BY JAN WILLEM VAN DER HOEVEN, ICZC—
This year 2012 may become one of the most pivotal years in Israel’s short history yet.
I. There may be a short and decisive battle with Syria and the Hizbollah in the near future. As a result of the coming attack by Syria and the Hizbollah there will be many dead, especially in Israel’s northern cities and Tel Aviv, but eventually it will lead to the counter offensive by Israel’s Defense Forces flattening in reprisal much of Lebanon’s infrastructure and Damascus for its vile and murderous aggression.
II. The Egyptian people may choose this month Mr. Mohammed Mursi, a key figure of the Muslim Brotherhood, to be their President. Mr. Mohammed Mursi has announced that he will initiate, once chosen to be Egypt’s next President, a movement under Egypt’s patronage of the United Arab States with Jerusalem (not Mecca!) but as the Muslim Arab capital. This may cause the scenario of the prophet Isaiah 19 to be fulfilled in our time when it says it will turn the Egyptians against Egyptians and the land of Judah will be as a terror to the Egyptians.
The burden against Egypt. Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. “I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; everyone will fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. (Isaiah 19:1-2)
In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He waves over it. And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt; everyone who makes mention of it will be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts which He has determined against it. And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them. (Isaiah 19:16-17, 22)
The following are some quotes from an excellent article “War in the Middle East” written by journalist David Dolan:
I have been getting inquiries concerning the possible connection of the growing Syrian conflict with prophecies found in Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. As some of you will know from reading the aforementioned books, or other articles or public talks I’ve given over the years, I have long felt that Isaiah 17 is most likely the next major end-time biblical prophecy that will unfold in the turbulent Middle East. This prophecy seems to be echoed by a similar one found in Jeremiah 49, verses 23-27, which tells of a future time when “panic” would grip the Syrian capital city, Damascus, as its “young men fall dead in her streets” and the city’s walls are “set on fire.”
The potential for a massive armed conflict between Israel and Syria at this time is quite obvious. I was struck by the comments from a senior Israeli army commander recorded in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post newspaper and other Israeli media outlets. Addressing his troops at the end of major military exercise held in the Jordan Valley to prepare for possible war with Syria and Lebanon, Nahal Brigades commander Colonel Yehuda Fuchs said “We are prepared for war, which draws closer with every day that passes.” This came two days after air raid sirens were sounded all over Jerusalem last week as part of a three day drill to test the capital city’s readiness for a major missile attack. While I knew from the news that such action would take place, many others missed that information, causing some momentary panic as the loud rising and falling wailing went on for around two minutes just before 5:30 in the afternoon.
An earlier commentary by one of Israel’s most respected columnists, Chemi Shalev, focused on the depth of conflict that is at the center of the current fighting inside Syria. Writing for the Ha’Aretz (The Land) newspaper on June 1, he pointed out that the escalating conflict is mainly about the survival of the minority Alawite Assad regime in the face of majority Sunni Muslim attempts to topple it. He noted that the two rival Islamic groups have been viciously battling each other for many centuries. With each contemporary Alawite atrocity (the sect is an offshoot of the Shiite wing of Islam), the chances that Assad will obey Hillary Clinton’s repeated demands, echoed by many other Western officials, to immediately give up power fade ever further into the waning sunset, he wrote. The Syrian dictator and his cronies are not about to forget what happened last year to Hosni Mubarak or to the late Muamar Kadaffi. Shalev opined instead that the international demands are mainly forcing Assad and his cronies into a corner (which I agree is the case), and the only way out might be an attack upon Israel. He warned that the vicious Syrian regime has a huge army at its disposal–at least 300,000 men, about twice the size of Israel’s fulltime forces–and one of the world’s largest chemical weapons arsenals, plus a massive stockpile of long, medium and short range missiles, mostly supplied by Russia.
This leads Shalev to conclude that Syrian strongman Bashar Assad may choose what he calls the “doomsday option.” He wrote that “Faced with his own political demise and convinced that his people may face murderous retribution, it is not too outlandish to imagine a scenario in which Assad comes to believe that a conflict with Israel or an all-out regional war is his best remaining option. He is, one should never forget, capable of wreaking havoc and destruction not only on most Israeli cities but also on Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia–and this before one factors in Hezbollah, with its 50,000-plus stockpile of rockets and short range missiles, and Iran, which views the Assad regime as an irreplaceable strategic asset and which may also come around to viewing a regional conflagration as a way of overcoming crippling sanctions and growing isolation.”
However with over 100,000 Syrian refugees now pouring into the small, financially troubled country, and with revolution and upheaval sweeping most parts of the Arab world, the chances for instability and political chaos in Jordan increase every day. The ascent of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt (amazingly facilitated by the US and other Western powers) surely strengthens radical Islamic Arab forces everywhere in the region, with the stepson Hamas movement–which is very popular with many Jordanians who claim Palestinian descent–increasingly active in the country. It should also be noted that even if the Assad regime is somehow overthrown in Syria despite strong support from Russia, Iran and Hezbulloh, any replacement Sunni Muslim government seems increasingly likely to be at least as hostile to Israel as Assad has been, meaning the seeming military clash alluded to in Isaiah 17 would remain an active possibility at any time. Of course, a military strike by Israel and/or the United States and its allies upon Iran’s multiple nuclear sites–increasingly likely as defiant Tehran digs in its heels–could spark off a regional war that ends with the destruction of Damascus. Only time will tell, but with the way things appear at present, it might not be a long time!
III. The third important matter will be the likely change in leadership to occur in the United States as a result of the coming elections in November. That, as we all pray, a God fearing Esther-like person will be seated as a result of those elections in the White House and save the United States a few more years of grace, as we all fervently pray.
IV. In the midst of all this the so called ‘Palestinian’ leadership under Abu Mazen will try to use the upcoming general assembly of the United Nations to push the nations of the world to force Israel to cede a Palestinian State, judenrein, on what the nations call the West Bank- Judea and Samaria – to the very detriment of these nations as God warns clearly in His Word that those who vote for such a division of His land will reap His fiery judgment!
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.” (Joel 3:1-2)
All this seems to be set to happen possibly still this very year and yet, as the prophecies indicate, it will lead to some of the most glorious events for Israel.
V. It is against the background of all these ferocious threats that the Lord will pour over Israel and us grafted in Gentile believers the Spirit of grace and supplication as Zechariah prophesied:
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
As also worded by Joel:
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him– a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ” (Joel 2:12-14, 16-17)
It is then after this time of weeping, fasting and pleading that it says that the Lord will be zealous for His land and pity His people and “remove far from them the northern army” (Joel 2:20) and then He announces this wonderful promise:
Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you– the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls. (Joel 2:23, 28-32)
But not only Israel and the grafted in Gentile believers will experience soon this announced double portion, the former and the latter rain in the same month, which we have believed for years will be the month in which Succoth, the Feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated, but the whole Middle East after this short and very destructive next war with Syria, Hizbollah, Hamas and Egypt will receive a tremendous revival in the midst of the earth as Isaiah 19 ends his prophecy:
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria–a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)
What a wonderful, wonderful prospect indeed for both Jews, Arabs and Gentile believers!