On May 14, 1948, a most remarkable event took place when the nation Israel was born in one day, as prophesied in Isaiah 66:8. This is unprecedented in all of history: Over five million Jews have returned to Israel, and as predicted, the remnant was restored (Isaiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 37:21-22; 38:8).
Never before in history has a people been dispersed and scattered among the nations of the earth and then return to their homeland from the north, south, east, and west (Isaiah 43:5-6). Nearly a million Jews traveled south from Russia alone, tens of thousands have left France, and the emigration of Jews to Israel from other nations continues.
(This is part 2 of an excerpt from the last chapter in the book, The Cost of Our Silence)
About the size of New Jersey, Israel is not just the center of the universe, but the center of attention politically, spiritually, and geographically. The Bible was proved true when Israel became a desolate wasteland for about 1,900 years, but today we see the fulfillment of several more prophecies, such as Israel will bud and blossom, and fill the whole earth with fruit (Isaiah 27:6; Isaiah 35:1-2). Israel now exports fresh produce to the world to the tune of 800 million dollars each year, including over 200 million dollars from flowers and plants.
Nearly uninhabited and desolate a century ago, this little nation exports well over 40 billion dollars’ worth of goods. Tourism is one of Israel’s major sources of income and economic growth, attracting a record 3.54 million foreign tourists last year. According to the World Bank, exports of total goods and other services Israel provided to the rest of the world were over $91 billion (USD). How is this possible? Some suggest it is because of the increased rainfall while others point to Israel’s irrigation technology. Let’s not forget God.
According to the prophets Amos and Joel, the mountains of Israel would one day flow with sweet wine, and God would restore the people so they could rebuild ruined cities (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 3:18). They would plant vineyards and gardens, enjoy the land, and God promised they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them. Amos and Joel are among the first biblically prophetic books written sometime between 750 BC and 835 BC.
The prophet Isaiah also describes forests of trees filling the formerly barren land and specifically mentions the cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, juniper, pine, and cypress trees (Isaiah 41:18-20). God fulfilled His promise to open up rivers, springs, and fountains of waters so people would know the hand of the Lord has done this. In the last hundred years, approximately one billion trees have been planted in Israel. This is all part of Bible prophecy!
Just as predicted, the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed, trampled underfoot by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) since AD 70. According to prophecies, Jerusalem would be – and was – rebuilt on its own ruins (Jeremiah 30:18; Zechariah 12:6) and reestablished in 1948. The Jewish people finally regained full control of the city during the Six-Day War in 1967. On June 7 of that year, the Israeli army broke through and returned Jerusalem to the Jewish people for the first time in 1,897 years! Israel has been attacked many times and even outnumbered, and yet – somehow – this tiny nation has not only survived, it has thrived…
The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it (Zechariah 12:1-3).
Similar to Old Testament times, the very existence of Israel and Jerusalem causes surrounding nations to tremble; their hatred of the Jews is almost irrational. In modern times, Hitler tried wiping out the Jews, as will the Antichrist during the tribulation. As news reports today are filled with the global conflict over Israel, many nations have formed an alliance against Israel (Psalm 83:4-8), particularly Muslim nations sworn to her destruction…
WHAT ABOUT ISLAM?
How does Islam fit in to the end times? Several years ago, author Joel Rosenberg said, “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it. A new evil is rising in the world.” We can see evil be spoken of as good right before our eyes whether it is on our television screens or the Internet.
ISIS is beheading and persecuting Christians and “infidels” worldwide as was prophesied in Scripture (Matthew 24:9). The growing terror this generation is witnessing is part of the predicted end time lawlessness, and political correctness in America often gives the terrorists a pass. This should be another wake-up call for America, as we are in the midst of a dangerous combination of events. Ignorance is partly to blame while a complicit liberal media attempts to cover for Islam, but even Christian leaders have been complacent when it comes to discerning prophecy and world religions.
There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims, accounting for 23% of the world’s population. In America, estimates suggest 3.5 million; 250,000 of which may be classified as those committed to radical Islam. Until recently, most Americans have looked the other way, but with instant news and Internet access, we hear about Christians or Jews being killed on a weekly if not daily basis.
…Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, and the gospel is the power of God for salvation. God has purchased people from every tribe and nation with the blood of Christ (Revelation 5:9). As ISIS continues their murderous rampage, spreading terror in places like Syria, Iraq, Nigeria (Boko Haram), and elsewhere; there are also reports that more Muslims are hearing the truth about Jesus for the very first time and are coming to faith in Christ. Other followers of Muhammad are turning to the only living God and Savior because of the godless reign of terror. God is at work through the Holy Spirit in the most terrible times even when we don’t see the results right in front of us.
Joel Richardson and Walid Shoebat are two who suggest the Antichrist will emerge from Turkey, Syria, or Iraq. Modern Turkey is practically immersed in what used to be the Assyrian Empire, and Turkey’s role in the end times seems to be supported by the prophets Isaiah and Micah as they refer to Assyria’s opposition to the Messiah. Many others who have studied Bible prophecy, such as Hal Lindsey and David Jeremiah, point to a European Antichrist (which is the standard view among Christians), because it is doubtful the Jewish people would support an Islamic leader. How it plays out sure will be interesting.
A majority of Muslims would never work with any other global government or religion unless it included or endorsed Islam and Shariah Law. According to the Bible, the Antichrist will be of Roman descent and will rise to power in Europe. Can you imagine Muslims submitting to or supporting a European leader? Particularly those seeking a Caliphate (a form of Islamic state including religious and political control or leadership) will not rest until Islam dominates the nations. ISIS is unwilling to coexist with other religions or political systems, period.
We cannot deny the truth regarding the deception and oppression of Islam. Due in part to modern technology, some Christians in the West have reluctantly discovered the brutality of a people who show no mercy to those who oppose their agenda. In addition, since ancient times, Islamic forces have stormed through villages and cities in vicious killing campaigns, beheading and slaughtering the innocent they consider to be infidels. The fact this is happening today should be of no surprise to those who are informed.
One problem many of us in America have is we now find our country enabling Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations either directly or indirectly. It is no longer any secret the Obama administration openly supports Islam – remember the president’s 2009 speech in Cairo when he first signaled his loyalty to Muslim nations? Now, ever since the “Arab Spring” in early 2011, Sharia Law has been implemented in several Islamic countries, and the persecution of Christians has reached record levels as a result.
Dedicated followers of Islam have been seeking a caliph to carry on the prophet Muhammad’s original vision of Islamic domination through conquest. Many believe they have their man in Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. “Abu who?” You may be asking. It shouldn’t surprise us that American news consumers do not know who he is. Always protecting the president, few media outlets reported in 2010, one year after President Obama released Abu Bakr al Baghdadi from an Iraqi jail, Baghdadi formed ISIS, and they have been on a bloody rampage of terror, death, and evil ever since.
…Author, evangelist, and prophecy expert Dr. David Reagan of Lamb Lion Ministries reminds us the future of all Arabs isn’t as bleak. He writes:
Like the Jews, a remnant of the Arabs will emerge from the Tribulation with their hearts turned to the one and only true God, Yahweh (Jeremiah 12:14-17). The most remarkable prophecy concerning the future salvation of an Arab remnant is contained in Isaiah 19:16-25. Isaiah says that when the Lord strikes Egypt and Assyria, they will turn to Him and He will have compassion on them and “heal them.” Isaiah then presents an incredible picture of Egypt, Assyria, and Israel living together in peace, worshiping the same God!
There are obvious contrasts between Christianity and Islam, particularly relating to end times doctrines. Nowhere in the world are Christians persecuting unbelievers, threatening lives, attacking places of worship, chasing people out of their own homes and villages while killing any who resist. However, most of us have seen headlines and news stories telling about the gruesome slaughter of Christians in what are now Muslim-dominated cities and countries.
Our reaction to terrorism and evil should be faith, love, and steadiness because it is for times such as these, Scripture is filled with the words “fear not.” The Holy Spirit that God gives believers in Christ is a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind – not one of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). We are also encouraged to stand firm and in no way be alarmed by your opponents or adversaries even if it means we are called to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:28-29).
In light of current world events including political upheaval, we must revisit these and other relevant Bible passages with a fresh perspective.
God is concerned about reconciling the world to Himself and saving the souls of mankind, not about saving the United States or preserving the earth. The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and this world as we know it will pass away and be destroyed, which is why we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:10-13).
…Understanding prophecy will also enable us to keep current events in perspective. With all the bad news, terror, and chaos in a shaky world today, we know how it all ends, and we can have an unshakable hope in a never-changing God. Let us worship Him with reverence and thankfulness because we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).