As War Ends - War Threatens!
Israel and the West must face the Moslem Menace.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
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Hello again: This is Paul Billington discussing the Bible in the News, in one more edition of our weekly analysis. Well, the war--if it really is over--has not achieved all that we had anticipated and hoped for--namely the tranquil situation described in Ezekiel 38:11. But the present inconclusive situation that we now see, cannot persist indefinitely. The results to look for have not changed, even if their achievement might seem to have been postponed--And the Scriptures upon which our expectations are based, have not changed either.
It may be that those results will be brought about in another way. It still remains both certain and true that Israel will be dwelling in apparent peace--at rest, without walls, bars and gates--when the invasion of Gog comes from the north as described in Ezekiel's prophecy. This is very clear from the words of verse 14 and 15
"... In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts..."
So the perplexing question remains--How might this "dwelling safely" come about?
The one result of the Lebanon war that most commentators seem to be agreed upon, is that the policy of unilateralism is now dead in the water. The plan to withdraw from the West Bank will now be virtually impossible to implement. And it is at this point that our faith in Scripture is once more confirmed. As we have pointed out time and again on this programme--as well as in the Bible Magazine--there must be a Jewish presence upon the mountains of Israel at the time of the end. It seems that this is now practically ensured, as the policy of unilateralism collapses. It has not worked for Lebanon, from which Israel withdrew six years ago, and it has not worked for Gaza from which Israel "Disengaged" only last year.
And far from withdrawing from the West Bank, it is reported that the number of settlers has now increased by 10,000, bringing the total number of Jewish settlers now in Judea and Samaria up to 260,000.
But the recent war (and we still cannot be sure that it is over with any degree of permanence), has to be seen against a much wider backdrop--and as a reminder of this, it was discovered last week that ten transatlantic flights had been targeted by terrorists in order to commit what was called "murder on an unimaginable scale." This of course, is part of the Islamic war against Western civilization.
The connection was pointed out in a speech given by Tony Blair in Los Angeles on August 1st. He said:
"9/11 in the US. 7/7 in the UK, 11/3 in Madrid, the countless terrorist attacks in countries as disparate as Indonesia or Algeria, what is now happening in Afghanistan and Indonesia, the continuing conflict in Lebanon and Palestine, it is all part of the same thing...
Whatever the outward manifestation at any one time--in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Iraq and add to that in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in a host of other nations including now some in Africa--it is a global fight about global values..."
A "global fight." That is another way of saying WORLD WAR! And it is towards such a crisis that events are marching. It has been coming for quite some time, as many articles and books have pointed out for at least a decade. There can be little doubt that Iran is pushing the world in this direction. The Western nations are reluctant to confront Iran--but the policy of appeasement has never yet removed the threat of war when it comes from extremist regimes like the one we now see in Iran. Appeasement did not work with Hitler in the 1930's and it will not work with Islamic madness today. Sooner or later a crisis will arise in which the Western world will have to confront this enemy. As the Times newspaper of London put it in an editorial some time ago: "we are going to have to get ready for war with Iran."
The Lebanon war, with Iran's open support and supply of arms to Hizbullah, has brought that crisis so much closer. And current Iranian military manoeuvres only serve to underline this.
As the world has stood by and watched rockets "made in Iran" raining down in their hundreds on Israel over the past few weeks--and often criticizing Israel for defending itself--we must understand where it will lead. The principle can be seen from the prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 25. In verses 15 and 16 we read:
" For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them."
Of course, the nations do not want to drink this cup of judgment--hence the reluctance to confront Islamic extremism both at home and abroad. Hence the policy of appeasement. But look at verses 28 and 29,
" And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts."
And so it is that a time of judgment awaits the world--as we read in verse 31 and 32,
" A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth."
And so it is in such circumstances that Christ will be revealed. As Daniel the prophet has written:
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
A time of trouble such as never was--not just for Israel, make no mistake--but for all nations.
Yet by reading the Scriptures we learn that there is a way of salvation--a means by which we might escape those things that are coming upon the earth; and that salvation is through belief of the Gospel, and obedience to it.
And so it is to the Bible that we commend you. Here you can learn of the Hope of Israel, and of the salvation of Israel through the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is what the Bible in the News is intended to introduce us to, so listen again next week, when once more we will talk with you again, God willing.
Printed: Thursday, August 17, 2006
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