Listen to the radio program Christian Questions topic “What next for Israel in Prophecy?” hosted by Bible Student Elder Rick Suraci, with guest Elder David Stein (former JW). Look for program dated June 27, 2010.
Here are my notes (Peter K.)
THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
- What do the scriptures say about the Arab-Israeli conflict?
- Enemies plan Israel’s destruction (Psa 83:1-5)
- The enemies MOTIVATION is the complete destruction of Israel. (Psa 83:4)
- MOTIVATION of the Ezek 38 enemies is different. (Ezek 38:12,13)
- To take a SPOIL: Cattle , Goods, Silver & Gold = Great Wealth (Possibly in mineral deposits of the Dead Sea? Oil? We have yet to find out.)
- MIDDLE OF THE EARTH: Israel joins three continents (Africa, Asia & Europe) and is the ideal location for a Worldwide Center of Commerce.
- The Psa. 83 enemies are nearly all SEMITIC. (Psa 83:6-8) The Ezek 38 enemies are all NON SEMITIC.
- Arabs defeated (Psa 83:13-18 & Zech 12:6; Isa 11:14.)
- The Psa 83 battles is compared to two Old Testament battles which took place in or near the Valley of Megiddo. (Psa 83:9-11). Some have taken this to mean that the Psa. 83 battle is a future battle, which takes place at the time of Armageddon. (The defeat of Israel’s enemies is compared to both the defeat of Midian under Gideon and the defeat of Sisera and Jabin under Deborah and Barak (Judges 4-8).
- To harmonize Psa. 83 & Ezek 38, perhaps Psa 83 embraces a series of wars beginning in 1948 and ending with one final war, resulting in the complete defeat of the Arab enemy. This war is followed by a period of peace, security & prosperity in Israel and later is later followed by the Ezek. 38 Battle. Either the final battle of Psa 83 precedes Armageddon or perhaps Armageddon includes the two battles (Psa 83 & Ezek 38) with a period of peace for Israel between these two wars.
Suggested Identification of enemies in Psa 83:6-8: (compare 2 Chron 20)
- Edom,; Moab and Ammon [Modern day Jordan]
- Amalek; [Northern Negev (Identification uncertain: Egypt from south of Negev? Other Arabs?]
- Philistines [Palestinians on Gaza Strip]
- Tyre & Gebal: [Lebanon (Possibly Syria is included here since they have been the dominant & controlling influence in Lebanon for many years.]
- Assur (Assyria): [Iraq]
- Ishmaelites & Hagarenes: [Uncertain identification: Other Arab nations? The
- Ishmaelites were nomads. They traveled and intermarried all over the Arab world.
- Egypt, Syria & Saudi Arabia are not clearly and directly mentioned. Egypt is Hamatic and may have been excluded from the list because their participation would phase out over time? Syria and Saudi Arabia may be included in the in the difficult to identify Ishmaelites, Hagarenes & Amalek?
5. What is Israel’s condition just prior to Armageddon? What personal lessons can we learn from this?
Pride (Zeph 3:11), safety (Ezek 38:8), peace, prosperity and a dropping of military defenses (Ezek 38:11,12) on millennial day (vs 10). The wall, bars & gates are generally understood to mean that prior to Armageddon there will be a dropping of Israel’s military defenses (compare Jer 49:31). Another possibility is that the lack of walls, bars & gates demonstrate a lack of faith in God’s salvation (compare Isa 26:1, 2).
Personal Lessons: Pride goes before destruction (Prov 16:18). The father chastens those he loves (Heb 12:6). Put your trust in the Lord. He is our defense (Psa. 62:8; 118:5-9; II Cor 1:9).
LOCATION OF THE BATTLE
6. Where does the final battle with Israel take place?
All nations are gathered against (“unto” Rotherham) Jerusalem to battle (Zech 14:2; Ezek 38).
The battle will take place in Israel, with a final defeat of the Jews in Jerusalem, prior to God rescuing Israel.
Israel’s enemies are finally defeated in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:1, 2, 12, 14). The Valley of Jehoshaphat is generally considered to be symbolic and not referring to a literal location.
If the locations of the Valley of Jehoshaphat and Megiddo were literal, the scenario might work something like this:
- The Arabs are first finally defeated in the literal Valley of Megiddo.
- A Period of Peace, Prosperity and Pride follows for Israel.
- The Ezek 38 enemies defeat the Jews, even in Jerusalem.
- The Ezek 38 hordes proceed to the literal Valley of Jehoshaphat, along the shores of the Dead Sea, to seize the great mineral wealth of the Dead Sea (the Spoil of Ezek 38).
- God raises the Ancient Worthies (I.e. Abraham, Moses, David Daniel, etc.), who first lead the Jews in prayers of repentance and for protection, then lead them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, to witness Gods destruction of Gog & his allies (the northern confederacy).
- God will cause confusion and anarchy among the enemy. The will destroy each other.
(The following information was taken from a Herald Article by P.L. Reed.)
“The name “Jehoshaphat” means “the judgment of Jehovah.” Joel was referring to the account in 2 Chronicles 20 when he associated the name of Jehoshaphat with a valley and the final judgment of the nations. This valley was on the shores of the Dead Sea, at the border of “the bulge” which existed until recently between Israel and Jordan. The judgment of God upon the invading host from beyond the sea (2 Chron 20:2) was used as an appropriate symbol of a much greater judgment of the nations who would gather against Israel in the latter days. …It is commonly but mistakenly understood that the valley of Jehoshaphat in Joel 3 refers to the narrow glen now known by that name that runs between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. This name, however, has been applied to this valley only in comparatively modern times, for neither in scripture nor in any other ancient writings is it referred to other than as the valley of Kidron or Cedron….To confirm that this valley of judgment was alongside the Dead Sea, we would point out that the burial ground in Ezekiel 39:11 will be “the valley where people pass over to the east of the sea, and it shall stop the passengers from passing” (Leeser). This has been the usual road taken by travelers for centuries past the low-lying Ghor of the Jordan valley on the east of the chain of mountains, and the self-same route used by the invading horde of Jehoshaphat’s day. “
IDENTIFICATION OF THE EZEK 38 ENEMY
7. What nations are involved in the battle? (see the January 1991 issue of Beauties of the Truth )
Suggested identification of the participants in the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39
THE INVADING CONFEDERACY ……………THE SECOND CONFEDERACY
* Rosh 1 Russia * Tarshish 8 Western Nations
* Meschech 2 Northern Turkey * Sheba 9 Saudi Arabia
* Tubal 3 Georgia * Dedan Yemen
* Persia Iran
* Ethiopia 4 Central Africa
* Libya 5 Northwest Africa
* Gomer 6Northern Turkey, Armenia
* Togarmah 7Turkestan
1. “Rosh” is the Hebrew word translated “chief prince” in the King James Bible.
2. Some take “Rosh, Meschech and Tubal” to be Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk. The ancient title of the Czar of Russia was the “Czar of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk.”
3. The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, is from the same origin as the Biblical “Tubal.”
4. Or, Cush. Settling not only in Ethiopia, but throughout central Africa.
5. Or, Phut; primarily the Berbers.
6. Some, following the Genealogical method of interpretation, identify the migrations of Gomer with the Eastern European countries.
7. Linguistically identified with South Central Russia. Others say Armenia since “Tog;Y’is the Chaldaic word for “Tribe:’thus, “the tribe of Armah:’ or ‘Armenians.”
8. Tarshish is variously identified with southern Spain or the British Isles. In either case, it represented the Westernmost reaches of civilization and thus is identified
with Imperial England and her “young lione’or colonies, including the United States and Canada.
9. There are two sets of “Sheba and Dedan” in the Bible; one was Hamitic, being sons of Cush (I Chronicles 1:9) and the other Semitic, being descendants of Abraham and Keturah (I Chronicles 1:32). The Semitic descendants settled in southern Saudi Arabia, while the Hamitic ones were nearer to present-day Yemen.
Notice that the inclusion of Georgia, Armenia & Turkestan suggests the inclusion of some Southern Russian Islamic republics.
THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
8. Who’s winning in the beginning?
Israel’s enemies win at the beginning of the battle. Half the city of Jerusalem is taken (Zech 14:2). Proud taken away and humble remnant remains (“that day” Zeph 3:11-13; Isa 4:3,4). Rebels (proud ones) won’t enter land (New Covenant arrangement) Ez 20:37,38. Israel is finally delivered out of Jacobs Trouble (Jer 30:3-7).
9. How is Israel delivered in the battle? What finally happens to the enemy nations in this battle? Are the Ancient Worthies involved? What personal lesson can we learn from Israel’s Deliverance?
God destroys nations that come against Israel in that (millennial) day – Zech 12:9
Zech 14:3 – Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
In Old Testament times, first Israel would pray for deliverance, then God would send a judge to deliver them (Judges 2:18; 3:9). In Judges 7:22 God turned Israel’s enemies against each other.
In Micah 5:5 Israel raises up against the Assyrian (northern invaders, horde of Ez 38) seven shepherds (the complete church) and eight princes of men (ancient worthies – eight being the number of circumcision and the sign of a covenant – Gen 17:10-12 – in this case the New Covenant under which the Ancient Worthies are raised.)
Principal Men: Strongs 5257 nciyk nes-eek’ from 5258; properly, something poured out, i.e. a libation; also a molten image; by implication, a prince (as anointed):–drink offering, duke, prince(-ipal). see SH5258
Zech 12:9 – It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (NKJ)
Anarchy among the attackers: Israel’s enemies fight among themselves. Zech 14:13; Eze 38:21
Just as in the valley of Jehoshaphat (II Chron 20).
God makes a full end of (destroys) all other nations where Israel had been scattered – Jer 30:11
Old Testament Picture of Battle in Valley of Jehoshaphat:
11 Chron 20:1-13: A humbled Israel prays to God for rescue from destruction.
11 Chron 20:14-17: Resurrected Ancient Worthies, moved by Holy Spirit, Instruct Israel to
stand and watch God deliver them.
11 Chron 20:23:24 Anarchy and infighting among ranks of the northern confederacy. They
destroy each other.
Rom 8:28 – all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NKJ)
2 Cor 1:9-10 – Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, (NKJ)
CONVERSION OF ISRAEL
10. Who is converted as a result of this battle?
Israel is converted, receives holy spirit and mourns because they had killed the Messiah (Zech 12:10;Eze 36:26,27; 39:28) . Vol 3, pg 278 Ancient Worthies guide Israel’s conversion.
God made known in eyes of the nations by rescuing Israel – Eze 38:22,23; 39:6,7,27. This marks the very beginning of the process of converting the world.
COMPLETION OF THE CHURCH
11. Is the Church completed before Israel is converted to Christ?
Rom 11:25 – …blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (NKJ) This text shows that the Church is completed before Israel’s conversion.
12. With whom does God establish the New Covenant? What does it accomplish?
God establishes New Covenant with Israel Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; Eze 16:60,62; 20:37 and Rm 11:26,27. Since he makes a full end of all other nations (Jer 30:11) all mankind will fall under the umbrella of the nation of Israel and come into the New Covenant arrangement.
The New Covenant will accomplish the putting of God’s laws in man’s mind and heart and the forgiveness of their sins (Jer 31:33,34; Rm 11:26,27), but it will be with a better mediator and priesthood ( Heb 7:12,22, 8:6; 1 Pet 2:5,9 & Rev 20:6), namely Christ and his body (the Church).
The Church are ministers (the mediator with Christ, being the body of Christ) of the New Covenant, just as Moses was a minister (mediator) of the Old Law Covenant (II Cor 3:6-8)
The New Covenant is made with natural Israel, not with the Church. The Church was never in Egypt and the Church never broke an old covenant with God. (Jer 31:31-34) Nor have we ever heard anyone spiritualize this verse where it made any sense to us.
13. When will the Jewish regathering be completed?
After Israel is delivered from their enemies, the remainder of Jews scattered throughout the world will return to Israel. Isa 11:11,12 & 66:18-20.
ISRAEL, A BLESSOR NATION
14. What Scriptures show that Israel will be a Blesser Nation?
Isa 27:6 – Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (NKJ)
Zech 8:22-23 – many nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem (NKJ)
Jer 3:17 – Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD (NKJ)
Isa 61:5&6 – Other nations will look to Israel as priests and will bring their wealth and services.
Isa 2:2-4 – People seek the LORD in Jerusalem and worship Him there (Zech 14:16)
Zech 14:17 – Whoever doesn’t go to Jerusalem to worship will receive no rain (blessings, see
also Micah 5:7)
Zech 8:13 – Israel shall be a blessing
Gen 28:14 – In Abraham’s seed all the families of the earth will be blessed. Isaac pictures the heavenly seed and Jacob the earthly seed (natural Israel). Blessing will flow both from heaven (Christ & the Church) and earth (natural Israel).
15. What Scriptures speak of the Ancient Worthies in the kingdom? (see Volume 3, pg. 265)
Isa 32:1 – Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice. (NKJ)
Ps 45:16 – Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons, whom You shall make princes in all the earth. (NKJ)
Isa 1:26 – I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” (NKJ)
Matt 8:11 – And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (NKJ)
Ps 47:9 – The princes of the people have gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted. (NKJ)
Jer 3:15 – And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. (NKJ)
Jer 23:4 – I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the LORD. (NKJ)
Dan 12:13 – But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days. – (NKJ)
WORSHIP IN THE KINGDOM
15. Where and how will worship take place in the kingom?
Jerusalem will be the center of worship. (Jer 3:17; Zech 14:16 & Isa. 2:2-4)
Tabernacle types will not be brought back since they were fulfilled by the antitype (Matt 5:18; Rm 10:4; Heb 8:13; 10:18). The Ark of the Covenant will never be used again in worship. (Jer 3:16)
Priestly services from the Old Testament Tabernacle will not be reinstated in a rebuilt temple or tabernacle since the Old Law Covenant will have fully passed away once the New Covenant has been ratified by the completion of the Church.
16. What boundaries will be restored to Israel? (see the booklet, “This Land is Mine”)
Gen 15:18 – the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt [southern border] to the great river, the River Euphrates [northern border]–(NKJ)
We suggest that the southern border of Israel, here referred to as the river of Egypt, is the Wadi el Arish, now a dry river bed in the eastern Sinai (the southern border of Solomon’s kingdom).
The eastern border will include land east of the Jordan River (Isa 10:1 Edom and Moab, Zech 10:10 Gilead). This includes much of modern day Jordan. The northern border will be Lebanon (Zech 10:10)
The most complete description of the land which Abram’s seed was to inherit is found in
Deuteronomy 1:7, 8: “Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites [the Nebo ridge on the east bank of the Jordan], and unto all the places nigh thereunto [the Jordan valley, east of the river itself], in the plain[in Hebrew, Arabah, the Great Rift of the Jordan valley south of the Dead Sea], and in the hills [the Judean hills], and in the vale [in Hebrew, Shephelah, lying between the coastal plain and the Judean hills], and in the south [the Negev], and by the seaside [the Mediterranean coastal plain], to the land of the Canaanites [particularly the Plain of Sharon and the Jezreel Valley], and unto Lebanon [in the north–How far north?], unto the Great River, the River Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”