Sunday, March 21, 2010

Turning Against Israel

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis 12:2-3 NKJV

Ask anyone who has taught on Bible Prophecy and they will tell you that the most often asked question is where is America in prophecy? I can say without question I have been asked that very thing every time I have lectured on the Middle East. This obviously raises another question and that is why are so many people interested? I believe this is because when one considers the important, and to many pre-eminent position of the United States in world politics, we should be mentioned.

For those of you expecting to find part two of my blog on spiritual gifts, I must dissappoint you today. I do apologize, but remember one of the verses I tend to quote a lot.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.' Ezekiel 33:6 NKJV

We are called to watch, and when we something we feel needs to be warned of, we are obligated to fulfill our call to warn. My answer to the question of the United States in prophecy has for the most part always been this; since we are not specifically mentioned, we either do not exist as a nation, or we choose to sit on the sidelines and not support Israel during their "time of trouble" which refers to the tribulation period, and most probably a period of time immediately preceeding it.

So much has happened in the last two weeks that has directly affected the political relationship between the United States and Israel, that amazingly enough there are many in the secular news media wondering the same things that those of us who are watching for the return of Christ are wondering. To put it bluntly, is our president turning his back on Israel? I am going to share a number of links to articles on the web which will address what is going on, and which also provide possible reasons for the events of the past few weeks. I will also share a possible explanation from a chapter in my book which I wrote in 2007 about what I believe is in store for Israel in the very near future and our decision to abandon Israel.

From The Doomsday Oracle

.....We see that there is a list of nations that join to attack Israel, but
what is even more interesting is the fact that God tells us of a few nations that don't. Ezekiel tells us in verse 13;

"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? hast thou
gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to
take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?"
Ezekiel 38:13

Obviously these people question the motives of Gog and the alliance, but they don't participate, or for that matter, interfere with what occurs. So who are these people, and does their identification really matter? I think it does for I believe it will give us a more accurate picture of the possible timing of this event if we can figure out who they are and examine their foreign policy positions with Israel today. Fortunately, as always, we can look to the Bible to answer our questions, and to do this we go to Genesis to find our first clue. There we are told;

"Then Again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she
bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Medan, and Midian, and
Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons
of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of
Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All
these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had to
Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham
gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived,
eastward, unto the east country."
Genesis 25:1-6

We mentioned the story of Abraham in the first chapter while exploring the roots of the conflict in the Middle East, but here we get a little more information about the many descendants Abraham had. Here we find that the sons of Keturah, which included his grandsons Sheba and Dedan, relocated from Israel to the east. If you look closely at a map, you find there is only one thing east of Israel, and that is the deserts of Arabia. Two very famous and well-respected archaeologists, Wendell Phillips and W.F. Albright have identified Sheba as being on the southwestern part of the Arabian Desert, and Dedan being located in the northern part. In fact, the capitol of Saudi Arabia has, and still is called Dedan on many maps.

So if we can support the premise that Sheba and Dedan is in fact the present nation of Saudi Arabia, what about "the merchants of Tarshish"? Again, we can find references in the Bible that will help us figure this out. There are several verses in the Bible that mention Tarshish, but I want to use just one to try to explain the position many scholars take on what the Bible is referring to here. The most well known reference is found in the book of Jonah, where in opposition to God's instructions, Jonah decides to flee. We find when we read in the very first chapter;

"Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their
wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish
from the presence of the lord, and went down to Joppa, and he found a
ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it,
to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah 1:1-3

Now most who have studied this story understand that it is all about choosing to do the opposite of what God instructs us to do, which is exactly what Jonah chose to do. God told him to go to Ninevah, which was located in what would be present day Iraq, and instead, he chose to go the opposite direction to Tarshish, which required the use of a ship to travel over the sea. The obvious picture here is that God told him to go east, and he went west! Although many have tried over the years to identify a specific city as being the ancient city of Tarshish, no attempt has ever produced enough evidence to gain popular support. However, if you look at all the passages in the Bible that refer to Tarshish, it becomes apparent that it seems that rather than trying to pinpoint a specific location, God is trying to show us a direction, and that direction is west.

Another point that might seem to support this conclusion is the reference in the Ezekiel passage which also tells us of the "young lions" that are a part of Tarshish. The word in the Hebrew for "lions" is "kephiyr", and can also be translated "villages", which gives us the idea that there are numerous partners being described here, as well as the reference to "merchants" which is describing trade. So let's consider these conclusions in light of what we know for sure. The "merchants of Tarshish", which includes the "young lions" are engaged in trading or commerce with Sheba and Dedan, and choose to not get involved in, or interfere with, the attempted invasion of Israel.

If Sheba and Dedan is an ancient reference to Saudi Arabia, and they are engaged with commerce with Tarshish and the young lions, which we believe to be the "west", is it just a coincidence that this perfectly describes the situation we have today with the west, including the United States, trading in oil with Saudi Arabia? It seems to fit perfectly even if we don't mention that this also describes the "coalition" of nations that supported the invasion of Iraq when Saddam Hussein was considered a threat to peace in the Middle East.

It is also no secret that the House of Saud is afraid of aggression from Iran for many reasons, including the fact that two of the three most holy places to Islam, Mecca and Medina, are located in Saudi Arabia. Iran's president has made no secret of his devotion to Islam, his anticipation of the arrival of the Islamic messiah called the Mahdi, and the creation of an Islamic nation that will rule the world. Control of the holy places of Islam is certainly high on his list, and Saudi Arabia is well aware of this, so we have a very good reason why Saudi Arabia will not interfere, but what about the west?

What reasons could the United States, especially as an ally of Israel, decide to sit this one out and not come to Israel's defense? The answer to that question, in the minds of many, could be answered by one word and one word only; oil. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the United States spends more than $13 million dollars per hour on foreign oil. We spend more than $25 billion dollars per year on oil imports from the Persian Gulf with most of that going to Saudi Arabia.

We all have experienced some level of discomfort when the price of gasoline goes up, or supply goes down, and the effect of any sort of disruption in the oil market is felt by the consumer almost immediately. Our dependence on foreign oil is not a one way street, however, as Saudi Arabia alone has spent millions of dollars in lobbying efforts in Washington for the express purpose of frustrating efforts to pass laws that would require our government to depend less on foreign oil. Simply put, they need us just as much as we need them. This then, is the conundrum which both Saudi Arabia and the west face; support for Israel and Zionism, or protecting the dependency of the oil market? It may just be that Ezekiel is telling us that when this conflict arises, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States along with other western powers must make a choice, they choose to abandon Israel.

The future of Israel looks bleak indeed, especially if you consider the distinct possibility that their only friend and ally in the world turns their back on them in their time of need. Is this the last major sign before the "time of the end"? It well could be.

Keep watching.