In the last two posts we discussed the parallel restoration of Israel and the church that began in the Twentieth Century. We discovered that each time there was a restoration of God’s promises to Israel in the last days there was also a significant revival and restoration in the church. Another pattern we observed is that when Israel is at an impasse and cannot move forward the result is either a Middle-East war or a major world war. Twenty years ago the Oslo Accords began the scenario that will culminate in the covenant or treaty of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. This treaty will divide Jerusalem and the Temple Mount (Rev 11:2) and allow Israel to worship God in the Holy Place once again. However, three and a half years into this time of Middle-East Peace and Security the Treaty will be broken by the one revealed as the Anti-Christ and the Tribulation period will begin (1Thess 5:3). Since this is the outcome then, we can analyze the current situation and safely predict the path of the perfect storm that is now churning in the Middle-East.
On April 15 of 2014, the first in a series of four Blood Moons on the Jewish Feasts of Passover and Tabernacles began. The last one will take place on September 28th of this year. These Lunar Eclipses on Jewish Feasts signify peril for the Jews and indicate that something significant is happening or about to happen. The last time they appeared was during the Six Day war in 1967 when the Old City of Jerusalem was restored to Jewish control after thousands of years. Before that they appeared when Israel became a State and the War of Independence began in 1949 and 1950. Then one has to go back to the Spanish Inquisition, an equally perilous time for the Jews in 1493 and 1494, to find another of these Tetrads (as they are called) on Jewish Feasts.
There is no doubt that these Blood Moons are significant signs and could hardly be considered coincidental. However, there are other signs aligning with them. For instance, after the Blood Moons of 2014 there was a Solar Eclipse seen over Northern Europe on March 20th of this year – the first day of the Jewish Religious New Year which happened to also coincide with the first day of spring. A Solar Eclipse, according to ancient Hebrew reckoning signifies a difficult time for the Gentile nations. It is interesting to note that the places where the eclipse was visible have been in the news for either opposing Israel or experiencing a significant rise in Anti-Semitism. Then on April 4th the third Blood Moon was seen in the Americas on Passover which this year coincided with the Biblical events of the crucifixion of Christ celebrated by Christians. And on Rosh Hashanah of this year, the Civil New Year for Jews, there will be another Solar Eclipse, this time partial, which will occur in the Southern Hemisphere. Furthermore, another amazing “coincidence” occurred in that 2015 is a Shmita year. Rosh Hashanah of 2014 began the Shmita – the Sabbatical year of release. This period ends on the Feast of Tabernacles on September 28th 2015. This will be the last Blood Moon of the Tetrad and it will also be a super moon. This is truly an amazing series of signs yet they are not about the coming of Christ but rather the events that are happening and about to happen in Israel. It appears that we are in another of those times when monumental change will take place in the Holy Land preparing the way for the end of this age.
2014 – The Crisis Begins
2014 began with the Russian invasion of Crimea which sent shudders around Western capitals and initiated a second Cold War. Then after the first Blood Moon on April 15, the Peace Talks led by John Kerry collapsed in failure and Mahmoud Abbas changed his strategy to secure UN and global recognition of a Palestinian State in the hopes of backing Israel into a corner. So far this seems to be working as Israel is faced with threats of UN and EU sanctions and isolation with the Vatican and even the US government chiming in. Then in July of 2014 the other Palestinian “government” Hamas, declared war on Israel from Gaza with a deluge of rockets on its cities. “Operation Protective Edge” as it was called lasted fifty days and caused major pain for Israelis and Gazans, not to mention the increase in Anti-Semitism around the world. Of course the nations pressured Israel to leave Hamas in power insuring that it would all happen again on an even greater scale. As I write, five rockets have landed in Southern Israel and the terror group prepares for another lethal round of hostilities.
Though the Gaza war was a significant event last summer, it was overshadowed by the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. This “Islamic State” was proclaimed a caliphate in July and has set its sights on what it calls the Levant. Today, despite the air campaign of the US and a coalition of many nations, they are just a few kilometers from Baghdad and Damascus slaughtering Christians and Muslins alike in a very brutal fashion. They also appear to be taking over Libya, and are operating in Sinai, Gaza and the West Bank. They are also controlling the northeastern border with Jordan and may begin to destabilize that country next. This of course would guarantee Israel’s entrance into the war which is clearly inevitable anyway. Also, Saudi Arabia is at war with Iranian supported rebels in Yemen and Egypt is at war with ISIS in Libya and Sinai.
Esther in Washington
Purim is the festival that celebrates Queen Esther’s appeal to the Persian King that brought an end to the wicked scheme of Haman to destroy all the Jews in Persia. Persia today is, of course, Iran. On the eve of Purim, March 3 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu went against protocol like Queen Esther, and without an invite from Obama, addressed the US Congress claiming that the deal with Iran threatened Israel’s very existence. This cemented an already growing rift between the two leaders. Then Obama signed the framework agreement with Iran just two days before Passover and the third Blood Moon on April 1, which happened to coincide with Nisan 13, the day the Persian King signed the edict to destroy the Jews. Was this a coincidence or another amazing sign from heaven? In any event the next round of talks is underway and the June deadline is fast approaching. Sadly it appears likely that the P5+1 as they are called, will capitulate to keep the talks going and lift the sanctions against Iran. This of course will force Israel to act since they have clear red lines to protect. Adding to all that, the Israeli elections have given Israel a more conservative government than it has ever had – one that includes Bible believers and where Netanyahu is the moderate. At the same time it seems that the Obama administration is not sincere in its support for Israel and does not have the will to fight a real war. This weakness and indecisiveness has been noticed by all and is contributing to the chaos around the world. Not only is the whole Middle-East aflame but Russia is likely to continue its agenda in Ukraine and elsewhere as well as supporting Iran and China is now threatening war over some islands in the South China Sea.
World War III?
The two world wars of the Twentieth Century did not encompass the whole world but involved most of the world powers. They did however, directly affect the geography of the Middle-East and were used by God to establish Israel in its homeland. Based on these criteria it is safe to say we are already in World War III since the nations of the Middle-East are at war and all the major world powers are involved. However, the situation promises to get much worse. Hundreds of thousands have already died and two nations seem about to disappear. Syria’s Assad cannot hold out much longer and Isis is likely to overrun Damascus. Most of the rebel factions will either disappear or join Isis and this will bring the Iranian proxy Hezbollah into direct conflict with the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States will not want either Isis or Iran to establish a caliphate and will be forced to fight both. Iran is already the dominant force in Iraq and Obama seems to be determined to make them a nuclear power as well. The Iranians were not quite ready to take on all this until they got their nuke, but now they have no choice. Isis will likely rise up in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and loads of disgruntled terrorists will join them as they terrorize the region. Thus there will be all-out war between Sunni and Shia with Isis against all and all against Israel. The US and the Western Powers will not engage with ground troops and will instead continue their air and tactical support. They will also be distracted by other conflicts, natural disasters or terrorist strikes in Western cities. Israel after it is drawn directly into the conflict will stop the political maneuvering, because it has nothing to gain and everything to lose, and when it is all over the Middle-East will be a different place. However, no Islamic caliphate will rule Israel. On the contrary, the Jewish State will likely be larger and the nations will be forced to back off for a season until the next step in the prophetic timeline is taken. All this will probably be over sometime next year and will prepare the way for a breakthrough on the Temple Mount that could begin in 2017 – the 70th anniversary of the State and the 50th Anniversary of the recapture of Jerusalem. Then the opposition will all begin again until the Treaty dividing Jerusalem is signed and the last seven years of the age begins. Whether I am right in these predictions or not, the coming months promise to be very eventful indeed. Whatever happens, God’s plan for Israel will succeed and the Bible’s prophecies will unfold. Yet, while all this is happening in Israel, the parallel history of restoration tells us there will also be a church remnant experiencing great revival. In the next and final part of this series of posts we will discuss the revivals that have accompanied Israel’s restoration and see if we can learn anything about the next wave about to wash over the body of Christ.