World attention is on Israel again
Last week saw a historic first flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi by El Al flying over Saudi Arabian air space. Al Jazeera reports
For those not following events closely the news announced recently that UAE would recognise Israel and establish normal diplomatic relations may have come as a shock. We have been accustomed to an Arab boycott of Israel and diplomatic and not so diplomatic means to bring about a two state resolution of the Palestinian question with an Islamic State of Palestine in the West Bank that was overrun by Israel in the 1967 war. Clearly there were a few elements at work behind the scenes which any cynic could seize upon. Donald Trump needs a good diplomatic coup to burnish his re-election credentials (North Korea would also have been handy). USA needs to sell advanced military aircraft to countries that would otherwise create a furious backlash from the Jewish lobby. Arab nations have a growing concern about Iran and Russia meddling in thier backyard. Israel needs to reduce its defence budget percentage of GDP and to find new export markets in a global slow down.
Nonetheless the new realpolitik is clear. Saudi Arabia will do anything to rein in Iran and is using UAE as a test case to sound out global and Islamic sentiment on engagement with Israel as a joint bulwark against Iran, Russia and Turkey in that order.
For Bible students these developments should not come as a surprise however.
God in Ezekiel 34 promises a time of peace for Israel The Lord's Covenant of Peace
25 “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. 30 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 36 (ERV) Prophecy to the Mountains of Israel The Land of Israel Will Be Rebuilt
36 “Son of man,[a] speak to the mountains of Israel for me. Tell them to listen to the word of the Lord! 2 Tell them that this is what the Lord God says: ‘The enemy said bad things against you. They said, Hurray! Now the ancient mountains will be ours!’
3 “So speak to the mountains of Israel for me. Tell them that this is what the Lord God says: ‘The enemy destroyed your cities and attacked you from every direction. They did this so that you would belong to the other nations. Then people talked and whispered about you.’”
4 So, mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord God! This is what the Lord God says to the mountains, hills, streams, valleys, empty ruins, and abandoned cities that have been looted and laughed at by the other nations around them. 5 The Lord God says, “I swear, I will let my strong feelings speak for me! I will let Edom and the other nations feel my anger. They took my land for themselves. They really had a good time when they showed how much they hated this land. They took the land for themselves, just so they could destroy it.”
6 “So say these things about the land of Israel. Speak to the mountains and to the hills, to the streams, and to the valleys. Tell them that this is what the Lord God says: ‘I will let my strong feelings and anger speak for me, because you had to suffer the insults from those nations.’”
7 So this is what the Lord God says: “I am the one making this promise! I swear that the nations around you will have to suffer for those insults.
8 “But mountains of Israel, you will grow new trees and produce fruit for my people Israel. My people will soon come back. 9 I am with you, and I will help you. People will till your soil and plant seeds in you. 10 There will be many people living on you. The whole family of Israel—all of them—will live there. The cities will have people living in them. The destroyed places will be rebuilt. 11 I will give you many people and animals, and they will grow and have many children. I will bring people to live on you as in the past. I will make it better for you than before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 Yes, I will lead many people—my people, Israel—to your land. You will be their property, and you will not take away their children again.”
We are seeing Israel settle the mountains of Israel and plant trees for fruit. The world is strongly opposed to this but Edom will feel God's anger.
Ezekiel 38: 11 describes Israel at peace with security and unwalled villages
11 You will say, “I will go up against a land of unwalled villages. I will attack the peaceful people who live in security, all of them living without walls, with neither bars nor gates.
The Muslim world will be divided into two camps:
- those who wish to make peace with Israel
- those who want to take advantage of their relience on good relations with their neighbours
Ezekiel 38 describes an attack upon an unprepared Israel by a coalition of Turkey, Russia, Libya, Sudan and Iran. Note that these nations are not Arab nations. Many Arab nations trace their ancestry back to the same person, Abraham, as does Israel, and this could be when the blessings prophesied for the children of Ishmael come to reality.
Genesis 17 New Living Translation
As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
It is important to note that the immediate neighbours of Israel; Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia are not involved in hostilities. Indeed they remonstrance against this attack. God will draw the combatants out to attack Israel on its mountains, putting hooks into their jaws
Ezekiel 38: 4 I will turn you about, set hooks in your jaws, and lead you out, you and all your army
One has to consider what might be the hook? Oil, gas, territory, hubris?
Here are some speculative possible scenarios. Caution here is advised as the world is in an extremely unstable state at the moment, who would have predicted in January 2020 that within three months the world would be experiencing the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression? Things can change quickly and events take unlikely turns.
Could the world block Iran, Turkey, Russia, Libya from world oil markets? Germany is belatedly waking up to the fact that it is dependent on Russia for its energy.
Turkey is riding rough shod over international boundaries in Greece and Cyprus to explore for offshore gas.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sees himself as the true Islamic leader and may see that enforcing the creation of a Palestinian State in accordance with UN Resolutions will gain him greater authority
Islamic jihadis may see that a reduction in Israel's defensive posture is an opportune moment for attack
God routs the invaders
Just as it seems Israel is powerless against this two stage attack.
- Stage one - invade the West Bank and declare a Palestinian State
- Stage two - once firmly established on the high places, began to push down against the plains of Israel
God will supernaturally intervene without the need for military allies.
Ezekiel 38: 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains. This is what the Lord God says! The swords of the warriors will be against each other, 22 and I will enter into judgment with him, with plague and blood. I will pour out flooding rain, hailstones, fire, and sulfur on him, on all his troops, and on the many peoples with him. 23 So I will display my greatness, show my holiness, and make myself known in the sight of many nations. And they will know that I am the Lord.
Rain, hailstones, fire, earthquakes and internal conflict will destroy the invaders while presumably leaving the plains of Israel unscathed.
Ezekiel 39 7 I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. They will never again degrade my holy name, and the nations will know that I, the Lord, am holy in Israel. 8 Look, it has come! It has happened! This is what the Lord God says. This is the day that I spoke about.
The world will recognise this event as a divine intervention and as a result there will be a global surge of people believing in the God of Israel.
Matthew 24:14 This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations. Then the end will come.
It is my expectation that this will enable a decision to allow Israel to build the Third Temple in Jerusalem. We will then see a Great Deception that causes many to fall away from God Then the Rapture and the rise of Antichrist and the Seven Year Tribulation will take place prior to the Second Coming of Christ to establish his Millennium reign from Jerusalem. The day of the Lord
Israel and gas fields
Update 24/10/2020 Sudan has announced that it will move to normalise relations with Israel. While this is an unexpected development I think it likely the people of Sudan rather than the government would engage in an invasion of the mountains of Israel.
Update 01/04/2021 Timing Gog Magog