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TRUST JESUS TODAY
This is an article I wrote many years ago as a result of intensive research. I have removed the footnotes to cut down on words.
Throughout the night Israeli police searched desperately for the dispatched bomber. The seventeen-hour search ended with a blast so powerful it could be heard three miles away. Shortly before 8:00 a.m., a commuter bus loaded with High School students and office workers was blown apart. The roof of the bus rolled back resembling the opening of a tin can. Nineteen people lay dead, with 40 others wounded.
Suicide bombing has escalated rapidly in Israel during recent months, with 28 such attacks in the first three months of 2002. Attackers are usually between the
ages of seventeen and twenty-two, as are many of the victims. In March an eighteen-year-old Palestinian girl took her life and that of a seventeen-year-old Israeli teen in a bombing outside a supermarket. A month later an Israeli high school was attacked, killing three teen-agers.
Induction into the military occurs only a few weeks after graduation for the young men and women of Israel. When asked if serving in the military caused them to miss out on life, one seventeen-year-old replied; “ This country has fought from the day it was established, we grew up with it, I have no other reality,” he said. “For us, this is normal life.”
The summer of 2002 will be remembered as a time of fear and terror in the streets of Jerusalem. The usual summer hangouts were all but deserted, theme parks were closed, private summer camps empty, and armed guards everywhere. Parents tried desperately to keep their children at home, and many sent them out of the country for the summer.
Martyrdom is fast becoming the number one ambition of Palestinian youth. Teenagers attend summer school to learn how to make bombs, while young children play on blood stained streets. What could possibly be fueling such madness?
The conflict between Arab nations and the nation of Israel can be traced back some 3000 years to a Hebrew prophet called Abram and his two sons Ishmael and Isaac.
Ishmael was born of an Egyptian maid, who attended Abram’s wife Sari. The Arab people claim descent from Ishmael. Isaac was born to Sari and Abram; the Israelites are descendants of Isaac and his son Jacob. Jehovah God changed Jacob’s name to that of Israel, which means “he striveth with God.”
The Israelites claim the land of Israel as their birthright promised to them by the God of their fathers. “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.”
Religion plays a very important part in the Middle East conflict. The Israelites, descendants of Isaac, embrace Judaism, the faith of their father Abraham. Islam was founded by Muhammad, a descendant of Ishmael. Both
Judaism and Islam believe in only one God.
Martyrdom is viewed by the Muslin as a source of great honor, and it is believed Martyrs of the faith will receive great reward in heaven. Their pictures are painted on walls; announcements of their deaths are printed in local publications. The young Palestinians who sacrifice themselves daily, believe there could be no greater honor than to die in defense of their homeland and the preservation of Islamic Holy Shrines.
The small country of Israel is approximately one forth the size of the state of Florida and is home to approximately seven million Jews and three million Palestinians. The land of Palestine, current-day Israel, came under control of the Jews about 1450 years before the birth of Christ. There has been a cycle of prosperity, destruction, exile, restoration and re-building, since the Israelites entered the land.
Temple worship was the focal point in the life of the ancient Jew for the Temple represented God’s presence on earth. The first temple was built on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem around 1010BC; it was later burned and Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians. The Israelites were exiled to Babylon.
The Jews, after returning from Babylonian exile in 516 BC, rebuilt the temple on Mount Moriah under the leadership of Zerubbabel governor of Judah. The Israelites lost control of Jerusalem again in 333BC to the Syrian Seleucids. The temple was desecrated and became a place of pagan idol worship. The Maccabees, a Jewish priest and his sons, revolted and reclaimed the Holy City in 165 BC.
The second temple was burned, Jerusalem destroyed, and the Jews exiled again in 70AD by the Romans. The only part of the temple left standing was the west wall. This remnant of the Holy Temple has become known to the world as the “Wailing Wall.” Here the Jewish people pray for the re-building of the temple and the coming of their Messiah.
Approximately 100 years ago the Jews began returning to their homeland. May 14, 1948, Israel was established in accord with the United Nations partition plan calling for the establishment of an independent Jewish State in Palestine. Surrounding Arab nations objected to the partition of Palestine and the very existence of Israel.
Attacks on Israel by Arab nations eventually lead to retaliation. June 5, 1967 Israel engaged in an offensive military action, which became known as the “Six Day War.” Territory gained in the six-day war, included Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. To the devout Jew the Temple Mount is the most holy place on earth.
The Temple Mount is a 35-40 acre tract of land, which has great significance in the life and death struggle between the Palestinians and Jews. The Muslims believe it was on the Temple Mount that Muhammad, founder of the Islam religion, ascended on a night journey to heaven. Today an Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock, stands on the ancient temple site. However, the Jewish people believe a third temple will be built on the original site temple. The devout Jew has prayed three times daily for 1900 years; “May it be thy will that the Temple be speedily rebuilt in our days.” In the midst of all the recent carnage, orthodox Jews are preparing for the building of the third temple.
The Jewish people believe the promises of God concerning the nation of Israel and anxiously await fulfillment. “For, behold, in those days, and in that time,………… I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will enter into judgement with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and have divided my land.”
What will be the end of this cycle of death and destruction for the Jewish people? “…… I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the nations shall know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”
Are the events taking place in Israel today fulfillment of Bible prophecies? The young Israelis of today may not cite Bible prophecy in connection with current events. However, they long for peace and an end to the terror in their streets. “It’s been a sad summer,” said a nineteen-year-old girl, “But I still believe in peace. I just hope that one day I get to see it.”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.