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)

Wars and Rumors of Wars!

Last Tuesday our Signs of the Times update concentrated on Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the collapsing peace process. This week I’d like to revisit that subject in some detail, but first we need to take a look at the ongoing crisis situation that exists in the Ukraine, and perhaps gain some insight as to how these two international crises are related to one another in light of Biblical Prophecy.

During the EU and US sponsored talks in Belgium which brought the Russian and Ukrainian government representatives face-to-face, an understanding was reached calling for the withdrawal of all insurgents occupying government facilities. However, apparently each side in this dispute has a different idea of who the insurgents are. The Russians believe the insurgents are those who now control the Ukrainian government having forced the removal of the pro-Russian government. The Ukrainians believe the insurgents are the pro-Russian forces which have barricaded themselves inside police stations and other government facilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared Friday that the pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine will only lay down their arms if the Ukrainian government clears out the Maidan (square) protest camp in Kiev, and liberates the buildings that have been illegally seized. And so the stalemate continues. Meanwhile as the US begins to enact more economic sanctions on Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has halted all communication with President Barack Obama. In fact the Kremlin has shut down all intensive high-level communication between top Russian and US officials.

With the annexation of Crimea completed, and growing unrest in evidence throughout Eastern and Southern Ukraine, I believe it is only a matter of time before Russia completes its takeover ambitions. Russian military elements along the Ukrainian border have engaged in a new series of military exercises in response to ongoing NATO exercises in Poland. As I have stated before, I believe there are several reasons for which Vladimir Putin believes Russia must control the Ukraine. These reasons include:

  • The natural gas pipeline which services all of Europe travels from Russia through Ukraine to Romania’s Black Sea coastal plain into the Black Forest of Germany in the heart of Europe.
  • South Ukraine contains huge natural gas and oil deposits both on and offshore in the Black Sea.
  • South Ukraine is the industrial home of much of the Russian military, with factories producing small arms and ammunition as well as military equipment and components, not to mention vast shipbuilding yards.
  • South Ukraine contains nuclear, coal, and hydroelectric power plants essential for Crimea. The uranium mine at Zheltiye Vody is located in South Ukraine as is Dneprozerzhinsk (the heavy water production site), capable of producing 250 metric tons of heavy water yearly.
  • And finally, there is a significant Russian speaking majority in South Ukraine just as there is in Crimea.

This is all necessary “stage setting” for the End Times war spelled out in Ezekiel 38 & 39 when Gog, of the land of Magog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal leads his armies and those of Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah against Israel. Crimea and the Ukraine are Russia’s gateway to the south via their ports on the Black Sea.

Turning now to Israel, this past week the Palestinian Authority completed a unity agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza. This of course effectively ended negotiations between Israel and the PA as the Palestinians sought a two state solution leading to their independence. For Mohammed Abbas, this was a clear sign he saw the peace talks going nowhere. And, unfortunately, that he cares more about relations with hard-line terrorists than he does about relations with the United States or Israel.

Two weeks ago Mohammed Abbas signed 15 international agreements which require PA to respect human rights and punish war criminals. This past week he signed a unity deal with terror groups whose leaders are war criminals. Every leader of Islamic Jihad and Hamas are considered international war criminals, partly because every single rocket launched from Gaza into Israel is a separate war crime. Under the Geneva Conventions, which Mahmoud Abbas signed onto just a couple of weeks ago, he is required to put them on trial for their war crimes. This simply proves to me that Mahmoud Abbas is himself a terrorist and the PA is a terrorist organization.

This agreement between Hamas and the PA came just days before the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. On Sunday evening at Yad Vashem during the official state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “This evening we will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and the State of Israel will remember the six million victims of the Holocaust.” Earlier Sunday at his regular weekly cabinet meeting the Prime Minister stated “the main difference between the Jews’ helplessness during the Holocaust and their situation now, is that we now have a sovereign state with a strong military that protects us from those who seek to harm us.” He continued saying “Iran is at the top of the list of those who seek to destroy us” and “Aside from its own nuclear ambitions, Iran finances, arms and trains Hamas and the other terror groups lurking on our borders. Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to facilitate another one by destroying the State of Israel.”

In the US however, Secretary of State John Kerry and this present administration continued to lay the failure of the peace process at the feet of Israel. This administration over the past 5+ years has continually treated our closest ally in the Middle East with disrespect and disdain, vilifying them for their desire to live securely within their own land. This is by far the most anti-Semitic administration in the history of the United States. From Barack Obama’s demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (essentially the borders of 1949), to declaring his dislike of the Israeli Prime Minister (calling him a liar) to the president of France, to John Kerry’s continued pressure on Israel, stating that Israel was at risk of inviting the third intifada, to his most recent suggestion on April 25, that Israel is on the verge of becoming an “apartheid state,” this administration has demonstrated an unprecedented hostility towards Israel.

In fact, John Kerry’s libelous statement is a dangerous example of the precedent that has been set by this administration. This demonization of Israel only emboldens those who seek her destruction. Israel is surrounded by people’s and nations which seek to wipe her off the face of the map, and John Kerry’s anti-Semitic rhetoric will only lead to more bloodshed.

Israel’s enemies in the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the ISL among others are representative of the people groups listed in Psalm 83 whose desire is her total destruction. I believe this too is “stage setting” for the Last Days. Understanding the Scripture, we know that war in the Middle East is inevitable, and its outcome was prophesied many years ago. The tragedy here isn’t the war or its destruction, the tragedy is the many lives which will be lost for eternity because they reject the God of Israel and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Another part of the tragedy that I see in these Last Days, is that because of creeping liberalism within the “churches” in the US, having embraced Replacement Theology, anti-Semitism has infected not only the “church” but our politics as well. This nation is nearing destruction because it has turned its back on God’s chosen nation Israel. (See Genesis 12:3)

If you desire to know more about what the Bible says prophetically about the wars which are still to come at the end of the age, keep reading our blog for this teaching. The End Times are upon us as we live in these Last Days. There is no better time than now to turn your heart toward God because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome