Israel In Bible Prophecy
What is the role of Israel in bible prophecy?
Unfortunately, a large segment of the Christian community believes that God is finished with Israel, that the blood of Christ on the cross negates God's promise to the Jewish people.
Nothing could be further from the truth! God's Word remains forever, and God promised Abraham:
God's promise to Abraham still stands, and the tiny nation of Israel is a major player in end time events.
For proof of the central role played by Israel in bible prophecy, one need look further than the Book of Ezekiel and the first half of the 20th Century...
The Regathering of God's People
More than 2,600 years ago, God told the prophet Ezekiel of His plan to regather the Jews from the four corners of the earth where they had been scattered and bring them back into the land of Israel:
In the late 19th Century, the Zionist movement started to gain in popularity, and Jews throughout the world trickled into Israel by the thousands. Then those thousands became tens of thousands. The horrors of the Holocaust turned a trickle into a deluge as the Jewish people sought refuge in a country where they would no longer face minority status.
All this mass immigration occurred in fulfillment of God's Word, as referenced in numerous regathering of Israel bible verses found in the Old Testament.
But God didn't merely promise to regather the Jewish people in the land of Israel.
He promised breathe life back into the nation.
In fact, He promised Israel would be a nation born in a single day:
This is exactly what happened on May 14, 1948, when the country's leaders declared Israel an independent nation and the United States quickly recognized the declaration.
Jerusalem: A Burdensome Stone
Need further evidence of the role of Israel in bible prophecy?
How about God's promise to make Jerusalem "a heavy stone, a burden for the world"...
As you read this, world leaders are focused on Jerusalem. In a hopeless effort to forge "peace" between the Arab and Jewish people, many leaders openly talk about "dividing" Jerusalem.
Yet, God's proclamation is clear. Jerusalem will remain an undivided Israeli possession.
The Destruction of Damascus
Yet despite the numerous end time prophecies fulfilled by modern day Israel, Christ has not yet returned, meaning several unfulfilled prophecies are yet to be fulfilled.
Given the promise of Jesus that the generation which witnessed Israel's rebirth would not pass away until all end times bible prophecy is fulfilled, many of us will witness the fulfillment of these remaining prophecies.
One such prophecy is the foretold destruction of Damascus:
Currently, Damascus is the world's oldest continuously inhabited city, so this is clearly an unfulfilled bible prophecy - one scheduled to be fulfilled in our generation.
The War of Gog and Magog
The war of Gog and Magog also plays a central role in end times bible prophecy concerning Israel.
More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel revealed God's plan to bring a coalition of nations against Israel in the last days.
The leader of that coalition, which includes Russia (Magog), Iran (Persia), Ethiopia (Cush), Lybia (Put), Turkey (Gomer), and others, is Gog (the leader of Russia):
In the centuries since Ezekiel's prophecy, Russia and Iran have never had a military alliance. Yet, the past decade has seen closer and closer military and diplomatic cooperation between the two nations, making fulfillment of this prophecy in our generation a much more realistic scenario.
A Covenant With Death
The prophet Daniel prophesied the nation of Israel would confirm a covenant with the Antichrist in the end times. This covenant, or treaty, would last for a period of seven years - the same amount of time allotted for the Tribulation:
According to Daniel, in the middle of the treaty's seven year time period, the Antichrist will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration in God's Temple. This act is known as "the abomination of desolation."
The Abomination of Desolation
As a climax to his terrible deeds, the Antichrist will commit "the abomination of desolation":
Essentially, the Antichrist will stand in the Temple of God and proclaim himself to be God.
Jesus told His disciples of this horrible act in the Olivet Discourse:
Of course, for this prophecy to be fulfilled, something else must take place...
The rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Third Temple
In case there's any doubt, Paul confirms in his second letter to the Thessalonians what Daniel and Jesus have already confirmed. The Antichrist will stand in the Temple and proclaim himself to be God:
Of course, in order for the Antichrist to do this, the Temple has to exist. And since the Roman legions destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70, it's never been rebuilt.
The bible clearly prophesies that it will be in the last days.
Israel Receives the Holy Spirit
Another major end times event will be the recognition of Jesus Christ as the long-awaited Messiah of the Jewish people by the Jewish people themselves:
Currently, the overwhelming majority of the Jewish people reject Jesus of Nazareth as the one who fulfilled the Old Testament messianic prophecies.
According to the prophet Zechariah, that will change in the last days, when the family of David will "look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son."
The Messiah Returns
Unquestionably, the biggest end time event for Israel will be the return of the Messiah to reign over the earth:
At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will physically return to the earth to wage war against His enemies. His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives, and it will split apart.
The Lord of Heaven's Armies will come as the conquering Messiah, to take possession of the earth once and for all. When He comes, He will establish a Kingdom which will last forever.
So when will all these things take place?
When will all the end times prophecies concerning Israel finally reach fulfillment?
Almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus gave us the answer:
Throughout the Old Testament, the fig tree is used as a symbol for Israel. In fact, Jesus Himself used a barren fig tree as a parable for an unbelieving people.
In the above passage, Jesus is clearly telling His disciples that when the nation of Israel "begins to sprout," the events He described will soon come to pass.
In other words, when the nation of Israel is reborn again as foretold by the prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, and others - then you will know "His return is very near, right at the door."
Christ is coming soon. Israel's existence is clear evidence, so live your life accordingly.
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