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The Bible in the News
Israel has gone from Destroying Outposts to a War in Lebanon
A Growing Rift Between the USA and the EU/Russia over Israel.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006  Audio & Print versions

Welcome to the July 19th edition of Bible in the News, this is Dave Billington. King Saul tried again and again to kill David, he pursued him from one end of the land to the other. Saul knew that it was God's purpose for David to be the next king--David, a neighbour of his that was better than him. At one point King Saul was pursuing David in the wilderness of Maon. Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain, David was hurrying away for fear of Saul--he almost had him. Saul and his men were closing in for the kill. Then all of a sudden a messenger came to Saul and said: "Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land." So Saul left pursuing David and went against the Philistines. This is a wonderful example of the hand of God at work behind the scenes, moving events in a predetermined direction towards the establishment of the kingdom of David which was the Kingdom of God.
God's hand and the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ are equally at work today, moving events forward to the reestablishment of the throne of David on the mountains of Israel! Now, at this very moment the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert was planning to be destroying outpost communities in the West Bank or Judea and Samaria. The government was planning similar actions as in Amona where many religious Zionist youth were injured. You may remember a few weeks ago on the program we interviewed David Wilder the spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, the interview took place after 3 religious Jewish families had been forcibly removed from their home in Hebron, by the about 1700 police and soldiers. I asked David Wilder if in his opinion there was a kind of religious persecution in the land today. His reply was: "Yes I do". These religious settlers base their faith on their understanding of the promises made to Abraham, an understanding that will blossom when Elijah comes to them and opens their minds to wondrous things from the law of Moses. Instead of removing these religious settlers from their homes in Judea and Samaria, Ehud Olmert is at war in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Lets remember, this is not the first time that Israel has been in Lebanon; it was only six years ago that Ehud Barak, Prime-Minister of Israel at the time, made a very quick exit from the Israeli security zone in South Lebanon. This security zone had been created due to rocket fire on Israel's northern communities, something that started in 1968 by Palestinian terror groups in southern Lebanon, who raided northern Israel and bombarded Israeli towns with Katyusha rockets. Israel invaded Lebanon in June, 1982 in "Operation Peace in Galilee." The plan was to wipe out Palestinian and other terrorist bases that had been used for rocket attacks and infiltration into Israel--sound familiar? But guerrilla warfare amongst a civilian population is very difficult as the United States is stuck with in Iraq--Israel's war in Lebanon was similar. In an editorial in the November 1982 Jerusalem Post entitled "Bitter Herbs" it read: "With each passing day the cup of Lebanon tastes bitterer and bitterer." The war in Lebanon was much longer than expected and very controversial. However, one can quite clearly see that the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon has not produced very good results. Hezbollah has been building up rockets and armaments with the aid of Iran and Syria for all of that time. This situation must be dealt with in order for there to be peace and security in the land of Israel--something required by Ezekiel 38. Not just peace and safety, but peace and safety with the West Bank or the mountains of Israel, the midst of the land, as Ezekiel calls it.

If Israel has a quick and decisive victory against Hezbollah, the Israeli government will quite likely quickly move to withdraw from the West Bank. A quick and desisive victory is looking unlikely, a small ground incursion into Lebanon this morning revealed that Hezbollah will be a formidable foe. After a weak of Israeli shelling, the Israeli elite unit lost two soldiers in the short incursion. It seems Hezbollah may have not been hurt much in the arial bombardment. Later in the day they launched a massive rocket barrage on Israeli cities. In the left wing Ha'aretz analysis entitled: "Hezbollah is still showing no signs of breaking" it says: "European diplomats believe Israel has maneuvered itself into a trap. It cannot stop the operation without having real political achievements to show its public, but prolonged fighting will seriously try its citizens' fortitude and will not guarantee the expected achievements." It seems as though this war may last longer that it was intended. If Israel finishes without completing the job there will be more rocket attacks and kidnappings from across the border, yet completing the clean-up of Hezbollah is a very formidable task. As long as the war continues in Lebanon with Hezbollah, (not to mention the rockets from Gaza and Hamas) Israel will not be able to withdraw from the West Bank. In fact, the religious settlements and hill top communities will probably flourish. Could it be on this basis that the war in Lebanon with Hezbollah will be prolonged? Time will tell. It would be awful to see many young Israelis killed fighting with these terrorists. One fact is clear, Israel's unilateral withdrawals have not worked. If Israel withdraws from the the West Bank Ben Gurion Airport, the main international airport, will be only 2 miles from Palestinian territory. It does not take much to imagine the havoc that rocket attacks would cause from this territory!

In the 1984 "Milestones to the Kingdom" Christadelphian writer Graham Pearce  commented on the situation then under the heading: "Israel's Many Problems", he wrote: "It is against this Middle East background that we look at Israel. She is in a sorry state: afraid of the Syrian-Soviet weaponry; still subject to terrorist raids into Israel just as before the start of 'Peace of the Galilee' war began; economically bankrupt with over 100% annual inflation; everyone crying out for the soldiers to be evacuated from Lebanon before more are killed by snipers; having a parliament that is hesitant and quarrelsome." Later on commenting on the election results he writes: "One fascinating outcome of the indecisive election results is that the West Bank is sure to remain as a territory of Israel. The Labour Party that was earlier expected to obtain a decisive majority in Parliament failed to govern in their own right. Their view was that the West Bank could be paid as the price of peace! Yet Ezekiel had indicated that it was upon the mountains of Israel that Gog would be destroyed (38:21;39:2,4). Since Gog comes to spoil Israel then Israel must be living in these mountains at the fulfillment of the vision. Judea and Samaria are essentially the mountains of Israel and together they make up "the West Bank. We conclude therefore that the election result in Israel ensures the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy that Israel will be inhabiting those mountains of Judea and Samaria when Russia invades." How amazing, when one considers how much the religious settlements have grown in the West Bank in the 22 years since these events and how this area has become a world issue! However many times Israel tries to withdraw from the West Bank something forces them to stay, whether an election result or a war in Lebanon, or both.

Graham Pearce went on to comment on "The Good that may Follow", he wrote: "Gloomy as the picture is, no doubt Israel will rise to better things. Can we see anything significant in the present unhappy state? It may be that after a year or so of severely restricted living, the Israelis will be in a more sober, chastened, mood; and that through this deflated and humiliated state they are being prepared to receive some divine instruction. We must never lose sight of that element in the divine programme that God will send Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD." These words are equally applicable today, after years of suicide bombings, last years Gaza withdrawal that tore the nation in two, the violence at Amona and now rocket barrages from Lebanon.

The other interesting development is the rift that is growing between the U.S., and the EU over the situation in Israel, with Britain trying to do the splits between the two. The Associated Press reported: "A rift is emerging between the European Union and the United States over whether Israel should cease its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas." It is also amazing to see how much Russian and European foreign policy seems to be inline over this issue, in their generally anti-Israel stance. This weeks Economist's main article is entitled: "The West meets Vladimir Putin". The first paragraph reads: "Forget the formal agenda at this weekend's G8 summit, given over to energy security, infectious diseases and education. The really awkward issue for the leaders of the seven rich democracies gathering in St Petersburg concerns their host: how to live with a strong, but increasingly undemocratic, Russia."

There are some major shifts taking place in the world today that seem very much to be bringing things toward the grand climax of human history and the establishment of the kingdom of God in Israel!

We invite you back next week--God Willing-- for more Bible in the News!

Printed:  Wednesday, July 19, 2006


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