This coming May 14, 2023, marks the 75th anniversary of Israel’s beginning as a nation among nations and having sole sovereignty. It has been a continual threat from her surrounding neighbors to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth.
Psalm 83:1-4 tells the story of centuries-old plans to rid the earth of God’s chosen people, the Jews:
“Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult, and those who hate You have lifted up their head.
“They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’”
Currently, Iran has voiced that intention for some time while pushing forward to obtain nuclear capability and wipe them out. Diplomatic negotiations have not stopped Iran’s push for that nuclear power, and it appears that the approaching Gog-Magog war told in Ezekiel 38-39 may be Iran’s final demise.
In Psalm 2, God laughs at their attempts to eliminate the Jewish people, just as Psalm 83 relates it. He says, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall hold them in derision.”
And we see now that God has never forsaken the Israeli people, even though their rejection of their Messiah has brought them great hardship and heartache. Let’s review some of their history.
In Daniel 9, the prophet is deeply drawn to prayer and fasting for his nation Israel, and the angel Gabriel brings him this message:
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself, and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. “
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate” (Daniel 9:24-27).
It is a long quote, but much of the future from that time forward beyond today, even, is found in those prophecies. Briefly, the highlights identify a seven-year period of tribulation is yet in store for Israel. In the first part of the quote is Gabriel’s word from God that seventy weeks of judgment would be required of Israel for their disobediences.
It turns out that it is seventy weeks of years—one week is seven years—and only sixty-nine are accounted for when Christ is crucified. This is the prophecy of the coming seven years of the tribulation, that missing “seventh week.” It is known as “the seventh week of Daniel’s prophecy, which is mysteriously identified when the Antichrist confirms with many a seven-year covenant, as reviewed below. Such a period of time, as in this context, has never happened yet.
Then, a person with a heritage from the Romans who destroyed the city and temple in 70 A.D. appears as a friend of Israel and arranges a seven-year peace treaty for them. Contrary to current thinking, my understanding is that this person of Roman heritage does not have to be a Roman nor an obscure person hardly known in world leadership circles. He will be one readily accepted as having the ability to take charge of world events, just as Daniel’s prophecy indicates.
He will have authority to allow them to rebuild their temple, also. (Surely, he must be their Messiah, right? No, for he abruptly cancels their temple activities and declares himself God, demanding the worship of himself as God.) This is the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” that Jesus foretells will happen in the last days.
While the United States is not mentioned in the Scriptures—after all, America was not discovered until the year 1492, and such names were unknown—so it is possible that Revelation 18’s details of a city called Babylon really foretells what the end will be for the greatest nation of all time. America, with its Declaration of Independence and its Constitutional Republic foundation, is the citadel of freedom.
When “liberty and justice for all,” as its pledge of allegiance to its flag and country proclaims, are turned away and ungodly principles of moral degradation and evilness permeate the culture, that nation’s time left is short.
The focus of events of the last days has always been on Israel and the Middle East, just as Daniel’s prophecies above indicate.
Beginning with the prophecies of Ezekiel, we get a view of how Israel comes into this period known as “the last days.” As was Daniel, Ezekiel was taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar’s armies conquered Jerusalem. His prophecies seem to be focused on Israel, while Daniel’s brought in the secular happenings of the world with their effect on the Jewish people.
Ezekiel 36 brings together God’s promises to scatter Israel into all the nations of the world and then to bring them back to their homeland at a future time. Their disobedience with extreme intentions brought God’s judgment upon them, and He said,
“So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they [of the nations] said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went” (Ezekiel 36:19-21).
The Lord displays His glory as He promises to restore Israel to her land, saying, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went…, and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,’ says the Lord God, ‘when I am hallowed in you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:22-23).
It is interesting how Ezekiel clearly follows Israel’s journey. In Ezekiel 37, he tells of the awakening of the valley of dry bones—Israel’s rebirth illustration. In verses 24-28, he brings again God’s promises of restoration to His favor with an everlasting covenant of peace, not just the seven-year covenant that the Antichrist will provide, according to Daniel 9:27. God’s everlasting covenant seems to be timed to counteract the seven-year one, as Ezekiel’s prophecy matches Daniel’s in their timelines.
Then no more is written there until the prophet writes of the coming Gog-Magog war told of in Ezekiel 38-39. After Israel is reborn, as Ezekiel 37 pictures it, God’s promise is fulfilled, and that 70th week of Gabriel’s announcement—the seven-year tribulation period—must happen. But Ezekiel goes from that war directly to details of the temple in chapter 40 and following.
Unfortunately, their journey, as reported in the account in Old Testament records, tells a sordid story of rebellion, then mercy and restoration, over and over again. As we continue in Part 2, we will learn how this has turned out for the Jewish people. God has never made a promise He did not intend to keep, and He keeps them even though hardship occurs in order to do so.
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org