Captives in the Coasts of Palestine The relevance of the war in Gaza to Bible prophecy.
In this episode of Bible in the News, we dive deep into what some of the recent developments mean in the light of Bible prophecy.
The coasts of Palestine
There is an interesting prophecy about the territory of Gaza in Joel chapter 3. Joel 3 is all about the time after the Jews have returned from their captivity (v1). This is our time – post 1948 when the independence of the Israeli state was declared and post 1967 when Jerusalem came again into Jewish hands.
The prophecy is about a great war which takes place when God will “gather all nations” to be judged at the battle of Armageddon.
A detail about the reaction of the local peoples to this gathering of the nations is hinted at in verse 4:
“Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?”
Tyre and Zidon are located North of Israel in Lebanon. The location of the terrorist group Hezbollah. This group have been reported this week as firing rockets into Israel. Israeli villagers in the North have left their homes fearing an invasion from Hezbollah who are certainly fulfilling the requirements of the prophecy along with Hamas in Gaza who would answer to the reference to “the coasts of Palestine?” in the prophecy,
According to the prophecy God is going to judge these areas. He says “I return your recompense upon your own head;”. There is a reason given:
“Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.” Joel 3:5-6
Although no news has been heard of Hamas selling captives they have non-the less taken them in the horrific attacks on Israel on the 7th of October. On October 20th, Reuters reported that “An estimated 200 people, including 30 teenagers and young children and 20 people over the age of 60, are being held hostage in Gaza, Israel’s public broadcaster Kan said on Thursday, citing military sources.”
The spirit of hatred that these groups – located in the areas condemned by the prophecy are a sure sign of the times.
Media Bias Exposed
At the time of this episode, Israel ’s army, the IDF is poised to enter the Gaza strip to take back their hostages. After advising civilians to leave the northern area, Israel has been bombarding Hamas strongholds from the air.
The Western media has had a full week reporting on the conflict and on the whole has now turned against Israel. Major media outlets have been exposed as swallowing and then reporting wholesale Hamas propaganda.
One such event was an incident on the evening of Tuesday 17th October where an explosion occurred in what was recorded to be at the al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. It turns out it this was not a hit on the hospital itself but on a nearby car park. Hamas was quick to blame Israel. However it turns out the blast was caused by a rocket fired from within Gaza.
Even after audio evidence of a recording of two Hamas fighters discussing the incident and saying the missile belongs to the PIJ and was fired from a cemetery behind the hospital and video evidence from the IDF showing this to be true the media have still continued to report the story as if this was up for interpretation. As an example of the bias being promoted in parts of the media listeners are encouraged to listen to a heated interview between Sky’s Anna Botting, and Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. Mark Regev calls out the biased reporting of Anna Botting who was reporting without question figures that Hamas had released. He also insisted Israel did not target hospitals, were trying to avoid innocent civilians and that there was no evidence that Israel attacked the hospital. Watch the interview here »
It reminds us of the prophecies about the people of Israel fulfilled in the spirit antisemitism which is at large in the world today. Deuteronomy says of the Jews that they would “become an astonishment(“appalment, horror” OBU) a proverb, and a byword, among all nations” Deuteronomy 28:37.
No doubt these events which are causing protests against Israel in many nations will eventually build up to the great battle of Armageddon which will see the armies of the nations of the world come against the Jews on the “mountains of Israel” as prophesied in Ezek 38:8.
Shebah, Dedan, Tarshish, her young lions and
Ezekiel 38 is a prophecy related to Joel 3. It too is about the time when the Jews have returned again to their land (see v8 and v12). The list of nations who come against Israel is given in verses 1-9. Amongst others, it is an alliance of nations which includes Russia and Iran – listed by their ancient names of the Rus and the Persians respectively.
Its therefore of interest that both Russia and Iran have spoken very favourably of the attack on Israel by Hamas and that it’s no secret that Iran have been shipping arms and supplies to Hezbollah. Many experts suspect that the attack by Hamas was orchestrated by Iran to try to put a stop to Israel doing a peace deal with Saudi Arabia.
In verse 13 of Ezekiel 38 we read of “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof” who seem to feebly challenge the invading nations. “Art thou come to take a spoil?” they ask. They are clearly not on the side of the aggressors.
Dedan is the ancient name for the peoples living in the territory now known as Saudi Arabia. Tarshish has been identified as the ancient name for Britain. Her young lions being independent colonies like the US. It’s therefore been interesting that this week has seen American President Joe Biden fly to Israel. The Whitehouse recorded that:
“Today, President Biden traveled to Israel to stand in solidarity with the people of Israel in the wake of horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,300 innocent civilians, including at least 31 U.S. citizens. As the President made clear during the trip, Israel is not alone – and with U.S. support it will remain a safe, security, Jewish, and Democratic state today, tomorrow, and forever.”
Also this week British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak visited Israel. The New York Times reported on the 19th of October: “Speaking alongside Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday, Mr. Sunak said he was proud to stand with the Israeli leader in “Israel’s darkest hour.” He added that Britain “will stand with you in solidarity, we will stand with your people and we also want you to win.”
We can see then the nations forming into the groups the prophecies tell us they will be in.
The Peace of Jerusalem
As Bible students we know that ultimately a great time of trouble is coming to the people of Israel. We read of this in Jeremiah 30: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”
We know God has a plan and a purpose. To humble his people. To bring them to him. To give them a new covenant (Jer 31:31) and that this will be fulfilled by their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ when he returns to save them and then to sit on the throne of his father David in Jerusalem. In that day he will reestablish God’s Kingdom on the earth and restore again the Kingdom to Israel.
Therefore, as we watch and we wait for Christs return, although saddened by the horrors of war we know that God is in control and will bring that time of peace to the earth when he eventually fills it with His glory. We will end this weeks episode looking forward to that time through the prophetic words of Psalm 122:[[A Song of degrees of David.]] I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.”