The Timeliness of God’s Word

Norbert Lieth

How does Hamas’ attack on Israel relate to biblical prophecy? Are we witnessing a turning point? And what do prophecies about stars falling from the sky have to do with it? A brief biblical exploration.

Niels Aage Bohr, winner of the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics, is quoted as saying, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” That’s true, but the signs of the times are striking, especially now.

[Last] spring, CNN published an article entitled “Abu Dhabi’s stunning new multi-faith complex is a mosque, synagogue, and church.” The author writes: 

“The United Arab Emirates inaugurated the ‘Abrahamic Family House,’ an interfaith complex housing a mosque, a church, and the Gulf Arab state’s first ever purpose-built synagogue. […] The structure draws inspiration from the three Abrahamic faiths and is meant to encapsulate their similarities. […] The Imam Al-Tayeb Mosque, which is named after the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the leading authority on Sunni Islam, is oriented towards Mecca. […] His Holiness Francis Church is dedicated to the 13th century monk St. Francis of Assisi, after whom the current Catholic pope is named. It is oriented towards the rising sun in the east. […] The Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue honors the 12th century Jewish philosopher known as Rabbi Maimonides. […] The synagogue is the UAE’s first purpose-built Jewish place of worship and, like most synagogues around the world, is oriented towards Jerusalem. […] While entirely unique, each individual building is a 30-meter (98 feet) by 30-meter cube. The unifying design is meant to provide a common base from which tolerance and understanding can be promoted.”

In the context of Abu Dhabi being one of the world’s most luxurious travel destinations, this scenario is reminiscent of Babylon from Revelation 18. And on September 22, 2023, just weeks before Hamas’ devastating attack on his nation, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the UN about the tremendous potential of peace with Saudi Arabia: “Today, as we tear down walls of enmity, Israel can become a bridge of peace and prosperity between these continents. Peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will truly create a new Middle East.” And: “We’ll build a new corridor of peace and prosperity that connects Asia through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, to Europe. This is an extraordinary change, a monumental change, another pivot of history. As the circle of peace expands, I believe that a real path towards a genuine peace with our Palestinian neighbors can finally be achieved.”

These words, in turn, recall the Apostle Paul’s prophecy: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess 5:3).

This became a bitter reality for Israel on October 7th, when terrorists entered the country in the early hours of the morning and brutally woke the people from their slumber. The government, intelligence service, and especially the general public were taken completely by surprise. Escape was hardly possible.

Our time is one of haste. And the tomorrow foretold in Bible prophecy seems to have begun today. Luke 21:25 has a literal meaning, but it can also be understood spiritually:

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.”

Israel is metaphorically described as “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1).

Mark 13:25 reports that stars will fall from heaven, and the Old Testament promises that Israel will become like the stars of heaven and the sand of the sea. The situation in Israel is affecting the entire world. An author who is deeply concerned with Bible prophecy wrote the following to me: “This matter has the potential to transform the whole Middle East. And not only that, it could cause the downfall of the whole Western world.”

Let’s not overlook the fact that Jesus’ Olivet Discourse is largely based on the words of the prophet Daniel, and has a great deal to do with Israel. For example, the three and a half times of the last days and the 70 weeks of years (Dan 7:25; 9:24; 12:7); the appearance of the Son of Man with the clouds of heaven (Dan 7:13); the dominion and glory given to Him (Dan 7:14); and the concept of the Great Tribulation (Dan 12:1). 

“And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them” (Dan 8:10). This prophecy foretold the attack of Antiochus Epiphanes, who brutally and intentionally sought to destroy the Jews. Epiphanes murdered their leaders, blasphemed Judaism, desecrated the Temple, and utterly crushed the people. Additionally, the above verse from Daniel is also about demons, which becomes clear when compared with Revelation 12:4: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”

This passage is referring to the third of the heavenly host that is in league with the devil. This army of angelic beings consists of the world of demonic spirits, who rule the world alongside Satan. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev 12:9).

A new day seems to be dawning in this passage as well. Aren’t we experiencing an increase in demonic activity and deception globally? World history has an invisible backdrop (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:12) that is continually ripening, and will ultimately produce the lawless one. While the Church grows toward Christ through the Holy Spirit, the world, driven by Satan, is growing toward the Antichrist. And it’s surely justifiable to ask whether we’ve arrived at a turning point.

One journalist wrote, “We are witnessing an orgiastic explosion  of violence, a murderous lust…” —“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim 3:1).

The Bible prophesies that in the last days, affliction will increase, spreading over the earth like morning mist: pandemics, news of wars, natural disasters, economic inflation, discontent, civil unrest, religious conflicts, terrorism, upheaval in the moral social order, political disorientation, increased distance from God and His Word, anarchism, persecution, and unbridled hatred. In addition to the cries of war, I’m also struck by the earthquakes that took place in the larger Islamic world: Turkey and Syria, Morocco and Afghanistan (more than once).

Christians are living in the midst of this world. We’re anticipating the Rapture before the Great Tribulation comes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t also face hardships. Are these current world events the start of labor pains? We don’t know. Either way, we should evaluate them in light of Bible prophecy, so we’ll remain vigilant at all times. Because one thing does seem certain: We’re living at a turning point.

News from Israel - 03/2024

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