What Events in Israel Mean to the United States
Editor’s Note: Dave Breese wrote this article for us in February. Three months later, on May 3, at the age of 75, Dave entered the matchless presence of the Lord he had served so faithfully for almost sixty years. It was our deep privilege to have been associated with such a great and genuine man of God. We will miss him until the day we see him again in glory.
Scripture says, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the peoples round about. . . . And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples”
(Zech. 12:2–3). This was the prediction of the prophet Zechariah two and a half thousand years ago. The question is, Do we see that event taking place in Israel and the world today? And assuming the answer is yes, the concomitant question is, What does it all mean to the United States today?
Contemporary Israel is a place of stark contrasts—a place of religious, cultural, and emotional extremes. It is the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the world. In the City of Peace, blood is shed virtually on a daily basis. And today the crucible that is Jerusalem is almost ready to boil over. It is a cauldron of conflict that threatens to spill its violent contents across the entire Middle East and, indeed, the whole world.
It has been said, “As the world goes, so goes Jerusalem.” But we suggest that it is really the other way around: “As Jerusalem goes, so goes the world.” The truth of that statement can easily be seen here in the United States.
For decades a battle has raged in the Middle East between the nation of Israel and her predominantly Islamic neighbors. Until recently, most Americans observed the carnage with a distant compassion: “Isn’t it terrible, what’s happening over there.”
But those days of aloof separation are past. The life-and-death struggle between incompatible belief systems has spilled over onto our shores, bringing with it the destruction of the World Trade Center; an attack on the Pentagon; and a challenge to the very institutions of freedom and democracy that have become so dear to our hearts here in America.
What does this have to do with contemporary Israel? Aren’t the terrorists simply striking out at our way of life and our freedoms? Well, perhaps those factors contribute to the situation. But at the very foundation of the problem are the issues of Israel, Judaism, Christian evangelism, and America’s historically unflagging support for the people of God.
There is an ancient American Indian saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In the reverse logic that is so common in the Islamic world, especially as it refers to friends of the State of Israel, the terrorists of al-Qaida believe that “the friend of my enemy is also my enemy.” So it is that the hostilities of the Middle East have come to our shores, proving that the Bible is true when it says, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples” (Zech. 12:3).
The driving passion behind al-Qaida and other terrorist forces like it is the desire to win the world for Islam and rid the world of any competition to Islam. And while it is certainly true that modern Muslims claim to be tolerant of other faiths, the fact is that in a hundred different places, the Quran instructs the followers of Islam to conquer the world for their faith. They are told to get along with the infidel (non-Mus lim) if it serves the propagation of Islam, but they are also told to kill the infidel if they must. They are told that such is the will of Allah. And if it is necessary to give their lives in the effort, they are promised that Allah will be so pleased by their sacrifice that he will give them amazing rewards in paradise. So the very nature of Islam is both ruthless and “evangelistic,” designed to conquer and dominate the entire world in the name of Allah.
In the end, it is not the Buddhist or the Hindu or the Animist or the Wiccan who threatens the spread of Islam. It is the Jew and the Christian who pose a threat to the dream of Islamic fundamentalist world government. So it is not surprising that the wrath of Islamic extremism has been violently vented against America, Israel’s “best friend and defender” of so many years.
Many have voiced concern over what they fear might be a possible conflict in the promises of Scripture. On one hand, the Bible says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper who love thee” (Ps. 122:6). But then, on the other hand, it says, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the peoples round about” (Zech. 12:2). People ask, “Which one is it?” And the answer is, of course, “Both!”
Who can deny that the United States has been blessed with prosperity of immense proportions, and especially so since Israel returned to the Holy Land as a legitimate nation back in 1948. We would suggest that it wasn’t our brilliant financial management or our keen business insight that brought about God’s blessing on our nation. Rather, it was the fact that America loved and defended the nation of Israel: “They shall prosper who love thee.”
But it is also true that Jerusalem has been a burdensome stone and a cup of trembling—both to Israel’s friends as well as foes. It is not easy for any nation to be allied with a people as controversial as the Jewish people. Nor is it easy for any nation to be an enemy of the Jewish people. Why? Because Israel has a role unlike any other nation in the world. God called Israel to be a divine representative to the other nations, bringing proof through example of how wonderful life could be if people followed the teaching of God’s Word.
Therefore, Israel is not merely a nation like all others, with problems that are difficult but possible to solve. And Israel is not just a patch of land that was conquered by a nomadic group from Ur of the Chaldees. Israel stands, both in his- tory and religious identity, as the representative of the one true God. Israel was chosen—not because it will always be a faithful representative of God but because it will always play a vital role in the events of time. This fact is especially true in these end-times. Israel has a date with destiny that will not be denied by any nation, by al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden or even by the coming world ruler (the Antichrist).
One of the chief reasons Jerusalem will continue to be a cup of trembling to all the nations of the world is that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim Jerusalem as a holy site. Israel has proclaimed Jerusalem its undivided and eternal capital. The Palestinians want Jerusalem to be their capital as well. And Christians, who generally support the Jews as the people of God, see Jerusalem as the place where the Savior was crucified and the point to which He will one day return as Lord of lords and King of kings.
Until then, it behooves us to stay true to our friends in Israel. Israel may indeed be a difficult friend to have, but it is absolutely essential that America continues to love and support that nation. And while it is almost a certainty that there will be further terrorist attacks against the United States by those who hate Israel, it is vital that we continue to stand with Israel in the days to come.
Even recently, American support of Israel has begun to flag. Certain politicians have suggested that it would be better for us to stand with the Palestinians than with Israel so as not to anger our few Arab friends in the Middle East. Consensus appears now to be the name of the game, ignoring the fact that, because of Israel’s special nature, many of the common rules of diplomacy do not apply to her.
So when the next shoe drops, when the next terrorist attack is successfully carried out, when people everywhere are clamoring for the United States to distance itself from those troublesome Jews, remember: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper who love thee” (Ps. 122:6).
There is a price to be paid for friendship with the nation of Israel, but it is also the only path of survival for our nation. To neglect to walk that path of truth, to neglect the fact that Israel has a special place in God’s heart, is to put us in jeopardy of falling under the condemnation of God: “The wicked shall be turned into sheol [hell], and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17).
And so, as bombs explode and the slippery, slimy gurus of our time call for us to abandon our support of the Israelis and join the world’s consensus against them (something that will happen increasingly in the days to come), we must be firm in our convictions and stay our course. The alternative could bring to pass God’s judgment on America—a judgment far greater than what a few terrorists and some bombs could bring.
A final word: While supporting Israel is vitally important, it does not bring salvation into our lives. We must each come to personal faith in the Son of Israel and only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose from the grave to save us from our sins. If you have not yet said that wonderful “Yes!” to Jesus Christ, why not do it today? Recent events indicate that time may be running out before He returns. Are you ready? You can be! In a moment of time, by believing on Him as your personal Savior, you can be