Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

Keep your eye on Jerusalem  

Mar 3

Dateline Jerusalem - Jim Fletcher

The Blessing

A recent consumer report noted that Americans are more concerned with heated seats and cup holders in their vehicles, while fuel efficiency remains lower on the list of priorities.

I mention this seemingly unrelated information, because it is evidence of a larger reason many in our culture “don’t get it” when the subject comes around to Israel and the end-times.

A wholly self-absorbed culture eventually collapses in on itself. It is almost comical that we prefer absurd comforts over important things like fuel efficiency (or even safety). Almost comical, but not quite.

This is all directly related to a question I hear all the time: why is prophecy important?  How is it relevant to me?

Well, upfront, therein lies the problem.

“We” have become so self-indulgent that everything must revolve around our desires and perceived needs. This is a major reason the Emergent/mystical/self-help gurus have infiltrated the once-vigilant American church. It’s all about us.

Asking the question about the relevance of Israel, the Jews, and Bible prophecy presupposes the questioner will not get it. Must I be obsessed with how God will bless me for blessing Israel? Have we come to that?

Well-meaning pro Israel Christians even ask this. Sometimes it’s made a lynchpin of support for Israel, as Genesis 12:3 is repeated endlessly. Don’t get me wrong; I believe the verse fervently.

It’s just that as an American in the 21st century, I am blessed to the point of being embarrassed. I have the greatest wife, kids, job, and friends a person could hope for. I have health. Most of all, God was merciful in revealing Himself to me long ago.

What possible extra blessing could I want? Again, I’m embarrassed with what I have.

It reminds me of a newsmagazine article from the ‘90s, around the time of the ethnic cleansing in eastern Europe. An article’s accompanying photograph was of a man lying in a field, with an umbrella over him. The sky was full of dark clouds and rain. The man was trying to sleep and this was his home. He was a refugee and had nowhere else to go.

I am haunted to this day by that photograph. I’ve never truly been hungry. My closet is literally bulging with clothes. I have more material possessions than my parents could have dreamed of. I can fly to virtually any vacation spot I want. Et cetera.

Perhaps the greatest blessing I’ve ever had has been the Word of God to light my path. I would be in darkness without it, with the rain and hopelessness beating down on me.

I remember the first time I saw the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. It was at night and the floodlights had come on. I pressed my face to the window of the cab, like some kid at Christmas. I repeated Isaiah 49:16: “Thy walls are continually before me.”

Tell me, please, what greater blessing could I hope to experience?

You and I stand on the edge of history, illuminated by the Return of the Jews to their ancient homeland. All this is the most sensational confirmation that we know the true God.

Right now, three lame-duck leaders — George Bush, Ehud Olmert, Abu Mazen — are trying to force the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Prophet Joel knew something about this, about parting God’s land. This thing speaks also to Ezekiel 36, the boasting of Israel’s enemies.

Palestinian negotiators like Saeb Erekat and Nabil Shaath still predict that nothing can stop the advancement of Palestinian goals and in this, their prediction is not much different than the genocide predicted by the Iranians.

Christianity Today, always an old standby in the subtle bashing of Israel, recently carried an online article that weirdly attributed possible new waves of anti-Semitism in France to Holocaust studies! Let’s not inflame Islam or Neo-Nazis by reminding them of the ovens and labor camps. To me, this speaks to a turning toward abandoning Israel as an ally, as Jeremiah predicted.

Israel knows who her friends are, and they aren’t in the majority.

Still, we hear Christian leaders asking the question: “How can we really know when the ‘end-times’ will arrive?”

Are they serious? It’s all around us, the evidence.

In Psalm 83, the confederation against Israel is breathtaking in its scope and detail. We see the very thing coming together today. How can we really know when the end-times will arrive? Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, even Jordan…they are no friends of Israel. The slightest provocation (or perceived weakness on the part of the Jewish state) will awaken them to once again strike against Israel. What is this if not the daily news soaked in Bible prophecy?

Another glaring evidence of the times in which we live is the very “dominionism” theology of so many American Christian leaders today. Iran is threatening Israel with nukes. Russia is standing on every street corner, selling nuke technology out of an old satchel, wickedly counting the cash. Man stands at the threshold, for the very first time, of exterminating himself. What is this if not Zechariah?

As Al Qaida creeps into the Sinai, is the world getting better?

Democratic strategist Bob Beckel said recently on FOXNews that people don’t care what Barack Obama is selling; they only care that he is charismatic. The Israelis are desperate for someone to solve their problems. The Europeans will accept any leader who promises to turn swords into plowshares and keep the bread coming.

Yet on a History Channel documentary about the Antichrist, Christian theologians actually pooh-pooh the idea of a literal Antichrist figure. How can they be so blind?

My “blessing” is that I’m allowed to live in a momentous time in history. I’m revealing my old-fashioned side here, but I’m also blessed because God has shown me mercy rather than vaporize me like I deserve.

Why is He good to us? That might be the better question.