Originally published July 1, 2009
Israel is the major topic of Bible prophecy, mentioned more than 2,900 times, nearly twice as many times as her Messiah. Without Israel there would be no Messiah and no salvation for anyone, Jew or Gentile. The first mention of His coming is in God's rebuke of the guilty parties involved in man's fall in Eden: the serpent (an identity that Satan retains from Genesis to Revelation) and Adam and Eve. The Bible account is not myth but history. In many places around the world, archaeologists continue to find ancient representations of three figures appearing together: a woman, a serpent, and a tree.
God foretells a long conflict between the serpent and the Messiah and the latter's ultimate triumph that would occur in a way Satan could never have imagined. An old hymn tells it beautifully:
In weakness like defeat,
He won the victor's crown;
Trod all our foes beneath His feet
By being trodden down.
He Satan's power laid low;
Made sin, He sin o'er threw;
Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so,
And death, by dying, slew.
God's declaration to the three guilty parties is simple and to the point. To the serpent He said, "I will put enmity between thee [serpent] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed [the Messiah]; it [the woman's seed] shall bruise thy head [a death blow], and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis:3:15).
The fact that God does not say "thy seed and Adam's" must indicate that no man would be involved. From that moment, Satan was eagerly awaiting this virgin birth in order to kill the babe. Watching closely as events unfold, Satan learns that the Messiah will be of the seed of Abraham. Ishmael is Abraham's firstborn, but by Hagar, Sarah's maid (Genesis 16). Finally, Abraham is given a second son by his wife. He is Isaac, "the son of promise." It seems a miraculous birth because for 90 years Sarah had been barren though not a virgin. Satan watches and waits.
Both Ishmael and Isaac were born "in the land of Canaan" among Canaanites who had lived there for centuries (Genesis:11:31; 12:5-6; 13:7, etc.). There was no such place as "Palestine" nor any people called "Palestinians." No Arabs would live in so-called Palestine until the savage Islamic conquest of the world began in the seventh century, and they would not claim descent from "the original Palestinians" until the 1950s. Anyone making such a claim via descent from Ishmael is deluded by tradition. Ishmael's father (Abraham) was a Chaldean (Genesis:11:31; 15:7) and his mother (Hagar) was an Egyptian (16:1).
President Obama continues to apply pressure upon Israel to deal justly with the "Palestinians." He asks these misnamed people to cease their violence against Israel. He must know that this is like pleading with a hurricane for mercy. Since long before the days of Arafat and his partner, Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO Charter's call for Israel's annihilation has been the sworn purpose of every Islamic government in obedience to Muhammad and has been reiterated hundreds of times throughout the Muslim world.
As Mortimer Zuckerman, in his U.S. News and World Report editorial of June 9, 2009, reminded world leaders demanding that Israel make "peace" with the Palestinians, the latter's violence is fueled by "the incessant spewing of hatred against Israel in schools, mosques, and the media, especially TV. This poisoning of the mind of the next generation is not just the stock in trade of Hamas and Hezbollah but also of the schools and media controlled by Fatah and reporting directly to Abbas."
In spite of the facts, political and church leaders persist in avoiding any mention of Islam or Muslims when referring to their violence. That is always blamed on "extremists." In fact, Muhammad himself began this trail of death, and his followers have obeyed, as supported by the Qur'an. The simple truth of history is brushed aside by the UN and almost the entire world, including the church and, sadly, our own president.
Being repeatedly condemned by the world for trying to defend itself against suicide bomber attacks that were costing the lives of hundreds of Israelis, including women and children, Israel's only alternative was to build a barrier that would cut off the attackers from entering her homeland. World opinion expressed outrage. The World Court ruled 14-1 that construction must cease immediately and everything be dismantled, with compensation to the Palestinians. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on July 20, 2004, 150-6, calling on Israel to respect the World Court ruling. Only the United States, Israel, Australia, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau voted against the resolution. Israel rejected world opinion and, from necessity, has proceeded with construction. It has already almost totally cut off the infiltration of terrorists.
Israel subsequently "gave back" Gaza, which historically belonged to her. She generously left operative the huge greenhouses that had fed Israel and much of Europe with fresh vegetables and could have done the same for the new "owners." Instead, these new owners tore the structures apart, and the mob carried off the materials for their individual use, thereby losing the potential income from exports that Israel had derived as well as the ability to feed themselves.
Going back to history, in 135 A.D., the Romans destroyed 1,000 Jewish villages, killed 500,000 Jews, and enslaved thousands. Furious that they'd been forced to bring in more legions to quell the rebellion, the Romans angrily renamed what had for more than 1,500 years been known as Israel. They called it Provincia Palestina after the Philistines, Israel's ancient enemies. Those living there became known as Palestinians. Who lived there? Jews! So Jews, ironically were the first "Palestinians." This is what they were called (along with many derisive names that have followed them as they've been hunted from country to country). Only in the 1950s did the Arabs begin to call themselves "Palestinians" in order to gain worldwide sympathy for their acts of terrorism even as UN pressure squeezed Israel into an ever-smaller corner in order to facilitate her destruction. (We document all of this and much more in Judgment Day! [https://bit.ly/3K1Bdai].)
Since 1948, Israel has been arming herself and fighting back. Her vow of “never again” will be fulfilled but not before Jewry worldwide suffers the worst horror of her history. Under attack by all of the world's armies (Zechariah:12:3; 14:2; Joel:3:2; Ezekiel:38:8,9, etc.), Israel will call upon the Messiah, and He will rescue her. It is all declared plainly by the ancient prophets of Israel in the Old Testament (the Tanakh).
It has taken the Lord many years and many circumstances to open my eyes to these prophecies. It was all there in His Word, but I didn't understand. How blind I was!
In 1966-67, my wife and I, with our four young children, were living on the third floor of a small seventeenth-century castle in Switzerland. That year was to have been an intensive time of ministry to university students, but God had something far different in mind. Suddenly, an overwhelming urgency to pray for Israel came upon me toward the end of 1966. Even when giving thanks to God at mealtime, I was compelled to include this prayer: “O Lord, I pray that you will defeat, confound, confuse, and frustrate all those who plot the destruction of Israel; turn their counsel into foolishness and protect your ancient people from their evil designs. In Jesus' name, Amen!”
I didn't understand that prayer at the time, but my naiveté was soon dispelled. In Cairo, Egypt, I went into a travel agency and asked, “How can I get to Israel?” The man waiting on me took me aside and whispered, “If you mention that [expletive] word again in this country they'll kill you!” I was shocked. I knew the Bible well but had never realized the significance of Psalm 83: “...thine enemies...that hate thee...have taken crafty counsel against thy people…[saying] let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” This destruction has been the determined goal of Islam since it was founded by Muhammad.
Muslims are fighting against the God who calls Himself the “God of Israel” 203 times in the Bible. What an embarrassment it would be if Israel could be destroyed! It could never happen, for that act would destroy “the God of Israel” as well. He will not allow it.
Interacting with the very friendly people our family met as we drove the length and breadth of Egypt in our VW minibus in late May 1967, we repeatedly heard the words, “The 19-year war.” What war was this? It took a while for that cryptic phrase to sink into our dull understanding. From the so-called 1948 cessation of hostilities until 1967 was 19 years. Even as they professed peace, but inspired by Egypt's dictator, Gamal Abdul Nasser, the 40 million Muslims surrounding Israel had been arming nonstop to achieve her destruction. Nasser had sworn to lead the Arab world to a glorious victory. The humiliating defeat of the Arab armies in “The Six Day War” of 1967 ended Nasser's bombastic boast that he would destroy Israel. He subsequently had a nervous breakdown from which he never recovered.
In May 1948, Israel had declared its independence and was instantly attacked by the combined might of 40 million Arab/Muslims surrounding her. This tiny nation of 600,000, with its hastily assembled, hurriedly trained, and poorly equipped army of 60,000, with weapons smuggled in from Czechoslovakia (France, Britain, America, et al., would sell them nothing) fought for its survival against an enemy that had sworn its utter annihilation. They “crushed 600,000 soldiers of four Arab armies, well trained and heavily armed [with tanks and planes, of which Israel had none], reinforced by units from seven additional Arab countries, not to mention the active help of the British.” This quote is part of the lengthy endorsement of Judgment Day! by a retired Israeli general.
Three times God calls Israel the “apple of his eye” and warns: “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah:2:8; Deuteronomy:32:10; Lamentations:2:18). The statements that some of our political leaders make in favor of Islam are not only alarming for their own sake and the sake of the United States but are a slap in the face of the God of Israel. They need to be warned about what God himself told Abraham regarding the subsequent mistreatment of his descendants: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis:12:3).
In a hotel room in Tyre, Lebanon, the evening of June 3, 1967, our family prayed for direction from God. We had visas to drive through Syria into Jordan and then return by the same route. The newspapers the next morning gave the answer clearly. We immediately headed north through Syria and had, by God's grace, barely gotten across the border into Turkey when the war broke out.
In spite of hundreds of very clear declarations by Jewish prophets and the promises that God has given to His people, about 30 percent of today's Israelis claim to be atheists. He wants to bless them and protect them, but how can He, when they continue to reject Him? The following is just a sample of what God has repeatedly said to His people: “I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries...fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.... But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would [have] none of me” (Psalm:81:11-16).
Israel is both under God's judgment because of its continual rejection of the God of Israel, but at the same time, He has not abandoned her, and woe to those who take God's judgment into their own hands!
In the meantime, the nations of the world continue to become a party to Islam's deception by attempting to force Israel into what can only be a false “peace.” What Islam has in mind is not what the peacemakers naively intend. It's called a hudna, the “peace” that Muhammad made with the Meccans for ten years. Long before then, under a pretense, Muslims attacked and took over that “holy” city, which had so long been the goal of the hajj (long practiced before Muhammad's birth by most Arab tribes). Of course, this ancient custom, along with others, such as the feast of Ramadan, have been taken over by Muslims. Thus, history is perverted to make it seem that these had always been Islamic practices.
Ramadan had for centuries been agreed upon by warring Arab tribes to be 30 days of peace. At just the right time to allow him to attack a passing caravan, Muhammad received a “new revelation” that Muslims could fight during this time. Ramadan has become a time of the deadliest attacks of Shiites against Sunnis (does this demonstrate to the world that “Islam is peace?”)
These prophecies are so important for the strengthening of our own faith, but what about those whom we want to bring into the faith of the God of Israel? We need to provide to everyone with whom we speak (as I often do for those with whom the Lord puts me in contact everywhere, but especially on airplanes) first of all, proof of God's existence. How better to do this than to take the approach of Zinzendorf with the King of Sweden, as we mentioned in Part I of this article, using biblical prophecies about Israel?
We can talk to others about God and Jesus Christ, but when we say “God,” what do we mean? A “higher power” of some kind? We have to be sure that those whom we want to introduce to the God of Israel understand who He is, why we believe in Him, and why we think the most intelligent decision they could make is to believe in Him as well.