End Times Bible Report Quarterly

Summer 1997: Issue Number 1

The Battle For Jerusalem

Yes, the battle for Jerusalem has begun, and new Israeli housing is but one skirmish. Roman Catholics and the National Council of Churches have now joined in the fray by applying public pressure. A full-page ad in the NEW YORK TIMES urged Christians to lobby for a negotiated peace for Jerusalem. They also sent a copy of this ad to 25,000 government leaders and people of influence. Briefly, this was a demand that Israel relinquish her 3,000 year-old right to Jerusalem. But WHY? Does God want peace at this price?

Which Side Of The Battle Do You Support?

Of course, we would all like to be on the side which God supports. But, just what is the proper Christian perspective? How much does the news media influence our perspective? Perhaps we should just remain neutral. But, when we consider the Holocaust, could lack of action lead to disastrous results? Is the entire issue just too enormous to make an informed and responsible decision?

God himself states how important it is for Christians to know his plans for Israel. His word weaves a thread of understanding about the Nation of Israel from Genesis to Revelation.

The History of Israel

Four thousand years ago God expressed as an oath to Abraham, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3) This oath-bound promise to Abraham is the key to understanding prophecy, and as the central theme of the Bible, it is the key to understanding the importance of Israel. Israel is important because God chose them out of all other nations to be a channel of His blessings to the world. That is, God’s blessings will flow through Israel to the rest of the world. “In thy seed (Israel as the earthly seed and Christians as the heavenly seed–explained later) I will bless all the families . . .” To understand how God will use Israel to accomplish His purpose, we must review history to see the steps God has already taken toward His promise to Abraham.

God reiterated His promise to Isaac, Abraham’s son, and then to Jacob, his grandson. He then confirmed the promise to Jacob’s twelve sons, fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. And since that time, Israel’s history has been full of incidents in which God alternately blessed Israel to demonstrate their chosen status, and disciplined them when they forgot His laws. Israel had covenanted with God to remain separate from the world in every way. The disciplines dealt out by God had the effect of developing a class of people who steadfastly hoped for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. The most severe discipline of all, the dispersion or Diaspora, began about 70 A.D. and continued until 1878 A.D. when Zionism brought in a great regathering to Jerusalem. Jer. 16:12-15; Ezek. 36:24

Never before has a nation been dead for nearly 2,000 years and then reborn in accordance with prophecies written over 2,500 years before. Yet our generation has witnessed this astounding fact, and we recognize that only God could accomplish such a miraculous work. The yearly prayer of the Jews, “next year in Jerusalem,” is even now in process of fulfillment.

Replacement Theology

Some have the idea that Israel lost its “chosen” status when they as a nation did not accept Jesus as their long promised Messiah. These Christians apply all prophetic scriptures about Israel to themselves, hence, “replacement theology.” However, the Apostle warns against such a mistake, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes . . . these also now believed not, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.” Rom. 11:25-32

God foreknew that Israel as a nation would reject Jesus as their Messiah. But God did not allow this to debar them from His oath-bound covenant through Abraham. Israel did not see the depth of meaning in God’s promise to Abraham: “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the seashore.” (Gen. 22:17) Note the two parts to this covenant referring to two different aspects of Abraham’s offspring: the channel of God’s blessings. The heavenly or spiritual part (alluded to metaphorically as the “stars of heaven”) will be the faithful Christians whom God has been selecting for the last 2000 years. And the earthly part (“the sand of the seashore”) will be the regathered nation of Israel. God plans to bless everyone who has ever lived through these two classes working together: the faithful Christians as heavenly agents of blessing and the regathered nation of Israel as earthly agents of blessing. Gal. 3:8

The Present Situation

Follow closely the historic events surrounding this tiny nation of Israel, for its establishment once again as a nation was one of the signs Jesus gave of his return to establish his everlasting Kingdom. (Matt. 24:32 Acts 15:14-18) Messiah’s Kingdom will be one of peace, righteousness and unselfishness. The brotherhood of man will find the rest it seeks, for “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Then the earthly seed of promise, Israel, together with the spiritual seed, the Christian, will be the channel of God’s blessings to the world.

Current Events:  The Holocaust and the Red Cross

The time of the end is a period for revealing what are truths and what are the hidden things of darkness. Such is the case with the Holocaust.  Revisionists would have us believe that the holocaust was a hoax. To counter the effects of revisionism and to keep the memory of the Holocaust real, museums have been established illustrating

man’s inhumanity to man. The movie Schindler’s List was produced as another attempt to counter revisionism and to keep the atrocities of the Holocaust in the memory of humanity. Yet still, some doubt its claim to history.

While some try to deny history, the Lord’s providence has brought forth fresh evidence as to its verity. On May 2, 1997 an article appeared in USA Today reporting that the International Red Cross had hidden from the public their knowledge of the things that took place in the Nazi war camps.  This multi-page article revealed that the Red Cross has thousands upon thousands of documents detailing terrible acts of hatred against the Jewish people.

With this overwhelming evidence, the real question can no longer be whether or not the Holocaust took place. The question must be, why did God permit these crimes to take place against his chosen people?

     The Scriptures speak of the Holocaust in terms of being hunters “Behold, I will send for many fishers (Zionism); and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them . . .” (Jer. 16:16) The purpose of those hunters was to drive God’s people back to the land of Israel. Indeed, Israel has been regathered since 1878 by both Zionism and driving persecutions! Only by understanding God’s plan can we find peace in these perplexing events. “I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them . . . Amos 9:15

Editorial:  “A Desecration of the Truth”

Today, Israel occupies a precarious position. Her enemies are numerous and her friends are deserting her. The media paints an oppressive picture of Israel by leaving out historical facts and attributing the acts of a small group of radicals to the whole nation.

While in Israel last fall, a group of Bible Students were eyewitnesses of this distortion of facts presented by the media. We were shocked to hear their inflammatory and biased reports of several incidents involving the P.L.O. and the Israelis.

Recently, a revealing article was presented in TIME magazine by Charles Krauthammer – A Desecration of the Truth. (Oct. 14, 1996) We think it is such an excellent and responsible article, that we present portions of it here as an editorial.

As fighting raged in the streets of the west bank and Gaza late last month, Israel’s opening of the now infamous Jerusalem tunnel was denounced . . . as a desecration of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. It took nearly a week and fully 70 dead before the truth began to trickle out: the charge was a lie.

This tunnel, which is in fact part of an archaeological excavation, does not impinge on any Islamic holy places. It does not threaten any mosques. The only religious site it does touch is Judaism’s holiest shrine, the Western Wall . . .

Yet for days at the beginning of the crisis, the American press echoed the falsehood. The Wall Street Journal front page, reported Palestinian violence sparked by a “tunnel on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.” It isn’t. ABC News’ Peter Jennings parroted the charge: “Muslims say the tunnel cuts under their compound and call it a crime against Islam.” It doesn’t and it isn’t.

What happened? The Western media were simply taken in by a lie–an easily provable lie–put out by the P.L.O. and the Arab League. At Arafat’s urging, the League issued within 48 hours of the tunnel’s opening a declaration calling the tunnel “part of an Israeli Zionist plot to destroy the Aqsa mosque [and] set up the Temple of Solomon.”

. . . In medieval times, massacres against Jews were often carried out as vengeance for some alleged Jewish desecration of Christianity. How would NPR have covered the blood-libel-inspired massacre of the Jews of Munich in 1286? “Leaders of the massacre claim that the Jews had killed Christian boys and used their blood for religious rituals”? For balance, I suppose, NPR would have added, “The Jews deny this.”

And yet, during the “tunnel” riots of two weeks ago, there were incidents of murder and sacrilege. One occurred in Nablus, an Arab town under P.L.O control. There is in Nablus a Jewish religious site, Joseph’s Tomb. Under the P.L.O–Israeli peace accords, it remained a tiny enclave peopled by devout Jews and for protection, a few Israeli soldiers. On Sept. 26, it was attacked by a Palestinian mob throwing firebombs. Six Israelis were killed. Many prayer books were burned.

This is the Middle Eastern equivalent of a mob of whites torching a black church, killing parishioners and burning its holy objects. Yet, while the tunnel received enormous coverage complete with diagrams, the desecration at Joseph’s Tomb, if reported at all, merited at most a few sentences… Anti-Israel bias in Western coverage of the Middle East has long, ignoble history. Rarely however, does it take so stark a form as a reported desecration that is totally false and real desecrations that are barely reported.

Future Prospects:  “The Earth Abideth Forever”  –– Eccl. 1:4

Some Christians today hold the view that the earth will be destroyed, or completely dissolved after the judgment of mankind. However, the Scriptures offer a different prospect for this beautiful planet called the “footstool” of God. God is described as a “King” to reign over heaven and earth. (Psa. 46:10; Psa. 47) If the Earth is to be destroyed, then over what will He reign?

God, who has “laid the foundation of the Earth” has a grander purpose for it than simply being a temporary habitation for sinful individuals. (Psa. 104:5) Earthly blessings await those who will reverence the Lord in his future Kingdom, for which Jesus prayed: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10

    All the ends of the world will remember the Lord and turn to Him. All the ends of the Earth will “reverence” him. All will know the Lord in his kingdom, from the least to the greatest. The people of Earth are to bring glory and honor to God’s Heavenly temple. Psa. 22:27-29; 67:6, 7; Jer. 31:34; Rev. 21:22-24

     We can all trust in God’s promise: “While the Earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest . . . summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22) Yes, the future is as bright as the promises of God!  All the families of the Earth shall be blessed. Gen. 12:3

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