When we want to determine where we are on God’s timeline in terms of the Last Days, we need look no further than God’s timepiece, Israel and even more specifically, Jerusalem. The nation of Israel literally lies in the center of events that point to the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God deals with Israel in the Land of the Covenant in harmony with the seven festivals of Leviticus 23 and therefore their elect will be born-again as a nation in one day confirming Israel is God’s timepiece. God measures no certain time by us Gentiles for He deals with us as individuals. His servant Israel is a distinct race—one nation in its Covenant Land bound within a common law and culture—separated from the nations of the world. As Israel has specific times and seasons to present itself before the Lord, He could declare in Isaiah 66:8 “the nation will be born-again in one day” in a certain year, month and week.
Sadly, much of the Christian Church does not properly honor and recognize the nation of Israel, irrespective of the fact that God said to Abraham “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3). The prophet Zechariah revealed that the physical descendants of Abraham (the entire Jewish nation) are the “apple of God’s eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
Israel is the foundation of the Bible and the Christian faith. God’s intimate relationship with mankind was re-established through the Jews after the fall of Adam. They are the true chosen people of God. It is the same eternal covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who is restoring Israel to the land of their fathers at the end of this age just as He promised. Her people were never expelled from the Land as chastisement for sin without God setting a precise time for their return.
The fact that Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah resulting in their world-wide dispersion, has led to a great satanic deception which has invaded the Christian Church with many teachings that God’s covenant with Israel no longer exists. This is the view that the church is the new or true Israel that has permanently superseded Israel as the people of God.
It is true that God brought salvation to the Gentiles due to the stumble of the Jews (Romans 11:11). Paul stated that Gentiles who accept Christ are “grafted” spiritually into the Jewish nation and become a part of God’s chosen people (Romans 11:11-36). The Church was however grafted into God’s chosen people but never replaced or superseded Israel. Non-Jews can find great joy in knowing that all who accept Christ will be joined with the “apple of God’s eye”.
The heresy by these Christians has led to the Church abandoning Israel even though the entire world is coming against it, led by forces of evil. It has led to a plethora of false doctrine and anti-Semitism.
Some examples include the following:
- Revelation has been turned into a history book, instead of being a prophetic book as God intended. Suddenly they Interpret the woman in Revelation 12:1-6 as the Church rather than true Israel.
- Statements that Christ could return anywhere, even in light of Zechariah 14:4.
- Misunderstanding of the purpose of the Tribulation and Rapture of the Church.
- Ignorance of parts of Scripture, such as “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:16).
- Shear disdain for the Jews, even in the Church. 16th century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote, “Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools…” and “If I had to baptize a Jew, I would take him to the river Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words `I baptize thee in the name of Abraham’.”
- Israel’s return to the land is just a coincidence.
Significance in the Jewish nation of Israel is found in the fact that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was brought into the world through the Jews and lived in Israel while on earth as a Jew. The scripture refers to Jesus as King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-2, 27:11). God’s word also declares that Jesus will return to earth someday to rule and reign from Jerusalem (Zechariah 1:16, 8:3, 14:4, 14:16).
The Church never has nor ever will replace Israel in the eyes of God. This false teaching has no place in the Church and has caused much confusion concerning Bible prophecy and is the reason for anti-Semitism in the Church. This false doctrine should be permanently removed from the Church.
The call to Israel as God’s chosen people began with Abraham. God said to him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants FOREVER” – Genesis 13:14-15. God later reaffirmed this promise with his son Isaac and grandson Jacob (Genesis 26:3-5; 28:10-15).
“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an EVERLASTING COVENANT, to be God to you and your descendants after you” – Genesis 17:7. This covenant is therefore unconditional in nature.
On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates – Genesis 15:18
But prior to this covenant coming to pass, Abraham’s people spent 400 years under Egyptian bondage. The Exodus out of Egypt came after the sacrificial lamb was slaughtered and the celebration of the first Passover. This sacrificial lamb was a foreshadow of the True Lamb that would come centuries later – the Messiah Jesus Christ.
The Lord called them to be a holy people while leading them to the Promised Land and repeatedly warned them that consequences would follow disobedience. One of the punishments would be Israel’s enemies exiling them their land and taking them into slavery. History reveals that this came about as the Babylonians and Assyrians overtook the Jews. But these proved to be short-term takeovers as God restored His people to their land once they called out to Him and repented from their rebellion (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 30).
Yet the Jews sinned again and after centuries of occupation, during the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, they were driven away from the Promised Land and scattered throughout the world as punishment for disobedience to God and rejection of Christ as the Messiah (Ezekiel 5:10). Jesus prophesied that this would occur beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39). Also see God’s warnings in Leviticus 26:33 and Deuteronomy 28:64.
Jesus indicated that the Jews would remain exiled from Jerusalem for a long period of time – until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled, “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” – Luke 21:24.
God stated that He would punish the Jews but not completely destroy them (Jeremiah 30:11). The promise to restore Israel to their land someday was revealed to the prophet Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones Vision (Ezekiel 37). Even though Israel was unfaithful, God is a forever faithful covenant-keeping God who would again restore the nation to their land. Leviticus 26:44-45 confirms this fact.
The restoration of Israel brings tremendous resistance from its enemies. The kingdom of darkness is fully aware of God’s plans with Israel and is the reason for the campaign of hatred against the Jews. Events such as the Holocaust are rooted in a satanically driven hatred against God and His chosen nation.
As God is always true to His word, the Jews have physically returned to Israel and the Jewish nation was officially reborn on May 14, 1948. One would think this event would have erased all thoughts of Replacement Theology.
The spiritual restoration will come about as a result of the worst persecution that Israel will ever face. “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” (Zechariah 13:8-9).
GOD’S PROPHETIC TIME CLOCK
As stated earlier, numerous prophecies of the Bible reveal that when certain events happen concerning Israel, respective prophecies will be fulfilled. One of these prophecies is the Seventy Weeks Prophecy found in the book of Daniel. The prophecy gives specific timeframes concerning the First Coming of Christ, His crucifixion, the antichrist, and Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Jesus also gave the parable of the fig tree to His apostles as an indicator concerning His return to earth. He was conveying the message that when the fig tree (Israel) blossoms, His return would soon follow. He also spoke of Jerusalem and its trampling by the Gentiles as it relates to His Second Coming.
The prophecy of the fig tree was physically fulfilled on May 14, 1948 when Israel once again became a nation. The times of the Gentiles in Jerusalem started in June 1967 with the “Six-day” war. These fulfillments mark the soon closing of the Church dispensation. Scripture states the generation that sees these events will also see the return of Christ.
The spiritual cleansing must occur after Israel has been restored to their land. It will coincide with great distress and tribulation. A remnant of Israel will be refined in the fire of God’s wrath (Zechariah 13:9).
We find further evidence of that nation of Israel as God’s prophectic time clock when studying the Seven Feasts of the Lord. Of the seven feasts, there are three in the spring, one in the summer, and three in the fall.
PRESENT DAY CONFLICT
Many nations have adopted foreign policies for a two-state solution in what they believe is necessary for peace between the Jews & Palestinians. God however warned, “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” (Zechariah 12:3).
Regarding a two-state solution: Israel has put numerous offers on the table and they have been soundly rejected by the PLA. Land for peace simply will not work because ultimately Abbas and Hamas don’t want a two-state solution. Their goal is complete control and domination with Jerusalem as their capital.
Any Bible believing Christian would know the actual intent, especially that of the Arab world. “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4).
God sternly warned that He would bring judgment upon nations that attempt to divide His land, “I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land” (Joel 3:2).
We are seeing the beginnings of what Zechariah wrote about almost 2,600 years ago. The media, politicians, the pop culture and sadly, even the Christians we spoke about, have wrongly singled out the Jews as the problem. This is because many choose to believe a popular lie and ignore the facts about Palestine.
SO WHERE DOES THE “PALESTINIANS” FIT IN?
When you reduce the Israeli-Palestinian issue down to the ridiculous, you will find its root cause. The cause is the lie about ownership and what I will call “the Palestinian lie” in particular. The situation in the Middle East goes from bad to worse and is ultimately being used as fuel to turn all nations against Israel.
The Palestinian lie is quite simple: People are continually repeating the lie that there is a Palestinian people and that Israel is an occupying force. But truth is rooted in historical, documented, and verifiable facts. The main source to refute this lie is the Bible.
WHO ARE THESE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE?
The terms Palestine and Palestinian have origins dating back to the second century AD. The Roman Empire and its ruler Hadrian wanted to get rid of all Jewish identity in the region. He used the name of Israel’s ancient foes the Philistines and renamed the land Palaestina. The Philistines were located to the north of Israel in modern coastal Lebanon and parts of Syria.
The term Palestine was rarely used until Israel declared her Independence in 1948. The term Palestinian wasn’t widely used until the 1960s and 1970s. Yasser Arafat, a well-known terrorist was the chairman of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and his goal was to legitimize a people and cause that have no historical precedent. The PLO seeks to liberate “Palestine” through armed struggle. Since 1994, the PA (Palestinian Authority) has been the governing body of the so-called Palestinian people.
WHERE DID THE PALESTINIANS COME FROM?
Throughout history, there has never been a Palestinian people as a distinct group. This is a fabrication of terms used by Arabs to identify the people who occupy the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and other parts of Israel. These people are Arabs from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and surrounding countries. The Arabs in the disputed areas can trace their recent history to Israel’s neighboring countries. While it’s true that Arab children are born in these disputed territories, they are Arabs who live in Israel, not Palestinians who live in occupied territory.
In announcing the “Disengagement Plan” in December 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the withdrawal from Gaza was to increase security of residents of Israel, relieve pressure on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and reduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians. Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, claims that the withdrawal is the result of violent Palestinian resistance to “Israeli occupation”.
To have a legitimate claim you must have historical precedent and there was never a Palestinian people in the land of Israel. People and organizations such as the late Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Tony Blair, the European Union, and the UN are promoting a distorted view of history and holding negotiations based on a false presupposition that Arabs (with no historical claim), deserve land that rightly belongs to the Jews. To make matters worse, many leaders are seeking to legitimize the Palestinian cause under the banner of evangelical Christianity with organizations like Christ at the Checkpoint and others.
Pope Francis, who I strongly believe is the false prophet in Revelation, also made a very unfortunate move by officially signing a treaty recognizing Palestinian statehood. There are also reports that the Pope referred to Mahmoud Abbas as an “Angel of peace.” Add to this the social media frenzy and downright antisemitic actions of many on university campuses, you have a cause based on nothing but lies.
REFUGEE STATUS OF THE PALESTINIANS
Soon after the Palestinian Arabs fled their homes during the 1948-49 war they were taken under the protective wing of the international community and protected like no other group in similar circumstances. This special treatment ranged from their very recognition as refugees despite the failure of many to satisfy the basic criteria for such status, to the unprecedented creation of a relief agency committed exclusively for their welfare: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA.
Yet rather than help resolve the Palestinian refugee problem, this unparalleled indulgence has only served to confirm its permanency. And no factor has contributed more to this perpetuation than UNRWA, which, instead of ending direct relief and transferring responsibility for the refugees to the host Arab states within months, as stipulated by its mandate, has kept them on the U.N.’s dole for decades under false humanitarian pretense.
World War II created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. In Europe alone, more than 16 million refugees and displaced persons languished in search of a solution to their plight. Some 250,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors herded in overcrowded camps (mainly) in the country that had just slaughtered six million of their brothers; and over 400,000 Finns driven from Soviet-occupied Karelia for the second time in half-a-decade. None of them were given such privileges.
The word “refugees” has been put in quotes with regard to the Palestinians currently cared for by UNRWA for the simple reason that they do not correspond to the conventional refugee concept, which views this phenomenon as a temporary plight that needs to be rectified swiftly. As early as 1929, the League of Nations decided that its International Office for Refugees would shut down within a decade at the most.
Apart from recognizing the Palestinians as refugees despite their failure to meet the basic criteria for this status and assigning a distinct agency to tend to their affairs, the U.N. blindly registered countless false claimants as refugees despite its keen awareness of the pervasiveness of this fraud, then let their falsely obtained status be passed on to future generations.
Responsibility for the Palestinian “refugees” should long ago have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority and the host Arab governments, thus ending their eternal “refugeedom” and facilitating their integration in their respective societies as equal and productive citizens.
THE LIFE OF A PALESTINIAN
The Arabs in Israel are treated fairly and Arab laborers flock to work in Israeli factories instead of those in the West Bank where wages are sometimes double that of Arab employers. Arab citizens in Israel enjoy modern amenities and a stable government. Compare that with the poor living conditions in Baghdad, Damascus, or Cairo and there is simply no comparison.
The governing bodies of Hamas and the PA take western aid money meant to help improve the lives of the so-called Palestinian people. Much of the money ends up lining the pockets of the governing officials and used to procure weapons that are used to wage jihad on the citizens and population centers of Israel. The Hamas thugs routinely place their weapons of war near playgrounds, mosques, and homes of civilians. These actions are indicative of the mindset of the entities Israel is forced to go to the bargaining table with groups calling for the destruction of Israel.
WHAT SHOULD CHRISTIANS DO?
When you see the hate-filled, ignorant, lopsided, anti-Israel anti-Jewish propaganda, understand where it originates from. Satan hates Israel, its people, and its God. The prophets, the Bible, the apostles, and the early church all originated right there. The gospel has gone out from there. It started with the great commission at the Mt. of Olives and will crescendo right up to 144,000 Jewish evangelists proclaiming salvation through Jesus during Daniel’s 70th week. Men including Pharoah, Haman, Hitler, and the coming antichrist have attempted or will attempt to put an end to God’s promises. The Bible tells us the Lord will have the final say regarding who the land belongs to.
Understand that the political turmoil in the Middle East is simply an indicator of the nearness of the Lord’s return. We should see the Israeli-Palestinian issue for what it is: An attempt to undermine what God has done. We can choose not to remain silent despite the onslaught of anti-Jewish rhetoric from the divestment and social gospel crowd.
We should reach out in love to both Jewish and Arab people and be a bold witness for the gospel of Christ. Christians should stand with Israel and we can do that while we show compassion and love to both Jews and Arabs. It may not be politically correct to stand in solidarity with Israel, but history will prove it’s the right thing to do.
We are seeing the stage being set for the end time scenario as Israel and Jerusalem become the geopolitical focal point of the world. No one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return, but in light of recent events, we seem to be closer than ever. Maranatha
(SOURCES: Articles published by Howard Green who leads Concerning The Times and Brian C Thomas of God’s1st)