Tom: Thanks, Gary. You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Currently, we are going through Dave Hunt’s book A Cup of Trembling, subtitled: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy. Dave, as you remember we just started chapter 2, but I want to go back to chapter 1. I asked the question, though I sort of danced around the question last week, but I would like you to answer it specifically.
Dave: Let’s not dance around now, Tom!
Tom: Okay, I’ll get right to it. The question is, “When Israel took control of Jerusalem after the 1967 war, was that a fulfillment of Luke:21:24?” I’ll read that: Luke:21:24: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” So, you seem to imply in the book that—well, you don’t really say so, but the implication is that maybe this is the time of the Gentiles.
Dave: Well, Tom, Israel did take, in June 1967, they did take East Jerusalem, and they took Temple Mount. In fact, they had all of Jerusalem under their control. But they almost immediately—Moshe Dayan, the general with the patch over his eye, turned Temple Mount…I think we talked about that briefly…he turned it over to King Hussein of Jordan. In 1994, Hussein gave it to the PLO. So actually—well, technically, Jerusalem is under…all of Jerusalem is under Israel’s control. On the other hand, they refuse to exercise control. You have the Waqf is up there, the PLO group, and they are destroying every vestige of any evidence, of any presence, of Israel there.
Tom: They are actually excavating and taking whatever they find under the Temple Mount and dumping, destroying it.
Dave: Trashing it! And Arafat, of course, says, “The Jews were never there. This is our land,” and so forth. Now technically, Israel has the right to exercise its domain, but they don’t do it for fear of the reaction from the world but also from the reaction from the PLO, the so-called Palestinians. And you remember when Ariel Sharon—he just walked up on Temple Mount. He was not the head of the Israeli government at that time. He was soon to become that—but they have riots! Now I happen to know that they were planning to do this anyway. They blame it on him: “Oh, it was his provocation.” Since when is it a provocation for any Israeli to walk on Temple Mount? But an Israeli cannot go up on Temple Mount—even tourists can’t go up on there today. They have shut the whole thing down. We have friends and relatives in Israel, and I can remember when one young man, who happens to be in the Israeli military, sent us an email saying that the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces, had discovered that the PLO, the Palestinians, had flyers already printed, and they were going to announce on the radio and they were going to distribute them that there was some kind of an attempt of the Israelis to take over Temple Mount or something, and the Israelis shut Temple Mount down that day. So they outdated their flyers, you down, they had a date on them and so forth. This was not a provocation—it was something that they wanted, okay?
Tom: Dave, you said the Israelis shut Temple Mount down—is that what you meant to say?
Dave: That’s right. The Israelis shut it down because, after all, they can bring in their troops and keep anybody from going up there so that no one could get near Temple Mount. So you couldn’t say that there was a riot and an uprising, you know, and so forth, an opposition—and that kind of squelched that for the moment.
But the point I’m trying to make is, Tom, yeah, they did take Jerusalem in ‘67. On the other hand, they’re not able to exercise control. East Jerusalem is really under the control of the PLO at this point, and the governments of the world—if Israel said to the PLO, “Look, stop what you are doing up there! You are destroying…in fact, the wall is going to collapse.”
Tom: Because of the excavations.
Dave: Excavations…and if they tried to exercise the right that they have, the world would be opposed; there would be a real uprising on the part of the Palestinians. This is incredible! This belongs to Israel! This is their holiest site, where the Temple was. Now it is denied that the Temple was ever there, and they really can’t exercise control over it, and the governments of the world keep their embassy somewhere else; they will not allow Israel to say, “This is our capital.” The European Union rebukes them on it, the United Nations rebukes them, the United States rebukes them.
So, technically, in 1967, they took control. Was that the end of the times of the Gentiles? I do not believe so because, obviously, the Gentile nations are still exercising tremendous power and influence. And I do not believe that the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled until Armageddon, and that will be the last fling, you could say, for the Gentiles—their last final effort to exterminate the Jews to effect a final solution to the Jewish problem, as Hitler intended to, when all the armies of the world under Antichrist come after Jerusalem, come after Israel, and then Christ will intervene.
Now I would tie that in with a couple of other passages of scripture: Matthew:24:34, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” I think we have probably talked about this in the past. You had three possibilities:
1) It was the generation to whom he was speaking at that time; (that would be the reconstructionists, preterists, and I know you have had some discussions with them, Tom, in the past. And they say it was all fulfilled—Nero was the Antichrist, Christ returned in 70 AD—He returned in the person of the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem. What a twisting of scripture! Anyway, there is so much that Jesus talked about that didn’t happen then. That couldn’t have been it.)
2) Then others said, Well, it’s the generation that sees Israel back in her land, and so that happened in 1948. Now within a generation everything has to be fulfilled. I have never accepted either of those two.
3) It’s the generation of unbelief. Jesus and John the Baptist both used “generation” in a very special way: generation of vipers, a perverse generation, an unbelieving generation, disobedient, rebellious, gainsaying, sign-seeking generation. And I believe what Jesus was saying was that Israel as a whole—many Jews have come to Christ. Of course, the church at the beginning was all Jews—but Israel as a whole would remain in unbelief and rejection of her Messiah until all is fulfilled.
When is all fulfilled? Well, when Christ returns in the midst of Armageddon. And Zechariah:12:10 says, “They will look on me whom they have pierced” (God is speaking). Well, He says, “When you see (Matthew:24:33)—When you see all these things…[that is, when everything has been fulfilled], then you will know I am right at the door.”
Well, everything has not yet been fulfilled. So, when everything has been fulfilled, that is going to be Armageddon; that is the last hope of the Gentile nations to destroy Israel, and that will be the end of the times of the Gentiles, finally, in my opinion. And it’s very interesting what Ezekiel 39—Ezekiel 39 is a very interesting passage, and let me read one verse, because in Matthew 24, one of the things that Jesus said is going to happen: “You’ll see the sign of the Son of man coming in power and great glory, and He will send his angels and they will gather his elect [that’s Israel, ‘Israel mine elect’] from the four winds” —they will all be gathered back into Israel for the Messiah to reign over them.
That certainly did not happen in AD 70, okay? But listen to this verse in Ezekiel:39:28: “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.” There’s a time coming when every Jew will be gathered, who is alive, who has survived at that point, will be brought back by the angels, Jesus says, and that will be the end of the Gentile reign—the end of the times of the Gentiles. And then Israel will be glorious, and the nations of the world in the Millennial reign of Christ will have to come to Jerusalem on the feasts, and so forth. So, although they have taken Jerusalem, they don’t control it, and I don’t think this is the fulfillment yet.
Tom: If you just joined us for the first time, or maybe just tuned in to the program, we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book, A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy. And Dave, in chapter 2—well, one of the things we are trying to do in going through the book, we’ve discussed Islam over a number of programs, but we want to lay the foundation for, “Why the problem?” What is this we are going through? What’s the basis for it, and so on? And I think it will help our listeners to understand, and it’s important for them to understand, God’s perspective on this. We have all different kinds of commentary, we have all different kinds of perspective, historical, and so on, but unless we know what God has said about this, we’re just wildly speculating and it gets confusing.
Dave: And what God has said in His Word is so remarkable, so precise, and is being fulfilled, has been fulfilled, and is still being fulfilled today. You cannot be an atheist; you cannot be an agnostic. We can…as I have often said and we probably said it in the last program, we can prove the existence of God just from the prophecies concerning Jerusalem, and this was one of them. Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. And you go back and read history—it’s been fought over by every major power; it has been held by every major power. The Ottoman Empire, for example, had it for 400 years. The Egyptians had it, the Greeks, and the Romans, and so forth. So it has been fought over, and it has been—Jews have continued to live there; this is their land. They have never been totally expelled, they keep coming back, but they have not had control of this land or of Jerusalem for centuries since Jesus said this. Now in 1947…
Tom: Well, Dave, before you get to that, I want to lay some groundwork here for the return of the Jews and, certainly, the thing that would come to mind is Zionism. Can you give us some of…the sort of historical basis for Zionism—what it is and what’s taken place since, actually, 1800.
Dave: Yeah, they talk about Theodore Herzl, of course, being the head of the Zionist movement. There was really a Zionist movement before then, although it wasn’t called that. He organized it, the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, and that was inspired, you could say, by the publication of The Jewish State by Theodore Herzl. But there had been Jews who had been coming back, buying land. See, this was mostly absentee ownership. There were wealthy Arabs who had gotten this land through the Ottoman Empire. Much of it wasn’t of any value, as far as they were concerned. What little was of value, they rented it out to people to try to till the soil and so forth. They weren’t doing a very good job. This was mostly wilderness.
You could read what Mark Twain, when he went there, what others had to say about it. There was nobody, no animals, even, and trees—you know, that the Turks taxed you by how many trees you had, so it caused the people to cut down the trees. It was a barren land, and the Jews wanted to get back in. They were buying this land. They bought swampland—thousands—several thousand Jews died of malaria draining these swamps and making something out of it. They turned this into orchards and orange groves and fertile land and so forth, at great effort, although they bought what the…and they paid exorbitant prices for—what would otherwise seem to be worthless land, okay?
So, they were coming back—there was, you could say, a Zionist movement. I mean, you know the old saying of the Jews: “Next year in Jerusalem, next year in Jerusalem.” We can document that in Jerusalem they had a Rabbinical Council, and Jews all over the world looked to the Rabbinical leadership in Jerusalem. They recognized this as the capital of their state, even though they didn’t have it—others were in control. But you could say the organized Zionist movement began with its first congress in 1897. But that’s interesting, because they were willing to compromise.
Tom: Take anything, they were just looking for land.
Dave: They just wanted land, and they even considered taking a 6,000-square-mile area in East Africa, and the Zionist movement split over whether they ought to take it or not, and it still hadn’t been settled when Herzl died July 3, 1904. But the day would come when the United Nations would vote and decree that Zionism is racism, if you could imagine! It’s racist for the Jews to imagine that they could have their own land and that this is their land! It’s not racist for the French to claim France, it’s not racist for the Germans to claim Germany, but for the Jews to dare to claim this is their land…! For the last 3,000 years their kings ruled there; David founded Jerusalem, and all of that is being wiped out. It is denied by the Arabs. They have rewritten history and so forth.
So anyway, the modern Zionist movement—a lot of Jews were opposed to it. And I think we mentioned several weeks ago that, what was it? Twenty thousand of them in New York, marched against this because some Orthodox Jews say, “No, it’s not right to go back until the Messiah comes, and the Messiah will lead us back. He will bring us back,” and so forth.
Well, then they don’t know their own prophets. I quoted, “They will look on me whom they have pierced.” See, Jesus said, “This generation, rebellious, gain-saying, perverse generation, will remain in unbelief until all is fulfilled.” Well, that’s what the Old Testament scriptures also said. So, if it is in the land of Israel that the Jews finally believe in their Messiah, then they must be restored to this land in unbelief—that’s simple. But we have Christians today who say, “Those unbelieving Jews, they don’t deserve to be back there; that’s not their land,” and so forth. Well, they have to go back in unbelief in order to believe when the Messiah returns to rescue them in the midst of Armageddon.
Tom: Dave, let me push that a little further. You’re talking about Christians and their perspective, what did Christians do who were trying to read the Bible, understand what’s going on from a prophecy standpoint, particularly around the late 1800s, when this land is so desolate? As you mentioned, Mark Twain writes about it extensively, how this place is worthless. Now, the idea that the Jews would be restored to their land, that affected a lot of eschatology, a lot of Bible…an understanding Bible prophecy, and led to some really erroneous doctrines like replacement theology.
Dave: Yeah, whether you believe that or not, that was the question. I can remember, I think Sir Robert Anderson, in the early 1900s…now Sir Robert Anderson was the head of the criminal investigation division of Scotland Yard. He was an outstanding Christian, wrote a number of books, but in the early 1900s, he was talking about, No, the Jews are going to possess that land that was promised to them. And I’m old enough to remember in the 1930s, nothing could be more hopeless. I mean, the Jews are—well, they’re on the way to the ovens very shortly and Judenfrei cities and villages—they’re being persecuted.
Tom: “Jew free”—Judenfrei.
Dave: Right, Judenfrei. Yeah! In Germany—and yet I remember, they mostly stayed in our home, all the traveling preachers, evangelists, and I can remember they would come with their charts and I remember these charts: “from eternity to eternity,” and laying it all out and “Israel will be restored.” It looked absolutely hopeless—no way that that could happen!
Tom: But others were saying, “No, we’ve got to come up with a rationale to cover this,” like you have to cover the Bible.
Dave: They wouldn’t believe it. But when they were supposedly restored—that was, remember, November 29, 1947—this was after the League of Nations in the Declaration of Principles in 1922 had said, “All of this land, all of so-called Palestine, belongs to the Jews.” It was set aside as their national homeland to be administered by the British under the Balfour Declaration, and so forth. Finally, they got 18 percent of it, but, going back to what Jesus said, “It will be trodden down of the Gentiles.” Who gave it to them? The United Nations partitioned this land—gave so much to the Jews and the rest of it to the Arabs. So again, you would have to say, “Well, yeah, but it was the United Nations who was dispensing this land. So, it’s still trodden down of the Gentiles, and the United Nations in UN Resolution 181 said Jerusalem must never be under the control of the Jews—it must be an international city forever.”
So, Tom, I think this is an amazing prophecy, that Jerusalem would be restored, that the Jews would ever be back in their land. It’s miraculous, considering all the opposition and that the United Nations would ever vote—and I think they didn’t think it was going to last, they thought the Jews would be wiped out. But anyway, they voted it in, but they still are determined that Jerusalem must be an international city. Come on, anybody out there, you can’t be an atheist—you can’t deny—this is an amazing prophecy being fulfilled in our day.
Tom: Dave, when you see God’s hand—first of all, go back to Theodore Herzl, and you go back to some Jews who say, “Oh, East Africa, that sounds fine to me,” what would have happened? They keep going. In 1947 and 1948, it looks like “oh, they are in for a time, but they’re going to get wiped off the face of the earth.” Time and time and time again, God…and then look at all the wars. If you don’t see God’s hand in that, what can we say?