Blessing and Curse
On September 22nd, Israeli PM Netanyahu spoke at the UN about the prospect of peace in the Middle East. This followed an announcement made by world leaders at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9th, which aimed at creating an agreement to normalise relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel and a peace treaty bringing a corridor connecting India, the Middle East and Europe running through Arabia and Israel.
He then put forward two possibilities for the Middle East, referring to Moses’ last word to Israel in Deuteronomy concerning the ‘Blessing and the Curse’. In the blessing he described a vision of peace with the hope that:
- Israel and Saudi Arabia make an historic and transformational peace treaty and many Arab and Muslim states follow suit.
- Iran and the Palestinians choose peace instead of terrorism and nuclear war.
The curse brings the opposite
- Iran and the Palestinians choose war instead of peace.
- The world does nothing to stop the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons and a terrible war erupts in the Middle East.
Now the ‘blessing’ of peace has become a distant memory, and the curse of war has fallen on Israel and the region. On 7th October Hamas, backed by Iran, chose war as they unleashed a surprise attack on Israel. They fired thousands of rockets into Israel and broke through the security fence to kill around 1200 Israelis, with terrible savagery, including torture, beheading of babies and abduction of the elderly. Around 200 Israelis have been taken as hostages into Gaza. Iran was heavily involved in the funding and planning of the Hamas terrorist operation.
In response Israel has stated its intention to destroy Hamas militarily. At the time of writing (19 October) Israel has bombed Hamas’ targets, ordered the civilian population to move south and has gathered its army for a ground invasion. A ground invasion could provoke Iran and its proxies in Lebanon (Hezbollah) to take action. There have already been skirmishes along the northern border and attacks by Israel on Damascus airport to prevent munitions coming from Iran reaching Lebanon. Israel warned Hezbollah and Syria not to get involved, saying it would destroy Damascus if they do (Isaiah 17?). America has sent warships to the region and Russia has warned America to back off.
There are violent clashes spreading throughout the Arab world and Türkiye, with particular concern about the Arab areas of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, where Hamas has a strong presence. For the moment the peace process with Saudi Arabia is postponed or even dead and buried. It is fraying in countries which have made some kind of peace agreement with Israel, like Jordan.
In western nations, including the UK, Islamic and far left supporters of Hamas and the Palestinian cause have organised large demonstrations which threaten public order and security. Jewish communities feel threatened and are taking action to protect their people from possible attacks.
Is all this in the Bible?
With multiple crises hitting the world, we see the potential for Bible prophecies for the Great Tribulation to take place. This is striking fear in the hearts of people around the world, but also causing many Bible believing Christians to look for the coming of the Lord and the rapture of the church. In Jeremiah 25.32 we read:
32 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Behold, disaster shall go forthJeremiah 25.32
From nation to nation,
And a great whirlwind shall be raised up
From the farthest parts of the earth.
According to the Bible the centre point of this global crisis will be the situation in Israel.
The status of Jerusalem is the main issue in the conflict, in particular the Temple Mount, where the al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock are situated. This is the third holiest place for Muslims after Mecca and Medina, and the holiest place for Jews, where once the Jewish Temple stood. Jews are campaigning for the right to pray on the Temple Mount. Some want to rebuild a third Temple on the site.
Hamas has called its action ‘the al Aqsa flood,’ claiming it is fighting for the sanctity of the al Aqsa mosque, which it says is being desecrated by Israel. Hamas is also violently opposed to any Jewish attempt to change the status of the Temple Mount.
The Palestinian Authority also has a claim on Jerusalem, demanding a Palestinian State in the West Bank with east Jerusalem as its capital. Israel says Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel.
Zechariah 12 prophesies this situation:
2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And … I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone [burdensome stone – KJV] for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.Zechariah 12.2-3
This means that a crisis concerning the status of Jerusalem will affect the surrounding peoples (Jews and Arabs) and the UN, US and major world powers (in other words all nations of the earth).
No peace / destruction of Israel
Hamas and Iran want to bring an end to any agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia and the wider Muslim world. Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and those who reject Israel’s right to exist, are not interested in a peace settlement with Israel or a ‘two state solution’ with Israel and Palestine alongside. They have no place for any kind of Jewish state in the Middle East. Their goal is the elimination of Israel and its replacement with an Arab Islamic state from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea.
The slogan ‘From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is a call for the destruction of Israel and its removal from the whole area. It is a modern rendering of the words of the enemies of Israel in Psalm 83: ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more’
In verse 12 of Psalm 83 we read of Zebah and Zalmunna who said,
12 Who said, “Let us take for ourselvesPsalm 83.12
The pastures of God for a possession.”
In other words let us take what God has given to the Jewish people for ourselves and drive out the Jews. Zeba and Zalmunna who were kings of Midian who led the war against Israel in the days of Gideon (Judges 8). Gideon defeated them and then killed them, taking
21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.Psalm 83.12
Crescent ornaments in Hebrew is ‘saharonim’ [אֶת־הַשַּׂ֣הֲרֹנִ֔ים], representing a crescent moon.
The crescent moon is a religious symbol dedicated to the moon god in whose name they were coming against Israel. There are inscriptions all over Arabia from pre-Islamic times using the crescent moon in connection with Allah, the Moon-god.
When Islam arose out of Arabia it used the name Allah as the name for God and the crescent moon as its symbol. In the name of Allah and the crescent moon, radical Islamists today reject the right of Israel to exist and launch a jihad associated with their end of days programme.
They say that this will lead the last days’ battle in which they take possession of Jerusalem and al Aqsa. They are looking forward to the arrival of their end time leader the Mahdi who will bring the rule of Islam worldwide. In such a world there is no place for any peace process.
The Supernova Music Festival
Hamas’ attack on young people at the music festival in the desert on October 7th was an appalling act and we have great sympathy for those who suffered loss or injury at that event. However that festival was a reminder of what is wrong with Israel in the eyes of the Lord.
The Supernova music festival took place under an image of the Buddha, one of the ‘other gods’ God tells Israel not to go after in Deuteronomy. Young people were dancing to ‘psychedelic trance music’ (Psytrance). Psytrance is a form of electronic dance music, using powerful repetitive beats to induce a trance like state, opening people up to spiritual forces from the wrong side of the supernatural realm. According to a description on the Internet:
This lines up with New Age mysticism and is connected with yoga and eastern religions seeking to discover the ‘god within’ in contrast to the biblical revelation of the God of Israel. In yoga and eastern religions, and in some forms of Jewish mysticism / kabbalah, you have an idea of god in everything (pantheism) and that divine sparks dwells within you as a force you can connect to by meditation and an ‘altered state of consciousness.’ This opens people up to counterfeit religious experiences.
This kind of thinking is popular in Israel, especially amongst the young, along with a relativistic morality and the acceptance of free sex, abortion and homosexuality. This has become dominant in the culture of secular Israelis, particularly in Tel Aviv which has become known as the gay capital of the Middle East. When people indulge in all of this they can no longer expect the protection of the Lord from the enemy.
The fact that this kind of wrong thinking and practice has become so popular in Israel is serious, because in the passage PM Netanyahu referred to from Deuteronomy in his UN speech, God says that the worship of false gods and breaking His commandments will bring the end of Israel, unless there is repentance and a change of behaviour and thinking (Deuteronomy 11, 28).
26 “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.Deuteronomy 11.26-28
Jeremiah 30.11 tells us that God will save Israel, but also correct them.
11 For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you;Jeremiah 30.11
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’
He wants them to change their ways and repent and know that the Messiah who is coming, has been here before in the person of Yeshua / Jesus. He fulfilled the prophecy of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) and made the way for all, Jew and Gentile, to enter into the New Covenant which replaces the former covenant made at Sinai (Jeremiah 31.31-34). He is the real Messiah who will return and bring peace to Israel and the world (Zechariah 12-14, Isaiah 2.1-4).