Israel's Growing Isolation: Where Will It Lead?

For the first time in its history, Israel finds itself without a single dependable friend in the Middle East. For decades, it maintained a cold peace with Egypt and a warm one with Turkey, but both have evaporated recently. What do the major changes occurring in the Middle East mean for the future?

In September 2011, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally submitted a bid for statehood at the United Nations.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Israel today finds itself more alone than ever, particularly in its regional neighborhood. As Public Radio International's The World explains: "For nearly all of its 63-year history, the Jewish state could count on decent relations with at least one of the major powers in the Middle East. That's what makes the political reality facing Israel today so grim.

"It's the lowest point diplomatically we ever had in the region. Ever,' said Alon Liel. Liel spent more than 30 years with Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as ambassador to both Turkey and South Africa. He said Israel is facing unprecedented isolation.

"We always had a strategic partner, sometimes two,' Liel said. 'Don't forget we had Iran for 20 years. Then we had Turkey for many years. Sometimes, we had Iran and Turkey together. And then we had Egypt and Turkey together. These are important countries in the region. And we are a Jewish state and they are big, important, Muslim states. And we worked it out. Now, we don't have any of the three as an ally, even not as a friend'" ("Israel's Growing Isolation in the Middle East," Sept. 16, 2011).

In addition to the deteriorating relationships with its closest allies, the instability of other uprisings rocking Muslim Arab states will likely lead to continually worsening relationships with Israel's neighbors. The Arab Spring is creating new realities in the Middle East that can no longer be addressed solely by diplomatic means. Even if these uprisings in places like Egypt and Libya do not result in new regimes heavily influenced by Muslim radicalism, the general public's dislike of Israel will likely push emerging leaders to be more hostile toward Israel than in the past. Where is all of this leading?

Israel's closest regional ally gone

After enjoying warm military and commercial ties with Turkey since the 1990s, relations have taken a major turn for the worse.

In May 2010, Israel protected its naval blockade of Gaza—intended to keep out weapons and more terrorists that would harm Israelis—against a flotilla billed as a humanitarian mission but intent on breaking the Israeli blockade. Israeli forces boarded a Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara, and in the conflict that ensued, nine Turkish activists died.

Turkey demanded an apology, but the Israeli government refused. Even a review by the United Nations, typically ill-disposed toward Israel, found that Israel acted appropriately. Nevertheless, Turkey retaliated by kicking Israel's ambassador out of its capital and downgraded the diplomatic relationship. It halted military commercial relations and considered stepping up its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"Liel said the episode reflects a shift in Israeli diplomacy under the current government. There's been a move away from traditional partners in the region like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, toward new partners, including Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Which he called ridiculous. 'Because for many, many years, one of the main leading arguments of the Arabs was, "you don't belong here."' Liel said Israel spent years cultivating relationships with its regional neighbors to disprove that" (ibid.).

The same article later gives what international relations professor Mark Heller of Tel Aviv University sees as the cause of Israel's diplomatic losses. "Particularly the rise of Islamist political forces,' Heller said. 'The loss of Iran as a partner was not the result of anything that happened in the bilateral relationship between Israel and Iran. It was the Islamic revolution. And similarly the same could be said about Israel and Turkey. It's the rise to power of a cautious or pragmatic Islamist power there.'"

He points to Turkish aims at a given time as determinative. "Whenever they were focused primarily on orienting Turkey towards the west and integrating Turkey with the western world, then relations with Israel were pretty good,' Heller said. 'And whenever there was some flirtation or attempt to re-orient in another direction, then one of the casualties of that was the Turkish-Israeli relationship'" (ibid.).

Heller believes that for the foreseeable future Turkey is lost diplomatically. As American influence wanes in the region, Turkey is less focused on relations with the west and is seeking to fill the growing void in the region caused by the Arab Spring.

Deteriorating relationship with Egypt

On the heels of the souring relationship with Turkey came trouble with Egypt.

There is a growing display of deep antipathy towards Israel on the Egyptian street. Israel's embassy in Cairo, the premier symbol of the relations between the two countries, was overrun by hundreds of Egyptian demonstrators, tarnishing a symbol of the two nations' 32-year-old peace. Among the signs waved were displays of swastikas and a message that translates into English as, "The gas chambers are ready" (Memri TV, Aug. 21, 2011,

This came in the wake of an incident along the Israeli-Egyptian border in the Sinai. Terrorists crossed into Israel, killed Israeli civilians and headed back into Sinai. Israeli troops pursued them, and, with gunfire exchanged at the border, several Egyptian police there were killed in the crossfire.

This inflamed the growing anti-Israeli feelings. Some political parties now want to close the Suez Canal to the Israeli navy and block the sale of natural gas to Israel. The new Freedom and Justice Party, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, says the 1979 treaty should be "revised." Opinion polls suggest Egyptians want peace with Israel but not necessarily under the terms of the 1979 treaty.

The interim ruling military government says policy towards Israel should be left to an elected government. Parliamentary elections have been scheduled for November, and presidential elections are expected to be held in March or April 2012. Still, the embassy incident serves as a warning to Israel that a democratically elected Egyptian government may be a lot less friendly.

The former head of Israel's Shin Bet Intelligence Service recently expressed deep concerns in an Israeli radio interview: "This should be very disturbing to us…there is a question about our place in the Middle East…The Egypt that was the bedrock on which we founded our strategy has disappeared" (quoted by Joshua Mitnick, "Israel Reels Over Rifts With Allies," The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 12, 2011).

The Palestinian divide

Not only have relations with Egypt and Turkey deteriorated over the last several months, but so have relations next door with the Palestinians. All nations have ideological divisions, but the Palestinians are divided over the fundamental question of their national identity.

Fatah, the party that has continued to exercise control among the 2.5 million Arabs of the West Bank despite popular support for rival Hamas, sees itself as part of a secular Arab world that is on the defensive. Hamas, strong in the West Bank and ruling over the 1.5 million Arabs of the Gaza Strip, envisions the Palestinian nation as an Islamic state forming in the context of a region-wide Islamist rising. Neither is in a position to speak authoritatively for the Palestinian people, and the issues that divide them cut to the heart of their peoples.

While the two parties came to a reconciliation agreement last spring, they have yet to work out their differences. Things came to a standstill after they failed to agree on a prime minister who would lead a unified government. They did agree to new parliamentary elections, but as of this writing presidential and parliamentary elections are yet to be scheduled.

Both groups have different views on a future relationship with Israel, as George Friedman of Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) explains: "Fatah has accepted, in practice, the idea of Israel's permanence as a state and the need of the Palestinians to accommodate themselves to the reality. Hamas has rejected it" ("Israeli-Arab Crisis Approaching,", Aug. 22, 2011).

How Egypt's new government forms will also have an impact on both Hamas and Fatah. If Islamist forces like the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is a wing, according to its charter) come to power in Egypt, it could favor Hamas. But Friedman doesn't think this is likely. He states:

"Egypt's military has retained a remarkable degree of control, its opposition groups are divided between secular and religious elements, and the religious elements are further divided among themselves—as well as penetrated by an Egyptian security apparatus that has made war on them for years. As it stands, Egypt is not likely to evolve in a direction favorable to Hamas…

"There is a broad sense of unhappiness in Egypt over Egypt's treaty with Israel, an issue that comes to the fore when Israel and the Palestinians are fighting. As in other Arab countries, passions surge in Egypt when the Palestinians are fighting the Israelis.

"Faced with this dynamic, it will be difficult for Fatah to maintain its relationship with Israel. Indeed, Fatah could be forced to initiate an intifada (uprising), something it would greatly prefer to avoid, as this would undermine what economic development the West Bank has experienced. Israel therefore conceivably could face conflict in Gaza, a conflict along the Lebanese border and a rising in the West Bank, something it clearly knows" (ibid.).

And Israel's own Arab minority is emerging as a potential problem as well. The country's landscape is increasingly dominated by minarets and veiled women. And leaders among this minority, identifying with their Palestinian cousins outside, are vociferously calling for Israel to shed its character as a Jewish state and give Arab citizens collective minority rights and perhaps some form of autonomy.

Palestinian unilateral UN bid for statehood

In the midst of the Palestinian division, Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah's leader, formally submitted to the United Nations a bid for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state. This reversal of strategy came after two decades of on-again, off-again direct negotiations failed to establish such a state. It's not clear how long it will take the Security Council to act on it.

Many observers feel that the Palestinian unilateral effort at the United Nations is a clear rejection by the Palestinians of direct negotiations with Israel.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is negotiating for the Quartet on the Middle East—made up of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia—in an effort to establish a two-state solution through direct peace talks. He condemned the unilateral move at the UN, according to a recent article in Britain's Daily Mail ("Blair Attacks Palestinian Bid for State Recognition as 'Deeply Confrontational,'" Sept. 24, 2011).

In an apparent retaliation for the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood, the U.S. Congress has frozen $200 million in humanitarian aid. But the Arab League has already promised that Arab nations will make up for the aid shortfall.

For now, America's position is reportedly to veto the recognition of Palestinian statehood when it comes before the Security Council. Yet an American veto or rejection could spawn waves of Palestinian violence. It would also likely harden the stances of Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. At least one Saudi leader has threatened to end the current form of his country's long-standing cooperation with the United States if there is a veto. And the country with the most to lose from such weakening of the U.S.-Saudi relationship would be Israel.

As the move at the UN was in the offing, the German magazine Der Spiegel explained the European Union's position: "If the Palestinians even just seek recognition in the General Assembly, Israel could lose the support of the European Union. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton is feverishly working to reach a compromise with the Palestinians that would give them a status as a non-member observer state [at the UN], somewhat analogous to the one enjoyed by the Vatican. The arrangement would also require the Palestinians to waive their right to bring Israeli politicians before the International Criminal Court. The majority of EU member states would most likely back this kind of solution. But there is still no deal in sight" ("Palestinian Statehood? A Litany of Diplomatic Failures in US and Europe," Sept. 20, 2011).

With or without a U.S. veto, this "Vatican option" is a plausible outcome. From Israel's point of view, it would still be rather disturbing. But this observer-state option is the emerging consensus among the Europeans.

Israel surrounded by enemies—yet rescued at last

What this all adds up to is a shifting dynamic in the Middle East that has not been seen in a generation. The state of Israel finds itself in the worst isolation in its history. As surrounding enemies become more hostile, Israel will eventually be encircled by armies, as Jesus Christ and other prophets foretold.

The EU's independent proposal reflects a growing effort to more directly influence the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Eventually, Europe will play an even more central role. Bible prophecy reveals that Europe will evolve into a final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire. A powerful, persuasive leader will emerge in Europe who will bring about a false sense of peace. Manipulative and crafty, he will also be empowered by evil spiritual forces that can sway world governments and institutions (see Revelation:13:2-8; Daniel:8:23-25; Matthew:4:8-9; 2 Corinthians:4:4).

Jerusalem will eventually be divided again, violently traumatized, with at least part of it falling under the rule of gentile (non-Israelite) forces. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near…For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke:21:20-24, emphasis added).

The prophet Zechariah quoted God in referring to the same time. "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city" (Zechariah:14:2; see also Zechariah:12:2-3; Revelation:11:1-2).

Traumatic times lie ahead for Israel, as these and other prophecies reveal. But the good news is the Jewish people and other Israelites will be reestablished in the Promised Land as Jesus Christ starts His glorious reign from Jerusalem (Hosea:1:10-11).

Sadly, man's efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and the world have proven a complete failure—as will be even more evident in the years to come. But Jesus Christ will not fail. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, "Lord, You will establish peace for us" (Isaiah:26:12).

He will do this by first powerfully assuming control over all opposing forces. Then He will lead the world into the way of righteousness and peace, giving people everywhere a change of heart through His Spirit (Isaiah:2:2-4; Joel:2:28). This transformation after Jesus' return will commence with the Jews at Jerusalem (Zechariah:12:10).

For a more complete perspective of the events prophesied to come in the Middle East and more of the history behind them, be sure to send for or download our free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy.


robertjbowman's picture

All I know is stand back and watch what God does. This is the time and he is ready to act!

Rod Hall

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I believe you are right Robert!
I have been following world news in the light of Bible prophecy for over 45 years and I have never seen this much change occurring all around the world at the same time. Many key shifts appear to be reshaping our world in order for the final major geopolitical power blocks to arise.
When the world undergoes a major realignment like we see today, conflicts between nations and regions becomes more likely.
Here are some other key regional shifts to be watching:
Reshaping of Europe:
The sovereign debt crises rocking the region may eventually force EU countries and the euro zone to breakup into blocs of less than the current 27 and 17 nations respectively. Bible prophecy indicates a group of 10 kings or nations will coalesce around a ruthless animal like leader which the book of Revelations calls the beast (Revelation 17:12-13).
Daniel refers to this system and leader as the King of the North. There will be major battles between this group of nations and the King of the South. Then disturbing news from the north and east (of Jerusalem) troubles the King of the North. This sparks a major war between the King of the Norththe Beast and nations to the east of Jerusalem and the Euphrates River. “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many” (Daniel 11:44).

Rod Hall

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Asia on the rise:

These actions by the King of the North appear to be connected with what the book of Revelation describes as the “fifth trumpet” or “first woe” (Revelation 9:1-11). This engagement by the King of the North against those that trouble him east of the Euphrates River result in an army of 200 million coming from the east (verses 13-16).

A full-scale international conflagration will erupt. The sounding of the sixth trumpet produces major battles that results in a third of mankind dying (Revelation 9:13-18). In the language of his day John appears to be trying to describe the use of modern implements of war. Notice, it is not the horses and riders that do the killing. “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths” (verse 18). Could this be John’s best effort to describe the use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons?

East of Jerusalem and the Euphrates River lies India and China and other large populations. Whether by itself or in a league with other large population nations of Asia, it seems probable that China will be involved in fielding this incredible army and major weapons capable of killing so many people.

China, is pursuing an enormous military buildup both on land and at sea. For example, The Diplomat reports on China’s massive sea power build up. “There has been much discussion and speculation in recent commentary over China’s rapid maritime rise and strategy for dominating large swaths of the Pacific . . . China’s naval buildup will soon give Beijing the means to use military force to back up its expansive territorial claims to essentially the entire Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea” (“Ensuring China’s Peaceful Rise,” November 18, 2011).In Christ’s service.
Rod Hall
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Vatican pushing for world economic system
The Vatican recently renewed its call for creation of a “world political authority” and the creation of a “central world bank” that would regulate the flow of monetary exchanges.
The 41-page document was prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. It says a “supranational authority” was needed to place the common good at the center of international economic activity (“Vatican Issues Major Document on Global Financial Reform,” October 24, 2011; Catholic News Service).
The document cited the teachings of popes over the last 40 years on the need for a universal public authority that would transcend national interests.
Here are some of the other suggests: taxation on financial transactions; a “world reserve fund;” recapitalization of banks with public funds; reward “virtuous” behavior; broad management over countries and “shadow markets;” gradual, transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world authority and to regional authorities” (Ibid.).
A centralize system with worldwide control of the economy like the one the Vatican suggest will be set up to by a great end time religious leader called the False Prophet in Revelation 19:20. Could this document act as its blue print?
This false prophet is referred to as another beast in Revelation 13. “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence” (verses 11-12).

“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark (Amplified says: stamp, mark, inscription) on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (verse 16).

Just as the Vatican recommends this centrally controlled economic system will have worldwide scope and "universal jurisdiction." It will siphon from nations some national authority for itself.

It will reward “virtuous” behavior. And also severely punish those who try to do business in any “shadow markets.” He will force everyone to join this system and carry its identification to be able to buy or sell.

In Christ’s service.
Rod Hall
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Beyond Today television

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America in decline:

The US appears to be undergoing a terminal decline that could lead to the prophesied time of Jacob’s trouble predicted for the modern descendants of the ancient nation of Israel or Jacob (Jeremiah 30:7). The English speaking nations, especially Britain and America, have dominated the world for the past two centuries. USs current trajectory projects an end of this era is closing in fast.

The 70 years of remarkable economic growth of the US ended a decade ago. The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, marked by high unemployment and stagnant wages. Germany will soon pass the US to become the 2nd largest exporter behind China. China is poised to pass the US as the world’s leading superpower in the next decade or so.

The Economist magazine recently reported “The World Bank sees a relentless decline in various indicators of American governance” (“American Idiocracy, The civil war in Washington, DC is damaging American business,” August 13, 2011).
The article goes on to show the sliding rankings the US as compared to the rest of the world. The World Economic Forum’s annual global competitiveness ranking downgraded America from second place in 2009 to fourth place in 2010. For the quality of its institutions America is ranked a lowly 40th, for trust in its politicians 54th, for government waste 68th and a dismal 87th for its macroeconomic environment.

About a year ago The Nation magazine carried an article by history professor Alfred McCoy titled “The Decline & Fall of the American Empire.” He predicts this will happen by 2025. “The question is not whether the U.S. will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be...” (December 6, 2010).

In Christ’s service.
Rod Hall
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Arab Spring:

The Arab Spring brings the prospects for democratic development, but also the very real risk of Islamic ascension, political chaos, and humanitarian disaster. The performance of the Islamist party Ennahda in the October 23 Tunisian elections, in which it won 41.5 percent of the seats, has some concerned a similar Islamist victory may occur in Egypt.

Foreign Affairs magazine explains: “Some analysts have minimized the Muslim Brotherhood's prospects for success by pointing to polls suggesting that the group -- the largest and best organized in Egypt -- hovers between 15 to 30 percent approval” (“How Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will win,” November 3, 2011).
Yet, The Telegraph indicates the Islamic influence could add up to a higher percentage during the three month election season that started November 28th. “Opinion polls suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies will win more than 40 per cent of the vote, far more than any of its secular rivals . . .” (“Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood facing growing backlash from protesters,” November 24, 2011).

Protests were renewed in Tahrir Square in Egypt demanding the army immediately hand over executive powers to a civilian cabinet. Instead the generals, who have ruled Egypt since the former president was toppled, moved up the date for the transition to July 2012.

“Fearing they have been outflanked by the Brotherhood and the army – Egypt's two most powerful forces – many protesters called for secular politicians to unite and give the people of Tahrir Square one voice powerful enough to challenge two rivals they see as holding undemocratic values” (Ibid.).

Filling the power vacuum:

Even if the Islamists do not dominate the emerging governments one thing is sure─ the Arab world is undergoing seismic and irreversible change. As more and more of the strong dictatorial leaders fall and the masses rise up so do the chances for internal and external conflicts. The deep seated hostility toward Israel is growing in openness and intensity making the prospects for peace in the Middle East dim.

With America pulling out of Iraq by the end of the year, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are all pushing to fill the vacuum and become the dominate player in the Middle East.

Rod Hall

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Iran & Saudi Arabia push for dominance

Foreign Affairs magazine documents the rekindled struggle for dominance between Iran and Saudi Arabia as they aggressively seek to reshape the new Middle East to preserve and expand their power.

“As a result, Iran sees Saudi Arabia as a wealthy, ambitious proxy of the United States and Saudi Arabia views Iran as a major source of instability in the region, believing that it seeks to establish a so-called Shia Crescent to dominate Arab Sunnis. The rivalry has shaped both countries' policies as they have attempted to contain and combat each other’s influence. They have accused each other of blatant interference in their internal affairs, including indirect support for acts of terrorism against each other” (“Iran and Saudi Arabia Square Off, The Growing Rivalry Between Tehran and Riyadh, October 11, 2011).

If Iran dominates the region it is likely they will provide even more funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to the numerous terrorist groups they support. These are most notably involved in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, posing a security concern to the international community.

Arab unity has long been elusive, but a common purpose is emerging around the desire to destroy the nation of Israel. These changes through the Arab Spring will allow many who see themselves as Islamist’s first and national citizens second to push for closer Islamic unity.

This could lead to the rise of what Daniel the prophet calls the King of the South (Daniel 11:40). This king will attack the King of the North (10 nation beast power in Europe) causing a major counter attack that eventually brings the entire world into the final world war before Christ returns.

In Christ’s service.
Rod Hall
Writer / Reporter
Good News magazine
Beyond Today television

Rod Hall

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Iranian Nukes:

The International Atomic Energy Agency recently issued a condemning report on Iran's nuclear program. It found that Iran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon and may be continuing research relevant to that end.

The window of opportunity for stopping Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon is closing fast. Western intelligence sources believe that Iran now has enough highly enriched uranium to build, should it choose to do so, at least one nuclear weapon within a year and that this could be rapidly followed by several more. Some say they could have a weapon as early as April 2012. Once the bombs are complete a military strike would generate a dangerous level of radioactive contamination across the Gulf region, the main source of the world's energy.

And it would be likely that Iran would respond to any kind of attack on their 15 nuclear facilities with missile attacks on Israel. Also, its well armed proxy forces, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, would likely be stirred to attack. They have both been rearmed with missiles and war materials. This could plunge the region into another hot conflict.

No Israeli─ Palestinian peace talks:

For the first time in its history Israel finds itself without a single friendly neighbor. Turkey’s warm relationship was broken off when they pulled their ambassador out of Israel, because Israel refused to apologize for the deaths of Turkish citizens on a boat flotilla to the Gaza Strip. The cold peace with Egypt appears in jeopardy in spite of a pronouncement they will honor the long standing peace treaty. Relations have deteriorated to the point that an Egyptian mob recently attacked Israel’s Embassy, setting it on fire and holding several Israeli’s captive for days.

In addition to Israel’s growing isolation, the prospects for renewing direct peace talks with the Palestinians remain dim. The Council on Foreign Relations had an insightful interview with Daniel Levy, Senior Research Fellow, American Strategy Program and Co-Director, Middle East Task Force, New America Foundation. He summarized it this way: “You have an Israeli-Palestinian reality, which is looking increasingly irresolvable and increasingly questioning the very possibility of a two-state solution" (November 15, 2011).

In Christ’s service.

Rod Hall
Writer / Reporter
Good News magazine
Beyond Today television


802mikes's picture

I believe we are real close to ww3. The things happening in turkey and syria will become this the north of jerusalem? that you speak of.silly question i know but i mam ready for the new kingdom let it come it will be a lot more peaceful than were we are at now thats for sure.

Rod Hall

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I appreciate your question and comments Mike. I too am ready for the wonderful and peaceful world Jesus Christ will bring.

I have been following world news in the light of Bible prophecy for more than 45 years and have never observed so much activity all around the world that appears to be laying the foundation for many end time events. We know they will eventually culminate in the most deadly, destructive and violent time in world history – World War III.

Much of Bible prophecy revolves around a perspective from Jerusalem. While you are correct about Turkey and Syria being north of Jerusalem, understanding additional prophetic fulfillments in history are needed to gain insight into where the king of the North will come from in the future.

In fact, at one time the king of the North did reside in the area of present day Syria.

Daniel 8 gives a vivid prophecy about the clash between Persia and Greece. A horn symbolizes royal power and authority. Persia had "two horns and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last." This refers to the Medo-Persian Empire, the coming together of two nations or peoples. As foretold here in verse 3, the Persians rose to greatness after the Medes.

In verse 5 we read of Persia's later defeat by Alexander the Great: "And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes" (verse 5, also see Daniel 8:20-21).

The "notable horn" or royal leader was Alexander the Great, who lived near the end of the fourth century B.C., about 200 years after Daniel (verse 23). The prophecy about his army not even touching the ground is a reference to the incredible speed with which he conquered the known world. All this was achieved in a very short time. Alexander died in 323 B.C. when he was about 33 years old.

(see more below)

In Christ’s service.

Rod Hall
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When Alexander died, his empire was eventually divided between four of his generals—the four "notable horns" mentioned in Daniel 8:22. Two of these established dynasties would have a profound effect on the Jewish people, caught in the middle between them.

These two dynasties were the descendants of Seleucus, who ruled a vast empire from Antioch in Syria, north of Jerusalem, and Ptolemy, who ruled Egypt from Alexandria.

Daniel 11 is a long and detailed prophecy about the dynastic conflicts between these two powers, their respective leaders being referred to as "the king of the North" and "the king of the South."

After Greece came the Roman Empire, which is described as "dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong (Daniel 7:7)."
In Daniel 2 and 7 we see prophecies about four great Gentile empires that would arise in the period between the time of Daniel and the coming establishment of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44). They were fulfilled sequentially by the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires. The fall of the Western Roman Empire occurred in A.D. 476.

A final future resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire will occur shortly before Christ's return. God will send Christ to set up His government, crushing the revived Roman Empire at the time of the end (Daniel 2:44, 7:23-27).

Since the Roman Empire took over Syria and many other countries further west in Europe, its final revival will likely come from the same broader area.

We find more details in Revelation 17 of the final revival of the Roman Empire by "ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (verses 12-13).

They will also "make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ], and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings" (verse 14). It is clear that this prophecy is still future since Christ has not come a second time.
this new superpower will indeed emerge just before Christ's return.

In Daniel 11:40-41 moves forward to yet future events that will occur at the end time. The future king of the North will come out of the area of the former Roman empire and the king of the South will arise from Egypt or other former lands ruled by the former king of the North.

Rod Hall

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KARS's picture

Thanks for the history lesson Mr. Hall.
There are things I remember Mr. Armstrong saying. I most probably will not quote him right. He warned that when things seem to be getting better; (Like the upcoming election for instance and it bringing what seems good things.)beware for this is the onset to Jacob's woes. Don't be fooled and kept alert to the events you mentioned above.

Rod Hall

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I agree KARS. We have both been watching events for a long time and Mr. Armstrong certainly set a great example in watching.

It is interesting to see the two prophesied final leaders arise. They are likely alive today but have not moved into their positions as yet.

End time antichrist

At the time of the end there will arise a "false prophet" who will perform “miraculous signs" on behalf an animal like ruler and governmental system called the “beast.” This great false prophet will partner with the beast to dominate the world (Revelation 17:1-8).

The Apostle Paul explained that this end time wicked one would have to arise before Christ would return. He warned the church members "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

This is the ultimate fulfillment of the antichrist that John predicted would come as the white horseman of the apocalypse at the end time. "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders," (verses 8-9). This great end time antichrist called the false prophet will be destroyed at Christ’s return. (Revelation 19:20).

The first warning of Jesus Christ in His Olivett discourse to His disciples certainly has affected the world through the ages (Matthew 24:4-5). True to His predictions, the white horseman of the apocalypse that the Apostle John saw in vision, has stirred up the massive growth of false religion effectively deceiving many under Satan's inspired false teachings. "...whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:4). As we discuss more detail in chapter nine, at the time of the end a major worldwide religious revival will be led by the prophesied false prophet who, as an antichrist, will work many signs and wonders deceiving most of humankind into worshipping the beast.

Rod Hall

Tammy Vaught

Tammy Vaught's picture

It breaks my heart to know that Israel will go through the prophecies because of sin, that it can not see, or will not see, and a major portion of that appears to be because they are disassociated with this Work of God. I think that God is just and He is bringing all nations against Jerusalem because they will not see, that they are rejecting Jesus Yeshua Christ Messiah in this Work of God.

All nations are to forego the same punishments, God is just, how long can we sin and not get punished. We deserve everything God is going to do to us, all we can do is pray help and hope, our obedience is of the utmost importance to the FATHER and Yeshua Christ, and we know He gives to everyone according to his ways.

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