A New Hope Mapped Out

You don’t need to understand Hebrew

to read the writing on this wall…

(A map of the world indicating the status of Israel’s foreign relations, as presented to the Knesset by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2016. This map is a copy of which was made available to The Times of Israel, July 27. 2016.)


So many things are changing these days, and quickly, too. Fast food menus like those coming from McDonald’s are catering to a new breed of health buffs who need to conform to the latest nutritional suggestions. Now they offer butter and unbleached flour. They change up the menu and excite the consumer with even more options, offering hope through change. The food industry isn’t alone in its make-overs. On the other side of the coin and with a more global yet gloomy picture, we see political changes, economic collapses, and climate changes to name just a few, which cause a fretful anticipation of the uncontrollable unknown.

With that in mind it should not be so surprising to hear Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give a rosy picture of Israel in relationship to the nations of the world at his foreign press conference speech at the start of 2016. Here Netanyahu gave a short synopsis of the world’s changed attitude with respect to Israel. “In 1975, Israel basically had diplomatic relations with two sets of countries – the countries of North America (the United States and Canada, of course), and of course the countries of Western Europe. Today, we have relations with the countries of Asia…, of Central and Eastern Europe, and there is something very big that’s taken place. We have now very close relations with China, India, Japan, Russia, just about every country in Africa, and increasingly with the Arab countries. We have growing and expanding relations with many of the Arab countries in the Middle East.”

“There is a tremendous revolution taking place here”, Netanyahu said, “I’m the foreign minister, [and] I can tell you I’m flooded with requests for visits — either ministers or leaders who want to come here, or the request that we go there. This is what is happening in the world. It’s a big change, and it’s one that I think augurs great promise for Israel.” 

To shed even more optimism, during a Knesset State control committee meeting in July 2016, and in defense of his foreign policy record, Netanyahu offered proof. He displayed a multicolored map (apparently he loves maps and uses this form of media to drive his point home) in which only five countries were considered enemies of Israel, while the rest of the world was either pro-Israel (marked in blue), in the process of better relationships (marked in red), or those with no special relationship at all (marked in green).

During that foreign press address early in 2016, Netanyahu offered two reasons why this change was happening. The first is the rise of militant Islam which affects the stability of so many countries. Because of that, Netanyahu said, “People are asking, ‘Who can help us? Who’s got the military intelligence, or anti-terror intelligence, and experience of fighting these militants and the experience of fighting terror?’ They naturally come to Israel,” he said.

The other reason for Israel being favored is her growth in technology. ”They come to Israel for three reasons”, Netanyahu said, “technology, technology, technology”.

Why this abrupt wave of optimism on the part of Israel’s Prime Minister? What a change from his 2015, 2014, and 2013 UN General Assembly addresses where we heard an emphasis on the need and plea for security to insure Israel’s survival (and the world’s survival) against Iran and militant Islam.

So with all this new talk, what do we do with Iran and Hezbollah right at her northern border? What about the new threat of ISIS cells within Israel herself? What about Hamas digging tunnels and preparing for war on her eastern front? What about the UN condemnation earlier this year, labeling Israel as the country most guilty of violating women’s rights — Palestinian women’s rights? On that very day, the U.N. Human Rights Council condemned Israel five times more than it did any other country in the world. On another global front, let’s not forget the continued rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism we hear so much about today.

Can Israel really expect peace? How does the Bible foresee her future?

The only calm that is spoken of preceding the final wars (which will finally lead to true peace — the Millennium) is the false peace during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. Israel, as we are told in Ezekiel 38, will open up her borders. In verses 11 and 12, God forecasts the military speech of the Gog and Magog invaders. Verses 11 and 12 read,“You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.’”

Although we are not there yet (perhaps it’s still far away), can this optimism on Netanyahu’s part possibly be the beginning of a new trend, one which may find Israel reeling in a seeming love affair with the world? Eventually she will let her borders down, ushering in the Antichrist and his peace treaty with Israel for those 3 1/2 years that Daniel the prophet spoke about. (Daniel 9:24-27).

I wish I were wrong in this deduction. Let us keep our eyes open and see if Netanyahu keeps up his sudden surge of confidence. If he does, look up, for our Messiah will be coming soon after. No one of course knows the day or hour, but this is just another sign of the times. One more item to consider — let us not forget why we are given all this information to begin with — in order to redouble our efforts and go spread the Good News about our Messiah.

Blessings to all as we keep looking up,

Pastor Jacques Isaac Gabizon

Beth Ariel Congregation, Montreal, Canada

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