Pulpit Today Sermon
God’s Dealings with Israel at the Endtime
by Robert D. Pace
The Bible notes that once Israel reclaimed its statehood—which occurred May 14, 1048—it would remain abhorred by the world. Especially during the Endtime, Israel will be a cauldron of controversy whose very presence is repugnant to the nations. But it is not like this prophecy is breaking news. The world’s antipathy toward Israel is underscored throughout the Bible: Joel 3:1-3; Zechariah 2:8; 12:1–3; Psalm 83; Ezekiel, chapters 38–39; Malachi 3:6; Luke 21:20; and the book of Revelation. Israel has always been a sore spot on the globe.
From the inception of Israel’s conquest of Canaan through Joshua, four thousand years ago, it has fought Philistines, Egyptians, Arabs, Persians, Ammonites, Moabites, and every neighbor surrounding them. And the Bible emphasizes that nothing will change for Israel during the Endtime. It will remain in a tempest!
(Question) But Why? Why is Israel always in the crosshairs? Why are they always under fire?
Do you realize it would contradict Scripture should Israel no longer be the ire of the world? Should Israel secure peace with the nations during the Endtime, it would disprove the Bible. But it cannot! From the moment Israel regained its statehood in 1948, it has experienced nothing but war, terrorism, and bloodshed. And there is a remarkable story coinciding with Israel’s first full day as a sovereign state on May 15, 1948. Known as the War of Independence, this is when Israel was maliciously attacked by six nations: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
With much of the civilized world blithely looking at this event, it fully expected this Arab coalition to obliterate the infant nation of Israel. The Arabs outnumbered the Jews 100 to 1, and boasted they would “push the Jews into the sea.” But in contradiction to reality, the fragile nation of Israel, and its ill-equipped military, routed the entire confederation of trained armies in six days! Miracle after miracle occurred in behalf of Israel. And it’s all because God was on the battlefield!
Since Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, it has fought seven wars. And in accordance with Providence, God has upheld the Jewish nation and denied its enemies any chance of conquering them.
Psalm 122:6 tells Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” That is your opportunity to partner with God’s plan. I am convinced prayer is one reason Israel has remained remarkably safe, despite an assault of rockets fired into their land. Christians are praying! And subsequently, God intervenes and Christians are blessed.
God Defends Israel
From a Biblical perspective, Believers know God defends his chosen people; the Bible shows God fighting for the Israelis for thousands of years. But incredibly enough, Muslims are admitting that Jehovah is circumvents the direction of their missiles. They are confessing they fight a people whose God is greater than Allah.
But why? Why does God defend Israel? For several reasons:
Israel is God’s covenant people. He covenanted with Israel through the Father of our Faith, Abraham.
Second, the Bible predicted that its Messiah would be Jewish. Indeed Jesus was Jewish. He is repeatedly called, “the Son of David.”
Third, the very land (Canaan) that Joshua and David conquered is God’s property and is repeatedly called the “holy land” in the Old Testament.
When you combine these three facts, you see that God has something to fight for! His Name is on the line!
The Endtime is called “Times of Distress”
God foreknew the disposition of the last days. He knew of the troubles Israel would encounter along the way. And Christians that regularly pray for Israel have been disturbed by the price Israelis are paying to maintain their existence. Unfortunately, Israel’s troubles will not cease! It will take increased vigilance by the Israelis to resist the rising tide of hostility. In fact, the Bible forecasts a day when Israel will become a tempest that ensnares the entire world. The prophet Zechariah describes that narrative:
The oracle [burden] of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. (Zechariah 12:2–3).
What an ominous passage of Scripture! So much so, that it begins with the words: “The burden of the word of the LORD.” God’s message to Zechariah saddled his heart and troubled his mind. The Prophet predicted that Jerusalem would become the center of a global conflict. There can be no doubt that this portion of Zechariah’s prophecy is coming to pass. But the prophecy didn’t stop there. And herein lays the “burden of Zechariah.” He shows that the nations besieging Jerusalem to “lift” it or to divide and reconstruct its borders will be sorely punished (v. 3). According to Zechariah, the efforts of the nations of the world do not injure Israel, the “heavy stone.” Israel stays miraculously intact! The injury affects the nations that assail Israel (v. 3).
As I have inspected the context of Zechariah’s prophecy, it seems to align itself with the Battle of Gog and Magog. This is a pre-Rapture battle that is mentioned many times in the Old Testament (Ezek. 38―39; Jer. 23 & 30; Ps. 83; Isa. 29; Joel 2; Hag. 2; Amos 3). Chapter 9 deals in detail with this upcoming battle, but there is something more that needs highlighting here.
Israel Is Forever Settled
Since 1948, God has given Israel a place of permanence in its homeland. According to the Scriptures, Israel will never again be uprooted. While the Bible shows the Israelis being assailed by rocket-fire, terrorism, and war, it never again pictures the Israelis being totally expelled from their borders. The Israelis will remain in their homeland despite being a cauldron of controversy at the Endtime.
This is something Christians can rejoice about as it concerns our beloved Jewish friends, too. God will stand by Israel until the return of Jesus Christ! Regardless of their suffering, the Scriptures show the Jews maintaining their homeland until the Antichrist breaks his Peace Treaty three and a half years into the Tribulation. At that point, the Tribulation turns into the Great Tribulation and the entire world suffers cataclysmic judgment. Shortly thereafter, the Lord Jesus returns to Earth, shatters the kingdoms of the world, and sets up his millennial reign. As explained in chapter 2, the State of Israel continues as a sovereign nation into the Millennium, in contradiction to all other nations being vanquished by Christ during the Tribulation. And Israel’s eternal survival makes sense! It has been the world’s only nation in which God entered covenant. God always stands by his Word!
Much of this Endtime scenario (including the Zechariah 12 prophecy) is unfolding today. As mentioned, the United Nations has vigorously pursued a plan for the Palestinians to become an autonomous nation within the Biblically etched borders of Israel. This two-State solution demands that the Israelis surrender the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem; this is territory that encompasses the ancient regions of Judea and Samaria where Christ, the Prophets, and the Apostles ministered.
Known as the “Land for Peace” doctrine, it comes with the pledge that Israel will have peace with its neighboring states as it surrenders its land. But is this the solution that will assuage the Arabs’ “ancient hostility” toward the Jews (Ezk. 35:5 NIV)? And most importantly, what does the Bible say about this proposition?
While it is beneficial for the world to understand God’s determinations, it is imperative that Christians understand them. Supporting Israel’s welfare is something Christians should never dismiss! And I want to explain why Christians must support this mandate.
The Bible made it clear, thousands of years ago, that God issued a unique directive to the Jewish people. God chose the Jewish people to give mankind the Scriptures and the Savior. Distinct in destiny, God also assigned the Israelis a place on the globe unlike any other nation possesses. He conferred to them what the Bible repeatedly calls the “holy land” (Ps. 78:54, Ezekiel 48:12, Zechariah 2:12). This phrase asserts God’s ownership of this land. The land has been sanctified unto God and his purposes.
This is what Genesis 15:18 means when God said to Abraham: “Unto thy seed have I given this land” (KJV). And this is no obscure citation. The Bible provides over 150 references to this territory of the Middle East belonging to the Israelis. When you combine the Scriptures that outline Israel’s borders, you discover they stretch from the Euphrates River in the North to the River of Egypt in the South, and from the Jordan River in the East to the Mediterranean Sea in the West (Gen. 15:18; 32:28; Num. 34:1–12; Jos. 15:20–47).
But the Bible furnishes yet more evidence to establish Israel’s claim to this land. Three thousand years ago, King David purchased the entire mountain area where his son Solomon later built the Temple. Consequently, David secured the entire 45-acre plot that is known today as the “Temple Mount” (see 2 Sam. 24).
This means the Bible supplies trilateral testimony of the Israelis owning this property. They own it by (1) God’s pledge to Abraham, (2) God’s repeated pledge to the Jews in Scripture, and (3) by David’s purchase.
God couldn’t have been clearer. He is the sole Proprietor of the Holy Land. In terms of divine jurisprudence, this territory is actually God’s property on-loan to the Israelis. Had Israel’s borders been negotiable or temporally assigned, the Lord would have noted it. But he did not. The borders are everlasting borders.
Can you imagine how the U.S. Government would respond if Russia demanded the land rights to Alaska? In 1867, America purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. Then on January 3, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower welcomed Alaska as the forty-ninth state by signing an official document of recognition. Afterward, the President authorized a public proclamation of such. Thus, Alaska belongs to the United States by purchase, by documentation, and by proclamation. The United States is under no obligation to return Alaska to the Russians.
Likewise, why would God ever surrender the Holy Land to any people group other than the one he chose four thousand years ago, the Jews? The Lord has supplied written documentation in the Bible that the Holy Land belongs to the Jewish people. He has given official payment for the purchase of Jerusalem through King David. And he has uttered repeated proclamations in the Bible that the borders of Abraham belong to the Israelis.
God has undying love for the Palestinians. But he also has undying commitment to his Word. When Believers submit to God’s purposes, Providence has an inimitable way of blessing them and laying up eternal rewards.
This leads to the final two branches that sprout forth from this Supersign of Prophecy. It regards the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple and the coming global revival.
The Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple
For years, people have speculated when the Temple would be rebuilt. One fact is clear: the Temple cannot be rebuilt today because too many obstacles prevent it. But there’s an appointed time for its reconstruction, and the Bible supplies a furtive message that discloses the moment of its reappearance.
In 2011, I began praying for God to show me when the next Jewish Temple would be built. As I prayed, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Research the Biblical pattern for the construction of the former Temples.”
As my quest started, I studied the record of 1 Chronicles where Solomon builds Israel’s first Temple. From there, I investigated Zechariah’s report of Israel’s second Temple. Interestingly, Solomon’s Temple and Zerubbabel’s Temple were built under similar circumstances.
First Chronicles 22:9 says, “I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his [Solomon’s] days. [And] he shall build a house for my name.” What is amazing is, four hundred years later, and immediately after the Israelites were liberated from Babylonian Captivity, Zechariah 1:11 uses the exact words to depict the rebuilding of the next Temple. The Prophet says “all the earth is peaceful and quite” (NASB).
The Biblical pattern was set! The construction of both Temples ensued during a time of “peace and quiet.” Thus, this pattern forecasts the construction of the last-day Temple. That is, during an interlude of worldwide peace.
One thing is certain. There is no peace in the world today, especially in the Middle East. The world hates Israel! This means something significant must occur to create a season of peace and quiet and permit the reconstruction project. For sure, it is impossible to rebuild the Temple under present circumstances. Here is why:
Besides the world’s aversion to Israel, the Temple Mount is fettered by two Islamic shrines—the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Islam claims Muhammad ascended into heaven from the Temple Mount. Thus, Muslims would never let the Jews rebuild their Temple and “desecrate” that site.
So, what is the solution to this dilemma? It is the Battle of Gog and Magog. This battle is the Lord’s doing! With Israel’s enemies perched on the mountains of Israel and ready to attack, God will strike first and initiate this battle by creating a devastating earthquake. It will not only melt the mountains where Israel’s enemies have gathered, it will destroy the Temple Mount.
Imagine this: When Israel’s enemies are utterly defeated, and this earthquake turns those Muslim holy sites into a pile of rubble, it will paralyze the world with fear! Islam will be totally dispirited, and no nation will prevent Israel’s claim of the Temple Mount.
And just as it occurred in Solomon’s day and Zechariah’s day, the earth will again experience a brief season of worldwide peace and quiet as the world stands in awe of God’s intervention for Israel. The construction of the Temple will go forth virtually unimpeded!
I have often wondered how long this period of peace and quiet will last. While the Bible offers no precise length, it will likely be short-lived, given the world’s propensity to forget God’s dealings. While this timeframe remains undetermined, I am convinced something devious will occur during this brief season of worldwide tranquility.
Mischief of the Antichrist
What seems to shape up is the perfect opportunity for the Antichrist to entrench himself as a global leader. It seems plausible that he could use Israel’s stunning victory over the Magog Confederation to his advantage. He might even claim to have invoked his own supernatural power to protect Israel from its demise. Regardless of what he claims, in some beguiling way, I foresee the Antichrist using Israel’s victory to his advantage.
This intrigue from the Antichrist could evoke his infamous Peace Pact that Daniel foresaw him brokering between Israel and its neighbors. It seems likely that the Antichrist will support Israel’s newfound ambition to rebuild the Temple on their rightful Temple Mount. Remember, this man is an impostor extraordinaire! At this point, the world will laud him for stabilizing peace in the Middle East and for pacifying international hostilities.
It is also my belief that the Antichrist will deceive thousands of Christians by masterminding a stratagem of ushering in a millennium of peace. With all these possibilities at large, Christians should be vigilant and guard against deception. The Antichrist will take credit for anything he assumes will further his purposes.
As a word of caution, I want to summarize how the world could look at this prophetic moment:
God will give Israel a stunning victory at the Battle of Gog and Magog.
Israel will find temporary peace with its neighbors, and the world will enjoy a brief, providential season of “peace and quiet.”
Christians will witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a wondrous worldwide revival.
The Jewish Temple will be rebuilt.
The Antichrist could offer his seven-year Peace Pact with Israel and perhaps even predict a Millennium of Peace.
With all these events occurring within a reasonably short span of time, the Apostle Paul issues a startling Apocalert:
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:1—3).
At this moment, when people assume the “stars have aligned,” and the world has found its “master,” the Apostle Paul foresaw this moment presenting the “day of the Lord.” The apostle saw it emerging when all will seem well; when the “perfect” man will be leading the way; and even with worldwide revival sweeping the earth! This is when Paul tells Christians to be on high alert! Satan will no doubt seize the moment to “lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24).
It is my hope that this book will be in print for years to come. If so, and you are reading Apocalert at the close of the Battle of Gog and Magog, I urge you to take note of this season and be watchful! Beware of an impostor. I implore you to repudiate any man that claims to have orchestrated any of the aforementioned events. God and his Son Jesus Christ are solely responsible for fulfilling every prophecy from the Bible.
Removing the Temple’s Last Obstacle
Now I want to announce the final obstacle that prevents Israel from rebuilding its Temple before the Battle of Gog and Magog. That obstacle is Israel itself! Other than a few religious zealots, Israel has no desire to rebuild its Temple before the Battle of Gog and Magog. That is because the Jews are without the least inclination to seek Yahweh. They are spiritually dead and have not yet turned to Christ. But they will!
God revealed to Ezekiel an amazing sequence of events that lead to Israel’s spiritual transformation. Chapters 37, 38, and 39 record the details:
In Ezekiel 37, God pictures Israel as a valley “full of bones . . . they were very dry” (vv. 1–2). The scene describes Israel as hopelessly, spiritually dead with no inclination to serve God.
But in chapter 38, with Israel in a godless, backslidden condition, the Lord intervenes for Israel at the Battle of Gog. Suddenly, Israel realizes only Jehovah could move in such a convincing way and rescue them. God lifts the veil of darkness and the modern Jews understand they really are God’s covenant people!
Then in chapter 39, the Jews finally repent and accept Christ. The Lord says, “Then [after Gog and Magog] they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel” (vv. 28-29 NASB).
Do you see what is happening? Once the Battle of Gog and Magog terminates, the Jews see nobody but God standing on the battlefield. And this is when Israel, as a nation, accepts the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as its Savior and Lord. And once the Jews accept Christ and experience “power from on high,” they will acquire an unquenchable passion to rebuild their Temple. Praise God!