The defenders of Israel

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?” Ezek 38:13

Over the course of the last two years, many events have happened which signal that we are living in the last days. We are witnessing an emergence of a strong alliance between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Britain, as well as a resurrection of her Commonwealth – who  under Britain will become more closely aligned and ultimately opposed to Europe and the Russian confederacy.

Ever since the recent elections in the UK and USA, Theresa May and Donald Trump have been very active rebuilding alliances described in Ezekiel’s Image result for saudi arabia gulf states mapchapter.

We know from Ezekiel 38, that Sheba and Dedan speak out with Tarshish and her allies, against the Gogian invasion. Dedan refers to the territory of Saudi Arabia, while Sheba refers to the Gulf States (Yemen, Oman, UAE, Qatar etc.)

US-Saudi Relationship

Previously under the Obama Administration, the US sought to kindle a friendship with their enemy Iran, to the detriment of their allies – Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This was seen through the Iran nuclear deal which Saudi Arabia and Israel saw as a security threat. This deal dramatically damaged the US-Saudi relationship, as Saudi Arabia and Iran are rival powers (because they are opposing Muslim factions – Saudi Arabia is Sunni, and Iran Shiite). The US appears to part of the ‘young lions’ due to their long relationship with Britain. Although they are not part of the Commonwealth, they are a daughter of Britain, and have consistently been an ally of Britain. Consequently as a young lion, the US’ growing friendship with Saudi Arabia, is scripturally significant.

President Trump has said he will reverse many of Obama’s policies, and this has become particularly obvious in his effort to strengthen alliances with Israel, Britain (rather than Europe), the Commonwealth nations and the Gulf States.

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Rex Tillerson at the US-Saudi Arabia CEO Summit

This change in American foreign policy has also been demonstrated by US Secretary of Defence James Mattis’ recent visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss counter-terrorism (the Yemen Civil War),  and increasing military and economic ties. Also Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at a recent US-Saudi business summit, which encouraged increased business ties between the two nations.

Yemen Civil War

Despite not gaining much media attention, the Yemen civil war has dramatically impacted the Middle East – creating 2.5 million internally displaced people, hundreds of thousands of refugees and has triggered increased Western involvement in the region.

The Yemen civil war is a key part of the recent resurgence of a stronger Sheba (Gulf States) and Dedan (Saudi Arabia) alliance, which has also served to strengthen British and Americans support of the Gulf States.

The civil war began in 2015. The war is a dispute between the internationally recognised Sunni government led by President Hadi and the Shia rebel group, Houthi. The Sunni government are backed by Saudi Arabia, and the Shia rebels, Iran. Hence the Yemen civil war is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Like Syria, there are several faction groups fighting (Hadi government, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Houthis), but in its simplest form the Yemeni civil war is a war of religion. Yemen is 56% Sunni, and 44% Shia. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) is fighting in Yemen, to keep Iran (Shia) out of Yemen, to avoid having them as a threatening neighbour. Previously as Obama wanted to side with Iran, the US had condemned Saudi Arabia’s participation in the war. However now with a change in administration and foreign policy, President Trump has authorised increased airstrikes in Yemen to support the Saudis and has recently even offered to give Saudi Arabia military and intelligence support.

As Yemen is part of the Biblical territory of Sheba, Trump’s recent involvement in Yemen and support of Saudi Arabia, is bringing together the alliance of Ezekiel 38 that we expect.

India

India is part of the British Commonwealth, and has recently developed closer ties with Britain and Israel.

In 1947, India gained independence from the British. However due to the internal conflict between the Hindu and Muslim population, the nation soon split into India and Pakistan. These two nations have continued to have a contentious relationship. As Pakistan has become increasing isolated (and wanting to push away from Western influence), they have turned to Russia for military and security support. Likewise, India has begun developing a closer alliance with Israel and now post Brexit, with Britain. The religious divide between these nations, has forced them both to develop alliances in accord with Bible prophecy (Pakistan being an extension of the King of the North territory (Daniel 11), and India a young lion, therefore a supporter of Israel).

In November 2016, Theresa May visited India to discuss a potential trade deal, as the triggering of Article 50 loomed. Previously under the EU, Britain was not allowed to create a free trade agreement with India. Brexit has not only facilitated Britain to leave Catholic Europe, but also pushed them to strengthen their relationship with their “young lions” (the Commonwealth). Although a free trade agreement with India has not yet been constructed, it appears to be only a matter of time. Similarly India has also begun to develop business ties with the other allies of Israel – Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Over the past few years India and Israel have also been developing a closer relationship. India has abstained from voting against Israel in several UN resolutions. In 2015 India and Israel negotiated several extensive trade deals. In November 2016 the Israeli President visited India. In July this year, Prime Minister Modi will visit Israel (the first Indian PM to visit Israel). Previously Indian Ministers have visited both Israel and Palestine to indicate their neutrality. However this time, Modi is only visiting Israel – showing their clear support of Israel.

Britain

As the Brexit process has officially begun, Theresa May is seeking to develop trade deals with non-EU nations (as seen by recent discussion about potential trade deals with Australia, US, New Zealand, Canada and India). Consequently she has turned to her Commonwealth and the Sunni Arab nations to create trade deals, to prepare Britain’s economy for life post-Brexit.

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Theresa May at the GCC Summit

In December, Theresa May flew to Bahrain to meet with the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council: which includes Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait) to develop trade agreements. This month, May has also flown to Saudi Arabia, and met with King Salman, the Crown Prince and other Saudi officials to discuss trade and investments.

Also this month, the Qatar PM flew to meet with Theresa May in London to create a post-Brexit trade deal. Likewise also the UK Secretary of State for International Trade has recently said the UK wants to increase trade with Oman by a billion pounds.

Brexit has not only pushed the UK out of Catholic Europe, but also has forced it to create alliances and trade deals with Sheba and Dedan – preparing the alliances for Armageddon.

Conclusion

While many prophetic events have been occurring in Russia, Syria and Europe, the defenders of Israel have begun to emerge. Tarshish, Sheba, Dedan and the ‘young lions’ have begun to form not only by the creation of alliances with each other, but also their increasing isolation that has driven them to befriend and support Israel. Their unification could drive a wedge between them and the European-Russian confederacy – as Ezekiel 38 foretells.

Judging the nations which have divided God’s land

I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land. (Joel 3:2 ESV)

Joel 3 is a prophecy of the conflict that engulfs Israel at the time of the end when Gog and his allies invade and overpower the Jewish state, only to find themselves overthrown in turn by divine intervention. The prophecy says that “all the nations” will be involved in this judgement.

Zechariah also speaks of how “all nations” will be gathered to Israel for this judgement, and draws attention to the fact that Jerusalem will be central to this conflict: “On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it” (12:3).

Joel 3:2 speaks of “all the nations” incurring the wrath of God for two reasons:

  1. They scattered the Jews among the nations. This has been fulfilled in the nearly 2,000 years that have passed since the Romans destroyed the Jewish state of Judea in AD 70.
  1. They have divided up my land. This is a more modern phenomenon, and may be regarded as having commenced in 1947 when the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine into two states, one for the Jews and one for the Arabs.

In 1947 the Jews accepted the partition plan for Palestine and went on to establish the independent state of Israel in 1948. The Arabs did not support the partition plan and launched a bitter war hoping to destroy the Jewish state at its birth. They failed in that War of Independence in 1948 and 1949 and in several wars since.

69 years later, the nations of the world in general continue to support the partition of the Holy Land into separate states for Jews and Arabs. Even the Israeli government officially endorses this view.

On 15 January 2017, the French government convened a conference in Paris to discuss the Middle East peace process. Attended by representatives of 70 nations (a significant number in the light of the seventy nations listed in Genesis 10, the number of Israelites in Genesis 46:25 and Exodus 1:5, and the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:8), the conference reiterated support for the so-called “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The United States was represented by outgoing Secretary of State, John Kerry, known for his animosity towards the Israeli government, but not by anyone associated with the administration of incoming President Trump. The United Kingdom attended as an observer only rather than as a participant. There were no representatives at the conference of either the Israeli government or the Palestinian administration.

Not surprisingly, the Palestinians supported the final communique of the conference and reiterated their view that Israel is the only impediment to a “two state solution”. It is also unsurprising that Israel expressed scepticism about the conference outcome. In remarks to his Cabinet after the conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

“This conference is among the last twitches of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow’s world will be different — and it is very near.”

No doubt Mr Netanyahu was referring to the fact that in just a few days the new Trump administration will assume office in the United States. But like the words of Caiaphas in John 11:49-52, his comments could also be read as an unintended “prophecy” of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is interesting that, while supporting a “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the United Kingdom was critical of the conference in an official statement issued by the Foreign Office:

“We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them – indeed which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis – and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement. There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace.”

This conference in Paris is just the latest in a long list of ineffective initiatives to promote peace in the Middle East. More importantly, however, it is further confirmation of the truth of the words of Joel about all the nations being judged by God because of their determination to divide God’s land.

2017 – A Significant Year for Bible Prophecy

As we farewell what has been truly eventful year, I cannot but think that this year was just a precursor to even greater things next year.

For those who know and love the word of prophecy, 2016 was truly annus mirabilis. Having grown up in these amazing times it gives me great encouragement to hear brethren and sisters who have lived many years longer  and have greater hindsight, who are no less awed by the extraordinary nature of current events in the last few years.

However unprecedented these events have been, next year is already looking to be very significant on a number of accounts:

2017 –  a Year of Milestones in Israel

2017 will see three exciting anniversaries that all relate to Israels revival;

  • 50 years since Israel captured Jerusalem (and a Biblical jubilee)
  • 70 years since the UN resolution on the adoption of an independent Jewish state.
  • 100 years since the Arthur Balfour declaration in favour of an independent Jewish state.

God often worked with Israel in Jubilee periods. What will next years Jubilee bring for Israel?

Will Israel Annex the West Bank in 2017?

The annexation of the West Bank has been thrown into the limelight for the very reason that it recently became a real possibility.

The prophets talk extensively about Israel inhabiting the West Bank (“The mountains of Israel”) around the time of the second advent. Ezekiel 38 gives us an indication that Israel will be inhabiting this region at the time when Russia invades.

2017 will be the first year to see both unprecedented momentum within the Israeli government to annex the West Bank and significantly less international power constraining Israel from doing so.

Today, Israel’s government is more supportive of West Bank annexation than what any Israeli government has been in the past, and while every previous US administration have done their level best to stop Israel building settlements and claiming sovereignty over the West Bank, President elect Trump and his Israeli ambassador are about to free the shackles constraining Israel from doing so.

A guest author recently wrote an article on this blog entitled; “Will Israel Annex the West Bank“? Its worth reading in light of recent news.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference where he made his frustrations clear and for the first time, suggested that Israel is close to annexation.

If it happened in 2017 it would certainly be another incredible milestone and a witness to the fact that the Messiah’s return is very close.

Will 2017 bring Transformation in Europe?

An era of global stability is coming to an end; anti-establishment nationalism is fermenting in most countries, and thrusting this unwitting world into uncharted and volatile waters. Don’t let this be a distraction; beneath the bubbling surface is a number of key projects that the Angels are working on in preparation for the return of Christ.

One of these changes which is yet to take place is the transformation of Europe into the ten nations and leaders (Daniel 2, Revelation 17) who complete Nebuchadnezzar’s image.

Next year will see substantial change in the geopolitical sphere with elections due in many countries, and with that, many new political parties, party policies and foreign policies will be up for grabs. Nowhere will a transformation be more likely, and more pronounced than in Europe, which is facing a tidal wave of far right, pro-Russian, anti-EU elections. Such change in Europe would be more profound than the Brexit and is likely bring about the circumstances for the image of Daniel 2, where the image stand’s in preparation to oppose Christ.

Further Reading

President Trump would embolden both the Russian Nationalist agenda, and Israel’s Zionist agenda

In an astonishing turn of events, Donald Trump, who has never held any elected office, will soon hold the most powerful office in the world.

Not only will the real estate tycoon and TV reality star have executive power over the state, but having secured hold of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Trump will have secured a level of power which not even Obama was able to obtain.

Yet throughout his campaign, Trump has defied every convention and turned the presidential race into a reality TV show.

His rash and ostentatious behaviour which is a matter of public record includes threatening to punch protesters, making vulgar statements about women, mimicking a disabled reporter, bragging about trying to have an affair with married women and broadcasting his admission of not paying tax.

While his primitive temperament has stunned much of the upper class, it is no surprise to Bible students who understand that God can – if he so desires – put in place rulers who are the basest of men.

What is of notable significance to Bible students, is his unorthodox approach to US foreign policy, particularly in relation to Europe, Russia and Israel.

Readers might recall that before the Brexit, most world leaders were calling for the UK to stay within the European Union, and many – like UK Prime Minister David Cameron – suggested that a Brexit could result in another World War. Ofcourse, Trump joined the chorus of those who supported the Brexit, despite its potential to significantly degrade peace and stability on the European continent.

Trump on NATO: “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself”

As if European security this was not a problem already, Trump believes that NATO (The European military buffer against Russia) is obsolete.

If we (the US) cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries… then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.’

DONALD TRUMP – interview with the New York Times (July 20th)

Trump believes that Europe should shift its focus away from Russian deterrence and more toward combating terrorism and dealing with migrant flows.

Degrading NATO in the face of growing Russian Nationalism could very well empower Russia and her interests in Europe and the Middle East.

Trump would recognise Jerusalem as Israels capital

Since 1949 when Israel declared West Jerusalem its capital, and 1967 when Israel captured East Jerusalem, the United States has never once supported Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, or recognised its status as the capital city of Israel.

However, Trump has already told the Prime Minister of Israel that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israels united capital.

Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and that the US, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel

– Trump Campaign statement.

Trump supports Israeli annexation of the West Bank

Perhaps the most internationally provocative of policies is that Trump would support an Israeli annexation of the West Bank which is opposed by virtually all of the international community.

At a time when Israels government under Netanyahu has become very Zionist and his cabinet ministers are publicly speaking about West Bank annexation, this will be a time of great opportunity for Netanyahu’s government who have acknowledged that without Abbas, the West Bank would fall into the hands of the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.

It also comes at a time when the Palestinians are using their voice at the United Nations to provoke Israel, and encourage UNESCO to ignore Jewish ties to the land including the Temple Mount, and even the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This is another provocative and audacious attempt by the Palestinians to rewrite history and to erase our connection to our land. The Dead Sea Scrolls are factual and weighty archeological evidence of the presence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.

Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen.

There is no doubt that a Trump foreign policy would be a startling difference to the activist policy that has been promulgated under Obama & Hillary.

After the Brexit vote the world is moving into a new era, and one which could ultimately result in the Russian invasion of Israel prophesied in Ezekiel 38.

Will Israel Annex the West Bank?

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, a leader of the Jewish Home Party, recently called on the Israeli government immediately to annex Judea and Samaria, which abut Jerusalem. This area, usually referred to as “the West Bank”, was captured from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967. In Ezekiel 38:8 the area is referred to as “the mountains of Israel”.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett calls for Israel to extend sovereignty over Judea and Samaria

Approximately 450,000 Israeli citizens live in the area. Most of them are Jewish, while some are Arab citizens of Israel. At present, they live under the laws of the Palestinian Authority and the land they occupy is regarded by most nations as belonging to the Palestinians.

Mr Bennett’s extremely hawkish and provocative suggestion came in the wake of a recent UNESCO statement which denies any Jewish link to the Temple Mount. The Education Minister claimed that the UNESCO statement reflected “the failure of Israel to clearly express Jewish rights to the historic Land of Israel”. He went on to say, “That’s what happens when we don’t treat our own land as ours. The UNESCO resolution is an attempt to deny history. But you know what? You cannot change history. Israel is ours for well over 3,000 years. It will be ours –Jerusalem is ours – but it’s time to apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria”.

In accordance with the confidence of the Israelis that is suggested in the language of Ezekiel 38, Mr Bennett dismissed concerns about the international opposition such a move would trigger with the words, “Don’t fret global opposition; annex Judea and Samaria now!” This bold position may have been strengthened by comments from Donald Trump’s camp in the United States Presidential election campaign. In June, David Friedman, Mr Trump’s co-adviser on Israeli affairs, said that Mr Trump does not believe Palestinian state. He went on to say that, if elected president, Mr Trump would support Israel’s annexation parts of the West Bank.

The Minister cited earlier precedents for such annexation, noting that, “Menachem Begin in 1981 did the same thing for the Golan Heights. [Prime Minister] Eshkol in ’67 did the same thing in Jerusalem. And there was always a world [that opposed it]. But there was the will power and the courage to do it – and we need to do what’s right for Israelis, for the Jews, and that’s the right thing.”

While not calling for wholesale annexation of Judea and Samaria, other Israeli officials have also spoken recently about increasing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is establishing a committee to organize the legal status of land settled by Israelis in the West Bank. This is intended to resolve the concerns of residents of West Bank settlements that their land may be taken from them.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, a hard-line member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, in late October publicly promoted the concept of annexing a significant area in the West Bank. She said that, “The answer to the international struggle over Jerusalem is applying sovereignty over Ma’ale Adumim, which will guarantee Jerusalem will always remain united and develop”. Welfare Minister Haim Katz, also from the Likud party Ms Hotovely’s call for annexation.

Given the reluctance of successive Israeli Governments since 1967 to annex this territory it is unlikely that Israel would move to incorporate Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) into Israel. If it did so, it would need to manage the demographic challenge of several million Arabs who currently live there. Of course, circumstances can change very suddenly, especially in the volatile political climate of the Middle East, and the fact that there are senior Government Ministers willing to advocate for annexation confirms that it remains a possibility.

Whatever the legal status of Judea and Samaria might be in the future, what is certain from Ezekiel 38:8 is that this area will be the focus of the Gogian invasion. It could be that any Israeli move to seize even part of the West Bank could be a trigger that Gog might use to justify his thrust into the Holy Land.