Israel: The Center of Divine History
In all of time, Israel has been the center of the divine scheme of history, while nations have risen and fallen, kings and presidents have come and gone, and the church has both evangelized and apostatized throughout the world.
We have now come to the 1990s. The revived state of Israel has been in existence for over forty years. The Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union have been dismantled before our eyes with the swiftness with which they arose on the scene of human history decades before. New conditions exist, so much so that politicians are calling this the New World Order. What of Israel now and how do you fit in during these last days?
Satanic Attack on the Israel and the Church
Yes, church we are in the last days and nothing is more proof of that then looking at the state of Israel. And not only the attacks taking place on them daily, but the attacks on the church daily through false teachers and false prophets. Especially here on the Internet you may receive all kinds of letters from many so called Prophets saying they have had a new word or vision or dream from the Lord concerning Israel and the church. Yes, in these last days we are under attack and in a Holy War just as the state of Israel is. Through the onslaught of these false messengers (1 John 2)
Without substance they do not have any bases in sound biblical doctrine. The prophecies given to us by Yeshua our Lord and Savor in Matthew 24 and from James, John Peter and Paul and the cloud of witnesses through out time. From the Patriarchs to the Prophets we have much to learn and without a common knowledge of the what the Holy Scriptures have to say you will not be able to discern through the maze.
Do not give ear to the servants of Baal. Yeshua said, (Matt. 24:11) "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." The Lord has given the sternest of warnings to those that would add or change that which He has spoken to you throughout time. (1John 4:1), "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of G-d: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Do not let them make merchandise of you,"(2 Peter 2). Be wise and spend your time in the Word and do not look to the right or the left and do not listen to them. Woe unto them that say they have had a dreams or visions from the Lord concerning things when they have not (Jeremiah 23).
How can the Church Fight Back the Attacks?
For the student of the Holy Scriptures be diligent (2 Tim. 2:15) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Before you believe any outside prophecies; learn of the prophecies that await here yet to be studied and fullfilled in His Holy Word (2 Cor.11).
I hear you now regarding some or most of Revelation is a dim to you, but just as the Lord has been faithful to give it to you. He will be faithful to reveal to you all the mysteries of the Scriptures:
(1 Cor. 4:1) "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."
(Matt.13:11) "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
First, (John16:13) "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
Seek His Face
Remembering that throughout your walk each time you have read the Holy Scriptures you were given new revelations each time. It will be the same for you with the Book of Revelations and the other Endtime prophecies through the Holy Word. The more time you spend in the Word and asking the Lord to reveal these things the more you will be revealed. He is the same yesterday today and forever so you need to seek His face for those that seek Him will find Him. (Heb.11:6) So you have not because you ask not. So it must be time to ask. (1 Chron.28:9) He will not hide his face from you.
The Church Inserted in the Israel-Centered Prophetic Plan
Now you might say that the New Testament seems to leave Israel behind, and the Church is the new center of G-d's plan. Thus, some might say that the Church has replaced Israel, and that Israel is no longer the center of the biblical plan. It is true that the Holy Spirit is currently concentrating on evangelism, church planting, pointing people to Christ, and adding more Jews to the Church body.
The Church age has lasted for almost two thousand years, and is very significant as a previously unrevealed mystery in which G-d is calling out believing Jews and Gentiles as a glorious bride for the Son of G-d. However, the Church age is in some ways just a biblical parenthesis.
The Church age has actually interrupted the previously revealed prophetic stream that has to do with the first and second comings of Christ, and His relationship to Israel and the nations. After the Lord has removed the Church through the promised Rapture, He will resume His activities of judgment and intervention that have to do with the Tribulation and the establishment of His kingdom in Jerusalem, Israel and the world. What is amazing is that, even though the Church age has not yet ended, we are already seeing the transition to the beginning of the third restoration of Israel, and the preparation for the events of the Tribulation.
How do you Explain the Holocaust?
The Holocaust in many ways defies explanation. There have been many cruel purges and persecutions among human beings throughout the violent history of our planet. Nevertheless, how do you account for the diabolical and intensely systematic murder of almost three generations of Jews in Nazi Germany?
Here was one of the most cultured, sophisticated, educated, scientific nations on earth, with its rich (and generally benign) heritage of Lutheran Protestantism. Germany was also noted for its cultural tolerance. Jewish people, in particular, had attained high levels within business, banking, and artistic spheres, and considered themselves well assimilated in Germanic civilization.
How was it that such a country could become a literal hell on earth for all Jews within its grasp? Was it the hypnotic powers of Hitler ("the little corporal") or the docile yearning of the German people for strong leadership? Was it latent European anti-Semitism suddenly unleashed? All these explanations seem to fall short of a rational explanation for the Holocaust.
Hitler determined to destroy as many Jews as possible, even when the Allied army had crushed the Nazi war machine. To the very end, the Führer ordered the death camp personnel to keep on asphyxiating and cremating Jews. Such fanaticism is irrational from the purely human perspective.
The Holocaust only begins to make some kind of sense when we realize the Satanic purposes behind the Nazi movement. People just do not ordinarily mobilize so massively to destroy systematically those they have identified as scapegoats.
When you realize, though, that Satan was terrified by the realities of the early stages of a restored Israel, it makes some sense. With his supernatural powers, Satan could mobilize an elite corps of fanatics to gain political control. Once in power, they could proceed with their enormous effort to stop Israel from being created at all costs. And believe this or not most were acting as Christians in this movement. Yes, Satan has been using the Church that has been corrupted through his lies to attack G-d's plan all along. And if Satan can keep you blinded through false prophecies and roomers you will be used again by him in his scheme to disrupt more of G-d's plan.
Satan's Plan Backfires
Satan's plan went a long way toward succeeding. Of approximately 18 million Jews in the world, he was able to kill 6 million of them. Hitler singled out the Jews for extinction, and they died along with millions of other civilians and soldiers through the Nazi-inspired Axis during WW II. Thus, the Nazis killed about one-third of the Jewish people in the world in the Holocaust. This is a bitter foretaste of what the Antichrist (who makes Hitler look like a piker) will do to the Jews in the future Tribulation.
Nevertheless, Satan failed in stopping the creation of Israel. In fact, Satan's plan backfired. Instead of keeping the Jews from returning to the Land, the Holocaust convinced the Jews that there was an urgent necessity for them to have a safety valve. They must have their own sovereign state in a world in which anti-Semitism surrounded them.
The earlier steady stream of Jewish migration into Palestine between the two World Wars became a veritable flood after the Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were now desperately striving to escape from Europe and other countries to get to their ancient homeland. The state of Israel was becoming a reality again after 19 centuries of dispersion.
The New Satanic Agenda Against the Revived
ISRAEL: ISLAM & COMMUNISM
We have already seen that the Nazis' were determined to destroy the Jewish people, but that Satan had used the Nazis with the purpose of keeping Israel from being restored as a nation. The Nazis went a long way toward accomplishing their goal of genocide, and the reestablishment of Israel certainly was delayed during the process, but eventually the Nazi/Satanic plan was thwarted.
It was now 1947-8, in a different location and the Jews faced different human enemies, but the issues were similar. Now that Israel had actually become independent, Satan was fully determined that this new nation was going to die at its very birth. He had two very willing allies in the fanatical Muslim Arabs in the nations surrounding Israel, and in the Communist world dominated by the Soviet Union.
The Jews Survive the Satanic Attack
By 1947, G-d had organized the restoration of the Jewish nation through Zionism, and its allies in Dispensational Christianity and the British Mandate of Palestine. In full and desperate opposition, Satan attempted to thwart the divine plan of the restoration of Israel. He used the enormous disruptions of World War II, and the Nazi Holocaust, which singled out the Jewish people as greatest enemy, destined for total extermination. However, the Chosen People miraculously survived all of this, were streaming into British Palestine by the thousands from Europe, and had come to the dramatic moment of declaring their independence before the world. Once again Israel would become a living nation among the family of nations after a Diaspora of nineteen centuries.
Arabic/Islamic is the New Satanic Enemy of Israel
The infant nation's immediate attention first had to be given to the Arab neighbors, and Arabic Islam became the next tool in the hands of Satan to keep Israel from prospering, now that it had survived the Holocaust to become a nation. The Arab nations did not recognize or accept the UN partitioning of Palestine into Jewish and Arab sections. As soon as Israel declared independence, the surrounding Arab neighbors declared war on Israel, and in the first months of its existence the Jewish people had to defend themselves with the meager weapons they had against an onslaught of the combined armies arrayed against them.
The primary motivation behind the Arab objection to the fledgling Israel was religious. This was not just a political matter, it was, in fact, a "holy war" or "jihad." The Jewish State was an offense to the sanctity of the holy sites in Jerusalem and throughout the land, according to their viewpoint. The only way this could be rectified was by forcibly removing the Jews from the land and pushing them out into the Mediterranean Sea. This was the battle cry in the Arab nations, and a recurring theme for over forty years of discord.
The fanatical Muslims could not tolerate the idea of an official Jewish presence in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem. Islam considers the Temple Mount with its famous Dome of the Rock and Al Aksa Mosque as one of the most sacred holy sites in the world, ranking behind only the central sites of Mecca and Medina.
Islam Attacks Israel and the Gospel
The Arabs are the physical descendants of Ishmael, the first son of Abraham, and the vast majority of Arabs have adopted Islam as their official religion and have spread their religion to much of the world's population throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Islam expresses tolerance for Judaism and Christianity, but essentially it attempts to refute the cardinal doctrines of both. It transfers to Ishmael the blessings that came through Isaac and Jacob, and disputes the deity and redemptive work of Christ. While the Muslims have generally neglected the development of Palestine throughout the centuries, with the exception of a few cities, they have jealously guarded their rights over the land from the time of the Crusades. It was one thing to dislodge the European Crusaders from the land, but the Moslems have discovered it is entirely another matter to dislodge the Jewish people who consider Israel as their religious and ancestral homeland.
To understand the hostility between these descendants of the patriarchal brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, it is necessary for the Jewish and Christian to understand something about the nature and history of Islam from our perspective. In some ways, the development of the religion of Islam in the seventh century was one of the great master strokes of Satan in the world. Before Islam, the vast Arab population, and much of Africa and Asia, was essentially neutral toward passive Judaism and evangelistic Christianity, although these areas had some bias toward various forms of polytheism. But with the religion of Mohammed came a conscious rejection of and negative attitude toward the unvarnished truths of the Old and New Testaments.
While giving lip service to the various biblical prophets, including Moses and Yeshua, and claiming vehemently to be a religion of pure monotheism, Islam challenged most of the history and doctrine of the Scriptures. The Koran deliberately removes Israel from its historical and theological position as the Chosen Nation, and replaces it with the Arab peoples, the descendants of Ishmael. One of the major annual feasts of Islam, called ISHMAEL, demonstrates this. They actually twist the Scriptures and celebrate this feast as a commemoration of the willingness of Abraham to offer Ishmael (not Isaac). Thus, according to Islam, Ishmael (and the Arabs) displaces Isaac (and the Jews) as the Promised Seed. From that point on, Islam continues to denigrate the position of Israel, its historical possession of the Promised Land, the glory of the worship in the Jerusalem Temple, and the Messianic destiny of the Davidic dynasty.
How they Undercut the Gospels
At the same time, Islam undercuts the truths of the Gospel. The Koran considers Yeshua to be a prophet, but denies the deity of Christ. Furthermore, it rejects the substitutionary atonement of the death of the Lord, as well as the validity of His resurrection. On the contrary, the Koran invents the theory that Yeshua did not actually die on the Cross, but rather only "swooned," or fell unconscious, and then later recovered and pretended to have risen from the dead.
Israel/Christianity & Islam Compete Over Jerusalem
Islam thus attempts to undermine most of the essentials of the Scriptures, and, when it became widely accepted through proclamation and conquest, the religion of Mohammed became a major problem for biblically based Judaism and Christianity. This difficulty was exacerbated when Islam occupied Jerusalem and made it one of its main holy places. Now there were three religions competing over the territorial rights to Jerusalem. Throughout fourteen hundred years, this has resulted in the Moslems wresting Jerusalem from the Byzantine Christians, the short Crusade period of European domination of Jerusalem for about 100 years, and the twentieth century phenomenon of the return of the Jewish people to the Land. Most of this time, Islam (in one form or another) has been in control of Jerusalem. Until recently, the Arabs have persuaded themselves that the Jews were no more permanent in Jerusalem than the European Crusaders. Some aspects of the current peace movement indicate that Moslem leaders, however reluctantly, may be coming to the conclusion that they will have to come to terms with a permanent State of Israel, at least for the time being.
The Strange Alignment Between the Soviets and the Moslems
By the time of the Israeli-Arab conflict in 1956, the Soviet Union had become solidly aligned with Egypt and the other Arab nations. It is not difficult to explain how Communism was opposed to Christianity, but how is it that the atheistic Communists could cooperate so fully with the monotheistic Moslems, and vice versa? They would appear to be so antithetical that it would be impossible for them to work together.
The one thing that brought these two outwardly opposite geopolitical groups together was their mutual antipathy to Israel. Millions of Jews live in Russia, and many of them wanted to emigrate to Israel. The Soviet government turned down their applications, and thousands of Jews came to be known as "refuseniks," because of the denials they were issued. Russia became the new Egypt, and the international cry arose once again, "Let My people go!" Tensions between Russia and Israel multiplied.
Soviet Military Support of the Arab Nations
The Arab nations thus became clients of the Soviet Union, who poured thousands of tons of military supplies, planes, tanks, rifles and support equipment into the Arab states surrounding Israel. These were used for all the decades of the Cold War, in the major conflicts of 1956, 1967 and 1973, and in the numerous terrorist activities by the PLO and other groups.
The PLO for many years was operating against Israel out of the previously peaceful Lebanon. When Israel mounted an incursion into Lebanon, they discovered huge caches of Soviet armaments in the PLO enclaves. It was clear that the ultimate enemy of Israel was the Soviet Union, working through the immediate Arab Moslem antagonists.
Islam Becomes More Moslem
Islam is now filling the vacuum left by the Soviet Union and in much of the world. The southern republics, now independent from the Soviet Union, are reasserting their Moslem heritage, and are fast aligning with the Islamic nations of the Middle East. Iran (Persia), under its Ayatollahs, is one of the most virulent of the anti-Israel Islamic states and has a long history of cooperation with the Russians, even during the time of the Soviet empire. Bible believers are particularly interested in this cooperation between Iran and Russia since Persia is of one the nations specifically mentioned by Ezekiel as joining Russia in the war described in his chapters 38-39.
The Rise of the Intifada
In the aftermath of the Gulf War, the fanatic Islamic Arabs began and intensified a new tactic against Israel. They had tried to defeat and dislodge the Jewish State unsuccessfully in four wars. Those efforts ended in humiliating failure. At this point they began a new tactic called the Intifada. This was a public relations campaign for world opinion, in which the Arabs who lived in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) staged riots against Israel, coupled with terrorist attacks against civilians in Israeli cities.
Ever since the Six Day War in 1967, the Israelis had been constructing Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights for security purposes. These settlements were not glorified trailer parks, but beautiful suburban developments with lovely homes, schools and parks. Israelis live in these settlements and commute to work in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Tiberias. One of the primary goals of the Intifada was to stop the spread of these Jewish settlements. Gradually, the Intifada gained the sympathy and support of the world press and governments. Israel, the classic underdog of world history, was transformed in the eyes of the world into being the oppressor of the underdog Arabs, who assumed the name "Palestinians."
American/Christian Pressure on Israel
The United Nations and American Presidents Bush and Clinton all pushed hard on Israel to cease and desist the building of settlements. Now we are slowly watching the New Bush do the same. I, for one, am not at all proud of the part our government has had in forcing Israel to relinquish to its sworn Islamic enemies control over strategic parts of the Land that the Almighty has given to them. If the Jewish people wish to negotiate away their security and portions of the Land G-d has given to them, that is between them and the Almighty. Gentile governments, however, should not be engaged in forcing such measures on Israel. This comes dangerously close to cursing Israel, and G-d warns that He will curse those who do so. We who belong to the One called the Son of David should disassociate ourselves from the governmental policies that impose these burdens on Israel in the name of peace.
Israel is still in G-d's Plan
Israel is still in G-d's plan, not only in the ancient past, but in modern history — now. The modern state of Israel did not just happen; it is not an accident of history; it is the result of the creative power of the Almighty. Just as in ancient times, when the Lord used human agencies and nations such as Egypt, Babylonia, Persia and Rome to accomplish His will concerning Israel, so He has done in our time. During the last couple of lifetimes, He has used Zionism, Britain, the US, Europe and the United Nations to bring about a revived Israel. And just as Satan used Pharaoh, Nebucadnezzar and Titus to attempt to thwart G-d's ancient plan for Israel, so he has been occupied in using Hitler, Brezhnev, Nasser and Arafat to try to disrupt the modern divine plan for Israel.
Can we see through our Prideful Ego's?
The sad thing is we are mostly too preoccupied with our own myopic concerns to realize what He has done. For most of us, our world revolves so much around our own affairs that we fail to see the big picture, especially the big picture from the divine standpoint. If we are self-centered, the only things we notice are those things that directly affect us — our jobs, our homes, our finances, etc. If we are politically motivated, our world revolves around who wins and loses on the political spectrum. If we are nationalistic, we are primarily concerned with the history of our country and its struggles. If we are spiritually oriented, our interests may spread no further than the events of our local church.
None of these preoccupation are wrong in themselves, but do they keep us from being cognizant of the great overall concerns of the Living G-d? After all, what has the Lord been preoccupied with throughout history? If the Holy Scriptures are our guide, we observe that before the first coming of Christ, He was concerned about the preparation of His chosen nation, Israel, for that Advent.
The Divine Activities for Two Thousand Years
Since His first coming, the Lord has been occupied now for almost 2,000 years with the development of His believing Church, the Body of Christ, in every nation under Heaven. Along with that, though, G-d has been involved in a parallel activity. There has been the careful preservation of the Jewish people through the long Diaspora, during which Satan and most nations have persecuted them relentlessly for every possible cause and for no cause whatever. The professing Church (I speak to our shame) has even been involved in this persecution, invoking the name of the Redeemer of Israel, to attack His own physical brethren.
The Diaspora, however, is coming to a close. In our time, even during the Church Age, the restoration of Israel is beginning to happen before our very eyes. It is something the world never expected or even dreamed would happen. The Church, even though it has possessed the Bible for all these centuries, has done much to suppress the oft-repeated biblical concept that Israel has a future in the plan and purpose of G-d. It's almost as though the Church has been jealous of Israel, and afraid that if it recognized Israel's future promises, it would somehow demean Christ and the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When the Church recognizes Israel that the true distinctiveness and glory of the Body of Christ become evident. This called-out Body, composed of believing Jews and Gentiles during the Church Age, is the highest entity the Lord has created, superior to the universe, all the angels, the nations, and Israel. Our Head, our Husband, our Friend, is the Son of G-d Himself. We shall reign with Him when He rules the earth, and our 12 Founding Apostles will rule over the 12 tribes of Israel. The angels themselves will study us forever as the greatest exhibit of G-d's grace, and we will actually judge the angels. This is our destiny and I, for one, would not trade my position in the Body of Christ with any creature in the universe! Why, then, be disturbed over what G-d has promised the Jewish people? Why be jealous over the future destiny of Israel? How shortsighted of us! Indeed, the Church's finest and most distinctive hour will be when Israel is restored nationally and spiritually to the Lord at the Second Coming of Christ. We will return from Heaven with Him as His glorious Bride to rule Israel and the world. What more could we ask?
So if we are not to suffer from spiritual myopia, we must recognize what the Lord is doing with Israel, not shrinking from it as though our own interests will be overshadowed. Rather, we rejoice in these developments, with full assurance that our own redemption draws ever closer. What, then, are we to expect in the future?
The Future Divine Schedule
The modern miracle of the restoration of Israel, although mostly in unbelief, is but the prelude of even more climactic developments. A brief outline of the events the Lord has revealed in the Bible is as follows:
The Rapture of the true Church, our Blessed Hope
The War of Gog and Magog
Antichrist's Contract with Israel (7-Year Tribulation)
The Abomination of Desolation
The War of Armageddon
The Salvation of Israel & Judgment of the Nations
The Millennial Reign of Christ
The Great White Throne Judgment
The New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem
Suffice it to say that we are eagerly looking forward to the imminent return of Christ in the event called the Rapture, described in (I Thess. 4:16-18) and elsewhere. He could come at any moment and fulfill the Feast of Trumpets, in which He will call the believing Church to be with Him and give us (both the living and already-dead Church saints) our glorified bodies. What a great day that will be!
Nevertheless, the world will continue on without the believing Church inexorably toward its time of judgment and the wrath of G-d. The first event on this timetable of judgment appears to be the war described in Ezekiel 38-39, known as Gog and Magog. As we have seen earlier, the world is moving ever closer to the alignments there described. The scenario of the nation to the extreme north joining with Persia, Ethiopia and Libya, seems quite plausible with the Russo-Islamic alliance that is currently shaping up against Israel. It is well within the realm of reality that what Ezekiel described over 2,500 years ago could be mobilized quickly in today's world, and set the stage for the Antichrist and the Tribulation.
Thus, Israel as the Center of Divine History in the distant and recent past, prepares the way for Israel as the Center of Divine Prophecy in the future. We who love Christ the Messiah and believe His Word should be fully aware of the significance of these developments. It should spur us on all the more to proclaim the blessings of His Gospel to a lost world, as the days draw close to His return.
From the Divine History Series by Thomas S. McCall, Th.D. 1994