Israel’s re-birth sets up the chess board for end times prophecy to develop. In today’s episode, we break down the events surrounding Israel leading up to the dramatic return of Jesus Christ.
Learn more about Jeff, Todd, and their books at https://prophecyprospodcast.com
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Todd: Why is the world so enthralled and captivated by this one tiny country that can literally fit into Lake Michigan with room to spare? That’s what we’re going to talk about next on the Prophecy Pros Podcast.
Jeff: Welcome to the podcast. My name’s Jeff Kinley along with Todd Hampson and we’re the Prophesy Pros and we’re here to help you understand, make sense of Bible prophecy so that it impacts your lives and gives you the strength and confidence to live in these perilous times that we’re in town.
Jeff: Todd, we’re talking about Israel today, which is a very, very fascinating topic. I know that most people don’t get up in the morning go, “Hey, I wonder what’s going on in Israel today?” But there is a lot going on in Israel and there seems to be a lot of focus on Israel. Talk about that a little bit.
Todd: I remember even as a kid, even before I was a Christian and seeing just so much Middle East drama ramping up and I always wondered why so much was focused on that. Of course, you’ve got the oil and everything else, but even today, from that time til today, it’s just ramped up even more to where literally the entire world’s focus is on Israel and the Middle East and all the drama that goes on there.
Todd: What we don’t realize without studying scripture is that it’s actually biblical. Even going back, we’ll just start with the Abrahamic promise, when God literally gave an unconditional promise to Abraham. That’s found in Genesis chapter 12 and starts in verse two, it’s verse two and three. There we read, “I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you. I will make your name great and I will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Todd: So there’s multiple prophesy details in that dense verse that we could talk about, even leading to Jesus. He came and blessed the whole world. But this is an unconditional promise that God made to Abraham and his descendants that is not replaced by the church. We’re going to talk about that a lot today. But I think it all stems back to that, Satan hates what God loves, and here God set the standard and the framework for everything that was moving forward from this point.
Jeff: Absolutely. People ask, well, why is Israel such a focus? Why do they seem to be at the hub of all the conflict and all the controversy? But something you mentioned there about Satan. I mean, you think about Satan and his hatred for the Jewish people. I mean, antisemitism is on the rise today. It’s really growing rapidly in Europe and we see it even some places in America as well in these shootings and stabbings and that type of thing with Jewish synagogues and gatherings. But it really goes back, this ancient hatred goes back to the verses that you just talked about, where God himself made a covenant with a people.
Jeff: It says in Deuteronomy, at least Deuteronomy seven, God says, “I didn’t choose you out of all the nations of the world because you are the biggest nation, but because I loved you, because I wanted to,” basically God says. So he makes this covenant with the Jewish people, but Satan hates the Jewish people. Why? Because through the Jewish people came the scriptures, through the Jewish people came the Messiah, the Jewish people have promises from God that are yet fulfilled. The Jewish people, one day, Todd, are going to call upon their Messiah to return. He’s going to return. If Jesus returns, that means Satan is kicked out of the house, that means he doesn’t get to rule the earth anymore.
Jeff: So Satan hates the Jews for a variety of reasons, but I think some of our listeners are probably thinking, “Yeah, okay, so there’s the Old Testament-
Todd: That’s so old fashioned, Jeff.
Jeff: It is-
Todd: That’s old school, man.
Jeff: I mean, you call the Old Testament, it just sounds so antiquated, out of date. It’s kind of like an old dictionary from 1900. Who uses those things, right?
Todd: Shouldn’t we just love God and love our neighbors and not worry about the Old Testament?
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah, just love Jesus, you don’t need theology, right? But in the Old Testament, we learn so much about the character of God and the way that he deals with his people, his relationship with his people. We see that throughout the Old Testament. You look through the Kings and the Chronicles and you see it in the Psalms, obviously, but that’s what the Old Testament is about, it’s the history of God’s covenant relationship with the Jewish people.
Jeff: Even through, as we talked about last time, about Daniel and them being in captivity and then they were scattered and dispersed among the nations, they ended up kind of congregating for a little while in Israel. That’s where we get to 70 AD, we talked about earlier where the Jews were dispersed again. So this history of the Jewish people is buried, it’s dramatic, it’s romantic, it’s violent. There’s so many things involved there. But we get to this point where God’s covenant with them has still not changed, because these were unconditional promises.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: We mentioned here and in Genesis chapter 15 where God, he re-institutes this covenant with Abraham. God is the only one who takes part in the covenant, Abraham’s asleep in this thing.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: God himself makes-
Todd: Cuts an animal in half and walks through.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. Just cuts it in half walks through, and so he is the one that signs the contract, if you will. So that’s one reason why we know. Then as you just trace it a little bit through history about those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. If you look at the history of Egypt, Syria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, those are nations that conquered Israel, they took their land, they took their people captive, they dispersed them in the earth. Hey, where’s Babylon today? Are they a powerhouse?
Todd: Even more modern times, where are the Nazis?
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Todd: I mean, they’re gone.
Todd: I mean, there’s people that try to claim to be, but those plans did not work out.
Jeff: Yeah, and even the country of Germany was split in two after that. So, there’s all this relationship between those who treat the descendants of Abraham a certain way. God says, “Hey …” It’s like I told my boys when they were young, say how you treat your mother will determine your happiness.
Todd: Wise advice.
Jeff: Yeah. Then God says, “Hey, how you treat my people of Israel will determine how I treat you as Gentile nations.”
Todd: But hasn’t the church replaced Israel, so those are no longer true? I’m being facetious here.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. Well, and that’s one of the things that you have a whole branch of theology that does believe that we just kind of became the new Israel, that type of thing. But a couple of things we need to keep in mind is, first of all, is that those promises that God made to the Jewish people were specifically to them as a nation.
Jeff: Historically, what we find in the New Testament is Jesus came, the Bible says in John one that he came to his own and his own didn’t receive him. I think that’s one of the saddest verses in the whole Bible, is that Christ came to the Jews, he presented himself as the Messiah. They rejected their Messiah at the time, they were looking for a conquering King and he came as a suffering servant to die for their sins. So they rejected that and then God turned to the Gentiles, Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles.
Jeff: So it’s interesting in Romans chapter 11, this is what Paul says, he says, “For I do not want you brother to be uninformed of this mystery.” Once again, here’s a prophetic mystery that Paul’s saying don’t be ignorant, don’t be uninformed about it. He says, “Lest you be wise in your own estimation.” He says that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
Jeff: So basically what God did as a nation, talking about a national relationship, not an individual relationship with Jews who become Christians, but national Israel, he says I’m going to put you on the back burner here while I deal with the Gentile nations and bring in the bride of Christ, which is this mystery, the bride of Christ. He brings in the bride of Christ as the mystery into this covenant relationship with God, salvifically speaking. Then he says, “Until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
Jeff: So there’s going to come a time when the age or the time of the Gentiles, the church age, is going to come to an end and God’s going to say, “Okay, now it’s time to turn my attention back to the Jewish people.” That’s where the tribulation period will begin that’s very Israeli-centric in the tribulation. In fact, the very next verse says, “And thus all Israel will be saved.”
Todd: So at some point, all Israel will turn to Christ and see him for who he was.
Jeff: Absolutely. There’s going to be this remnant in the end times in the end of the tribulation, God’s going to turn back to them. So I think it’s just interesting to think about this is that people who think that the church is Israel, you could almost understand that thinking just from what’s going on in the world, until 1948. On May 14th, 1948 when Israel became a nation again, nobody could really see that coming.
Jeff: I mean, here we have six million Jews being slaughtered in the Holocaust and we think, “Well, Israel for sure is done now, right?”
Jeff: But God actually used that horrible series of events to create sort of a worldwide sympathy for the Jews to allow them partially to go back to their Holy land. I think within 11 minutes of that declaration being made, President Truman said, “Hey, we’re on board as well.” America’s always been really the Jews greatest ally, Israel’s greatest ally.
Jeff: So all that to say is that for the Jews being scattered for 2,000 years, 20 centuries to 70 more countries, the language being dead, now that they’re coming back, it’s been a process of course, but now they’re coming back to the Holy land and they’re in the land now. The Bible says revelation can’t happen basically until the Jews are there.
Todd: Yeah, that’s amazing when you think about it. Honestly, I think this is where some believers get a little tripped up is, okay, 70 AD, Jerusalem was destroyed, Jews were scattered everywhere, there was no more Israel. End of story, focus on New Testament. But what they failed to realize is no, God was still at work, actually fulfilling prophecy, he has prophecies. For example, Deuteronomy 28:64 says, “The Lord will scatter you among the peoples from one end of earth to the other.”
Todd: Then there’s several prophecies, I won’t go through all of them. But Isaiah 11:11 says, “In that day,” talking about the end times, “In that day, the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people.” So notice he says there’ll be two dispersions. One is what we talked about with Daniel in the last episode, but that there would be another worldwide dispersion. So God was at work during that time and just like scripture says, everywhere they went, they were persecuted, they were mistreated, like you said. Somehow they kept their identity, that’s never happened with any other people group.
Todd: A few podcasts ago, we talked about even the land was completely just a wasteland. Mark Twain visited it before they came back into land and was like, I forget the exact words, but he essentially said, this place is just a mess. I haven’t seen a tree in three days, I’ve seen two or three people. I can’t believe this is the Holy land.
Todd: But as soon as Israel became a nation again, all of a sudden the weather patterns changed, vegetation began to grow, they came up with new ways to hydrate things. I mean, all kinds of stuff. That’s a fascinating study from a military perspective. There’s just so many, probably hundreds of prophecy details that line up perfectly with what’s happened in modern times, and it’s a really powerful thing.
Jeff: It really is. When you think about the fact that, like we said earlier, Revelation has a lot to do with Israel. It’s about what’s called the time of Jacob’s trouble. It is a time of tribulation. Yes, it’s a time where God is pouring out his wrath on the world and on Gentile nations during the reign of the antichrist, but it’s all kind of leading. Kind of like tributaries and different tributaries and creeks in a river, going into one giant stream there that’s heading towards Israel, and it all lands in Jerusalem, it all lands right there.
Todd: When we read Revelation, and this ties back into the 70 weeks we talked about, and that final seven year period is focused on the Jews and trying to win them back to Christ, that’s why you find so much Jewish symbolism in the book of Revelation. There’s 404 verses, but over 800 references to the Old Testament. We see 144,000 Jewish evangelists.
Todd: 144,000 Jewish Billy Graham’s running around the world proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. The two witnesses are Jewish, it’s a focus on the temple. I mean, you can’t read the Book of Revelation and not see its Jewishness.
Jeff: Yeah. That’s a great point, because I think sometimes, specifically as Americans, we kind of think we’re the center of the world, we’re the center of the universe.
Todd: We’re a little spoiled that way.
Jeff: We’re kind of a big deal here, okay? But we’re really not in terms of Bible prophecy. I wrote a whole book called The End of America? and just talking about where is America in Bible prophecy? Yet when we look at Israel, we know that Israel’s there, because we have it right here in the things that you just mentioned. I think what that does is it tells us, Todd, that God has a master plan.
Jeff: God is not doing this just piecemeal by piecemeal, he’s not just ad-libbing history here, it’s already been planned out.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: Part of his plan is to return his attention to the Jewish people, to redeem that remnant of the Jews and to save Israel, because he has promises to them. Promises regarding the land, promises regarding David’s throne, promises regarding his relationship with them and even the 12 apostles sitting on 12 thrones, the 12 Jewish apostles. So, there’s so much about Israel that we find in the Book of Revelation.
Jeff: Even I was just looking at Revelation chapter 12 where it’s previously talking about the two witnesses you mentioned, which many people believe are Moses and Elijah come back to planet earth here, but is talking about just how Satan has always persecuted the Jewish people. In chapter 12, he tried to destroy Christ when he was born through Herod.
Jeff: But in the end of verse 12 it says, “For this reason, rejoice O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you having great wrath, knowing he only has a short time.” It says here that when the dragon or the devil comes to the earth, it says he goes to persecute the Jewish people. The Bible says that God protects them as a great eagle in order that she can go into the wilderness to a place where she’s nourished for a while. So, there’s going to be a time when this antisemitism is going to be full-on persecution.
Jeff: Listen, Hitler’s going to be like Walt Disney compared to the antichrist. I mean, he’s going to bring it on. He’s going to bring all the power of Satan, because guess what? His regime is in charge during that last seven year tribulation period, so he’s going to go after the Jews and persecute them and slaughter them, along with Christians who refuse to take his mark.
Todd: Yeah, that is a horrific time. We’ve talked about this before, just there is scary stuff in Revelation. Excuse me. The Bible doesn’t pull punches, it’s a rated R book, so to speak.
Jeff: It is, yeah.
Todd: I mean, it really shows you things like it’s going to be. But woven throughout that, like you said, the hope we can have is that as believers, if we know the Lord, we’re out of here before that. Also even in the midst of those who do go through all that, God still has a plan. That’s ultimately what we want to see is for God’s plan to come to completion, for him to get glory, for him to be seen for who he is. Also, we can’t blame the tribulation on God, it’s the culmination of God’s patience waiting for the world to turn to him.
Todd: Even in the Book of Revelation, even after the judgments are setting in, it says they still did not repent of their sin and still rebelled against God. All the way to where at the end of the Book of Revelation, nations literally tried to fight God. I mean, how stupid is that?
Todd: That’s how deceived they are and that’s how evil they are. So it’s really a time we should celebrate, not because of the scary stuff, but because God is bringing things to a close, and like you said, he has a plan. If he’s got a plan for the whole world, you better believe he’s got a plan for our lives. He’s intimately involved in every detail our lives as well.
Jeff: Yes. Yeah, God has a macro plan for the world and for Israel, he has a micro plan for our lives. You say, “Well, gosh, how do I find that plan?” Well, guess what? You find the macro plan by getting into the word, finding out what God’s going to do in world history. It’s exactly how we find out God’s plan for our lives.
Jeff: When we understand God’s mind, God’s heart, which we find in the word of God, and we get his principles in our heart, we get to know him. Can’t know God without the Bible-
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: Because God’s revealed himself in the Bible. So that’s why it’s so important for us, Todd, to always be really married to the scriptures, anchored in the scriptures, have our tent pegs just driven down very deep into the scriptures, because that’s where we get the insight, the wisdom and the plan that God has for our own lives.
Todd: And the clarity. The confusing things of the world or the confusing things that people hear, even about the Bible, some people just throw their hands up and kind of give up. But really what God wants you to do is dive in yourself and figure it out, wrestle with it until you fully understand it, and you’ll find that it changes you and encourages you along the way.
Jeff: Yes. That’s a great point, because when people look at Israel today and they’re seeing all the attempts at, yeah, there’s attempts at peace, there’s attempts at war. There’s hundreds and hundreds of rockets being fired in Israel every single month and the iron dome sort of protecting them from that. So it kind of creates, like you said, confusion, sort of like a fog. But with our car, we’ve got these thing called fog lights as we drive in the fog. Doesn’t take the fog away completely, but it does give us clarity and confident enough to drive through the fog.
Jeff: I think that’s what we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing these, as you said earlier, birth pangs, in previous podcasts. Birth pangs, where it’s like when a woman is pregnant, she gets these contractions. Sometimes she gets false contractions, they’re called Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re like, “False alarm, you’re not really having a baby right now.” I think some people mistake sometimes those Braxton Hicks contractions for the real thing.
Jeff: With prophecy, they go, “Oh, this must be the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.”
Jeff: Well, not necessarily. I mean, it could be, like you said, the birth pangs.
Todd: Stage setting or-
Jeff: Yeah, a stage setting, kind of like in a theater and a play. I mean, there’s the backdrop and people are putting different players on the stage, but the play hasn’t started yet. I think that’s what we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing God just like chess pieces on a chess board, he’s moving the pieces into place with nations and events. I mean, even with what’s going on in the world today, the Bible says that the whole creation in Romans eight groans redemption.
Jeff: So we’re seeing that with the earthquakes and the cataclysmic events that are happening in the world. It’s just a sign that the earth is ready to be redeemed. I think in the Middle East, we’re seeing this powder keg, this boiling pot as it were, it’s ready to explode. We need to have the confidence of knowing that not only is God going to redeem his church out of that future time, but also when it does happen, that God’s still going to be guiding history. Satan doesn’t have free reign completely, God is still overseeing the whole thing.
Todd: I’m glad you mentioned that, because there is this tension between man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty. We see that in our personal lives, we see that in the doctrines of salvation, we see that in history, like we mentioned earlier. In a sense, God could have ushered in his kingdom when Jesus came the first time, even though God had predicted that that wasn’t going to happen. But in a sense, if they would have responded, he would have ushered it in all then. Because they didn’t, we’re blessed, the Gentiles get to be grafted in. That was part of God’s plan as well.
Todd: So I’m going to mention that too, because people often wonder that between, well, if God’s dictating everything, why am I responsible? Well, we can’t figure that out, we’re not God. We can’t reconcile that in between our ears. But there’s this tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, and all we can do is just learn as much as we can about the Lord and respond as much as we can and know that he’s got this plan in tact.
Jeff: That’s right. Today there’s a lot of talk about being on the “right side of history” out there.
Todd: Yeah, yeah.
Jeff: You can say, “Well, you need to get on the gay rights agenda to be on the right side of history.” But when we look at the Bible, we see what the right side of history is.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: The right side of history is to be pro-Israel.
Jeff: What that doesn’t mean, Todd, is that we agree with everything that the nation of Israel does-
Todd: Or that they’re perfect and deserving of-
Jeff: Yeah, that they’re perfect. They’re an unredeemed nation right now, but yet God is still guiding them specifically and generally towards an appointed end.
Jeff: So it just means that we in support, we’re an ally, we’re a fan of Israel, that type of thing. It also doesn’t mean, and this is another question that I get asked a lot, does that mean that if you’re born Jewish that you’re automatically saved? Well, no, that doesn’t mean that at all. I mean, each individual has to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ. You and I both know many Jewish believers who have become Christians, and some people call them completed Jews or messianic Jews or whatever. But in the end, they’re brothers and sisters in Christ and they are a part of the church.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: But in the end, as far as the nation Israel’s concerned, God’s got unfinished business with them. If we’re going to be like that promise of Abraham, bless those who bless you, Israel, then that’s how we are on the right side of history.
Todd: I want to be blessed, man.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I want to make sure that-
Todd: Even from a selfish standpoint, I want to be blessed, I want to do what God says is going to bless me.
Jeff: Absolutely. I think that’s so important for us to understand that it’s not just a … people talk about the president and how he’s pro-Israel, and that’s great and everything, but it’s not a political thing.
Jeff: It really is, in essence, a spiritual thing. I think what God allows us at times to do is, as a country, to experience that blessing through having a president that is pro-Israel.
Todd: Blessing Israel, yeah.
Jeff: We haven’t always had that in recent administrations, and so, I mean, it’s a great time. It doesn’t mean that everything that he does with Israel is perfect or great, but it just means on a general sense, that we are pro-Israel, we’re their greatest … we’re kind of like their big brother in a sense.
Todd: Yeah. That’s a really important point and one that I think Christians in particular really at this time need to understand, is that forget about politics, forget about right versus left and all the stuff that’s in our face, look biblically at the issues and follow God’s plan. That’s where we need to focus. I think the enemy’s done a great job of fooling a lot of Christians into getting caught up into political stuff when we’re saying, “No, look at the underlying biblical plan and framework that God has set up and let’s follow that.”
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely. I think just to close out to say that people have said that the greatest miracle of the 20th century was the Jewish people becoming a nation again, returning to Israel. Really nothing can happen in the tribulation period as it relates to Israel, unless they’re in the land.
Jeff: I mean, the war of Gog and Magog, which we’ll talk about in a future podcast, can’t happen unless Israel’s living securely in the land. The temple can’t be rebuilt unless they’re there, the sacrifices, everything. So it has to happen. But guess what, folks? They’re in the land, they’re a nation again.
Jeff: I’m reminded of a quote by a Benjamin Disraeli who is a 19th century British statesman. He was asked one time, because he was of Jewish ancestry, obviously, he was asked one time if he knew of any infallible proof of God’s existence. He thought for a moment and he paused, and then he looked at the person asking the question, with confidence he said, “The Jew, sir, the Jew.”
Jeff: I think the fact that there are still Jews that are alive today, that they’re living in the nation of Israel is clear evidence of the fact that the word of God is authenticated, it’s true, it can be trusted. That, yes, there is a God who does write history. So the existence of Israel is this miracle, it’s the sign of the end times and that’s why we believe that we’re living in that time.
Todd: Amen. We know that we’ve probably answered some questions for you and unveiled new questions that you might have. So we want you to feel free and we encourage to send us those questions. We want to make sure we’re answering some questions that you have and want to make sure we’re hitting the mark. So if you go to prophecyprospodcast.com, you can ask us questions there. You can also find out about our ministries and also where you can follow us on social media. So until next time, this is Todd and Jeff for the Prophecy Pros Podcast.
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