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2016 was a memorable year in many ways. For the Western establishment elite it was particularly bewildering because of the outcome of two democratic votes. “Popularism” seems to be taking the blame both for the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union and for the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the USA. My purpose in this article is to consider if both these two votes will ultimately be considered insignificant when compared with another which happened just before much of the world turned its attention to the Christmas and New Year holidays? Given its timing, I suspect few will have paused to ponder the long-term implications of this third vote, the decisions which led up to it and those which will be taken in response to it.
The vote in question was taken in the Security Council of the United Nation on 23rd December 2016. Resolution 2334 primarily concerns Jewish settlements such as those in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, describing them as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also condemns acts of violence against civilians including terrorism, provocation and destruction, which some see as aimed at Palestinians. Overall, the resolution declared on-going support for the “two-state solution” which has proved unworkable because of the opposition to Israel’s existence in many Islamic societies. The press coverage allotted to this resolution just before the holiday season was prompted not so much by its content, but by the failure of the USA to use its ability to veto the resolution as it has normally done for many years. Some asked if this was another attempt by President Obama to leave a mark which his successor, Donald Trump, will find hard to erase. To me it seems one of a series of reckless actions by an incredibly weak President desperate to advance what he believes to be the establishment’s agenda in the final weeks of his Administration. It seems to me that in making the decision not to veto the UN resolution, Obama behaved much like Haman, the villain of the Old Testament book of Esther, who for personal pride sought the destruction of the Jews.
The purpose of this article is not to discuss the political rights and wrongs of Israel’s settlements policy. Something much more important is at stake here. Whatever the legal status of the settlements, I suggest Israel’s government lacks wisdom at this present time, and by allowing the building of new settlements, they enable their nation’s opponents to distort the reality of the situation. Whilst Resolution 2334 and US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech five days later both made reference to the Palestinian authorities’ responsibilities, both have been widely regarded as focussing on Israel as the major blockage to peace, with new settlements being the reason cited. The day after the vote the Guardian reported that in response to the passing of this “shameful resolution”, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said “Israel would reassess its ties with the UN”. It was this comment which prompted me to ask the question posed in the title of this essay.
In reality, the pointing of the diplomatic finger takes the focus off the long-standing root of the problem between Israel and its neighbours. This is convenient for many because they do not want to face up to the reasons why Israel has, since its re-establishment, been unable to live at peace with the countries which surround it. Often, as in Kerry’s speech, the conflict has been described both as an Israeli-Palestinian one and as an Israeli-Arab one – the latter by way of acknowledgement that it is not just Palestinians who have sought the elimination of Israel. The truth is that neither of these get to the root of why these nations are against Israel, nor do they accurately describe the attitudes of the whole populations said to be in conflict with Israel. There is a Christian minority amongst the Palestinians, many of whom are themselves living in fear, who do not hate Israel. Neither do all Arabs share the same world-view as their racial peers. It is politically correct laziness to avoid the real heart of this conflict by focussing on the nationality or the ethnic origins of Israel’s enemies. This conflict is in fact between those with an Islamic (some would prefer me to say Islamist) mind-set and a people for whom their Prophet developed a deep hatred.
To understand the roots of this conflict one has to acknowledge what have become two fundamental doctrines of Islam. These are both clearly expressed in the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement published on 18 August 1988 – a copy is available on Yale Law School’s, Avalon Project website here (this is the source for my quotations below). The Islamic Resistance Movement is better known as Hamas and has been the ruling organisation in Gaza since 2007. Under international pressure Hamas spokespersons have been ambivalent concerning their Covenant’s continuing importance. Secular politicians, who hope such religious ideologies will fade under their pressure, should note however the Covenant’s own comments on compromise. Speaking about its relationship with the then Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Article Twenty-Seven, the Covenant states:
“Because of the situations surrounding the formation of the Organisation [PLO], of the ideological confusion prevailing in the Arab world as a result of the ideological invasion under whose influence the Arab world has fallen since the defeat of the Crusaders and which was, and still is, intensified through orientalists, missionaries and imperialists, the Organisation [PLO] adopted the idea of the secular state. And that it how we view it.
“Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conduct and decisions stem from ideologies.” [Emphasis mine]
I believe the short highlighted paragraph is accurate in any context, not just in regard to Islam. In this light Western politicians need to remember that Islamic culture is very different to a world-view which has been shaped through contact with Christianity. The Muslim doctrines of Taqiyya and Kitman, described by some as “lying to unbelievers” (summarised here), are no doubt obscuring whether or not the present day leadership of Hamas has abandoned the convictions of its founders.
Amongst those founding principles are two important Islamic doctrines which must be recognised as having profound influence on the ongoing Islamic-Jewish conflict. The first of these is expressed initially in Article Seven, the last three paragraphs of which read:
The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Moslem Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Moslem Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Moslem Brotherhood in 1968 and after.
Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
The source of the final paragraph is a hadith attributed to Muhammad; Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985. This hadith is often quoted in justification for Muslims' long-standing hatred of Jews. This can be traced to the point in Muhammad’s life when he realised that the Jewish community in Medina were not prepared to accept him as the Prophet whom Moses had promised would come. There is a change in tone in the Qur’an between the sections written early in Muhammad’s life and those which were penned later. The contrast between the words of the early and later chapters (suras) is so pronounced that Islamic scholars speak of the principle of abrogation. These differences do not simply concern attitudes to Jews (and Christians), but cover a variety of themes. An article on AnsweringIslam.org called “The Problem of Abrogation in the Quran” written by ex-Muslim Farooq Ibrahim also highlights gambling and alcohol amongst the topics where the Qur’an contains contradictory statements.
Western secularists often quote from the earlier passages of the Qur’an when they seek to define Islam as a “religion of peace”, and in so doing fail to engage with fundamental changes in Islamic doctrine brought about by the later passages. There is no such confusion in the Hamas Covenant; their position is made clear in the Introduction:
Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.
This identifies not only a deep-seated hatred of Jews amongst the founders of Hamas, but also their belief that this is a hatred which all serious Muslims will embrace. The above is a call to all in the Islamic world to join with them in their struggle. This then is the first issue which must be recognised by Western politicians if they are to correctly understand the roots of the Islamic-Jewish conflict. It existed before the Israeli settlements began, it existed before 1948 and before what has been described as the First Aliyah (‘going up’) in 1882-1903. Its roots reach back fourteen centuries to that time in Medina when the Jews refused to recognise Muhammad as their promised prophet because he was not a descendant of David.
The second important point illustrated by the Hamas Covenant concerning the Islamic world-view is the status of the land which the Romans called Palestina over sixty years after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Article Eleven states:
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?
This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement.
Again secular Westernised politicians fail to appreciate the significance of this conviction. An Islamic Waqf is a covenant under which possessions are dedicated to Allah. According to the Awqaf SA website, “In shari’ah, a Waqf is a voluntary, permanent, irrevocable dedication of a portion of ones wealth – in cash or kind – to Allah. Once a waqf, it never gets gifted, inherited, or sold. It belongs to Allah and the corpus of the waqf always remains intact.” Article Eleven details when Palestine (described as Syria) was dedicated to Allah:
It happened like this: When the leaders of the Islamic armies conquered Syria and Iraq, they sent to the Caliph of the Moslems, Umar bin-el-Khatab, asking for his advice concerning the conquered land - whether they should divide it among the soldiers, or leave it for its owners, or what? After consultations and discussions between the Caliph of the Moslems, Omar bin-el-Khatab and companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, it was decided that the land should be left with its owners who could benefit by its fruit. As for the real ownership of the land and the land itself, it should be consecrated for Moslem generations till Judgement Day. Those who are on the land, are there only to benefit from its fruit. This Waqf remains as long as earth and heaven remain. Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void.
Syria in the above should not be confused with the small country which is torn apart by war today; by Syria Hamas means the Greater Syria of the Ottoman Empire – see this map on Wikipedia.
The ownership of this disputed stretch of land is also affected by the Islamic teachings of dar al-islam and dar al-harb. These are commonly referred to as the House of Islam and House of War respectively and both are concerned with the territorial nature of Islam. Muhammed believed that Islam was destined to expand throughout the world, and taught his followers to pursue this aim. Initially, it was only those lands surrounding Muslim territory which were required as dar al-harb, but today it is applied more widely. Any country which is not under Sharia Law is considered by some Muslims as part of the House of War. The principle of waqf, as explained in Article Eleven, applies to any territory conquered by Islam in the past. This makes those places no longer under Islamic rule the prime objectives in the fight against unbelievers.
Another important aspect of this area’s history is made clear in Articles Fourteen & Fifteen of the Covenant; that Palestine, and Jerusalem in particular, has a high religious significance in Islam. This is put forward as further justification not only for Hamas’ struggle against those they call “Zionists”, but also to summon every other Muslim to join them in their Jihad to return the whole of the land to Islamic rule under Sharia Law. Article Thirty-Three urges the Arab and Islamic peoples, their governments, popular and official groupings, to:
...back and support it [the Islamic Resistance Movement], as Allah wants them to, extending to it more and more funds till Allah’s purpose is achieved when ranks will close up, fighters join other fighters and masses everywhere in the Islamic world will come forward in response to the call of duty while loudly proclaiming: Hail to Jihad. Their cry will reach the heavens and will go on being resounded until liberation is achieved, the invaders vanquished and Allah’s victory comes about.
In Britain there has been much debate about how to refer to today’s most prominent Islamic terrorist organisation. There is political resistance to the title “Islamic State”, whilst the more obscure “Daesh” is not popular with the media. “IS” has become the popular short form in preference to the longer “ISIS” standing for “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”, whilst in the USA the name “ISIL” (derived from “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”) was originally used to identify this group. “What’s in a name?” you may be wondering. I have already mentioned that we think today of the war-torn nation to the north of Jordan as Syria, but to the Islamic mind Syria is the whole of the region encompassing Jordan as well as Israel. Levant was a word initially unfamiliar to me; whilst it refers to the Ottoman Greater Syria, historically it also included land westwards from there, i.e. present day Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey and parts of Greece. In 2013 IS initially adopted the Arabic title, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shāmi, but fifteen month later embraced the shorter ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah – simply meaning Islamic State. Iraq transliterates directly into English, but ash-Shām presents more of a problem. In November 2015 the Washington Post offered this definition of Levant (ash-Shām) in the group’s title, “While people disagree as to its exact boundaries, it’s generally understood to encompass at least part or all of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon.” In case you are wondering, the same article correctly identifies Daesh as “simply the Romanization of an acronym in Arabic for exactly the same words as underly [sic] ISIS.”
What we must appreciate therefore is that there has been no real change of emphasis since the early days of the PLO and Hamas, through Al-Qaeda to the present day Islamic State. I have clear memories of TV news coverage of celebrations amongst Palestinians in response to the 9/11 attack in the USA – see this New York Sun article from 2006 for an archive of some of the statements made in Hamas’ official press outlets’ coverage of the attacks – How Hamas Greeted 9/11. Today it is worth remembering that it is not just the attacks on Israel’s citizens which stem from Islam seeing Allah’s land violated by the creation of the Jewish State, but almost every Islamic terror attack traces its roots back to that event. Every time we hear of yet another terrorist attack in Israel, Europe, Africa, the USA and many more places, Christians should remember that we are witnessing prophecy being fulfilled. Zechariah is a prophet we will return to later, but for now let us remember that he was the one to announce The LORD’s promise that one day He would “make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured.” (12:3) John Kerry has failed to appreciate this Biblical truth.
To answer the question posed in the title of this article, I now need to turn your attention to the other side of the Jerusalem coin. To do this I provide a brief review of Jewish history. About four thousand years ago God promised a man called Abram that he would become the father of a multitude too large to number, and that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed. (Gen. 12:2, 17:1-14 & 22:16-18) The terror encompassing many nations today seems a long way from that second promise, but we should note that these passages also include a commitment to give Abram’s descendants a land to live in – a land whose borders are the same as much of the present day Levant. Whilst the Jews are proud to be the descendants of Abraham, they are more frequently known by the name of his grandson Jacob. Jacob was the second son of Abraham’s second son Isaac, a twin who struggled with his brother Esau in their mother’s womb and on into their later years. Jacob grasped at Esau’s heel as he was being born, and The LORD allowed him to wrest Esau’s older brother’s blessing from him, because Esau did not value this as he should have done. This led to the brothers parting ways, and they were not to see one other again until after they had established families, Jacob having decided to return home after contending for years with his uncle over his wives and his wages. Jacob’s life to this point is detailed in Gen. 27-31.
Even though The LORD had blessed Jacob through the intervening years and revealed that His angels were camped around him, Jacob was very anxious at the thought of meeting his brother again. In Gen. 32 we read of him dividing his family into two groups so that he might at least keep one part if Esau attacked the other. Though he prayed for God’s protection (v9-12), he continued to scheme about ways he he might win over his brother, sending his servants on ahead with presents for Esau. When he was finally left alone, a stranger came and wrestled with him and Jacob fought with him for the rest of the night, unaware that this man came from the angelic camp which The LORD had shown him earlier. This stranger sought to conclude the fight by putting Jacob’s hip out of joint, but Jacob clung on to his opponent refusing to let him go. He demanded that the man bless him before he left. The man then said to him, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” v28. In Hebrew, Jacob means ‘heel-catcher’ or ‘one who supplants another’, whilst Israel means ‘prince or ruler with God ’.
What we often overlook is that this encounter with God changed not only this man’s name but also his abilities. The account includes these observations: when “the sun rose on him, he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.” (v31-32) It seems very probable then that since his muscle had withered, Israel would limp for the rest of his life! This man who was strong in many ways, but whose faith was weak when it came to meeting Esau, now had an outward sign of his spiritual frailty. It did not prevent him however from being the prince God called him to be nor from becoming the father of the Jews, who are still known as Israel. Nevertheless, his limp is not as insignificant as we might assume. It finds an echo in the words of Elijah the prophet almost a thousand years later. Faced with another episode of gross unbelief in Israel, Elijah told the unbelieving king Ahab to gather all Israel to meet him at Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18) The prophet then demanded, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions?” (v21 RSV) In context this was a challenge for them to worship either The LORD or Baal, but this was not the first time Israel had found itself limping between two opinions. In this they were just like their father Jacob, a significance which should not be overlooked.
Once the newly named Israel had settled back in the land promised to his grandfather Abraham, things went well until his twelve sons became jealous of one of their number – Joseph, who dreamt that one day he would be their ruler. In their anger the brothers sold him as a slave into Egypt. The LORD raised Joseph from that lowly place to be governor of Egypt second only to the Pharaoh. As a result of a famine which Joseph had foretold, his brothers did indeed visit Egypt and unknowingly bowed down before him. Soon he had to reveal to them who he actually was. When Israel eventually died, Joseph had to reassure his brothers with these words, “And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Gen. 50) Before that point his father Israel and all his family had moved down to Egypt to join Joseph, who provided for them. There this family of around one hundred foreigners flourished, and over the next two hundred years or so they became a threat to their hosts, who had forgotten all about Joseph and how he had saved Egypt. The Egyptians began to mistreat the Israelites and made them their slaves. They treated them so badly that the Israelites called upon The LORD to rescue them. (Ex 2:23-25) God had been preparing for this day by taking one from among them, Moses, through life in both an Egyptian palace and a desert pasture. Most readers of this article will be familiar with the account of how Moses returned to Egypt and how, after a series of plagues, the Pharaoh of the day reluctantly allowed over two million Israelites to leave.
One might imagine that having been rescued from the tyranny of Egypt, the Israelites would be overcome with gratitude towards their God. However, their appreciation of Him did not last very long and through the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers we read of them limping through the wilderness, frequently grumbling about God’s care of them. They also built a golden calf to worship, calling it by His name (Ex 34) and we discover later through Amos that they carried pagan idols with them throughout their journey. (Amos 5:25-26) Once Joshua took over from Moses, the casual reader may think the situation improved, though the actions of Achan (Josh 7) remind us that unbelief was still to be found in Israel. This unbelief did not go unnoticed, and in an oft misquoted part of his final speech to the whole nation, (Josh 24:13-28) Joshua accused them of still being far from wholehearted towards The LORD:
Now therefore, fear The LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve The LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve The LORD. (v14-15)
“Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to The LORD God of Israel.” (v23 emphasis mine)
With their mouths they gave the impression that they had heard Joshua, but the next phase of their history is a very depressing one. It is in the book of Judges where we are repeatedly told, “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” For over four hundred years Israel hobbled along, repeatedly failing to take their God seriously. Consequently they were overrun by their enemies several times, each cycle of oppression ending when they called upon Him to rescue them – which He did. The last Judge of this period was Eli the priest, and it was during his 40 year leadership that The LORD prepared the prophet Samuel to lead His people. After twenty years under Samuel’s leadership the people, fearing being ruled by Samuel’s sons, complained again saying, “Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Sam 8) Samuel took this personally, but The LORD reassured him saying, “for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” As we shall see, this became an important turning point in Israel's relationship with their God.
Anyone with a basic knowledge of their next five hundred years will know that despite God giving Israel many kings, they failed to love Him as they should. If a particular king feared The LORD the people would do the same, but their fickleness was soon revealed when a king who did not listen to The LORD came to the throne. Even when the nation was split into two kingdoms, they continued to limp between obedience and unbelief, which is when Elijah confronted them. Such duplicity could not continue, and by the time of Jeremiah even Judah was ripe for the level of judgement which Israel had been warned about in Leviticus 26. God raised up “His servant” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to take them captive and remove them from the land – just as He had warned them. After seventy years there, a period which fulfilled both the terms of Lev. 26 and Jeremiah’s later prophecy (Jer 25:11, Jer 29:10 & 2 Chron 36:21) The LORD made it possible for them to return to the land He had allocated to them. As far as we know this period of exile finally delivered them from idolatry, but it did not turn their hearts fully towards their God. Even when the call to return home came, many stayed in Babylon.
When Jesus began His ministry, it was amongst the common people that He found favour. The vast majority of the nation's religious leaders rejected Him completely. It is only in recent years that I have begun to understand how firmly Jesus confronted them – we tend to read the Gospels with a ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ tint to our glasses. With the religious leaders He was anything but gentle, meek or mild. In John’s Gospel the arguments with them escalated after He sought out a paralysed man and healed him on a Sabbath! Jesus must have known in advance how they would react but still chose to cut across their religious sensitivities. In the ensuing exchange with them (John 5:15-47) Jesus was extremely blunt. He told them plainly, “you do not have the love of God in yourselves.” (v42); “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (v44); “The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me.” (v45-46) Perhaps healing a man who could not walk was a reminder that they needed collective healing of the limp they had had since leaving Egypt, and had brought back with them from Babylon.
I used to be under the impression that it was only towards the end of His ministry that Jesus tore into these religious hypocrites, accusing them of honouring His Father with their lips whilst their hearts were far from Him. (Matt 15:1-9 & Isa 29:9-15). I had long thought that His sarcastic rebuke of them in Matt 23 was very powerful, but now I realise this was only a part of his final warning and prophetic denunciation of their collective unbelief. Much of the week leading up to His death was spent warning Israel and its religious leaders in particular that they were about to reap the unbelief which they and their fathers had repeatedly sown. From the moment He entered the Temple, Jesus began to warn them that “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you.” It is no wonder that after a barrage of pointed parables aimed in their direction, Israel’s religious leaders sought to find a way to silence Him. Jesus concluded His public warnings with a specific warning to Jerusalem:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of The LORD!’” (Matt 23:34-39 – emphasis mine)
How did these influential men react? We know that they didn’t repent, for they insisted that Pilate, the Roman Governor, execute Him. One part of that encounter has particular significance. John records how Jesus was delivered by the Jewish religious establishment to Pilate, the civil authority, and how Pilate questioned Jesus about the claim that He was the King of the Jews. (John 18 & 19) Pilate, it seems, satisfied himself that this man was no threat to the Roman Empire because he told the crowd that he “found no fault in Him” (19:6) and later sought to release Him (v12). On the first of these appearances Pilate presented Jesus to the crowd with the words, “ Behold the Man!”, but on the second he declared, “Behold your King!” We read that in response to this the chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” (v15). Though Pilate succumbed to their demand and authorised Jesus’ execution, he was adamant about the wording of the accusation to be placed above Him. Despite their pleas to change it, Pilate insisted and in Greek, Latin and Hebrew the inscription stated, “The King of the Jews”.
Let me take you back at this point to that incident which had so disturbed the prophet Samuel around a thousand years previously. Israel had demanded a king so that they could be like the nations around them. The LORD had told Samuel that it was Him not the prophet whom they were rejecting by asking for an earthly king. Since then they had stumbled along spiritually, as Israel their father had done physically, double-minded in their attitude to their God, ready to forget Him when it suited them, but calling out to Him when He handed them over to their enemies. But once again Israel was cornered – those who should be the head and not the tail (Deut. 28) were now being wagged by Roman invaders! It was in response to this awful state of affairs that some had turned to armed resistance, whilst others, like the Pharisees, had argued for a religious revival and a return to strict legalism. In this political corner Jesus had offered them a third way – to humble their hearts before His Father and return to Him in repentance for their stubborn unbelief. From the outset He had proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:15) His message however fell on the deaf ears of the majority of the religious leaders. Now they were enraged when this Roman Governor suggested that this upstart from Galilee was their king. At that very moment the leaders of Israel fully and publicly rejected The LORD as their king, bringing to fruit the unbelief their forefathers had sown when they first demanded a human king of their own! When offered His Son as king, they opted instead to confess allegiance to a non-Jewish, pagan emperor as their only king!
Jesus knew in advance where their unbelief would lead, which is why He had warned about the destruction of the temple. It is also why He had told them that the kingdom of God was soon to be taken away from them. History records the terrible events of the following decades. Not only did the God whom they had spurned take away from them the spiritual kingdom, He also evicted them from His land for their gross unbelief. Since then the majority of their descendants have been unwelcome guests in other countries. They have been frequently persecuted and driven from one country after another. Yet through all this they have survived, with many retaining their ethnic and cultural identities and a few still seeking to be completely orthodox in practising what they believe to be their religion. The last two millennia have indeed been a time of great trouble for the descendants of Israel, the prince who limped.
In the nineteenth century things began to change for the Jewish diaspora. Both within the Church and in national political circles, The LORD began to open the eyes of many to the truth that He had promised to return the nation of Israel at some point to the land from which He had ejected them. In the Church, which had for many centuries embraced one form of replacement theology or another thus condemning the “obnoxious” Jews to an eternal, spiritual dung heap, some began to see within the Scriptures the many prophetic promises that The LORD still had a purpose for the Jews. They had rejected The LORD, but He had only disciplined them, not abandoned them completely. The future of the Jews became a much discussed topic amongst politicians. The possibility of creating a homeland for them was even debated in the British Parliament. Such discussions paved the way for the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 (almost a hundred years ago), which made public the British Government’s support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This led to the League of Nations entrusting the United Kingdom with the Palestine Mandate in 1922. Fifteen years later, in 1937, the British government abandoned its support for a Jewish homeland, unwittingly locking a door which would result in the slaughter of a vast number of European Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.
God’s momentum however was not thwarted by British double-mindedness. The death of six million Jews ensured that the United Nations voted in November 1947 (thirty years after the Balfour Declaration) to divide Palestine so that a Jewish national homeland could be created there. President Truman’s administration in the USA supported the establishment of a Jewish state, and this helped to maintain the international political will to see this though. Behind it all though, we can be confident that it was God’s hand which was ruling over the affairs of men. As Nebuchadnezzar discovered whilst he was entrusted with hosting exiled Israel, “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.” (Dan 4)
Here we must pause and ask whether this people were restored to the land because they had learned their lesson through centuries of oppression or for some other reason. First, let us recall that when they originally crossed over the River Jordan, it was not because they had been full of faith on the way there that The LORD permitted them to possess the land. As we have already noted, they had complained all the way through and extended their journey time by forty years through their unbelief. Similarly, we read of no national revival which prepared the way for them to return from captivity in Babylon. We only know of one man, Daniel, who having read the prophetic Scriptures humbled himself before God and asked Him to fulfil His promise to restore Israel after it had served the decreed seventy years in exile. (Dan 9) In the same way there were no signs of Israel turning back to its God en masse – in spite of the horrors of the Holocaust – thus paving the way for their restoration to the land which The LORD had promised them. In one of Ezekiel’s prophecies from Babylon (36:16-38) concerning Israel's return from exile, The LORD made clear why He would take them back to Jerusalem:
Then the word of The LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. Therefore, I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. Also I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of The LORD; yet they have come out of His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.
Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says The Sovereign LORD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am The LORD,” declares The Sovereign LORD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.”’
In the first place this passage seems to be predicting the reason for their return from Babylon. However, the repeated use of the plural “nations” suggests that this is a promise which also, and perhaps primarily, applies to their later return from international dispersion. I believe that, in accordance with this prophecy, we can be confident that the reason the nation of Israel was able to be re-established in 1948, was not because because they merited being restored to The LORD’s land, but for the sake of His name and to fulfil His purposes. In the section quoted above and even more clearly in its entirety, this prophecy promised to restore them fully to Him with a new heart and a new spirit. There is no possibility that this was fulfilled when they returned from exile in Babylon for He also asserted, “Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, The LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate.” (v36). This is clearly still not the case, or there would be no Islamic-Jewish conflict! Now, just as when they returned from Babylon, their recent restoration has been accomplished despite their ongoing unbelief. If therefore we have seen the first part of this prophecy accomplished relatively recently, when will the latter part be fulfilled?
1948 is a year which saw a remarkable thing happen, something which had not been known before. At sunset on 14 May, a new nation was recognised by the United Nations. This fulfilled part of a prophecy in Isa 66, but not all of it. In v8 we read, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once?”, whilst in v12 The LORD promised, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream.” Thus far we have not witnessed the commitments of this section coming to pass. Perhaps one of the saddest things about the re-establishment of the Jewish State was that those who campaigned for its establishment could not bring themselves to mention the name of Israel’s God in the formal Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. They may have thought that this would be addressed in the promised written constitution, but almost seventy years later no such document has been produced. Consequently it is generally agreed that modern Israel is a secular state, built on secular foundations.
I do not wish to discuss here why this state of affairs continues, but rather to highlight its significance especially when linked to some of the Biblical events I have mentioned above. The LORD said that in asking for a human king Israel had rejected Him but, as we have noted, they subsequently limped along for centuries in double-mindedness towards Him. The dynamic of their relationship with Him was significantly altered when, on the day that Jesus Christ was executed, the religious leaders of Israel publicly declared, “We have no king but Caesar!” To date there has been no national repentance for this act of blasphemy. Could this be what their God is waiting for before He is able to extend peace to Jerusalem – and to Israel as a nation?
When Daniel prayed for the return of Israel from Babylon He also prayed for Jerusalem, asking, “For your sake, O Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary.” (9:17) He was not only looking for the return of his people to the land, but also for the fulfilment of prophecies such as “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of The LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of The LORD, to Jerusalem.” (Jer 3:17) For many centuries Jews have believed that when their Messiah comes, He will rule the world from Jerusalem and establish a universal peace – hence the reason why Jesus was not the type of king they were looking for. Daniel, it seems, expected this not just for God’s people, but also for the city which was (and is) known by The LORD’s name. Imagine his surprise then when the angelic messenger sent to tell him his intercessions had been heard said concerning Jerusalem, that it would “be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble” and “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” (Dan 9:25-27 NIV) Many Christians concentrate on the meanings of the “weeks” mentioned in this passage and consequently overlook other details in this revelation to Daniel. Jerusalem was not going to become the global capital of the Messiah at the time Israel returned there. Even more devastating for this prophet was the information that it would need defences (a trench) because there would be war in the streets of Jerusalem through to “the end”. Past and recent history both bear this out. From 1920 onwards there had been repeated attacks on the Jews who lived in Palestine. Independence did not bring these to an end. Besides continual terrorist attacks, Israel has had to defend itself in a series of ‘conventional’ wars launched by its Arab/Moslem neighbours – the War of Independence (1948-1949), the Sinai/Suez War (1956), the Six-Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973). All these have been interspersed with continual terrorism and repeated Intifadas. Why might this be?
The book of Zechariah ends with three chapters, 12-14, which require careful study. I can only comment on key points here, but I encourage you to read them in full. They begin with a clear statement of intent:
Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. “In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.”
Today, we see this being fulfilled every time Israel is mentioned in the media. Today, it is a cup of reeling to the nations which surround it. Today, Jerusalem is a heavy stone around the neck of every nation because it has been the catalyst for the rise in militant Islam and the global terrorism it advocates. Nations which have told Israel to put up with the violence of its neighbours now find themselves being injured by the weight of that stone. Yet through seven decades of violent aggression Israel has not been eradicated. Their continued existence against such odds is witness against the false doctrine that only the fittest survive. Attacks with tanks, planes, rockets and more recently trucks, have all failed. I suggest that this is the modern equivalent of horses being struck with blindness! Notice too that Scripture is unambiguous in stating that all the nations of the earth will be gathered against Jerusalem. The day has not yet come when Israel finds itself without a single ally, but come it will!
Later Zechariah’s prophecy continues (12:9ff):
It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
We should note that the end of those who attack Israel is already determined, but I want to focus on what The LORD promises to Israel when it finds itself under such great pressure. God promised to pour upon them a spirit of repentance – He will do a work in this nation which will turn them back to Him. Paul wrote to Timothy urging him to remember that those who opposed him could only repent if The LORD enabled them to do so. (2 Tim 2:25) Similarly, Israel desperately needs to repent of its unbelief, but can only do so when The LORD grants this to them. Through Jeremiah He has promised them that “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13) No one can seriously question that modern Israel remains at present a long way from earnestly seeking its God.
The late Lance Lambert pointed out that the Hebrew commonly translated in this section as “look on” or “look upon” the One whom they pierced, can equally be rendered “look unto”. He believed this alternative translation makes sense in the light of Matt 23:39 quoted above. Young also, in his Literal Translation, took this approach. More important is the prophetic description of who they will look unto – the One whom they pierced. This can be none other than Jesus Christ, the One they rejected before Pilate! In looking unto Him they will mourn as if they had lost a firstborn and only son – yet another prophetic allusion to God’s only begotten Son whom they had failed to receive when He told them to repent for God’s Kingdom was close at hand! Could it be that when under so much international pressure, void of any allies, Israel may be forced to look unto the only One they can rely on, the King they so strongly rejected?
At the start of the next chapter of Zechariah, The LORD makes another incredible commitment to Israel, one which remains to be kept:
In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. “It shall be in that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.”
On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus announced in Jerusalem that those who would believe in Him would, as the Scriptures promised, find rivers of living water flowing out of their hearts. In his account John added a note to ensure that his readers were clear that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit when He said this. (John 7:37-39) He is the same fountain The LORD will provide for Israel when they humbly look unto Him. Their repentance and the Holy Spirit’s cleansing will ensure that rebellion and unbelief no longer prevail in their national life.
The final chapter of Zechariah opens with nine verses which describe the return of Jesus to the earth. In part it recaps some events of the previous two chapters whilst adding more detail. When the nations of the world battle against Jerusalem, they seem at first to have some success. At that point Jesus steps in and changes things completely! He touches down, it seems, on the Mount of Olives which is immediately split in two along a line which runs east-west. Initially this provides an escape route for those under siege, but then it also becomes a valley for living waters to flow from Jerusalem. This will take place on a day known only to The LORD – Jesus recognised this in His response to a question from His disciples about His return. (Mk 13:32) The high points of this prophecy for me are where it promises, “Then The LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!” and later, “And The LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day The LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.” This will be a glorious day, a day to which every person on the earth would do well to look forward. (Details of what will happen on that day are found in other parts of Scripture, but it is not my purpose to consider them here .)
In this essay I have sought to outline the nature of the problem faced not simply by Israel but by the whole world as a result of Heaven’s decision to take God’s unrepentant people back to the Land He had kept them out of for almost two thousand years. Despite all the efforts of secular diplomats we will not see peace between Jews and serious-minded Muslims through a two-state solution. As I have reasoned in the first part of this article, that is not an acceptable solution to those who take Islam seriously. Most Jews would accept that solution if they were convinced their Islamic neighbours would sanction a Jewish State in their midst. However much they might be open to the idea of sharing this part of the world, Israel’s leaders have first hand experience of being a hated race seeking to live on an Islamic Waqf. In an Islamic world-view no UN resolution can repeal that dedication to Allah, so no accommodation is possible. No matter what pressures are put on either side, Israel is indeed a diplomatic problem without a solution. One is left to wonder what would have happened in 1947 if the UN had fully understood how deep the roots of this matter actually reached.
It is not only international leaders who need to understand the spiritual implications of the impasse hinging on the status of Jerusalem, which is now well established and affecting many societies around the globe. Historically, the majority of the Church has mistakenly rejected the Jews as the murderers of Christ, and for centuries the doctrine that The Church has replaced Israel in God’s purposes has been prominent. It still prevails in multiple sections of the Christian community, including many charismatic churches. These are the ones teaching that the many Biblical prophecies originally given to Israel have been forfeited by them and can now only be fulfilled through the efforts of a restored Church. I urge those who think in this way to look again at the Scriptures and at history – particularly to consider whether events regularly in the news of our day could be fulfilling prophecies which I have referred to above, and many others.
Since the mid-nineteenth century there have been a growing number of Christians who have come to see that Israel was never discarded by God. However, many who now support Israel also need to reconsider how they understand current events. Historically, Christian support for Israel (Christian Zionism as some label it) has been associated with dispensational theology, which amongst other errors believes that The LORD can only have one people on the earth at any time. This has led to the teaching that the Church must be removed from the earth before Israel can reap a terrible destiny through a short period of unprecedented tribulation. For my purposes here, it suffices to say that I believe this doctrine prevents those who embrace it from understanding what The LORD is doing in Israel and in other nations today. The reason for this is two-fold: first, they see Israel’s suffering of the last two thousand years as nothing compared to that which is come; secondly, they are failing to appreciate the cost of discipleship for themselves in the days leading up to Jesus returning as King.
There is another danger for Christians who see The LORD’s hand at work in restoring Israel to His Land. Whether or not they are dispensational in their convictions, many who support Israel are sentimental in their attitude towards this people. The danger here is that human affection often misleads people into not fully understanding what The LORD has said about His work amongst the Jews in these days. Over the years many Christian supporters of Israel have left me with the impression that they love the Israel of God more than they love the God of Israel. This is idolatry and should be guarded against as a matter of importance. Israel is a people whom The LORD loves but as He has demonstrated in the past, this means that He has had to disciplined them repeatedly, calling them to seek for Him with their whole heart. He is still waiting for them to turn back to Him, and Christians should not fail to pray for the day when Israel will humbly and collectively call upon Him.
An example of how sentiment can mislead us is the way in which many pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This phrase is taken from Psalm 122 which is one of fifteen Songs of Ascents. This one focusses on Jerusalem and the House of The LORD. How we understand this call will determine how we pray for this city, and whether or not we are praying according to the will of God. Many pray for it to be a city of peace now. They pray with hope that Israel will no longer be under threat from its neighbours, yet do so with little awareness that it needs first to be at peace with its God. Scripture should always be understood in its immediate context and that of the whole Bible. The previous verse says of this city, “For thrones are set there for judgement, The thrones of the house of David.” Where else do we read of thrones set up for judgement? One Old Testament reference is Dan 7, where thrones are put in place for the Ancient of Days and for One like the Son of Man to whom was given dominion and glory and a kingdom. In the New Testament this scene is echoed in Rev 4 & 5, where again Jesus takes His place as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, and as a Lamb which appeared to have been killed. Now consider this alongside the passages I have discussed above, which make clear that Jerusalem will have war until its inhabitants look with deep mourning unto the One they pierced. The next time you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, please remember that it is a city which will not know peace until its King, the Prince of Peace, returns to it. Remember too that it was Jesus who prophetically promised its inhabitants that they would not see Him again until they were able to say to Him, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of The LORD.” I invite those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem to join me in praying for the return of its King to rule in peace from Zion, for when He does the Jews will at last gain the universal peace they have long expected their Messiah to establish. (Isa 2:1-5 & Mic 4:1-7)
There is one other challenge which Christians must consider if my assertion that the Islamic-Jewish conflict is fulfilling Biblical prophecy is correct. I am not referring to the angelic prophecy in Gen 16 that Ishmael’s “hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him.” (The Arab nations are regarded as Ishmael’s descendants.) Whilst this does have relevance, the passage I am thinking of is in the New Testament, when Paul told his audience in Athens that their unknown God was the One who “made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God.” (Acts 21) All Bible-believing Christians need to face up to the implications of this passage (and Dan. 4 quoted above) with regard to the Islamic-Jewish conflict. It is so easy to think that periods when Islamic rulers controlled Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine, were years when The LORD was not interested in that land. If He was concerned for Jerusalem in those centuries, one might reason, He would not have allowed the seeds of today’s conflict to be sown during them. Paul made it clear to his audience of pagan intellectuals that His God controlled international affairs, determining when a nation rose to prominence, for how long they ruled, and which territories they controlled. If we believe this, then we need to recognise that it was not by accident that The LORD has twice allowed Islam to rule in what the Crusaders called the Holy Land.
We also need to recognise that unless it were in God’s will, Muhammad could not have established what is essentially an Antichrist religion which would later threaten societies around the world. I do not use the term Antichrist lightly - Islam fulfils John’s criteria for that description far more than the Roman Catholic Church, which many cast in that role. John is the only New Testament author who penned that title – Antichrist appears four times in 1 John and once in 2 John. In 1 John 2, he reminded his readers that Antichrist was coming, and then asserted that “even now many antichrists have come.” (v18). Four verses later we find this definition of an antichrist doctrine: “He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” Islam meets this criteria because the Qur’an teaches that Allah has no son, (Suras 17:111, 18:4-6, 23:91 & 25:2) thus therefore denying both that God is the Father and that Jesus is His Son. Christians will understand the times in which we live far better if they can appreciate that Islam is not an accident which The LORD had no prior knowledge of, and that He knew beforehand why He was going to appoint it to rule over Jerusalem during the centuries that Israel was excluded from it.
Having examined the foundations of this problem which seems diplomatically insoluble, I should now answer the question posed in my title – could Israel withdraw from the United Nations? Given the way it is being portrayed as the guilty party in this dispute, John Kerry’s recent speech being a clear example of this, I believe Israel could well decide to leave the UN. (Should it do so, the practicalities may cause a louder outcry than Brexit is presently doing.) The more difficult question to answer is will Israel walk away from the UN? I simply don’t know. I very much doubt that it will do so whilst Donald Trump remains in post, but given the attempts to discredit him we have already seen, I do not know how long he will survive in power. What I suspect to be very likely is that, just as David Cameron felt compelled to go against Margaret Thatcher’s stand on homosexuality, there will in time arise a President with a political background amongst the liberal elite, who will feel obliged to contradict much of what Trump champions. Much as Obama has sought to do things in the final hours of his Administration which he did not dare to do in the previous eight years, a future President may seek to take the opposite stand to ‘the Donald’ on many matters. If reports that Trump will be a firm ally to Israel are correct, then I would expect one of his successors to quickly become one of its biggest critics. Such a move could easily become a catalyst for Israel’s withdrawal from this one-world government in waiting.
I am in no doubt that in future even more international pressure will come upon Israel, especially as oil-rich Muslim nations along with other violent regimes demand the eradication of Israel from Palestine as the price of Islamic peace with the secular West. The important issue then will be, where Israel looks for help. Will it look to princes, to chariots, to tanks or to Iron Dome rockets? Or will they discover as Psalm 118 reminds them, “It is better to trust in The LORD than to put confidence in man.” I believe that for Israel to walk away from membership of the United Nations, its leaders and people will have to have come to the place where they recognise that there is no hope for them in this council of men. My hope is that in recognising this, they will also understand that The LORD their God, their only true King, is their only hope. I am not sure if an exit from the UN by Israel will precede the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy that The LORD will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem but if it does, Christians who take the Scriptures seriously will be forewarned what the outcome will be. If I am alive on that day I will certainly look up, fully assured that our salvation is drawing very near! (Lu 21:28) Maranatha!
This article was written following the UN Security Council Resolution on 23rd Dec. 2016. I had hoped it might be completed before the Paris Conference on the Middle East on 15th Jan. 2017, but that was not the case. An intriguing chain of events during this period has been the role played by Britain in matters concerning Israel since the Security Council vote. These events did not receive wide coverage either in the British popular media or on the internet.
Not wanting to distract from the main emphasis of this article by including references to more recent developments, I decided to include a footnote so my readers knew I was both aware of them and keenly trying to keep abreast of what has been happening concerning Israel’s future. Conscious that some of my readers may have been unable to keep up with events as they were taking place, I have prepared a separate catalogue with links to relevant news reports and media comments. It can be accessed here.
The list of reports begins with one from 12th Dec. when Theresa May spoke at a lunch held by the Conservative Friends of Israel which some saw as an expression of her strong support for that nation. Eleven days later Britain voted in favour of Resolution 2334. Less than a week after that, the British Prime Minister criticised John Kerry for comments about Israel in his recent speech. But what no one saw coming was the refusal of the British government to have anything more than observer status at the Paris conference. Next, and out of the blue, the UK vetoed an attempt the following day by the French government to get the EU Foreign Affairs Council to adopt the conclusions reached in Paris! “What is happening?” is the only reasonable response for the thinking observer.
In thinking and praying about these events I have been reminded of the first two instances when the Jews sought to kill Jesus, once in his home town (Luke 4:28-30) and once in Jerusalem (John 8:59). In both instances Jesus was able to walk away untouched, but at the time and place of His Father’s appointing He was handed over to his enemies to be killed. It may be that the events of the last month have, like those recorded in Esther, been a pre-emptive attempt to gather every other nation against Israel. However, because The LORD’s time is not right at the moment, He used a replacement British Prime Minister and an American President elect to thwart the Security Council of the ungodly. If this is the case, I hope its supporters do not presume that Israel will not encounter the destiny spelled out by Zechariah – it is still their destiny. What may have been revealed though is why The LORD perplexed so many with the results of the British referendum and the USA Presidential election – not as some have speculated because He intends to make either nation “Christian again”, but for the sake of His purposes through Israel, His historic people.
Copyright Randall Hardy – January 2017
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