By Lambert Dolphin
According to the Bible, the Son of God became a man and entered human history "late" in time (Galatians 4:4). Furthermore the past two thousand years between the two advents of Jesus are spoken of in Scripture as "the last days"--as if they were but a few short days in extent (Heb. 1:2, 2 Peter 3:8, 2 Tim. 3:1).
If the Apostles and early Christians anticipated the second coming of Jesus in their lifetimes, (and they did) how much closer are we now to the time when God will intervene actively in world affairs to bring justice and peace to our beleaguered planet? (Titus 2:11-15, Zeph. 1).
Secular history ignores the behind-the-scenes movements of God in history but those who take time to know the Bible (and the Lord Jesus) are bound to see things very differently. News from the Middle East this summer has been a series of cliff-hangers with precariously balanced forces of violence and war poised for release on every side. Ominous threats issue forth almost daily from every quarter of the region, along with apocalyptic rhetoric threatening annihilation of one's enemies. World leaders as well as locals in the Middle East have been constantly scrambling this summer to hedge off one crisis after another. There are alliances everywhere. Every major nation in the world has entwined itself in the region. Age-old animosities are coming to a head--as in ancient times. The Middle East today is neither quiet nor stable.
Israel's key place in world history, fully foreseen 27 centuries ago by Isaiah, is becoming impossible for even the spiritual blind secular media to complete ignore. In short, Israel is the key to world peace, but that peace will elude us until Jesus returns in power and full military glory. There will be no peace without the Prince of Peace and His hands-on, in person involvement in world affairs.
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his [Israel's] covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near," Says the LORD, "And I will heal him."
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. "There is no peace," Says my God, "for the wicked." (Isaiah 57:19-21)
The restoration of Jewish people to the historic land of Israel began towards the end of the 19th Century, followed by independence from Great Britain and statehood in 1948. Israel's restoration has been accompanied in the past hundred years by the rising from the ashes of surrounding nations--most of them hostile to the Jews. To those who know their Bibles well, the stage is obviously being set for the climactic events of the end of the present age which will culminate in the return of Jesus to our beleaguered planet.
God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right, but what is the good of saying you're on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else--something it never entered your head to conceive--comes crashing in; something so beautiful to us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down, when it's become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realize it or not. Now, today, in this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever; we must take it or leave it. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
The tiny state of Israel has fought or endured at least one war in every
decade since its rebirth – 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1991 and 2006 –
not including the unrelenting terrorist war waged against her. Why
should this be the case? Our planet is a violent place and becoming more
so ever year, but Israel is special. There is one true God, and that God
happens to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Jesus.
About 3500 years ago, at the time of their exodus from Egypt, God called the descendants of Abraham through his son Jacob to be a unique nation--a model for other nations intended to show the world what a relationship with the true God should look like (Exodus 19:5-6). Historically, the nation of Israel has repeatedly not lived up to her calling--to say the least. But that one Jewish man, Jesus, has met God's national requirements on Israel's behalf, thus making it possible for the nation to be fully justified and vindicated--when they return to faith in the God of their fathers. Obviously this has not happened yet in history.
Israel today is almost entirely a secular people with only a tiny "believing remnant" among her people in the land. About 40% of the Jews in the world live in Israel at present, another 40% live in the U.S. and 20% live elsewhere. When He returns, Jesus will gather all the remaining Jews back to the land--and all will be believers (Matt. 24:31).
The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, and his resurrection three
days later, made it possible for God to ultimately fully restore the
nation of Israel to her intended status as head of the nations. The book
of Isaiah emphasizes this again and again. But God's choice of Israel as
a model nation had in mind the well-being and healing of all of the
nations as well. The message of God's long-term favor to Israel has
vastly expanded since the resurrection of Jesus. God loves Israel, but
He also loves all the rest of us as well. All people everywhere are
welcome to come into His family.
This final transformation of Israel ultimately means all who survive will have placed their faith in Yeshua. For today's professing Israel to be changed into believing Israel will only happen near the end of a terrible world war when Israel (and Jerusalem) will be overrun by the nations of the world in the most terrible of all world wars.
The arrival of Jesus to prevent mankind's total self-destruction will be just in time. The prophet Zechariah (c. 520 BC) wrote of this:
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You. It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish. It shall be one day Which is known to the LORD-- Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light. And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-- "The LORD is one," And His name one. (Zechariah 14:1-9)
Zechariah also describes the 11th hour national repentance of the Jewish people during the time of this last terrible world war (also called "the time of Jacob's trouble" see Daniel 12:1, Jer. 30:7)
The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: "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. "In that day," says the LORD, "I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. "And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the LORD of hosts, their God.’ "In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place--Jerusalem. "The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. "In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. "And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; "the family of the house of Levi by itself, an their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; "all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves. "In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. "It shall be in that day," says the LORD of hosts, "that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land…
And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the LORD, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’"
The nations of the world will not be bystanders to Israel's great final war. One has only to read the last book of the New Testament--the book of the Revelation, to see that the cities of the world will be laid waste and the majority of earth's inhabitants will perish in the coming holocaust.
Apart from a few diligent Bible teachers who call our attention to the certitude of the terrible--and glorious--events which will close the age we live in, today one finds wide-spread Biblical illiteracy among "Christians" on every side. Just when we most need to be Biblically well-informed, many churches are dumbing-down their flocks with irrelevant teaching and preaching. Erroneous teaching on Bible prophecy, even open heresy, is everywhere. Perhaps this is because of the failure of teachers of God's word to take ALL of God's word into account when understanding God's grand plan for human history. One can not understand parts of the Bible fully without knowing the whole. Truth on many important themes of the Bible, especially prophecy, is not found in any one place in the Bible, it is scattered throughout the entire Word, "…here a little there a little, line upon line, verse upon verse."
Very briefly, the current peace negotiations in the Middle East will finally succeed when the European nations (the EU) will successfully negotiate a peace settlement with Israel's neighbors--probably in the form of a "land for peace" treaty. The Jews will at last find a way to build their long-awaited Third Temple and resume Old Covenant sacrifices and services.
The current government of Israel is none-too-stable. These days God fearing Jews eagerly await what they believe will be the first coming of their Messiah. However they are convinced that this Messiah can not possibly be Jesus. This of course means much more trouble ahead for Israel--and for the world. Israel is the linchpin of the nations and a false messiah wheeling and dealing in Israel spells terrible trouble for everyone. But Jesus has already warned about this, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive." (John 5:43) Sure enough, Israel's end-of-the-age peace treaty (her "covenant of death" to quote from Isaiah 28)--will fail catastrophically and the last great world war will erupt, (Matthew 24:15-22).
As our age closes, a false, counterfeit church will also rise to a position of high influence soon after the Christian remnant, the true church, departs. Religious as well as secular deception around the world will greatly increase.
Just as God will save only a remnant in Israel, God is not saving all
professing Christians, nor entire nations. Yahweh, the God of Israel
always deals with individuals and with "remnants". In mercy, God will greatly expand
world-wide evangelism during the coming time of the end, bringing
millions into a personal saving relationship with His Son during the
final seven-year period after the departure of the church, and preceding
the second coming of Jesus.
But early into this horrific war, it will be come clear to the gathered armies of the world that their real enemy is God! It is at that point Jesus, Commander in Chief of the Armies of the Lord, (Yahweh Sabaoth) will step into world history in a clear and visible way.
A momentous, world-wide earthquake--involving the shaking of both earth and the heavens--will accompany the return of the Lord to the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11).
"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on
him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and
makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many
crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was
clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of
God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,
followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword,
that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them
with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness
and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a
name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."