We appear to be approaching yet more choppy waters in Israel’s turbulent history.
The Jewish state’s proposed ‘annexation’ of the Jordan Valley, along with parts of Judea and Samaria – otherwise known as the West Bank despite being the heart of ancient Israel – is causing hackles to rise once again among the nations.
This includes Britain who insist on sticking to their longstanding Foreign Office mantra of pushing for a ‘two-state solution’ – even though there is no evidence whatsoever that it will work, or indeed that it is justifiable.
It won’t work because the Palestinians refuse to recognise the existence of Israel, so how are they going to peacefully co-exist alongside a nation they wish to drive into the sea (as their officials have oft been quoted as saying)?
They will undoubtedly soon be firing rockets at their neighbours, just as Hamas have been doing ever since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 in a supposed ‘land for peace’ deal.
Having said that, a recent survey suggested ordinary Palestinian Authority residents would much prefer to live under Israeli rule. The problem is with the leadership and the anti-Semitic fanatics they stir up.
In any case, the Palestinians have no legal right to the land in question despite the claims of Boris Johnson and others that annexation plans “amount to a breach of international law”.
A hundred years ago, at San Remo in Italy, the allied powers of World War I agreed to grant all the land from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan (including the now disputed territories) to the Jewish people, thus incorporating Britain’s Balfour Declaration of 1917 into international law.
That is how the situation remains; no subsequent resolution has altered that political reality. What muddied the waters was Jordan’s illegal annexation of these territories in 1948 which was duly reversed by Israel in 1967, leaving the impression among some that once in Arab hands, they should remain so. But Israel won back the territory in a defensive war which threatened their very existence.
Boris, a self-declared Zionist, seems unwilling to challenge the Foreign Office status quo. This must change, or our standing as a nation in God’s eyes will be further undermined. Dividing Israel’s God-given land, along with dispersing their people and refusing to serve them will lead to national ruin, the Bible says. (Joel 3.2, Isaiah 60.12)
Are we not in enough trouble already, facing economic meltdown post-COVID amidst a general breakdown in law and order while our history is being literally torn apart and re-written? We have already lost our empire through treacherous dealings with the Jews over the years (Gen 12.3), particularly when thousands fleeing the Holocaust were turned away from the Holy Land, then under British control.
But we still have a chance to redeem ourselves by backing Israel’s plans in Judea.
For those who question Jewish connection to the land promised to Abraham 4,000 years ago (Gen 17.8), new archaeological evidence has emerged of a Jewish settlement in the Elah Valley around the time David faced off Goliath and his Philistine army some three millennia ago. And massive excavations in Jerusalem itself are revealing the grandeur of the city founded by King David during the same period.
The current hostility being displayed towards the Jewish state – especially the belligerence of surrounding nations – makes me wonder if we are not rapidly approaching what theologians refer to as ‘Daniel’s 70th week’.
Following passionate intercessory prayer for his people while exiled in Babylon, the prophet Daniel predicted, with pinpoint accuracy, the rise and fall of empires over the next 500 years, leading up to the Messiah’s death (Dan 9.26) and the subsequent desecration of Jerusalem – a total of 69 weeks of years, each ‘week’ representing seven years.
The 70th week is yet to come, but it will lead to a time of great tribulation, ironically initiated by a significant peace treaty with Israel (Dan 9.27). But the treaty will be broken mid-term by an Antichrist figure who will spread worldwide terror (see Dan 9 & 11; also Rev 13).
The last thing Britain needs is to align itself with nations opposed to Israel in these perilous times, which could lead to a gigantic battle at Armageddon in northern Israel (Rev 16.16). Whether we are quite there or not, the prophet Zechariah warns of a time, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against Israel, when Jerusalem would prove “an immovable rock” and “all who try to move it will injure themselves”. (Zech 12.3)
The Judge of all mankind is at the door, ready to return in glory and destroy his enemies. The clock is ticking; the great sign of the Second Coming’s imminence is the re-gathering of Jews to their ancient land, from which they have been exiled for nearly 2,000 years, followed by a spiritual awakening which would see many recognise Jesus as Messiah.
For God works out his purposes in two stages – first the physical, then the spiritual. (John 3.5f, 1 Cor 15.46f). We are born of flesh into the world and then, if we trust Jesus, we are born again of the Spirit. Likewise, when we die, we return to the dust of the earth as a perishable seed, only to rise again in the wake of our Master with a new, imperishable body.
The restoration of Israel at the end of the age, the Bible promises, will be accompanied by ever-increasing violence, lawlessness and earth-shaking events. All of us, including politicians and preachers, need to ensure we are ready for his coming, of which the Apostle John wrote: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” (Rev 1.7)
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International