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THE NATION OF ISRAEL
(1) God’s Special Nation
When the children of Israel rejected the Lord and asked for a king, God gave them one. The kingdom under Saul, David and Solomon lasted 117 years and then became divided. The Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom were destroyed and scattered into the nations of the world. Many returned to the land and stayed there until they rejected God again. This time in person! God came to them, being born in a manger. He lived among them in obscurity for thirty years and then came on the scene doing all kinds of mighty miracles, proclaiming that He was their King, the Messiah, the Son of David, and the Son of God.
The people rejected Him because He did not use His power to overthrow Rome and make Israel an independent nation again. For this they killed Him. At His trial Pilate wanted to release Him, but the people shouted, “Let him be crucified. . . . His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matt. 27:23, 25).
This request was granted. In 70 A.D. the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews were once again scattered throughout the world. For some 1900 years the land lay desolate and without its people. Then a remarkable thing began to happen; they began to return to their land just like the prophets said they would. The prophet Isaiah said, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people . . . [He] shall assemble the outcast of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:11-12).
The prophet Ezekiel said, “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. . . . And I will put my Spirit within you. . . . And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezek. 36:24-28).
The Jews are back in their land to fulfill the first part of this prophecy, but as of yet they haven't fulfilled the second part—the part about being God's people. But they will soon. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. . . . I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:31,33).
As we mentioned earlier, this new covenant began on the day of Pentecost. Any person, Jew or Gentile, can enter into this new covenant, the new relationship with God, by faith in Christ. The nation of Israel has thus far rejected this, but the Bible makes it plain they will one day accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Paul tells us:
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins (Rom. 11:25-27).
In 2 Cor. 3:14-15, Paul says there is a veil over Israel's eyes, which has been there since the days of Moses. They can't see that Jesus is their long awaited Messiah, but verse 16 says, “The veil shall be taken away.”
Not long after Jesus returned to heaven, Peter delivered a sermon to Israel. He said, “Repent . . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing [true peace] shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (Acts 3:19-20). Peter goes on to say in verse 21 that Jesus must stay in heaven until the prophecies about Israel have been fulfilled, one of which will be their acceptance of Him.
(2) The Exile
Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, Moses told them if they rejected God they would be scattered throughout the world and suffer great troubles:
For the Lord will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other. . . . There among those nations you shall find no rest. . . . Your lives will hang in doubt. You will live night and day in fear, and will have no reason to believe that you will see the morning light. In the morning you will say, “Oh, that night were here!” And in the evening you will say, “Oh, that morning were here!” You will say this because of the awesome horrors surrounding you (Deut. 28:64-67, TLB).
A study of Jewish history, both Bible and secular, will confirm these verses in Deuteronomy 28. They have been herded in and out of countries like sheep without a shepherd, many of them being slaughtered. They have had no rest among the nations. Many nations have offered them a home only to turn against them. This is the reason they began to return to Israel. They hoped to find “peace and safety,” but as of yet they haven't found it.
(3) The Land
When the Jews began to return to Israel at the turn of the century, they faced a seemingly impossible task of making the land produce again. In 1905 the Prime Minister of the Netherlands visited Palestine. After looking at the Jewish settlements and the land, he shook his head and said, “The Jews have come on a vain mission.”1
Even by 1940, the land was still in such bad shape that it was said, “The Palestine problem will die out by sheer lack of Jews who would give up their homeland and plant themselves again in the sterile lands of Judea.”2 The land we hear so much about today was not thought to be worth very much. The Arabs were not only willing but very eager to sell it, and some 450,000 acres were bought by the Jews before the land was partitioned in 1947.
For some 1900 years there were very few Jews in Palestine and the land was like a desert. Now it is beginning to look like the Old Testament prophets said it would. “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited” (Ezek. 36:34-35).
Charles DeLoach says, “Israel is not quite a garden of Eden yet. But the Israelis are working on it. Irrigation projects have transformed swamps into rich tracts of land yielding fine crops. The deserts have begun to bloom. And on the very same lands on which the Arabs had only been able to scratch out a meager living, grapefruit and orange trees have begun to blossom. Observers describe what has been accomplished to date as a miracle.”3
In 1867 Mark Twain visited Palestine. In his book The Innocents Abroad, he described the land as “a desolate country . . . given wholly over to weeds —a silent mournful expanse. . .”
After seeing the land, he concluded that Israel would never live again. “The hills,” he said, “are barren. . . . The valleys are unsightly deserts. . . . It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land. . . . Palesine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. . . . Palestine is no more of the work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition—it is dream-land.”
Mark Twain was a writer with imagination, but he could never imagine the land of Israel being one day filled with Jews and blooming like a rose—just like the Bible predicted.
(4) The Return
If the Jews had lost their identity among the nations, anti-Semitism against them may never have happened, and they might have never returned to Israel, seeking peace and rest. Although this is one reason for the return, the main reason is: The Lord said, “The land is mine,” and He promised the Jews they could have it.
Down through the centuries there have been those who were educated in the Scriptures but “ignorant” to their meaning. They claimed that all the Scriptures about the re-gathering of Israel pertained to the Church, and the Jews would never return to the Holy Land. But others believed what God said and knew that they would return. In 1669, Dr. Increase Mather, who was a minister and became head of Harvard College, said regarding Israel's restoration, “When once God shall begin this work of Israel's salvation, it shall be carried on with speed and irresistible might. . . . All motions, when they come near their center are most swift. The Israelites, at their return shall even 'fly' (Isaiah 11:14).”4
This statement was made long before flying was even considered. But thousands of Jews have literally flown back to Israel in some very dramatic airlifts. Some 50,000 came from Yemen. The evacuation of more than 100,000 from Iraq in 1951 was know as “Operation Flying Carpet.”
In 1984 Israel began “Operation Moses,” the evacuation of the Jews from Ethiopia to Israel, many seeing an airplane for the first time. Since 1971 thousands have left Russia and returned to Israel. On March 2, 1990, ABC News showed Jews from Russia getting off the plane in Israel and said some 230,000 were expected to leave Russia and come to Israel in the near future. During the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the news again showed Jews arriving from Russia. As they stepped off the plane, they were welcomed to Israel and promptly given a gas mask.
In 1711, Bishop Lowth, of England, said Ezekiel 38 and 39 referred to Russia. They would be against Israel after God would return them to their land. In 1711 Russia was nothing but a land of peasants, and the Jews were scattered all over the world.
About 200 years ago the eye specialist Stilling, who also had insight to the prophecies, said, “God has proclaimed through the prophets of old that the people of Israel would be scattered throughout the world. Who can deny that this has taken place? Yet the same prophets have prophesied that in the latter days God would gather His people again from the four corners of the earth, and bring them back to the land which He promised to their fathers long ago to be an everlasting possession.”5
Michael Hahn, another Christian with prophetic insight, who died in 1819, repeated Stilling's prophecy concerning Israel's future ingathering. He added, “The lamentable thing is that at the moment we can see no indication among the Jews themselves of a movement towards the promised land.”6 Today things have changed and the movement which Hahn so longed to see is taking place.
In 1864, Dr. John Cumming wrote, “As a nation they have been dispersed over every land . . . The predictions of their restoration are in words as definite, only not yet fulfilled. As a nation they were cut off and dispersed, and it is as a nation that they shall be gathered and restored.”7
In 1866, James Grant, an English Bible scholar, wrote, “The personal coming of Christ, to establish His millennial reign on earth, will not take place until the Jews are restored to their own land, and the enemies of Christ and the Jews have gathered together their armies from all parts of the world, and have commenced the siege of Jerusalem.”8
In his book Inside Jerusalem: City of Destiny, Arnold Olson says, “For years there seemed to be no indication that Israel would be reborn. There was no hint that Jerusalem would be revived or that there was much interest on the part of the Jews to emigrate to Palestine. . . . Yet even during these years, this writer as a lad heard preachers declare that according to the Scripture Israel would be reborn and the Jews would return. It was difficult to reconcile such pronouncements from the pulpit with the announcements in the press. Hindsight covering the events since World War II confirms the foresight of those who read, believed what they could not see, and shared what they must have found hard to understand.”9
After the children of Israel were driven from their land, God gave Ezekiel a vision concerning their captivity, their restoration, and their conversion to Christ. In the vision Ezekiel saw flesh come upon a valley of dry bones; but they were still dead, for there was no breath in them. So God commanded that Ezekiel speak of the day breath would come and they would live.
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, and exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They [the nations] indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’
“Therefore prophesy and say to them. 'Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves [of exile], and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ” (Ezek. 37:10-14, NKJV.)
I believe the bones represent the exile and the flesh represents the present return to their land—but they are still dead to God. The breath represents their future conversion to Christ when God will put His Spirit “in” them. Then they will become “alive” in Christ.
God is bringing His people back to their ancient homeland, even though they do not believe in Him. The Spirit of Christ is not in them, but He will be soon. Then they will benefit from the prophecy of Joel 2:28, which began to be fulfilled at Pentecost. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.”
When nations suffer hard times and events move out of control, they usually look for someone to blame. During the bubonic plague of the 14th century, the cry against the Jews was raised. They were accused of poisoning the wells in a conspiracy “to kill and destroy the whole of Christendom.” Mobs dragged many of them from their homes and burned them.
The actual cause of the plague had nothing to do with the drinking water. It was pointed out that the Jews died of the disease like everyone else. It has been said, “People in their anger and misery will look for someone to blame. Historically, the Jews have filled that role.”
God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants would become a great people and through them the world would be blessed. Satan has been using evil rulers to try and nullify that promise by trying to destroy them.
The children of Israel went into Egypt as a small band of seventy people. After some 400 years the Jewish population in Egypt grew to a great number. Pharaoh enslaved the people and tried to keep them from multiplying by killing all the new-born male children.
Next came the Assyrian Empire, which destroyed the Northern Kingdom and scattered the ten tribes. Then came Babylon, which destroyed the Southern Kingdom and took captive the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Then came the Medo-Persian Empire, and it was during this time that a plot was conceived to exterminate all Jews. Then came the Grecian Empire. During this time the sacrifices were stopped and the people were persecuted by an evil ruler who was a type of Antichrist. Then came Rome, the sixth world empire. In 70 A.D. the Roman army, led by Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and once again the people were scattered throughout the world.
Since the Roman Empire, the Christian Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian pogroms, the Holocaust of World War II are but a few examples of the injustice and persecution against the Jews.
During Hitler's short rule he had some six million Jews put to death, one-third of the Jewish race. Many who were in prison or being hunted would have been exterminated had he not been stopped. In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom tells of the hardships she and her family suffered for helping the Jews during World War II. Her father, sister, and brother died for this but she lived to tell about her experiences. Pat Boone asked her, “What made Christians want to put their lives on the line for Jews?” She replied, “We are told, 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall be blessed who love her.' Don't forget that on the divine side my Savior was the Son of God, but on the human side he was a Jew. And I have a Book that was written by Jews.”10
Anti-semitism is not just a thing of the past. The Bible tells us the Jews will once again be severely persecuted. It has been said, “History has a way of repeating itself.”
Hitler tried to take over Germany in 1923, but he failed and was put in prison. While in prison he began his book Mein Kampf, which means, My Struggle. He struggled to exterminate the Jews and build an empire that he claimed would last 1000 years. His struggle ended with him being burned to ashes at the close of World War II. The struggle of the Antichrist will end with the return of Christ at the end of World War III. He will also be burned to “ashes” (see Dan. 7:11, Ezek. 28:18).
(6) The Basle Declaration
Through the centuries there were various but futile efforts for Jews to return to their ancient homeland and rebuild their nation. But in 1896 Theodor Herzl published a book entitled The Jewish State, and it seems the fig tree began to grow again. Within a few months Zionist groups sprang up in Jewish communities everywhere. Within two decades some 30,000 Jews returned. Herzl called together the first Zionist Congress, which met in Basle, Switzerland, in August 1897. The following is the official resolution passed regarding its goals:
The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law. The Congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end:
1. The promotion, on suitable lines, of the colonization of Palestine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers.
2. The organization and binding together of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate institutions, local and international, in accordance with the laws of each country.
3. The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment and consciousness.
4. Preparatory steps towards obtaining government consent, where necessary, to the attainment of the aim of Zionism. 11
It would take a miracle to make a home in Palestine, especially one “secured by public law” and “government consent.” For 400 years Palestine had been ruled by the Turkish Empire, and the Turks had no intentions of granting the Zionist a charter. So bleak were the prospects, some Jews were willing to take the British up on their offer that part of British controlled East Africa could be a national homeland for the Jews.
(7) The Balfour Declaration
The movement as Herzl had conceived it came to a standstill, but the turn of events were soon to change this. A few years after Herzl's death the leadership of the Zionist movement passed to Chaim Weizmann, a Russian born Jew who had emigrated to England before World War I.
Weizmann was also a brilliant chemist who discovered a formula for making nitroglycerin, which was essential to Britain during World War I. As a result of this, on November 2, 1917, Great Britain issued the famous Balfour Declaration, announcing British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Five weeks later, during Hanukkah, General Allenby of Britain made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In 1918 all of Palestine came under British control. The 1941 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica says, “History records few victories, if any, more striking and complete.”12
Below is the letter the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, sent to the Jew, Lord Rothschild, telling him of the cabinet's approval of Zionist goals:
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
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 view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours 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 13
The Balfour Declaration was not issued without prior consultation with the surrounding Arab leaders, who did not oppose the program at that time. They were happy to be delivered from the Turks, and the land granted to the Jews was mostly barren desert and sparsely populated. On January 3, 1919, Emir Feisal, the leader of the Arab world and acting on their behalf, said, “All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale.”14
On March 3, 1919, he said, “We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.”15
Following World War I, Great Britain secured legal right to administer the captured territory by mandate from the new League of Nations. The British mandate over Palestine was sanctioned by the League in 1922 and came officially into force on September 29, 1923, creating “for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” The land that was given to them included the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The United States was not a member of the League of Nations, but we gave our approval. TheEncyclopedia Americana says:
On June 20, 1922, a joint resolution was adopted by the United States Congress in Washington: “That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, with proper safeguards for the nonJewish communities.” On July 24, 1922, the Council of the League of Nations confirmed the Mandate for Palestine, which came into force on Sept. 29, 1923. The mandate, incorporating the Balfour Declaration, imposed on the mandatory power (Great Britain) the obligations of securing conditions favorable to the establishment of a national home by facilitating Jewish immigration into Palestine. . . 16
When Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration and was given the mandate over Palestine, they didn't realize all the problems they would have between the Arabs and Jews. With the growing bitterness between them, the British government began to back up in their support of Israel. Even after World War II, when many Jews had no home and were fleeing Europe, Britain tried to keep them out of Palestine. Britain was worried about losing access to the Suez Canal and Arab oil.
In her book My Life, Golda Meir says, “Thirteen years after the Balfour Declaration, the British seemed to be more concerned with appeasing the Arabs than fulfilling their promise to the Jews.”17
By all standards of justice, the Jews are entitled to live in the land the 1923 mandate covered. But regardless of who says what, God gave the land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The title to the land is recorded in the Bible. David Ben-Gurion, when he appeared before the British Royal Commission on Palestine, said, “The Bible is our mandate. The mandate of the League is only a recognition of this right and does not establish new things.”
The numbers 50 and 70 are important Bible numbers in relation to Israel. It’s interesting that 50 and 70 years from 1897 brings us to 1947 and 1967. Fifty from 1917 also brings us to 1967, the year Israel liberated Judah, Samaria, and Old Jerusalem from the Arabs. And 70 from 1923 brings us to 1993, the year Israel agreed to give it all back.
(8) The Wars
The British dumped the problem of who owned Palestine into the hands of the United Nations. On November 29, 1947, they voted to divide the land between the Arabs and Jews. The partition plan called for dividing the land into seven parts, three parts for the Arabs and three parts for the Jews, with Old Jerusalem, the seventh part, to become an international city. This is not what the Balfour Declaration promised and the League of Nations granted but the Zionist accepted the plan, even though a major portion of the land appropriated to the Jews was wasteland.
The British left and on May 14, 1948, Israel declared their independence. The next day the Palestine Arab guerrillas began open warfare on a large scale and the surrounding nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq joined in. They said they were going to exterminate the new born state of Israel. These nations represented some 60 million Arabs. The odds were about 60 to 1. General George C. Marshall said, “There will be no Jews in Israel in six weeks.”
The world had just witnessed the extermination of one-third of the Jewish race and looked on with pity, feeling sure the tiny nation would be destroyed. But the David of nations defeated Goliath. Not only were they not exterminated in six weeks, Israel defeated them in seven months and gained 23 percent more land. The Arabs told many of the Palestinians to leave Palestine for their safety. They could return to the land when Israel was destroyed.
During the war the ancient area of Samaria and Judea, including East Jerusalem, fell into the hands of Jordan. Jordan destroyed many Jewish shrines and forced the Jews out of the city. The Gaza Strip, although it was not Egyptian soil, fell into their hands. Neither Egypt nor Jordan had any legal right to any Palestinian territory.
After the war of 1948, the Arabs used the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Desert to launch terrorist strikes into Israel. In 1956 Israel struck back conquering the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip only to return it, hoping there would be peace. On March 3, 1957, Golda Meir delivered these words before the United Nations: “The government of Israel is now in a position to announce its plans for full and prompt withdrawal from the Sharm el-Sheikh area and the Gaza Strip. . . . Can we from now on, all of us, turn a new leaf, and instead of fighting among each other can we all, united, fight poverty, disease, illiteracy?”18
Her words fell on deaf ears. In May 1967 Egypt closed the Gulf of Aqaba and the Strait of Tiran to Israel, stirred up the Arab nations and threatened to clear Palestine of all Jews by driving them into the sea. On May 25, 1967, Radio Cairo announced, “The Arab nation is inexhaustible in its determination to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth.” Israel again came face to face with extermination, and by all odds they should have been. But the Lord had other plans.
In the 1967 campaign, it was the story of David and Goliath all over again. The Israelis were again vastly outnumbered in both man-power and weapons. But it didn't take long for the odds to change. Israel struck first and the Egyptian Air Force never got off the ground.
Russia had supplied the Arabs with their weapons. Israel either destroyed or captured eighty percent of them. In one incident of the war an Israeli tank commander, knowing the wavelength of the Egyptian's short-wave radios, penetrated an Egyptian unit under the cover of darkness and ordered the Egyptian tanks to follow him. Later they found themselves surrounded by two units of Israeli tanks. The Israeli tank commander said, “Gentlemen you can climb out now.”
General Moshe Dayan led Israel in the war and after it was over a story began to circulate that when Nasser of Egypt contacted Kosygin of Russia and asked for more tanks, Kosygin replied, “Gladly, but which type do think General Dayan would prefer?”
Russia had expected a quick Arab victory and was against Israel being saved. When they saw it was the Arabs who needed saving, they called for a cease fire and led the world in condemning Israel. I remember watching the U.N. debates on T.V. and could not understand, at that time, why so many nations were against little Israel, especially since the Arabs had threatened to wipe them off the face of the earth and drown them in the sea.
In the Six Day War of 1967, Israel re-conquered the Sinai and the Gaza Strip, along with the Golan Heights of Syria, East Jerusalem, and what is now called the West Bank. The Collier's 1967 Year Book says, “The Arab war materiel captured or destroyed was enormous, and the rapidity and completeness of the Israeli victory constituted a feat of arms unparalleled in the history of warfare.”
Between the 1967 and 1973 wars Anwar Sadat became the new leader of Egypt. On October 6, 1973, Egypt invaded in the south and Syria in the north. It was the most sacred day of the Jewish year—the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Israel was caught by surprise and suffered heavy losses during the first few days of battle. Egypt, with one of the world's largest armies, 800,000 men and 2000 tanks, crossed the Suez Canal and headed toward Israel. Syria came from the north with 1400 tanks. This was to be the largest tank battle ever fought, even exceeding the tank battles of World War II. Eleven Arab nations sent equipment and personnel to help in the war against Israel. The United States withheld badly needed arms for Israel until it was almost too late. Israel, no larger than the state of Massachusetts, looked as if it would lose and once again Russia warned against intervention.
Then one of the most brilliant moves in military history took place. Israel first stopped the Syrians in the north. In the south, the Israeli Army split at the right moment. Two divisions stopped the Egyptian Army in the Sinai and two more crossed the Suez Canal, trapping the Egyptian Army in the Sinai Desert.
The Israeli Army reached the outskirts of Cairo and Damascus and could have easily captured both cities. Russia threatened to intervene. In his book Moshe Dayan: Story of My Life, Dayan said, “Actually . . . we did not propose to conquer Damascus. . . . Moreover, the Russians had harshened their tone as the Syrians kept retreating, and we had to be very careful to prevent the [Russian] bear from getting out of the forest. We had received reliable information that the Soviet Union was mobilizing three airborne formations to fly to the aid of the Arabs.”19
Kissinger had worked out a cease-fire, but on October 24 it began to unravel and Russia threatened to invade. It has been said the superpowers came very “close to a nuclear showdown.”
In 1982 the Russians were stockpiling a massive amount of arms in southern Lebanon. They were backing the Syrians and the PLO in the planned invasion of Israel. But Israel struck first. They shot down much of the Syrian Air Force, losing only a single plane, and they destroyed the Syrian tanks losing very few of their own. They marched through the PLO in southern Lebanon like they were on a Sunday drive. It took months to take all the Russian equipment back to Israel. Military experts were amazed by Israel's Army and Air Force, and after the fighting died down, the United States wanted to know their secret. The ironic thing is: they don't even realize the secret of their success.
(9) Israel's Unseen Army
In the Old Testament we have many accounts of where God helped Israel against their enemies. On one occasion it looked surely as if they would be wiped out by the mighty Assyrian army. But 2 Chronicles 32:21-22 tells us, “The Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its officers and generals! So Sennacherib returned home in deep shame to his own land. . . . That is how the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem” (TLB).
On certain occasions God sent His angels to fight for Israel. I don't believe they have gone out of business. In his book The Coming One, Kurt Koch writes of some strange men dressed in white helping Israel in the 1948 war: “Arab prisoners related how they had lost the will to fight when they had seen soldiers dressed in white fighting for the Israelis. The Israelis on the other hand knew nothing of the incident.”20
In 1976 Israel flew into the heart of Africa to free their people from the bloody Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin. It was like something out of a James Bond movie. And they pulled it off like no other nation could. We didn't see them, but I have no doubt the angels of the Lord were flying with them.
Israel has been victorious in the 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 wars. When the power from the “north” and its allies invade, they will also be defeated, but Israel will pay a price.
(10) False Peace
When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them (1 Thess. 5:3).
Israel is weary of war. Considering that they have come out of more than 100 countries, their economy is nothing short of a miracle; but often it's on the verge of collapse because of the time and money they must spend on defending themselves. Many in the nation are ready to try anything for peace. They gave up the Sinai for the second time and in 1993 agreed in principle to give up the land conquered in 1967.
Before the 1973 war the Arabs knew they had a powerful weapon—oil. But they could never get together on how to use it against Israel. They found the best way was: simply cut it off. Very few nations supported Israel before 1973, and after that the whole world turned against them. Even the United States joined in the hypocrisy.
In 1919, Emir Fesial, a leader in the Arab world, said, “We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppression at the hands of powers stronger than themselves, and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together. We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement.” He went on to say, “ We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.”21
Had the radicals, who wanted no Jewish state in the Middle East, listened to this, it would have saved much misery on both sides. Rather than trying to live with the Jews, some within and outside Palestine began to sow the seeds of hate, and one incident led to another. It's been an eye for an eye and many on both sides are blinded by hate.
The Arabs created most of the refugee problem with the 1948 and 1967 wars. They have spent billions in their effort to destroy Israel. If they had spent just a little of that time and money on resettlement of the refugees in their own vast land, there would be no refugee problem. Not much is ever said about the Jews who were forced to leave their homes in the Arab states and come to Israel.
A number of Arabs were forced out of their land by the Israeli Army, but many left of their own accord, thinking they could return home when the Jews were destroyed. The leaders of the Arab countries care nothing about the dilemma of the Palestinian refugees; they are simply being used as a political tool to stir up hatred against Israel.
The plan is for Israel to give up the West Bank and East Jerusalem and for the refugees to return to this area and form a state. The United States and Western Europe believe this will appease the Arabs and insure a steady flow of oil. Even some in Israel believe this will finally give them the long awaited peace. Others respond: the Arabs would not let them live in peace before 1967, so why should they believe there will be any lasting peace if they return to the pre 1967 borders, which would be very hard to defend.
In 1996 a Wire Service reported: “The Palestinians have said the 144 settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip must be evacuated once the areas come under Palestinian control.”22
In Bible days the West Bank was known as Judah and Samaria, and Gaza was the ancient territory of the Philistines. At the moment there are still a number of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The ones in Gaza have been evacuated.
Before the 1980s very few Jews lived in the West Bank. Some tried to settle there but were not allowed to by the Israeli government. In 1977, I wrote: “Just exactly what ‘the covenant with many’ that Daniel 9:27 speaks of will include, I don't know. It could be that Israel will give back some of the land they have conquered in the past wars and the Antichrist will guarantee Israel's security for doing so. It seems unlikely that Israel will give back all of this land, especially Judah and Jerusalem, for Mark 13:14 has the Jews in Judah before the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel. Although the Jews control Judah, there are at present hardly any in this area. This will have to change to make ready for the fulfilling of Mark 13:14 and other Scriptures.”23
As we brought out in chapter 6, the seeds of the Arab-Israeli conflict were sown some 4000 years ago when the father of the Arabs and Jews had a son by his Egyptian slave. In Genesis 16:12 God characterized the descendants of that son, Ishmael, as “wild” men who would “be against every man,” which is a good general description of much of the Arab world. The Lord promised the land to Isaac and his descendants—not Ishmael.
The so-called “road map” for Peace which envisions a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital will end in disaster. Real peace in the Middle East is not going to come until the Prince of Peace comes. Only then will the animosity cease. Both Arab and Jew will live in the land between the Euphrates and the River of Egypt, but it will be under Jewish control—the King of the Jews. Isaiah says, “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’ ” (Isa. 19:24-25, NKJV).
(11) The Aryan Connection
I am Darius, the great king, king of kings, king of lands of every tongue, king of this great distant territory, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenid, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, of Aryan seed.24
It is said that the statement above is the regular formula of most inscriptions of Darius. Whether the above Darius was a true Aryan of Persian descent through his father is open to question (he may have been a Mede). There is, however, no question that many modern day Persians, Iranians, would like nothing better than see all Jews dead. The present leader of Iran has said Israel should be “wiped” off the map. Ezekiel 38 tells us that “Persia” will invade Israel in the “latter days.”
There are some parallels between the days of Darius and Adolf Hitler. Darius claimed to be of Aryan descent and boasted of his greatness. Hitler also claimed this “Aryan” descent and boasted his Aryan Empire would last 1000 years. He was also known for his lies, his extermination decree for Jews, and the desire to be worshiped.
Dietrich Eckart, who died in 1923, the year Hitler first tried to seize power, was often called the spiritual founder of Hitler’s Nazi Party. He preached an Aryan superiority and called for the elimination of the Jews. In his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer says, “Hitler’s admiration for Eckart never flagged, and the last sentence of Mein Kampf is an expression of gratitude to this erratic mentor.”25
Like Darius, Hitler felt that Providence had chosen the Aryans, especially the Germans, to be the master race. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote of this so-called Aryan superiority, saying:
All the human culture, all the results of art, science and technology that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan. . . . He is the Prometheus of mankind from whose shining brow the divine spark of genius has sprung at all times, forever kindling anew that fire of knowledge which illumined the night of silent mysteries and thus caused man to climb the path to mastery over the other beings of this earth. 26
Robert Payne says, “Mein Kampf is one of the seminal books of our time and deserves careful reading. . . . The Germans who did not trouble to read the book and the politicians outside Germany who dismissed it as a turgid and repetitious political tract made a great mistake. . . . If they had read it with the attention it deserves, they would have seen that it was a blueprint for the total destruction of bourgeois society and the conquest of the world.”27
Hitler did not rule the world. But Revelation 13:8 says there is one coming who will. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Verse 18 calls him a “beast,” and his number is 666.
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