'THIS IS WHAT THE SOVEREIGN LORD SAYS: THIS IS JERUSALEM, WHICH I HAVE SET IN THE CENTRE OF THE NATIONS, WITH COUNTRIES ALL AROUND HER.'
(THE BIBLE: The Book of Ezekiel chapter 5 verse 5.......see also Psalm 122v6-9; Isaiah 62v6-7; 1 Samuel 12v23; Deuteronomy 32v9-10)
Biblically, Israel is very significant for the End Times and for the Church and the nations. Politically, and spiritually, Israel is at the heart of God's purposes for the Return of Christ and all that is to come in the End times prophesied in the Bible....and which we are entering in our day. Please view a recent prophetic word through Lance Lambert, an 'elder statesman' of the Church, in relation to Israel and the Church, found on the "Contemporary prophecies" page of this website.
Here is a video: 'End Times - Israel'
WE have been over to Israel several times, and baptised people in the Jordan, having co-led a study tour to Israel. We have been praying and leading prayer groups for Israel for about 30 years.
Basic biblical teaching about Israel
Why is there always such a political furore, decade after decade, regarding Israel? Many of you are familiar with teachings about Israel, but for those of you who do not know too much about God’s heart and attitude towards Israel and the Jews, I have included this article.
Firstly, God has stated in the Bible that He has placed Israel at the centre of the world, with the nations around her. (Ezekiel 5v5) This centrality is spiritual as well as physical and political, hence the interest of world religions over Jerusalem. After all, Jesus said he would return to Jerusalem in the End days! The enemy also knows that Israel and Jerusalem are keys to his future, hence his activity to thwart God‘s plan and timing. He is mortally afraid!
Isaiah 46v9-13 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfil my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. 13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendour to Israel.
God has a purpose for Israel – to grant salvation to this nation - a nation unique to God. From the passages below we learn that in God’s view, He is the ‘God of Israel’, ‘the God of the Hebrews‘, Israel is the ‘foremost of the nations’, Israel is ‘not being reckoned amongst the nations’, and is regarded as ’Your very own forever’. In other words, God has chosen Israel for a purpose, unlike any other nation.
Exodus 5:1-3 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.' " Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go." Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us.
Jer 31:7 This is what the Lord says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'
Numbers 23v7-9 (KJV) (Balaam:) ‘Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.’
2 Sam 7v23-26: . .... who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O Lord, have become their God. "And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great for ever. Then men will say, 'The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!'
This last passage is in the context of David wishing to establish a temple for God in which to dwell. Although his son, Solomon had the temple built, God’s ultimate plan was to create a different type of ‘temple’...a living temple made up of people, who would worship and honour Him, through His Son, Jesus.
But the Jews by and large did not recognise Jesus, their Messiah when He came......as prophesied. As a result, there followed a 2000 year exile of Jews throughout the nations - the ‘Diaspora’. Through Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, God’s plan was to bring in the Gentile nations first, and then finally His ancient people Israel, so that both Jew & Gentile would be together in the ‘House of God’...His body, the Church.
Replacement Theology (Fulfillment Theology) teaches correctly that Abraham was the father of all who believe…pointing to Christian believers. Paul, in chapters 9 & 10 of the book of Romans, makes a good case for Christians inheriting the good things of God, and being His people, by faith in Christ and His promises, and thus the people of God throughout all the nations. However, Romans 11 goes on to speak of the restoration of the nation of Israel to God, to join with the Church in being the ’One New Man’ in Christ, (Ephesians 2) as the nation of Israel finally turns to God and discovers their Messiah is ’Yeshua’, the Lord of the Church & Saviour of the world.
Romans 11 25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved......28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Historically, there has been a Jewish presence in the physical land of Israel (even though Israel did not figure on maps) throughout those centuries of the Diaspora. At the end of the 19th Century, the Zionist Movement emerged, calling for, envisioning for and preparing the way for a return of Jewish people scattered around the world, to their original homeland. The Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations ‘Palestine Mandate’ of 1917 & 1922 gave further opportunity for Jewish people to return to the land. They returned as pioneer farmers and settlers. However, serious opposition to the ‘return’ in Britain and elsewhere also hindered progress. It took the Holocaust of World War 2, involving the slaughter of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany, to bring the nations to an agreement to recognise the right of the Jews to their own land, so in 1948 the United Nations ratified this, recognising the sovereign state of Israel.
Things were still difficult, because Israel was surrounded by enemies who immediately tried to wipe out the birthing nation. But God had other plans, and these enemies were defeated - against huge odds! Later, in 1967, the ‘Six day war‘ took place, a miraculous event, where Israel, despite once again being surrounded by enemies attacking her, achieved great victory and in fact, finally took possession of Jerusalem.
Since then, there has been increasing alienation amongst the nations. Israel has become a political ‘thorn’ in the Middle East. Many nations have oil interests in the Middle East, and are seeking to appease Arab & Muslim nations, and often favouring them over Israel. There is no political solution for Israel, and that is in God‘s plan. Some nations do not acknowledge her right to exist as a nation, and some want to destroy her completely….Iran has declared this openly.
God’s plan for Israel is that the Jews should once again, as in bible days, look to the God of Israel for His solution, and His peace…ultimately only found in Christ.
The last decade saw a strong increase in ‘Aliyah’, that is, the return of Jews from other nations, to live in Israel. Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Jews from most parts of the compass returned in larger numbers. This aliyah was predicted in the Bible, at a further time in the future, rather than the specific return from Babylonian exile:
Isaiah 11:11-12 ....the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people... ‘He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.’
Is. 14v1-2: The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens (lit: ‘Strangers’) will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place.
Jer 31:7-11 7 This is what the Lord says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.' 8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labour; a great throng will return. 9 They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
10 "Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.' 11 For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
It is interesting to note that our prophetic preparation in Cyprus to help the Jews return safely to Israel from western continents in times to come, is now being mirrored by a major Christian organisation in Israel. Isaiah 43v5: Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west...
Christian Friends of Israel run a distribution centre in Jerusalem providing basic necessities for Jews who have been making ’aliyah’, returning to their roots in Israel, from mainly the northern, eastern and southern continents. However, CFI is in prayer and seeking the Lord for a vision that will fit the ‘new aliyah’ from western countries, like Canada, USA and Europe. “Those returning from the more developed countries will be asking for more than just used clothing, etc…… the next era of aliyah will break onto the scene in the coming days.” ([Ed.] This fits in well with what we believe the Lord has been leading us to declare and prepare.
Meanwhile, within Israel, over the last 50 years, Messianic fellowships of Jewish believers in Messiah have emerged, grown, and multiplied. Though there were only a handful at one time, there are now over 100 Messianic fellowships and over 15000 Jewish believers in Israel, as well as many Arab believers and Christians from other nations. More recently, reconciliation between Palestinian Arab believers in Israel and Jewish believers has been taking place. Forgiveness and love toward one another has come forth, demonstrating that true and lasting peace in the Middle East can only be established in Christ:
Eph 2 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.....His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace.... 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
Our own church has recently put on a national conference about the reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians, which has captured the interest of many, including a political element…after all, many are asking how peace and reconciliation can be possible in the Middle East. The speakers were a Jewish pastor and an Arab pastor and we heard how God was breaking down the walls of hatred and suspicion between the two communities. (I will be giving greater detail of this in the winter edition.)
But what of the end? Where is all this focus on Israel leading? What about the nations in relation to Israel? Simply put, it is that God is a God who keeps His promises, a faithful God who keeps His covenant with Israel…as He does with the Church. It is about His character. He will bring the End Times events to pass, according to His word. He is the Sovereign Lord…to Him be the glory!
From Zechariah 12 & 13: 12v1This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: 2 "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations.
9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him...13v1 "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God.' "
Israel & International issues
a. Protection & Deception: The borders of Israel are vulnerable, since the nation is surrounded by enemies. The body of Messiah in the region, both Messianic Jews and Arabs also need protection, as they stand for truth in the midst of lies. Speaking of lies, Reuters is under fire for photos giving a wrong impression of events in the first Gaza flotilla. The picture of a knife held by a passenger over the wounded IDF (Israeli Defence Force) soldier was cropped. Video footage has also shown flotilla participants beating IDF soldiers with metal bars. (Indy Post & ITLD News). This was not the perspective the international media put out at the time, in outrage against Israel over the incident aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara‘. Furthermore, Turkey was involved at the highest level in the enlisting, grooming and support of violent activists prepared for conflict who were planted aboard the ship.
Hamas were also aboard, their leader having stated earlier in the year that he was preparing a confrontation with Israeli forces. This is another indication that it was a planned attempt to provoke Israel, and capture international attention, which would result in further bias against Israel. Unfortunately, David Cameron appeared only to hear one side of the argument in his pronouncements over the flotilla, and against Israel, taking the previous government’s line in condemning Israel (for defending themselves!) Has he forgotten how many times Britain did the same thing to stop IRA gun running?
On August 3rd, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) fired at an Israeli Defence Force position near the Lebanese border, west of the internationally recognised ‘Blue Line‘ and east of the security fence. Thus, the IDF were in Israeli territory, and doing routine maintenance work, pre-coordinated with UNIFIL. Death, and wounded Israeli soldiers was the result. Yet despite the Israeli Prime Minister and Defence Minister calling for international condemnation of this, there has been no outcry such as with the flotilla. May the truth continue to emerge, exposing deception, even though the damage is done, to a large extent.
However, Tony Blair in his role as envoy to the Middle East for the ‘Quartet’, has spoken against the de-legitimisation of Israel amongst the nations, identifying both overt denial of Israel’s right to exist by some nations, and the prejudice in many other nations against listening to Israel’s point of view, and allowing for her legitimate security concerns. After all, which other nation would not have security concerns if it were surrounded by hostile nations? Well done, Tony! It has also been recognised that Israel was at the forefront of giving practical medical and other forms of aid to the people of Haiti.
Perhaps the most damaging ’evergreen’ issue concerning nations of the world regarding the Jews and Israel is that of the land. Jews have maintained some presence in the land of Israel for 2000 years since the second exile following the fall of Jerusalem (66-70 AD). The world cannot understand God’s promise to the Jews when He designated the land to be their homeland in his covenant with Abraham. God gave the Jews this land.
Gen 12:4-7 4 So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6 Abram travelled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
Gen 15:5-7 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. 7 He also said to him, "I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
Since the restoration of the state of Israel in 1948 - agreed and established by the United Nations - the surrounding nations have used the Palestinians as political pawns to use against Israel, especially the refugee encampment at Gaza. Though these nations have huge amounts of land, they have not made provision for the Palestinians, but the Jews have sought to accommodate Palestinian Arabs, and have provided health care and many other benefits. Many Palestinian Arabs prefer living under Jewish rule because they receive provision and good health care, whereas under their own governments, they receive neither.
The ‘Refugee Status’ of the Palestinians stirs up intense sentiments. The entire Gaza population is under this status, even though a considerable portion live in fabulous luxury! The United Nations redefinition of ’Refugee Status’ denies hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab lands any recourse or repatriation to their homelands, or adequate compensation for the loss of property. Yet the Palestinians are deemed worthy and qualified to pass their designation as refugees to generations who never lived in the land! Could it be that Oil and Mammon play a part in this UN thinking?
The ‘Mandate for Palestine‘, the League of Nations document formulated in 1922, gave Jews the legal right to settle anywhere in Western Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
This remains international law! Arab rights to self determination in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and later, Trans-Jordan, were also granted in the document. The Jews took this up, but the Palestinian Arabs were never fully allowed to take this up in order to settle in the four surrounding nations. Hence the view ’political pawns’. It is good, sometimes, to look at the foundational truths of a situation, rather than just the current situation.
Video: 'The Israel Palestinian Conflict: The truth about the West Bank' The video below enlarges on this point, and below the video are summary notes of the content of the video.
NOTES: The media’s frequently used terms for Israel being in the West Bank are, ‘Occupied territories’, ‘1967 borders’, ‘illegal settlements’. The usual story is promoted that in the 1967 ‘Six Day War’, Israel captured the West Bank from the Palestinians, refused UN calls to retreat, and built illegal settlements.
From whom did Israel capture the West Bank? In 1967 there was no Arab nation or state by the name of ‘Palestine’.
Israel took over the West Bank from Jordan in an act of self defence, after Jordan joined a war launched by Egypt and Syria to destroy Israel....destroying countries is illegal! UN in 1967 rejected repeated Arab and Soviet attempts to declare Israel the aggressor. Security Council Resolution 242 did not demand a unilateral Israeli withdrawal, rather to negotiate a solution which would leave Israel with secure and recognised boundaries – in effect, defensible borders. Why Jordan in West Bank in first place? Legal justification? None...Jordan simply occupied it during its previous attempt to destroy Israel, in 1948. Jordan changed the commonly accepted name, ‘Judea and Samaria’ into ‘The West Bank’.
Very few nations recognised the legality of Jordan’s occupation - not even any of the other Arab states! So whose territory is this piece of land? Until 1917, the Ottoman Empire occupied the whole region. After losing in World War 1, the Ottoman’s relinquished their 500 year control to the Allied forces, which decided to divide the old Empire into countries. Britain’s foreign minister, Lord Balfour, recognised the Jewish people’s historical right to their homeland. A small area, equivalent to about half of one percent of the Middle East was designated for this purpose. Britain received a mandate from the League of Nations to promote the establishment of a Jewish homeland.
The Jewish homeland not only included the West Bank (26%) but the East bank of the Jordan river, this comprising 74% of the area of homeland! - evidence that Jews have already accepted some painful compromises. The United Nations re-affirmed the Jewish state including the West Bank after WW2. Now, with the British Mandate ending, the UN General Assembly resolution 181 in 1947 recommended the establishment of two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted this and went on to create a state of Israel. The Arabs refused the compromise and launched a war to destroy the newly established state of Israel. Resolution 181 remained therefore with no legal standing. In this war, a cease fire line was formed, where the Israeli and Arab forces stopped fighting. At the insistence of Arab leaders, this line was defined as having no political significance. The line is often referred to as the 1967 border, it is not from 1967 and was never an international border. This is why a more exact legal definition for the West Bank, according to International law, is really the same as in so many other areas where there are or were territorial disputes, but which are not defined as ‘occupied’. For example, Zubarah, the Tumbs Islands, the Western Sahara and Kashmir, amongst many others. They are not considered ‘occupied’ but rather ‘disputed’ territories.
In summary, Israel’s presence in the West Bank is the result of a war of self defence. The West Bank should not be considered as ‘occupied’ by Israel because there was no previous legal sovereign in the area. Therefore the real definition should be ‘disputed’ territory. The 1947 partition plan has no current legal standing, while Israel’s claim to the land was clearly recognised by the international community during the 20th Century. That is why the presence and construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank should not be considered illegal. World renowned jurists, like Steven Swebbel, who headed the International Court of Justice, agree with this view.
So what’s the solution for the dispute over the West Bank? There is no magic solution. But the only way a solution will ever be reached is if we base our negotiations on legal and historical facts. Let’s not use terms like ‘1967 borders’, or ‘Occupied territories’. They are simply not politically correct!
PRAY that the nations appreciate Israel’s dilemma. Recognise that God is in ultimate control and has already revealed in the Scriptures what will happen, and pray that Israel’s leaders will act with wisdom - particularly in military matters.
Here is a video: 'Israel and End Times bible prophecy' for your study, followed by a contemporary prophecy given in Jerusalem, through Lance Lambert. an 'elder statesman' of the Church. They go well together.
A prophetic word delivered in Jerusalem, (by Lance Lambert) for the Church in relation to Israel and to intercessory prayer. Sunday 17th April 2011
It is well with you that you intercede for Israel that she be saved, for it is My purpose to save her. I will complete the circle of Redemption that began with Abraham and my promise that a great nation would come forth from him, and that in him would all the families of the earth be blessed. And so it has happened! For Israel became the vehicle through which My Word has come to all the nations; And also My Salvation; and the knowledge of My Purpose. From this nation, above all, came the Messiah.
Soon the fullness of the Gentiles will have been saved, and I will turn again to Israel, to My Jewish People. They shall be re-ingrafted into their own olive tree, and My promise to Abraham will be gloriously fulfilled. Then their hardness of heart will melt, their blindness be turned into sight, and their suffering to radiant Glory. This is My determined purpose, and I shall not be turned from it. It will shortly begin to be fulfilled. I will turn all their weakness into unbelievable power, and I will use this nation as the last witness to the world as to who I am.
Take very seriously what is taking place in the Arab world. It is no good for Israel! It is not a move toward freedom and true democracy, but an enormous gain for militant Islam. They will seek to annihilate and liquidate Israel, but they will not only fail; their strength and power will be broken, and a huge harvest of souls will be saved from amongst them.
Hear Me, I call you to intercession! It will not be easy. All the powers of My enemy are centred and focused on stopping this people from coming into My Redemption and Salvation. But he will fail! I look therefore for those who will stand in the gap, who will build up the wall; those who will stand in the place of intercession.
Shortly also I will begin more serious judgment on the Western nations. I will bring them to nothing; I will turn them upside down; I will grind them to powder. They will not know what has hit them. It will seem as if there is nothing left of what once I worked in those nations; Especially that Superpower. I will bring it to weakness; she will no longer be super, but a pity of the nations.
Hear this Word of Mine; I call you to intercede for those who belong to Me in those nations; that they will be saved from it! Hear this cry. My heart yearns for those who belong to Me, that they might be clear in their understanding, clear in the way that they are to walk in the midst of all this. Do hear Me! For I speak to you who love Me, and who have this morning remembered Me; I do not desire judgment, but judgment of the most serious and devastating kind will fall upon those nations. Hear this Word from Me, and obey My call to intercession!