with Crown Prince General Khaled bin Sultan, the commander of the Joint Allied Forces along with General Norman Schwarzkopf.
How can you follow your favor and activate the promises of God in your life? First, your life must be pure before Him; your heart must be hungry for the things of God; and you must be obedient to His Word. If you harden your heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit and are not faithful over the small assignments, don’t expect to get promoted to larger assignments.
II Corinthians 1:20 encourages us: “For ALL the promises of God in him are “Yes” and “Amen” (so be it) unto the glory of God by us.”
I am asking you to activate your faith, to claim the more than 1,200 promises in God’s Word. You are a believer; vanish doubt. Let the seed of faith take root in you. I believe God is about to release a new level of favor in your life. He is going to give you the desires of your heart according to Psalm 37:4. The promises on which you have been standing for years are about to come to fulfillment.
God is going to do a new thing in your life. Shall you not know it? It will supersede anything he did in the past. He is going to make a way in your wilderness and rivers in your desert. The Scripture speaks of the glory of the latter days being greater than the former.
Your potential is defined only by God’s promises. He said in Jeremiah 1:5:
“Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew you and before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
And in I Peter 2:9:
“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
The scripture reveals that the glory of the latter days shall be greater than the glory of the former days. What God did for your parents or grandparents was good, but what God is getting ready to do through you will be much greater. The promotion you were so thrilled with ten years ago, the restoration that took place with one of your children five years ago, the revival in your life twelve years ago, is nothing compared with what God is about to do in and through you now.