2017 developed into an exciting year for Bible prophecy enthusiasts. 2017 represented several milestone anniversaries for the nation of Israel. God promised He would regather the nation of Israel in the last days. The First Zionist Council convened in Basel Switzerland 120 years ago in 1897. Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael—the Land of Israel—secured under public law. Theodore Herzl sought to prepare the Jewish people to fulfill what was in their hearts for nearly 2,000 years—their return to Israel, their chosen land. In Isaiah 11:1-12, Isaiah speaks to us that the second regathering of Israel out of the four corners of the earth will be an “ensign.” This word indicates it will be a signal of what God is doing at a particular time. Never before in history have Jews been regathered out of the four corners of the earth. We have seen the Hebrews taken out of Egypt in Moses’s time and the regathering of Jews from Babylon after 70 years of captivity. However, the Roman Empire’s dispersion of Jews in AD 70, and then in AD 135, scattered Jews throughout the world.
Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917
World War I brought devastation to Europe, but it also changed the map of the Middle East. Many nations in the Middle East were part of the Muslim Ottoman Empire that had reigned for over 600 years. The tiny spit of land known today as Israel was part of the land governed by the Ottomans. Since the time of Jewish diaspora, Jerusalem suffered 44 besieges and multiple foreigner occupations. Although some Jews had always lived in the land, they lived under difficult conditions. The Balfour Declaration was named after British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour. He submitted a declaration of intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Israel (Palestine). In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles entrusted the British with the administration of Palestine through a system called the “Mandate.” For various reasons the recognition of the Jewish homeland in Israel was delayed. The promise was made but not fulfilled by the British.
Resolution 181, November 29, 1947
The name “United Nations,” coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was first used in the Declaration by the United Nations on Jan. 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis powers. On Oct. 24, 1945, 51 nations joined together to create the United Nations. The purpose of the UN is to maintain international peace and security, foster cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems; and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Woodrow Wilson’s concept and idea of creating a League of Nations—an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the First World War and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security”—would now be a reality.
The realization of 6 million Jews destroyed in the Holocaust fostered a need to resolve the conflict in the Middle East that was left unresolved by the British during the Mandate years. The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a proposal by the United Nations, which recommended a partition of Mandatory Palestine (Israel) at the end of the British Mandate. On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the plan as Resolution 181(II). Harry Truman threw the weight of the United States behind the plan by voting in favor of it. With passage by the UN, Israel was soon set to establish her reborn independence. Under great opposition by the Muslim Arabs to annihilate her, Israel would fight the birth pangs and declare her independence on May 14, 1948.
The Six-Day War, June 5-10, 1967
Ever dissatisfied with the United Nations resolution that created a Jewish state, the Pan-Arab Muslim nations never accepted Israel and sought to destroy her, as they tried in 1948. Israel’s triumphant victory enabled her to take possession of Jerusalem. From 1948 until the Six-Day War, the country of Jordan illegally occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, known in the Bible as Judea. During Jordan’s occupation there were no dissenting voices in the world of its illegal occupation. The Arab Islamic nations failed in war to retake the land. After the 1967 war, they would adopt a new strategy. They would use propaganda and make the Arab Palestinians appear to be victims and gain world sympathy by their obstinate occupying landlords—Israel.
The United Nations passed Resolution 242 after the Six-Day War in an effort to establish a just and lasting peace between Israel and the nations of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and later, Syria. On Oct. 6, 1973, hoping to win back territory lost to Israel during the third Arab-Israeli war, in 1967, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a coordinated attack against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Taking the Israeli Defense Forces by surprise, Egyptian troops swept deep into the Sinai Peninsula, while Syria struggled to throw occupying Israeli troops out of the Golan Heights. Israel counterattacked and recaptured the Golan Heights. A cease-fire went into effect on Oct. 25, 1973. Another United Nations resolution was passed—Resolution 338. I used to think that Psalm 83 was a specific war to occur in the future. I am now persuaded that it is a time frame that began from the independence of Israel until now. The nations of the world that have sought to cut Israel off from being a nation by military power, but since their failures, they have endeavored to cut Israel off from being a nation through peace, with nearly two-thirds of the United Nations resolutions being against Israel. It is as though the very creation of this organization and existence have been about the Israeli and Palestinian issue.
President Donald Trump recognized the capital of Israel as Jerusalem on Dec. 6, 2017! The year of Israel’s convergence of anniversaries! Immediately after his decision, the Islamic Arab nations of the world expressed their dissatisfaction. Their “confederate” efforts to cut Israel off from being a nation were now diminishing. The Islamic Arab majority UN Security Council cast a vote to condemn Trump’s decision. Subsequently, after a veto from the United States, the General Assembly of the UN voted 128-to-9 against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. The majority of the world stands in opposition to Israel. Only a few nations stand by her. I am proud of President Trump’s decision to stand for God. Because it is only those who hate God that seek to cut Israel off from being a nation. God bless America!