I’m doing this from memory, but I believe that I read in Sir Martin Gilbert’s epic work, Israel, that the first all-Jewish town (Petah Tikvah) was settled in 1882.
This was a watershed event, and one that has huge implications for us today.
At the time this village was settled, Palestine (so-named by the Romans in the second century, so driven were they to erase any mention of the Jews from the land) was a pretty desolate place.
Revisionist history today disputes even that, but source documents and eyewitness sightings of the time affirm it.
As the Jews began to come back in large numbers—and I hope you will be as stunned by this as I am, as I read the books of the prophets and realize that the story of the Return is DOMINANT—this created a conflict with Muslims in the region who could not embrace the idea of an eventual Jewish state in the Middle East.
Remember, the 20th century was a period of seismic changes in that region, as the European colonial powers pulled-out and formed borders for Muslim tribal clans.
Now, however, we know there are extreme tensions between Israel and her Arab neighbors. But these tensions have existed since at least 1948, when Israel was established. This was also 16 years before the PLO was formed, an interesting/relevant fact that not many people are aware of in the midst of the conflict.
That means that it has been a significant Jewish presence in the region that has been a trigger for unrest.
From humble beginnings in Palestine, to its current status as an elite economic and military power, Israel is itself a divisive issue in our world today. In terms of Bible prophecy, it is the key.
To my Jewish friends who are living witnesses to the power and majesty of God as He reveals Himself through fulfilled prophecy, I say:
I love you. You are no longer fiction, but reality. So let me quote a fictional icon and say: “Live long and prosper!”
Like everyone else, I have a story. I was coming out of a college class on the morning of September 11, 2001. A student was watching a small television set in the lobby, and as we began to understand that something terrible was happening in New York, our class gathered in the basement of the library to watch the morning’s events unfold.
I remember distinctly how alarmed everyone was, and the speculation was that there could be 50,000 or more souls trapped in the Twin Towers.
As it was (I imagine the day was similar to the news of the D-Day landings in 1944, as the nation waited), more than 3,000 lives were lost.
It was quite clear at the time who perpetrated the attacks, and I think the issue has become a dividing line between…Americans. An epic moment that diverted our collective, national history.
That day, a group of people took out their rage against the American people. A superpower of the scale of the United States has to, sadly, defend itself in the court of international opinion, as various peoples rage against the alleged abuses of the “colonialist” Americans.
But the rage cannot erase the fact that America has truly always been a beacon of light and hope for all people, and we say it unashamed. History knows, and even the critics know what America has done for good around the world.
Rebuilt Europe. Constant international aid. Wars of liberation from tyranny. The sharing of life-saving technologies. I don’t have time to write the greatness of the United States of America.
As a multitude of historical revisionists go about their work—and they have been at work since at least the second plane struck the Towers—I will remember who perpetrated the attacks, always.
I will also, all day, remember a stark fact: American citizens jumped or fell out of burning buildings that day (who can forget the iconic image of the man plunging head-first?).
It is good to acknowledge reality and to remember even unpleasant days. Vigilance and a long memory are necessary for survival in the future.
I’ve talked with a few fellows who landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. I tremble in their presence, literally. American courage has freed people all over the world from the beginning. That courage was on display just as dramatically on September 11, 2001, in New York City.
But as we are forced to endure revisionist history and documentaries and interviews white-washing the perpetrators, do not forget what I mentioned a moment ago: in an unprovoked attack by barbarians, Americans that day fell to their deaths. Their families don’t even have bodies to bury.
To my dying breath, I will refuse to apologize for America. Rather, I will affirm her, and in the face of the revisionist history, recount always this country’s greatness. God has been merciful to us for over two centuries, and as I remember that, I also can say in the spirit of biblical faith:
May God have mercy on our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 fairy commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This often-battered city, now in the hands of the Israelis, is a focal point for international intrigue.
One must ask himself why this is so, but at Prophecy Matters, we teach that Jerusalem is a burr under the saddle of all nations for only one reason: God decided it would be so.
Jerusalem is mentioned very early in Scripture, as the king of Salem came out to meet Abraham.
If you visit Israel today, you will hear Jews and Arabs alike say “Shalom!” It is a city that will one day know eternal peace, but to this point it has been a focus of conflict.
Many Bible prophecy teachers—myself included—are criticized for holding-up the Jews as God’s Chosen People. This is scriptural, by the way.
Yet we also know that the Creator loves all people, and this is obvious with a reading of the entire Bible. It is one of His precious themes, and provides the basis for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
God’s plan from before the creation of the world is to provide a means of redemption for mankind, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ sufficed. Now, as we hurtle toward a consummation of history that is unpleasant, we must hold fast to the fact that in the end, while the Jews will be preserved, their Lord will be our Lord, as well.
On my first trip to Israel, I had the pleasure of seeing beautiful Palestinian children play in parks and walk to school. As a fierce supporter of Israel, I can also be confident that God’s love is inclusive and available to all, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Let us remember that as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (I daily remember my many friends there), that prayer must rightly include all its inhabitants.
We will one day witness the eternal peace that the Lord has set aside for the Holy City. It will be a place where people from all nations will come up to God’s holy mountain to worship.
What a day that will be!
Saeb Erekat, a long-time Palestinian negotiator with the Israelis, said the other day that when the Palestinians go to the UN to seek statehood, the international community will be obliged to get rid of the “occupation.” The latter word is the one used to claim that Israel is oppressing the Palestinians.
Besides being a declaration of war, Erekat’s comments also speak to Bible prophecy, although the urbane Jericho-ite would scoff at such.
The apocalyptic war described in the last chapters of the book of Zechariah is clearly stated to be launched by “the” nations. It has been argued by certain Bible scholars that this refers to “all the nations in the Roman empire” in ancient times. This exegesis is sought because it places this prophecy “back there” somewhere in the misty past.
However, for those of us who believe the biblical prophecies are mostly ahead of us, the contention of Hebrew scholars is quite clear, even elementary: the word “all” in Zechariah means “all.”
This is the description of a coalition army that is truly global in scope, and the conditions for this did not exist until modern times. Whatever the UN is as a collective body, it is capable of resolute determination when it comes to the Jewish state.
From the odious “Zionism equals Racism” proclamation of 1975, or the intense pressure being applied to Israel today…it is obvious that the one time the UN is able to muster a collective wll is when it’s time to punish Israel.
This then will be the catalyst for the Zechariah war, and I believe specifically it will be the Palestinian issue that provides the impetus. Something must be the trigger for such an all-out assault, and I believe it will specifically center around the status of Jerusalem.
The Palestinians have stated repeatedly that they want east Jerusalem for a future capitol. The Israelis insist the whole city is their eternal capitol.
Folks, that is a classic geopolitical stalemate, and the Mother of all Stalemates.
It will be the trigger for the Zechariah War, or more specifically, “the Day of the Lord.”
Bible prophecy teachers are mocked for believing the ancient prophecies have anything to do with today.
Well, I would suggest that you study it for yourself (ask us questions at Prophecy Matters), and watch and wait.
Erekat’s statement says it all.