Israel Responds to the UN Vote
Controversy on the Mountains of Israel
December 8, 2012 - Audio, 8.16 MIN
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Israel responds to the Palestinians UN status upgrade by authorising plans for 3000 new settlements causing international uproar. The mountains of Israel are indeed being prepared for the return of Christ. This is Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News.
Following on from last week's Bible in the News special, we again see Israel at the heart of international controversy.
On Friday 30th of November, after the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the status of the Palestinians to a "non-member observer state", Israel responded by announcing it was authorising plans to be drawn up for 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - in an area called "E1".
The proposed settlements will connect Jerusalem with one of the largest Jewish settlements in the West Bank "Ma'ale Adumim".
There are also other plans afoot for more building in Judea and Samaria.
Over the past week, the international community have been protesting against these Israeli settlement plans.
France, Britain, Spain, the EU, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and Egypt have all summoned their respective Israeli ambassadors to express their strong disapproval at Israel's response to the recent UN vote. Israel's move has also drawn criticism from many other nations including, the United States, Russia and Japan.
On 3rd December, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was keen to point out that the unilateral action pursued by the Authority at the UN was directly against the Oslo Accords.
This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu also faced an uneasy visit to Germany - where he met with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Despite a lengthy meeting, the two leaders could not reach an agreement over settlement building. The Jerusalem Post reported Angela Merkel as saying "we agreed that we disagree on this", whilst Netanyahu was quoted as saying "the Palestinians tore to shreds their commitments under the Oslo Accord". This, he continued, was "somehow dismissed" whilst Israel's response "which is measured and certainly less than proportional, is blown out sky high". http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=294886
The authorisation of the settlement plans was not the only response from Israel. On Sunday 2nd, Israel withheld some 450 million Shekels worth of tax revenue which Israel collects each month for the PA. The withheld funds will be used to pay off part of the PA's 800 million Shekel debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.
So for now, as we watch at the sidelines, we can see that the nations are against Israel; whilst we can expect to see more Israelis living in the West Bank , if these settlement plans go ahead. How do these things compare with Bible prophecy?
In Zechariah 12v3 we read that God will "make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it".
This describes a diplomatic nightmare fuelled by anti-Semitism, which will eventually lead to the nations invading the land of Israel. It shows us that the angels of God are at work to provide the political climate for this terrible event to be fulfilled.
The specific location which will be invaded is described as the "mountains of Israel" i.e. the area of the West Bank. We are told that this area will be inhabited by the Jews and that the international community will be against the people living there. For example in Ezekiel 38v8 it says that in the latter years a confederacy of nations will "come into the land that is brought back from the sword and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel which have been always waste but it is brought forth out of the nations". In v12 we read that the army is coming "to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people".
Back in Zechariah, we read that it is at the time when Israel are on their last legs and the nations look like they have won their conflict, that the Lord will "defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (14v2,3; 12v8) and in chapter 12v10, we read of Christ's manifestation to the world and to the Jews when "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son".
It is at this time then that the Lord Jesus Christ - God's representative - the one who bears His name, will be revealed and the restored Kingdom of Israel will be set up on the earth. It's capital city of peace and righteousness will be Jerusalem (Micah 4v8), the very city which is currently a "burdensome stone" for the nations. The inspired prophets of the Bible outline a much different world to the one we see today, as is shown by this passage from Micah.
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." Micah 4:1-2
The amazing message of the Bible is that God is now calling out of the Gentiles (the non-Jews - Acts 15:14) a people who will assist the Lord Jesus Christ in that day as immortal leaders. These people will have been adopted into the "hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20), they will have been grafted into the nation of Israel (Romans 11:24) and as adopted Jews they will be fellow "heirs" of the Abrahamic promises (Galatians 3:29) through Christ.
It is through having a faith in this wonderful hope called the gospel (the 'good news') that we can find a place in this coming Kingdom and live and reign with Christ in that day. So we encourage you to keep reading your Bibles and keep watching with us, as we see the angels at work bringing about world events to fulfil God's purpose. This has been Matt Davies joining you - come back next week God Willing for another Bible in the news.
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