12 reasons to believe in the Bible
Modern Israel and trouble in the Middle East – the focus of the world
The focus of the world on Israel
If you read the newspaper or watch the news on the television, you may have noticed one thing – Israel and the Middle East always seem to be in it! And it has been that way for at least the last sixty years. For a country so small geographically as Israel and with a population of about six and half million it seems to appear in the news a lot! So why is that so? Why does Israel tend to be the focus of the world? It is because heavy emphasis is placed on Israel in the Bible.
Here are 21 reasons why Israel is the focus of the Bible and the world.
The prophecy of Daniel
When we look at prophecy in the Bible we see that human history runs according to a programme 1. Click here to see in more detail how the prophet Daniel lays out world history in his prophecy. When we look at his prophecy we see that most of the things he predicted in history have been fulfilled. It is obvious that we are getting near to the end of the programme, which is the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. So what signs should we be looking for that the kingdom is about to be established? Jesus gives us those signs.
The signs given by Jesus
The Jews were scattered 1900 years ago, when in A.D. 70. the Romans destroyed their capital, Jerusalem; but in modern times the nation has revived, the Jews have flocked back to the land, the towns and cities have been rebuilt. The occupation of Jerusalem by Israeli forces in June 1967 is of great significance as it was the first time in a long time that Jews had full control over the city of Jerusalem (click here for more detailed information about this period).
Back in the first century, the Lord Jesus gave us the signs of the days immediately before his coming. Having already foretold the destruction of Jerusalem (in A.D.70) and the long period of Jewish scattering and suffering that should follow, Jesus then says:
Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.2
The "Gentiles" which Jesus is referring to are all the non-Jews of the world. So Jesus is saying that Jerusalem would be under the control of non-Jews (trodden down of the Gentiles) until the time when he would set up his new kingdom (times of the Gentiles be fulfilled). Can you see the significance of the fact that after nineteen hundred years of Gentile (non-Jew) occupation, Jerusalem is once again a Jewish city? The Jews were no longer trodden down by the other nations (Gentiles). The prophecy had come true!
Since the reestablishment of Jewish rule in Jerusalem, hardly a day goes by without some mention of the tiny State of Israel in our newspapers or on the television. Its land mass is small, its population is two-third the size of some the major cities around the world, yet Israel is now prominent in world affairs. The Suez crisis of 1956, the Six-Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur battles in October 1973, the invasion of Lebanon in 1984 – the Israelis have a new, vital national spirit that defies all the rules of history. Never before has a nation been driven systematically from its land, survived 25 centuries of uprooting, and come back to life on its ancient hills with such remarkable vigour.
Jesus as King
Why should God want the Jews back in their ancient homeland? Why is their ongoing conflict there? What is it leading up to? The answer is that it is leading to the coming of the Kingdom of God! The Bible tells us that some time in the future the king of the Jews will be the king of the whole world. This is what the Bible says:
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be – "The Lord is one, and His name one".3
So we know Jesus Christ will be king. But where will he reign? Once again the Bible tells us:
You are not to swear at all – not by heaven, for it is God’s throne, nor by earth, for it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.4
So if we pull these two verses together we can see that the Lord Jesus will reign from Jerusalem, Israel will be the central kingdom and the other nations the dominions.
Why is Israel the focus of the world?
If the Bible predicts that the future world king will reign from Jerusalem in Israel then obviously God has made Israel a central part of his plans. This is why Israel occupies a key position in the world politics. One hundred years ago it would not have been possible for Bible prophecy about the return of Jesus to come true – the Jews were still scattered, and the Turks ruled over the Holy City of Jerusalem. Today, we find the land inhabited by nearly 4 million Jews (plus 1 million non-Jews) and Jerusalem once more the capital of Israel.
A central theme in the Bible is the city of Jerusalem for it is through Jerusalem that a lot of God's plans will take place. As just one confirmation that Jerusalem is central to God's plans for this earth, this is what the Bible says about it:
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: ’This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it…His enemies I will clothe with shame.5 (Zion is a hill in Jerusalem)
In this passage from the Bible we can see that Jerusalem is the chosen place of God's habitation. However, it is also clear from the last part of this passage that whoever tampers with the affairs of His chosen habitation will suffer. Those who oppose Jerusalem will be clothed in shame. These people will suffer for there mistake of opposing Jerusalem.
This is what the prophet Zechariah says in the Bible:
I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.6
There is a day coming when the enemies of Jerusalem will suffer for their error of coming up against Jerusalem.
And where do the occupants of this city (and country of Israel) fit into this plan?
It is plain that the Jews must undergo spiritual renewal before they are fit for Jesus to be their King. It is a sad fact that devotion to God, which was so real to them during their dispersion and persecution, has been abandoned by so many now that they have returned. There has to be a major change of heart before they can truly become God’s people. The Bible says that a catastrophe must happen that will return the Jews to God after their departure from His ways. The catastrophe that purges those Jews living in the land of Israel is to be a mighty invasion by an army made up of many nations. These many nations will combine all their forces to attack and at last to capture Jerusalem.
This is what the prophet Zechariah says:
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, the houses rifled.7
It will be a dark day for Israel, with their cities captured, prisoners taken, and multitude slain. But the outcome is clear. It is in that day of trouble that Jesus appears to his people, as their Saviour. He will bring them not only relief from their enemies, but pardon from their sins. It will be from that day that events will quickly happen for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
The day of Jesus’ appearing could be very close. The way has been prepared, through His great plan. The new centre of world government will be Jerusalem, where all nations will be ruled from. The authority of the Lord will control the nations, who will no longer waste their strength and resources in creating weapons of war, but will devote them instead to the profitable activities of cultivation of the earth for their benefit. The Bible says that this state of peace among the nations, with the abandonment of war, will actually come to pass. It is the message of hope for the world.
We see in the newspapers and on television that Israel and trouble in the Middle East is the focus of the world. Hardly a day goes past that we do not read about them. As we have seen in this article, the reason behind this is that it is leading up to a major confrontation that will eventually lead to the coming of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus will not return until this confrontation takes place.
The focus of the world on Israel and the trouble in the Middle East was predicted by the Bible over 1,900 years ago. So it is another reason to believe in the Bible.
References Daniel chapter 2 Luke 21:24 Zechariah 14:9 Matthew 5:34 and
35 Psalm 132:13 -17 Zechariah 12:2 -
3 Zechariah 14:2
Daniel chapter 2
Matthew 5:34 and 35
Psalm 132:13 -17
Zechariah 12:2 - 3
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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 April 2013