For almost 2000 years the world knew the Jews only as a wandering and scattered people. As far as the majority of Christendom was concerned it was rightly so. Many of the early church fathers railed against the Jews as “Christ killers” and a cursed people. By the time you come to the middle ages Jews are being stripped of rights, persecuted, exiled, and much worse. I will mention that it is a similar situation for fringe Christian groups, especially those that were anti-Trinitarian and spoke against the Roman Church.
The great mother church as she see’s herself, and her daughters long forgot the promise of God to Abraham when he said:
“I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Also, the inspired writings of the Apostle Paul when he called the Jews “beloved for the Father's sakes.” He wrote that he would give his own life to save his Jewish brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh who he says “are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Bible students have long expected headlines such as this based on
Revelation 16, Ezekiel 38 and other prophecies.
The church fathers certainly read over the desire and hope of the apostles when in Acts 1 they desired for the Jewish kingdom to be restored. To which Jesus Christ himself would not correct but rather tell them they would not know the time. In fact, when we come forward to Acts 3 the Apostle Peter tells us that Jesus Christ would not return “until the times of the restoration of all things spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.”
What all the Holy Prophets spoke of was the day when the Kingdom of Israel would be restored. The Old Testament is simply full of the message of the downfall of this kingdom until its final restoration.
The early Christian church held dearly to this simple message, but it was soon corrupted. They would teach that Christ’s kingdom was actually the church itself, it was Christ’s kingdom -Christendom. And any future hope was in the heavens. The church ruled on earth.
This belief sounds great so long as the church sits in all its glory and power and Jews wander the earth as a despised people, but when the Jewish people begin to return to their ancient land the church has a problem, a major problem. The Jews themselves encounter vicious opposition, and have ever since.
Giulio Meotti writes the following in his book “The Vatican Against Israel”:
“The Pope made clear to Herzl, the existence of a restored Israel in the land of the Bible, proof that the Jewish people is not annihilated, assimilated and withering away is the living refutation of the Christian myth about the Jewish end in the historic process. And this is precisely why the State of Israel has been the most dramatic challenge for the Vatican and the biggest crisis for contemporary Christian theology.”
Avro Manhattan in his book “The Vatican Moscow Alliance” writes the following:
“The specter of the creation of a (Hebrew) theocracy has haunted the inner chambers of the Catholic Church from her earliest inception, and is still a dominant fear. Hence her equivocal role in world affairs surrounding the birth of the State of Israel…
“In Vatican eyes, therefore, the millenarian yearning for a global Hebrew theocracy represents a deadly threat to the eschatological teachings of the Catholic Church. When translated into concrete political terms, such a view spells not only rivalry, but implacable enmity.”
This is the reality. The church opposed with everything it had the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, but they could not stop it. Neither could they stop the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. There was one consolation, the Jews did not have Jerusalem and all the holy sites in the mountains. That of course would change in 1967. The results of the defensive six day miracle war is such a huge blow to the Vatican and one they will never accept. They still cling to their desire to make Jerusalem ‘an international city’, one you can be sure they would like to control.
Enter the presidency of Donald Trump. It has turned into another major blow to the Vatican. When Trump recognized the Jewish control over Jerusalem it was like a dart to the heart of the Vatican. And now Israel is poised to annex the Jordan Valley and many of the Jewish settlements in the mountains of Judea and Samaria. Places such as Mt. Gerizim—the Mount of Blessing—Bethel, and Shiloh, where the Tabernacle sat for hundreds of years, Hebron where David first ruled the kingdom from, the Jordan valley, and neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, will all like be included.
Whatever opposition the Vatican has raised against the Jewish people nothing has stopped the resurrection of the nation. But with imminent Israeli annexation and sovereignty over these areas the condemnation and opposition is growing. Although the Vatican is usually careful what it says directly, it will usually work through her allies.
Still she has not been silent. On Jan. 9, Pope Francis made clear the Vatican position was “the urgent need for the whole international community to reconfirm, with courage and sincerity, and in respect for international law, its commitment to support the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
Make no mistake, the Vatican is calling the entire international community to be involved and to clamp down on Israel.
The Pope then continued saying: “Respect for international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions is an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two states, within the borders internationally recognized before 1967.”
This also is clear, he does not want any Jewish presence outside of the 1967 borders. This would mean Israel giving up West Jerusalem, including the Wailing Wall and the City of David and all the locations previously listed, including the Jordan valley.
He then threatened that: “the Holy See is following the situation closely.”
Well, there is certainly some of the international community that is in line with the Vatican, and that would be the EU, Russia and of course Iran.
The new Israeli government, that has finally come together after three elections, and has only just begun to assemble, is already facing EU threats, including economic sanctions and the suspension of diplomatic relations, if Israel dares to follow through with its plans of annexation.
The Russian foreign ministry put out a statement which reads in part,
: "Such expansionist actions by Israel could provoke a dangerous cycle of violence in the Palestinian territories, as well as destabilize the situation in the Middle East region as a whole.” Sergei Lavrov also commented relaying Moscow’s “strong objection.”
What is amazing about the common objections of these three parties is that they are represented in Revelation 16 by “the Dragon” (Russia - http://www.bibleinthenews.com/Podcasts/441), “the Beast” (Europe - http://www.biblemagazine.com/magazine/vol-20/v20i4mag.pdf), and “the False Prophet” (the Roman Church - http://www.biblemagazine.com/magazine/vol-14/v14i2mag.pdf).
When we come to Ezekiel 38 however there are other nations with these, specifically Persia/ Iran, Libya and Ethiopia.
Incredibly two of these are in the news as well, Libya and of course Iran. In Libya there are two sides that are fighting, the Government of National Accord (GNA) supported by Turkey, and Gen Khalifa Haftar supported by Russia. The GNA has been gaining ground but it is now being reported that:
“Washington’s Africa Command say Moscow may be seeking to capture bases on Libya’s coast, creating a long-term security threat on Europe’s southern flank. The US released images it claimed were of disguised Russian planes, including MiG-29s, at al-Jufra airbase south of Sirte. It is thought there are as many as eight jets, and that they were sent around 14 May.”
Should Libya fall into Russian control this would fit directly into Ezekiel 38. But also on a side note, pitting Turkey against Russia directly fits into Bible prophecy as Turkey will have to make way for the image of Daniel chapter 2 to stand upright. Not only its western leg in Rome, but also its eastern leg in Constantinople/Istanbul.
Lastly we will mention Iran, where the situation in Israel is bringing out Iran in full. Not only has Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said they “will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime,” but also tweeted that: “The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed,” and possibly even further than that he has called for a “Final Solution.”
Well, as the Northern Confederacy of nations come together in their opposition to Israel, there are nations that support Israel for now. And of course, the leader of these is the United States, where this last weekend Donald Trump ordered places of worship opened and told Governors he would override them if they did not follow through. He finished his comments by saying that America needs more prayer, not less. (Sound clip on audio version)
This may seem like a very unusual statement from the leader of a country in today’s world. But in the United States a recent survey said that approximately 40% of the population is reading their Bibles at least once a week. That number rises to 46% for reading their Bibles at least once per month. Compare that to Canada where a survey in 2013 claimed that just 14% of Canadians read the Bible at least once a month in 2013 (down from 28% in 1996), and sadly I am sure that number is even lower now. With that level of Bible reading still going on in the United States it does explain a slightly different culture, and one that is more apt to support Israel.
Without a doubt the purpose of God is on track, and with the advancements of the Jewish people in Israel the nations are sure to react. By far the majority are opposed.
We will close with the words of Joel 3:
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
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.”
We are certainly living in the last days of the last days.
We would also like to take this opportunity to let you know about an upcoming event on June 6th - Prophecy Live! 2020 that will be broadcast live on Zoom and YouTube. Please go to www.openyourbible.com/prophecy-live-2020 for links and details.
Thanks for joining us for another edition of the Bible in the News. This has been John Billington with you.