In my journey years ago from Atheism to Christianity, the thing that most convinced me that the Bible was true, was its written history of the nation Israel and the Jewish people. Its general flow goes like this:
- The establishment of Israel, and the Jewish people as Gods chosen people.
- The destruction of Israel and the scattering of Jews around the world.
- The re-establishment of Israel in its ancient homeland.
- The isolation of Israel and the existential threat to its existence in the last days.
- What are the “last days?”
So let’s take the journey while letting the Bible and history speak to us about this history.
The establishment of Israel, and the Jewish people as Gods chosen people.
For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth.
The scattering of Jews around the world.
Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.
The re-establishment of Israel in its ancient homeland.
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
The isolation of Israel and the existential threat to its existence in the last days.
Zechariah 12 (Jerusalem’s Enemies to Be Destroyed}
A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
Mourning for the One They Pierced
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
What are the “last days?” and what does Jesus have to say about all of this?
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 1and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 1but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 1How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
Immediately after the distress of those days‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earthwill mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[ And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So now let’s summarize using history as our guide.
I realize that some, if not many, of my readers have little interest in history, and never have had an interest. That’s fine, my intent here is to make you aware of a portion of history that maybe you should pay attention to. I also realize that some of you, if not many, perhaps have little interest in current events, and especially politics. That’s fine too, my intent here is to make you aware of some current events that might warrant your closer attention in light of their Biblical and historical context.
That the nations Israel and Judah existed in the ancient past is clear. What is not historically collaborated is the idea of a chosen people, and Jews being that chosen people; for that you have only the words of the Bible to trust or not.
After a long history, Israel was finally destroyed as a nation by the Romans in AD 70, and the Jews were driven out and scattered among the nations of the earth where they remained until recent centuries, with just a small remnant remaining in Palestine.
During this diaspora, Jews were constantly hounded and persecuted as in the Inquisitions of the middle ages, and most notably by the Nazis and Communists of the 20’th century. This persecution continues unabated in many of the Muslim nations of the world today.
After World War II and the attempted extermination of all Jews everywhere (The Final Solution), a new Israel was established in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews.
Since that day in 1948 there has been a continual and active attempt to demonize and destroy Israel. A series of wars against Israel since 1948 have consistently resulted in defeats of the Arab militaries by a much smaller nation who by any standard of common sense or logic had no business winning any of them, much less all of them.
Throughout the history of modern Israel, one nation has been a steadfast ally; the United States.
In recent years, a much more serious threat to Israel has arisen. Iran is rapidly developing a nuclear weapons program and the means to deliver these weapons to Israel. You don’t have to have an elaborate and clandestine intelligence apparatus to discover this threat, the Iranians have consistently announced to the world its intention to annihilate Israel and eliminate all of the Jews. History has repeatedly told us that we should take such people at their word and expect them to do exactly as they say.
As noted in the Bible passages above, Israel will at some time be faced with isolation in the world, with no allies at its side. As I’ve said previously, the U.S. has been a consistent and reliable ally to date; however, this relationship appears to be eroding as shown by several significant and recent trends:
- Under the current US administration, American influence and power has diminished to the point where from Pakistan in the East to Tunisia in the West American power is on the decline, and respect severely undermined.
- American support for Israel with respect to the Iranian threat appears more and more to be mere window dressing. Will the US take any significant action to thwart the Iranian nuclear threat? I don’t see it happening. More likely is that the red lines that Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking from the US will be in the form of mushroom shaped clouds. In short, America appears to be abandoning its commitment, and completing the isolation talked about by the prophets of old.
- The events of the Arab Spring, and more recent events throughout North African and the Middle East portend the day when American influence over events there will be non-existent, and Israel will be at the mercy (non-existent) of its surrounding enemies.
So how will it play out? What will happen when the enemies of Israel attack and force the “final solution?”
Read again the words of Zechariah 12, and see that once again the enemies of Israel will be brought up short. And then read the words of Isaiah 17 in the context of Zechariah:
Proclamation Against Syria and Israel
“The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city,
And it will be a ruinous heap.
14 Then behold, at eventide, trouble!
And before the morning, he is no more.
This is the portion of those who plunder us,
And the lot of those who rob us.”
And what of your own personal history? As one small individual person you can do little to change the events that seem to be overtaking all of us. However, what you can do as an individual is to listen to the words of Jesus in the book of Revelation:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Best regards and thanks for listening,
Don Johnson – September 2012