Many who believe that Jerusalem is the barometer of biblical prophecy are watching with increased fascination. Zechariah`s prophecy that it would become a "cup of trembling" and a "burdensome stone for all people" seems increasingly relevant.
There is no doubt that storm clouds are gathering. No other nation on earth is so totally hated by all of its neighbors. These neighbors are not secretive or subtle about their goal of eliminating the Jewish nation.
Besides these external enemies, Israel has managed to take a dangerous fire directly into its bosom. In 1948, when the tiny Jewish David took on the huge Arab Goliath and carved out the nation of Israel, many Arabs who occupied the land were persuaded to stay and were given Israeli citizenship. Their numbers have now grown to nearly 1.5 million, 20 percent of the nation`s population. Eighty percent of them are Muslim and retain strong ties to the Palestinians.
In East Jerusalem alone, there are nearly a quarter million Arabs. In the 1967 war, Israel took control of all of Jerusalem, but leaves much of the administration of that sector to the Arab leaders.
Birth rates of the Arabs in Israel are nearly twice as high as the Jews. By sheer force of numbers, they threaten to overwhelm the nation not many years from now.
Besides Israel`s hostile neighbors and adverse internal population, its few friends are becoming impatient with the constant conflict. The European Union depends heavily on trade with Israel`s Muslim enemies and only reluctantly goes along with boycotts that the U.S. and U.N. try to impose on countries like Iran who is openly preparing for Israel`s destruction.
Historically, the U.S. has been Israel`s greatest friend, freely sharing financial and military assistance. Now, the new administration in Washington is taking a different approach, hoping through diplomacy to defuse the "middle east problem." Israel`s refusal in giving up more land to a "Palestinian State" is seen as a serious obstacle to this solution. The new U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton, has stated flatly that U.S. diplomacy is committed to a "two state solution."
This approach has not been encouraging in the past. Israel left southern Lebanon and her enemies now have a launching pad for increasingly sophisticated rockets to rain down on Jewish cities.
Israel gave up the Gaza strip, which houses over a million Muslims. Their thanks has been thousands of rockets fired into southern Israel. If they relinquish the West Bank to a Palestinian state, this will place most of Israel`s cities within rocket range.
Hamas, who controls Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, supported by both Iran and Syria have stated flatly that a Palestinian state is not acceptable without the complete destruction of Israel. Any future "Palestinian State" envisioned by U.S. and Western diplomats will only be a stepping stone to further attacks on Israel.
Efforts at diplomacy have only given Israel`s enemies more time to regroup and develop more destructive weapons. Iran is scrambling to make a nuclear bomb that it promises to use to obliterate Israel. She wants to do a preemptive strike on Iran`s nuclear factories but her western friends are reluctant.
Meanwhile, the prophecy clock is ticking. The Bible indicates that Israel will ultimately stand alone against her enemies, but her Messiah will then show up. When that happens, the times of the Gentiles (that`s us) will be fulfilled. This will mean the end of the harvest of souls as we know it. We really need to redouble our efforts at witnessing to reach as many as possible while there is time.