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As the conflict escalates between Israel and Gaza, one cannot help but wonder if this will turn into the final, decisive conflict.
The militants in Gaza seem eager to test their new longer-range missiles and to let everyone know that they have the ability now to target Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Israeli militants seem eager to drive out the Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt in their ongoing plan of ethnic cleansing.
The timing of this new escalation is of interest to us, in that it began during our Watch Dates (November 6-12). No doubt this is part of what we were instructed to watch. At the same time, the Palestinians on the West Bank plan to apply for observer status at the UN on November 29, the anniversary of the Palestinian Resolution in 1947. There is little doubt that the Israelis are alarmed at the idea that the UN might officially recognize Palestine as a state, after all their efforts to marginalize Palestine and to dehumanize their people as non-entities and "militants."
In my view, this present conflict is designed to present Gaza as the primary Palestinian representative and then to argue that it should not be recognized as a state, even though it is actually Abbas of the West Bank who is making the appeal at the UN.
Israeli reservists are being called up, and the generals are preparing for a ground war invasion of Gaza. If this happens, street fighting in this densely populated area will cause huge civilian casualties. Such casualties are desired by the Israeli government, because they know that many fearful civilians will flee to Egypt as refugees of war.
The Gaza fighters, for their part, function under a code of maintaining “honor,” which motivates them to fight to the death for their right to live on their ancestral land. They are not afraid to die, nor do they shrink from forcing their neighbors to die with them. On both sides, hatred for the enemy is the highest virtue.
What we are seeing is the bitter fruit of what was sown in 1947 and 1948 when Jewish influence prevailed in the UN and brought about the Palestinian Resolution. To be fair, this Resolution did not establish a Jewish state, but a “homeland” for Jews who could immigrate there, buy land, and make a life for themselves among Palestinians in a united government.
This did not happen, of course. Militant Jews wanted a Jewish state, and said so in their literature. Palestinians and their Arab neighbors knew this, because they could read, too. It was obvious to them that they fully intended to displace the Palestinians and to create a Jewish state. So they fought back, but they were not well organized and instead lost ground.
The history of this conflict is very complex. The only way for us to really understand it is to see its roots in the book of Genesis. Here is where most Christians go astray, because they have misunderstood the biblical story. They see it as a conflict between Israel and Ishmael, or between Jacob and Esau, identifying the Jews with Jacob-Israel and the Palestinians with Ishmael or Esau.
Most Christians are taught an incorrect version of history, so they do not know the true identity of the players involved. Their assumption that the Jews are Israel is reinforced by the fact that the Jewish state was named Israel, instead of calling it by its proper biblical name, Edom.
Its roots are entangled in the story of Jacob and Esau-Edom. The family conflict over the Birthright reached its climax in Genesis 27, when Jacob lied to obtain the blessing. Isaac allowed the blessing upon Jacob to stand, but he also prophesied in verse 40 that Jacob would eventually have to give it back to Esau in order to allow the purposes of God to be fulfilled in a lawful manner.
Many years later, the descendants of Esau-Edom were conquered by the Jewish nation (126 B.C.). They were forcibly converted to Judaism—as virtually all Jewish sources tell us—and “they were hereafter no other than Jews” (Josephus, Antiquities, XIII, ix, 1). These Edomite Jews were the backbone of the Jewish revolt against Rome in the first century, when the Romans finally expelled the Jews for refusing to submit to the iron kingdom of Daniel 7.
According to the laws of tribulation (Leviticus 26:40-42), when God sent an Israelite tribe into exile for violating the Covenant, they were not allowed to return until they repented. Hence, the Jews were not allowed to return as Judah a century ago, because they had not yet fulfilled the conditions that would have ended their captivity. But they could return as Edom, because of Isaac’s promise to Esau in Genesis 27:40.
In other words, if it were not for the promise given to Esau-Edom, God would not have allowed them to return to Palestine to form a Jewish state.
As long as they refuse to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah-King, they are stuck with the baggage from the past, fulfilling two sets of prophecies: Edom and the barren fig tree of Judah. The solution, of course, is to transfer one’s citizenship from the kingdom of Edom-Judah to that of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, for in this way any man can break free from the constraints of generational curses. Genealogy does not need to bind any man to a nation that has been cursed. Yet apart from such a transfer of citizenship and by the washing away of sin by the blood of Jesus Christ, all men are bound to walk over the cliff with the others in their nation or group.
The Israeli state today is walking the path of Edom, the bloodthirsty one (Ezekiel 35:2) who desired to lay claim to the land of Israel and Judah. Ezekiel says in 35:6,
6 . . . Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey.
Many Christians and Jews quote this verse and others like it, showing that God does not approve of “dividing up the land of Israel.” Yet they fail to see that this division was done by Edom, and they fail to mention that “Edom is in modern Jewry” (Jewish Encyclopedia, 1925 edition).
It was not the Palestinians who divided up the land. It was the UN that did this in 1947 by partitioning the land, and since then the Jewish state has simply expanded its claim. The Israeli-Edomite “solution” to the problem of division is to complete their occupation and to lay claim to the whole land.
It was certainly in the divine plan that Esau-Edom should receive what was due to him on account of Jacob’s sin against him in Genesis 27. In 1948 Jacob had to give the Birthright back to Esau to give Esau the justice that was due to him. The Palestinians did not understand this, and so they fought the divine plan, because it came at their expense. But at the same time, the prophecy was that Jacob would ultimately be given the Birthright, and so Esau's claim will not last forever.
We also know that at some point the debt to Esau will be paid, and then God will hold the Edomite state accountable for what they did with the Birthright. The Birthright was not simply a privilege to be exercised at the expense of others. The Birthright carries with it a responsibility under God to treat all men in a lawful manner. This includes loving the aliens and treating them with equal justice given to a countryman (Lev. 19:33, 34).
The Israeli government makes a point of mistreating Palestinians in order to pressure them into leaving, so that Jews may occupy the entire land. This is a clear violation of the law of God. The Israeli government also knows that mistreatment will induce Palestinians to fight back, which then gives them "the right of self-defense" and to grab more land. The day will come, however, when God will hold the Israeli government accountable, along with all those individuals and nations who support its policies.
Each time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict heats up, we wonder if this will subside or if it will lead to the final conflict. The real question is whether or not Esau has received his full allotment of time to prove his unworthiness to hold the Birthright. If Esau-Edom has been given more time, then God will continue to fight for them. If their time passes without repentance, they will suddenly find themselves without divine protection.
In that event, the prophecies of Jerusalem’s destruction will finally come to pass—and, I believe, the entire Jewish state will pass away with Jerusalem. Not many Jews or Christians expect this to happen, of course, because they do not consider the biblical distinction between the old and new Jerusalem. There are many prophecies of Jerusalem that appear to be contradictory. Some speak in glowing terms of Jerusalem’s restoration, while others condemn Jerusalem and speak of its utter destruction. The key is in knowing that there are two Jerusalems, and that the Hebrew term for the city is plural (dual), Ierushalayim.
The Old Testament makes no distinction between the two cities, but the New Testament does. Paul is especially clear on this issue in Galatians 4, labeling the old Jerusalem as “Hagar,” and the new Jerusalem “Sarah.” The old Jerusalem is to be cast out, along with her children. The new Jerusalem is the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and her children are those who recognize “Sarah” as their mother.
Hence, where the Old Testament prophets speak of Jerusalem in a negative light, it is to be applied to the old Jerusalem. When the prophets speak of the city in a positive light, it is to be applied to the new Jerusalem. Any mention of “Jerusalem” in the Old Testament must be accompanied by the question: Which Jerusalem?
The recent rocket attack against Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is a sign of the destruction that is soon to come. This destruction will not come from Hamas in Gaza, of course, but they may provide the spark that sets the entire region on fire. If this occurs after Edom’s full allotment of time has passed, then we would expect to see Isaiah 29 fulfilled, where God speaks directly to Jerusalem under the poetic name, Ariel. Verses 3 and 4 say,
3 And I will camp against you, encircling you, and I will set siege works against you, and I will raise up battle towers against you. 4 Then you shall be brought low…
In other words, God will lay siege to Jerusalem, using men and nations as His agents, of course. The city will “be brought low.” The confusion then comes in verse 5, because God refers to “the multitude of your enemies,” but men assume that Jerusalem’s “enemies” are the non-Jewish people who are laying siege to the city. But this interpretation would turn the whole prophecy around, putting God back on the side of Jerusalem, whereas it is clear that God is seen to be siding with those who lay siege to Jerusalem.
No, God’s “enemies” are those He is fighting. His “enemies” are those who have occupied Jerusalem in that day. In the law, God says He will show hostility to those who are hostile to Him (Lev. 26:27, 28; 40-42). Isaiah 63:10 says that those who grieve His Holy Spirit—even Israelites themselves—are classified as the enemies of God. Enemies of God are not defined by genealogy but by their hostility to Yahweh-Jesus Christ.
For this reason, when God says in Isaiah 29:5 that in His siege of Jerusalem, “the multitude of your enemies shall become like fine dust,” the real enemies of the city are the Israeli occupiers of the city who cause its destruction through their rejection of Jesus Christ. The description of God’s siege against Jerusalem is horrendous.
5 But the multitude of your enemies shall become like fine dust, and the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; and it shall happen instantly, suddenly. 6 From the Lord of hosts you [Jerusalem] will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire.
That appears to describe a nuclear explosion, especially because those nations laying siege to Jerusalem end up with nothing as well. This is depicted in the following verses:
7 And the multitude of all the nations [God’s agents] who wage war against Ariel … shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. 8 And it will be as when a hungry man dreams—and behold, he is eating; but when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams—and behold, he is drinking, but when he awakens, behold, he is faint, and his thirst is not quenched. Thus the multitude of all the nations shall be, who wage war against Mount Zion.
In other words, when God lays siege to Ariel-Jerusalem, He will use many nations as His army. But in the end, after the sudden destruction and conflagration, the nuclear fallout will prevent them from actually taking the land for themselves. Their motive is to drive out the Jews, and they hunger and thirst to reinhabit their old inheritance. However, their dreams of having Jerusalem as their capital will not be fulfilled. No one will inherit the city, for Hagar will be cast out, she and all of her children on every level. They will awake from this nightmare still hungry and thirsty, Isaiah says.
As for us, we need to understand the prophecy so that we are not caught unprepared. The rest of the world will be shocked, but not us. Christians will think that prophecy has failed, but we will know that prophecy has been fulfilled. It is just that some understood it, while most will not understand until after it was fulfilled.