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The Bible in the News
Political Earthquakes in the Middle East:
How Could they Effect Israel?
Friday, February 18, 2011  Audio & Print versions

Hello again. This is Paul Billington with you this week discussing the news and the way in which it can be understood in the light of inspired prophecy. As the Middle East is being rocked by the uprising of Arab peoples in many countries, several attempts have been made by Bible believers to fit events in to a Scriptural framework - but few seem to be able to make much sense out of it all. Guesswork is no substitute for solid exposition, and casting around for some verse or other without regard to its context or proper place in the program of prophecy is bound to lead to wild - and sometimes - fantastic speculations.
As one writer in 'The Jerusalem Post' this week said:

"As the revolt against tyranny spreads across the Middle East, shaking the very foundations of the Arab political order, it appears as if we are at the doorstep of a new and uncharted world."

He said that the situation was "a political vacuum of insecurity and doubt."

This is what we should be willing to recognize. The immediate result of this crisis will not be known until the dust settles. All that we can say is that an important and major shift is taking place in much of the Arab (Islamic) world. Something quite significant is taking place as the spirit of revolution shakes those nations that are neighbours of Israel. But as we look at it now, things could lead in one of two directions - and Israel knows this only too well.

Some Israelis, in common with many western leaders, are optimistic that the current crisis in the Islamic world will lead to democracy and a more free society on the western model. Other observers, and especially in Israel, see little chance of that, so they are counseling  their government to prepare for the worst - to prepare for a major war.

In the background of this current drift of events and the present chaos, there is the on-going Israel-Palestinian issue and the future of the so-called West Bank as well as of Jerusalem itself.

As the Los Angeles Times reported:

"Drawing ire from Palestinians and Arab nations, the Obama administration exercised its U.N. Security Council veto power for the first time Friday to kill a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"The Arab-backed resolution called Israel's settlements "illegal" and a major obstacle to Mideast peace talks.

"Though the resolution largely echoed long-standing criticism by the U.S. and international leaders about Israel's construction on land acquired during the 1967 Mideast war, the Obama administration said the U.N. is not the proper forum, and the dispute should be handled during peace talks."

The newspaper continued to say:

"An abstention by the U.S. would have infuriated Israelis, who are feeling increasingly insecure because of the fall of the Egyptian government and unrest across the Middle East. Such a vote would also have likely cost Obama political capital at home. Numerous lawmakers from both parties called upon Obama to support Israel by vetoing the resolution.

"The U.N. vote is the latest sign that Palestinians are shifting away from relying on U.S.-sponsored peace talks and moving toward a new campaign to secure international recognition for statehood, even without an agreement with Israel."

Well, the Arab world is hardly in a position to mount a military challenge to Israel in the present circumstances, and seems much more likely to seek international backing for political moves against Israel's settlement program. But who can tell what Arab frustrations may lead to?

There are reasons for believing that things could get a lot worse before they get better. Something must happen in order to stabilize Israel's presence in the West Bank - for she is to be dwelling there when the Northern Power and its allies come against those Jews who will be on the mountains of Israel, and in the midst of the Land (Ezekiel 38, Joel 3:2; Zech 14:2 etc.).

"After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt 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, and they shall dwell safely all of them... And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 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 that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land." (Ezekiel 38:8 and verses 11,12).

So what happens to create this situation? Clearly the issue of Jerusalem and the West Bank (taken by Israel in 1967) will not be settled to everyone's satisfaction. Yet the Jewish settlers in those territories are to experience a period of security and freedom from violent attack. They are to be "at rest." There is no escaping the fact that Ezekiel's prophecy requires this before the great invasion takes place.
Is it a situation that follows yet another Israeli victory on the battlefield? Or does it come about in the aftermath of revolution and regime changes in countries like Egypt, Yemen, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan etc?

We can only watch the situation as it develops. What we do know from Scripture is that it is while nations are gathering under the influence of revolutionary spirits (political philosophies) in preparation for "the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14) the Lord will come upon the world as a thief (verse 15). But this thief will come to take what is rightfully his - that is the Holy Land, covenanted to him and paid for with his own blood - the blood of the covenant.

So it is with considerable interest that we watch developments. These amazing signs are telling us - those who have ears to hear - to prepare ourselves. To get our characters in to shape by belief of the Gospel of the Kingdom and obedience to the Truth.

Join us again next week at

Printed:  Friday, February 18, 2011


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