The Bible and Israel
In last week’s article we looked at what the Bible, the Word of God had to say about Iraq (if you missed it, you may request a copy by contacting us at the address at the end of this article and we will send you a copy). Iraq is modern day Babylon and the Bible has much to say concerning Babylon in the last days.
There is another nation which the Bible speaks of that will have an even greater part in the last days. It is the nation of Israel. Take a moment and read just a few of many verses that have to do with the place Israel will play in the last days.
In Ezekiel 37:1-10, we read a prophecy concerning the reviving of the Jewish nation of Israel. "The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know." Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD." ' "
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." ' " So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army."
To many, this may seem like a script out of a Steven Spielberg movie, but it is not. God is speaking figuratively of that which He would do in reviving the nation of Israel and bringing His people the Jews, back to the land of Israel to once again occupy it. How do we know that God is speaking of the people of Israel? Because that which proceeds the previously mentioned verses tell us so. I am so thankful that God’s Word is so clear and concise. He does not leave it up to man to guess what He means.
In Ezekiel 37:11-14, "Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' "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, 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.' "
For almost 2,000 years the people of Israel had been without a homeland. They had been dispersed throughout the world, yet they continued to retain their identity. No other group of people has ever been able to do such a thing as this. Yet the Jewish people have been able to do so because God’s Hand has been upon them just as He said it would. In May of 1948, after suffering terribly through the horrors of the Holocaust and other atrocities committed against them during the 1930s and 40s, God brought them back once again to their homeland.
Equally amazing is the impact that this rebirth of the nation of Israel has had on the rest of the world. For the most part, nearly all the nations of the world have been against the people of Israel since they returned to Israel. This too was prophesied in the Bible. In Zechariah 12:1-3, "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."
Why is it that this little tiny nation of Israel is the cause of so much trouble in the world? The current size of Israel is not much larger than New Jersey and yet much of the world’s attention is focused on it. This could never be understood in the natural realm, it defies reason. If we are to understand, it must be looked at in the spiritual realm.
Israel, the people of God (the Jewish people) has been an intrigal part of God’s plan for the world including the redemption of mankind. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, would come out of the nation of Israel; the prophets and Apostles would come out of the nation of Israel; the Bible would come out of the nation of Israel; and when Jesus Christ returns, He will return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Satan who opposes all that God stands for has made many attempts to prohibit any part of this from happening. He will even set up his kingdom in Jerusalem in the last days and demand to be worshiped as God by all the people of the world. He will appear as the anti or false messiah. To accomplish this, Satan is working through the religions of the world. One religion in particular is that of Islam. As cited in last week’s article, most of the Muslims of the world have a deep-seated hatred for the Jewish people and would like nothing more than to see the extinction of the Jewish people.
All of this enables us to see the reality of what is prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39. I find the content of chapters 38 &39 of great signifigance as it follows the events of Ezekiel 37. Chapters 38 & 39 speaks of a group of nations that will decide to attack Israel. It is not only interesting to note the nations that are mentioned, but also those not mentioned. Those mentioned in this consortment of forces are: the southern nations of Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, and Turkey. They will amass a huge army and come down to Israel with the idea of destroying it. There is one commonality between all of these nations, they are predominately Muslim. The Almighty God will intervene and destroy five sixths of the invading armies.
There are some interesting possible scenarios that may occur in order for this to happen. One is, as the war is presently waging in Iraq, there may be a final attempt by Saddam Hussien and his gang to shoot a missile or two at Israel, it is no secret how much he hates the Israelis. During the first Gulf war he had a number of scud missiles fired at Israel, with very little damage. The United States forced Israel to promise to not do anything in retaliation against Iraq. The US knew that if Israel had retaliated, it could have set off a fierce battle in the middle east.
It should be noted that the USA made no such demands on Israel this time. Israel has said it will do whatever it takes to defend itself including nuclear bombs. Israel could very easily destroy Baghdad with the arsenal that it has. If this were to happen, it is easy to see how the previously mentioned Islamic nations would band together and attack Israel. This would also explain why one of the nations that is not mentioned as joining forces to attack Israel is Iraq. Both Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50 speak of the total destruction of Babylon which as you remember is modern day Iraq.
We have run out of time and space for now, so we will pick up with this subject in next week’s article. Regardless of how the events that we have looked at in this article will happen, we can be assured they will happen. When it comes to Bible Prophecy, it is never a matter of "will" it happen, rather "how and when". Everything will be fulfilled just as God has said it will. The big question for you is, where do you stand in regards to the truth of God’s Word and the Lord Jesus Christ? Is He, as the Bible says, "the Way, the Truth, and the Life?" Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior? Have you humbled yourself before Him and asked for His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life? If not, do so right now, do not wait.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine