Israel and the Middle East for Dummies
Genesis 12:1-3; 16:1-4; Psalm 122:6
Thanks for your attention today. YOU are not a dummy, you know the truth. But our world is ignorant of Bible teachings, and sadly, many who profess to be Christians don’t know much on this topic, even though the Bible tells us to closely follow these events and take a stand.
God stands with those who stand with Israel. Period.
Genesis 12:3 [God says of Israel…]
I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
[who doesn’t want to be blessed and prosper?]
I understand the feelings of many who avoid the news. Most of it is depressing. Much of it is false. It’s hard to know who to trust. Some believers think ignorance is bliss and that they are happier that way. God clearly disagrees.
“What does it matter, anyway?”
Oh it matters! God’s Word is unfolding right before our eyes. Watching the news of war in Israel is observing prophecy being fulfilled. Reading the newspaper is like reading the Bible! And God warns us about being willfully ignorant of the truth.
I appreciate your being here even though you are not the “dummies.” But we have a platform of partners who want to educate the masses so they can know the truth, be saved, and know where to stand. You get to be part of the live studio audience. And perhaps along the way you may learn something too!
Israel is smaller than New Jersey. The land on our planet is about 58 million square miles. [Israel is about 8,000] So let’s say the Earth were made up of 7,000 acres of land, then Israel would be less than one of those acres. And yet they dominate the news, and have throughout our lifetime, in spite of the fact that they have always had so many mortal enemies whose main mission was to wipe them from the face of the earth. And everyone in history who has tried has failed and is today dead and gone themselves. [Pharaoh / Nebuchadnezzar / Herod / Hitler / Saddam Hussein / Osama bin Laden]
If Israel were to be destroyed, the Bible and Christianity would fall apart. But it never has, and never will. And those who are today trying to kill them will fail. I’m talking about people like Hamas and Hezbollah, and Iran who is behind this, as well as people like Joe Biden who last month gave Iran 6 billion dollars that they can now use against God’s people Israel. [on 9/11, and it helped this 9/11 style attack!] Don’t listen to what he says…watch what he does. He is not for Israel.
We don’t pray for Israel so they will prevail. God will see to it that they survive…[“He that watcheth over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”]…but He’s
watching us to see if we will support them, and if we will believe and truly stand, follow, and be His people as well. You see, Father Abraham had many sons…I am one of them!
Over 5000 missiles in the first few hours. Hundreds dead, more than a thousand wounded. Civililans abducted…nearly 100, and paraded through streets to
the underground tunnels. The Taliban said “We are prepared to come help overthrow Jerusalem!”
The Two Major Combatants:
- almost exclusively Jewish.
- the vast majority of its people have returned to the area since 1948.
- its biggest ally is the United States.
2. The Palestinians.
- primarily Muslim.
- they were the possessors of this area for centuries before 1948.
- their biggest ally is the rest of the Arab world (Jordan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.). [descendants of Ishmael, ‘The Wild Man’…this week, it’s Hezbollah and Hamas in the news, fueled by Syria and Iran, primarily.]
The Three Particularly Important Areas:
1. The West Bank.
- it was not part of Israel in 1948.
- it was ruled by Jordan until 1967, when Israel captured it.
- includes a portion of Jerusalem.
2. The Gaza Strip.
- it was not part of Israel in 1948.
- it was occupied by Egypt until 1967, when Israel captured it.
- largely Palestinian-controlled, but with numerous nearby Jewish settlements.
3. The Golan Heights.
- it was not part of Israel in 1948.
- it belonged to Syria until 1967, when Israel captured it.
Why Are These Three Areas So Important?
1. They were not part of Israel’s original 1948 borders.
2. Israel occupied the land in a disputed military action.
- the disputed military action is the Six-Day War of 1967.
- “disputed” in that Israel calls their actions “pre-emptive” while the Palestinians call Israel’s actions “aggressive.”
3. There are still Palestinians living in these areas, which have been, for most of the years since 1967, “occupied” by Israel.
- the Palestinians feel they’re under foreign occupation, which leads to a situation that breeds resentment and anger.
How Did The Middle East Get To The Mess It Is Today?
1. Late 1800s - Early 1900s - The rise of the Zionist movement.
- the Zionist movement pushed the idea of restoring a Jewish nation to the Holy Land.
2. 1948 - The creation of the nation of Israel.
- toward the end of World War II, the British controlled the Holy Land. They tried to broker an agreement that would create separate Arab and Jewish states out of the Holy Land. The Arabs rejected the proposal.
- with no political solution possible, the British forces withdrew on May 14, 1948. The Jews declared Israel a nation and Arab forces invaded.
- by November 1948, the better-trained Israeli military had prevailed. Israel had, during this war, increased its land holdings by one-half (compared with the original British proposal).
- Israel considers this event a war of independence for the creation of their homeland. Palestinians call this Al Naqba (or, “The Catastrophe”), when more than 700,000 Arabs were driven from their homes.
3. 1967 - The Six-Day War.
- fearing an imminent attack from Egyptian and Syrian forces, Israel struck first.
- six days later, Israel had gained control of (“occupied”) the Sinai peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the
Golan Heights, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
4. 1979 - The Camp David Accords.
- during weak negotiations led by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Israel agrees to return control of the Sinai peninsula to Egypt in return for Egypt’s recognition of Israel.
5. 1987 - Intifada.
- this Arab uprising against Israeli rule in the occupied territories involved terrorist military activity by Palestinians, resulting in escalating tensions and more violence.
- Israel viewed this as Arafat choosing violence over peacemaking; the Palestinians viewed this as an overdue response to twenty years of Israel building settlements in the occupied territories.
6. 1993 - The Oslo I Agreement.
- Israel agrees to withdraw its forces from Arab territories seized during the Six-Day War; Arab states agree to recognize Israel’s statehood and right to security.
7. 1995 - The Oslo II Agreement.
- Israeli forces were to withdraw from six Arab cities and 400 villages in the West Bank by early 1996. Both sides blame the other when it doesn’t happen.
8. early 2000s - The Second Intifada.
- more Palestinian violence is met by a hard-line response by Prime Minister Sharon, whose massive stroke took him out of the game. Still, suicide bombings happened almost daily for years, and now war is again breaking out on a large scale.
[these are Palestinian terrorist groups much like Al Qaeda, but focused more so on the Jews and Israel.]
Arafat died in ’04, yet ‘evil men and seducers wax worse and worse’, and they are now rising to the scene. Saddam is gone, but Iran has nuclear potential. The antichrist is likely alive and getting ready to come on the scene any day now!
In 2007 Israel formed the ‘Iron Dome’, and supposedly impenetrable defense mechanism…and yesterday it failed, being overwhelmed. [only the US and Russia have this
capability] It was their own version of Pearl Harbor, only this one focused on killing innocent civilians, women and children. This is their usual terrorism Xs 1000, which is why Israel
has declared war for the first time in 50 years.
Why Is There So Much Hatred?
1. The animosity goes back to Abraham.
- Genesis 16:1-4.
2. Both sides claim ownership of the same land.
3. This isn’t just any land - it’s considered holy by Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
4. The Palestinians are rapidly growing in numbers.
- 20 years ago, in Israel (when you include all of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza), the Jews made up 51% of the population and the Arabs 49%.
- these numbers have shifted as Israeli women on average are having 2.6 children while Palestinian women on average are having 6.1 children (stats from Newsweek). Kids from 20 years ago are now in this fight.
5. The two sides have very different standards of living.
- the average monthly wage for a Israeli is $1,500; the average monthly wage for a Palestinian is $360.
- the Gross Domestic Product for the Palestinians is $1,680 per person; the GDP for Israel is $18,900 per person (stats from Newsweek).
- this economic inequality obviously exacerbates the problem.
6. Both sides think God is on their side.
Why Are Christians Generally So Pro-Israel?
1. We believe God is currently working primarily through the church, but that Israel plays a key role in end-times prophecy.
- Romans 11:1-2, 25; Jeremiah 31:35-37; Zechariah 8:13.
2. We believe that, as part of those end-time events, the Bible speaks of a return of the Jews to their homeland.
- Jeremiah 23:7-8; Ezekiel 36:24.
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;  But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
3. Because of that, the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in the Holy Land in 1948 was considered by many to be the “sign of all signs.”
4. Therefore, rumblings in Israel raise expectations that we may be close to the return of Christ.
The big idea here is: this is Israel, and you want to be on their side.
Words Of Caution:
1. Being Israel doesn’t give you the right to do wrong.
- we cannot suspend our ethics and go along with everything Israel does just because they’re Israel.
- in the Old Testament, God’s blessing upon Israel was dependent upon their obedience - so even God did not unconditionally support Israel’s actions no matter what they did.
2. Only God knows the timetable and all the prophetic details.
- Matthew 24:36-51; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10.
[thief in the night]
Iran is behind this violence, and they are close to creating nuclear weapons, and Russia, their long-time ally is reluctant to impose sanctions on them. This alignment is predicted in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. [Gog and Magog] While some Biblical scholars equate this future war with the Battle of Armageddon (at the end of the Tribulation Period), it is more likely the same as the world war of Revelation's Second Seal (Revelation 6:3-4 - at the beginning of the Tribulation).
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.  And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
Some Certainties In The Midst Of The Mess:
1. There will be peace in Jerusalem someday.
2. That peace will be established by Jesus.
3. I want to be a part of it.
[portions from message by Jim Butcher]
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