By Irvin Baxter
It started out on an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean while flying toward Israel with my 1996 Endtime Prophecy Tour group. I had been studying the prophecies of Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21. Jesus foretold that, when the Jews saw the event called the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, those residing in Judea would have to flee for their lives. He said the situation would be so desperate that, if they were on their housetops at the time of the Abomination of Desolation, they should not even go down into their houses to grab their clothes. Or, if they were working in the field, they should not return to their houses to gather their possessions. He said that residents of Judea would have to immediately run for their lives, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
This prophecy would mean nothing to a person not familiar with Judea. However, having been to Israel several times, I understood perfectly why Jesus issued this warning 2,000 years ago for the Jewish residents living in Judea shortly before His Second Coming.
Most people would better recognize Judea as the West Bank or the “occupied territories.” When the cease-fire stopped Israel’s War of Independence in 1949, Israel found itself in possession of the approximate area of the Old Testament kingdom of Israel. However, Israel did not control the biblical Promised Land of Judea. That was occupied by the Jordanian army—including east Jerusalem and its Temple Mount. This situation continued for the next 18 years.
In 1967, Gamel Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, decided it was time to drive the young nation of Israel into the sea. He ordered the United Nations’ troops, which had been separating Israel from Egypt since the 1949 ceasefire, out of the country, replacing them with Egyptian troops along the southern border of Israel. He also blockaded the Straits of Tiran from Israeli shipping. Because these were international waters, Israel considered this an act of war. Around this same time Nasser signed a military alliance with King Hussein of Jordan.
Israel, realizing war was imminent, launched a surprise air attack against the Egyptian Air Force on June 5, 1967. This attack caught the Egyptian Air Force on the ground destroying almost all of Egypt’s planes. The war with Egypt had begun.
That same day, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan stating that Israel had no quarrel against the country of Jordan, and if Jordan would stay out of the war, Israel would not bother her. However, Eshkol stated that, if Jordan did attack Israel, Israel would counter-attack with all of its might.
King Hussein could not bring himself to stand aside while his Arab brethren were fighting against the hated Zionist entity. Consequently, he ordered his forces to attack Israel. Israel’s counter-attack drove the Jordanians from east Jerusalem and then completely out of Judea (the West Bank), sweeping all the way to the Jordan River. When the ceasefire was declared on June 10, Judea, which had been occupied by the Jordanian Army for the last 18 years, was in Israeli hands.
God had instructed Israel that, when He brought them back into the land promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they were to occupy the land. So, religious Jews who took God’s Word seriously began to move into the lands vacated by Jordan and to create settlements there. Today, 350,000 Jews live in these “disputed territories” and another 300,000 live in east Jerusalem.
On November 22, 1967, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242 declaring that Israel should trade land for a peace agreement with the Arabs. The resolution stated that final borders between Israel and the projected Palestinian state should be determined by negotiations between the two parties. Resolution 242 also said that the status of Jerusalem and of the Temple Mount should be determined by negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
What To Do With the Jews in Judea?
Since 1967, world leaders have struggled to reach a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis. One problem has repeatedly blocked their progress. What do you do with the 350,000 Jews now living in Judea? It is understood that you simply cannot mandate 350,000 Jews to uproot themselves and to move back into pre-1967 Israel. Furthermore, most of these Jews say they are simply not leaving their homes in the biblical Promised Land. Yet international pressure is building for Israel to reach a final agreement with the Palestinians.
Since uprooting 350,000 Jews from their homes would undoubtedly produce a civil war in Israel, the Palestinians, Israel, and the International Community have searched for an innovative answer to this problem. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has presented a novel solution. He suggested that, when the final borders are negotiated, those Jews refusing to leave Palestinian territories could simply remain in their homes, living as a Jewish minority under the new Palestinian regime. He argued that over one million Palestinians presently live in Israel under the Israeli government. So why couldn’t Jews live in Palestine under a Palestinian government? With this solution, the Jews who don’t want to live under Palestinian control would be resettled in pre-1967 Israel, and those Jews refusing to leave would remain right where they are.
It is obvious this is the solution that will be implemented when the peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is finally concluded. Jesus foresaw this 2,000 years ago in His famous Matthew 24 prophecy.
The Bible indicates that the peace agreement between Israelis and the Palestinians will be a seven-year agreement. Apparently, leaving Jews to live in Judea under the Palestinian government will work for the first three and one-half years. However, when the Abomination of Desolation occurs halfway through the seven-year agreement, Palestinian anger will be ignited. Palestinians will launch brutal attacks against those Jews living in their midst. That’s the reason Jesus warned the Jews of Judea that they would have to run for their lives, saying, “Then shall be great tribulation such as never has been before nor ever again shall be.”
As our plane was soaring over the Atlantic Ocean heading toward Israel, all these things were coursing through my mind. Realizing that most of the Jews in Judea would not be familiar with the New Testament prophecies of Jesus, I said to God, “These Jews are blind to these prophecies. They are going to be in great danger. Someone needs to warn them.”
It seemed that God spoke to my heart, saying, “Well, you understand the prophecy; you have a magazine; and you have a job. I want you to send an Endtime magazine to each home in Judea telling them about the prophecy and explaining to them what they should do.”
I immediately began to tell God why I couldn’t do this. “I don’t speak Hebrew, I wouldn’t be able to get the magazines into Israel since the Israeli government doesn’t want Christian literature distributed inside of Israel, and I don’t have the money.” It was obvious to me that God wasn’t listening to my excuses. I had the vivid impression that He had assigned me a job!
After returning home from Israel, I placed an ad in our Endtime magazine explaining to our subscribers what I felt God wanted me to do and asking for donations toward this project. People began to give even before we knew how much the mailing would cost. I thought the total cost might be as high as $100,000.
While in Israel, I had asked our Jewish guide if we should publish the magazine in Hebrew. He replied that we should produce the magazine going into the West Bank in English since most all the Jews living in Judea understood English, and many of them were not yet proficient in Hebrew. So, the first big obstacle was eliminated.
The next decision that had to be made was when to produce this magazine forewarning the Jews of Judea. I can’t explain this, but I had the vivid impression that it should be the September/October 1998 issue.
When I arrived in Israel in the spring of 1998 for our annual prophecy tour, I informed our guide that I had to visit some printers in order to obtain quotes for the printing of the special magazine for the West Bank. He objected that we had no time to do this since we had 50 people on the tour and were fully scheduled for every day. I looked at him and said, “I have to.”
He replied, “Why don’t you let me handle this for you? I was in printing before I became a guide. I will get the quotes, I will review the match prints, and I will find out what is required for the mailing.” I quickly agreed.
By the time I arrived home from Israel, I had a quote for printing the magazines from one of the largest printers in Jerusalem. My guide had also spoken to the Postmaster General of Jerusalem arranging for the distribution of the magazines to each of the homes in the West Bank. I realized that God had given me my own Jewish agent to help with the project.
When the time came for producing the special edition of Endtime magazine, we sent the negatives to the printer in Jerusalem. We also wired the money the printer had requested as advance payment. During this entire process, one delay after another occurred. At first, I became frustrated, but then I realized that God might be coordinating the timing of the project.
Finally, the long-awaited email arrived from Jerusalem. The magazines would be delivered on October 21 and 22. They should be in the hands of the Judean settlers by October 23.
I awoke the morning of the 23 to the headline news that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to give 22% of the West Bank (Judea) to the Palestinians. This agreement, called the Wye River Accords, had been reached through negotiations held at the Wye River Conference Center near Wye River, Maryland. This news reverberated around the world on the very day that our magazine was arriving in West Bank mailboxes to warn them of this very eventuality. God had outsmarted me once again. His timing was absolutely perfect!
When the magazines arrived in the settlers’ homes, the phones at our Endtime headquarters began to ring with calls from Israel. Rabbis, political leaders and residents of Judea called. Many of them wanted to discuss further what we had said in the magazine. Most were polite and thanked us for our concern. A few of them were rude saying things like, “Evangelize Christians. Leave us Jews alone.” The calls continued to pour in over the next two weeks.
Upon arriving in Jerusalem the next spring for Prophecy Tour 1999, the phone in my hotel room rang. The caller identified himself, saying that he had received our magazine and would like to talk to me. I invited him up to my room. He told me that he lived in the West Bank and had received our special mailing. He stated that our magazine had set off quite a controversy among the Jews living in Judea. He explained, “Our Rabbis have been teaching us for years that we should leave Jerusalem and live in the West Bank because Jerusalem is going to be destroyed. However, you told us to flee the West Bank and get to Jerusalem. Most of us believe you are right and our Rabbis are wrong.” I was amazed!
Where To From Here?
Now that we understand some of the history of Judea, let’s fast-forward to where we find ourselves today.
On November 29, 2012, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution that extended recognition to the State of Palestine within pre-1967 borders and also recognized east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. This vote was 138 nations for and 9 against, with 41 abstentions. This overwhelming vote by the nations of the General Assembly increased the pressure on Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians before the International Community decided to impose an agreement.
Implications of the UN Vote
By declaring its recognition of the Palestinian state within 1967 borders, the UN General Assembly was declaring that Israel was an occupying power. It then follows that, in the eyes of the International Community, Israel must withdraw from the land it occupied in 1967. If Israel continues to refuse to withdraw, the time will inevitably come when the Palestinians petition the UN to force Israel’s compliance to the UN position. If Israel still refuses, the UN could call for economic sanctions against Israel, and, if that does not succeed, the result could be military action by the UN against Israel. This could well be the path that ultimately leads to the prophesied invasion of Israel by the world community for the Battle of Armageddon.
The resolution passed by the UN General Assembly not only recognized 1967 borders but also recognized east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. Since the Temple Mount is in east Jerusalem, the UN vote also recognized Palestinian control over the Temple Mount.
However, the Israeli Knesset had passed the Jerusalem Law in 1980 annexing east Jerusalem and declaring the undivided Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Since that time, all Israeli leaders have promised to never permit the re-division of Jerusalem.
Will the UN Enforce Israeli Withdrawal To 1967 Lines?
The path ahead will not be as simple as it may at first appear. The UN General Assembly has recognized a Palestinian state within 1967 borders. However, when it comes time to enforce this decision, the power does not lie with the General Assembly. Imposing economic sanctions or a decision on military action must be done by the UN Security Council. The United States, who voted against the General Assembly resolution, has veto power at the UN Security Council. Consequently, the General Assembly can pass resolutions all day long, but, if the Security Council refuses to enforce those resolutions, they become meaningless—except for the diplomatic pressures they create.
What Lies Ahead?
People in Israel increasingly fear that the International Community will impose a peace agreement on Israel, if Israel does not achieve a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians. Many politicians in Israel contend that Israel must do whatever it takes to conclude an agreement because the terms of an imposed agreement will be much less favorable toward Israel than the terms of a negotiated settlement. This thinking is increasing the pressure on Israel’s government to move the peace process forward, sooner rather than later. It is becoming increasingly felt in Israel that time is not on their side.
However, Israel does not believe the 1967 borders are defensible since they would leave Israel only nine miles wide at the waist. They say that withdrawing to those borders would be an act of national suicide.
On the other hand, most world leaders are warning that Israel will find herself in diplomatic isolation if she ignores the will of the World Community. Expressing this sentiment, President Obama recently said that Israel doesn’t know what is in her best interests. President Obama appears to be telling Israel that, if she does what the World Community wants her to do, then the World Community will guarantee her existence. Of course, this would mean that Israel is putting her future and her survival in the hands of the world governmental system. Many Israelis are unwilling to do this. They say, “We trusted other nations with our destiny during Hitler’s holocaust, and they did nothing to help us. We must not place our existence in their hands now. The only guarantee of our survival is to stay strong enough militarily so that no one can threaten us.”
Palestinians Are No Longer Interested in Negotiations
During his first term, President Obama did everything in his power to get Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. However, the Palestinians are no longer interested in negotiating with Israel. Why should they be when the International Community is willing to give them more by unilateral action than they could ever hope to obtain through negotiations? The Palestinians believe it is only a matter of time until the world government will enforce its will upon the State of Israel.
Other Factors Working Against Israel
Palestinians see the International Criminal Court as another weapon to be used against the Jewish state. They have already said they intend to file charges with the ICC against Israeli leaders if Israel continues “the occupation” and if she continues to build on “occupied territory.”
One of the crimes enumerated in the ICC charter when the international court was created in 1998 was the crime of transferring people into territories occupied by war. This is listed specifically in the section on “War Crimes”. (Article 8 (2) (b) (viii) defines as a war crime: The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory).
Now that the UN has defined Judea as “occupied territory” rather than “disputed territory”, Israel is clearly guilty of war crimes—as defined by the ICC statute. If the International Criminal Court would prosecute the leaders of Israel, they would only be able to avoid arrests by confining themselves to the borders of the nation of Israel. This could very quickly drive Israel into a situation of isolation.
Though Israel has not signed on to the International Criminal Court Treaty, the ICC is now claiming jurisdiction over the entire world.
What Do the Prophecies Tell Us Will Happen?
There is no end to speculation concerning the future of the Middle East. However, the prophecies of the Bible give us clear insight into what the future holds for this volatile region of the world. The prophecies always come to pass. They never fail! So what do the prophecies say will happen concerning Israel and the Palestinians?
The Bible prophesies that an agreement will be reached between Israel, the Palestinians and the International Community. The area called Judea will become a Palestinian state, though 350,000 Jews presently live there. Many Jews will choose to live in the Palestinian state rather than be uprooted from their Promised Land.
The Temple Mount will be shared between Muslims and Jews. The sharing will be done under the supervision of the International Community. Once this sharing arrangement is implemented, Israel will build her Third Temple on the Temple Mount—not disturbing the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Once the temple is completed, Israel will resume animal sacrifices as were conducted during the First and Second Temple eras. The offering of animals every morning and every evening, as was required by the Old Testament, will trigger worldwide opposition. The animal rights activists will be livid about the daily slaughter of these animals. The offices of the International Community will be bombarded by complaints from around the world.
By this time, a man will have emerged onto the world scene as the recognized leader of the International Community. This man will be the prophesied Antichrist. The pressure will be upon him to stop these sacrifices without disrespecting the Jewish religion.
The Abomination of Desolation
His solution may go something like this: He will call a press conference on the Temple Mount. He will assert that all people really worship the same God whether they are Muslims, Jews or Christians. He will explain that, even though Muslims call their god Allah, Jews call theirs Jehovah and Christians call their God Jesus, they really are worshipping the same God. They simply call him different names.
He will further explain that each of these religions is looking for an anointed one to appear. Muslims look for the Mahdi, Jews look for the Messiah, Christians look for the Second Coming of Jesus, and Buddhists look for the Fifth Buddha. The Antichrist will explain that, even as all worship the same God under different names, so also they are looking for the same anointed leader under different names.
He will then mention that articles have recently been appearing in the world press about the possibility of him being the Messiah since he brought peace to Israel and made possible the building of their temple on the Temple Mount. He will explain that he has not responded to these articles previously, but feels the time has now arrived to respond. He will say, “It is true. I am your Messiah. Therefore you don’t need these sacrifices anymore.”
Furthermore, he will say to the religions of the world, “I am your Mahdi, I am your Jesus, and I am your Fifth Buddha.”
The Bible describes this time, when the Antichrist stands on the Temple Mount claiming to be Messiah or God, as the Abomination of Desolation. This will happen three and one-half years after the Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement and three and one-half years before the Battle of Armageddon.
What Will Happen to Jerusalem?
The resolution approved by the UN General Assembly on Nov 29, 2012 called for a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. However, Jewish leaders have steadfastly proclaimed that Jerusalem must remain undivided as the eternal capital of the Jewish state. Israel’s present Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been adamant that Jerusalem will never be divided. So how will the issue of Jerusalem be settled under the prophesied agreement?
Yossi Beillin, the chief negotiator of the Oslo Accords in 1993, recently stated that Netanyahu would be willing to sign an interim agreement that would establish provisional borders for the Palestinian state. Beillin said, however, that Netanyahu is unwilling to conclude a final agreement because he cannot deal with the subject of Jerusalem.
Will This Be the Seven-Year Agreement?
Could Israelis and Palestinians sign an interim agreement to establish provisional borders while postponing the issue of Jerusalem for seven years? It appears from scripture that this is what will happen since Jerusalem will be left under Israeli control all the way to the Battle of Armageddon. We know this because Zechariah 14:2 states that half of the City of Jerusalem will go into captivity during the Battle of Armageddon. This indicates that Israel was still in control of Jerusalem prior to Armageddon.
Beillin also asserted that Netanyahu would not have to deal with the issue of forcibly evacuating settlements because any settlers who wish to remain in their homes under the new Palestinian government would be allowed to do so. Those not wanting to live within the new Palestinian state would be resettled into Israel proper.
Some cannot imagine Jews agreeing to live in Judea under a Palestinian state. However, many of the Jews presently living in Judea have already declared they will not leave their homes even if Israel withdraws. They say that Judea is their Promised Land, and they are going to stay in their land.
We Are Watching Jesus’ Prophecy Come to Pass
As was explained at the opening of this article, Jesus prophesied the exact situation 2,000 years ago that we are watching develop right now. Jesus foresaw that Jews would be living under a hostile government in Judea. He also foresaw that Palestinians would launch a reign of terror against those Jews at the time of the Abomination of Desolation. He warned them to immediately flee. He told them to not even take time to go into their homes to get their clothes.
The prophecies of the Bible are amazing! And they always come to pass.
Endtime Prophecy Conference in Jerusalem
In the magazine that we mailed to the Jews of Judea, we told them they would have to run for their lives. We also encouraged them to get to Jerusalem and look for the signs directing them to the Endtime Prophecy Conference, which we have planned for that exact time.
When the Jews who believe the prophecy of Jesus flee, they will look over their shoulders and see their Judean brothers, who didn’t believe, being slaughtered. They will know that it was the prophecy of Jesus that saved their lives. They will then come to Endtime’s prophecy conference in Jerusalem. We will say to them, “Jesus just saved your physical life. Now, let us tell you about eternal life through Jesus Christ.”
A great revival broke out in Jerusalem around 2,000 years ago on the Day of Pentecost. It will happen again! These Jews from Judea that have fled for their lives will turn to Jesus Christ. The scriptures specifically prophesy this.
Zechariah 12:7 states, “The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.” It is commonly known that all of Israel will turn to Jesus Christ and be saved at the Battle of Armageddon. However, this scripture tells us that revival will come to the Jews of Judea first.
Why does this passage say that God will save the tents of Judah so that the rest of Israel will not boast against Judah? Today, the Jews living in pre-1967 Israel look down on the Jews of Judea. They view them as religious extremists that are causing trouble for Israel with the International Community. Many of them actually believe the settlers are endangering the future of the nation of Israel.
But in God’s eyes, the Jews in Judea are trying to obey His commandment to “occupy the land.” Consequently, God said He will just save the tents of Judah first so that their less devout brethren will not boast against them.
Why the Jerusalem Prophecy College?
I Chronicles 12:22 states, “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
God has always spoken to His people through prophecy so they could know what was coming before it took place and so they could know what they should do.
Because the nation of Israel as a whole does not know the prophecies of the New Testament, much of what they need to know for the times just ahead is hidden from them. However, many Jews in Israel are intensely interested in the prophecies of the scriptures.
We are starting the Jerusalem Prophecy College in order to educate the Jewish people concerning the prophecies that will come to pass in the near future. Many of the events prophesied for the times just ahead will occur in Israel and in the city of Jerusalem. Through the Jerusalem Prophecy College we want to teach from both the Old and New Testaments so the people of Israel can know what to do.
We also want to train a core group of leaders who can then minister to the Jews of Judea that will be turning to the Lord at the time of the Abomination of Desolation according to Zechariah 12:7.
The Two Witnesses
Revelation 11:3 states that God will give power unto two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days until the Battle of Armageddon. We intend to use the Jerusalem Prophecy College and Endtime Ministries to support the ministry of these two special witnesses that God will send. They will be invited to be guests on our End of the Age television program and on our daily radio broadcasts. Their sermons will be published in Endtime magazine and on Endtime’s website at www.endtime.com. We will attempt to spread their message around the world in every way possible. We also want to provide Bible-believing churches for those who will come to the Lord through their ministries.
Following is our plan for the launch of the Jerusalem Prophecy College in Jerusalem by September of 2013:
- Purchase property for the Jerusalem Prophecy College—May 4-11, 2013
- Equip the college for video conferencing and purchase needed furnishings
- Solidify our curriculum
- Hire college staff
- Put our End of the Age television program on the Middle East TV (METV) channel
- Continue to air End of the Age on Daystar and TBN in Israel
- Put End of the Age on TBN’s two Arabic channels covering the Middle East and Europe
- Launch promotion of the college
- Open the college for enrollment
- Begin first semester
Why Do We Want to Help Israel?
The rebirth of the nation of Israel just before the Second Coming of Jesus is clearly prophesied in Ezekiel 36 and 37, as well as in many other scriptures. That rebirth took place on May 14, 1948. However, more than just the physical rebirth of Israel is prophesied in the Bible.
Paul spoke about the time when the full spiritual restoration of Israel would occur:
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: Romans 11:25-26
In Romans 11:28, Paul said about the Jews, “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
It only stands to reason that Jesus loves His kinsmen according to the flesh. He lamented over Jerusalem saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:38)
Why wouldn’t we want to be a blessing to the Jewish people at the time of their promised revival? What an honor to be a part of the effort to help the people that gave us our Messiah! Every word of our Bible was written by a Jewish person as he was moved on by the Holy Ghost.
God promised Israel through Abraham: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)