Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy – Program 1

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dr. Renald Showers; ©1998
The Bible’s teachings about the end times center around the nation of Israel and events that will affect her around the time of Jesus return.

Contents

What Is the Connection Between Biblical Prophecy and the Nation of Israel?

Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re glad that you’ve joined us tonight. We’re here with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, an international journalist who is presently living and reporting from Jerusalem, Israel. Also, Dr. Renald Showers, a professor who has served on the faculties of Lancaster Bible College, Moody Bible Institute, and Philadelphia College of the Bible. He’s written a lot of books and magazine articles. And gentlemen, we’re glad that you’re here tonight.
Our topic is: “Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy.” I’d like to start off with something that God in the Bible says to the world. He says, “I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come; I say, my purpose will stand and I will do all that I please. What I have said, that I will bring about.” No other religious books across the world make those kind of statements—only the God of the Bible. He is saying, I exist, and let’s put the evidence on the table—biblical prophecy.
We have Messianic prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, but our topic tonight has to do with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the event of the Rapture, the events surrounding those things, and Israel. Now, for a lot of our people in the audience, Jimmy, they’re wondering why, when we talk about biblical prophecy and world events, we would even focus on the land of Israel. You are right there in Jerusalem. What is the connection between biblical prophecy, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and why are we starting with the nation of Israel?
Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, Israel is God’s time piece, and we can understand exactly where God is in His prophetic scenario that is laid out for us in the Word of God by simply looking at Israel. The key to understanding all of prophecy is found in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 9 and verse 24, where He said, in effect, “I have a special plan for a special people in a special place.” Those special people were Jewish people; that special place is the city of Jerusalem. As you focus on those two entities, the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people, you will understand what God is doing and uniquely in this time in which we’re living, God, who said He had a plan for Israel, is starting to bring that into fulfillment.
Ankerberg: Rennie, where does God make some of these predictions about Israel? Maybe let’s start with the huge amount of people that are coming from all over the world back into Israel. Where does God say that in Scripture?
Dr. Renald Showers: Well, the Lord foretold that in a number of the Prophets, John, in the Old Testament. I was just teaching the Book of Micah this morning and in the Book of Micah God foretold that before the Millennium one of the things that would have to happen is that Jews would be regathered from all over the world back to their homeland. And the Prophet Zechariah indicates that they will be there in the end times. Joel indicates they will be there in the end times, Joel 2 and 3. Ezekiel 38 makes it very clear that Israel will be back in their homeland in the latter days. So many of the Old Testament prophets by revelation of God made that very, very clear.
DeYoung: You know, I see in Ezekiel 37, John, that when He gave us the story of the valley of dry bones and then He explains what He was talking about when He was saying the bones are going to come together; the bones will have flesh upon them and then these flesh-covered bones will be filled with the breath of life. And He said, now, if you want to know what I’m talking about, the next verse, He said, “Those bones are the whole house of Israel.” They’ll be gathered. And out of 108 nations of the world, they have been gathered.
Since I’ve lived in Jerusalem as my full-time residency since 1991, we’ve seen 750,000 Soviet Jews immigrate, make hegira, to the land of Israel. Jeremiah 16, Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 31, Zechariah 2 all said at the time of the end—we’ll not talk about the exodus out of Egypt anymore, but instead we’ll talk about the exodus out of the North, and that’s when I’m gathering nations from all nations of the world.
Let me just tell one little story. May 24, 1991, as a journalist living in Jerusalem, I would monitor other news gathering organizations. That afternoon I was listening to the BBC. As I was listening, I heard somebody give a report about “Operation Solomon.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that was, but I got on the line to some of my unnamed sources, and I found out exactly, possibly at least, what it was talking about. So I made an educated guess and reported over a news network here in the United States, beating ABC, NBC, CBS, all of them by about two and a half hours. “Operation Solomon.” Forty-two aircraft took off on a Friday. Now, airplanes don’t fly in Israel on Friday. That’s sabbat, that’s the Sabbath. They took off; they flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Meanwhile, one of the most unbelievable logistics situations I’ve ever seen in my life—15,000 Ethiopian Jews were making their way towards the airport. Twenty-eight aircraft in the air at one time with the greatest airlift in 24 hours that the world has ever seen—15,000 Ethiopian Jews were transported to Israel.
By the way, interesting little story. One 747 that normally carries about 500 people taking up every seat. They had 1,087 people on the airplane, and while the flight was in the air from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Ben Gurion Airport, seven babies were born in the air. But as I saw this and as my wife and I went to greet these Ethiopian Jews making their way into the country, as we were talking to them, as we were endeavoring to help to feed them because they didn’t know how to open a yogurt container or to crack a boiled egg, we were feeding them. Tears started to come in my eyes as I thought about Zephaniah 3:10 where it seems to allude at the time of the end God will reach into Ethiopia and bring His prize back to His land, back to Jerusalem. That’s what we’re seeing unfold right now in the city of Jerusalem and throughout all of Israel.
Ankerberg: God says in Zechariah 12, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.” What is this “cup of trembling” all about?
DeYoung: I believe it’s talking about that Jerusalem is going to be intoxicating. When you saw the cup and it was trembling, Proverbs, remember, it says, “Don’t go near that cup when the ingredients in the cup are moving.” I think what it’s talking about in the end times there are going to be enemies of Israel, those who want to take over and take charge of Jerusalem which God has given to the Jewish people for His special purpose, and they are going to be intoxicated with power. For example, 1994, Bill Clinton came for his first visit to Israel. He came and in the Arabah they signed the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. But then he came into Jerusalem. As a journalist I was covering this situation and Bill Clinton said he wanted to go into the old city and up onto the Temple Mount. He had never been there. Wanted to do some sightseeing. The Mayor of Jerusalem, Eherd Olmert, said, “I’ll be happy to take you up there.” When he said that, Yasser Arafat said, “You will not take him up there! Nobody will take him up there!” They locked every single gate to the Temple Mount. They put armed Palestinian guards behind them. And Yasser Arafat made the statement, “Nobody goes on the Temple Mount unless I take them up there and do the tour with them.” Well, this man has become intoxicated with power controlling what is the most important spot on the face of the earth for the Jewish people.
And you know, for over 1,305 years, from 691 when that Dome of the Rock was put on the spot where the temples stood in the past, they have controlled the Temple Mount area. That’s longer than both the first and the second temple stood up there. I think the “cup of trembling” is talking about those who will be intoxicated with power as it relates to the city of Jerusalem.
Showers: John, in Revelation 16:12-16 John records what will transpire when the sixth bowl judgment is poured out upon planet earth in the Tribulation. That’s the next to the last judgment in the Tribulation, so he’s recording what is going to happen almost at the end of that seven-year period. And he saw Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet sending demons into the world to persuade all the rulers of all the Gentile nations of the world to march their armies to the land of Israel for Armageddon. And Zechariah 12-14 talks about their coming up there. They sweep across the land of Israel, according to Zechariah 14 in the opening verses. They come and completely surround the city of Jerusalem. They begin systematically destroying the city of Jerusalem. But when they do that, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, comes out of Heaven and Zechariah 14 says that’s when He will go to war and He will destroy these godless forces that are there having the city of Jerusalem surrounded.
Interestingly, there’s a non-government, secular intelligence agency in Great Britain, in light of trends going on in the world and reports they get daily from intelligence agents all over the world, they say this: “It is therefore on the platform of Palestine and at the gates of Jerusalem that the present epic will face its ultimate drama.” That’s what a secular intelligence agency says in light of current trends. That’s exactly what the Word of God is foretelling. Jerusalem will be a cup of trembling to the nations because Christ will destroy their armies outside its gates.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break here and we’re going to come back after the break and talk about what really happened when Netanyahu opened the tunnel near the Temple Mount and Arafat created a mini-war. I don’t think our people that are listening nor our people in the audience right here realize how close we came to war. And Jimmy, you were there and I want you to tell us about it. We’re going to take a break and come right back, so stick with us.

Ankerberg: Alright we’re back and we’re talking about “Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy” with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, an international journalist living in Jerusalem and reporting from there, and Dr. Renald Showers who is a professor and has written many books on biblical prophecy. Guys, what I’d like to talk about is an event that happened just from the time we’re taping the program, just a few weeks ago, basically, when Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, opened up a tunnel close to the Temple Mount and the world over there actually erupted. I heard over a thousand people were injured and went to the hospital. There were about 78 people who died. Then Israel finally called tanks out into some of the cities, the first time since the last war.
Now, when that event happened, how close to war did we get? I’d like to give a couple of quotes and then I’d like Jimmy, because you were there, to tell us. King Hussein of Jordan, who is supposed to be as about as friendly an Arab as you can get in the Middle East in terms of Israel, he said, just 30 days ago, “Unless definite steps are taken to advance negotiation with the Palestinians, the regions could be headed for war.” This was printed in Time magazine, October 19. Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, he snubbed Clinton. Didn’t even come to the peace talks in Washington. He said, “I am very, very, very upset! The situation is boiling. The people are fed up all over the Arab world.”
Yasser Arafat, in the midst of that, he said, “The Palestinian Arabs will not be forced to kneel for peace.”
And Netanyahu said in Time magazine, he was asked the question at the time of the violence, said, “Arafat cynically manipulated the tunnel issue. Has your perception changed?” Netanyahu said, “No. The kind of rhetoric, articles and broadcasts both on radio and television that we found in the Palestinian media well before the incidents and especially during the incidents were inflammatory to the point of violence which would have been a breaking of the Oslo accords.” Jimmy, what happened? How close to war did we get?
DeYoung: Let me say, first of all, it was a war. Seventy-eight people were killed—15 Israelis and 63 Palestinians were killed. The tanks were aimed at the people. They were up in the Galilee. These people were at war. People were getting killed. Now, it happened to be a mini-war, and praise the Lord for that. It could have broken wide open and the entire Middle East could have been at war.
But let me go back to the tunnel. Basically, the tunnel was a non-issue. I happened to have been in the tunnel in question the day all of this broke out. I had opportunity to go through the tunnel. You see, about two-thirds of this tunnel had been open since 1984. I went there when I was covering the elections in ‘84. I went through the tunnel before they had all the barriers set up and everything to go through the tunnel. And then in 1991, I did a television documentary from the tunnel. 1996 in September, when this tunnel was opened up the rest of the way—in other words, the last one-third of the tunnel was basically a tunnel that had been there for 2,200 years. It was built by the Hasmoneans. It was a water tunnel. They did not take one shovel worth of dirt out of that new section that was opened up. So they didn’t dig a tunnel. They didn’t open up a tunnel. They were just simply allowing people to go through that portion that had been there for 2,200 years. All they did was put an exit door at the end of the tunnel which actually went into the Arab quarter and was going to enhance the economy of the Arab quarter because now tourists were going to be going out and they figure something like 750,000 to a million tourists a year would be walking by the merchants in the Arab quarter.
The situation was that back in January under Shimon Peres when he was Prime Minister, the Israeli government made a deal with the Palestinians. The Palestinians wanted to expand their prayer space at Al Aqsa Mosque. Now, just imagine in your eye if you were looking straight ahead at an imaginary wall. That’s the Western Wall. Look up to your right. That would be the silver domed building. That’s the Al Aqsa Mosque. The gold-domed building, the Dome of the Rock, and the entrance to the tunnel to your left. The tunnel went the opposite direction from the Al Aqsa Mosque. They weren’t going near the Al Aqsa Mosque. They were not going near any Moslem archaeological remains at all. They had made an arrangement that you could, under Solomon’s…at Solomon’s stables basically, under Al Aqsa Mosque they could put a prayer center for the Moslem people because they needed more space for prayer. What was actually taking place was that they were simply opening up a tourist attraction for the Israeli people, for the Christian people, for the Moslem people. All were invited to come there.
I went through that day with Dan Bahat, who is the archaeologist in charge of the entire operation. I said, “Dan, are we endangering any building at all? Forget Moslem artifacts; forget Israeli archaeological remains. Are we endangering anything?” He said, “Absolutely not.” He said, “I respect the Moslem archaeology as well as I do the Israeli archaeology.” This was a non-issue.
Three weeks before, Yasser Arafat tried to call the Palestinian people to a big demonstration on the Temple Mount. He wanted the Temple Mount flooded with people. They had 15,000 people show up. That’s a drop in the bucket. I’ve been on the Western Wall reporting news from that spot when they had upwards of 200,000 people on the Temple Mount there worshipping in the Moslem worship service. So it didn’t work. It did not come together for him. He needed an event. When Netanyahu returned from a European trip at the time all this took place, he said, “Whatever I would have done, Yasser Arafat would have used that to launch what he did.” And, in fact, he came out of a meeting in Gaza meeting with his cabinet and he told them, “We will accelerate this thing. This is the issue we’ve been looking for.”
Ankerberg: Yes. Speak to this. One of the scariest things in doing the research for this program was to realize the police force that the Palestinian Arabs now have, the size of that, what Israel did in arming them, and what happened during this incident? Speak to all of that.
DeYoung: The Oslo Accords set up a police force for the Palestinian people. And to be exactly that; simply a police force with small arms on their side. That’s all they were supposed to do. They were allowed by the Oslo Accords to have 9,000 members in this police force. As I speak, there are over 50,000 people involved in the Palestinian police force which has become a military might. Those Israelis were killed by their own weapons and by that I mean, the Israeli government under Shimon Perez gave the weapons, the long rifles, to these Palestinian police. They turned on the people of Israel with the weapons that Israel had graciously given to them to police their own people.
Ankerberg: You know, Mubarak of Egypt said after this event, “If Arafat is not successful in negotiating with Israel, the Palestinians will not sit with folded arms. Violence may start, not only against the Israelis, but against those who support the Israelis.” Are we talking about terrorism coming our way?
DeYoung: We’re talking about terrorism worldwide. That’s what they have guaranteed. You see, part of the Palestinian operation would be Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, three of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world; Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and then in Israel proper you have Islamic Jihad and Hamas. They are a part of the PLO, Palestinian Liberation Organization. That’s a conglomerate of Palestinian terrorist organizations of the past, although Yasser Arafat, who happens to be the chairman of the PLO, has supposedly become a statesman instead of the greatest world’s best-known terrorist.
Anyway, as they have moved to a position where they are now endeavoring to take back to Jerusalem to establish a state in the land of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and to annihilate the Jewish people, it is, in my opinion, a fulfillment of two very interesting prophecies. The Book of Ezekiel Chapter 35, the Book of Obadiah talks about in the last days there will be a people that will rise up with the desire of taking the land of Israel. Ezekiel 36:5 says, when that happens, these people with despiteful minds and joyful hearts will go in to try to take the land that God gave the Jewish people, take it away from them, and get rid of a Jewish presence in the Middle East. Now, whether you want to say that’s the Palestinians or not, whoever that prophecy is talking about have to arise in the last day and try to destroy the Jewish nation in the land of Israel.
Ankerberg: Rennie, why do these things prove…where are these things going, first of all, and why do they prove that the God of the Bible does exist and that we’re going the direction that He predicts in prophecy?
Showers: Let me point this out. You know, in the Prophet Isaiah God calls Israel, “Israel my glory.” And the word “glory” refers to what is impressive or influential. And the way God reveals His glory through Israel is the way He deals with that nation historically. And the whole point is, through God’s historic dealings with Israel, He’s going to keep drawing attention to that nation and the way He deals with that nation in order to impress the world with His greatness and who He is and that He has a plan and a purpose and that He’s in control of things.
In Deuteronomy 28 in the first fourteen verses God told Israel that whenever they would obey Him and His Word, He would bless them more than any other nation; and He told them why He would do that—so that all the other nations would recognize that they’re called by the name of the Lord. Then beginning in verse 15 going to the end of Deuteronomy 28 He told Israel, if they didn’t obey Him and listen to His Word, that He would curse them more than any other nation on the face of the earth and He told them why He would do that. He said, “You’ll be a byword; you’ll be a proverb.” What He’s saying there is, I’m using the nation of Israel in my historic dealings with it as a object lesson to impress the world with two truths about Myself: number one, I’m the kind of God who will bless those people who listen to and obey my Word; number two, I’m also the kind of God who will curse and frustrate those people who will not listen to and obey My Word.
And it’s no accident that God placed that tiny nation in the most strategic geographic location on the face of the earth in ancient times and has brought it back there again. He’s simply setting the stage for one of the greatest displays of His glory through that nation. And so God in His sovereignty allows these problems to stir up and keep drawing the attention of the world back to Israel again. I know it’s almost every week it’s in the news for one reason or another because of all the turmoil going on there. This is all part of God’s plan and purpose. He’s using that nation to impress the world with certain things about Himself.
Ankerberg: Jimmy, with 20 seconds, to the person that doesn’t know that God, how can he get to know that God?
DeYoung: It’s simple as “A,B,C.” A – you admit you’re a sinner before a pure, perfect, holy God. Not before me or you or Rennie but before a pure, perfect, holy God. B – you believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believe He came, lived, died and resurrected from the dead and believe He will save you. And C – call upon Him. Romans 10:13: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Ankerberg: Alright, next week I hope that you’ll join us because we’re going to talk about nuclear weapons in the Middle East. We almost went to war a few days ago. What would happen if we did go to war and we’re going to talk about the nuclear options that now exist in the Middle East and what that would mean to all of us living on planet earth right now. And we’re also going to tie that to, “Will one of the points that causes the world to go to war be the dividing of the city of Jerusalem?” I hope that you’ll join us next week.

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