Israel’s Leaders in Trouble
A War that Could Ditch Olmerts Plans for the West Bank
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
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With the war in Lebanon at an uncertain stage, and with many of our Israeli friends now in the midst of battle--this is Paul Billington bringing you another edition of our weekly Bible in the News programme.
In a remarkable article in THE JERUSALEM POST on Tuesday August 8, the assistant managing editor, Caroline Glick, wrote:
"There is a palpable sense in Israel that we are on the edge of a revolutionary moment. Our national leadership in the government, the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) and the media has utterly failed us."
There is, as she points out, a growing public dissatisfaction with both the government and the military at the pace of this Lebanon war. While the Security Cabinet has approved the use of almost 50,000 Israeli troops to push to the Litani river, Prime Minister Olmert continues to prevaricate and give the impression of indecisiveness. The United States has made it clear that it is opposed to an escalation of the war -- and that now leaves Olmert in a very awkward position; he will be blasted from both left and right! Fifteen soldiers killed today!
Whatever course this war now takes, it is becoming obvious that when it’s over there will be a battle royal in the Israeli political field. We do not know the future of course, but if there were a sharp swing to the right it could have a direct effect upon Israel’s position in regard to the West Bank.
Israel occupies the Land that she does today in fulfillment of biblical prophecies which were given many centuries ago. This fact--and it is a fact--must be borne in mind amid all the argument and warfare that we witness over the Land now. The world at large stubbornly refuses to recognize this truth. Most political leaders and journalists cringe at the mention of the biblical prophets-yet it has to be acknowledged that the very presence of Jewish settlers upon the mountains of Israel happens to fulfill the predictions that were made in ancient times.
Why would any honest mind deny this? Do the sceptics, the professed atheists and agnostic humanists realize just how inane and ridiculous their case is? The very existence of Israel is a direct challenge to a world that refuses to hear the words of the Almighty.
When Chaim Weizmann made his appeal for the Jewish case before the United Nations in November 1947, he quoted the words of Isaiah the prophet (chapter 11:11-12).
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people... And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
As we know, they came from all parts of the globe. Many other biblical references testify to the same thing--for example, Jeremiah 31:10
"Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
Ezekiel’s prophecies of the restoration are quite specific. Look at chapter 34:13-14.
"And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel."
The mountains of Israel are clearly identified on any relief map of the Holy Land. Without argument this is Judea and Samaria--the so-called West Bank. Jewish settlers who live in that area today are a testimony to the truth and accuracy of Ezekiel’s prediction.
Now these prophecies were read and understood by many post-Reformation writers long before they were fulfilled, such as Thomas Brightman (1615), Joseph Mede (1649), Peter Jurieue (1687),
Thomas Newton (1754) and many others. As the Israeli writer Michael Pragai wrote in his book FAITH AND FULFILLMENT (1985):
"The unique place the Bible was to occupy in the development of English civilization is the key to grasping the profound role later played by Englishmen in advancing the idea of the Return. Not that the English became a Judeophile nation; they not infrequently showed misgivings towards the Hebrew people and their dream of a Return. But without the cultural and spiritual omnipresence of the English Bible, it is highly unlikely that Lord Balfour would have given his famous Declaration, or that Britain would have striven to undertake the administration of post-World War I Palestine under the League of Nations."
For better or for worse, the British did burden themselves with the Mandate, and with the idea of establishing a national home for the Jewish people in what was then known as Palestine. But it was not long before the Arabs made their objections known through violence--and so there came about the first two-state solution; a partition plan that divided the Mandate territory into Palestine and Transjordan. It didn’t work of course and terrorism continued.
The British gave up and handed over to the United Nations who came up with another partition plan--and so the Land was divided (we should say sub-divided) yet again in 1947. But again the idea of two states living side by side in peace fell apart, and vanished in the smoke that came from the Arab guns and bombs which ignited the War of Independence.
World leaders--and Israeli leaders too for that matter--cannot seem to get it through their thick heads--that dividing the Land just doesn’t work. Partition brought no more peace than did the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, or the “Disengagement” from Gaza last year.
Let Messrs Bush, Blair and Olmert open up their Bibles. Not only will they find that Israel’s Return is foretold therein--but they will also find that those who part, divide, or attempt to slice up the Holy Land will be held accountable--Joel 3:2 4:2. Call it what you will: partition, withdrawal, disengagement or convergence--it will not bring peace. There is no two-state "solution." It is the Road Map to disaster.
Naboth would not sell his vineyard to Ahab and according to the same principle, why would we expect a farming settler to surrender his land to gratify Olmert’s crooked policy?
What is needed in Israel today is trust in the word of the Almighty who spoke in times past through the prophets.Why trust in Olmert and his crew above Moses and the prophets of Israel? The policies of successive Israeli Governments have led to the abandonment of the Promised Land. As we read in the 106th Psalm:
They rejected the desirable land, and put no faith in His promise (verse 24).
"Children with no loyalty (or faith) in them" says Deuteronomy 32:20.
On the other hand we can see that the words of the prophets have proved reliable and true--the Return is a reality. So we must trust in the One who is behind that reality--in the Almighty Himself. At this hour, Israel needs a Ruler who can govern in the fear and awe of God--2 Samuel 23:3.
That Ruler is Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified almost 2000 years ago, and raised from the dead. This is the King of Israel--the King of the Jews--and when he returns, let the enemies of Israel watch out--for he will not prevaricate. He will not dither or try to appease world opinion. As we can read in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints...
Join us again next week (God willing) for another edition--and will see what the picture looks like then.
Printed: Wednesday, August 09, 2006
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