CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST --
WHO WILL WIN THE WAR?
[This prophetic message, which has been revised, was originally written, compiled and published in 1970.]
Bible Prophecy: "And he spake to them a parable; BEHOLD THE FIG TREE, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of yourselves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." – Luke 21:29-31
In the aftermath of Israel winning the now famous six-day war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in June of 1967, her signing of the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 after a war that erupted in October 1973, her bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, and her ever increasing conflicts with the surrounding Arabian countries, many political quarters have been rife with speculations about the future of Israel. Some feel that Israel will not last very long while others believe that this small nation would survive indefinitely.
Man can only speculate, but there is only one definite source which provides accurate and precise information on future events. And that is — the Holy Word of God.
For nearly two thousand years, the nation of Israel had existed merely in the mind of the Jews. During that period Jews all over the world have carried on the traditional Passover to proclaim, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
Now, millions of Jews have returned to their homeland since 1948 when Israel became a nation. Even under the most trying circumstances, she has been able to survive the onslaught of the hostile Arab world. She has not only proved her ability but also her power during the world's 'quickest war' in June 1967. Ever since Israel was created (in 1948), the Arabs have been lusting for the day when they could destroy her.
In Biblical history, since the Exodus from Egypt into the Land of Canaan, God had many times tolerated the disobedience of the children of Israel but warned them, time and again, of the consequences of their disobedience towards Him. To have the Land of Canaan in their continued possession would be conditional upon their obedience to God's law. The 28th chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy lists the terms of God's covenant with Israel. God promised the children of Israel blessings for their obedience, and curses – even their dispersion – for their disobedience.
"The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:" – Deut.28:36,37,64,65
Time and again the disobedient Israelites were allowed, under the permissive will of God, to be taken captive into other lands, but each time the Lord, remembering His Everlasting Covenant with Abraham, would bring them back to the Land of Canaan. (Palestine is its Roman name.)
"As for me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. and I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish My covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." – Gen.17:4-8
This is the most indisputable and tangible evidence to substantiate the eternity of God in the establishing of a chosen people in the Promised Land.
THE SCATTERING SEED
However, when they became too rebellious, the Spirit of God could not strive with them any more and finally they were scattered for the last time all over the world. (Did they not bring this upon themselves when they rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah? Read Matthew 27:22,23,25). The dispersion took place in 70 A.D. when the Roman army, led by Prince Titus, captured Jerusalem after a merciless and bloody siege.
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles (non-Jews) until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." – Lk.21:20,24 (cf.Lev.26:32,33)
Christ's words were fulfilled: and the Jews found themselves all over the world without a homeland. The scattering of the Jews is commonly called the Diaspora (Greek word for "dispersion, scattering"). The Land of Israel became desolate like a desert when the rain failed to fall, and Jerusalem was in the hands of the enemies.
The history of the Jews, since 70 A.D., has been one of suffering and persecution. For centuries they have paid the price for their disobedience and rejection of the Messiah. They were, and still are, being greatly despised by the people of the world.
THE IN-GATHERING SEED
It was until more than half a century ago that God, by His mercy and in keeping with His promises, brought the Israelites back to their own homeland. This happened in December 1917, towards the end of the First World War, when the British Army, under General Allenby, captured the City of Jerusalem from the Turks and liberated Palestine from the many centuries of Mohammedan oppression. The City of Jerusalem was captured without any shot being fired and without bloodshed. The secret was the presence of British airplanes flying over the City. It was the fear of these strange 'birds', which the Turks had never seen, that brought about the sudden surrender.
"So shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.. As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it." – Isa.31:4,5
The entry of British General Allenby in the scene triggered the chain reaction of events which placed Israel in the mainstream of Bible Prophecy right before our eyes. The name Allenby has the euphonious union of two Arab words, "Allah" meaning "God" and "Nebi" meaning "Prophet". So "Allah-Nebi", a "God Prophet". Is this a mere coincidence in Bible prophecy?
"And I will sanctify my great name... For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land... And the desolate land shall be tilted, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhibited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it." – Ezek.36:23,24, 34-36
And the Lord did just that! He went even further by gathering the Jews from the four corners of the earth and bringing them into their homeland. In doing so, He literally fulfilled the following prophecy:
"Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and daughters from the ends of the earth." – Isa.43:5,6
From the East, the Jews began to return, first from Iraq and around the old Babylonian captivity, then from India, China and other Eastern Lands where there had been Jewish settlements for centuries. Thus, for the East the Lord said, "Avi", "I will bring". The Western Jews were slow to return compared with those from the East, for "gather" in the Hebrew text is "acabtsecha" meaning "collect". The condition of the Northern Jews was different for God commanded, "Give up" (Hebrew "Taini" – "Give Me") and the Jews in Poland, Russia, France, Bulgaria, and other Northern lands began to return. Returning from the South on eagle's wings (Isaiah 40:31) especially from Yemen, the Jews were told not to keep back (original translation: "Altichlahi" – "Do not restrain or hold back") and by 1950 Yemen was empty of her Jews. So was Ethiopia, very recently. And so the Jews are returning home at the rate of 1,000 a day from all over the world.
On their return to the homeland, the Jews began work on the land which had been lying desolate for the past eighteen and a half centuries. Immediately a great change began to take place. Through their hard intensive labour (but not without God's help) the land was revived from its past years of desolation. Scientists said that in 1948 the jet streams overhead changed, and it began to rain in parts of Israel where it had not rained for centuries. You can read this wonderful fulfilled prophecy in Ezekiel Chapter 36.
As Israel began to accept their destiny which was prophesied by the prophets of the Old Testament, thousands of Jews everyday began to filter "from among the heathen" to return to this land of their forefathers. Thirty and a half years later, on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was declared a National Home for the Jewish People under the Balfour Declaration by the United Nations.
"Thus said the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them unto their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountain of Israel." – Ezek.37: 21-22
The Jews have finally returned to Israel but with some disbelief. Nevertheless, God has promised to remove the blindness from their eyes.
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born." – Zech.12:10
Now that the Promised Land is restored unto the Israelis, there has been nothing but continual strife between the descendants of Isaac (the Jews) and the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) in the Middle East. Both Isaac and Ishmael were descendants of Abraham. (Please remember that such abnormal outgrowth of conflicting personalities and jealous frustrations dated back to ancient Biblical days.) Through the ages there have been many clashes between them. The quickest war that was ever fought between them was the six-day war in June 1967. The Israelis emerged the victor occupying Sinai and part of Jordan. The Six-Day War has been much discussed by military and political experts for years. Although outnumbered, they could not be outfought. Within the first two days of the six violent days, the Biblical City of Jerusalem was completely in their possession after 1897 years in the hands of the Gentiles. The Old City was returned to Israel! The Jews rejoiced! The then Defence Minister, General Moshe Dayan, said: "We have returned to our holiest of holy places, never to depart again." Truly, he has said it well, for Jerusalem no longer is compassed by the Gentiles or is trodden down and "the time of the Gentiles" has run its course.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be build to the Lord... " – Jer.31:38
"... This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are around about her." – Ezek.5:5
Since then the Israelis have more than shown themselves capable of defending their Promised Land from the onslaught of the Arab world. Time and again the wealthy Arab nations seemed agreed on pitting their strengths against Israel to force her to give up the occupied territories gained in the Arab-Israelis War, but without success.
Then all of a sudden the long promised Arab counterattack shifted from the realm of fantasy to the realm of distinct possibility in this century. Ever since the Arabs lost the 1967 war the Russians concurred to this possibility. The Soviet Union has been supporting some Arab nations and Egypt with their military weapons and know-how. The 80% of Egyptian army equipment that were destroyed in the war were subsequently replaced by the Russian's. The news media reported that the Russians have now bought control of the Arab nations at a cost which exceeds 15 billion dollars and their presence is so powerful and pervasive that they dominate Egypt's military, and regulate its Economic and Industrial planning. The result is that the President of Egypt no longer controls or directs his country's military actions; he has all but lost his grip and control of the nation, for thousands of Russian technicians have operational control of the Egyptian military forces. So is her fleet right now in the Mediterranean which is still increasing with far better equipment that are second to none. "What is more, there was a possibility that the Russians would soon try to install SAMs (Surface-to-Air Missiles) along the canal itself and extend their air umbrella to the water-way – a development that could lead to an Israeli-Russian showdown and a world-wide crisis of dangerous proportions." (Emphasis quoted Newsweek June 15, 1970) "Evidently, the Soviets have decided that even with thorough training, Egyptians are not capable of operating the highly complex gadgetry of a modern air defense network. 'An Egyptian university graduate would require two years of training in the Soviet Union before he could fit into the system,' explains one Russian. 'And there isn't time!'" (Emphasis quoted Newsweek, June 1, 1970).
Perhaps that was the reason why Mrs. Golda Meir, who was then Israelis' Prime Minister, said Israel was engaged in the hardest and most serious struggle it had ever known.
And a year later, the news media reported that the Soviet had sent a large delegation of officials to Cairo to demand a similar pact which Russia has with the Iron Curtain countries. Whatever the treaty was, she now has legal title to intervene in Egyptian affairs. And this is one step forward in her plans to dominate the Middle East as is recorded in Ezekiel Chapter 38 and 39.
But why are the Russians there and what would they gain?
In the political field, the experts believe their intentions are to reduce Western influence and to control the Suez Canal. The Russians also seem to be eyeing the Mediterranean as well as the Middle East oil and rich mineral deposits.
What about America? As a matter of national interest, will the stars and the stripes stand idly by and see Israel defending itself against U.A.R. with Russian assistance? It is clear that the United States would not permit this. Read Ezekiel 38:13. I believe the U.S.A. will be destroyed by the nuclear might of the Russian in their intervention.
THE NEXT GREAT EVENT — THE INVASION
To the average reader of the morning newspaper, this touchy situation does not seem too important in the light of Bible Prophecy.
Regardless of what the political situation may appear to be in the U.S.S.R. and the Middle East, there is an extra-ordinary circumstance brewing that will spark off the closing of this age. This is foretold in the Bible!
My sincere desire in pointing out this situation to you is to alert you to world happenings which, in many parts of the earth, are fulfilling without fail specific prophecies exactly according to God's over-all prophetic plan. And one of those ancient prophecies is now beginning to be fulfilled before our eyes. It is the invading of the Land of Israel by Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
"...Thus saith the Lord God; behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal." – Ezek.38:3
Theologians and historians have debated over the actual locations of Meshech and Tubal. Were they ancient names of the districts that are now called Moscow and Tobolsk? Or, are they the area that today is Turkey and portions of northern Syria as well as northern Iraq? The "chief prince" in Hebrew is "Rosh" or "Bear" which is the symbol of Russia. Yet, precisely "Gog" refers to that great rebellious anti-God spirit which is seeking to dominate the world. And "Magog" points to the large number of inhabitants who are under the influence of "Gog".
Evidently God is against them because they are an anti-God race of communistic people who have for years been mocking the Living God. Russia stands for the spirit that has shaken its fist at God in the heaven when they sent their men up into space. They brought back the message to the world, "We looked for your Christian God, but we didn't see Him." They came back with mockery, ridicule, and disgrace for God. Russia simply stands for atheistic godlessness and rebellion.
The Russian's presence in the Middle East helping the U.A.R. is not just a happening, but it is God's divine order for a purpose.
"You (Gog) be prepared: yes, prepare yourself; you and all your companies that assembled about you, and you be a guard and a commander for them." – Ezek.38:7 (Amplified)
The Invasion of Israel is imminent. It could happen today; maybe tomorrow. It will certainly be the contest of all contests that the world will ever witness.
"After many days you (Gog) will be mustered; in the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from the war, the land where people were gathered from many nations upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste; its people were brought out from the nations and now dwell securely, all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. Thus says the Lord God: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme." – Ezek.38:8-10 (RSV)
A great destruction will come upon the Russians and its hordes (Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, Libya, Eastern Europe, S. E. Europe, Germany, Austria and other nations allied to Russia, (cf. Ezek.38:1-6) the day they come up against Israel for God's fury will be kindled. The Bible says that there will be a great earthquake in the Land of Israel that will cause the fish, birds, beasts, creeping things and all men on this earth to feel the shaking. Everything that is upright will be thrown down. There will be pestilence and bloodshed, torrential rains and hailstones, fire and brimstone. For God in His wrath will summon every kind of terror against Israel's oppressors that none of them will be left alive in the Land of Israel. (Read Ezekiel chapter 38 verse 18 to chapter 39 verse 2.)
"Thus wil I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord." – Ezek.38 :23
It will take seven years to rid Israel of the weaponry (Ezek.39:2-9) and seven months to bury the dead (Ezek.39:12) as a result of this great holocaust.
We are living in the final hour when this experience can take place in a matter of days.
The world and the Middle East cry, "Peace! Peace!" Yet, the Bible says, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (I Thess.5:3).
THE CROSSROAD OF ETERNITY
Today, we are living at the Crossroad of Eternity for a great number of prophecies pertaining to events prior to the Second Coming of Christ have been fulfilled. Wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, anarchy, apostasy are some of the signs. These peculiar signs are guideposts. They tell us to be careful, to be watchful and to be prepared. But the greater sign to watch very closely is the Jews who are God's Timepiece for the Soon Return of Jesus Christ. They hold the Key to Bible Prophecy of the Endtime, the Key to the Closing of this Age. Yes, we must be watchful, we must be prepared and our hearts must be right with God now!
In His discourse on the Mount of Olives (Matt.24; Lk.21) Jesus spoke of many signs of the endtime. He spoke of the parable of the fig-tree and other trees, indicating the future establishment of Israel as a nation and other new nations as the kingdom of nations. Then He said, in verse 34, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Now, just what does He mean by "this generation" within which all that He had spoken of must be fulfilled?
The word "generation" is "genea" in Greek. It means "an age – the period or the persons". Hence, the verse indicates that before everyone born on May 14, 1948 shall pass away all those signs which Jesus spoke of must first be fulfilled. Therefore, in this sense, the period of a generation would be about "fourscore years" (cf. Psm.90:10). However, if "this generation" should reflect the average Biblical generation, then how much time is involved? Would it be less than 80 years?
Well, in seeking for some sort of an answer that is in line with the above reckoning, Matthew 1:17 gives some hints. There were fourteen generations each from Abraham to David, from David to the Carrying away of Israel into Babylon, and from the Carrying away of Israel into Babylon to the Birth of Jesus Christ. All in all there were 42 generations which covered a period of approximately 2,000 to 2,058 years. (Historians hold different views on the exact number of years due to the use of different calendars in history.) Taking this as a guide, a Bible generation should approximately be a period of 46 to 49 years. (Bible students have generally accepted that there are 40 years in a generation by reason of the number of years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness. Dictionaries define a generation as a period of 30 to 33 years, the average age when a man marries and have a son.) So, if the fig tree in Jesus' parable, in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, is really referring to the rebuilding of the Nation of Israel which would be fulfilled, along with all those other signs, within a span of one generation, then 1948 is reckoned as the beginning of the period. But would Christ only return to "this generation" a few years before it runs its course when most of "this 'genea' of people" have passed away and the remaining few are but old men and old women? I do not think so. I emphasize this only as something to think about, because May 14, 1948 has been marked as a day which sparked off the fulfillment of a chain of Bible Prophecies and signs pointing to the Coming of the Blessed One — the King of kings!
Christian friends, let us rejoice, for these are the greatest days in history! These are the days the prophet of old had longed to see but did not have the privilege. You and I have this privilege. So, let us take advantage of every opportunity to herald the 'Good News' so that more people will have the opportunity of knowing God's message for the lost and dying world. We have been given this privilege of helping mankind prepare for an eternal destiny!
Let us continue to be alert to the events which are happening around the world. Many things which are unfolding before our eyes, through the news media, are actually the fulfillment of ancient Scriptures which have laid dormant in the pages of the Holy Book for centuries. The world awaits cataclysmic, earth-shaking developments, which will prove beyond a shadow of doubt, that man has now advanced to the stage of prophetic finality.
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." – Phil.3:13,14,15
May God help us to face the facts of life and be always prepared and ready for the Second Coming of the Lord.
My non-Christian friends, what about you? Is your heart right with God? God has this warning for you: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" (Eccle.12:1). And "boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Prov.27:1). Get right with God now. Don't perish in your sins. Jesus died on the cross for your sins. Accept Him as your own personal Saviour now and He will forgive and cleanse you of all your sins.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." – John 5:24
The distant thunders of Bible Prophecy fulfillment are rumbling out the call: "Behold He Cometh!" And TIME MARCHES ON TO ETERNITY. Truly, the Nation of Israel and the TIME go marching on to the "Midnight Cry".
FOREWARD: FROM THE PREACHER'S DESK
SECTION I: WOMEN'S FASHIONS
SECTION II: THE EARTHQUAKES AND TIME
SECTION IV: THE ARK AND TIME