Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Sep 19, 2011

Israel’s Fickle Friends

The nation of Israel has always had a shortage of friends in the world. Recent changes in the Middle East have left Israel feeling all the more isolated. The friends it still has are not as dependable as they once were.

What has changed the most is a shift toward a more radical version of Islam. The people of the Middle East are turning to religious organizations through the ballot box or revolution because they offer hope over secular governments that have been traditionally corrupt. West nations are choosing to placate the new Islamic threat by penalizing Israel.

Under this realignment, the first friendship to go was the one Israel had with Turkey. The Turkish government officially ended relations with Israel over the Netanyahu government's refusal to apologize for storming the Mavi Marmara ship that ran Israel ’s blockade of Gaza. The real reason for the break was the election of a radical Islamic government in Turkey. Once the Islamic Party gained the upper hand in 2007, it was looking for a reason to end all diplomatic ties with Israel.

The relationship between Israel and Egypt was the next to go. In 1977, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially recognize Israel. An important part of the peace treaty was Israel giving back the Sinai Peninsula, a land area larger than all of Israel. The peace was often described as a "cold peace." There has been very little trade between the two nations. The Egyptian army has regularly conducted simulated military exercises against an "enemy" Israel.

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 has put the future of the 1977 treaty into doubt. The new Egyptian government would like to reassess or void any agreement with Israel. Just last week, Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said that "A peace deal with Israel was not sacred." Egypt's commitment to its treaty was put into further doubt by a mob attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, forcing all its personnel to return home to Israel .

Europe in general has been fading as a dependable friend to Israel because of the growing Islamic influence in Europe. The change is not just the result of Middle East oil wealth. Europe itself is becoming more Islamic through immigration, and its citizenry that bows toward Mecca each day is demanding that the government take a harsher tone with Israel.

America’s commitment to Israel came into question the day it elected Barack Obama. When he won the vote, one of the first things he did was reach out to the Arab world. I think the greatest damage Obama has done was in May when he became the first American president to formally endorse the policy calling for Israel's return to pre-1967 borders. Obama may soon top himself by failing to veto the upcoming vote on Palestinian statehood in the UN.

I was looking at news stories on America’s relationship with Israel and ran across a statement in The Guardian that said, “Barack Obama has good reason to ask what the present Israeli government has ever done for him.” The British press is probably the most anti-Semitic news organization outside of the Middle East, so I would expect it to pose such a quandary. Why not ask, "What has the Arab world has done for us?"

It has done plenty for us. It killed thousands of our citizens in terrorist attacks, we have a war tab of $2 trillion, and it is constantly looking for ways to undermine our freedom. In contrast, we get mad at Israel when it rebuffs our meddling into its housing construction policy.

The Bible says that in the last days, Israel will have no friends who are willing to stand with it. I would hope that economic implosion caused by the Rapture is the reason the U.S. does not come to aid Israel. Any politician who claims to be a believer should know that when we support Israel, we are showing our commitment to the promises that God made to the Jewish people. If we betray that trust, we will suffer the Lord’s wrath.

“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel , saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem . And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

-- Todd

Fascinating Prophetic Details Part I

We have been observing prophetic developments in these Nearing Midnight commentaries for years. So, why present an article on prophetic matters in an over-all sense as if it was covering something new?

I hope, in this multi-part essay, to do something significantly different. Rather than look in a broad, general way at the major issues we cover so often, I want to take a look at the fascinating, specific way these prophecies have been brought into focus at a time I believe is the very end of this dispensation, the Age of Grace (Church Age)--i.e., I want to look at some of the more intricate details of the dynamics and circumstances that have shaped each of the major prophecies for this very hour.

Geopolitical Details

Modern Israel, as we consistently say, is the number-one signal of where this generation stands on God’s prophetic timeline. That nation is, therefore, the best example in the geopolitical arena to use for focusing on details of issues and events shaping the stage-setting for Bible prophecy fulfillment. The student who watches Bible prophecy develop from the premillennial, pretrib viewpoint has, with clarity others can’t see, I think, seen Israel come back into its own land, with its ancient national language restored. It did so following a miraculous rebirth into modernity on a single day, just as prophesied (Isa. 66: 6-9). The intricate details of the amazing rebirth are there to be gleaned by the hundreds, if not thousands.

Pressured in AD 135 through genocidal action by Roman Emperor Hadrian to leave their homeland given them by God, the Jews scattered into many nations of the world. God’s chosen people never truly found peace; rather, they mostly encountered persecution and death during the intervening centuries leading to coming back in large numbers following the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

Hitler’s perpetration of genocide upon the Jews during the time leading up to and through World War II, culminating in the Holocaust, shamed the world into allowing a Jewish state to be reborn. What Satan meant for evil in trying to thwart God’s promise to Israel being fulfilled, God turned into good. However, demonic rage by the false religion of Islam continued to fester, breaking into all-out warfare against Israel on numerous occasions. God Gave Israel the victory in every instance that nation was attacked.

Now, to look at the clearly observable, detailed kinds of prophetic movement wrought by recent events involving the modern Jewish state. Zechariah the prophet declared the whole world will turn against Israel and Jerusalem, in particular, at the end of human history. Israel’s refusal to give in to demands by the Palestinian Authority (PA)--merely the proxy entity for all of Israel’s Islamist Arab and Iranian antagonists-- has brought condemnation of practically every nation on earth.

We’ve all watched the anger spew from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and from the leadership of practically every nation represented in the UN General Assembly. They threaten to grant the PA its request for nationhood, using much of Israel’s land, including East Jerusalem, in which to establish the new country’s capital. The U.S. presidential administration has thus far, in my estimation, shown little more than token interest in opposing this assault on Israel’s sovereignty.

Israel’s only true friends left on the planet consist mostly of evangelical Christians, particularly those who see with the clarity mentioned above through the premillennial, pretrib prism. When the Church–the Body of Christ—is called out of this fallen planet, Israel will be alone, or so it will seem.

But, not so.

At that moment when all seems lost, Michael the archangel will stand for that chosen people (Daniel 12: 1). God Himself will deal with and for His chosen people and the city He equates to the “apple” of His eye. All is shaping into the prophetic picture, with details filling in moment by moment the matters involved in getting to the total fulfillment of every jot and tittle that is foretold. The intricacies of the peace process provide details that fascinate the student of Bible prophecy, for example.

The development of the atomic bomb (an invention of Jewish scientists, incidentally) and the hydrogen bomb, for that matter, has caused a worldwide furor stemming from the Middle East. Israel is at the center of the controversy, of course. Israel has nuclear weaponry and is threatened with extinction–as the Jews always are. They have vowed, “Never again!” Never again will they be subjected to genocide without fighting to the death with those who want every Jew on the planet dead.

Israel is, as of a year ago or so, completely surrounded on all but the Mediterranean side by those whose avowed intention is just that–to eradicate the Jews, thus the nation of Israel.

The world knows that the end of the human race through nuclear war could easily begin at Jerusalem. Thus, that city is ground zero for the entire world’s attention, just as Zechariah and other prophets foretold. Isaiah prophesied that a peace covenant will be made over this very city. It will be a covenant that will, in fact, be made with “death and hell.” It will bring the wrath of God down on the whole world for forcing such an agreement upon His chosen people and upon His most beloved city. (Read Isaiah 28: 15, 18.)

America is at the heart of just such a covenant-producing process. The “Roadmap to Peace” has been a part of world diplomatic jargon for more than a decade now. Jerusalem, with the strong-arming of the diplomatic world to make Israel stop building in that city and with the PA (the Islamist world) demanding that Jerusalem be given over to them, is at the epicenter of the coming earthquake of wrath as foretold by God Almighty through His prophet, Zechariah.

“And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth” (Zechariah 14:12).

God willing, we will continue to look next time at the fascinating details that are filling in more and more of the end-of-the-age prophetic puzzle.