What To Do With Palestine?
Through Zechariah the prophet, God predicted that at the time of the end:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:2-3)
One of the biggest problems for the planners of the coming one-world order is what to do with Palestine. The five million Jews who live there are not about to surrender their sovereignty to the United Nations or the United States or anyone else; the smell of the Holocaust is still too fresh in their memories. The Jews have made their last move. They make that clear to anyone who will listen-and so does the God of prophecy.
The significance of Jerusalem's end-time prominence is not lost on Dr. John Walvoord, dean of all living prophecy experts. He writes, "The prophecies about Jerusalem make it clear that the Holy City will be in the center of world events in the end time... The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs will focus more and more attention on Jerusalem... In all of these situations Jerusalem is the city to watch, as the city of prophetic destiny prepares to act out her final role. The total world situation may be expected more and more to be cast into the mold that prophecy indicates. . . . It seems that the stage and the actors are ready for the final drama, in which Jerusalem will be the key."
This fascination with Israel-at the geographical center of the world and at one point only nine miles wide-is not accidental. It was predicted long ago. Many ancient prophecies are unfolding before our eyes... but they could not be fulfilled until Israel was back in her land, as she is today.
The following is just one example of the many promises regarding the regathering of Israel. God showed the prophet Ezekiel the bones of the Hebrew nation and asked him if they could live. The godly prophet wisely replied, "O Lord God, You know." (Ezekiel 37:3). Then he writes:
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, `Thus says the Lord God: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."'" So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, `Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'" "Then say to them, `Thus says the Lord God: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God."'" (Ezekiel 37:7-11; 21-23)
ONLY A BREATH AWAY
All that is left for Ezekiel's vision to be fulfilled relates to the statement "but there was no breath in them" (Ezekiel 37:8). That expression is not difficult for Bible students to decipher, since "breath" or "wind" often refers to the Holy Spirit. That would indicate that, one of these days, Israel is going to have a fresh visitation of the Holy Spirit, when a mighty revival sweeps the land. This agrees with many passages that predict a great spiritual awakening when the Jews call upon the Messiah they rejected in A.D. 30 (see Joel 2:18-32; Zechariah 12:10-13:2; Romans 11:26-27; Revelation 7:1-10). It is important to note that this revival is the only part of this prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled. Over five decades have passed since Israel became a nation, and it still rejects Christ as Messiah. That is the reason the prophet challenged them to "hear the word of the Lord!" (Ezekiel 37:4). If the nation were to genuinely "hear" the scriptural testimony to the true identity of the Messiah, it would be forced to recognize Christ as the Lord.
The gradual growth of the Israeli nation from scattered skeleton to full body development is startling. As Ezekiel's prophecy indicates: "There was a noise, and . . . a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone" (37:7, KJV). Following this, "the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them" (37:8, KJV, emphasis added). From the sound of an earthshaking event (World War I), the seemingly dead nation of Israel was to gradually formulate a body, after which the spirit would be breathed into it.
The late Bible scholar Dr. David L. Cooper used to tell how he clearly remembered the astonishing events whose roots can be traced to World War I. By 1916 the war was going adversely for England, which was desperate to find a rapid method of manufacturing TNT and a smokeless gunpowder. A brilliant Jew named Chaim Weizmann invented such a formula, thus changing the course of the war. In return, David Lloyd George, representing the British government, told Dr. Weizmann to name his price. Rejecting personal reward, Weizmann requested that Palestine be declared the international homeland for the Jewish people. Consequently the Balfour Declaration was drawn up and signed on November 2, 1917. A famous letter recounts what happened next:
Dear Lord Rothchild:
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of his Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet. His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
The gathering of the Jews into Palestine after the signing of the Balfour Treaty was indeed a gradual development- "bone to his bone." In 1917 it is estimated that less than 25,000 Jews lived in the land. It took 28 years to reach 500,000. Today the population is at 5 million and growing. In the same way the population has grown, so has the geographical size of the nation. In the early days the Jews purchased, with Zionist funds, 350,000 acres of land, primarily for agricultural purposes. Now it is a nation of about 7,992 square miles, with another seven thousand square miles of occupied territory in the Golan Heights, in the West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip.
But while God blessed Israel, Britain reneged on her 1917 treaty. In 1939, after much deliberation over the growing conflicts between Arabs and Jews, Britain issued a white paper that favored Arab independence and control of the area. After failing to keep peace between the Arabs and Jews following World War II, the British withdrew from Palestine; shortly thereafter the National Council and the General Zionist Council proclaimed from Tel Aviv the establishment of the sovereign state of Israel. The date was May 14, 1948. David Ben Gurion was appointed Prime Minister, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann was elected president of a provisional council. Both the United States and Russia recognized the new nation which, after much debate, was accepted as a member nation of the United Nations by a vote of 37 to 12.
For many years Israel has been called "God's timepiece" or "God's time clock" by Bible prophecy teachers. Confirmation that these are indeed the end times is seen almost every night on the evening news as Israel's five million Jews occupy our attention. The miraculous return of the Jews to their homeland after seventeen hundred years in exile may well be the most significant of the end-time signs, even the "super sign." Significantly, this return happened in our generation-more weighty evidence that we are indeed living in the end times. That should remind us not only that God keeps His promises, but that God's time clock has begun winding down to the midnight hour of this age. Something of enormous proportions is about to happen, just as Jesus and the prophets predicted.
Consider this: The nation of Israel, for its size, is one of the most militarily prepared nations on earth. It has the atom bomb and is suspected to possess the neutron bomb. It has a much improved antimissile defense system since the U.S.-made Patriot missiles did such a poor job of protecting the nation from Saddam Hussein's SCUD missiles during the Gulf War. It has the latest weapons delivery systems and could wipe out any army or country that attacked it, a fact its Arab neighbors well understand. Frankly, we believe that is the only human reason the Arab countries do not attack; they know they are no match for Israel.
An American reserve pilot has befriended many Israeli air force pilots, some of whom have risen to the highest rank. The last time he was in Israel, he and a general friend flew F-18s on a training mission. Afterward he reported that the Israelis have taken our best fighters and latest equipment and improved on them. Their planes, which are on constant alert, can probably perform better than our own and can deliver their bombs more accurately.
The Jews have their backs to the wall and will use any means necessary to defend their homeland against any aggressor. On the opposite side of the fence is an intense Arab hatred. Israel's several Muslim neighbors are backed and armed by oil-rich countries who share their faith and their hatred of Israel. The Arabs will not rest until Israel is driven from the land-and Israel will not be driven from the land.
America lies in the middle. You have doubtless noted a sea change in the political attitude of federal officials who want Israel to surrender its land in the name of "negotiations." That is madness-hostilities are doomed to erupt sooner or later.
The point is that Israel and her Arab neighbors, who comprise only one one-thousandth of the world's population, are at the center of the world's stage-just as the Bible said they would be in the end times.