Israel is the key to all end-time prophecy.

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Dec 31

Dateline Jerusalem - Jim Fletcher

The More Things Stay the Same, the More They Change

Before a stroke incapacitated him, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon indicated that the long-standing threat to Israel, from Iraq, was essentially over due to the American invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime.

This assessment should serve as a warning to observers of international events. It illustrates again so clearly why we must base our worldviews on the Bible, and look to it as a final authority.

There are plenty of biblical references to a future invasion of Israel. The Gog/Magog scenario, given in such fascinating detail in Ezekiel, is one of the most famous. We know that some type of coalition will form with the intention of wiping out the Jewish state. The revelation that God will put a “hook” in the jaws of the leader, Gog, and turn him around to focus on Israel is quite interesting. It seems to mitigate against the idea that a Russian leader will have an invasion plan in place for a long time. It seems at least that this will come into his mind relatively late.

In any event, we should guard against relaxing whenever it appears Israel and the U.S. have “allies” in the region. Regional geopolitics can change literally overnight.

I hope no one believes that Iraq is an ally of Israel. Once the Americans leave — whether the Iraqis have a stable government or something less concrete — the Muslim Iraqis are a long way from relations with the Jewish state. Perhaps not as belligerent as the clownish (but barbaric) Saddam, but always a potential enemy. No doubt Sharon’s public statements were more diplomatic in nature and not an indication of what that wily general/statesman knew from personal experience with the Arabs.

If Iraq becomes relatively stable, that can change in the blink of an eye. Military coups are the norm in Iraq’s recent history.

My dear, late friend David Lewis was prophetic in his view that the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty had a chance to hold for a long time. It has, in the sense that there have been no wars between Israel and Egypt in decades.

That relationship is the exception, however. Jordan’s King Abdullah could go the way of his grandfather, who was assassinated on the Temple Mount, after emerging from the Al-Aksa Mosque. We’ve discussed Iraq. Western-friendly Lebanese leaders have been assassinated for decades, keeping Lebanon as a threat to Israel from the north.

Now we come to the grotesque assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Murdered by a terrorist during a political rally near Islamabad, Bhutto passes from the scene and leaves chaos.

As the only Muslim nation with nukes, Pakistan is every bit the nightmare for the West that Iran is. Mussharaf, the strongman who was threatened by American diplomats in the wake of 9/11, is an ally in the sense Joseph Stalin was an ally. He does produce “stability” in that Pakistan’s military and its nuclear weapons have not fallen into the hands of outright terrorists.

But Bhutto’s assassination shows just how clearly perceived allies can become enemies. Just how quickly things can change.

It doesn’t take a prophet to see that Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan, and others could become overtly hostile to Israel, quickly.

Yet all this is another confirmation that God is in control, if we keep our eyes on the Bible.

Once the Ezekiel invasion of Israel occurs, it is said that God destroys almost the entire invading force. This happens as soon as the army reaches the mountains of Israel.

The eastern face of the mountains of Israel (what the world knows as the West Bank) is a steep, 3,000-foot ascent. The western slope is a more gentle, 2,000-foot descent. In other words, an army invading from the east, if it can navigate the eastern slopes, has a cakewalk to the population bread-basket of Israel, sweeping through the coastal plain where most Israelis live. A successful invasion would spell the end of Israel.

The Bible, however, tells us something that David Lewis loved to repeat endlessly: Israel will survive while her enemies will die.

Praise the Lord that we live in such momentous times, and that because of our faith, we do not have to fear the future. We know what will happen, even as events change daily.

Keep your eyes on God’s Word.

Jim Fletcher is a member of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI). He can be reached at jim1fletcher@yahoo.com