Israel: God’s Prophetic Timepiece | Part Two
Israel: God’s Prophetic Timepiece
Grace Community Church
Nov. 19, 2023
Israel: God’s Prophetic Timepiece | Part Two
Ask for prayer for Janice and me.
Jesus told the Pharisees they were good at predicting the weather by interpreting the sky but they weren’t able to interpret the signs of the times. The Bible is the only book that predicts the future with 100% accuracy and gives us an idea of what will happen in the last days and we should look for.
What time is it on the prophetic clock today? The big hand on the clock is Israel and this morning let’s look at one more sign of God’s miraculous hand on Israel and then some things I believe we should be looking for next. We’ll finish up with some practical thoughts about how we watch and be ready.
- The miracle of Israel’s military power
The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: 2 “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3 On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 5 Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. Zech 12:1-3, 5-6
After 1800 years of no Israel state, God brought back the Jews to their homeland and on May 14th, 1948 the Zionists declared Israel as an independent state. The very next day five Arab nations declared war on Israel. The Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha stated it would be a war of annihilation (remember that word). It looked like the newborn nation of Israel would be destroyed before it began.
Jesus can’t return unless there’s an Israel for him to return to so Satan is committed to annihilating Israel from existence. But God says in Zechariah, “go ahead and try! I will make Israel an immovable stone that injures everyone who tries to lift it. I will make Israel a cup that makes the surrounding nations stagger like they’re drunk – drunk with hatred, then drunk with humiliation and defeat. God says I will make Israel a blazing fire in the midst of dry wood. The more this dry wood tries to put out the fire, the hotter that fire will get!
God has done a miracle in making tiny Israel’s military one of the most powerful armies in the world. They will be strong because of their God. I believe that will be put to the test when two of the world’s superpowers attacks them. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.
But it’s May 15th,1948 and Israel has a small, rag-tag army and five nations declare war on it and in the natural the smart money would be on the Arab nations annihilating Israel, but God made them strong beyond their size and military capabilities. Such as in the Battle of Yad Mordecai which I started to tell last week.
On May 19th, 2500 Egyptian soldiers armed with tanks, artillery, and air support descended on a kibbutz called Yad Mordecai defended by 130 men with a handful of weapons. It should have been a very short rout but those 130 poorly armed men held the kibbutz for five days until finally, exhausted and nearly out of ammo, the those Jews who had survived withdrew in the middle of the night. The next day, not knowing the Jews had escaped, the Egyptian army spent four hours bombarding an empty kibbutz.
Those five days allowed Tel Aviv to prepare and repel the advancing army.
Wars continued. In 1967, once again five nations led by Egypt, decided to join forces to destroy Israel. With their forces gathering on all sides of Israel, Egyptian president Nassar boasted it would be a total war resulting in the extermination of Zion. Syrian Defense Minister declared the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation. Iraqi President said our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.
Extermination, annihilation, wiped off the map. But God said I will make Israel a blazing fire surrounded by dry wood. As their armies gathered to attack, Israel unexpectedly struck first, taking out nearly all their combined air force in just a few hours. The war lasted six days and Israel took more land and tookcontrol of Jerusalem.
Six years later in 1973, still smarting from the humiliation in’67, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Nine other Arab countries and Russia supported Egypt and Syria and much like the attack on Oct. 7th the Jews were taken totally off guard and suffered heavy losses.
But Israel rallied and like a blazing fire in dry wood, in nine days Israel was on the offensive and marching to conquer Damascus in Syria and Cairo in Egypt. At that point Russia pressured the UN to call a cease fire.
Israel isn’t a perfect nation – they rejected their Messiah and have rebelled against their God. And innocent Arab lives are as precious to God as Israeli lives. This isn’t a matter of God loves some nations and not others. God loves all peoples and Jesus came to die to save people from all nations as they turn in faith and repentance to him. But God chose the Jews to give us the word of God, the promises of God, the law, and the Savior. Salvation is of the Jews and Satan hates Israel and Jews with a hellish hatred. That’s the real reason so many hate Israel with a blind hatred.
Israel’s not perfect and she’s not always right, but there is no moral equivalence between the horrific way Hamas tortured and murdered innocent civilians including women, children, and babies, and the careful way Israel is trying to spare as many civilian Palestinian lives as possible. If every Palestinian dropped their arms today there would be peace in the Middle East. If Israel dropped her arms today Israel wouldn’t exist. Hama’s charter is the same as Egypt’s, Syria’s, and Iraq’s goal in 1967: the annihilation of Israel.But God loves Israel – He chose them to give us the Bible, the promises, the law, and our Savior. Salvation is of the Jews.
- What’s coming next?
A lot of Christians have gotten over their skis with predictions but we are to watch and be ready so here are some biblical prophecies – as I have come to understand them – that I think we can be watching for.
- Watch for the escalation of wars against Israel that spills out to other nations including Russia (Ezek 38-39)
The surrounding nations determination to annihilate Israel will reach a fever pitch in the last days. In Ezekiel 38 and 39 God condemns a nation call Magog that will attack Israel from the far north – many believe it to refer to Russia which doesn’t seem farfetched today as they have formed an alliance with Iran in its efforts to destroy Israel.
Magog was Noah’s grandchild and Gog was a descendant of Jacob so we know God isn’t referring to people but either flesh and blood descendents or spiritual descendents of Gog and Magog. God says He’s against them and He’s going to put a hook in their mouths, drawing them into a war they don’t want to be in and they will attack Israel when Israel is at peace (similar to Oct. 7th) but God is going to supernaturally destroy them.
18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’ Ezek. 38:18-23
Not sure what all that will look like but God is angry and He’s going to let it fly! In the end times there will continue to be wars attempting to annihilate Israel right up to Armageddon when Jesus returns. These wars are a reflection of man’s hatred against God and God’s people. Watch for major wars.
- Watch for the Jewish temple to be rebuilt
It’s hard to see how this will be fulfilled because right now the Moslem’s second most holy place, the Dome of the Rock is located where the temple would go. But whether it be a natural disaster or a war that will destroy the Dome of the Rock, or the Jews discovering a new site for the Temple, one way or another I believe it has to be rebuilt. Both Daniel 9 and Jesus in Matt 24 say the antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation which speaks of desecrating the holy temple.
- Watch for the rise of the antichrist
A powerful leader is going to rise out of a chaotic time of turmoil and seem to bring the peace that is eluding a war-torn and exhausted world. He will make a seven year peace treaty with Israel but break it halfway through. And famously in some way he will institute a financial system where everyone has to take the mark of the beast in order to buy and sell. But the Bible tells us everyone who accepts the mark of the beast will perish eternally so believers must not take it even if it costs us our lives.
He is the antichrist because he is the negative image of Jesus Christ. Jesus was filled with the Spirit, the Antichrist will be filled with the devil. Jesus is the prince of peace, the antichrist will bring a pseudo-peace for a time before it blows up into massive war. Jesus sets the seal of the Holy Spirit on those who belong to him, the antichrist will set his seal – the mark of the beast, 666 – on all who belong to him. Jesus is the one who will one day conquer all his enemies and set up his throne; for a time it will look impossible for anyone to make war against the antichrist as he sets up his rule. Jesus rose from the dead, in some mysterious way the antichrist will have a fatal head wound that he will recover from.
The bible tells us there is one ultimate Antichrist but the spirit of antichrist is nothing new and John tells us there are many antichrists throughout history. We won’t know the identity of the ultimate antichrist until he is revealed in the last days. So we shouldn’t try to guess until there is strong evidence who he is.
- Watch for a worldwide revival among Jews
As a whole the Jews have rejected Jesus as their Messiah – which led to the gospel going forth to the Gentile nations. But in Zechariah 12 when the nations mount their attack against Israel, God says,
“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. Zech 12:10
Jesus said that Israel would not see him again until they said “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Matt. 23:39
- Watch for the Return of Christ
The climax of history is the return of Jesus as the conquering king and the Lion of Judah. He will split the sky and the earth will mourn. We should pray with the Apostle John, even so, come quickly Lord!
- How should we get ready?
Watching and being ready doesn’t mean be obsessed with prophetic timelines and guesses about what
this means or what that means. There are ministries that all they talk about is end times. They have graphs and timelines and countdowns – but I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant when he said watch and be ready. Knowing graphs and timelines and dates and guessing games about who the antichrist is doesn’t necessarily make us ready and watching.
- Deepen your relationship with God our Father
Dan. 11:32 says many will be taken in by the smooth words of the antichrist, but those who know their God willl be strong, and do exploits.
The best way for us to be ready is to know God. Cultivate a relationship with your heavenly Father. Jesus said my sheep know my voice – they know me. They cultivate a relationship with me. They recognize when it’s me talking and when it’s someone else talking and they don’t follow anyone but me. Cultivate a trusting relationship with Jesus.
- Occupy until Jesus comes
In one of Jesus’ parables he said we are to occupy until he returns. It means engage in life, do our business, be faithful in the little things, be good stewards of all God has given us. Don’t move into the mountains. Don’t drive around with a billboard on your car saying the end of the world is near. Occupy.
- Follow Jesus closely and with our whole hearts.
- Love his church cause Jesus sure does and he calls us to love it too
- Serve Jesus by loving our spouse and children and family and caring for them.
- Invest our lives in heaven not earthly things so our treasures will be in heaven and our hearts will be in heaven