For many Christians, the most exciting events happening in the world today surround the reformed state of Israel and the turmoil of world events which the Bible tells us will lead to Armageddon. The Biblical conflict surrounds the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people:
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of
trembling unto all the peoples round about,
when they shall be in the siege both against
Judah (the Jews) and against Jerusalem. And in
that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome
stone for all peoples; all the burden themselves
with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the
nations of the earth be gathered together
against it." (Zechariah 12:2-3)
|Tel Megiddo in northern Israel (Site of Armageddon)|
In the last two thousand years, since Jesus' prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem, wherein he confirmed Deuteronomy 28:63-64 saying, "… these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22) and that the Jews would "be led away captive into all nations" (Luke 21:24), the restoration of Israel has never before happened. For this reason, many students of prophecy consider the restoration of Israel in 1948 to be one of the greatest signs that Armageddon is near.
As the above scripture from Zechariah reveals that the Jewish people needed to be back in the Promised Land, and back in Jerusalem in order for the "siege" against them to be at fulfilled. This siege is said to reach its climax at Armageddon, just before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and
thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem
to battle … Then shall the Lord go forth, and
fight against those nations, as when he
fought in the day of battle.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the
Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on
the east …" (Zechariah 14:1-4)
When the Lord descends upon the Mount of Olives, it will fulfill the promise of His return, as given to the apostles in Acts 1:10-11.
Prophecy & Anti-Semitism
Of great concern to many Christians and Jews alike is the rise of anti-Semitism in the world today. As more people join the ranks of "holocaust deniers" the desire to blame the Jews for just about everything has reached alarming levels. I recently watched an HBO documentary called "The Protocols of Zion," that explores the document by that name which supposedly reveals the Jewish plot to take over the world. At one point, the filmmaker interviews Frank Weltner, the founder of an anti-Jewish website called "Jew Watch" (www.jewwatch.com) which for a time was reportedly the #1 Googled website in the world! One of the subheadings for the site is: "Keeping a Close Watch on Jewish Communities and Organizations Worldwide."
In 1993, PBS produced a documentary called "The Longest Hatred: A Revealing History of Anti-Semitism." This film "shows how anti-Semitic sentiment has accompanied a growing nationalism in Europe in recent decades, causing a mass exodus of Jews from Russia, and even resurfacing in Poland and Austria, where few Jews remain. And in Germany, the remarkable collapse of the Berlin wall has been followed by the rise of neo-Nazism among German youth." (Source: The Longest Hatred, back cover of the DVD)
While the memories of all the Jewish people suffered during WWII are being forgotten, along with the modern persecution of Jews by Muslims, the world is continually outraged by any action on the part of Israel to defend itself. Weltner's "Jew Watch" website (a classic example) is careful to point out the "atrocities of Israel," but makes little or nothing of the fact that Israel has been defending itself against an Arab/Muslim agenda aimed at the annihilation of the Jews. Jew Watch posts the tragic photos of Palestinian children killed by an Israeli attack, but nowhere shown are the victims of countless suicide bombers that have been terrorizing the Jewish people for decades. But this desire by Muslims to destroy Israel comes from the prophet Muhammed. In the Hadith (Islam's other holy book) which is comprised of the "sayings and deeds" of Muhammed, the prophet declared:
"The Day of Resurrection will not arrive
until you make war on the Jews, until a Jew
will hide behind a rock or tree, and the rock
or tree will say: Oh Muslim, servant of
Allah, here is a Jew behind me, kill him!'"
-- The prophet Muhammed
More importantly, this hatred and desire to annihilate "Israel" is clearly prophesied in the Bible some three thousand years ago:
"Keep not thou silence, O God; hold not
thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo,
thine enemies make a tumult, and they
that hate thee have lifted up the head. They
have taken crafty counsel against thy people,
and consulted against thy hidden ones.
"They have said, Come, and let us cut them
off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance."
Deuteronomy chapter 28, perhaps better than anywhere else in the Bible, reveals in great detail the phenomenon of anti-Semitism. God warned the Jewish people that if they rebelled against Him, they would be hated, hunted, and persecuted until they would "become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations …" (Deut. 28:37). No one who truthfully examines the history of the Jewish people could argue, but that this prophecy has indeed come to pass. Nevertheless, the Lord loves Israel and has also promised her restoration.
"For thus saith the Lord, As I have brought
all this great evil upon this people, so will I
bring upon them all the good that I have
promised them." (Jeremiah 32:42)
All the same, it seems that the hatred against the Jewish people will continue right up till the end, and seems to be the driving force for Armageddon. At this time, the Scriptures tell us that Antichrist and the kings of the earth will make war against the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:14, 19:19). Prior to this, they have been gathered at Armageddon, which is the valley of Megiddo about 60 miles north of Jerusalem. It would seem that from there, they will march south to attack Jerusalem itself, in accordance with Zechariah 14:1-2. Yet prior to that, they have been "gathered" in a common cause. The scriptures tell us this cause is demonic:
"For they are the spirits of devils … that
go forth unto the kings of the earth and of
the whole world, to gather them to the battle
of that great day of God Almighty …. And
he gathered them together into a place
called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."
Revelation 16 tells us that "the spirits of devils" are sent to gather the kings and nations of the world. And why do they gather? Not only to form a single world order, but to eventually come against Jerusalem and the Jews. As such, could it not be said that the ever-increasing hatred against Israel is of demonic inspiration? This would certainly account for the often unjust and irrational criticisms that come against the Jewish people, who are continually reproved for defending themselves against their enemies.
An Ancient Hatred
In his book, A Cup of Trembling, author Dave Hunt points out that the Holocaust against the Jews in Nazi Germany was not the single invention of Adolf Hitler. While Nazi extremism is often blamed, history reveals that Hitler was only playing upon the long standing hatred of Europeans against the Jews.
"It is only within the context of widespread
anti-Semitism which had been practiced for
centuries … that one begins to comprehend the
resident evil which found its full expression
through Adolf Hitler. The methodical extermination
of a race is far more horrible when it is seen
as an act of cultured European society rather
than the obsession of one madman. And that
was indeed the case, despite the popularly held
misconception of Hitler and his cohorts as the
sole instigators and perpetrators."
(Hunt, A Cup of Trembling, p. 173-174)
Hunt goes on to reveal that Hitler was not some raving madman who rushed in to wipe out the Jewish people. In fact, he was much more calculating and wanted to be certain he would have support for his agenda:
"… Hitler 'proceeded quite cautiously, as if
testing whether his passion for persecuting
Jews would meet with an significant reprisal
at home and abroad. He said as much to a
meeting of party cell leaders on 29 April 1937,
when he explained that he was biding his
time on the Jewish question until he could
resolve it without risk to himself …"
(Hunt, p. 174)
It could be said that Hitler did not brainwash the German people into hating the Jews. Rather, Hitler was the manifestation of an evil already present in European society.
"From Russian to Spain and Portugal, from
Scandinavia to the toe of Italy's boot, Europe
was no stranger to anti-Semitism. Martin
Luther had declared that the Jews' synagogues
should be burned down and their homes destroyed,
and that Jews themselves should be put to
the most menial labor, deprived of their property,
and, if need be, driven from the country. Many
of the popes had treated the Jews in the same
manner: confiscating their property, including
even their Scriptures, shutting down their
synagogues, confining them to ghettos, and
making them wear an identifying badge."
(Hunt, p. 178)
Through the Middle Ages, the Jews had been consistently persecuted and murdered as "Christ killers" throughout Catholic Europe, as many sources reveal:
"In Medieval Europe, many persecutions of
Jews in the name of Christianity [Roman Catholicism]
occurred, notably during the Crusades – when
Jews all over Germany were massacred – and a
series of expulsions from England, Germany,
France, and, in the largest expulsion of all, Spain.
Jews were frequently tried and put to death
for a variety of imagined religious offenses
against Christianity [Roman Catholicism]. On
many occasions, Jews were accused of a
blood libel, the supposed drinking of the
blood of Christian children in mockery of the
Christian [Catholic] Eucharist. Jews were also
falsely accused of torturing consecrated host
wafers in a reenactment of the Crucifixion; this
was known as host desecration."
The Jews were (and still are) blamed for the woes of the world. In the fourteenth century, they were said to be a cause of the Black Death:
"In reaction to the Black Plague, six hundred
Jews and the town Rabbis were burned at the
stake. 140 children were forcibly baptized. The
victims were left unburied, the cemetery destroyed
and the synagogue turned into a church. The
remaining Jews were expelled and not readmitted
until 1869." (Source: Jewishhistory.org)
When one tracks the history, it becomes apparent that anti-Semitism is a trail of blood and humiliation that leads up through the 19th, and into the early part of the 20th centuries.
"Jew hatred, with its two-thousand-year old
history, could arise both as a spontaneous
outburst of popular instincts, and as a deliberately
fanned instrument of scapegoat politics …
Even as the First World War ended on the
western front, more than fifty Jews were killed
by local Ukrainians in the eastern Polish city
of Lvov. In the then independent Ukrainian
town of Proskurov, seventeen hundred Jews
were murdered on 15 February 1919 by followers
of the Ukrainian nationalist leader, Simon
Petlura, and by the end of the year, Petlura's
gangs had killed at least sixty thousand Jews.
These Jews were victims of local hatreds
reminiscent of Tsarist days, but on a scale
unheard of in the previous century. In the
city of Vilna, the 'Jerusalem of Lithuania,'
eighty Jews were murdered during April 1919;
in Galicia, five hundred perished.
'Terrible news is reaching us from Poland,'
the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann wrote to
a friend on 29 November 1918. 'The newly
liberated Poles there are trying to get rid of
the Jews by the old and familiar method which
they learnt from the Russians [i.e. murder].
Heart rending cries are reaching us. We are
doing all we can, but we are so weak!'"
(Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: A History of
the Jews in Europe During the Second World
War, pp. 19-22, cited by Dave Hunt in A
Cup of Trembling, p. 179)
Prophecy, Israel & the Church
"We have also a more sure word of
prophecy; whereunto ye do well that
ye take heed, as unto a light that
shineth in a dark place …"
-- 2 Peter 1:19
An important purpose for understanding prophecy is so that, like the sons of Issachar who "had understanding of the times" (1 Chronicles 12:32), we might know what we ought to do. Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders of His day for failing to "discern the signs of the times" (Matt. 16:3), and because they "knew not the time of [their] visitation." (Luke 19:44) There are many professing Christians who, having fallen victim to the belief in a "world wide Jewish conspiracy" are given over to teaching propaganda against Israel, as if they are somehow doing work for God. I have come to believe these teachers are likely helping to lay the groundwork for the "Final Solution" program of Antichrist, when he seeks to destroy Israel. Such teachers often champion the cause of Palestinian Muslims whose faith not only seeks to "wipe Israel off the map" in accordance with Psalm 83, but openly denies the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It makes little sense that the Jews would be controlling the world, since the Lord called these "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24), during which, Jerusalem would be "trodden down" by the Gentiles. If the Jews cannot completely reclaim Jerusalem, how can they control the world? And if they are manipulating governments behind the scenes, why could they not save their own people during the Holocaust? Are we to believe that "Jewish bankers" took over in a few short decades after World War II? Such thinking is ridiculous and stands contrary to what Bible prophecy tells us would be happening through the time of the end. The final world empire, as Daniel 7:23 reveals, is an empire composed of the former world empires – all of which were Gentile kingdoms where the Jews were in subjection, not in control. It makes no sense that "Judah" would be in charge, especially when they are the very target of world powers at Armageddon (Zechariah 12:2, 14:2).
Even now, the signs that God's prophecies about the gathering of nations for Armageddon is occurring before our eyes; and as they come together, with them comes this growing hatred against Israel. The treachery of the international community against the Jews was documented in the book, The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People, by John Loftus and Mark Aarons. These secular journalists spent twelve years and interviewed more than 500 former intelligence authors about every "hostile operation they had carried out against the Jews" (xi). Keeping this in mind, consider the opening line of the introduction:
"The major powers of the world have repeatedly
planned covert operations to bring about the
partial or total destruction of Israel. Long before
there even was a Jewish state in Palestine,
Western spies already were out to wreck the
Zionist dream. The savage extent of the
secret wars against the Jews will horrify
the Western public."
(Introduction, The Secret War Against
the Jews, p. 1)
Among the more "horrifying" information is the role played by the Vatican, the U.S. State Department, and the British secret service in smuggling Nazi war criminals out of Europe after the Second World War. This was the subject of an earlier work by Loftus and Aarons, Unholy Trinity. From the back cover of "Secret War," the publishers also state the following:
"The authors demonstrate that numerous Western
countries, especially the United States and Great
Britain, have conducted repeated and willful spying
missions on Palestine and later Israel over many
decades. While on the surface these two countries
and others profess to be ardent allies of Israel, they
work, in fact, through their intelligence services to
betray Israel's secrets to the Arabs. Their motive:
oil and multinational profits, which must be attained
at any price through international covert policies.
'The pageant of characters appearing in this
narrative is vast and shocking. This is not only
a compelling work of history, but also a volume
whose grave allegations will be debated for
years to come." (The Secret War Against the
Jews, Loftus & Aarons, back-cover)
The Christian Conclusion
As Christians who love God and our Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts should rejoice that the Lord is fulfilling His prophecies where Israel is concerned, and that the hour of Christ's return is nearer than ever before. It is important to recognize the signs the Lord has given us in our own times, examine these things through the lens of Bible prophecy, and be certain we are on God's side in the battle!
By Chris Pinto