Oct 6, 2008

Duke It Out

By Jim Fletcher

Even though he was a film star, John Wayne was relevant to real life. At some point, he blurred the lines between himself and his screen persona. That’s okay, because it’s apparent they were the same person.

It’s funny that I draw comfort now in adulthood from cowboy movie stars. My all-time hero, Roy Rogers, once said, “Sometimes it hurts to do the right thing, but afterwards you’ll feel better.”

How true! Enduring some terrible trial is painful, but if you do the right thing, it’ll be okay. John Wayne once said it another way:

“Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.”

It’s time to saddle up, my friends. Call me corny, call me hopelessly old-fashioned. I don’t care. All indications are that the end of the age is upon us, and there are very dark forces out there to oppose those who love the God of the Bible.

And if we love His people, we will be opposed all the more. The Israel-haters are emboldened. “Jew-lovers” beware! The Bible tells us repeatedly that at the end, the Jews, in their own country, will be the focus of world opinion. That opinion won’t (isn’t) good. Their few allies will find themselves persona non grata.

Reports out of Jerusalem this week are that outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert has sadly surrendered to Palestinian terrorism. No longer does he feel the justness of Israel’s cause. No longer does he have the energy or love for Zionism. He looks old and defeated.

Olmert made headlines by saying that in order to achieve “peace,” Israel must pull out of the West Bank. In order to achieve the kind of peace Syria demands, the Jewish state will have to give up control of the Golan Heights.

This is madness, my friends. A madness spawned by evil. Evil has a way of twisting reality and perspectives.

Have you ever been forced into a battle with family members? Can you imagine more vicious people? People who want to destroy you emotionally, and perhaps even physically? You did nothing to deserve it, but there it is. Over time, you begin to lose your perspective. You, as the victim, begin to become weary. You begin to think that maybe — just maybe — you did something to deserve it.

This is where Israel’s current prime minister is. Let us hope the whole country isn’t of the same mind.

I suspect he is in the minority.

In Zechariah, there is a wonderful reference to that old fighting Jewish spirit. When the end comes, and the nations are arrayed against her, some of Israel’s sons will become Joshuas. The descendants of three tribes — Judah, Joseph, and Ephraim — are mentioned as mighty men of battle in that day. There is the indication that when the nations, in their madness, their insanity, come against Jerusalem, God Himself will fight. He will employ Jewish warriors and they will prevail.

If you talk to anyone in Israel today who still believes in Zionism, he or she will tell you that there are plenty of people in the country who do and will fight like Joshuas. Just because a leader shows weakness and a pitiful character, the people themselves will not bend.

These are the people who will fight in that great and terrible day of the Lord.

I once struck up a conversation with a cab driver on the way to Tel Aviv. He was an ordinary Joe, looking very middle-aged. However, in the army, he had been a naval commando during the Lebanon War of 1982-83. As we sped down the highway, he pointed out biblical sites and it was as if I were speaking with Gideon.

Many of my friends over there have similar stories. Another told me last year that his son had received his wings from the paratroopers and on the day of graduation, when he made his jump, his father jumped with him. “I haven’t done that in 27 years,” he said softly.

Another is a very unassuming fellow, and a believer. He was in a commando unit that fought in Lebanon. During the latest “intifada,” he was called at home one night by his reserve unit commander. Setting aside his dinner plate, “Samuel” kissed his wife and children goodbye and headed for headquarters. He spent several weeks patrolling Israel’s borders.

Still another told me proudly that his son is a member of Sayeret Matkal, the fabled elite commando unit. Whenever you hear of a special operation that the IDF takes part in, you can be sure “The Unit” is involved.

What manner of man (and woman) is this?

A fighter, that’s who. A warrior who was forged in the heat of persecution and death and the Holocaust.

But I will tell you this: the Jews have experienced their last Holocaust. They are not going to their deaths again. If even my own fellow Americans reject them, I will not. I admire them, love them, and will watch them one day defeat their enemies.

One could argue that Israel has never faced so many threats. We don’t like it. But think of it this way: it has to be in order for the ancient prophecies to be fulfilled.

I’ve been reading through the book of Matthew, and Jesus told his disciples that He must fulfill his destiny. Anything less would be a defeat of His Father’s plan.

So it is with His kin today. They are staring at the heat of battle and it is an awesome army arrayed against them. How utterly amazing that most of the world doesn’t realize it isn’t the Jews who will lose.

We are staring at an economic abyss. Russia and Venezuela are chummy. Iran is supremely arrogant and can taste jihad.

I am scared, and I thank God for it. Because it’s time to saddle up.