Some ask “What will happen at the end of the age?” Jesus’ disciples asked Him a similar question and in His reply He confirmed that there will indeed be a definite end to the present age. In Mathew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21 Jesus describes dramatic signs and end-time events that will occur just prior to His return to this earth (Christ’s Second Coming). He told his followers to “watch” for these things and when they are observed then His appearance will be “at the doors”:
So when you see all these things taking place, know for certain that He is near, right at the door. (Mat 24.33)
Bible prophecy adds many more signs and events to give a comprehensive picture of the state of the world just before Christ returns. This topic is widely debated with various prophetic interpretations. Here we take a common dispensational interpretation that is not in conflict with historical events or with observed events i.e. with reality.
Key End-time Events
The following list of major end-time events is not in any chronological order. In fact, many events are occurring concurrently, thereby underscoring the view that we are indeed in the very last days of the age. Only key Bible texts are given but most events are well supported by multiple Bible references.
increased travel and knowledge (Daniel 12.4)
worldwide preaching of the Christian gospel (Matthew 24.14)
deep spiritual darkness across all nations (Isaiah 60.2)
widespread lawlessness (Matthew 24.12)
worldwide pollution because man has refused to live by God’s laws (Isa 24.5)
increasing famines and plagues (Matthew 24.7)
increasing persecution of Christians and Jews (Matthew 24.9)
the return of scattered Israel to their biblical land, Canaan (Ezekiel 37.21)
the sudden re-birth of the nation, Israel (Isaiah 66.8)
a powerful, apostate church (Revelation 17.1-6)
the sudden and miraculous removal of the true church from the earth (Matthew 24.40-42)
a godless and ruthless world government with total control over individuals (Dan 2.40-43)
a godless, pompous, lawless and blasphemous world dictator (Daniel 7.19-21)
a seven-year Peace Treaty with Israel, which is then broken mid-term (Daniel 9.27)
a cashless trading system, with the forced insertion of an ID on individuals (Revelation 13.16-18)
a global financial (economic) crash (Revelation 18.9-24)
an essentially Islamic invasion of Israel, probably led by Russia (Ezekiel 38.1-17)
an ‘all-nation’ invasion of Israel (Armageddon) (Zechariah 14.1-3)
God’s judgement upon nations: cataclysmic events such as severe weather (Revelation 16.8-9)
First, let’s clarify the terminology. According to the common dispensational prophetic interpretation, the ‘end of the age’ and ‘the end of the world’ are separated in time by some 1,000 years. We are currently nearing the end of approximately 6,000 years of human government and the start of 1,000 years of peace on the earth – the Millennial Age when Christ rules the earth. It is only after this glorious age on earth that the ‘end of the world’, the physical destruction of the present earth, occurs. The ‘last days’ is often taken to span from the time of the apostles (the gifting of the Holy Spirit) to the Second Coming of Christ. Here we outline ‘the last’ of the ‘last days’.
World-wide Gospel Proclamation
The Christian gospel message – reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ – will be preached worldwide just before the end of the age. This is happening now! The Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98% of the world’s population in a language in which they are fluent, and modern communications enables this message to be heard by over 99% of the world’s 7.7 billion people  if they have the technology.
Increase in Knowledge and Travel
There will be rapid increase in knowledge and travel. In just 100 years man has advanced rapidly in science, medicine, communications, astronomy and travel. We now understand how the trillions of cells in our bodies are controlled by a beautiful double helix molecule called DNA. And we can now hop on one of the 100,000 commercial flights each day and travel round the world in 24 hours! Tourism is the world’s largest industry: annual revenue of $500 billion, and is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries.
Apostasy and Spiritual Darkness
Although the gospel is preached worldwide, there will be a general falling away from biblical truth, a falling from the light of the gospel into deep spiritual darkness. The world will be deceived by the rise of a powerful false church that heads this end-time spiritual darkness. Some claim that this end-time worldwide church will be headed by the Vatican. There will also be false prophets and cults that deceive people.
There will be increasing lawlessness. This reflects a lack of love between people and spans from local disputes, to political corruption, to greedy bankers, to religious persecution, to international terrorism. It will culminate in the brief reign of the end time ‘lawless one’ (2 Thessalonians 2.8), a world dictator. Love between people will grow cold as they depart from the spiritual laws of life as revealed in the Bible.
Persecution of Christians
There will be increasing persecution of those who choose to follow Christ. We see this today in subtle form from western governments, but especially from those who mistakenly think they are doing God’s will (John 16.2) – as in Islamic persecution of Christians in the 10/40 window. Christianity is now the world’s most persecuted faith.
The Emergence of Israel
God’s chose the nation Israel to be His servant and witness in the world. At the end of the age they will be drawn back to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. This in-gathering or ‘aliyah’ has been underway since the late 1800’s and the population of Israel has grown from 0.5m in 1900 to 8.7m in 2017. After years of being scattered amongst the nations, national Israel will become prosperous as God once more blesses His people and makes them a key witness of Himself amongst the nations. But Israel will become the vortex of world attention and activity as nations rage against her.
Middle East Wars
The Arab-Israeli tension will soon erupt into another middle east war, probably involving mainly Islamic nations. According to prophecy, the attacking nations will be defeated by the God of Israel. Eventually, at the very end of this age, all nations will come up against Israel in a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16.16), but again they will be defeated.
The Removal of the true Church
The true end-time church will be miraculously removed from the earth to meet Christ ‘in the air’ (1 Thessalonians 4.17). Believers past and present will be raised with immortal bodies to be with God forever, whilst the false, apostate church will remain in a spiritually dark world. This will probably happen just before the worst seven years the world has ever known.
Many world leaders have called for a ‘New World Order’ (NWO) or World Government, and this is currently being formed through organisations like the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the Illuminati, NATO and the World Council of Churches (WCC). Bible prophecy suggests that this ruthless world government will be a form of revived Roman Empire based in Europe and headed by a world dictator (Revelation 13.1) and the Antichrist (Revelation 13.11).
Persecution of Israel
Israel has been in continuous conflict with the surrounding Arab nations since the birth of the State of Israel in 1948, and the so-called Palestinian problem is continually in the media. Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and has the goal of destroying the State of Israel through Jihad. At the very end of the age, the world dictator will sign a seven-year peace treaty with Israel. This is the last time the nations seek a ‘roadmap to peace’ in the Middle East. But midway through this treaty he will break it and start severe persecution of the Jewish people (Jacob’s trouble). It will be terminated by the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the age.
Individuals will be increasingly controlled by governments, particularly in developed nations. This will be via electronic ID and cashless trading. Extensive computer networks and large databases make it easy for governments to monitor and control individuals. Today, companies across the world have begun micro-chipping their employees. There is now just a short technological step to the ultimate electronic ID and it’s forced imposition upon all individuals.
Severe Weather Events
There will be extreme weather events (Luke 21.25) such as severe heat and drought, severe storms, torrential rain, large hail and heavy snow. Drought is one of the consequences of disobedience to God, as is extreme heat – heat severe enough to kill people. Reuters and large insurance companies confirm that such extreme weather events are increasing globally. These, together with cosmic disturbances (Luke 21.11, Revelation 6.12) and possible asteroid impact (Revelation 8.8) are part of God’s judgement on the rebellious nations.
A Global Financial Crash
As part of God’s judgement of the nations there will be a sudden global financial crash and collapse of the world trading system. The world economy is based upon highly-interconnected global supply chains which are vulnerable to even a single major shock – such as a major bank failure or a cyber attack. Contagion could then spread rapidly through the tightly-linked global financial network. Collapse seems certain since global government debt is rapidly increasing.
The End of the Age
There are some 1500 Bible references to the return of Jesus Christ at the very end of the present age. Contrast this with some 300 Old Testament prophecies that relate to Christ’s first coming, all of which were fulfilled. So Christ’s return is certain. In fact, it is Christ Himself who closes the age upon His return. He will destroy the final form of corrupt world government (Daniel 2.35) and usher in a peaceful age, the Millennium. He will reign from Jerusalem as ‘King over all the earth’ (Zechariah 14.9).
The End of the World
After some 1,000 years, at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ, the earth and the biblical ‘heavens’ will be physically destroyed by extreme heat (2 Peter 3.7,10). This is the literal ‘end of the world’. Some scientists expect that, at some point in the future, the sun will expand to become a red giant and burn up the solar system, including earth.
Israel has been ranked first in the world for total expenditure on R&D (as a percentage of GDP), ranked first in the world in scientific publications, and has the highest density of start-up companies in the world. So it is not surprising that Israel has been ranked among the top ten most innovative countries in the world in two separate surveys [US News and World Report, January 2018].
Many in Israel have a vision – to make the world a better place. One way is to make medical advances like the ‘pillcam’, and technology to help paraplegics. Another way is to develop water saving technology as in ‘drip irrigation’ and so help feed the world. Yet another way is to help the environment, as in advances in electric cars and solar tower power plants.
Israeli inventions have resulted in Israel’s high economic ranking. The country has been described as an “economic miracle” since it has consistently had more companies listed on the electronic stock market (NASDAQ) than all of Europe combined. Also, Israel consistently scores as one of the top countries for patents per capita, see Venture Capital.
Is all this success a result of the amazing intelligence of the Israeli people? Maybe. But is it also because, in these closing days of the age, the God of Israel is blessing His people as they try to keep His commandments? For instance, Jerusalem is amazingly quiet on Saturday’s as Jews keep Shabbat.
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. (Deut 28.1)
Since 2004 Israel’s R&D expenditure has accounted for typically 17% percent of the agricultural budget, link. Israel’s inventions in agriculture are now helping to feed the world:
Drip Irrigation: This system delivers the perfect amount of water and nutrients straight to the roots of each plant – not the soil, resulting in higher yields of healthier crops, link. These systems are self-cleaning and maintain uniform flow rate regardless of water quality and pressure.
Grain Cocoons: Grain harvests are often lost due to pests and mold. GrainPro Cocoons are a simple and cheap way for African and Asian farmers to keep their grain market-fresh. It’s huge bags keep water and air out.
Desert Fish: Israeli technology has developed aquaculture – fish farming in the desert! The system pumps low-quality brackish water from deep underground aquifers and fills land pools in the desert. The brackish, warm water is optimal for raising some type of marine fish and shrimp.
Biological Pest Control: uses beneficial insects and mites (minute orange spiders) for biological pest control. This predatory mite is a highly efficient enemy of the spider mite, a devastating agricultural pest, link.
World’s smallest cherry tomato: The “drop tomato” is about the size of a blueberry and the Kedma company in Israel’s southern Arava desert says it is possibly the smallest one ever cultivated in the world. “You don’t need to cut it: it just explodes in your mouth”.
Water Generation from the Air
Watergen, an Israel-based company uses humidity in the air to create clean and fresh drinking water. The heart of the Watergen product line is the revolutionary GENius™ heat-exchange technology. Air is drawn into the Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG), where it is thoroughly cleaned, removing any dust and dirt and leaving only pure air in the system. The clean air is then directed through the heat exchange and cooling process, bringing it to its dew-point – the temperature at which condensation occurs – to create water.
Watergen’s Large Scale unit is an industrial scale AWG, designed for towns, villages, factories, off-grid settlements and communities. It can generate up to 5,000 liters of clean water each day. The first AWG system was installed in New Delhi, India in 2017.
Bio-technology is the exploitation (genetic manipulation) of biological processes for industrial purposes, and especially the production of antibiotics and hormones. Similarly, bio-engineering is the application of the principles of engineering and natural sciences to tissues, cells and molecules. Here’s several examples:
Organs on a Chip: Joint Israeli-German research may make animal experiments a thing of the past, They have developed a “liver-on-chip” device mimicking human physiology and so avoiding animal experiments. The research breakthrough came through the addition of nanotechnology-based sensors. They comment: “We realized that because we are building the organs ourselves, we are not limited to biology, and could introduce electronic and optical sensors to the tissue itself. Essentially we are building bionic organs on a chip. Because we placed sensors inside the tissue, we could detect small and fast changes in cellular respiration that nobody else could.” More generally, it is claimed that organs-on-a-chip contain a dynamic and interactive environment for living and breathing cells to survive outside the body and enables a more effective and safe R&D process for medicine testing, link, link.
Bio-fuel – Energy from Algae: Algoculture is the mass culture of algae for industrial and commercial purposes. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have genetically altered single-celled algae, which naturally emit hydrogen throughout the day, allowing the organism to increase its efficiency to five times its natural ability. Hydrogen fuel cells are being introduced into vehicles, and this discovery could mean algae becomes a key player in the push for green energies, link. Put simply, humble pond slime can give a clean fuel for cars.
Israel’s biotech companies are developing new technologies, as in the industrial-scale manufacture of any cell type in the human body, a proprietary injectable drug to treat obesity, and a customized vaccine against a patient’s own cancer cells. More at Israel’s biotech research.
Nanotechnology is the study and application of extremely small things (a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick). The technology appears in many science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. One amazing invention comes from the innovative company Nano Retina (offices in Herzliya, Israel). They have developed an ultra small artificial retina designed to restore sight. The miniature implant replaces the functionality of the damaged photoreceptor cells and creates the electrical stimulation required to activate the remaining healthy retinal cells.
Other nano inventions include: a biomaterial made of ultra-thin polymer fibers with properties that mimic those of human tissues and organs; a highly accurate and versatile inkjet deposition system for printing multi-layer circuit boards, and ultra-thin gold-silver nanowires formed on a substrate, which can be further coated with silver to obtain controllable conductivity, link. More at Israel’s nanotechnology companies.
Application to Cancer: Scientists at the Technion University in Haifa are working on a chemotherapy treatment that avoids the repercussions that cancer patients usually incur. It involves nano-sized “factories” that manufacture protein-based cancer drugs inside the body upon reaching the tumor site. At 150 nanometers or less—(1/1,000 the diameter of a human hair), these factories are injected into the patient and circulate in the blood until finding the tumor.
Highly Efficient Engine: Israeli start-up Aquarius Engines is working on an enhanced engine design which uses energy much more efficiently, and eliminates the valves and rods that cause energy loss (fewer parts). That means cars could travel more than 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) on a single tank of fuel, more than double current distances and strong competition for all-electric vehicles. The same technology can be used to make more efficient back-up generators. In another automotive development, Jerusalem-based Mobileye is helping to develop a fully autonomous, self-driving vehicle.
Fast Charging Car Battery: Israel’s Storedot company has developed a novel ultra-fast charging battery for electric cars. The battery ditches the traditional Lithium Ion makeup in favor of arranging layers of nano materials and proprietary organic compounds to support ultra-fast charges. The company claims its new FlashBattery technology allows you to charge an electric car in just five minutes!
Community-based Navigation – WAZE:WAZE is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app for smartphones. By simply driving around with WAZE open on the phone, real-time information translates into traffic conditions and road structure for other users in the area. The Israeli company who developed the WAZE software (Waze Mobile) was acquired by Google in 2013.
This free GPS navigation app assumes an active data network connection is present on the mobile device. Without an internet connection, it can’t locate or navigate a route. The connection enriches WAZE with real-time traffic related information and ensures an up-to-date map. WAZE gets its location from Google Location Service in Android. It doesn’t get the location itself, it asks the phone. Android gets the location in several ways. Firstly it tries to use GPS, but if GPS is unavailable then the phone will try to estimate its location using cellular and WiFi networks.
Israeli Inventions in the Computing
The Early Work: In the early days, Microsoft’s popular operating systems, NT and XP, were developed primarily in Israel. Also, mobile phone technology was developed in Israel, as in SMS (texting) and voice-mail, link. And when you use media such as Skype on the internet, you can thank Israeli companies for pioneering the Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) underlying such cheap phone calls, link.
Flash Drives: M-Systems, an Israeli start-up company pioneered ‘DiskOnKey’ technology, known today as the ‘flash drive’ or ‘memory stick’. It enabled quick transfer of information from one computer to another, and today flash drives can hold significant information (1 TB). M-Systems and its USB technology was sold to SanDisk in 2006 for $1.55 billion.
DNA Computing: The breakthroughs in genetics developed to sequence the human genome have now made it relatively easy to precisely manufacture and manipulate DNA, which makes the molecule a leading candidate for use in molecular electronics. By itself, DNA does not act like a diode. However, when researchers inserted two small molecules of coralyne into certain points within DNA and applied 1.1 volts to the complex, electric current flowed through the DNA diode 15 times as strongly in one direction than the other. This is currently the world’s smallest diode!
Cyber-security is big business in Israel, link. For instance, if you use Zone Alarm to protect your computer, you are using a product from Israel’s biggest cyber-tech firm, Checkpoint Software Technologies. Overall, about 200 Israeli companies now specialize in cyber-security, accounting for US$3 billion worth of anti-hacking exports in 2013. And 25% of the world’s venture capital-funded cyber-security startups are Israeli. So it is not surprising that international companies such as IBM, Cisco, Lockheed Martin and Deutsche Telekom are setting up cyber research centers in Israel to develop cyber-security and cyber-defense software, link. Today, Israeli security forces are developing methods of searching social media to obtain intelligence of prospective terror attacks.
WeCU Airport security: Israeli tech companies are working on an airport system that can detect emotional strain in a passenger – a specific kind of strain that is associated with people who intend to commit an act of terror, . WeCU Technologies uses psychology and physiology to detect problem passengers by causing them to have involuntary reactions which are instantly picked up and analyzed in real time.
Israeli Military Innovations
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are essentially defensive. Their goal is to defend the existence of the State of Israel, its independence and the security of the citizens and residents of the state, link. To this end Israel has developed very advanced defenses. Does this ‘benefit the world’? Yes – in the sense that an Israel that survives continues to be a witness to the existence of God. And an Israel that survives offers the only democracy in the Middle East, link, link. Here’s some of Israel’s defensive weapons:
Wall Radar: A handheld radar system for built-up area warfare operations. With a range of 20m it can determine, for example, how many people are present behind a wall, link.
Iron Beam: according to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel’s latest missile defense system uses a high-energy laser which can be mounted on ships or vehicles, link.
Iron Dome: the world’s only dual mission counter rocket, artillery and mortar and Very Short Range (70 km) Air Defense system, link.
David’s Sling: incorporates unique technologies that deal with maneuvering targets (fighter aircraft) and high-precision cruise missiles.
Arrow 3: this upper-most defense tier is a long-range missile defense system designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the earth’s atmosphere, link
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones): Israel’s Aerospace Industries, IAI, is a global leader in the design, development, and manufacture of remotely operated systems. It has over 40 years’ experience and 1,700,000 operational flight hours, performing intelligence gathering and targeting missions in support of key military operations around the world. The IAI Heron TP is the largest unmanned reconnaissance aircraft used by the Israeli Air Force. It is claimed Israel is the world’s largest exporter of military drones, link.
Besides military UAVs, Israel is also becoming a powerhouse in the development of commercial drones. For example, it is reported that the British Army deployed Rafael’s Drone Dome system to protect Gatwick airport in 2018.
At the end of the day, the IDF is helped by a divine hand; the God of Israel vows to defend Israel:
Whoever assembles against you shall fall … No weapon formed against you shall prosper … I will be a wall of fire all around her … he who touches you touches the apple (pupil) of His eye. (Isa 54.15,17; Zech 2.5,8)
As of 2017 there were 200 renewable energy companies in Israel, about 30% of which were start-ups.
Solar Power Plant: The Ashalim Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Station in the Negev desert has the world’s tallest solar power tower (250m), link, link. The station’s 50,000 computer-controlled heliostats (mirrors) track the sun and reflect its rays to a boiler on top of the tower. The boiler creates super-heated steam that drives a steam turbine, which generates electricity. The final complex will generate about 310 megawatts of power, enough to supply Israel with 16 percent of its energy needs.
Super-iron Battery: Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, are developing a new battery that looks set to replace conventional alkaline and NiCad batteries. Super-iron batteries have a 50 percent energy advantage compared to conventional alkaline batteries and are significantly (75 percent) rechargeable.
Storing Solar Energy: The Weizmann Institute is equipped with one of the most advanced solar research facilities in the world. One project collects sunlight in bright, arid regions and provides it as energy-rich gas or chemicals to energy-consuming regions. A complete plant with a processing capacity of 500 kilowatts has already been tested. Similar research is being done at Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. Using the power of the sun and ultra-thin films of iron oxide (rust), researchers have found a way to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. This could lead to cheaper ways to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen-based fuels e.g. solar cells that can store solar energy for on-demand use, link.
About 1,000 Israeli companies are in healthcare or life-science products, including 700 in medical devices.
Israel’s medical inventions include a system to correct severe curvature of the spine (scoliosis), stem-cell therapy products to treat blood cancers and solid tumors, MRI-guided focused ultrasound to destroy tumors and uterine fibroid cysts without surgery, and nanotechnology “factories” that manufacture protein-based cancer drugs inside the body upon reaching the tumor site. More at Israel’s Medical Innovations”.
Generic Drugs: Teva was established in Jerusalem in 1901 and today Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is Israel’s largest healthcare company. As the world’s leading provider of generic pharmaceuticals, Teva produces 120 billion tablets and capsules a year in 87 pharmaceutical and API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) facilities around the world. It delivers solutions in key therapeutic areas, such as oncology (study and treatment of tumours), respiratory diseases (as in asthma and allergic rhinitis), and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) – including sleep disorders and migraine.
Artificial Retina: Nano Retina’s Bio-Retina, is a tiny implantable device inserted into the retina in a 30-minute procedure. It turns into an artificial retina that melds to the neurons in the eye. Activated by special eyeglasses, the device transforms natural light into an electrical impulse that stimulates neurons to send images to the brain. The prototype is advancing quickly through clinical trials, link.
Apnea in Infants: Apnea is an unexplained episode of cessation of breathing for 20 seconds or longer, or a shorter respiratory pause. BabySense is a non-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death. Made by HiSense, the device monitors a baby’s breathing and movements through the mattress during sleep. An auditory and visual alarm is activated if breathing ceases for more than 20 seconds or if breath rate slows to less than 10 breaths per minute. HiSense is part of IATI – the Israeli umbrella organization of high-tech, life science and other advanced technology industries.
Optics and Sensors
Given Imaging, an Israeli medical technology company, have developed a disposable pill-sized camera (the “Pillcam”) for wireless capsule endoscopy. Pillcam records images of the gastrointestinal tract, enabling physicians to visualize the small bowel, esophagus and colon without sedation or invasive endoscopic procedures.
Visual Aid: Israeli-based company OrCam have invented a camera device that attaches to eyeglasses and is wired to a portable computer in the wearer’s pocket. The device improves the lives of individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or have reading difficulties by speaking any text that the user points to, such as menus, street signs, grocery labels, newspapers and bus numbers.
USB-sized Spectrometer:Consumer Physics operating out of Tel Aviv, have invented the SCiO – a handheld infrared spectrometer the size of a normal USB stick. It works with a smartphone and determines the chemical composition of food, medicines, drinks, soil, plants, etc. The SCiO sensor emits near-infrared light that is reflected from the surface of the product. Catching the reflected light, the spectrometer analyzes and transmits data to the user’s smartphone.
JESUS AND ISRAEL: PART 3
The mystery of Jesus the Creator dying for His creation
Jesus Christ brings us a mind-boggling concept that defies all logic. It can actually be traced back to the story of two trees.
It all started with Two Trees
In the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 2) God planted many beautiful trees to provide food for man. In the middle of the garden were two special trees. One was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The other was the tree of life.
We will see later that eating from the tree of life gave eternal life. That is, living in the presence of the Creator forever! As for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God said “if you eat the fruit of that tree, you shall surely die.”
What actually dies? And what does death mean anyway? The introduction of physical death is strongly suggested in Gen 3.19 – ‘to dust you shall return’. Serious study of the Bible reveals that the “soul” and “spirit” of man leave the physical body at physical death. In contrast to some atheistic beliefs, a person is not annihilated, but may suffer eternal separation from the love of the Creator God, link. So one tree was the tree of eternal death – condemnation to exist outside the presence of a loving Creator God. The other was the tree of eternal life – living in the presence of the Creator forever!
As the story goes, the serpent tempted Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, and she in turn told Adam to eat it (both could have been actual people, link). So both ate forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve did not die immediately after eating the fruit of that forbidden tree. But they did die eventually of old age. Humans die. That is the consequence of that sin by Adam and Eve. In fact, this sinful act propagated throughout all generations;
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3.23)
This may seem hard and unjust on later generations, but can any one of us claim to be sinless? The Hebrew Bible repetitively presents the concept that sin (acts contrary to standards of godly behaviour) is punishable by death. In Ezekiel 38.4 we read:
The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die
That’s not a joke. Humans don’t have inherent eternal life. The Hebrew Bible teaches that eternal existence is God’s prerogative to give or not to give.
The ‘Tree of Life’ today – Christ!
Suppose Adam and Eve had chosen not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree? Would God have rewarded their obedience by giving them the right to eat from the tree of eternal life and let them live forever? We simply don’t know. They disobeyed God’s instruction and didn’t get to that possibility. But this concept is very real today! Each one of us can indeed symbolically eat from the tree of life if we make one simple but essential step! Jesus said:
Whoever believes in Me will not perish but have everlasting life … I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly
By this He meant eternal life – eternal existence with the loving Creator God. The Bible teaches that, today, when a believer in Christ dies, their soul and spirit go to be with Christ in Paradise, link. This is not ‘soul sleep’; rather they maintain consciousness. But unbelievers, those who deliberately reject the reconciling work of Christ on the cross, effectively choose to eat from the tree of good and evil. So when they physically die they go to Hades and await the Great White Throne Judgement (Rev 20.11-15). Likewise, they do not lose consciousness.
Jewish Belief: Both ‘trees’ are open to everyone, including Jews. Some Jews hold similar beliefs to the Christian when it comes to death. For instance, they hold that after death the soul returns to its divine Source, and that the soul of a parent continues to watch over the lives of his or her children and grandchildren, link.
Dare you believe the concept behind the Two Trees?
The concept of the Two Trees leads to great philosophical and spiritual depth. It states that Jesus the Creator offers mankind a choice between good and evil, between one tree and another. This is possible by the unique and supreme act of God becoming man in Christ Jesus, and dying in man’s place on the cross. This act defies human logic. It is logical and possible to die for a righteous man. But to die for “sinners” is contrary to human logic and will.
So the concept of God becoming man and becoming the sacrifice to atone for sinful mankind demonstrates God’s ultimate love for man. He died to “buy” man back and give him the right to become an immortal being. This Hebraic-Christian philosophy is an astounding concept and is unique amongst the philosophies of life. So again, would you dare to believe it? Time will prove its veracity. In the meantime, watch the signs. They are leading to amazing promises to those who dare to believe.
Today’s News is often found in Bible Prophecy: It is often Prophecy Fulfilled
Did you know that as you watch the news you are seeing events and situations foretold in the Bible thousands of years ago? You are seeing prophecy fulfilled. Let’s look at a few examples.
Climate Change News
Climate change is constantly in the news. The area of the earth’s surface affected by drought has more than doubled since the 1970’s. For example, Lake Chad in Africa has shrunk to 5% of its size in the 1960’s [National Geographic], new wells for Beijing now have to reach 1,000 meters [Executive Intelligence Review] and two out of every three people will be short of water by 2025 [WWI & Tearfund].
Global warming amounted to nearly 1°C over the past century. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. The year 2015 was the first time the global average temperatures were 1°C or more above the 1880-1899 average, NASA. Having said that, thousands of PhD scientists dispute the claimed cause of global warming (rise in man-made CO2) and say the real cause is solar irradiance variation, link.
But whose weather is it anyway? The Bible says it is God (the God of Israel) who controls the weather, not man, link. Prophecy implies there could be a reason for any global temperature increase.
Bible prophecy says:
The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers … the earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws … therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned … (Isa 24.4-6)
Travel and Science News
Consider a few statistics:
In the UK a major news item is the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
A hundred years ago commercial air travel was unheard of. Now there are typically 100,000 commercial flights each day! Aircraft fuel consumption was 130 million tonnes in 1992 but is projected to increase to 450 million tonnes by 2050.
Tourism is the world’s largest industry with an annual revenue of $500 billion. It is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries. International tourism: 1950: 25m , 2003: 693m , 2020: 1.6 billion [WTO].
Almost every day the news tells us of amazing advances in science and technology.
Within just 100 years man has developed radio, motion pictures, recording, TV, telecommunications, cell phones, electron microscopes, computers, nuclear power, solar power, fuel injection, satellites, spacecraft …
In medical science man has developed MRI scans, ultrasound, pacemakers, radiotherapy, IVF, artificial hearts, DNA, organ transplants, vaccines …
Bible Prophecy says:
At the end of the age many will rush around and knowledge will increase (Daniel 12.4)
The Cashless Society and Personal ID
Although some countries have recently introduced new banknotes, the fact remains that cash is fast disappearing from society. In North America, 60% of consumers use cash to pay for a transaction at least once a week, a substantial decrease from 67% in 2015, link. Some countries such as Sweden are now removing ATMs (along with negative interest rates) to speedup the process, links. The smartcard and other contactless devices pave the way to cashless trading, link.
When it comes to ID, RFID (radio frequency identification) is all around us. It is found in supermarkets, general retailers, electronic road tolls, company badges, farming, and in your pet dog. A scanner emits a short-range radio-frequency signal which is picked up by a small local RFID device or ‘transponder tag’ (the RFID device shown is the size of a grain of rice). When this tag is ‘passive’ it is energized by the scanning radiation, thereby enabling it to communicate ID information back to the scanner/transceiver.
In 2004 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval to Applied Digital Solutions to sell their VeriChip RFID tags for implantation into patients in hospitals. Tags would not contain medical data, but instead store (and transmit when energized) a unique 16-bit ID number that would be used to access records on a remote database. The tag was to be implanted in the fatty tissue of the upper arm. Similar human ID is being developed in India. Here, a unique 12-digit identification (UID) – known as Aadhaar – holds biometric information of the country’s 1.2 billion residents and is stored in a centralized database. The Aadhaar online identity platform then enables an individual to access services like banking and mobile phone connections – or they can be instantly barred from access.
Such technology is only a short step from the universal controlling technology described in the book of Revelation.
Bible Prophecy says:
And he causes all … to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead … and no one will be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark … (Rev 13.16,17)
Prophecy Fulfilled – the Restoration of Israel
The population growth of Palestine/Israel is striking. In 1915 there were just 83,000 Jews but this increased to over 6 million Jews in 2013, link, corresponding to an amazing 7400% increase! In comparison, over the same period the UK population increased just 55%.
Today, Israel has highly developed banking, health, and University systems and her industries include textiles, food processing, mining, agriculture and forestry. Israel is particularly advanced in the hi-tech industry such as computer science, electronics, genetics, medicine, optics, solar energy and electric cars.
We can see all this as the amazing natural growth of a young nation, or as the fulfillment of prophecy. Prophecy saw this, not as the birth of a new nation, but as a regathered nation.
Bible Prophecy says:
Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land (Ezek 37.21) GO DEEPER
Legal, Political, Social and Biblical Facts make the Case for Israel
By Israel we refer primarily to the State of Israel, but also to the Jewish nation, Israel. If Israel could be tried in a world court, Israel would be prosecuted on several accounts. For example, she would probably be prosecuted on legal issues (as in so-called land occupation), on humanitarian issues (as in water deprivation and the destruction of Palestinian homes), and on the use of unreasonable or disproportionate force (as in her response to stabbings and rocket attacks). Most of the world would be on the side of the Prosecution.
Meet the Prosecution
The Media: The Prosecution is undoubtedly fuelled by media, political, and even legal bias against Israel, link, link. For example, in the UK the BBC and ITV have been accused of reporting bias in favour of Hamas. Statements are inflammatory e.g. “Israel ‘bombs civilian targets with links to Hamas’”, link. In the US, the American satellite TV and Cable News Network (CNN) has been awarded “first prize” for its biased reporting of atrocities in Israel. There is definitely a case for Honest Reporting.
Politicians: Two quotes suffice, one from the West and one from the Arab world. “When the ill winds blow, I will always stand with the Muslims” [Barak Obama, “The Audacity of Hope”]. “We will make the lives of the infidels hell – millions of martyrs marching on Jerusalem” [Yasser Arafat, in Arabic on Palestine Radio].
Growing World-wide Anti-Semitism: According to a comprehensive 2014 global survey, about 26% of the world’s adult population hold anti-Semitic views. That’s over one billion people. Not surprisingly, it is worst in the Middle East with some 74% of the adult population expressing anti-Semitic views, growing to 93% in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, link.
Most Americans tend to support Israel in the sense that they see the actions of Hamas against Israel as unjustified, link. But in 2014 the FBI found that 57% of Anti-Religious Hate Crimes targeted Jews, whilst only 16% targeted Muslims, link. This implies an underlying American bias against Israel, link.
A Biased Church: Even the church is generally aligned with the Prosecution against Israel, link. For example, the Anglican denomination is divided on Israel, but the majority position is anti-Israel. Likewise, the Church of Scotland says Israel does not belong to the Jewish people, link. And articles in the Baptist Union of Great Britain publications demonstrate a strongly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian position. In 2010, the Methodist Church of Britain voted to boycott Israeli-produced goods and services from the West Bank because of Israel’s “illegal occupation of Palestinian lands”. Apart from relatively small independent churches, it seems only the international Pentecostal church is prepared to act in defense of Israel.
In general, the church world-wide reflects the anti-Israel stance of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which itself reflects the worldview, link:
The persistence, after sixty-five years, of continuing dispossession of Palestinian people from their land by Israeli occupation, (and) continuing settlement of land inside the 1967 borders … is central to the turmoil in the region [WCC].
Israel’s Defense: The Case for Israel
Let’s examine some key issues brought by the Prosecution. What would be Israel’s defense? How would the Defense make the case for Israel?
1. Occupation of Palestinian Territories
Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory (the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip) is in its fifth decade and is a flagrant disregard for international law. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces commit unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detain thousands of Palestinians [Amnesty International]. Some 70,000 Palestinians are now refugees after 50 years of Israeli occupation [UN, 2016]. The Gaza strip is “occupied territory” [UN, 2015].
Illegal Settlements: Israel occupied the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War of 1967. So Israel is building illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Since 1967, the Palestinians have lost control of their land, hilltop by hilltop, field by field, [Haaretz]. As of December 2015, altogether over 800,000 Israeli Jews resided over the 1949 Armistice Lines [WikiPedia]. Israel’s “security fence” (the Wall) violates international humanitarian law and international human rights law. It fragments not only the land but also the social fabric of the Palestinian people.
West Bank Settlements: The West Bank refers to an area bounded by the so-called ‘Green Line’ and the west bank of the River Jordan (see map). The Green line was merely an armistice line drawn up after the 1948-49 war under the auspices of the UN and it was intended to be temporary. Through the 1948-49 Arab aggression, Israel temporarily lost land mandated to her through the 1922 Mandate for Palestine, link, and this was only regained in the 1967 Six-Day War. The Green Line is not therefore Israel’s legal border.
In 1946 the Mandate was transferred over to the UN, and Article 80 of the UN Charter implicitly recognizes the ‘Mandate for Palestine’ of the League of Nations. The Mandate is the last legally binding document concerning the West Bank and Gaza, and so Jewish settlements in these areas are fully protected by Article 80, link. All of western Palestine, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean remains legally open to Jewish settlement under the original 1922 Mandate, link. That includes the West Bank, all of Jerusalem and Gaza.
Arab Rights: The 1922 Mandate did not grant any national political rights to Arabs, but Article 2 did safeguard the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race or religion. Israel’s government endeavours to do this through democratic elections, link. Israelis of all ethnic groups and religious beliefs, including Arab-Israelis, can actively participate in the election process, and all votes cast are equal in weight, link.
Israeli control: Not all of the West Bank is under full Israeli control. Under the 1995 Oslo Accords II, the West Bank was divided into three areas (A, B, and C) and within these areas the Palestinian and Israeli authorities have different levels of control, link. Area A is under full control of the Palestinian Authority, Area B is under Palestinian civil control and shared Palestinian and Israeli security control, and Area C (62% of the West Bank) is under full Israeli control.
Gaza is not “occupied territory”. In 2005, Israel dismantled 21 Jewish settlements and pulled troops out of the strip. By 2006 Israel had withdrawn from Gaza as part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. The plan aimed to bolster security for Israelis and lessen the tensions between them and the Palestinians. Some 9,000 Israeli citizens were forcibly relocated. Israel said: “The disengagement decision holds hope for a better future; it transfers responsibility for the Strip to the Palestinians“. Today, tight border control is essential because of threats from Hamas. Hamas siphons off some 95% of the cement transferred into Gaza for rebuilding homes, so that it can be used for military purposes, link.
The Bible promised all the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants … forever:
I will give to you and to your descendants … the whole land of Canaan … forever, and I will be their God (Gen 17.8)
Ancient Canaan embraced today’s Jordan, Israel (including the West Bank and Gaza) as well as the southern sections of Syria and Lebanon, link.
2. Palestinians are Suffering
House Demolitions: In the West Bank the Israeli authorities continue to promote illegal settlements whilst at the same time demolishing Palestinian homes. In 2016 the Israeli government flattened 660 houses and other structures, leaving almost 1,000 people homeless [UN Report].
Movement Restrictions: In Gaza, Israeli forces maintain their land, sea and air blockade, imposing a collective punishment on the territory’s 1.8 million inhabitants. Israeli controls on the movement of people and goods into and from Gaza, particularly on essential construction materials, combined with Egypt’s closure of border crossings severely hinders post-conflict reconstruction [Amnesty International].
Israel enforces severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank through a system of permanent, temporary and random manned checkpoints. Restrictions affect the economic status of Palestinians so severely that they breach the rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. That is, the right to a livelihood, the right to an acceptable standard of living, the right to satisfactory nutrition, clothing, and housing. By the end of 2015 unemployment in the West Bank amounted to 19 % and was twice as high in Gaza. It is exceptionally high amongst Palestinian youth [World Bank].
House demolitions are carried out for several reasons. It may be done to enforce building codes and regulations in areas controlled by the Israeli military. In 2016 demolitions largely affected East Jerusalem and locations designated as part of Area C under the Oslo Accord. Area C constitutes more than 60% of the West Bank and is under Israeli administrative and security control, link. Demolition is also done as a deterrent against terrorism, link. A 2014 study claimed that demolition causes “an immediate, significant decrease in the number of suicide attacks”, link. In 2016, following a recommendation of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Israel decided that Palestinian terrorists’ families who turn the killers in to security forces will be able to save their homes from demolition, link.
Movement restrictions: Israel’s security fence (the “Wall”) serves just one purpose: to prevent terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. It has significantly decreased the number of attacks originating in Judea and Samaria: suicide attacks down by 100% and shooting attacks down by 93.5%, link. The downside is that it has severely restricted Palestinian movements.
But movement restrictions have been eased. As of July 2009, Israeli authorities reported that 27 checkpoints and 140 roadblocks had been removed in order to ease security restrictions in the West Bank. An additional 140 roadblocks were opened to traffic in 2008, link. In 2016 Israel relaxed some restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, link. But the Israeli Supreme Court has accepted Israel’s position, that it has the right to prevent the free movement of people through Israel from the Gaza Strip for security reasons, link.
Improving economy: After years of decline due to war, Gaza’s economy expanded by about 3.3% in 2015 [World Bank]. Real GDP growth reached 5%, driven by strong growth in the construction sector as well as retail and wholesale trade. In the West Bank real GDP expanded by 2.8% [World Bank].
The Bible instructs the people of Israel how they should treat foreigners (non-Jews). Old Testament Israel was commanded to love foreigners and to let them live normal lives amongst them:
Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. (Lev 19.33,34)
Unfortunately, as long as Arab leaders refuse to recognise Israel and continue to attack her, peaceful cohabitation seems impossible. The Palestinian Authority engages in constant incitement against Israel by teaching hatred of Israel and Jews in its textbooks, newspapers and television broadcasts, link, link.
3. The Two-State Solution
Israel must accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if it wants to remain a Jewish state [UN]. The only solution is a democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state – negotiations will be necessary – but there’s little secret about where they must lead: two states for two peoples [Obama]. The Vatican “hopes for a solution to the Palestinian question according to the two-state solution” [Vatican, 2015].
As part of this solution, Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and Palestine [UN]. Put simply, Jerusalem is not recognised as part of Israel [US Supreme Court].
Israel’s leaders have talked about their desire for a “two states for two peoples” solution, but in reality this is impossible. Any unilateral declaration by the Palestinian Authority (PA) would violate the 1995 Oslo II Interim Agreement (signed by the Palestinians). Article 31(7) of this Agreement states:
“Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations“
This Accord is still binding, but is flouted by the PA, the EU and the UN. So any PA attempt to change the status of these territories, namely a two state solution without prior negotiations with Israel will violate this clause. It is here that the proposal will fail since the PA leadership:
does not recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state
maintains that Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank are Palestinian Territories
maintains that East Jerusalem is the capital of the future Palestinian State
All these are totally unacceptable to Israel. Moreover, according to a recent Stanley Greenberg poll, only 34% of Palestinians accept “two states for two peoples” as the solution. Sixty-six percent said the Palestinians’ real goal should be to start with a two-state solution but then move to it all being one Palestinian state, link. This is in line with the Hamas objective of replacing the Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate, link. Recall that the Arab leadership rejected a two-state solution as far back as 1947 (see UN Partition Plan).
As for Jerusalem, Israel has a well-founded legal claim in international law to sovereignty over the city, link. So the UN and the West are totally unrealistic in their insistence on a two-state solution. Clearly, they are not reading from the same page as the Palestinians!
The Bible says that nations who mistreat Israel, or divide up the land promised to Israel via Abraham, will be judged accordingly:
I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land. (Joel 3.2)
4. Water Apartheid: Palestinians are Denied Sufficient Water
Over 2 million Palestinians suffer from the unfair distribution of water sources, which remain under almost full Israeli control [PWA, 2015]. In the West Bank, daily per capita consumption (domestic, urban and industrial) is around 73 litres, and 242 litres in Israeli towns [CJPME, 2010]. This scarcity is deliberately created and sustained by Israel’s military occupation [The Ecologist].
Drilling: Both the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian farmers are denied the right to construct wells to meet the growing demand for water, even when that water originates almost entirely in the West Bank [UNCTAD, 2015].
Israel and the Palestinian Authority set up a Joint Water Committee (JWC) in 1995. Israel is abiding by the 1995 Oslo II Accord and supplying agreed water quantities. Under these Accords, Israel recognized the water rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank, and a clear allocation of quantities of water to each party was determined, link. Both sides agreed on the future needs of the Palestinians in the West Bank, which could total 200 million cubic meters (MCM) per year, link. In 2012, per capita water use was 150 MCM for Israelis and 140 MCM for Palestinians, link. The total water available to Palestinians in 2007 was 200 MCM per year, link.
Israel delivers water, but does not carry out water distribution in Palestinian areas – that task is up to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. But water losses in Palestinian networks are very high, link.
Requests for water drilling is discussed and authorised by the JWC. But water is often used as a political weapon and authorized wells are not dug and leaks are not repaired. JWC permits have been granted for drilling into the Eastern Mountain Aquifer, but as of 2014 the Palestinians had drilled at just one-third of these sites, despite the offer of international finance, link.
The Bible and Water: Israel is a dry land and supplements natural water supplies with desalinated water, link. But when Israel has fully returned to her land God promises to bless her with abundant rain, and in the correct seasons:
Rejoice, O sons of Zion … He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. (Joel 2.23)
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed East Jerusalem, declaring it part of its eternal, indivisible capital, a move never recognised internationally [Haaretz]. The international community does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Following the line of the UN, the community maintains that Jerusalem should be the capital of two states: Israel and Palestine [UN Secretary-General, 2009]. Likewise, the EU urges Israel to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians as part of a Middle East peace agreement and make the holy city the capital of two states. When challenged in 2014, the White House would not state which city it recognised as the capital of Israel (Jerusalem or Tel Aviv), link. But in 2015 the US Supreme Court declared that “the United States does not recognize Jerusalem – both the Eastern and Western parts of the city – as the capital of the state of Israel”. In 1994 The British Government stated that it did not recognize Israeli sovereignty of any part of Jerusalem [Malcolm Palmer, 1994]. The World Council of Churches (WCC) considers Jerusalem to be an occupied city.
The vast majority (92%) of Palestinians say Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine, [Stanley Greenberg poll].
Following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, Israel’s Knesset declared Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel in 1950. This was partly based on Israel’s strong historical connections, link. But it was also based on solid legal ground in international law, namely, the 1920 San Remo Resolution, the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine (ratified by 51 members of the League of Nations) and Article 80 of the UN Charter (which enshrines all obligations of the League of Nations), link. Essentially, all this states that the Jewish homeland includes the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights, plus Judea and Samaria, today’s ‘West Bank’. In short, the Jewish homeland embraces Jerusalem. After spending twenty years investigating the legal aspects of Jerusalem’s sovereignty, international human rights lawyer Jacques Gautier concludes:
“According to international law, Israel has a well-founded claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem, including its Old City [Dr Jacques Gautier, author ‘Sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem“, link]
Those who insist on Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders (when Israel did not hold East Jerusalem) should note that the armistice lines of 1948 were intended to be temporary [Arthur Goldberg, drafter of Resolution 242]. The 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) was never seen as Israel’s legal border in UN Resolution 242, link.
The Bible is clear on the ownwership of Jerusalem. The city belongs to the God of Israel despite what the nations say. It is called “the City of the King” (Ps 48.2), “the City of Righteousness” (Isa 1.26), “the Holy City” (Isa 52.1), “the Throne of the LORD” (Jer 3.17), “the LORD is there” (Ezek 48.35). Soon Christ will return and rule the nations from Jerusalem:
Thus says the LORD, I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth … for the law will go our from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Zech 8.3, Isa 2.3)
6. Israel uses Unreasonable-Disproportionate-Excessive Force
The Israeli Security Forces (ISF) have been accused of using excessive force: “There were numerous reports of the ISF killing Palestinians during riots, demonstrations, at checkpoints, and during routine operations; in some cases they did not pose a threat to life” [US State Department report, 2016]. Specifically, in 2015, 149 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, but only 77 of those deaths occurred in the course of attacking Israelis. Overall, in 2015 the number of deaths and injuries amongst Palestinians caused by Israeli forces was the highest for a decade [UN report].
In 2015 the ISF used excessive force against Palestinians in Jerusalem, Nablus and Hebron. Tactics adopted by the ISF during this period included confiscation of land, ISF military operations in refugee camps, villages and cities, as well as Israelis trespassing into the Al Aqsa mosque [RedCrow Intelligence].
Torture: Israeli military and police forces, as well as Israel Security Agency (ISA) personnel, torture Palestinian detainees during arrest and interrogation. Torture includes beating with batons, slapping, throttling, prolonged shackling, stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats, [Amnesty International]. During the 2008-2009 Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead), Israel carried out what is known as “collective punishment” of the people of Gaza by wanton destruction of property, food, and sanitation infrastructure [UN Investigation, 2009]. Collective punishment is illegal under international humanitarian law.
From Protests to Riots: Palestinian Leaders encourage violence and terrorist attacks against Jews, link. In 2015 some observed a move away from “politically motivated Palestinian protests” in the streets of Jerusalem towards “riots”. These included acts of public property vandalism, the absence of law enforcement personnel, blocked streets, destroyed traffic lights, railways and burnt out bus stations, link. By mid-2015 at least 14 Israelis had been killed by Palestinian stone throwing, link.
Civilian Casualties: Israel has shown the greatest possible restraint and makes a determined effort to limit Palestinian civilian casualties during its operations against Palestinian terrorists, link. Civilian casualties sometimes occur since Hamas and other groups sometimes launch mortar shells and rockets at Israel from civilian areas e.g. close to schools and mosques, link, link. In cases of Palestinian civilian casualties, Israel has a comprehensive investigative process to determine whether errors were made by its soldiers and if legal action should be taken, link, link.
Gaza War 2008-2009: In 2006, following the Israeli disengagement and pullout from the Gaza Strip, there was an increase of 436% in the number of Palestinian rockets launched towards Israel from Gaza (1,123 rockets in 2006). In 2008 this increased to 3,278 rocket attacks from the Gaza strip, link. Rockets were deliberately aimed at civilians. Every country has the moral responsibility to defend its people and so Israel responded with a deterrence – Operation Cast Lead. Civilian casualties were about 1:1 (one civilian death for every combatant death). This compares to the average ratio of 3:1 (three civilian deaths to one combatant death) in similar conflicts worldwide, link.
Bible prophecy says that the descendants of those who are now oppressing Israel will one day bless Israel and Jerusalem:
The descendants of those who oppressed you will come and bow low to show their respect. All who once despised you will worship at your feet. They will call you ‘The City of the Lord’, ‘Zion, the City of Israel’s Holy God.’ (Isa 60.14)
7. Jews have little Historical Connection with Israel
Jews who have recently returned to Israel lack a strong historical connection with the land. Any claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history, [Article 20, Palestinian National Charter, 1968]. The land was actually populated solely by indigenous Palestinians. Also, there is no tangible evidence of any Jewish remains in the Old City of Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity [Palestinian Ministry of Information, 1997].
Concerning the Temple Mount: Israel cannot show they had a temple here 2000 years ago, [Mahmoud Abbas, 2000]. No Jewish temple ever existed on the Temple Mount” [Yasser Arafat, 2000]. The historic existence of a Jewish Temple is a myth and a lie. So any Jewish claim should be ignored and the Temple Mount area should be referred to solely by the Muslim name Al-Aqsa Mosque or Al-Haram Al Sharif. Similarly, the Western Wall should be referred to by its Muslim name – “the al-Buraq wall” [UNESCO, 2016].
Here, the prosecution is weak and easily defended. Palestinian leaders have adopted the tack of “stealing the enemy’s heritage, history, and values”, link. But archaeology and historical documentation shows that Jews have lived continuously in the land of Israel for over 3,000 years, link, link, link.
Brief history: The descendants of Abraham formed the nation Israel around 1300 BC, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel in 1004 BC, and in 960 BC his son Solomon built the first Jewish temple.
Due to disobedience, the northern kingdom (Israel) was scattered throughout the nations by 722 BC and the southern kingdom (essentially Judah) was deported to Babylon by 586 BC. But some Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem between 536 BC and 444 BC. This was to rebuild the temple, establish temple worship and rebuild the walls. So a Jewish presence continued in Jerusalem up to the Roman period.
History records that in 70 AD, when the Jewish civilization was already over 1000 years old, the Romans forced most of the Jews of Judea and Samaria (now the West Bank) into exile and destroyed the Second Temple. However, some Jews remained in the land and archaeologists have discovered 34 synagogues in the Golan Heights dating from the late Roman period through the Byzantine era up until the Arab conquest of the Holy Land around 638 AD, link.
Jerusalem: The early name for Jerusalem (in Hebrew pronounced yer-oo-shaw-law-yimthe) is mentioned in the first book of the Jewish Torah (Gen 14.18). In fact, historic Jerusalem is mentioned 809 times in the Bible, beginning with Joshua 10:1 and ending with Galatians 4:25, link, whilst it is claimed Jerusalem is not even mentioned in the Koran, link, link.
The Jewish temple: evidence from the Hebrew Bible (the Tanach), the New Testament, historians like Josephus, and archaeology all testify to the existence of a huge, impressive temple in Jerusalem. The traditional location lies in the immediate vicinity of the present-day Dome of the Rock, link, and the Western Wall is the western retaining wall of King Herod’s expanded Temple Mount. Historical accounts say that the Dome of the Rock was built by the Moslems to overlay the location of the original Jewish Temple, link. Professor of Archaeology, Kent Bramlett also claims that historical records of the destruction committed by the Romans (70 AD) give “pretty overwhelming” support for the existence of the Second Temple in the immediate vicinity of the Dome of the Rock.
If the Jewish temple never existed, then why does archaeological evidence suggest otherwise? Every year Jews would arrive at Solomon’s Temple to celebrate Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), and for this they needed fresh flowing water. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient water aqueduct running from the Hebron mountains, through Solomon’s Pools near Bethlehem, and into the Temple Mount area, link, link. This was done at least 1500 years before any mosque was built!
A Series of Short Articles Outlining the Destiny of Mankind
At some point in our lives most of us ask “What is the purpose of life? Why are we here?” Let’s leave aside the mountains of books on philosophy and the many different religions and simply read some key texts in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
The following seven articles are brief and to the point and cover some of the most important concepts of life. In short, they give a timeline of God’s dealings with man and His plan for mankind. They reveal the planned destiny of mankind. The timeline goes something like this:
1. God’s perfect plan from creation is for man to dwell with His Creator in Paradise. To do this, man must become an immortal spiritual being
2. For man to dwell with God (who is Spirit) requires mortal man to become a living spirit through a spiritual re-birth
3. In the Garden of Eden man chose to walk away from Paradise. But God, through Jesus Christ, offers free spiritual re-birth if we choose to accept it
4. God’s plan was to achieve all this through Abraham and his descendants (the tribes of Israel). The nation of Israel was to became God’s witness and blessing to the nations
5. So God made a covenant with Israel: they would be blessed and be a blessing if they followed His laws. They failed, and suffered, but today the nation is being restored to her own land.
6. For those who choose to follow Christ and be spiritually re-born, they can look forward to dwelling with God in Paradise. Their eternal home is with God in the New Earth
7. The Book of Revelation gives a final warning. Man has a choice – to accept spiritual re-birth through Jesus Christ, or reject the offer and so reject eternal life in Paradise
Let’s start with some powerful words from the Hebrew scriptures:
At the end of this age there will be dramatic changes in the appearance of the sun and the moon. God says:
I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes (Joel 2.30,31)
This refers to the traumatic days and astronomical signs just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Exactly what causes these events is not revealed.
In recent years there has been much interest in so-called “blood moons” as caused by the earth passing between the sun and the moon (a lunar eclipse). Such events are entirely predictable, see NASA lunar eclipses. But the events prophesied in the book of Joel seem unpredictable and sudden. Moreover, unless the present astronomical order is changed, Joel is probably not describing simultaneous solar and lunar eclipses since this is impossible, link.
Let’s look at those predictable blood moons. Some believe that even predictable events like this can be used by God as a sign of His interventions in world affairs, and especially in the affairs of Israel. There is special interest in the times when four consecutive lunar eclipses are all total eclipses, an event known as a tetrad.
There are eight tetrads in the 21st century, and two have already passed, link. Moreover, history shows that when the tetrad dates are close to, or coincide with the dates of Jewish festivals (God’s appointed feasts), then this may be a special sign or warning to Israel. Sometimes very serious events happen around these dates. So let’s first consider Israel’s appointed feasts.
Israel’s Feasts and Israel’s Blood Moons
Some of Israel’s feasts clearly continue beyond the end of this age and into the Kingdom age, the millennium. So, in passing, we might ask ‘Why are Israel’s feasts often overlooked by the church?’ Take for example Pesah (Passover). God instructed Israel to keep Pesah forever:
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance (Exod 12.14)
Of course, Christ used His last Passover meal (Mat 26) to inaugurate the New Covenant to be made through His crucifixion, and Christians celebrate this in the Easter Eucharist (Holy communion) rather than through the Jewish Passover. Are Messianic Jews to obey Exod 12.14, or are they to accept Christ as the Passover Lamb? The answer is ‘both’. Yeshua’s Supper is temporary in nature – celebrated until He comes (1 Cor 11.26) – but the Passover is celebrated in the millennium, after Christ has come (Ezek 45.21), link.
As with the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles was also decreed a ‘statute forever’ (Lev 23.41), and so we read that this feast continues into the Kingdom age, the millennial reign of Christ:
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall … keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech 14.16)
Clearly, God requires at least some of Israel’s feasts to continue today and through into the next age on earth – the Millennium. They are certainly not past their sell-by date; they are incredibly relevant! So when we find some feasts synchronized in time with blood moons (often to the day), especially with tetrads (four consecutive total lunar eclipses), we might ask, “Is this a strange coincidence or is it planned by the God of Israel?” Is God’s synchronized celestial timing telling man – and especially Israel – that something very significant for Israel is to happen around that date?
Alignment of Israel’s Feasts with Blood Moon Tetrads: Warnings to Israel?
Not all tetrads appear significant for Israel. For instance, nothing of real significance happened in Israel around the 1927-1928 tetrad, link. But then none of the blood moons coincided with a Jewish feast, link. But occasionally, all four blood moons in a tetrad coincide with the start e.g. Pesach I, or close to the start, of the feasts of Pesach (Passover) or Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
Consider the following tetrads from NASA [Format: blood moon date (Jewish feast and date)].
Here, the blood moons did not align exactly in time with the start of Pesach and Sukkot, link. Nevertheless, we can ask, ‘What happened to the Jews around this time?’ Answer: During 1492, in Grenada (Spain) the razing of the Jewish quarter was ordered by King Ferdinand, and the Church called for the expulsion of Jews from Spain. In 1493 some 37,000 Jews had to leave Sicily, and in 1494/95, Jews suffered in Poland, Lithuania and Italy, link. So this tetrad saw Europe-wide persecution of the Jews.
Here, there is near perfect alignment of blood moon and festival dates. So what happened to Israel around this time? Answer: the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War, when five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel. Armistice agreements were signed February-July 1949, link, resulting in the UN “Green Line” – simply a temporary, armistice line and not a border. Ever since, there have been repeated Palestinian demands for Israel to return to this so-called ‘border’.
Again, there is near perfect correspondence of dates. What happened to Israel around this time? Answer: the Six-Day War of June 5–10, 1967, when the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) attacked Israel. Their goal was “to wipe Israel off the map”, but instead Jews gained full access to all of Jerusalem – the fist time in nearly 2,000 years! A few months later an Arab summit conference formulated the Arab consensus that underlay the official policies of most Arab states for the next two decades and beyond: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”
There is near perfect correspondence of dates. In addition, this tetrad is rather unique in that it spans a Shemittah (sabbatical) year, starting 25-09-2014 and ending 13-09-2015. This is a time of rest for Israel’s agriculture and a time for strengthening bonds with God. Since past tetrads have been difficult times for Jews, the Shemittah year is timely! When ancient Israel observed sabbatical years God provided enough food in the sixth year for three years (Lev 25.20,21)! He is still the same God who provides for those who keep mitzvot (God’s commands).
What happened around this time? Many regarded the time around Sukkot 2015 as the start of the third Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israel. Early October saw the start of unprovoked stabbings of Israeli citizens, link, link.
Here, only the blood moons in 2033 coincide with Pesach and Sukkot. But the time alignment is closer than for the 1493-94 tetrad. So again, this may be a crucial time for Israel and for the world. For instance, NASA says there is a remote possibility of a huge asteroid impact in 2032, and the Bible suggests such an impact in Rev 8.8. On the other hand, since 2032 is rather distant, Christ may have returned by then anyway!
TAGS FOR ISRAEL’S BLOOD MOONS
For in-depth discussion, see for example Pray4Zion
For the Jewish Calendar for a specific year, see for example Calendar_1 or Calendar_2
For NASA blood moon dates, and tetrads, see for example NASA_tetrads
End-time Blood Moons
As already noted, the prophet Joel described major disturbances in the sun and the moon immediately prior to the return of Christ. Jesus also said that there will be cosmic disturbances just prior to His return to earth:
The sun and the moon will not give their light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven (Mat 24.29,30)
No blood moon here – but look at the traumatic times just prior to this:
There was a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth (opening of the sixth seal, Rev 6.12,13) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood (cosmic disturbances visible in Israel, Joel 2.31)
Do these prophecies indicate a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse? No, at least not according to the present astronomical order. The sun-moon-earth alignments are distinctly different for the two eclipses; a total solar eclipse can only happen at a new moon when the moon passes between the sun and the earth (sun-moon-earth alignment), whereas a total lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon (sun-earth-moon alignment). So, since the lunar cycle is about 29.5 days, the minimum amount of time that can possibly occur between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse is two weeks, link.
Let us assume that the current astronomical order is undisturbed and so discount simultaneous eclipses. There may be some other astronomical reason for the sun darkening and the moon turning to blood. Note that Mat 24 and Rev 6 both refer to ‘stars falling from heaven’ (meteorites?). And in Rev 8 we read of ‘a great mountain burning with fire’ being thrown into the sea, and ‘a great star falling from heaven burning like a torch’ (asteroids?). Some argue that it could be these cosmic impacts upon the earth that cause the possibly simultaneous darkening of the sun, and the reddening of the moon. Huge impacts, possibly related to the great earthquake of Rev 6, could cause massive and long-lasting atmospheric disturbances on earth. It has also been proposed that a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse might occur in the presence of a large asteroid (or near earth object), link.
Conclusion: End time blood moons as in the Joel and Revelation prophecies may not be created by lunar eclipses, but rather by prophesied earth impacts from space. Having said that, the present astronomical order predicts that between 2016 and 2030 there will be a total of twelve more total lunar eclipses (full blood moons) visible in different parts of the world, link.
When God told Abram (Abraham) to go to “a land that I will show you” (Canaan), He promised to make him “a great nation”, and that in him “all families of the earth shall be blessed”. This was an unconditional promise: the nation turned out to be the Jewish nation, Israel, and through Abraham’s descendants came Christ, the Saviour of the world. God also said:
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. (Genesis chapter 12 verse 3, NASB).
This verse has never been abrogated and since it refers to both Abraham and his descendants it is true today until the the end of the age. Some 3,500 years have now passed and, in accord with this verse, world history has been shaped by how individuals, people groups and nations have treated the Jewish people. Yes, they have suffered, but a remnant always survives:
All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality? [Mark Twain, 1897]
Understanding Genesis 12 Verse 3
The Abrahamic Covenant is formally given in Genesis 15 and 17, but the elements are laid in Genesis 12:2-3. The covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham only had to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing. Unfortunately, verse 3 is often mistranslated from the Hebrew, so let’s look at a few English translations:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee … (King James Version, KJV)
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you … (New King James Version, NKJV)
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses [reviles] you I will curse [bind under a curse] … (New American Standard Bible, NASB)
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse … (English Standard Version, ESV)
And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you, and I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you … (Amplified Bible, AMP]
Working backwards from the English to Hebrew can be misleading, but let’s try it. Taking the NASB text and inserting the corresponding Hebrew word from Strong’s Concordance we get:
And I will “baruch” those who “baruch” you, and the one who “qalals” you I will “arar” …
Here, the Hebrew ‘baruch’ (Strongs 1263) means ‘to bless’, ‘to praise’, ‘to give thanks’. Now note that the two verbs ‘curses’ and ‘curse’ have different Hebrew roots; both Hebrew verbs ‘arar’ and ‘qalal’ can be translated “curse,” link. The Hebrew ‘‘arar’’ (Strongs 779) means to ‘execrate’ (express great loathing for), ‘bitterly curse’ or ‘bind under a curse’. In contrast, some take ‘qalal’ (Strongs 7043) to mean ‘make light of’, ‘treat as trivial’, ‘revile’ or have ‘contempt’ for. But is this translation correct?
Working forwards: Hebrew to English
As stated, working backwards from English to Hebrew can be misleading. The query concerns the root ‘qalal’ since it is the root for two Hebrew verbs. In its most basic form, L’hakel (להקל), it means to ‘make light of’ or ‘to belittle’ (as mentioned). But in its intensive form, l’kalel (לקלל), it means to curse or revile, link. The significant point is that Gen 12:3 uses the intensive form, link. See l’kalel.
Having identified the correct form of the Hebrew root ‘qalal’ in Gen 12:3, we can identify the more accurate translations. The ESV and AMP translations seem misleading, whilst the NASB with alternative meanings inserted seems more accurate:
I will bless those who bless you, and the one who reviles you I will bind under a curse … (Gen 12:3, NASB)
To revile means to criticize strongly, to hate, to be contemptuous, speak of abusively, or say unpleasant things about a person or people group e.g. Israel.
Application of Genesis 12 verse 3
Having a clearer understanding of the Hebraic background to this verse, we can now ask ourselves ‘to whom, and when, does this verse apply?’
First, the personal pronoun ‘you’ must translate to Abraham’s descendants; after all, Abraham himself was not made into a great nation, but his descendants were (see Gen 26:4). So God’s blessing applies to all those Gentiles who at least speak well of Abraham’s descendants, Israel, whether they have faith (Gal 3:7), or not. All Gentiles in the world, throughout history, should bless and befriend the Jews if they want to earn God’s favor (using today’s common terminology, ‘Jew’ is any descendant from Abraham, link). For example, Gentiles bless Israel when they “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6-9). Remember also that, through Abraham, “all the families of the earth” were to be blessed (Jew and Gentile) – a reference to the true Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (verse 3b).
Similarly, ‘the one’ must apply to all individuals, groups or nations throughout history. For example, in the millennial age rebellious nations are judged harshly for not honouring Israel:
the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you [Israel] will perish … (Isa 60:12)
And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them (Zech 14:17)
In summary, God’s warning was never abrogated and applies to all time dispensations. It applied during Israel’s exodus from Egypt, to Babylonian rule, to Germany and the holocaust, and to Arabic aggression against Israel today. In short, how nations and individuals treat Israel has shaped history, and still does. It is dangerous to severely criticize, treat with contempt, hate or try to eliminate the Jewish nation, Israel. To do so endangers God’s curse. History shows God’s curse for such lack of respect and disdain is to invoke harsh judgment. It is better to be blessed by God by blessing Israel His people than to come under God’s curse. ‘Blessing’ in the Old Testament essentially relates to divine bestowal of prosperity onto humans, link.
Genesis 12 verse 3 in History
Destruction of the Egyptian army
God sometimes leads Israel’s enemies against her in order to honor His name. This happened in the case of Pharaoh when He hardened his heart to chase the supposedly trapped Israelites at the Red Sea (Exod 14). It will happen again in the imminent Gog-Magog war (Ezek 38 and 39).
Pharaoh was clearly an enemy of the Israelites. It took nine plagues and then the death of Egypt’s first born for Israel to be released from humiliating slavery. But, it seems, Pharaoh needed one more demonstration of the power of the God of Israel. The Bible says that when Pharaoh’s army entered the dry land in the midst of the sea it was destroyed (Exod 14:26-31). Archaeological evidence for the biblical exodus is available, link, link.
The Defeat of the Amalekites
The Amalekites were an ancient biblical nation living near the land of Canaan, link. They are notorious since they were the first nation to attack the Jewish people after the Exodus from Egypt. It happened while the Jews were recuperating from their escape from Egypt (Exod 17:8-13). The Amalekites launched a vicious surprise attack on them — even though the Jews had no designs on Amalekite territory. In response, Moses asked Joshua to fight against the Amalekites, whilst Moses himself would stand on a hill top with the rod of God in his hand (v10).
The Amalekites were finally defeated, and subsequently God ordered Moses to record the treacherous attack of the Amalekites for everlasting memory. Today the Jews regard Amalek as representing the worst form of evil, link.
The Destruction of Tyre
Ancient Tyre was in two parts. The first part was on the mainland and the second was on an island about a kilometer from the shoreline. Over time, the island portion of the city became very wealthy and heavily fortified. It also served as the city’s religious center, where they worshiped pagan gods, particularly the fertility god “Baal”. Despite pagan worship, God’s anger against Tyre appears to have been aroused only when she declared her aggression against Jerusalem:
‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’(Ezek 26:2)
To this, God declared:
‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you … they will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea’ (Ezek 26:3-5)
This prophecy was fulfilled by Alexander the Great when he built a land bridge from the mainland to the island of Tyre in 333-332 BC. Alexander’s forces took rubble (stones, timber and soil, v12) from Tyre’s mainland and built a causeway to capture the island. Ancient Tyre (the island) is no more, see archaeological verification. Modern Tyre occupies the northern half of the island and also sprawls across Alexander’s causeway and onto the mainland, link, link, link.
Judgment upon Russia – Communism
Pogroms (antisemitic violence) erupted in Russia in the late 19th century and went on into the early 1920’s. Pogrom is a Russian word meaning ‘to wreak havoc’ and at this time Russian authorities initiated violence, including slaughter, against Jews.
But, in turn for Jewish persecutions, did God ‘wreak havoc’ upon the Russian people themselves by bringing in repressive communism? The Russian (or Bolshevik) Revolution took place in 1917 when working class people of Russia revolted against the Tsar. They were led by Vladimir Lenin and a group of revolutionaries and a communist government set in. Stalin came to power after Lenin in 1924. In the 1930’s Stalin’s communist terror engulfed the USSR, sending millions to labour camps or firing squads. He destroyed the remnants of individual freedom and failed to promote individual prosperity, link, link.
Stalin’s war against the Soviet Jews: A gradual liquidation of Jewish cultural institutions also set in with Stalin’s ascent to power, link. Part of Stalin’s antisemitism was to conjure up the so-called Doctor’s Plot, in which the Kremlin doctors, most of them Jews, ‘confessed’ under torture that they had deliberately misdiagnosed health problems of Soviet leaders. In fact, the doctors were released immediately after Stalin’s death and completely rehabilitated.
Stalin’s timely death: Stalin suffered a stroke on February 28, 1953. Curiously, it was on the same day as the Jewish holiday of Purim. This festival commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia (Iran) from Haman’s plot to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews in a single day (see the Old Testament book of Esther). It was also on the same day that deportations to Siberia of more than one million Jews from Moscow alone and millions more from other parts of the Soviet Union were to begin, link. Was this the outworking of Genesis 12 verse 3 – God’s judgment upon those who hate the Jews?
Russia’s Jew-hate Today: It is claimed that today Russia is the global leader in Jew-hate (does the Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation imply this? See Israel’s enemies). Germany has by no means been history’s top purveyor of global antisemitism. That distinction goes to Russia, which has spread antisemitism more widely and durably, link. Will God’s judgment upon Russia for her treatment of Jews be completed in the imminent Gog-Magog war? Here Russia is totally defeated and humiliated.
Germany’s Jew Hatred
Hitler capitalized on antisemitic ideas that had been around for a long time. By blaming the Jews for the WWI defeat, Hitler created a stereotypical enemy. In the 1920’s and early 1930’s, the defeated country was still in a major economic crisis, but the Nazis argued that expelling the Jews was the solution. This political message and the promise to make Germany economically strong again won Hitler the elections in 1932.
After Hitler came to power, the laws and measures against the Jews steadily increased. Nazi anti-Jewish policy constituted legal measures to expel the Jews from society and strip them of their rights and property, while engaging in incitement, abuse, terror and violence, link. It ended in the Shoah, the Holocaust, the murder of six million European Jews, link.
As promised in Genesis 12 verse 3, it appears Hitler’s Germany experienced God’s curse for hating the Jews. At the end of the war Germany was in utter chaos, link:
Displaced Persons’ were roaming about the country, often looting as they went. Transportation and communication services had ceased to function. Agriculture and industry were largely at a standstill. Food was scarce and there was a serious risk of famine and disease during the coming months. And to crown it all there was no central government in being, and the machinery whereby a central government could function no longer existed [Field Marshall Montgomery, 1945]
The leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed (Isa 9.16)
Britain’s Blessing – Prosperity
In the 18th and 19th centuries you’d be hard pressed to find Bible teachers who weren’t defenders of the Jews, men such as Lord Shaftesbury, William Wilberforce, J.C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley and more. Interestingly, this was an age of great evangelistic efforts, notably among the Jews, and particularly among the Jewish population of the East London of Charles Dickens, link.
When it comes to Britain’s leaders, the Jew Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881) twice served as UK Prime Minister and led the Conservative party for nearly three decades. It has been said “Many modern Conservatives look back on Disraeli as their prophet, high priest and philosopher rolled into one”. Notably, there was a lack of anti-Jewish violence in Britain in the 19th and early 20th century, link.
It was during these centuries that Britain prospered through the revolution of industry and transport, link. For a few decades in the 19th century British manufactured goods dominated world trade, link.
Britain’s betrayal of the Jews
In 1917 the British Foreign Office stated:
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine [A.J. Balfour, British Foreign Office]
This became known as the Balfour declaration. The 1920 San Remo Peace Conference gave Britain a provisional ‘Mandate for Palestine’ based upon the Balfour Declaration and this was formalized in 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations, link. The primary objective of the Mandate was to grant political rights in respect to Palestine to the Jewish people. The 1920 Mandate defined “Palestine” as spanning both west and east of the Jordan.
Britain Reneged on the Mandate
The Peel and Woodhead commissions of 1937/38 recommended partitioning Palestine into a small Jewish state and a large Arab state, a proposal hardly honouring the Mandate. It was rejected by the Arab leadership. There’s worse. The British White Paper of 1939 was a statement of policy that severely compromised the British commitment to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The White Paper limited Jewish immigration to Palestine to just 75,000 over a five year period. The policy therefore repudiated the Balfour Declaration and Britain’s commitments under the League of Nations just at the time of greatest need for a sanctuary for Jewish refugees, link.
It got even worse. In July 1947 the ship ‘The Exodus’ was carrying Jewish emigrants to British Mandatory Palestine, link. It carried 4515 men, women and children – most of whom were Holocaust survivors. The British navy attacked the Exodus to resist her landing in Palestine. When she did eventually land, some Jews were forcibly removed to be reloaded onto ships sailing back to Europe.
In Summary: Britain essentially failed in her charge to establish a Jewish homeland, and it was left to the UN and to the Jews themselves.
Did God Judge Britain for Betraying the Jews?
Some see Britain’s general decline commencing around 1947/48, when she finally reneged on her Mandate for Palestine and handed it over to the United Nations, link.
Britain’s Declining Navy: Britain once boasted the most powerful navy in the world. The British Navy steadily increased from the 1700’s to reach a peak fleet size in 1945 of some 800 destroyers and frigates, link. But by 1950 there had been a rapid decline to 250 destroyers and frigates, and by 2017 Britain had just 19!
Britain’s Declining Empire: Around 1920/21 Britain’s Empire reached a territorial peak, covering 24% of the Earth’s land area, link. It is interesting to note that this occurred when Britain was mandated with helping the Jews find a homeland in Palestine (1917, 1920, 1922). But between 1945 and 1965 the number of people under British rule outside the UK itself fell from 700 million to just 5 million, link.
The merits and sins of such an Empire are debatable, but the fact remains that Britain very rapidly lost her world influence from about 1945, and this continued to the close of the millennium.
Over the next decade, Britain’s pretensions to be a great power will evaporate … with rapidly shrinking military and diplomatic influence” [The Guardian, 2009]
For many, the transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997 marked the end of the British Empire.
Britain’s Declining Economy: In the early 1950’s Britain was an industrial giant, with an output per head 30% ahead of the six founder members of the EEC. But within 50 years it had been overtaken by many European and several Asian countries. Today, UK manufacturing accounts for just 11% of GDP. See “The Slow Death of British Industry: a 60-Year Suicide, 1952-2012” [NewStatesman, 2013].
Genesis 12 verse 3 Today
According the Genesis 12 verse 3, today’s institutionalized church is in danger of God’s judgement. Why? because in general it embraces some forms of Antisemitism. This is often in the form of antisemitic rhetorical speech or writing, or in social action and political maneuvering against the Jewish State.
The world will also see God’s anger vented upon Islamic nations who today revile, and in the the near future, war against the Jewish state.
Antisemitism in the Institutionalized Church
The World Council of Churches (WCC): The WCC is an ecumenical movement promoting Christian unity across many denominations, including Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed churches and the United Church of Christ. It represents over 500 million Christians in more than 100 countries and territories. A key objective is the breaking down barriers between people and seeking justice and peace.
WCC’s flagship project on the Arab-Israeli conflict is called EAPPI, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. Despite WCC’s noble objective of ‘breaking down barriers and seeking justice and peace’, the activities of EAPPI are biased against Israel. In particular, it is claimed EAPPI recruits activists abroad, sends them to Israel for three months and trains them to lead anti-Israel campaigns, link. In addition, NGO MONITOR claims EAPPI:
rejects the link between Israel and the Jewish people
rhetoric accuses Israel of ‘apartheid’ and ‘war crimes’
strengthens work on sanctions and suspension of US aid to Israel
encourages civil disobedience action
encourages churches to join campaigns for economic boycotts e.g. BDS
supports Palestinian ‘Right of Return’
stresses Israel’s ‘land occupation’
lobbies the EU to impose sanctions on Israel
supports the call for the UK to apologize for the Balfour DeclaratiOn
The Kairos Document: The WCC is a promoter of the Kairos Palestine document. This group of Palestinian Christians repeatedly claims Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, claims Israeli settlements ravage Palestinian land, claims daily humiliation of Palestinian workers, and stresses the ‘right of return’ of refugees. It is also claimed that Kairos characterizes terrorist acts of armed resistance as ‘Palestinian legal resistance’, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, compares Israel with the South African apartheid regime, and calls churches worldwide to engage in BDS.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS): This is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. In 2005 the WCC encouraged its member churches ‘to explore ways of avoiding economic participation in illegal activities related to the Israeli occupation’, link. The BDS campaign is an example. It is claimed that major UK churches have adopted the anti-Israel BDS agenda, link.
Jewish Reaction: Given such activities, it is not surprising that the UK Jewish Board of Deputies has described the EAPPI (aka WCC) as ‘inflammatory and partisan’ and accused it of ‘creating a climate of hostility towards Israel within the Church of England’.
Given how the WCC reviles the Jewish people, it’s an open question as to how the God of Israel will enact Genesis 12 verse 3. Is the WCC (and the member churches that support its views) part if the apostate church of Revelation 17 which is eventually ‘burned with fire’?
Aggression from Islamic Nations
Some see today’s Arab-Israeli/Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be rooted in biblical history, namely in the hostile Amalekites. The nation of Amalek is long gone, but many Israelis see Amalek living on in their daily enemies, link. One such enemy is Iran.
Today, Islam repeatedly reviles the Jewish state. Israel is criticized in the most hateful way:
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it [Hamas Charter, 1988]
The very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to humanity [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, August 2012]
Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor … that has to be removed and eradicated [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, April 2018]
How will Genesis 12 verse 3 Apply? In the immediate future there will be an Islamic invasion of Israel from the north. Many see this as being headed by Russia and Iran. Meanwhile, the western nations simply standby and observe (Ezek 38:13). What happens? The invaders are completely defeated by the God of Israel (Ezek 38:18-23). They will “fall upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezek 39:1-8). Moreover, God will be magnified in the eyes of many nations (Ezek 38:23, 39:21), and Islam will be humiliated. Is this an example of the curse God places upon those who curse Israel?