Notwithstanding the United Arab Emirates peace deal normalizing relations with Israel, regional saber-rattling continues unabated.
And the Beirut blast stands as a warning to all who would malign the people of God. For the truth is that Lebanon has done little to stop the ongoing terrorist activities of Hezbollah, who have established a stranglehold on the country from whose borders they have long aimed their guns at Israel.
Backed by Iran, they have for some time threatened to resume their hostile campaign against the world’s only Jewish state, who have connections to the land going back over 3,000 years.
One report states that the ammonium nitrate that caused such devastation to the Lebanese port was owned by Hezbollah who intended to use the material in a war against Israel.1
If this is the case, Lebanon have made a rope from which to hang themselves rather as Haman did in ancient Persia.
Tragically, however, thousands of innocent residents were caught in the crossfire, for which the Lebanese authorities must take responsibility for having allowed the terror group the freedom to operate with impunity for so long.
It’s time they recognized that fanatical Islam, not Israel, are their real enemies, which should be obvious from the way their southern neighbours have responded to the explosion by offering aid, as they have repeatedly done in other disaster areas over the years.
Contrary to propaganda voraciously imbibed by the left, Israel does actually believe in loving their neighbours. It’s an Old Testament command (Leviticus 19.18) confirmed by Jesus as a summary of the Law, along with loving God.
So why does much of the Western world continue to act as cheerleaders for those who point weapons at the people who gave them so much, and on whose moral foundations their civilization has been built?
The Bible, the foundational guide to living on this planet, is now accessible to 5.7 billion people (80% of the world’s population) in their own language2 – thanks to the Jews, who also gave us Jesus, the Saviour of the world, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2.32).
The boiling cauldron of today’s Middle East has echoes of the time when Ezekiel prophesied some 2,500 years ago. Jerusalem lay in ruins and her people had been carried off to Babylon. Among those who gloated over their predicament were the people of Tyre, the ancient Lebanese port just 50 miles south of Beirut.
The Bible says that if your enemy is hungry, you should feed him (Romans 12.20). But instead they cheered the destruction of the Jewish capital with an antisemitic chant that gave rise to the phrase ‘Hip, hip, hooray!’, the initials of Hip translating in Latin as Jerusalem is fallen.
Whereas exile was indeed God’s punishment for his people in forsaking his commands, it was not for the surrounding nations to exact their own penalty, as Ezekiel points out (Ezek 35.15), because it was a case of interfering in the discipline of someone else’s children.
Ezekiel duly prophesied that Tyre would one day be thrown into the sea, which is what literally happened when Alexander the Great plundered the region in 332 BC. (Ezek 26.12)
“No other city, before or since, has ever been thrown into the sea,” the late David Pawson wrote in his masterful work Unlocking the Bible. “When Alexander the Great came marching down towards Egypt…the people of Tyre simply got into their fishing boats and sailed to the island half-a-mile offshore, knowing that Alexander had an army, but not a navy.”3
But the un-phased General commanded that every brick, stone and piece of timber be used to build a causeway to the island, where its people were subsequently defeated. Even today, fishermen’s nets are spread out on the bare rock of old Tyre, just as Ezekiel prophesied, while the modern city is out on the island with sand having silted up against Alexander’s causeway. If it’s in the Bible, you had better believe it!
Yes, God has promised to punish Israel’s malicious neighbours, especially when the Jews are back in the land following their long exile among the nations, when he would demonstrate his presence among them as the one and only true God (Ezekiel 28.24-26).
The ancient Scripture is forever true that, if you bless the seed of Abraham, you too will be blessed, but if you curse them, you will bring judgment on yourselves. (Genesis 12.3)
When the British Labour Party effectively cursed the Jews by failing to deal with anti-Semitism in their ranks, they were duly routed at the polls. German cities eventually lay in ruins after their brutal persecution of the Jewish people through the Holocaust.
And when Britain betrayed the Jews by failing to act on their behalf in the 1930s and 40s, they began to lose their great empire. And their moral integrity soon disappeared with it.
Like ancient Tyre and modern Beirut, Britain too is in danger of becoming a heap of ruins. We need to return to the God of Israel, and to his Son, Jesus the Jewish Messiah, who said that whoever fails to build on the rock of his teaching was building his house on sand.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7.27
1Iran-backed terror group intended to use material against Israel, World Israel News, 10th August 2020
2Bible Society report
3Gardner C, King of the Jews, p39
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