A Scathing EU Report calls for Sanctions on Israel over the Issue of East Jerusalem and the Settlements
The controversy over the things of Zion.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
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The National Post newspaper in Canada announces, "Scathing EU report calls for stepped-up sanctions on Israel over 'illegal annexation of East Jerusalem'". The EU position is bizarre just on the natural level. Calling for sanctions on Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, while the terror organization Hamas rules the Gaza strip and lobs rockets at civilians in Israel seems unbalanced. The report calls Israel’s settlement campaign the single most significant threat to the two-state solution. Meanwhile the EU refuses to recognize that Hezbollah is a terror organization. Jerusalem is historically a Jewish city and the ancient capital of the Jewish people. East Jerusalem was taken by Israel in the 6-day war 46 years ago. Jordan attacked Israel on the frontline that ran through the city and Israel responded and ended up pushing the Jordanians back to the Jordan river. This means that Israel took the territory in a war of self-defence. Further, the border between the countries was never a recognized border, as the Arab nations refused to accept any agreement and the very existence of the Jewish state. On the surface these facts make the EU report and position problematic, but when we consider what the Bible has to say the situation gets quite eerie.
The Bible is obviously a collection of very ancient texts and it may seem to many to be very distant from today's modern world and would consider it foolish to take the Bible seriously as to modern day events in the Middle East. But the Bible is historically woven into every fibre of Jewish culture and provides an important historic context to events in the Middle East. It has to be worth considering the messages of the Hebrew prophets that are recorded in the Bible.
The prophets did prophesy about the scattering and regathering of Israel. In fact right back near the beginning of the Bible, in the books attributed to Moses the scattering of Israel was prophesied if they failed to follow the God of Israel's way. Deuteronomy 28:64-66
"And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:"
This is exactly what happened to the Jewish people. They were scattered all over the world, forced to convert to other religions, expelled from one country to another and lived in a state of unease and persecution - their life hanging in doubt before them. It is impossible to say that these words were written after the events had occured. It is also untenable to say that all the prophecies of the scattering of the Jewish people from their land, apply to the time when the Jewish people were first removed from the land of Israel by the Babylonians. In fact, the prophets speak of two scatterings and re-gatherings to the land of Israel. Consider Isaiah 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, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 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."
The prophet clearly states that he is speaking of the second time that the God of Israel would bring the Jewish people back again and echoing the words of Moses, who said that the Jewish people would be scattered "among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other", Isaiah states that God would "gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." These events have come to pass; the scattering of the Jewish people for their disobedience, the manner of their dispersion and the unjust persecution that they faced, their scattering to every corner of the globe and their subsequent regathering, in recent history back to their ancient homeland again.
Now consider the words of the prophet Joel in chapter 3 verses 1 -2. "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."
This passage has a number of very interesting points worth considering. First the intended timing of the prophecy is quite specific. This is not one of those vague mystical Nostradamus like predictions that could apply to scores of events in history. Joel does not specify a particular date, but rather, when you see this event - the return of the Jews to the specific areas of Judah and Jerusalem - then these events will take place. The events described by Joel did not take place when the Jews were first re-gathered and seeing the prophets speak of a second regathering we can quite assuredly say that this prophecy of Joel is intended to fit with the events of the second re-gathering. Further, the prophecy finishes by speaking of the complete cleansing of Israel from their sins. Besides being logical and necessary that the complete cleansing of the sins of Israel would only take place after their being scattered for rebellion against God, there are also several prophecies that demonstrate this as well. This is conclusive that the prophecy of Joel 3 has to do with the final or second regathering of the Jewish people. This is the re-gathering that has transpired in recent history. The area of Judah and Jerusalem is the specified area that the Jews would return to. Until the events of 1967 it could not be said that the Jews had returned to these areas, the old city of Jerusalem and the vast majority of region of Judah was part of Jordan. After that war when Israel took possession of those areas, the words of Joel came to life and and the timing of the prophesy was fixed. "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem..."
Joel then goes on to say that a controversy or argument would transpire regarding God's people and heritage Israel. This controversy would bring all nations against Jerusalem in battle. The prophet Isaiah speaks of the same time - both prophecies culminating in the Messianic age (Isaiah 35). Isaiah says: "Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter... For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion."
So there is to be a controversy about Zion. The Hebrew word controversy means, a strife or dispute, noisy quarrel or contention. This is exactly what we see happening in the world today and exactly what we see this week in the report from the EU calling for sanctions against Israel for their occupation of Judah and Jerusalem.
We are living in a critical time in Israel's history. The time of the returning of the Jews to Judah and Jerusalem as prophesied by Joel; the time of the argument, dispute and controversy about Zion. The time when all nations will come against Jerusalem. We also see that as far as the Bible is concerned it is God's hand that has brought the Jewish people back to the land of Israel. "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..." It is the Lord's hand. The nations of the world should take note of this fact. The wise words of the Jewish teacher Gamaliel come to mind from the New Testament book of Acts, "But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." Today, the nations find themselves fighting against God. All their schemes to remove the Jews from Jerusalem and Judah have failed.
These prophecies make events in Israel of great interest to Bible students and of course very significant for us, as we consider the Bible in the news. As we continue to watch events it will be very interesting to see the make up of the new government, what will happen with Obama's visit and if the Jews continue to build their communities in Judah and in East Jerusalem. For that you'll have to come back to the Bible in the News as these events unfold. Thanks for listening, this has been David Billington with you.
Printed: Saturday, March 02, 2013
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