Dear Reggie, greetings…
Since returning from our trip to Israel, I have been thinking a lot about
the significance and frequent mention of the word “Judah” in prophetic
writings. We spent several days in the ‘West Bank’ visiting with friends
who live there and also talking to some of the settlers. Our aim was to
‘get a feel’ for what is currently happening in the struggle for the land
and the growing political controversy within the Israeli government with
regard to the biblical covenant. We talked to Israeli soliders who were
guarding the settlements and who openly declared that they will not obey
orders to evacuate settlers and seemed ready to defend them at ‘whatever the
cost’ to protect the land of promise.
There certainly is something very special about these ‘settlers’ and their
committment to the land covenant. I thought about Zech. 12 and the “tents
of Judah’ being saved first and their honour being held higher “so that the
glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem
will not be magnified above Judah.”
Then I thought about the others…who are ready to give away anything and
everything to secure peace.
In Daniel 11, the statement is made of Antichrist that “his heart will be
set against the holy covenant” and he will “become enraged at the holy
covenant” and will “come back and show regard for those who forsake the
holy covenant” and will “turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward
Have your written anything on this?
Just as an exercise, I have started something new…when I see the word
Judah or Judea appear…I am inserting the words ‘West Bank’ right beside
it….as in “when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation,
spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth,
let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea (West Bank) flee into
the mountains.” Does this make sense?
Starting from your last line, it makes perfect sense, Phil. I’ve often marked the Lord’s specificity in His mention of Judea. Why not all of Israel? One would think that a modern invasion force would threaten all of the Land with equal devastation. Well, apparently not at first. And isn’t it particularly interesting that Jerusalem and the nearby West Bank are the two areas in hottest international contention. Jerusalem being the coveted capital of the new Palestinian state. The impression I get is that the Antichrist who has become a figurehead of Islam (as I believe) or who is a political champion of the Muslim world’s claims on the Land (as believed by others), will lead a multinational force in a sudden invasion that will catch Israel off guard and will overwhelm the nation militarily. This happens in the middle of the week (3.5 years after a delusive peace “league”). That is when we will see the abomination of desolation that begins the 42 months of siege (great tribulation). From this point, the Antichrist is physically present in Jerusalem (Dan 11:45). What will this mean for the Jewish inhabitants of the Land? It is clear what it will mean for those living in Jerusalem and the neighboring region of Judea (modern West Bank). That is where many of the settlers reside who take a covenant view of the Land.
This is most interesting. Certainly their survival will depend on immediate flight. Yet, there’s a passage that speaks of Jesus’ disciples as not completing their mission to the cities of Israel till the Son of Man has come. We know that that particular mission was arrested by the Lord soon after His statement. This points to an end time resumption of that same mission during the time of Antichrist. From this I infer that there will be a measure of Jewish survival throughout the Land, particularly in the northern parts that will leave open the possibility of travel and evangelism during the siege of Antichrist.
It is possible that Jews who have lost all power or hope of power to resist will not command his full attention during the fast paced days of military conquest that follow after the abomination has been placed in the holy place in Jerusalem. This could also explain why Jews hiding throughout the wilderness of Petra are not rooted out.
It is also apparent that a small Jewish remnant is still in Jerusalem by the time of the 2nd woe (6th trumpet) in Rev 11. I can only suppose that they have maintained a presence in Jerusalem by some special protection of God, perhaps the protection is provided by the presence of the two witnesses, since the scripture says the Antichrist is powerless to harm until the time. In any event, it is with particular reference to the “Land” that Zechariah says two thirds will be cut off. It is an open question as to whether this same ratio of survival will obtain throughout the nations where persecution will also extend. All is to say that it appears that the greatest urgency for flight and obedience to the Lord’s command is to those living most immediately in that specific vicinity. That seems where the greatest and most concentrated wrath of the Antichrist will be first visited.
Pray that witnesses will be stationed in strategic places armed with this life saving knowledge in order to direct and escort Jews to places of safety and refuge. What a witness for Jesus that will be, but as I show in other places, Jesus is only demonstrating His full “Jewish” agreement with a number of key Old Testament passages that describe this time of urgent flight to the wilderness.
Response later in the day:
Reggie – this gave me goosebumps:
It is possible that Jews who have lost all power or hope of power to resist will not command his full attention…
Somehow, in my spirit, it smacks of truth.
One thing I noted from Phil’s email:
There certainly is something very special about these ‘settlers’ and their committment to the land covenant.
Only God knows a man’s heart and motive, but from my observations, I’d say the predominant root of Zionism is much more about a desire to see the victory of the Jewish people than it is about a desire to see the glorification of the God of the Torah – a God in whom, by the way, many of them do not actually believe!
The incredible irony of this, of course, is that God’s glory is indeed manifest in the victory of Jewish people. But of course, we know the thing is not an end unto itself. If it were, then Paul’s jealousy for Israel’s conversion would be little more than an ethnic sentimentality. No, Paul’s jealousy for Israel’s conversion was of course, at its root, a desire for God’s glory. Paul saw the intimate connection of the two.
So I have to wonder – did Phil observe this same jealousy in the settlers’ commitment to the land? Only God knows.
I realize it is a consummate offense, but God’s initiatives towards the Jewish people have absolutely nothing to do with any inherent virtue in them as a people or in any one of them more than another. In fact, God has gone, and will go out of His way to show otherwise.
The Land issue is significant and loyalty to scripture as the Word of God is a true advantage that counts for something (Ro 3:1). However, if that advantage is not converted into an approach to salvation that divests itself of anything of its own righteousness, it avails nothing (Ro 10:2-3; Gal 6:15). Such misguided zeal and commitment only makes the tragedy of Jewish religious humanism (optimism concerning the nature of man) the more heart wrenching. It is at once a death blow to humanism and a testament to “amazing grace” (John Newton, slave trader) to understand that the future “election of grace” from the natural branches may as well include a Bernard Madoff or a Howard Stern (compare Manasseh; 2Chron 33) as readily as any noble and beloved Rabbi so and so. In fact, according to Jesus, such as these go in before those that are secure in their own righteousness. But this is precisely what makes the believer’s pathos and pity for Israel all the more intense. Their zeal is indeed sincere. Much of it is not at all misbegotten, so far as it goes. But that’s just the tragedy; it doesn’t go far enough (Ro 10:2-3; Gal 6:15).
We may be sure that God’s contention with the Jewish people concerning their historic ill fated approach to righteousness (Ro 3:37; 9:32) will be profoundly shaken. That is the purpose of the last tribulation coming in the form that it does, namely, a covenant with death and hell. It is God’s contention against Israel’s historic tendency to put confidence in man, which is the quintessential presumption that is the root and power of all other sin. The great betrayal will expose the pride of Israel’s historic self reliance, both secular and religious, but particularly religious.
There is one scripture that I believe has never been adequately unpacked, but that sums up and underscores the entire mystery of the faith. It is, “when He sees their power is gone …” (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7). There it is! That’s where Christ is revealed, at the end of power. That’s where the dead are quickened and nowhere else. That is where the Word divides between soul and spirit. That’s God’s war with our irrepressibly resilient humanism that is only met by the Spirit’s application of the cross. He alone knows how to take them there, as He will also take the church to the manifestation of the strength that lies at the end of strength (Rev 12:10).
Your brother in the cause of God and truth, Reggie