Israel’s Future

There are various political and religious events in Israel which will have serious implications for the country in the immediate future. The Bible gives us clear indications of where the present events will lead to.

Dividing the land

A very significant event in Israel during 2005 was the beginning of the dividing up of Israel’s land between themselves and the Palestinians. Various Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank area were evacuated and demolished to provide land to the emerging Palestinian state. This was a violation of the divine mandate which Israel holds on the land. The Lord said to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He gives the land to them and their descendants forever (cf. Gen. 17:8). However, in 2005, Israel’s own government yielded to international pressure, particularly from the US, by giving away parts of their God-given land.

Since God says in Joel 3:2 that He will judge the nations that persecute Israel and divide their land, we should expect that judgements will befall countries such as the US. There were indeed exceptionally big hurricanes that lashed the shores of America shortly after the forced withdrawals in Israel, driving many more Americans from their houses and businesses and forcing them to seek temporary shelter in other places. Americans were hoist with their own petard.

The unbiblical evacuations in Israel also have implications for their own government because they gave their approval to plans which are contrary to God’s promises to Israel. The (former) prime minister, Mr. Sharon, has formed a new political party (Kadima), thereby splitting the Likud party. That will lead to the further political weakening of Israel and the undermining of government by frail and unstable coalitions. The new government might even be prepared to divide Jerusalem by relinquishing large parts of East-Jerusalem.

Political instability

Israel is on the threshold of even bigger political instability. Various members of the Knesset followed the wavering Mr. Sharon to the new party after yielding to international pressure to concede parts of the land of Israel. The conservative Benjamin Netanyahu, a former prime minister of Israel, is the new leader of Likud. But, suddenly, Sharon was removed from the political scene by a massive stroke. What will happen now?

Many Israeli’s do not regard the acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, as politically strong but as a man who mainly seeks his own honour. He blindly follows Sharon’s compromising, and is quoted as having said: “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being heroes, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.” That is the language of a person who wants peace at any cost, even at the cost of his own nation’s future in the land which God gave to their fathers by way of clear promises.

Olmert will, therefore continue with the political treason that was committed against Israel in 2005 by the forced withdrawal from Gasa and four of Samaria’s northern towns. The final objective with this policy is to withdraw from all West Bank areas by 2009, while also dividing Jerusalem. In this way, Israel’s enemies are accommodated in strategic areas. Terrorist groups are already deploying members unhindered in the evacuated areas of Gasa and Samaria, while also importing weapons through their common border-post with Egypt.

Why did Sharon, Israel’s “bulldozer,” get feet of clay and capitulated in the end? In doing so, he turned his back upon election promises which he made in 2000, in which he solemnly promised that he would never divide the land or the city of Jerusalem. The fact is that although he was a military hero during various wars, Sharon was not a religious Jew with strong and non-negotiable principles.

Like many other countries in the world, Israel suffers because of poor and untrustworthy leadership. A power vacuum has been formed, causing the general public to long for strong and committed leadership. Everywhere in the world, people yearn for stable, honest government and the maintaining of law and order. This applies particularly also to Israel. Their own government no longer honours Biblical injunctions on Israel’s territorial integrity, their leaders cannot be trusted, and their country is in the grip of an escalating terrorist war, while their government, under American pressure, is making self-destructive concessions to their enemies. Lawlessness among their youth, because of a lack of moral guidance, also takes on disturbing proportions. All these factors increase the lack of faith in the government.

An alternative religious government

The political distrust in Israel is so serious that orthodox Jews are, for a considerable time already, busy preparing for a future, religiously-based government. A modern Sanhedrin of 71 members was called into being, consisting mainly of religious leaders as well as academics who recognise the Torah as the basis of Israel’s constitution and form of government. They see it as their first priority to restore Israel’s weakened identity and sense of religion, and also to rebuild the temple as a symbol of Israel’s religious, cultural and political life.

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Sanhedrin said that it is fitting for the new council to seriously consider the building of the temple, as the temple is a central concern in the forming of a strong Jewish identity. He also referred to the fact that Ariel Sharon has withdrawn from certain Jewish areas, thereby abandoning the dream of Jewish self-determination in its historical territories. The Sanhedrin is seeking ways to strengthen the roots of the Jewish religion by uniting Israel around the temple service and the Torah. They aim at re-establishing the Sanhedrin as the supreme authority in the country, as it was in biblical times.

The conflict of religions

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians indeed has strong political and military dimensions but it is fundamentally a struggle between Judaism and Islam. The present terrorist struggle (Intifada) started in 2000 after Mr. Sharon visited the Temple Mount. It is known as the Al Aqsa Intifada, referring to the large mosque in the southern part of the Temple Mount. The only remnant from Israel’s former temple buildings is the so-called Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, where Jews often lament the destruction of the temple and pray for its rebuilding and also for the coming of the Messiah.

Contrary to irrefutable evidence, the Palestinian Authority claims on their website that the Western Wall belongs to Islam and not to Israel. They refer to the wall as Al-Boraq. According to a Muslim legend, Mohammed tied his horse to this wall when he ascended to heaven and later returned with a message from Allah to establish his new faith everywhere. However, there are nor references in the Koran to this incident, neither to the Al-Boraq wall, or even to Jerusalem, which is called Al-Quds by the Muslims. But there are more than 700 references in the Bible to Jerusalem as a Jewish city.

Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, who is also a member of the Sanhedrin, says: “The Palestinian Authority’s claim of ownership of the Western Wall has far-reaching implications for Israel. Their denial of the existence of the Jewish Temple is part of their campaign to destroy all evidence of a Jewish association with the Temple Mount, with Jerusalem and with the land of Israel. According to them, no evidence of previous temples was found in archaeological digs near the Western Wall. For several years now, Islam is busy destroying evidence of the existence of the first and second temples in order to invalidate Israel’s claim to the Temple Mount. Large amounts of archaeological material have already been recovered and destroyed.”

Sheikh Riyad Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, also actively proclaims the principles of the Islamic revolution. “We are on the threshold of an Islamic revolution,” he told Arabs in Jerusalem. The world-wide powers of evil will be eliminated in an Islamic revolution and replaced by an Islamic world empire with Jerusalem as capital.” Salah’s organisation contributed towards efforts to renovate the mosques on the Temple Mount, and to destroy Jewish antiquities on the same site. Thousands of young Arabs participate in the party’s youth movement under the banner, “Meetings to Proclaim Revolution.” This movement recently displayed a banner on the Temple Mount near the Dome of the Rock, with the words, “Revolution is a Command of Allah.” The youth were greeted by other members of the party with the words: “Next year in Jerusalem under the command of the Islamic revolution.”

All Muslim states in the Middle East render active assistance to the Palestinian Authority and various other Islamic pressure groups to take full control over the entire Israel, including Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The concessions which the Jewish government makes to the Palestinians and to Islam in general for the establishment of a Palestinian state, are made under the pressure of the US and only constitute the first step towards the annihilation of Israel and the establishment of Islamic Palestine in its place. America’s Road Map to peace in the Middle East is really a Road Map towards the weakening and ultimate destruction of Israel. The European Union, Russia and the UN also support this policy.

The Hamas victory

The political defeat leading to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of Samaria was followed by a resounding victory by their long-time enemies, Hamas, during Palestinian elections at the end of January 2006. The two events are directly linked. Hamas claimed all the credit for the “liberation” of the occupied areas, thereby winning the hearts and minds of Palestinians who seek revenge against Israel for their vicious counter-attacks over many years, and who all believe that the struggle must continue.

It is a well-known fact that Hamas do not recognise the existence of Israel and seeks the destruction of the entire Jewish state. They are supported in their quest by radical Islamic groups in various countries. Strong support is forthcoming from Syria and Iran, and also from certain groups in Egypt. There are a number of non-Islamic countries that show interest in Hamas and indicated their willingness to engage in bilateral talks – foremost of these countries is Russia.

The end-times are indeed upon Israel and the whole world. The Lord said, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:2). The Jewish state and Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemies who are committed to its destruction. The Lord will intervene, but not before a partial devastation of Jerusalem by the enemy forces (Zech. 14:2-3).

New terrorist bases

Apart from the strengthening and “legitimising” of Hamas there are also other Islamic terrorist groups that benefited from the Jewish withdrawal. The Hezbollah group which is financed by Iran moved their operational command centre from Beirut to Gaza after Israel has withdrawn from this area in September. Instructions are now issued from the new centre, together with the transfer of money, to terrorists in the West Bank area for operations in Judea and Samaria. They also recruit local members for their group.

In spite of Israel’s political compromises they still observe their military policy of an eye for an eye. When suicide bomb attacks are made or rockets are launched on settlements, Israel’s reprisals are fierce and unwavering – both on the houses and families of the suicide bombers and on the leaders of the groups that are responsible for their actions.

The threat from outside

The situation in the Middle East is presently very explosive. On the last Friday of Ramadan 2005, the president of Iran made a call that Israel should be wiped off the world map. He is the third president of revolutionary Iran since the Ayatollah Khomeini who called for the total destruction of Israel. In the meantime, Iran is further developing its nuclear technology, which means that they will soon have the capacity to execute their threats. They are also fanatically against the USA and England.

America realises the big threat that Iran poses to Israel but they are punch-drunk after their experience in Iraq. A recent US military report states it clearly that the US does not consider using diplomatic or military means to make Iran abandon its nuclear development programme. In the report titled “Getting ready for a nuclear-ready Iran” the view is held that the dismantling of Israel’s nuclear weapons is the only way of averting a nuclear race in the Middle East. It is suggested that activities at Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona are stopped and the plant opened for inspections by the International Nuclear Energy Agency. Israel must then request other countries in the region to do the same.

Israel has never admitted or denied that they have nuclear weapons, but they did say that they would never be the first to use such weapons. They will only use it in counter-attacks. There are indications that Israel is planning attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2006. Israel has advanced robot technology and they are presently developing an unmanned long-distance aircraft that will be much cheaper than the American Global Hawk.

Israel’s population

A very important factor which has a close bearing on Israel’s political and religious status is their representative position in world Jewry. Of the 14 million Jews in the world there are 5,5 million in Israel and an estimated 5,8 million in the USA. When Israel has the largest single Jewish population in the word, i.e more than the American Jews, they will, according to orthodox Jews, be representative and have the right to take binding decisions on behalf of all Jews pertaining to matters such as the rebuilding of the temple and the conclusion of a covenant with the Messiah. Israel will be in this position in the next two or three years – a position which last prevailed in the first century before Israel was nearly destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, driven from their land and the temple completely demolished, with the exception only of the Western Wall.

Biblical assessment

It is important to assess secular events in Israel from a biblical perspective, as that gives sure and clear indications of the nature of future developments. The following biblical statements can be made:

The false messiah. Israel’s spiritual blindness as a nation will prevail until they will, according Daniel 9:27, conclude a seven-year covenant with the false messiah – wrongly assuming that he is the true Messiah. The Lord Jesus has warned them against the Antichrist: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive” (John 5:43). In this fatal decision, deceived political and spiritual leaders will be in full agreement with one another.

Rebuilding of the temple. Israel will, under the guidance of the false messiah, rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. It will be done in the spirit of the continued rejection of the true Messiah’s once for all sacrifice for the sins of the world on the cross (cf. John 1:29). The Antichrist will have the further objective with the rebuilt temple of showing himself to be God in the Holy of holies. Paul says he will exalt himself above God “so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4).

Jewish escape. Israel’s seven-year covenant with the false messiah will be revoked in the middle of the seven years when this leader, to the utter dismay of Israel, claims to be God. According to Matthew 24:15-22 and Revelation 12:6,14-16, they will be pursued by the false messiah’s army and flee to the wilderness where the Lord will protect a remnant of them. This nation is heading for big troubles because of their persistent rejection of the Messiah. Better times will only dawn when they look on Him [the Messiah] whom they have pierced and mourn for Him (Zech. 12:10).

Modern Jihad. The intense conflict between Islam and Judaism will continue and further escalate. A modern version of the declaration of war by Israel’s enemies in Psalm 83:4 will be issued: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” This declaration of war will target all Jews on earth, as well as the nations and individuals that would dare to support them. The modern jihad will, therefore, be very comprehensive.

Full-scale war. Israel’s conflict with Iran will have very serious consequences. It may very well lead to clashes that might cause the great war of Ezekiel 38 and 39. According to this prophecy, various Muslim countries, among them Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia and Libya, will invade Israel under the leadership of Russia. Ezekiel 38:8 and 16 says that this war will occur in the end-time, when a great company of enemies will cover Israel like a cloud and threaten it with total destruction. Ezekiel 39:1-12 says the Lord will destroy the invading forces and it will take Israel seven months to bury all the corpses.

The Messiah. The critical factor in all these events is the Messiah, Jesus. He is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (Luke 2:34). The future of Israel and all other nations on earth depends on their relationship with Jesus Christ. We are heading for eternal ruin if we do not know Him as our personal Saviour, but to those who truly know Him He is the resurrection and the life. He said: “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Matt. 11:6).

Prayer. Do you wish to pray for Israel? Then pray that they might be reconciled with the Messiah. Jerusalem will not have enduring peace without its true King. Without Him, they will conclude a covenant with the false messiah, which will be a covenant with death. This road will only lead to sorrows and death. Israel did not realise what they were doing when they said’ “His blood be upon us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). The present generation of orthodox Jews do not refer to Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah) but they describe Him as Yemach Shemo (“May His name and memory be obliterated”). This spiritual rebellion will continue until they find themselves in the time of Jacob’s trouble (the great tribulation). Then only, as a remnant of the nation, they will diligently seek their rejected Messiah (Jer. 30:7; Hos. 5:14–6:2).

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