Perhaps the headlines below will help lay the ground-work to understand end-times prophecy for God’s covenant people, the Jews (Genesis 12:2-3 NASB):
Analysis: Israel struggling to win friends, influence people (Reuters, 11/27, 2013)
Americans back Iran deal by 2-to-1 margin (Reuters, 11/26/2013)
Rouhani says Geneva nuclear deal increased Israel’s isolation (Jerusalem Post, 11/27/2013)
Isolated Israel Denounces Iran Deal (Sydney Morning Herald, 11/26/13)
Israel bows to EU demands to deny funds to settlements (Worldbulletin.net, 11/28/13)
Israel’s Isolation (The Peninsular Qatar, November 26, 2013):
…. For the first time, this stunningly proves that Israel is the odd man out. Netanyahu has been pushing the world for years to limit Iran’s nuclear programme and now finds himself with limited options. He had even threatened unilateral military action against Tehran, but that option is now completely off the table. The pact has the support of leading Western powers, and that means Netanyahu will find his voice lonely. (Read more)
Netanyahu Risks Israeli isolation over Iran Deal (Al Monitor, 11/24/13)
Don’t think for a moment that Israel’s current problems are solely the result of its recent hostile response to the Iran nuclear agreement. U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted by the Jerusalem Post (November 7, 2013):
Kerry warns of third intifada, Israel’s isolation, if peace talks break down (Jerusalem Post, Herb Keinon)
“I believe that if we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, three will be an increasing campaign of the de-legitimization of Israel that has been taking place on an international basis,” he said in the interview. (Read more)
Note some very important words in Kerry’s statement: “isolation of Israel… an increasing campaign of the delegitimization of Israel.” The “delegitimization of Israel” is a technical phrase referring to the fact that thirty-two member-states of the United Nations do not recognize the State of Israel as a legitimate political authority in the land of Israel, including its right to exist. All thirty-two of these member-states are Muslim nations with the exception of Cuba and North Korea. These thirty-two member-states refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a legitimate state in spite of actions by the United Nations to establish the state of Israel on Mary 15, 1948. Psalm 83:3-4 NASB. In addition, in the 1967 Six-Days War, Israel annexed East Jerusalem (which includes the Temple Mount) and declared Jerusalem its capital, an action the United Nations nor any nation in the world, including the United States, has ever recognized as legitimate (Tel Aviv is home to many embassies and is recognized by most nations as the capital of Israel). In Kerry’s statement above quoted, a veiled threat is present: Israel’s illegitimacy is becoming more real than in recent history (in spite of improvements since its low point of 1979). It’s actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including the building of Jewish settlements on occupied lands that Palestinians want for a future state (having the ultimate result of blocking the peace process between Israel and Palestinians) has the potential for bringing about economic sanctions against Israel. The first hint of such sanctions occurred recently (November 28, 2013) when Catherine Ashton, head of the EU, threatened to withhold funding earmarked for technology if the funding was used in the building of settlements on the West Bank:
Israel has bowed to European Union demands to deny funding eligibility to Israeli scientific enterprises operating in Jewish settlements, … Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she had struck a compromise with EU head Catherine Ashton to try to rescue the funding and avert the risk of wider Israeli diplomatic and academic isolation if the deal had not passed. … Israel had worried the sanctions could hurt universities and research centres with facilities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (Read more)
In Israel’s lone public stance against the Geneva agreement with Iran, it has placed itself in a precarious position. The agreement with Iran is a six-month agreement with Western powers. It provides limited economic relief to Iran in return for curbing of Iran’s nuclear programs. Should Iran prove itself to be faithful to its terms (even if through deception), a permanent agreement will likely follow. Of course, as we all know, Western and Iranian leaders will use the entire process for political purposes. This will bring more attention to Israel’s hostile actions against Iran and the agreement. It will also bring attention to the fact that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that actually possesses nuclear weapons and has the capability to launch them.1 Israel will likely find itself in an even more isolated position when the more permanent agreement is executed. To world leaders, particularly the Obama administration, sanctions worked against Iran so why not use them against Israel!
In addition, a United Nations Human Rights Council report was recently issued that was highly critical of Israel’s human rights violations in the West Bank (January 31, 2013):
A UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on Thursday released its harshest report over Israeli policy in the West Bank since 1967, urging governments and private corporations across the world to consider economic and political sanctions against Israel over its construction in the settlements. This is the first time such a call has been made from within the United Nations. (Read more)
The point is clear: the international trend critical of Israel is on the rise. Its isolation is ever increasing and the threat of sanctions is never more real. At what point will the United States cease to use its lone veto in United Nations Security Council resolutions critical of Israel?
Is there anything in Scripture to tell us what the future might hold for God’s covenant people? It seems that the “handwriting is on the wall” for Israel:
Zechariah 12:1-3 (NASB) 1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. “It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.
Zechariah 14:2 (NASB) 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
Joel 3:1-2 (NASB)
Ezekiel 38:4, 10-17 NASB
The Old Testament prophecies are clear. The nations of the world will gather against Israel.2 The New Testament echoes the prophecies of the Old:
Revelation 11:1-2 (NASB) 1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
In Revelation 11:2 above, the forty-two months (3 1/2 years) is the period of time the “beast” of Revelation 13:1-10 will have dominion over Jerusalem, the “holy city.” For those of you who are familiar with my book, Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, you know that I interpret the beast figuratively as Allah, the false spiritual being of an end-time false religion, i.e., Islam. Revelation 13:4 NASB. Thus, the prophecy is that Muslims will have dominion over Jerusalem for 3 1/2 years, likely the last half of the Tribulation. Daniel 9:27 NASB; Daniel 11:45 NASB.
There is good news for our Jewish friends, the covenant people of God. One day they will be our brothers in Christ – for God always keeps His promises (Genesis 12:2-3 NASB):
Zechariah 12:9-10 (NASB) “And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
Romans 11:25-29 (NASB) 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
(Emphasis supplied in underlines throughout).
I am afraid the handwriting is on the wall for the Jews. Jerusalem will be isolated, again. The nations of the world will gather against her. In the end, however, Jews will come to know Christ, the true Messiah, rejected 2000 years prior; and then our Lord will appear. Matthew 23:38-39 NASB. The nations will one day stream to Jerusalem and the covenant people will reflect His glory — but that will need wait another post.
Jesus come quickly.
- Saudi Arabia has already made public statements warning of a Middle East race to acquire nuclear weapons; it has the means to do so, and reportedly will use Pakistan as its source to acquire the weapons. [↩]
- One of the recurring problems for interpreting passages such as Zechariah 14:2 is the dating of the prophecy. Since Jerusalem was overrun by the Babylonians in 605 – 586 BC, the question arises if the prophecy was fulfilled when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem? Verse 1 of Zechariah helps us: “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah…” Scholars date the prophecy as occurring after the Babylonian defeat of Jerusalem (586BC). Darius was the Persian king after the defeat of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The Persians defeated the Babylonians in 536BC. The prophecy cannot refer to the Babylonian defeat since it was written after the defeat. It is a “not-yet-fulfilled” prophecy. [↩]