There is a coming nuclear conflagration in the Middle East. Virtually every authority foresees this eventuality. Israel is now in a state of preparation for the conflict of the ages. Their governance exists in a state of general unbelief, but in the clash to come, their spiritual eyes will finally be opened.
It is a curious coincidence that the existence of modern Israel parallels the development of nuclear capability in the world. The race for nuclear supremacy dates back to the early years of the twentieth century, when Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2, awakened both the scientific community and the public to the awesome potential of atomic power. A tiny amount of mass can produce an enormous quantity of energy.
Jewish scientists, like Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, created the nuclear monster that exploded over Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Three short years later, on May 14, 1948, Israel became a state. Given the fact that Jewish scientists have always led the way in nuclear science, it should come as a surprise to no one that an infant Israel, sensing the surrounding Arab threat, quickly acquired its own nuclear program. Amazingly, the man said to be the most brilliant nuclear theoretician of them all – Dr. Samuel Cohen – became Israel’s director of nuclear planning.
Inventor of the neutron bomb, and other top-secret advanced warheads, he quietly became head of Israel’s nuclear development program at the Dimona Nuclear Research Center, located south of Beersheba in the Negev Desert.
Many observers have declared that Cohen’s accomplishments have given Israel the most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world today. Its secret weaponry is the stuff of legend.
For the Jews, such power is an absolute necessity. Literally, since their statehood, Israel has been surrounded and targeted for destruction by Arab states and the Islamic world at large. For this reason, they have been forced into the strongest possible defensive position. They have quietly positioned their country, first around the "Masada Option," which is the promise that the only way they’ll suffer defeat is through extermination. This amounts to a pledge of "death before dishonor."
Later, as Arab power grew, they began to speak of the "Samson Option." This is the thought that the enemy may eliminate them, but if it happens, the adversary will be brought down with them, as Samson destroyed the Philistine temple and the people in it … including himself.
Most authorities affirm that Israel has the means to carry out this threat. And if their nuclear arsenal contains the super-weapons it is said to possess, they have the ability to keep their pledge.
The "Governors of Judah"
Jewish military leaders have a history of winning against surprise offensives. The Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Intifadas and Hezbollah’s Lebanon offensive, have all failed to dislodge Israel from the Land. There is no reason to believe that this will change. With the Western alliance removing its military support, they will be forced to depend upon their own arsenal, which is more than substantial.
In an oft-quoted prophecy, Zechariah mentions a developing latter-day situation that is growing before our very eyes. From the opening days of Israeli statehood, the United Nations Mandate issued by the General Assembly in November of 1947 called for two side-by-side independent states – Jewish and Arab. But it also strongly stated that the municipality of Jerusalem be left independent, as an international city.
The intention was to retain Rome’s claim to its holy places there, Arab sovereignty over the geography of the Temple Mount and international consulates representing the Gentile world powers. Jerusalem was to be an international city.
However, the first Arab offensive that came only days after Israel’s statehood, had the effect of solidifying the Jewish claim to their holy city. With the defeat of the Arabs, Israeli dedication to its own sovereignty grew exponentially, and has continued to grow through a succession of wars.
Jerusalem is the epicenter of the conflict, just as Zechariah predicted. In the following passage, note not only the accuracy of his prediction about Jerusalem, but also the "fire" that Israeli leaders inflict upon their enemies:
"The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.Zechariah says that Jerusalem will become an irresistible and intoxicating drink, attractive to all the world powers. But instead of a pleasant experience, it will make them dizzy, as they try to possess it. It will be like a sharp and heavy stone that cuts and tears those who attempt to lift it. Ultimately, their judgment dulled and their lust enhanced, they will come with force. Instead of victory, they will be drawn into a confused vortex of their own annihilation.
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
"In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.
"And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
"In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
"The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
"In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zech. 12:1-9).
Twice, Zechariah uses the phrase "governors of Judah" to describe Israel’s leadership in the conflict. In Hebrew this expression is written, eluphei yehuda [vsuh hpkt]. In modern Hebrew, the word eluph [;ukt] means "Major-General," a term of military rank. From this, it is obvious that Zechariah is speaking of Israel’s current military leadership. And he uses the word "Judah." He is literally speaking of Jewish ranking military leadership.
Furthermore, his imagery is amazingly suggestive of the use of tactical nuclear weapons. We recall that Dr. Cohen, inventor of the neutron bomb, promoted its use for the simple reason that it would instantly burn troops with neutron radiation, while sparing military equipment and structures.
Neutron radiation would be a literal "hearth of fire," upon which the enemy would be immediately roasted. Later in his prophecy, Zechariah precisely describes the way in which troops will die:
"And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth" (Zech. 14:12).Preparation for Judgment
Since Israel’s statehood, there has been the general feeling among Christians that the tiny nation would continue its chain of military victories, leading up to the great hardships it will experience in the future Tribulation Period. Some have gone so far as to say that all Israel’s latter-day trials have already been experienced in the Holocaust of World War II … that only the Messianic Kingdom lies in their immediate future.
Actually, Israel’s present developmental phase might be most accurately described as a preparation. There is a nuclear war in their future, and in it, they will be victorious.
Israel, the only nation that the Bible names as God’s elect, is mentioned by Isaiah in his epic prophecy about their ultimate destiny:
"For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me" (Isa. 45:4).But elect or not, Israel has always fallen short in the arena of faith. Their personal and national failures regularly punctuate the long, epic stages of biblical history. Still, the Lord has maintained His promises, displaying faith beyond anything known among men. In the Torah, this fact is stated beyond any doubt:
"Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations" (Deut. 7:9).In short, Israel will prevail, even while enduring the most rigorous testing. Their current return to the Land has a purpose, namely, their national judgment and purification.
Today, in their first regathering, they are a spiritually diverse group, displaying various kinds of unbelief. Some of them are socialist agnostics, adhering to various Jewish cultural practices while professing to keep the Law. Others follow various Jewish orthodoxies. But as a nation, Israel remains ignorant of its true Messiah.
Prophecy firmly declares that the military minds of modern Israel will be victorious in the battle that surrounds Jerusalem. But as they defend the holy city, they too will experience fire … the fire of the Lord:
"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,The Lord’s view of Jerusalem is the dominant feature of this discourse. He sees regathered Israel as corrupt, made of base metals, rather than the pure gold that He desires it to be.
"Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
"As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
"Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.
"As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you" (Ezek. 22:17-22).
There are two kinds of fire in Israel’s future. One will be the nuclear fire that they inflict upon those who come to take the Land. The other will be the Lord’s fire, as He heats them in a smelting process that will make them pure gold.
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