It is fair to say there has been a significant escalation of events in the Middle East in recent weeks. We believe what we are currently seeing in news reports may be rapidly edging us closer to the fulfilment of Old and New Testament prophecy. Whatever we feel about the troubling events of the Israel/Gaza situation, no-one can deny that these events are dramatically affecting world opinion of the State of Israel and galvanising Islamic extremism. We believe current events are hastening the conditions the Bible provides to alert to the impeding fulfilment of end time prophecy.
Jesus made it clear that His followers should be watching for His return and the Bible gives us many pre-cursors to this in order to prepare His Church – it is our duty to be looking at this very closely. This comprises of a list of features of the world’s condition just prior to Jesus’ Second Coming and they include quite specific detail concerning the Middle East. We are strictly instructed NOT to predict the day of Jesus coming, BUT we ARE instructed to be ready and aware of the imminence of this wonderful finale to Church history. This should galvanise us in sharing the gospel with a loving urgency as time is running out for the unsaved around us – the lethargy and lack of interest that is generally evident in the UK church is itself a key condition of end times!
Using what the Bible states about the end times on the one hand and the dramatic events we see in the Middle East on the other hand, we have made some observations focusing specifically on Israel:
- It is possible that some kind of ceasefire will be declared between Israel and Hamas and this latest flare-up will fizzle out in which case what we see has little bearing on the fulfilment of prophecy. We feel this is unlikely – Israel has shown little appetite to leave the job of disarming Hamas half-done and has demonstrated they mean business, despite world opinion.
- It is possible that other Arab nations in the region will club together and launch a concerted attack against Israel. The Christian and Jewish populations in surrounding nations are systematically being eradicated – just take the role of ISIS in Syria and Iraq as an example – when Christian and Jewish populations in surrounding nations have been removed, it won’t be long before they unite to focus on Israel. When worldwide sympathy for Israel’s predicament is at it lowest and Israel is most isolated, this would be seen as an opportune time for a combination of Islamic states and groups to attempt to permanently put an end to the Jewish State. We would suggest the region is becoming perfectly set for this. If this occurs, a direct fulfilment of Psalm 83 is possible which would mean an Israeli military victory against these aggressors – the lists of these nations are very specific and matches up perfectly with what we see now, despite this prophecy being penned over 3,000 years ago!
- It is possible that the world’s armies may reluctantly find themselves dragged into this conflict (via the UN?). It would only take one catastrophic event to shock the world into action against Israel – the anti-semitic sentiment is growing throughout the world and if there was a dramatic event (for example, a threat to the Middle East oil supply) the rage of the world may be unleashed towards the Jews. This could bring about the fulfilment of Zechariah 12-14 which ends with the return of Jesus Christ to the Mount of Olives. Although we believe this prophecy will be fulfilled after the rapture of the faithful Church, the world is becoming fairly well poised for this which means the rapture could be very near!
- There is a battle described in Ezekiel 38-39 featuring an array of the world’s armies – however, one feature for the fulfilment of this prophecy is that Israel is dwelling in safety – this certainly is not true of the situation today but does lead onto to our next point…
- Daniel 9:27 describes an individual making a seven-year covenant with the Jews which would bring about the peace needed for fulfilment of point 4. Although this covenant is broken at the halfway stage, if an individual came forward today with a solution for the Middle East, there is no question that this would be unconditionally welcomed. Again, if the situation in the Middle East became even messier, world leaders would warmly welcome any individual who could solve the problems in the Middle East – as the situation continues to steadily deteriorate (and for many other reasons) the world is ready for a world leader with these credentials.
- We believe the rapture of the Church could happen at any moment – if this were to occur, the Jews would lose a significant friend (and source of prayer!) and would then be left completely isolated. We are certain that one of the results of the rapture would be a frenzied and rabid attack of the Jews by those left behind. Could this be the event that leads to the fulfilment of much of the prophecy mentioned above?
- Events in the Middle East are leading to a disturbing rise of antisemitism around the world – Europe is a particular hot-spot for this. We believe that Jewish communities are going to be placed under increasing pressure to leave hostile environments and will have little choice but to make aliyah and return to their spiritual homeland. This has been happening for decades in direct fulfilment of end time prophecy and we suspect current events will speed up this process. Much of prophecy concerning Israel in the end times indicates Jews will be back in their homeland where they become the focus of world attention. (Matthew 24 includes many such assumptions)
- All of the points above will lead to such desperate times for the Jews (the “time of Jacob’s trouble”) that they will be forced to look upwards and call on their Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (see Romans 9-11 climaxing in 9:25-26). The Lord is waiting for this call as promised in Matthew 23:39.
- As a side note, we recently blogged about the four blood moons that occur directly on four major Jewish feast days during the period 2014-2015. Even at this early stage, it seems very likely that we’ll be able to look back and link this highly unusual tetrad as being a significant period of Israel’s history!
This is by no means a complete list – there are many permutations but there does appear to be a climax of activity that could explode further afield at any point.
In summary, there has NEVER been a time in history where so much prophecy is on the cusp of being fulfilled in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ. Approximately one-third of Bible prophecy was concerned with Jesus’ first coming – two-thirds refers to His second coming!
Although the world is in turmoil, there has never been a more exciting time for the follower of Jesus who is serious about Bible Prophecy. We urge you to look into these things for yourselves – Jesus gave us specific details of what the world would look like before He returned – the Christian has NO excuse for not being ready!
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28, emphasis added)