For once, we’re not going to turn to scripture for this story. In fact, we’re not even going to turn to other articles on world news despite the fact that it’s about Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, the United States, and the world.
Instead, we’re going to talk about God’s Will. This is being written the day of the speech that Netanyahu is to give before the US Senate, two weeks before the big elections in Israel. I wanted to get this story out ahead of time because it’s important to understand what it all means while it’s happening rather than using retrospect to point fingers or say, “I told you so.”
Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in the world, in the Middle East, in Israel, and how it all effects the way that Christians must view the world going forward.
Looking for Meaning in Events
Looking back through history, many will point out that every generation since before the time of Yeshua believed that they were in the end times. There have always been events that compel people to say, “this is it, this is the end.” We are no different and the rise in the number of people who think that we are living in the end times today is likely due to the establishment of the internet and the proliferation of blogs, YouTube, and digital ministries around the world.
No. That’s not the case. Whether we are in the end times or not is up for debate, but the events happening around us are different. Things are not the same as they were last generation or ten generations ago. Today, we’re seeing knowledge increase at rates that are astronomically faster than a decade ago. We’re seeing the ability for the Gospel to spread to the world in ways that are exponentially more efficient in reach than just a few years ago. We’re seeing a falling away as spoken of by Jesus Christ and whether or not this is the true prophetic falling away, we won’t know until the man of perdition is revealed.
When people ask me what’s different now, what makes our time more likely than in centuries past when people were seeing signs of the end times, I point to Israel. For nearly two millennia, it was very unlikely that the Jews would return to their homeland and have a nation. The concept was obtuse to most through World War II when Jews were being hunted and were continuing to be dispersed throughout the world in fear.
Then, a miracle happened. Anyone who does not see the establishment of Israel in 1948 as an absolute God-driven miracle isn’t reading their history books properly. The establishment of the nation of Israel and the taking of Jerusalem as provoked by attacks from all sides in 1967 pushed the start button on God’s prophetic calendar. As we approach the 70 year anniversary of the establishment of a Jewish state, we are seeing Bible prophecy unfold. However, we must see it with a proper understanding.
Prophecy is Not for Predicting. It’s for Recognition.
One of the biggest mistakes that surrounds the discipline of eschatology is that too many people look to Bible prophecy as a God’s way of alerting us of the future. Of the thousands of prophetic verses in the Bible, very few of them have been for this reason. We are incapable of determining when anything in God’s plan will take place. However, we are definitely able to use the prophecies as a way to recognize when events are unfolding.
Prophecy has always been about recognition. It allows us to recognize the times that we’re in, often followed with instructions about what to do when those events happen. They also allow us to recognize truth in retrospect. For example, much of the Old Testament talked of the coming Messiah. When Yeshua fulfilled these prophecies, it was validation that He was foretold so that we could recognize beyond a shadow of a doubt that His ministry, death, and resurrection were indeed exactly what He calimed them to be.
Since so much of Bible prophecy speaks of Israel and discusses what will surround the nation at the end times, we will be watching for those events. Nearly all of them we impossible until 1948. Now, they are very possible. It could happen tomorrow. It could happen in 1000 years. We don’t know for sure what God has planned for Israel and the world, but we can watch what happens and recognize when they clearly start coming to pass.
Israel’s Role is Central to the Bible and Prophecy
It’s often challenging for Christians to understand that Judah, Jerusalem, and the Jewish state of Israel are the centerpieces of the Bible. It’s not just the Old Testament. The New Testament is loaded with prophecy regarding Israel and the nations that will come against her.
It still surprises me that people seem to forget that Yeshua was Jewish. Between replacement theology, dispensationalism, and straight up antisemitism, so many believers want to take Israel out of focus and make it about Christians. It’s as if the cloud of deception has made many feel like the things that happen to Israel and the Jewish people are completely separate from what happens to the Church. This simply isn’t the case.
Christians, Jews, and everyone else will be dramatically affected by the events that are to take place in the Middle East and particularly in Israel. It may seem like it’s a world away and we may want to make secular claims that it’s all about oil, but the bottom line is this: the Holy Land has been and always will be the driving force for every world event and will have an affect on every human being on the face of the earth. This is why Netanyahu’s speech before the Senate and the elections in Israel are important to everyone.
Win or Lose, Netanyahu Matters
If I’m forced to make a prediction, I believe that Benjamin Netanyahu will remain the Prime Minister of Israel beyond 2015. If you’re reading this after the election, you can make whatever judgment you’d like about this statement.
It’s important to remember that the Will of God is what will determine the election. This is His world and we’re on His calendar. The events of the end times will unfold exactly as they’re foretold and we cannot influence them. However, it’s through our God-given free will that we can definitely influence what we do as individual believers.
I do not believe in cheering for one side or another. Ideologically, I support Netanyahu’s strong stance, but his ideology can only set the stage. If he wins, then we can assume the relationship with the United States will be strained as long as Barack Obama is President of the United States. If he loses, then we can assume that US-Israel relations will improve for a time.
We know that the world will go against Israel in the last days. The United States has always been the strongest supporter of the Jewish state, so we can speculate that a broken relationship could be the beginning of the end. On the other hand, if someone who views Israel with a more favorable heart comes into office next year, then we could see a resurgence in friendship and cooperation between the two nations.
What does all of this mean? What does Netanyahu’s speech and the coming election have to do with Christians? It all goes back to the prophetic calendar. Now more than ever, the unthinkable is happening. It wasn’t too long ago that the notion of the United States turning its back on Israel was obtuse. A decade ago, a rift between the two countries was nearly inconceivable.
Today, it’s not only possible but it seems to be quickly heading in that direction. Win or lose, Benjamin Netanyahu has influenced the direction of the world. As believers and diligent watchers of the events of the world, we must watch what plays out and see how it fits in with Bible prophecy. As I said before, the end could start tomorrow or it could be a very long time before we see it play out. Win or lose, we must watch Israel and the Middle East to know how we are to act here in western society.
Prophecy is dangerous because it can take people down conspiratorial rabbit holes and distract us from our mission as Christians. However, it was put in the Bible for a reason and we would be wise to watch it carefully as it all plays out.