As We Watch and Wait
The fig tree is blooming and the vultures are circling!
Jesus used these two images to warn the world of the end times. Our 21st century generation is certainly living in the last days of the end times.
“Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near” (Matthew 24:28).
Then Jesus said: “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:32-33).
In the very next verse we read of the phenomenal generation prophecy from Jesus: “I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Verse 34).
The fig tree and vultures are compelling metaphors signaling the return of Messiah in the last (Omega) generation—our generation. But they are more than that. They are images that apply specifically to Israel (fig tree) and also to the nations aligned against Israel (the vultures).
Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption Is Near, Part I & II (posted 7-11 & 7-18-15). The following is an excerpt from Part II; including a list of twelve extraordinary events which have taken place, or are continuing to unfold since the Balfour Declaration of 1917—which laid the foundation for Israel’s rebirth in 1948 (In italics).
What is different now from then is that all twelve have synchronized with a frequency and magnitude never seen before. With intensity that really can’t get much more extreme or enhanced than it already is. Together they have formed a combustible concoction ready to spontaneously ignite. The accumulative impact of these flash point prophecies fits precisely with the Lord’s comparison to childbirth, all in a generation’s time.
- Rebirth of Israel as a Sovereign Nation, 1948
- Recapture of Jerusalem in the June, 1967 Six-Day War
- Jerusalem, a Heavy Burden to the Nations
- The 3rd Rebuilt Temple
- Israel’s Phenomenal Agricultural Accomplishments
- Modern-Day Alignment of Gog/Magog Nations against Israel
- National and Ethnic Wars in the 20th & 21st Centuries
- Amazing Increase of Natural Disasters
- Moral & Spiritual Decline & Intense Persecution of Christians
- False Messiahs & Prophets
- Unequaled Increase in Quantity and Speed of Transportation and Information
- Unprecedented Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the World
The Fig Tree (Also the Olive Tree) Represents Israel
Never before in history has a nation—completely destroyed and its people scattered to the four winds (Roman conquest of Israel and the devastating Diaspora exile of the Jews in 70 AD)—been reborn as Israel has. The (fig) tree, Israel, has been replanted in miraculous fashion, just as God said would happen in dozens of Old Testament prophecies. Although the magnitude of Israel’s restoration won’t be fully realized until the Millennium, not since the glory days of King David and King Solomon has her branches blossomed so bountifully … symbolically and literally.
Today Israel is one of the most advanced and successful nations on the earth; with a powerful military, a democratic parliamentary government, an accomplished agriculture, state-of-the-art technology particularly in medicine and computers, and other groundbreaking innovations for global use—such as the cell phone and drip irrigation systems.
For example: “The time will come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands (which began in great numbers in 1948), and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15, parenthesis mine).
(Beautiful Example of Israel’s Agriculture … Even Their Desert Blooms!)
Prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Israel’s final restoration and redemption fall into two time-frames: One is the rebirth and renovation of Israel in the generation (100-year and 70-year Biblical definitions of generation) prior to the millennial reign of Messiah Jesus. The passage in Amos that we just read speaks of that preliminary phase, which are the last days leading to Messiah’s glorious return. The second group of prophecies (in some passages both time periods overlap) describes the even higher elevated status of Israel among the nations of the earth during the Millennium.
Such as: “People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear” (Micah 4:2-4).
The Vultures Circling Israel
As in Biblical Israel’s formative and glory years when so many nations aligned against her with their diabolical determination to “…wipe out Israel as a nation … destroy the very memory of its existence” (Psalm 83:4); so, too, vulture nations menacingly surrounding Israel in today’s world have sworn to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jews. They would like nothing more than to see the “carcass” of Israel laying before them as they taunt the Jews and the true and living God, saying: “…Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” (Psalm 83:12).
In the contemporary end time’s world we live in, the vast majority of people in Arab/Muslim nations continue to despise the Jews and long for Israel’s destruction. Including the non-nation territory occupied by the Palestinians of the West Bank (Israel’s region of Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip. The most obvious of these nations are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Muslim controlled African nations, Iraq, and (most of all) Iran. And to a lesser but still formidable extent, Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf States. Anti-Semitism also has reared its ugly head in many European countries, even Great Britain, to a level unprecedented since World War II.
In another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy in our time, we are witnessing what appears to be a dichotomy involving some of Israel’s sworn enemies. In contrast to the majority populace of the above listed nations loathing the Jews and Israel, some of their governments and leaders (like Saudi Arabia) have cozied up to Israel albeit under pretentious political and ulterior military motives. This also includes non-Muslim nations such as Russia and China.
This surprising conciliation of some national leaders toward the State of Israel—taking the form of peaceful co-existence—is exactly the conditions predicted by Ezekiel just before the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel by Russia, Iran, Turkey, and several other smaller nations, such as Ethiopia and Libya.
Said God to his prophet: “Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself…. and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud…” (Ezekiel 38:14 & 16, italics for emphasis).
The world is watching this ambivalent, ambiguous attitude toward Israel … just as predicted in Scripture. On the one hand, as expressed by the peoples of many nations, an intense animosity toward Israel and the Jews. On the other hand, a diplomatic gesture of good will, albeit pragmatically applied to the underlying antagonistic agenda of these nations towards Israel, such as Russia and Turkey.
The most glaring exception to nations seeking diplomacy with Israel is Iran; whose leaders have called for the annihilation of Israel with an exact quote or paraphrase of the words we read earlier in Psalm 83. Such malicious threats come from Iran’s military and government leaders, including their supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who has repeated the following phrase (or something similar) several times: “We will wipe Israel from the face of the map.”
All the while, nations the world over including the United States are urgently trying to follow a (doomed to failure) road map of peace to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Exactly as Scripture said would happen just before and during the Day of the Lord.
“I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves” (Zechariah 12:2-3).
As conveyed in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there will be two colossal campaigns against Israel during the seven-year Tribulation.
The first of these is the Gog/Magog invasion, which I’m convinced (with documentation provided in some of those prior articles) will take place in first year or so of the Tribulation. God will supernaturally rout the Gog/Magog countries without any need for Israel to defend herself. See Ezekiel 38 & 39 for the astonishing details and results. The means God will use to destroy Gog/Magog tracks closely with the 6th & 7th seal judgments of Revelation, as well as the 1st Trumpet judgment. God’s direct intervention (judgments) begins when the sixth seal is broken by Messiah Jesus.
At that point, unbelievers the world over will realize that it is God, himself, who has now begun to judge the earth.
Beginning with: “…a great earthquake … the sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?’” (Revelation 6:12-17).
And the 7th seal: “Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake” (Revelation 8:5).
Then the 1st Trumpet judgment: “The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth…” (Revelation 8:7).
Look closely at the descriptive comparison between the last two seal judgements and the first trumpet to how God will annihilate Gog/Magog (Gog leads the armies and Magog is the land or nations that sends the armies).
“…Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth … I will punish your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:20-23, italics for emphasis).
The italicized portion of the above passage matches precisely with the world’s realization that this first great global earthquake (6th seal of Revelation) is a clear sign that the Lord God has begun to vent his wrath on an ungodly, corrupt, evil world.
Then again in Ezekiel Chapter 39, we read:
“And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord…. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:6-7).
(2) Ten-Nation Coalition Led by Antichrist Nero
The second massive campaign against Israel leads to the final battle of the ages (Armageddon) near the very end of the seven-year Tribulation; dramatically depicted in the books of Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew, and Revelation. This time Israel will fight furiously to defend herself and will survive only because Messiah Jesus returns to rescue them, but also to prevent the entire world from self-destruction (see Matthew 24:22).
Please see Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring To Rule Them All…” (Published 11-21-15) which provides detailed documentation that the Gog/Magog and Armageddon incursions are not the same, nor are their leaders … Gog and Antichrist. That article also proposes the composite list and identity of the ten major nations, with secondary countries aligning themselves with one or more of the ten nations. If the Armageddon campaign is led by Antichrist (which it is) and begins in the 2nd half of the Tribulation (which it will)—the forty-two months in which Antichrist Nero will be allowed great power and authority—then the Gog/Magog assault would need to occur in the first half of the tribulation. Reason: Gog/Magog won’t be in the picture during the last half of the Tribulation. Only the kings of the east and the king of the south will oppose Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation (See Revelation 16:12 & Daniel 11:40-45).
History and God’s Sovereignty
I consider myself a student of secular history … and even more so of Biblical history. Most unbelievers classify the Bible as a “faith-based” book, which it certainly is; giving us God’s marvelous plan of everlasting life through salvation in His Son, the Jewish Messiah Jesus. Yet Scripture is replete with meticulous historic records of peoples, places, and events. There are no other (so-called) “sacred” texts of any religion or belief system that even comes close to the amazing historical details found in the Bible. I repeat for emphasis: None whatsoever.
Concerning the peoples of the earth, the Old Testament centers around Israel—the nation that God chose to be a conduit of truth and light to the Gentiles. And that light would be placed in and personified by Messiah.
Hear the words of Jesus:
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life’” (John 8:12).
He also claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah, and he backed up that assertion by rising from the dead.
Scripture provides a wealth of historical facts about ancient Israel and also many Gentile nations, primarily focused on their interaction with Israel. Beginning primarily with Egypt, then the Canaanite countries west of the Jordan and Gentile nations to the east, like Moab, Edom, and Ammon. Followed by the first nation God used to discipline the ten northern tribes of Israel—Assyria. Next came the four Gentile kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, with the Roman Empire an integral part of New Testament history … the time of Christ. All four of those mighty empires were also employed by God in his plan to discipline Israel for abandoning the Lord their God. All for the purpose of refining and purifying his chosen people in preparation for their restoration and final redemption in the end times.
Ultimately, God exercises sovereignty over the earthly fate of nations and individuals; however, his justice is pure and fair and he gives individuals and nations the time and freedom to choose right from wrong, humility over pride, life instead of death. Our choices will determine our destiny. Yet those destinies were predetermined in God’s ultimate plan for mankind, i.e. heaven or hell.
For example: “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’ … It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalm 75:4-5 & 7).
As stated in a few prior articles, there are two basic plans that the Lord has designed for the human race, both of which are plainly and frequently mentioned in Scripture: (1) On a national level, selecting a special people, the Jews, and their nation, Israel, through whom God’s Word and Messiah would come. (2) On a personal level, God’s Biblical Plan of Salvation graciously given to all who believe and receive the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, as their Savior.
However, the Lord is sovereign concerning whom he chooses to carry out these two plans. He began by identifying Abraham, over every other man on earth, to be the progenitor of the Jewish race. Then he chose Isaac over Ishmael to be the promised child, the ancestor of the even greater Child of Promise—Messiah Jesus. Next, he determined that Jacob, not Esau, would be Isaac’s heir, the one to father what would become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Most of all God appointed and anointed His Son to be born the Son of Man, as only the sinless God/Man was qualified to be the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and the penalty thereof—eternal separation from God.
God’s plans are perfect, as is the timing to carry out those plans, as is his justice to judge which nations will rise, fall, and perhaps rise again.
Edom and Assyria
These two nations are frequently cited in Scripture as both nations were sworn enemies of Israel. More so than the other nations recorded and discussed in Scripture, Edom and Assyria were also designated to represent all godless Gentile nations that would be destroyed because of their arrogance and violence, but mostly because of their deplorable treatment of the Jews and Israel.
For example, in the one-chapter book of Obadiah (as well as other prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel) God condemns Edom:
“Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever” (Obadiah 1:10). Obadiah proceeds to list ten reprehensible things the Edomites (descendants of Esau) did to Israel. Then Obadiah conveys the Lord’s sweeping indictment of all nations that have persecuted Israel, indicative of Edom’s horrific crimes against the Jews.
“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evils deeds will fall back on your own heads” (Verse 15).
Obadiah concludes with God’s breathtaking promise that the Jews would return to live in the entirety of the Promised Land of Israel, which is much more land on which the Israelis currently reside (See Obadiah 1:19-21).
So, too, does the Lord throughout the Old Testament convict and sentence the Assyrian Empire to destruction for its vile deeds, and for going way too far as God’s instrument to discipline his people. Like Edom, Assyria is often used to represent other godless Gentile nations. With one major distinction that once again hinges on God’s providential plans for certain nations. The difference is that Edom would never be heard from again, which is the case when it was utterly destroyed thousands of years ago. Even Petra (part of ancient Edom) was thought to be impenetrable and indestructible. The ancient inhabitants of Petra are long gone, never to return.
Although Assyria would also be decisively decimated (by the Babylonians) and cease to functionally exist as a people and nation, it would not be a once for all judgment like Edom.
Please see Eye of Prophecy article, A Most Unlikely Ally of Israel! (Posted 6-11-16), which is based principally on Isaiah Chapter 19. The setting is also the end-times, specifically the last part of the Tribulation and into the Millennium. The most unlikely ally is Egypt, but also includes Assyria.
“In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. And Israel will be their ally. The three will be together, and Israel will be a blessing to them. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, ‘Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!’” (Isaiah 19:23-25).
We catch a glimpse of the Lord’s favorable disposition towards Assyria during its early rise to what would be the most powerful nation on earth at the time. Remember Jonah and the whale?! The Lord sent Jonah to preach repentance to Nineveh, but it took a while for Jonah to get there! Nevertheless, the entire city of Nineveh expressed remorse for their horrific sins and turned to the God of Israel, acknowledging him as the only true God. Alas, a couple of generations later they turned back to their evil ways, which led eventually to God’s severe judgment of Assyria.
Yet, Assyria along with Egypt will one day, “…know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him…” (Isaiah 19:21).
Egypt & Iran (Ancient Persia)
These are two other Gentile nations that figure prominently in history both secular and Biblical. Neither, however, is used much in a symbolic sense of representing other Gentile nations, not to the extent of Edom and Assyria. Rather, both are detailed in Scripture relating to the formation of Israel as a nation (Egypt) and restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple (Persia).
Like the difference between Edom and Assyria, there is also a vast disparity between the millennial fate of contemporary Egypt and that of modern-day Iran. We’ve already seen the remarkable reconciliation of Egypt and Assyria to God and to Israel that will take place in the last days—that are so very near. In stark contrast, Persia (Iran) will be crushed during the Gog/Magog campaign against Israel, with no indication in Scripture that Iran will ever function as a nation again.
(Note: The Bible is unequivocally clear that there are people from every race, language, and nation who will come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus and live forever in heaven. When the Bible addresses those nations that God will corporately judge, it is referring to the governments and the majority of people in such countries that want nothing to do with God or God’s Son and/or despise God’s special possession Israel and his chosen people the Jews).
Although Biblical Egypt and Persia’s interaction with Israel were similar in form and substance, the 21st century events unfolding daily demonstrate a substantial difference between Iran’s overt, self-publicized hatred of Israel contrasted to Egypt’s contemporary conciliatory temperament toward Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most Israeli government officials have repeatedly stated that Iran (especially a nuclear Iran) poses, by far, the greatest threat to Israel than any source. Not only from Iran directly; also from Iran’s terrorist proxies—Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Conversely, Egypt is only one of two Arab/Muslim nations that have recognized Israel as a Sovereign State. The other nation is Jordan. Egypt’s administrative acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist is the beginning of her end-times brotherhood with Israel and blessings from the Lord. Whereas, Iran relentlessly continues its perverse purpose to eliminate Israel from the family of nations on the earth.
A Brief History of Ancient Egypt and Persia’s Involvement with Israel
- Beginning with Pharaoh’s gratitude to Jacob’s son Joseph for interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams and predicting (from God) seven years of plenty followed by seven years of severe famine. Accordingly, Pharaoh elevated Joseph to second in command of all Egypt. Also Pharaoh warmly welcomed Jacob and his sons and their families to live in Egypt.
- The Jews began to increase exponentially (hundreds of thousands) in population and eventually the Pharaohs of Egypt enslaved them, which was a fulfillment of God’s amazing prophecy to Abraham that his people would be subjugated by Egypt for four hundred years.
- Next came one of the best remembered events of all time: God’s severe punishment of Egypt through a series of ten miraculous plagues before Pharaoh finally yielded to God’s persistent demand to, “let my people go.” We all know this as The Exodus. Soon afterward, the nation of Israel came into existence.
- This was the first and perhaps the most well-known example of exactly how and why God relates to and interacts with peoples and nations. Which is based on their treatment of the Jews. How nations (and individuals) rise and fall and perhaps are allowed to rise again according to the divine principle and Biblical mandate. Said God to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3).
- The Lord predicted the rise of the Persian Empire through Isaiah long before it actually happened. He did the same thing with the Babylonian Empire. In one of the most spectacular prophecies (all Biblical prophecies are amazing, some more than others—at least the way we view or rate them) in Scripture, God announced that a ruler from the Persian Empire would not only deliver the Jews from their God ordained (discipline) 70-year captivity in Babylon, but he named the Persian ruler who would carry out God’s plan some 150 years before Cyrus was even born!
- “When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple’” (Isaiah 44:28). Then later we read: “I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people—without seeking a reward! I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” (Isaiah 45:13). That is exactly what happened!
- Cyrus, indeed, issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Israel to rebuild their Temple. And in the very first year of his reign, no less!
- A few decades later, we read about the famous story of Esther and her Persian husband, King Xerxes. The king allowed his second in command—the wicked official Haman—to pass a law that would allow extermination of all Jews on the appointed date. God sovereignly intervened in the affairs of state by seeing to it that Xerxes chose Esther as his queen; then Esther’s passionate plea for the king to save the Jews, which he did. Beginning with orders for Haman to be executed in the same way in which Haman would have killed Mordecai. Now that’s justice! Thus the Jews throughout the Persian Empire were saved, including those who had returned to Israel from Babylon.
- Subsequently another Persian King, Artaxerxes, permitted his Jewish cup-bearer Nehemiah to return to Israel to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
How ironically sad that the die-hard Anti-Semitic Iran of today’s world has fallen so far from their Persian heritage of friendship with Israel. It appears that the Haman(s) among them have the loudest voice. Thus, Iran will suffer the same fate as Haman.
From the 1970s to the Present Time
Following those ancient encounters with Israel, both Egypt and Persia vacillated in their treatment of Israel up to the 1970s. During that decade, we saw a substantial variance between Iran’s (Persia became Iran in 1935) and Egypt’s attitude toward Israel. Beginning in the 1970s and early 1980s both Egypt and Iran staked out a course of action involving Israel that will seal their respective destinies, as predicted by the Lord in Scripture. For Egypt, eternal blessings and favor. For Iran, eternal damnation and extinction.
After Egypt (with her allies of Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon) was soundly defeated by the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War of 1973—the third war since 1948 fought between the Jews and her Arab enemies—Egypt began to “adjust” its perception of and protocol toward Israel. On March 26th, 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty (albeit one that is tenuous, motivated by political pragmatism) with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin including official recognition of the State of Israel, which is still in effect to this day.
(Camp David Treaty Between Egypt & Israel, Also Signed by President Carter, Left to Right: Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin)
Not so with Iran. When the radical Shi’ite Muslim sect of the Ayatollah overthrew the secular Iranian government led by Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iran intensified its virulent hatred of Israel like never before. This has continued unabated to the present day.
Would you like to know when Iran became the Islamic Republic of Iran? The date was April 1, 1979—just six days after the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Talk about providence and timing in the context of Biblical prophecy!
In addition to the Israeli clashes (last of which was 2006) with Iran’s proxy in Lebanon—Hezbollah, Israel has fought several battles with the terrorist Hamas of Gaza Strip, the last of which was 2014. Iran has funded both of these terrorist groups, although Iran and Hamas parted company for a few years for various reasons. Now they are reconnecting in order to accomplish their wicked agenda to destroy Israel.
As part of the recent “truce” between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas (who knows what will become of that), Hamas insisted—to the chagrin of PA President Mahmoud Abbas—that they will remained armed.
The following excerpt is from the online Gatestone Institute article written by accomplished Middle-East analyst and author Khaled Abu Toameh, posted on October 23rd:
“The Iranians are urging Hamas to hold on to its weapons in spite of the recent ‘reconciliation’ agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah (the military and police force of the Palestinian Authority) under the auspices of Egypt. Iran’s goal in this move? For Hamas to maintain and enhance its preparation for war against Israel (parenthesis mine).
“A high-level Hamas delegation … traveled to Tehran last week to brief Iranian leaders on the ‘reconciliation’ deal with Fatah. During the visit, Iranian leaders praised Hamas for resisting demands (by Fatah) to disarm and relinquish security control over the Gaza Strip.
‘We congratulate you on your refusal to abandon your weapons, an issue that you consider a red line,’ Ali Velayati, … advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, told the Hamas officials. ‘The Palestinian cause is the most important cause of the Islamic world, and after all this time you remain committed to the principle of resistance against the Zionists despite all the pressure you are facing.’”
My comment: the Iranian advisor couldn’t be more hypocritically wrong or abjectly absurd. If the Palestinians and their “cause” (to find a home outside of refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan) was so important to the Muslim world, then why haven’t any of the Muslim nations like the ones just mentioned permitted the Palestinian Arabs to become citizens of those countries? Israel certainly allows Arabs to become citizens, of which 1.8 million have done so. But the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have refused citizenship, in favor of completely replacing Israel with a Palestinian State, which is also part of the Palestinian “cause.”
After President Trump’s diplomatic staff to Israel said that any Palestinian government must recognize Israel and that Hamas must disarm as part of the agreement with the Palestinian Authority, here’s what Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar retorted: “…the discussion now is about when we will wipe out Israel.”
(Hamas Senior Officials: Left- Ismail Haniyeh; Right- Yahya Sinwar)
Things to Ponder
The winds of war are blowing fiercely, just as they were in the years, months, weeks, and days leading up to World War I and World War II. The political and military balloons of the major players of the last days are much too full of rhetorical hot air. Something has to give; something will break, and it will snap in the Middle East.
However, I’m convinced that nothing major (full-scale war between Jews and Arabs or major powers like the United States and Great Britain against Russia or China or even the lesser powers like Iran or North Korea) will occur until after the Rapture.
The reason for that statement: The eruption of any cataclysmic conflict between such nations would entail alliances with other nations that would, in turn, result in World War III. And that war won’t begin until the Great Tribulation, after the Rapture. Such a global conflict would (and will, especially during the first four seal judgments) devastate the earth—with ¼ of the world’s population killed. And that’s only the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Tribulation (Posted 6-6-15).
The Lord will not permit this to happen while believers are still on the earth. The Bible unmistakably tells us that believers will be spared from such carnage by the glorious event of the Rapture. Only the post-Rapture Tribulation saints will go through these disasters. Those saints that survive will be killed by Antichrist.
Soon after Paul tells believers about the wonderful event of the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:15-18), which will happen suddenly when the Lord comes for his own, “…like a thief in the night” (I Thessalonians 5:2), Paul assures the believers:
“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us” (I Thessalonians 5:9).
In the immediate context of that passage, the saving is from the “anger” of God, which is a direct reference to the final judgment of God during the Tribulation.