Scripture foretells of a time when all nations will gather against Jerusalem to engage her in battle (Zechariah 14:2). Although we do not know the exact order of events that will unfold leading up to this pivotal battle, we do know that they are beginning…and that we are quite likely the generation that will witness them.
Since Israel became a sovereign nation in May 1948, after 2,500 years in exile among the Nations, the time of the “last days” entered in. The re-gathering of the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland was a direct fulfillment of prophecies made thousands of years ago (Isaiah 11:12,66:8; Ezekiel 36:1,8,24; Ezekiel 37:21). While no one can know the exact amount of time that these last days will continue, a study of biblical prophecy will lead one to understand that the current events we are witnessing in the Middle East (and throughout the world) are the “birth pains” that Yeshua foretold would happen (Matthew 24; Mark 13). Israel is the key to understanding where we are in God’s timeline of the last days, which will ultimately usher in the return of the Messiah; what happens in and around Israel today foretells what is coming tomorrow.
Not only was Israel’s re-gathering as a sovereign nation a significant step in this timeline, but also was the re-taking of Jerusalem in 1967. While the prophetic Scriptures speak of the time that Israel would once again exist as a unified nation, the ultimate “sign of the times” has to do with Jerusalem. The fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel – regardless of the fact that the world refuses to recognize it as such – is supremely significant in biblical prophecy. As author & Israel activist Joel Rosenberg puts it, “Israel is the epicenter of the world, Jerusalem is the epicenter of Israel…” Jerusalem will be the ultimate “cup that causes reeling” (Zechariah 12:2) and the “heavy stone for all the peoples” (Zechariah 12:3). She is the ultimate “prize”…
One of the key signs we need to look for in this timeline of events is Israel’s isolation from the nations of the world. Once Israel becomes totally isolated, then so will Jerusalem. Israel must become friendless amongst the nations because the final showdown, so to speak, will be Israel VS the world:
For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled… Zechariah 14:2a
Israel can count its political allies on one hand – and those “friends” are beginning to turn on her. The European Union (EU) recently enlisted new “guidelines”, which boycott Israeli companies that operate beyond the 1949 Armistice Line (this includes not allowing European banks to loan money to such companies). Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned Prime Minister Netanyahu that if the current “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinians fail, Israel would face “…an international delegitimization campaign [such as the EU’s current divestment plan in the Judea & Samaria region] ‘on steroids’.” (Benari, Arutz Sheva, August 14, 2013). The rise in calls for Israel boycotts throughout the world are astounding, especially within academic institutions, NGOs, and even the UN. The UN, which is supposed to be unbiased and treat all its members equally, is guilty of treating Israel unfairly, even as Ban Ki-moon admitted in mid-August of this year (Benari, Arutz Sheva, August 18,2013).
While such bias against Israel is nothing new, what are particularly alarming are the threats and subsequent actions against Israel by high-ranking politicians and heads of governments. Whereas the threats against Israel were mostly talks in the past, they are now actions intended to manipulate Israel into making concessions for “peace” that will most certainly render her indefensible. The world’s obsession with creating a Palestinian State will only bring further destruction and judgment upon itself, as God has promised severe punishment to those who divide His land (Joel 3).
So what can we say about this turn of events? One of the primary purposes of prophecy is for us to know the character, faithfulness, & sovereignty of the Creator, and to ready ourselves for when His plan will unfold. As we witness Israel’s increasing isolation among the nations, it would be foolish for us not to ask, “What does this mean for me?” God, in His awesome mercy, has given us numerous opportunities to align ourselves with His plan for redemption through His Son, so that we may endure the coming trials and tribulation that He has foretold. As we witness the birth pangs – wars, famines, earthquakes, and other unprecedented natural disasters – we would be wise and prudent to recognize that time is running quickly, leaving us with two choices: God or the World.
While He has promised trials to those of us who believe in and follow His Son, He has also promised to spare us His wrath. Those who have not been redeemed and saved by the blood of the Lamb, Yeshua, will suffer His wrath in what Scripture calls the “Day of the Lord”; this will be a time of intense suffering and judgment! Those of us who are walking with one foot in the world and one foot in faith are particularly vulnerable to falling away when the times will grow difficult, and may very well find themselves suffering God’s wrath.
Are you prepared to choose today whom you will serve? Current events reveal that the present period of grace is quickly coming to an end, and the time of tribulation grows closer each day. Today is the day of salvation (2Corinthians 6:1-2).
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