A special presentation by Paul Billington on the significance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War.
Today is Jerusalem Day 2017. What is so significant about this in terms of the Bible and in terms of the gospel?
It is a very, very significant event. Our attention is being drawn to the miracle of Bible Prophecy and the restoration of Israel. Why is it relevant this year of 2017? Open your Bible to Leviticus 25:8-13.
"Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.... In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession."
This is what they are talking about in Israel at the present moment—a jubile period of 49/50 years (Leviticus 25:8). The Jewish people were to proclaim liberty. This is what I want to emphasise—that period of 50 years. Every time this happened every man returned to his possession (v. 13). It was a period of liberty. The very fact it is a period of liberty would suggest that there had been a period of no liberty, when there has been a period of captivity for the Jews and the city of Jerusalem.
First we go back to 1917. In 1917 there was the Balfour Declaration which was a trigger for the Jews going back to the Land of Israel. A trigger for what became the British Mandate. The British looked after the Land for a while, though not always wonderfully, or faithfully nevertheless they did it. This was a freeing of the Land from the Ottoman Turk. Come forward 50 years and it brings you to 1967 when the city of Jerusalem was restored, so it was a Jubilee. The Jubilee is a period of restoration when every man returns to his own possession, as the Scripture puts it in Leviticus. That is the period we are talking about.
What does Israel's stunning victory in 1967 mean for today
If you go to 1967 and come forward another 50 years it brings you to the notable year of 2017. Does that have any significance for us? Turn to Luke 21:24. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This is a prophecy given by the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a prophecy that he was explaining out of the book of Daniel.
I am one who remembers 1967. Against the most incredible odds Israel survived the 1967 war. As I recall it, listening to the BBC reports, Israel was enclosed in what they called "a ring of steel." All the Arab nations came against Israel. There was a situation, humanly speaking, which was absolutely impossible. There was no way Israel could survive. War broke out on June 5th but within a few hours the Israeli Air Force gained total supremacy in the air. Then Israel moved into Sinai.Then they moved into Jerusalem and the West Bank, then they moved into the Golan. It was a time of nail biting—are they going to make it? We will never forget that event. Jerusalem was liberated. Jewish people from all over the world went and visited. It was like an awakening. Eventually there came the realisation that this could possibly be the fulfillment of prophecy. Israel issued a postage stamp drawing attention to the prophetic interval of the Jubilee. 1917 - 1967. There was a return to Jerusalem and the West Bank—Judea and Samaria.
It was recognised by many as a miracle. A Divine Deliverance! Even the Temple Mount itself came under Israeli control. Prophecy was fulfilling. I believe friends that it was a miracle. One that will have great significance for the future as well as being central to God's purpose. 1967—it was the year that transformed the Middle East.
Another relevant prophecy is Joel 3:1-2.
"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem (West Bank; Judea and Samaria) I will also gather all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and parted my land."
Not only bringing again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem but also gathering all nations. This event is mentioned in other prophecies like Revelation 16:13-14. There certain spirits go forth and gather the nations. Judah and Jerusalem is the West Bank. All nations are to be gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There are two things pointed out here: "My people" and "My heritage." This identified the Jewish people as God's people. The UN parted the Land, there was partition, the two state solution etc.
What led up to the events of this incredible war? What were the events that led up to 1967 and the occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, Judea and Samaria? Martin Gilbert's Atlas shows all the armies coming against Israel: Lebanon, Syria, Iraqi troops coming through Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. As the BBC said: "A ring of steel." President Nasser of Egypt (quoted by Martin Gilbert) made the following statement:
"Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight... The mining of Sharm el Sheikh is a confrontation with Israel. Adopting this measure obligates us to be ready to embark on a general war with Israel."
"On 25 May 1967, encouraged to do so by Egypt, the Governments of Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia moved their troops to Israel's borders. This was the first time since the armistice agreements of 1949 that Arab armies had gathered in such large numbers. The movement of troops was accompanied by an outburst of anti-Israeli statements by the Arab leaders and by their Government-controlled radios, which convinced the Israelis that war was imminent."
The odds against Israel were incredible. We had looked for this kind of thing for many years. Daniel 8 is highly relevant to these events.
"Behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power" (Daniel 8:5-6).
These symbols were understood as relating to a Battle between Greece and Persia. It is explained for us in verses 20-21 of Daniel 8.
"The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king."—The first king of Greece was Alexander the Great. He is the one referred to here.
"And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him; and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand" (verses 5-7).
The Battle of Issus between these two powers took place in BC 333-334. The prophecy is explained further in verses 13, 14.
"How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
This was explained by a Bible student back in 1754.
"Unto two thousand and three hundred days' or years,' then I conceive they are to be computed from the vision of the he-goat, or Alexander's invading Asia. Alexander invaded Asia in the year... before Christ 334. Two thousand and three hundred years from that time will draw towards the conclusion of the sixth millennium of the world; and about that period... Rome is to be overthrown, and the Jews are to be restored." (Dissertations on the Prophecies Thomas Newton).
Look at these amazing figures. It brings us to 1966—"about that period."
The Greek power developed into the Roman power that scattered the Jews back in AD 70, and destroyed the temple—it was "trodden underfoot." The same words are used by Jesus when he quotes it in Luke 21. 2300 day/years brings us to 1966.
Bagster's Comprehensive Bible has a marginal note: "That is, 2300 years, which, reckoned from the time Alexander invaded Asia, BC 334, will be AD 1966."
Jesus quotes this and refers back to Daniel's prophecy:
"For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 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, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
So Jesus' explanation of Daniel 8 is given in Luke 21.
Milligan in 1868 wrote the following:
"It seems most probable, however, that this period is to be reckoned, not from the rise or birth of the Ram, as some writers have alleged, (for he was in his full strength and vigor when Daniel first saw him,) but from the time when he was first attacked by the He-goat. If this assumption is warranted by the context, it fixes the beginning of this period to the spring of the year 334 BC and consequently it will terminate in the spring or about the middle of 1967."
Now 1868 is 100 years before 1967. If you are talking about June 1967 I don't know how you'd get much closer than that!
100 years before the event, here is a writer pointing out this fact. Now you explain that away! I have these books at home. How could Milligan arrive at that date? He can't do it without the Bible. He tells us he is working it out from Daniel's prophecy of the goat and of the ram. The Israeli airforce went into action Monday morning June 5th, 1967. It was a miracle war.
But look at the prophecy that Jesus gave to his disciples:
"As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down"—Luke 21:6.
They were looking at the Temple. You look today and you cannot find the temple but you can find the stones that were thrown down. The words of the Lord Jesus live before you.
"When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
The prophecies of Daniel 8 were fulfilled. You can see it today on the Arch of Titus in Rome; carrying the spoils of the temple, the candelabra and the silver trumpets, taken captive by the Romans as well as the people. They were going to be taken captive until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. We are looking for a time when that captivity will return—that is Leviticus 25:10.
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." Proclaim liberty in all the Land—ye shall return. It did not happen until 1967. Right from the days when Titus compassed the city with his armies and demolished it and took captive all things that were there.
They were to proclaim liberty. Jerusalem shall be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
2300 day/years were fulfilled in 1967.
Some say "No, they have to be trodden down again," but it is quite clear looking at the prophecies that this period ended in 1967. You can come at it a number of different ways and you still get to the same result.
Look at this—1754. Back to Thomas Newton who was writing in 1754. We have his books today. This is what he comments on that particular prophecy.
"Our Saviour's words are very memorable, 'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' It is still trodden down by the Gentiles, (in 1754) and consequently the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled. When 'the times of the Gentiles' shall be 'fulfilled,' then the expression implies, that the Jews shall be restored: and for what reason, can we believe, that though they are dispersed among all nations, yet, by a constant miracle, they are kept distinct from all, but for the farther manifestation of God's purposes towards them?"—Dissertations on the Prophecies Thomas Newton in 1754.
There is work still to be done with the Jewish people, he says. So this is where we end up.
Another writer—Fred Bilton, who incidentally was a Christadelphian, wrote his book in 1955, 12 years before 1967. This is what he wrote in the Apocalypse and the Gospels:
"Because Jerusalem (i.e. old Jerusalem) must be possessed by the Jews prior to Christ's return, so that he might manifest himself to them as their deliverer and Saviour, the ejection of Hashemite Jordan from there is a foregone conclusion. We can look then for developments which will result in Israel's getting possession of the whole city, and for a dreadful conflagration kindled by that spark throughout the Middle East."
You can see what he's saying, can't you? Jordan is to be moved out of the old city. Well, they were moved out in 1967. That is exactly what happened. So the conclusion he looked for is quite clear. He goes on to say "A dreadful conflagration kindled by that spark throughout the Middle East."
But we are not just talking about the old city. Another writer John Thomas, writing in Eureka in 1868 says:
"There will have been a considerable gathering of Israelites upon the mountains of Israel before the invasion of the country by Gog, and his capture of Jerusalem."
This was written a whole century beforehand. We have to ask ourselves, okay, what has happened since then? There has been a gradual rise in the Jewish population since 1967. There are 721,000 Jews upon the mountains of Israel, today. This includes the population of East Jerusalem. I would say that's a considerable gathering of Israelites on the mountains of Israel, wouldn't you?
No wonder Mr Trump has failed to mention the idea of a two state solution. It is not surprising that the idea of a two state solution is being dropped. Mr Trump in his recent visit to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican has not mentioned anything about a two state solution. The idea has been quietly dropped, which makes you wonder what are they going to do then?
If Israel annexed the West Bank or in some way came to be in total control—if the two state solution was dropped; If that happened what would be the reaction of the world to that?—Ezekiel 38 here we come. It is just asking for it. "There will be a huge conflagration kindled by that spark," he says. So here's Mr Trump—He thinks he is going to make peace in the Middle East. He is a negotiator. The news tells us where things are at. We have seen an incredible change in the fortunes of Israel and their position at the present time. So Israel and America are getting on very well. It is going to be fantastic and all the nice words are being said. But not everybody is happy. God says "In that day will I 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." The Tanach says "I will make Jerusalem for all the peoples a burdensome stone... all the nations of the world will gather against it..." (Zechariah 12:3).
An international gathering of nations against Jerusalem. Ever heard of that before? That is what the prophecy is talking about. A great crisis is going to develop.
"In the development of these events a crisis is formed such as the world, for magnitude and importance, has never seen before..." (John Thomas Eureka Vol. 2).
So there is a great crisis forming. Israel against the world. This is preparatory to the Kingdom of God being established as foretold by the prophets and apostles.
Now, not everyone is happy with Mr Trump. The headline in the Express says "Donald Trump meets unimpressed Pope Francis at Vatican—two leaders exchange sharp words... The Supreme Pontiff did not smile as he greeted President Trump outside the study."
There is a sign of some difficulties arising. President Trump went on to a NATO summit. He addressed the Europeans. So there is a lot of difficulties mounting between Roman Catholic Europe, Israel and America. This is exactly the picture we would expect to happen. The world will be facing that crisis and the Lord Jesus Christ will step in. I would urge you to read the Bible and understand the true message. We are now on the very verge of the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel. This is where events are going: the future Kingdom of God upon earth. Look into these things and you can look forward to the Hope of Israel. The Hope of the Kingdom, and hope to be in it yourself.