The Isolation and Planned Destruction of Israel

Prof. Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (February 2011)

In the end-time, shortly before the coming of the Messiah, Israel will be forsaken by its former friends and allies, branded as the major stumbling-block towards peace in the Middle East, denounced by the international community for hatred and hard-line policies towards its Arab enemies, and eventually be faced with an Islamic driven Russo/Arab war of annihilation. Directly after the Russo/Arab invasion of Israel, even more troubled times will follow, including the ill-omened and highly deceptive appearance of a false messiah of all faiths.

The entering into a covenant with the Antichrist will, after 3½ years of false peace, give rise to the greatest tribulation of all time, which will last for another 3½ years. The Antichrist’s reign of terror will culminate in the Third World War that will mainly be fought in Israel – particularly in and around Jerusalem. This war, the battle of Armageddon, will be waged against the Messiah of Israel, who is also the Saviour and King of the whole world (cf. Rev. 19:11-19). He has promised to return to Jerusalem, destroy His enemies (including the Antichrist and false prophet), bind the devil for 1000 years, save a remnant of Israel and the nations, reveal His kingdom on earth, and establish the throne for His earthly reign of peace in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4-5, Rev. 19:20-21, 20:1-3; Acts 15:16-17).

The Antichrist and false prophet, commissioned and empowered by Satan, and fully supported by the deceived international community, will defend their new world order against the coming of the true Christ (Rev. 16:13,14,16). However, it will be a futile exercise to fight the One who has all power in heaven and on earth. Progressively the nations of the world are rejecting the Triune God and His people (Israel and the church); therefore, the Lord will gather them in Israel to judge them there for having persecuted Israel by dispersing them from their land and also, in the end-time, trying to divide Israel’s land or completely dispossess them from their land (Joel 3:2). The Gentiles of the past also resisted the gospel message which was first proclaimed in Jerusalem and from there to the entire world (Acts 1:8). By so doing they defied the God of Israel who gave the Jews their land and also destined Jerusalem to be the cradle of Christianity and the capital of a future Messianic state (Ezek. 11:17; Luke 24:46-49; Isa. 2:2-4; Jer. 3:17).

God says that all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:3; 14:2-3), which indicates that Israel will be completely isolated diplomatically and their land also invaded with a view to wiping them off the face of the earth. This situation will be allowed to deteriorate until Israel is in great distress and will cry out: “Our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!” (Ezek. 37:11). That will be the long-term consequence of the fact that Israel has “cut off” the Messiah when He first came to them 2000 years ago (Dan. 9:26; Matt. 23:37-39).

During the coming tribulation, God will not only judge the nations but He will also judge His people, Israel, who have turned their backs upon the Messiah and wandered very far away from His ways of righteousness (Ezek. 22:17-22). Only those Jews and Gentiles who have a relationship with the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour, will escape the judgements of the tribulation period (Luke. 21:36; 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:16-17).

Everyone who heartily accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ, and also believes in the Father who sent Him to the world as Saviour, “has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement” (John 5:24). The Lord Jesus has already paid the penalty for their sins (Isa. 53:5; Rom. 4:25). Their faith and life in Christ acquits them from any form of divine judgements – now as well as in the future: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Such believers will be watchful against the enemy’s deception, particularly also against the antichristian deception of the end-time, and prayerfully maintain their relationship with the Lord Jesus. Because of this, they will be “worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass [on earth during the seven years of tribulation], and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). They wait for God’s Son from heaven, “even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).

All those who remain behind at the rapture will experience problems as never before in the history of the world. Spiritual deception will even before the tribulation period take on the most extreme form imaginable, leading to the widespread falling away of the last days which will manifest in universal apostatising and the self-deification of the Antichrist (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). Millions of deceived people will accept, follow and worship him instead of the true Christ (Rev. 13:3-4). Moral decline in a God-rejecting world will reach its ultimate during the reign of the man of sin (2 Tim. 3:1-5). God will also pour out His judgements upon this depraved world from which the light of the true church had suddenly vanished. That will lead to “a great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And if those days had not been shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matt. 24:21-22).

Shortly before the beginning of the seven-year tribulation the spirit of the Antichrist will already be actively working, causing Israel and evangelical Christianity to be pressurised to abandon their principles and convictions and become part of a multireligious new world order. The true church can look forward to escaping the coming judgements, but Israel (apart from a small group of Messianic believers) is heading for an unprecedented tribulation because of their continued rejection of Jesus as Messiah. A remnant of Israel will ultimately be saved, but not before they have suffered great hardships.

The distress of Israel

Israel’s problems and distress are deepening. The hatred of Jews is on the increase while Israel’s most important ally, the United Sates, is turning a cold shoulder to them under the Obama Administration. Obama’s reluctance to authorise the delivery of military hardware to Israel will weaken their ability to defend themselves against the sophisticated weaponry which has in recent years been acquired by their hostile neighbours. Iran has long-range missiles that can hit any target in Israel, and they are on the verge of producing nuclear warheads.

Most importantly, radical Islamists now see the isolated Israel as a relatively easy target in a war to remove their Zionist enemy from the land called Palestine, which they claim as the sole property of Arab Muslims. Their agenda is to establish undisputed Islamic supremacy in the Middle East and, particularly, over Jerusalem. Without the active backing and assistance of America Israel will probably not survive a united Arab onslaught in the present time – and even less so if the Arabs and their Islamic allies obtain the direct military involvement of Russia. Many Muslims have an eschatological vision to establish an Islamic world state in the Middle East with Jerusalem as capital. For this dream to be realised, Israel must first be dealt with and obliterated.

The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean off the shores of Israel is not an unmixed blessing as it also complicates Israel’s position. Apart from the fact that Lebanon-based terror groups lay claim to a part of this treasure based on the disputed boundary of the two countries’ territorial waters, the land of Israel now has more strategic value and is a much more sought after prize to its enemies.

The end of moderate Egypt

During the early years of the modern Jewish state, Egypt was one of their fierce enemies. They followed a policy which is reminiscent to that of Iran and Syria in the present time. Their deep hostility was particularly evident in the 1967 and 1973 wars against Israel. However, since then Egypt honoured a truce with Israel and even banned radical Islamic parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood. President Mubarak has been a moderate, pro-Western leader, much like King Abdullah of Jordan.

But all that is about to change. The forces of radical Islam are rising against these moderate regimes, and all indications are that they will eventually succeed. From a human point of view, future prospects for Israel are dim. Israel will again be surrounded by deeply hostile nations that will all seek its destruction (Psalm 83). These end-time hostilities and warfare will lead to the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7) during the rule of the false Messiah. True Christians will be removed by way of the rapture before he appears on the scene (2 Thess. 2:6-8).

The final scenario

The time has come when Israel’s enemies, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39, will suddenly mobilise in an all-out effort to deal a deathblow to the Jewish nation. However, to the great surprise of both parties God will intervene and destroy the invading armies on the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 39:1-5). In the face of clear evidence of supernatural intervention, Israel and their Gentile enemies will turn to God with fear and trembling to recognise His supremacy. He will be praised for having intervened to avert a possible third world war.

However, Satan will very cunningly exploit this situation by empowering and sending a false prince of peace in the name of God. This man who will reveal himself in the Middle East, will claim to be the promised Messiah of Israel, the Muslims, the Christians and all other religions. He will indeed be accepted as such and be worshipped by all nations: “And all the world marvelled and followed the beast [who will be the universal false messiah] … and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:3-4).

By virtue of their satanic powers the false messiah and the false prophet will be able to perform great signs and miracles, even making fire to come down from heaven (Rev. 13:11-13). The Antichrist will claim credit for God’s act of destroying the invading forces in Israel by fire (Ezek. 39:1-6) and will therefore be accepted as a Messiah and Prince of Peace with great powers. He will be internationally accepted and soon rise to a position of undisputed leadership and also obtain full control over the world economy (Rev. 13:7,16-18).

The rapture is a very important event in the fulfilment of this end-time scenario. The false, multireligious messiah of the kingdom of darkness can only be revealed after the one who withholds him (the true church as the body of Christ) has been removed from the world by way of the rapture (Luke 21:36; 2 Thess. 2:6-8). That will set the scene for the coming of the Antichrist and the conclusion of a seven-year treaty between him and Israel. It will take the form of a covenant which will confirm this impostor’s position as Messiah, while also allowing Israel to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. All the nations will follow suit under the supposition that all of them, including Israel, worship the same God and are therefore followers of the same world messiah.

The reign of the Antichrist will coincide with divine judgements upon a rebellious and sinful world. Because of these calamities there will be no lasting peace and prosperity during the rule of the false messiah. Dissidents will start revolting against him and even kill him in an assassination attack (Rev. 13:3,12). After he will have been revived again (probably by applying the great powers of Satan and the false prophet), the Antichrist will overtly become very violent and institute an unprecedented military dictatorship on earth, while also deifying himself and forcing all people to worship him as God (Matt. 24:15,21; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:15).

When the true Messiah comes back and sets foot on the Mount of Olives at the end of the great tribulation, He will destroy His enemies and save a remnant of Israel and the nations (Zech. 14:4-5,12-13; Matt. 24:29-30; Zech. 12:10).

The most fundamental reason for the trouble and hardships of Israel and the nations is their self-inflicted estrangement from the true Messiah. He was “destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel” – also among the Gentiles (Luke 2:34). To follow and serve Him is to walk the way of peace and to be heading for heaven. To deny and reject Him is a sure way to be heading for deception, disillusionment and the judgements of God upon all sinners. Why would you land in the evil system of the devil’s false messiah seeing that you have already been invited to come to the true Messiah for forgiveness and a new life? He promised us a heavenly heritage and a home in heaven so wonderful that it defies description (1 Cor. 2:9).