How worried should Israel be?
In Tuesdays online edition of Israel Today a headline read; “How Worried Should Israel Be About Trump’s Latest Remarks?” The article went on to say; “That US President Donald Trump devoted a portion of his Charleston, West Virginia rally on Tuesday to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process suggests that he intends to very soon unveil his Mideast peace plan, dubbed by Trump himself as the “deal of the century.” During the remarks, Trump reiterated that Israelis will be none-too-pleased by the demands made of their nation. Ever since last December, when Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and especially since May 14 of this year, when the US Embassy was moved to the Holy City, Israelis have feared there would be a steep diplomatic price to pay for the American leader’s unprecedented gesture.
Israel to pay a high price?
On Tuesday, Trump validated those fears in no uncertain terms. Trump told the crowd that he had fully gotten behind the Israeli position by taking Jerusalem “off the table,” a reference to Israel’s demand that the city remain united under Israeli sovereignty as part of any final status peace deal. “In past negotiations, they never got past Jerusalem,” noted Trump. “Now Israel will have to pay a higher price, because it’s off the table. The Palestinians will get something very good, because it’s their turn next.” It’s that “something very good” that has Israelis concerned, because most of the Palestinian red-line demands pose very real existential threats to Israel’s future as the Jewish state.
“Off the table?”
Of course, if Trump doesn’t intend to meet some top-tier Palestinian demand, such as flooding Israel with millions of so-called Palestinian “refugees,” and instead just wants to give them a pile of cash or some other economic incentive, he’s as unlikely as past presidents to achieve Palestinian compliance, and Israel can therefore breathe easy. Furthermore, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has already painted himself into a corner on the Jerusalem issue. Trump, never one to be intimidated into accepting another’s position, has resolutely declared that Jerusalem is “off the table.” But, Abbas has spent decades insisting that unless the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, is surrendered to the Palestinians, there can be no peace.
Who will back down?
One of these two men must back down, and neither has ever before demonstrated a willingness to do so. For Trump, it’s a matter of pride. For Abbas, there’s pride, but there’s also the fact that his rule, and perhaps his life, would be endangered by giving up on Jerusalem now. The bottom line is that Trump’s plan, regardless of how groundbreaking it might be, has very little chance of being accepted as-is by the Palestinian Authority. Then again, this president has already proved capable of shoving through seemingly impossible agendas by sheer force of will. So, who knows? Maybe Israel should be worried.”
The Judges of Israel
In the Book of Judges we read that under Joshua the nation of Israel living in Canaan (Israel) had served the LORD during Joshua’s lifetime and the people of Israel had witnessed what the LORD has done for them. (Judges 2:6-7) However after Joshua had died and that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel. They did evil in the eyes of the LORD and followed and served the gods and idols of the pagans surrounding them in the land of Canaan. (Judges 2:10-12)
We read in the book of Judges; “They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook Him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In His anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as He had sworn to them. They were in great distress.” (Judges 2:13-15)
When they were in dire straits the LORD would raise up a judge to deliver them. However, when the judge died the people went back into idolatry and the ways of the people surrounding them. This trend continued into the times of the kings of Israel and Judah and although there were some Godly kings and prophets in the end the people of God went after idols, adopting the ways and practices of the nations surrounding them. In 722 BC Israel fell to the Assyrians and then in 586 BC the Southern Kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians. During the 400 year period between the Old and the New Testament there were no prophets after the martyrdom of the prophet Zechariah in the Temple and the Word of the LORD was rare even though there were times when Israel had victory over their enemies such as the Maccabees had over the forces of Antiochus around 160 BC.
A long and troubled history
The first prophet to arise after 400 years was John the Baptist who called the people of Israel once again to repentance and faith in their Messiah our Lord Jesus. Repentance had been a word that had been long forgotten in Israel apart from a select few of faithful believers who believed in God and were waiting for the coming of their Messiah. When the eternal Son of God, the ultimate prophet, Priest and King came to Israel the people, by enlarge, rejected Him and those who followed Him. Forty years after the Lord Jesus had lived, died and had been resurrected and ascended to heaven the people of Israel, because of their idolatry and rejection of their Messiah, were once again invaded, Jerusalem was sacked and the Temple destroyed in 70AD effectively destroying the Biblical Judaism of Moses which has not existed to this present day.
The modern day ‘Judges’
Ezekiel the prophet spoke of the physical restoration of the nation of Israel in the last days (Ezekiel 37:1-8) which occurred in 1948 after almost 2,000 years of captivity. Their spiritual restoration was to come once they were back in the land. (Ezekiel 37:9-14) Ultimately the nation would inherit the Millennial Messianic kingdom. (Ezekiel 37: 15-28) Today, Israel as a nation is away from the LORD. There is a generation of young and not so young Israelis who do not know of the deeds of the LORD that He has wrought in times past for His people. However, the LORD is raising up judges once again through the Messianic and Gentile believers in Israel who are seeking to bring their Jewish brothers and sisters in the flesh back to faith in their Messiah our Lord Jesus.
Are they listening?
But are the people listening? Are the leaders listening? Are the religious Jews listening? The secular Israelis are trusting in the idols and the ways of the pagans, most of the religious Jews are trusting in their own works based righteousness instead of the righteousness that comes by faith in the Lord Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. The Politicians are looking to the ‘Egypt of this world’ for security and It would seem that they have been looking to President Trump and America for security but now it would seem that President Trump’s so called ‘peace plan’ is not favourable to Israel’s interests when he has said; “”Now Israel will have to pay a higher price, because it’s off the table. The Palestinians will get something very good, because it’s their turn next.” What does this say about his ‘Deal of the Century’ as he calls it?
What will it mean for Israel? What will they be asked to give up now? More land for peace as they did in Gaza? Surely President Trump knows the mindset of Abbas and Co yet what is Trump really planning? However, the truth is that God is bringing Israel into a time when the nation will be faced with a situation like they have never faced before in their long and troubled history.
Jeremiah the prophet spoke about this time…“‘Cries of fear are heard—terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labour, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob…” (Jeremiah 30:1-7a)
This is the bad news for spiritually wayward Israel, it is a situation they cannot avoid and one the not even a man like President Trump or any other political leader for that matter can deliver them from. Tragically many in Israel who continue to reject their Messiah will perish, but not all because Israel will still stand as a nation and a faithful remnant will come forth to inherit the Millennial Messianic Kingdom. (Zechariah 13:8-9)
Jeremiah also announces the good news concerning Israel; “…but he will be saved out of it. “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, (The Lord Jesus) whom I will raise up for them.” (Jeremiah 30:7b-9)
Gods refining crucible
Israel as a nation have as yet to pass through the refining crucible of God but in the furnace of affliction and refining they will meet their Messiah and in that day the tears of repentance and joy will fill Jerusalem and spill over throughout the whole land of Israel. (Zechariah 12:10-14) What a joyful and tearful reunion that will be when the Lord Jesus has His reunion with His long lost and rejected brothers and sisters in the flesh. For Israel in that day it will be “Life from the dead” when “All Israel will be saved!” because “God’s gifts and call are irrevocable!” (Romans 11:25-29)
All Israel will be saved!
In that day when Israel’s enemies surround them and cover the land like locusts their Messiah our Lord Jesus will come back, their cry of anguish will be heard and cause God their saviour and protector to act on their behalf. When they see Him whom they have pierced coming again in the clouds with great power and glory to rescue them they will be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory! In that day Israel will be saved and Jerusalem secure and the idols banished from the land.
As Zechariah prophesies; “On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 14:20-21)