Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Judah
Keep your eyes on Hebron, the birthplace of David's Kingdom!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
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Welcome to www.bibleinthenews.com, this is David Billington with the April 11 edition. There is much to discuss in the news this week. The headline of the Guardian newspaper in the UK today reads: "Russia threatening new cold war over missile defense. Kremlin accuses US of deception on east European interceptor bases." The first paragraph reads: "Russia is preparing its own military response to the US's controversial plans to build a new missile defence system in eastern Europe, according to Kremlin officials, in a move likely to increase fears of a cold war-style arms race." From a Bible prophecy standpoint it is interesting to note that some of the United States' NATO allies are also "nervous" and "They include Germany, where the Social Democrat leader, Kurt Beck, warned last month that the US and Russia were on the brink of another arms race "on European soil"." This is the difference. The Europeans wanted US defense in the cold war, now they don't. They are far more comfortable with Russia, whose foreign policy is very similar to their own. Concerning relations between Russia and the US the article states: "The threat of a new arms race comes at a time when relations between Russia and the US are at their worst for a decade." As we get closer to the thief like return of Jesus Christ to the earth we wouldn't expect relations between Russia and the US to be cozy -- or should we say, between the king of the north and the king of the south. In which case I would refer you back to Bible in the News from two weeks ago, where we considered that subject in the light of events in Iran.
Speaking of Iran, this Monday the Iranians announced a dramatic expansion of uranium enrichment, they are now operating 3,000 centrifuges, nearly 10 times the previously known number. Uranium enrichment can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead.
Today the U.S. has said that Iraqi militias are training in Iran, learning to make deadly armor-piercing roadside bombs and complex attack strategies to use against American forces. This follows similar comments by Britain shortly before the kidnappings. These types of roadside bombs would be similar to what the Israelis have been dealing with in Lebanon and the Gaza strip for years--which is no coincidence, as Hezbollah is also trained by Iran. These roadside bombs have been used against everything from Israeli tanks to school buses. What the U.S. and Britain are really saying is that the Iranians are leading a proxy war against their forces via militias in Iraq. This would be a very similar situation to the Iranians leading a proxy war against Israel via Hezbollah. In the face of all these bombings and kidnappings Israel is always asked by the nations of the world to "exercise restraint" and "not to derail the peace process". Well what goes around comes around--especially in Israel's case, as we read in Genesis 12:3: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Israel has been pressured into leaving the Gaza strip and is still being pressured to leave the strategic Biblical highlands of Judah and Samaria, which they liberated in the six day war 40 years ago this June.
This week in Judea in the city of Hebron a new issue is coming to a head. A building purchased by Jews from Arabs is being contested and the anti-religious defense minister is determined to throw them out. It is looking likely there may be a clash between the police or army and the Jewish residents of Judah, commonly called "the settlers". We can be sure that the media will run down the settlers as it always does. However, it is worthwhile to consider whether these Jews should be there at all. Many don't think they should be. How should we feel about this? Is the West Bank occupied land?
It is absolutely for certain that when the kingdom of Israel is established and the throne of David restored all these disputed areas will be populated by the twelves tribes of Israel. You can read about the portions the tribes will have at that time in Ezekiel 48. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus says: "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This is at the very core of the gospel or hope of Israel. But does this mean that the Jews have to occupy this land prior to the kingdom being restored.
The restoration of the kingdom is a process that is happening over time. In Acts 3:21 it is referred to as "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." The Jews have been returning for over 100 years now. This is part of the "times of restitution". We have seen the return of the people of the kingdom, to some extent the revival of the land itself and the revival of the national language--the language of the Hebrew Bible. This is what has been spoken of "by the mouth of all his holy prophets, for instance Isaiah says in chapter 11 verse 11: "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 return of the Jews is an essential part of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, it is a fulfillment of prophecy and the work of the hand of God. Though the nation is not perfected, the Jewish people are still the seed of Abraham and they will be blessed. In Isaiah 61:6-9 we read: "But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed."
Before this we read in Isaiah 61:4 that: "they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations." Buying a building in Hebron and populating it with Jews is part of this process and Hebron is included in this process according to 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." Yes, it's God's land and he has brought his people back to it for the purpose of establishing his kingdom. How could we dare to say they should be thrown off?
This area of the tribe of Judah may yet play an important role in the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Listen to how John Thomas wrote about it in his work Eureka, An Exposition of the Apocalypse: "Solomon reigned over the whole twelve tribes from the decease of his father and predecessor. This, however, was not the case with David from the death of Saul. Solomon and David were types of the Christ, who was to descend from them after the flesh, in respect of his career as a hero and conqueror, and the Prince of Peace. "Yahweh", says Moses, "is a Man of war; Yahweh is His name" (Exod. 15:3). David's career was illustrative of that of the Man Yahweh, styled by Paul, "the Man Christ Jesus," as the founder of the reign of peace. Hence, as David reigned several years over Judah before he became the recognized sovereign of the whole nation; it behoves that his Son and Lord reign as King of Judah before he become monarch of all the tribes of Israel and kingdoms of the earth. This typical indication is sustained by the testimony in Zech. 12:7, that "Yahweh shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah."
So keep your eyes on Judah and Hebron in particular over the next couple of weeks -- and come back next week for more Bible in the News, God willing.
Printed: Wednesday, April 11, 2007
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