Chapter 9 Israel
Scripture foretold the past two thousand years of Israeli history. Ezekiel wrote about Israel’s exile from its homeland, which occurred in 70 AD with the Roman destruction of Israel. He also foretold the persecution of Jews while in exile at the hands of enemies, to include suffering in concentration camps. Ezekiel quoted God as saying: The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”'” (Ezekiel 39:23-24)
Jewish people returned from exile and Israel was reestablished May 14, 1948. God foretold of a time when he would no longer hide His face from the people of Israel. God will reveal himself to the Israeli people, and Israel will at some future time accept Jesus as their redeemer. Concerning the establishment and purpose of modern Israel (referred to as “them” and “they” below), Ezekiel quoted God as saying: When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 39:27-29)
Zechariah wrote about the moment Israel will accept a crucified Messiah, the one whose hands and feet were “pierced” with nails on the cross. “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
The short-term protection of Israel comes about through a seven-year treaty with Antichrist, referred to as “he” in the following verse. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (Daniel 9:27a); a week being a seven-year period. This refers to an agreement (covenant) that initiates the seven-year end-time period. Antichrist will be the leader of a unified Europe, a reestablished Roman Empire.
Israel is an Associated State of the European Union; Antichrist could offer Israel full membership. Such membership would commit the military forces of the European Union for the protection of Israel. While the exact terms concerning what Antichrist might promise Israel are unknown, European Union membership is a possibility, and serves as example of the type of meaningful protection Antichrist will promise Israel.
The three and a half years of protection Israel receives at the start of the end-times corresponds with the time Israel remains in unbelief concerning Christ. Scripture cites this 42-month delay five times.
Israel’s Time of Unbelief
3 ½ years –
3 ½ years –
time, times and half a time*
3 ½ years –
in the middle of the “seven’
* time, times and half a time = (1 + 2 + ½) years = 3 ½ years
Nothing could be fulfilled concerning Israel until the initial three and a half years are completed. At that time Israel will accept Jesus as Messiah, and become a spiritually reborn nation.
God will send two witnesses to Israel during the initial 42 months. These are the first authentic prophets in Israel since the first century. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. (Revelation 11:3-5) These witnesses will be able to shut up the sky so that it will not rain, just as Elijah did when confronting King Ahab (1 Kings 17:1). They also will have power to turn the waters into blood, just as Moses did before Pharaoh (Exodus 7:20).
After 42 months, God withdraws protection from the two witnesses, and they are executed. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:7-8) The place where these witnesses are murdered is the same city where the Lord was crucified. Jerusalem is referred to as being corrupt, like Sodom and Egypt.
The funeral celebration is appalling. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 11:9-10) Through various technologies people from all over the world will gaze upon these two corpses; the contempt will be so great that they are refused a proper burial. People celebrate by sending gifts to each other. Just as people celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts, people will celebrate this apparent end Christianity using the same tradition.
However, their lives are restored and then they are raptured. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:11-12)
At this point, Israel will accept Jesus as Messiah. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:13)
A Third Temple
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem will be a critical end-time setting (Appendix A). This is the site where the ancient Israeli temple stood for centuries; it is where countless lambs were sacrificed. Because Islam controls the Temple Mount, the idea that an Israeli temple could be rebuilt at this site is considered unlikely; yet there is evidence that Israel might be able to rebuild its temple. Studies suggest that the Islamic Dome of the Rock, located on the Temple Mount, could be on a location other than the site of the first two Israeli temples. That situation would allow Israel to erect its temple on the correct site, without destroying any Islamic structures.
In Revelation, God surveys the Temple Mount, an action that demonstrates he is reclaiming ownership. John is given a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. (Revelation 11:1b-2) The courtyard area of the Temple Mount remaining under non-Israeli control indicates the Islamic structures will remain intact.
Israel is the woman in the following story, which depicts how God protects Israel from the Antichrist during the first half of the final seven years: Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Revelation 12:6)
The story continues with the dragon, also called the serpent, being Satan; the male child that Israel gave birth to is Jesus: And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. (Revelation 12:13) An application to the end-time story on earth is then stated: But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
Antichrist will establish an agreement with Israel for a seven-year period. It is possible that this treaty will allow the temple to be rebuilt, possibly in exchange for Israel allowing an independent State of Palestine. It is widely believed that these seven years are the same seven years that comprise the final end times prophesied by Daniel (Appendix B). At the rebuilt temple, the sacrifice of lambs for the atonement of sins will return as a cornerstone of the Jewish faith. But in the middle of those seven years, Antichrist will break that agreement and stop the Jewish practice of sacrifice and offering (Daniel 9:27a).
Antichrist will enter the temple and claim to be God. Paul wrote about Antichrist: who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) Daniel wrote about Antichrist: “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods (Daniel 11:36a). Israel will respond to Antichrist with a resounding rejection; from that moment forward Israel will be viciously persecuted.
The violent harvest of Israel is depicted; enemy soldiers act as war criminals. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished (Zechariah 14:2a). Then Jesus returns to earth to finish the battle on Israel’s behalf: Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. (Zechariah 14:3)
PARTIAL RAPTURE THEORY