Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

Keep your eye on Jerusalem  

Mar 30

O, Jerusalem

Someone wrote last week on the message board that they wondered what difference there is between now, and in the 1970s, regarding prophetic signs. This is a good point. The inference was that there were just as many signs of the end of the age 35 years ago as there are now. If I’m reading too much into the original question, my apologies to the writer.

 One of the key differences, I think, is the intensifying pressure on Jerusalem. Decades ago, when Hal Lindsey’s bestseller, The Late, Great Planet Earth, was released, the modern concept of Bible prophecy was fairly new. There had been many decades in which liberal scholarship in the Academy had percolated unchecked. (Although by the time the “myth” of the Bible was unleashed on the public, there was fortunately a wave of major happenings that confirmed Scripture for many. Think the Six Day War.)

 In the ‘70s, the capture of Jerusalem brought in a wave of euphoria among both Jews and Christians who support Israel. International terrorism was somewhat of a pariah — at least compared to today — as Arafat, Habash, and others murdered innocents. The idea of a Palestinian state was abhorrent to many. Israel had leaders at the time who would not publicly or privately consider the idea of a divided Jerusalem. Begin and even Rabin were effective leaders. The Israelis under Begin began to settle the great biblical homeland en masse (coordinated by none other than Ariel Sharon).

 Jerusalem was new again.

 But as the most effective weapon of the terrorists — perseverance — proved, international resolve inevitably weakened. The Arabs do one thing very well: whine without ceasing.

 As Arab dictators continued to let refugees cook in the stew of squalid camps, whispers began that there should be “justice” for the Palestinians. The election of Jimmy Carter in the U.S. brought in a host of disasters, not the least of which was his embrace of the Arab world.

 Over time, we came to the point where negotiations were opened between Israel and the Palestinians. And in the past 15 years, we have progressed to the point that Jerusalem is now “on the table.” That courtesy of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Now, the division of Jerusalem is openly discussed, even encouraged.

 All this brings Zechariah into focus. The latter chapters of that prophetic book spotlight Jerusalem as (one could say inexplicably) a major focus of the world powers in the last days.

 If you have been paying attention for the last 20 years, you know that pressure on Jewish Jerusalem has intensified in perhaps five-year increments. Until the last few years. Now the tightening pressure is felt every month, every week, every day.

 For murder, incitement, and squandered opportunities, the Palestinians need to be rewarded with a state and a capital in east Jerusalem, so say the experts. We see principled Israeli leaders like Bibi Netanyahu sound the alarm. There is a race on to lay claim to the holy city.

 All this is truly remarkable.

 Another key sign of the times is the falling away of heretofore friends of Israel, among the nations.

 Turkey has always been a key player among the modern nations of the Middle East. A strategic ally of the U.S., home to bases and diplomats, Turkey has made slow progress into the family of nations.

 However, during Vice President Cheney’s recent visit, vicious Islamist protests were held. In the city of Sakarya, the group Islamist Anatolia Youth Organization (AGD) demonstrated, chanting “Death to Israel!” and like phrases directed at the U.S. Those nations’ flags were burned and a barbaric call to holy war was sent forth.

 Chillingly, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was director of the AGD before becoming prime minister of Istanbul! This is a clear signal that many of the so-called moderates in the region are anything but.

 By the way, the report above was provided by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute — a group you should consider supporting).

 We can easily see that what today is friendship and peace can turn into something else altogether tomorrow. The diabolical alliance of the last days that seeks to strangle Israel could come into focus very quickly.

 Evil is flexing its muscles, but so is good. This is the exciting paradox we can all witness in these uncertain days. It is obvious that Islamist forces believe Allah has brought them to the brink of victory over the hated Jews.

But just today I spoke to an Israeli friend by phone and realized once again that this is no ordinary people. My friend is well-placed, educated, sober, with a wry sense of humor. Just listening to him talk gives me confidence that whenever the end does come, it will be quite different from the deranged fantasies of the Arabs.

My friend chooses to live in Israel, although he could live anywhere and prosper. He lives within sight of the Old City. He is not overtly religious, even appearing secular. But I suspect something else under the surface. He knows why he’s there. He knows how Israel has survived. He knows.

Islamist Nureddin Sirin said at the Sakarya rally, “The day is nearing, when the Zionist cancer virus, this tumor, will be eliminated.”

The day is nearing, indeed.

Jim Fletcher is a member of the executive committee of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI). He can be reached at