Just when it looked like things couldn’t get worse for Israel, they did. What could be worse than a declared terrorist movement sharing power along your southern border? How about that same terrorist movement, Hamas, being in total and undisputed control along that border?
By Irvin Baxter
How did Israel get into this position?
After the 1967 Six Day War, it looked like Israel’s redemption might be just around the corner. She stood astride much of the Promised Land as defined by God Himself when He entered into covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:18). Many people thought Israel would remove the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque from the Temple Mount, replacing them with Israel’s Third Temple.
The United Nations passed a resolution stating that Israel should trade land for peace. The UN contended that Israel was illegally occupying territory, even though the Arabs had provoked the war by closing the international waters of the Straits of Tiran, which international law states is an act of war.
Israel Stumbles Toward Her Destiny
Israel’s return control of the Temple Mount to the Muslim religious authorities and to refrain from annexing the West Bank, which is biblical Judea. Besides fearing the international community, Israel’s godless, secular leaders did not want to trigger the religious revival that would have inevitably swept the nation if a temple had been built on the Temple Mount.
In the Old Testament, God told the people of Israel that He would bring them into their Promised Land.
However, He warned them, “…if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell” (Numbers 33:55). This has certainly come to pass during the last forty years. The Palestinians have launched three deadly Intifadas against the Jewish people.
Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes…
Not everyone in Israel is going along with the godless decisions of the nation’s secular government. A religious minority wants to return to the God of the Old Testament and to restore the customs of worship practiced by Israel before her dispersal by the Romans.
The Prophet Ezekiel spoke of these people: “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezekiel 9:4).
Gershon Salomon, head of the Temple Mount Faithful, has procured two cornerstones for use in the construction of Israel’s Third Temple, which he believes will be built very soon.
The Temple Institute, led by Israel Ariel, has now finished work on the recreation of all the furniture and the utensils needed for the resumption of animal sacrifices and the restoration of temple ministry.
On October 13, 2004, a group of rabbis came together to reconstitute the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin. The rebirth of the 71-member Sanhedrin was prophesied by the foremost Jewish teacher of the last 1,900 years—Moses Maimonides.
After its rebirth, the Sanhedrin began to hold monthly meetings to discuss and rule upon questions pertaining to Jewish law and life. In its June 2005 meeting, the decision was made to proceed with the building of Israel’s Third Temple. Since the government refused to grant access for the rebuilding, the Sanhedrin decided they should build it off-site like King Solomon did with the First Temple. Once the temple is prefabricated, it can be quickly assembled when the political situation allows.
This same Sanhedrin purchased a herd of sheep in March of 2007, hoping to offer a sacrifice on the Temple Mount during Passover.
The Road Ahead
It is obvious from scripture that Israel’s leaders will continue to traffic with the political leaders of the world, trusting in worldly alliances rather than in God for the nation’s security. These entangling alliances with the nations of the world will bring a certain level of temporary security. However, in the long term, these same alliances will bring the Jewish people to the very brink of total destruction.
The prophecies teach us that the world community and its ultimate leader the Antichrist, will confirm Israel’s right to exist. When this “confirmation of the covenant” is finally instituted, it will mark the beginning of the final seven years to the Battle of Armageddon.
This same agreement that places the support of the world community behind Israel’s right to exist will also place the Temple Mount under a sharing arrangement, while providing for the prophesied building of Israel’s Third Temple.
Once the temple is completed, the daily sacrifice of animals, as was required in the Old Testament, will be resumed. This will result in worldwide protests of gigantic proportions by the animal rights activists. The end result according to scripture will be that the Antichrist will order the cessation of these animal sacrifices. He will then commit the ultimate abomination. Jesus called it the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15.
The Apostle Paul described this abomination of desolation in great detail in II Thessalonians 2:3-4:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Jesus went on to say in Matthew 24:16-21 that the abomination of desolation would trigger the time called the great tribulation. The Jews living in the area of Judea will have to run for their lives or be slaughtered.
Israel will continue to go from one horrible mistake to the next…all because they are doing things their way instead of doing things God’s way. Still Israel’s destiny lies just ahead.
The Terrible Conclusion
After bending over backwards to placate the international community, the nations of the world will still find a pretext to make their ultimate move against the tiny nation of Israel.
Zechariah 14:2 tells the grim story: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity…”
Not the End of the Story
If the story ended in Zechariah 14:2, it would be horribly disappointing. But it doesn’t. Verse 3-4 tells us the wonderful news of divine intervention: “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives , which is before Jerusalem on the east…”
Zechariah 12:9-10 tells us what will happen when Jesus comes to fight for the Jewish people against the forces of the world government:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son…
Beholding His scars, “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zechariah 13:6).
Someone will then ask the obvious…so you’re Jesus? He will simply say, “I am Jesus.”
At that moment, 2,000 years of spiritual blindness will peel away from the Jewish mind. “Oh Messiah! We’ve been so blind! We’ve been so arrogant! Could you ever forgive us?” they will cry out.
Does anyone know what happens when people ask Jesus to forgive them? He forgives them.
And so, after wandering through the global wilderness for 2,000 years, Israel will finally arrive at her destiny…though she will only stumble into it by the grace of God.
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved… Romans 11:25-26