Why I Am Watching Israel and Gaza

The little book of Zephaniah (3 chapters or 53 verses) begins by prophesying the destruction of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. It moves on to prophecies about Judah and the nations as the day of the Lord (a term often applied to the Tribulation period that Zephaniah used more than any other prophet in the Bible) approaches and plays out. Then, it finishes with Judah’s restoration during the millennial reign of the Messiah.

These prophecies clearly have past fulfillments, but some writers think Zephaniah was saying those experiences would be small compared to a greater fulfillment in the future. One of Zephaniah’s more famous statements reads, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities (Israel has built a fence to protect her cities), and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14-16).

Dropping down to Zeph. 2:1, God told the Jews to gather themselves together (to assemble) and He calls Judah a “nation not desired.” Israel is clearly the apple of God’s eye, but this could mean she is a nation not desired by God at this time because she has rejected her Messiah. And it could also mean that she is a nation not desired by the nations of the world because they want to destroy her.

In Zeph. 2:2, God told the Jews He wants them to assemble “Before the decree bring forth (before the 7 year covenant is signed), before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you (to assemble before the Tribulation Period comes upon the Jews).”

In Zeph. 2:3, God told the Jews and all who will humble themselves to “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” He wants the Jews and everyone on earth who will humble themselves to meet before the Tribulation Period begins to seek three things: the Lord, righteousness and meekness. Those who do may be hidden (Raptured) before the Tribulation Period begins, but after it begins it will be too late.

In Zeph. 2:4, God mentions four cities: “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.”

God said Gaza, one of the largest and most northern cities in the Gaza Strip, will be forsaken. As I write this article, IDF planes are dropping leaflets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip for a second time advising residents to forsake their homes and clear out. The first time Israel did this, thousands of residents left, but many stayed because they were told to ignore Israel’s warnings. This time, it looks like Israel’s troops will enter the city and it remains to be seen how many people will stick around.

God said Ashkelon, a Jewish city of more than 100,000 people about 8 miles north of the Gaza Strip border, will become desolate. Its closeness to Gaza makes it a frequent target of Muslim rockets. As I write this article, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Ashkelon in recent days; an Israeli teen has been seriously injured; an Israeli man has been lightly wounded; many Jews are spending the day in bomb shelters; and some have moved to safer territory.

God said Ashdod’s residents will be driven out. More than a quarter of a million people live in Ashdod and it is about 18 miles from Gaza. As I write this, the Iron Dome Missile System has shot down 5 rockets; a Patriot missile has shot down a drone; an 8-year old boy has been slightly injured while playing in his yard; fear and anxiety are spreading in Ashdod; and Hamas has rejected an Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

Kiryat Ekron is a Jewish city of slightly more than 10,000 people. It is named after the Biblical city of Ekron and it is located about the same distance from Gaza as is Ashdod. I have read of sirens sounding in Ekron and the surrounding area, but no injuries.

I can’t predict how things will play out, but a best case scenario could be another temporary suspension of hostilities. And a worst case scenario could be that this conflict spreads into a war with Israel’s neighbors (Psa. 83), including Syria (Isa. 17) and Egypt (Isa. 19), or even the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38-39).

One more thing, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some are saying a Tetrad of blood moons are an omen of war for Israel. It is a debatable issue, but no one can deny that the first blood moon in the current Tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014 (the Feast of Passover) and the next one will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles). Between these first two blood moons in this Tetrad war is raging.

[Last minute update: Israel is attacking the Gaza Strip from one end to the other by land, sea and air. It is too early to say that Gaza will be forsaken at this time; and Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are still inhabited; but God is in control, His Word must eventually be fulfilled, war rarely goes exactly as planned and, if God allows it, I plan to keep watching Israel and Gaza.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com (this is my new e-mail address)

Wonderful Promises

God has made some wonderful promises to Israel. He will gather the Jews from all over the world back into the Promised Land (Deut. 30:1-5). They will get all of the Promised Land (Gen. 17:7-8). They will be exalted above all of the nations on earth (Deut. 28:1, 13). Jesus will sit on the throne of David and rule over them (Luke 1:32-33). Jerusalem will become the center of the nations and the Word of God will go forth to all nations from there (Ezek. 5:5; Hos. 4:2).

God said these things will happen and every jot and tittle of them will happen. But let’s be realistic. As things stand today, the Muslims in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are not going to freely turn part of their land over to Israel. China, Russia, Iran and the like are not going to voluntarily accept the fact that tiny Israel is more important than they are. The UN, EU, US and others are not going to willingly submit to the rule of Jesus. All of the nations on earth are not going to agree to let the Word of God go unhindered within their borders. So as things stand today, there is not a chance in the world that God’s wonderful promises to Israel are going to be fulfilled.

This brings me to what triggered this article. Someone recently sent me some interesting information that he said comes from the Gemara, one of the two sections of the Jewish Talmud (Mishna and Gemara). The information concerns what the Gemara says about the significance of solar and lunar eclipses (especially eclipses on Feast Days such as the recent Blood Moon on Passover and the upcoming Blood Moon on Tabernacles). It is important to note that Christians don’t consider the Gemara to be Scripture, but it contains the remarks ancient Jewish rabbis that I don’t want to overlook.

The Hebrew children were slaves in Egypt when God sent the Ten Plagues to make Pharaoh let them go. According to the Gemara, if God had not sent the Ten Plagues, Egypt would not have collapsed, Pharaoh would not have released the Hebrews from slavery and the nation of Israel probably would not have come into being. Without the nation of Israel, we might not have had the Scriptures, the Temple, the Messiah, the prophets, the Church, etc. So the Ten Plagues played a crucial part in the return of the Jews and the conduct of God’s plan during Old Testament times. Also, the fall of Egypt on the first Passover celebration can be seen as the beginning of the nation of Israel and many other great blessings. It can be seen for the good things that happened for all people not the bad things that happened to Egypt.

Now, let’s direct our attention to the future. We are living in a period of time that the Bible calls the Times of the Gentiles, but the Times of the Gentiles must come to an end (Luke 21:24). The Gentile nations must be brought down so Israel can rise up and fulfill the role that God said she will fulfill in the future. The Gentile nations must be subdued so Jesus can reign, Israel can be exalted above the nations of the earth, the Word of God can go all over the world, etc. (Psa. 110:5-6; I Cor. 15:24-28).

The Gentile nations are not going to go easy. This is where the Tribulation Period comes in. It will be a time of judgment upon the nations (Zeph. 3:8). The Antichrist will rise to power and go forth conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6:1-2). Peace will be removed from the earth (Rev. 6:3-4). War will prevail and the nations of the earth will be brought low (Rev. 6:8; 8:11; 9:15). This will pave the way for the rise of Israel; the millennial reign of Jesus; peace, justice and righteousness on earth, etc. Christians should focus on the good that is coming to the earth not the bad.

Now, I don’t know much about blood moons. I haven’t totally avoided the subject, but I have said very little about it. I do know several things: One, God put lights in the heavens “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14); Two, NASA’s SOHO satellite videotaped large dark spots on the sun in 2013; Three, the Hebrew calendar and the Tribulation Period are based on the moon (30 days/month; 7 yrs. X 360 days/yr. = 2520 days); Four, the prophet Joel said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31); Five, Peter quoted Joel when the Church began by saying, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:20); Six, a tetrad of blood moons started on April 15, 2014 and this is before the day of the LORD; Seven, the convergence of signs seem to indicate that like the day of the LORD is getting close; And eight, I am not predicting it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if war broke out in the Middle East in the coming weeks or months.

The tetrad that started in 1949 followed the establishment of Israel. The tetrad that started in 1967 preceded Israel’s capture of the Temple Mount. And the Tribulation Period is the seventieth week of Israel’s punishment (Dan. 9:24-27). Each person needs to make up their own mind, but God is in control and His wonderful promises to Israel will come to pass.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

 

Editor’s Note:

When the subject of the Blood Moon Tetrads began to be discussed by various teachers in the area of Biblical Prophecy, I decided to undertake a study of them and their possible significance. Utilizing the same NASA website as Mark Biltz, John Hagee, Perry Stone and others; I researched the occurrence of the Tetrads which aligned with the Lord’s “Feast Days.”

The hypothesis of these teachers is that the Tetrads have a significance which affects the nation of Israel, or the Jewish people. However, I must call into question their conclusions. Of the seven Tetrads since the birth of Christ, only three are said to have shown relevance to the Jewish people.

    • In 1492 the Jews were given the order of Expulsion from Spain. The Tetrad happened in 1493 & 1494. Pastor Hagee associates this Tetrad with the discovery of America as a “safe haven” for the Jewish people, though most fled into eastern Europe or back to Palestine (only three are known to have reached the “new world” at this time, and only one of these stayed).  I find this assertion of relevance disingenuous and sensational. If the voyage of Columbus had anything to do with the Jewish people, it was to discover wealth to finance further crusades to Jerusalem.
    • The Tetrad of 1949 – 1950 is said to coincide with the Founding of the modern Nation State of Israel which took place on May 14, 1948. The Israeli “War of Independence” was fought in 1948-1949. A lunar eclipse did not take place on the day of declaration or on any day of significance during the war.
    • The Tetrad of 1967 -1968 is said to be associated with the “Six Day War” during which Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. Again, a lunar eclipse did not occur on any day during that “War.”

If the Tetrads which occur on Feast Days are considered so important to the Jewish people, why were there no Tetrads associated with these important events?:

    • 70 AD The destruction of the Temple and expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem.
    • 132-135 AD The expulsion of the Jews from Israel after the Bar Kokhba revolt, after which Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Israel “Palestine.”
    • 1181 AD French King Philip banished the Jews from France.
    • 1298 AD Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria, and Austria when more than 100,000 Jewish people were killed during a six month period.
    • 1903-1906 AD Frequent pogroms (massacres) in Russia and Ukraine were carried out against Jewish shtetls (small villages) during which thousands were slaughtered.
    • 1939-1945 AD The Holocaust during WW2.
    • 1956 AD The “Suez War.”
    • 1973 AD  The Yom Kippur War.
    • Additionally, there is no evidence of a Tetrad having any significance to Israel prior to the birth of Christ.

I would also like to point out that while I agree that Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 are referring to a time “before the great and the terrible day of the LORD”; this takes place during the Tribulation just prior to Christ’s Second Coming, and the written word suggests the sun darkening and moon turning to blood happen at the same time. This is NOT a typical astrological event. Remember, the return of Jesus for His Church (the “Rapture”) is imminent, requiring no signs before it occurs. To infer that anything like this might need to happen before the Church is “taken away” is just not biblical.

In conclusion, while I agree with Daymond that each person must decide for themselves if there is any prophetic significance to the “Blood Moon” Tetrads, I simply cannot ascribe any real significance to them. I do however see a convergence of real “Signs of the Times” which make me believe that war will break out in the Middle East in the near future. We will comment on these Prophecies in more detail in the coming weeks.

Respectfully, KD Tucker Whitaker DD, PhD