Israel's Future Survival

by Joseph Hunting

In a world which ricochets from one world war to another, future survival is a thought paramount in the minds of thinking people. But when we add the threat of a nuclear holocaust on a scale undreamed of, our imaginations can take on the dimensions of some fearful nightmare. The recent Hollywood production, THE DAY AFTER, vividly portrayed the ghastly aftermath of a nuclear exchange between the super powers.

In spite of all the good intentions of peace marches and anti-nuclear demonstrations, in spite of governments which ban the visits of nuclear powered ships, there are sufficient nuclear war heads presently stock-piled to destroy all trace of life on planet earth.

And still the mad arms race goes on! In the face of such a gloomy prognosis one may truly wonder if there is any hope of a future survival of the human race. According to the Bible the answer is an emphatic YES.

The Bible reveals that there will yet be two wars closely connected with the end of this present age. One concerns an invasion of Israel by a confederacy of European and Arab states headed up by Russia. The other is the battle of Armegeddon which will also be fought in Israel just prior to the return of Messiah. In both these end-time battles nuclear weapons appear to be used from the language employed by the prophets.

Of course, the fact that the Bible prophesies the two wars just mentioned doesn't rule out the possibility of other nuclear exchanges -- given the fanaticism of some terrorist groups or the religious fanaticism on the upsurge in the Middle East today.


It is not altogether a surprise to find that the prophetic Scriptures place Israel centre stage in the final drama that involves two wars of major proportions. Ezekiel describes the first conflict in vivid terms, and in order to have the background to this we need to read Ezekiel 37 wherein the prophet gives a step-by-step description of the emergence of Israel as a nation.

This prophecy is all the more remarkable because it was written more than twenty-five centuries ago when the people were in captivity. It speaks of a time when Israel and Judah will be gathered in their own land. "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel ..." (37:22).

The twentieth century has witnessed a dramatic turnabout in the fortunes of the Jewish people. It has been well said that World War One prepared the Land for the People of Israel, and World War Two prepared the People for the Land of Israel.

All the centuries of hatred and persecution against them in the lands of their dispersion boiled up to the unbelievable horror of the Holocaust. It was as though the evil demon of anti-Semitism was making a final gargantuan effort to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Indeed, this was to be Hitler's "final solution".

Who would have thought, even in the wildest stretch of imagination during those terrible years when human suffering in the concentration camps reached unprecedented depths, that within a few years the Star of David would be unfurled over the soil of Israel to beckon the remnants of European Jewry to begin life anew? May 14th 1948 was a milestone event that has few parallels in Israel's chequered history.

Despite the determined efforts of surrounding Arab states to wipe the Jewish state off the slate in four savage wars Israel is there to stay. Well did Jeremiah prophesy: "I will CAUSE them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, AND THEY SHALL POSSESS IT." (30:3).


It is into this scene of Israel in possession of their homeland in the latter days that the prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is set. There is no substitute for first-hand knowledge of the prophetic Scriptures. Because OUR future survival may depend upon it, we need to read chapters 37, 38 and 39.

There is much in chapter 38 which seems to have the brand of the hammer and sickle upon it. Ezekiel identifies the source of the coming invasion. "And you shall come from your place out of the north parts (lit. from the uttermost north), you, and many people with you, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army." (38:15).

The Arab bloc includes Persia (modern Iran), Ethiopia and Libya. Since the overthrow of the Shah and the regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini Iran has become increasingly hostile to Israel, even calling for a Muslim Jihad or holy war to wipe Israel off the map. And Ethiopia and Libya are now puppet states under the rule of the Kremlin and are likewise rabidly anti-Semitic.

So the stage is set! Ezekiel vividly describes the invasion. Gomer and Togarmah (possibly modern East Germany and Turkey) join forces with the surrogate Arab states headed up by Russia and make a lightning swoop "as a cloud to cover the land; IT SHALL BE IN THE LATTER DAYS."

One may be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that, although Israel has beaten off the Arab nations, the combined might of the confederacy of hostile European and Arab states, headed up by the awesome might of the Soviet military machine, will mean the end of Israel's valiant fight for survival.

Let's be perfectly frank about this. What nation would come to Israel's aid? The track record of nations depending on Arab oil for their economic survival supplies the answer.


On the other hand Ezekiel's prophecy has the ring of authority. He is the mouthpiece of the God of Israel and we do well to heed his words. "Thus says the Lord God; Are you he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring you against them?

"And it shall come to pass at the same time when God shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealously and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel, so that the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground."

An important factor that nations and their leaders tend to overlook is that the God of Israel changes not. The God that lived in Moses' day is just the same today. The judgements He hurled upon Egypt that shattered that mighty and proud nation are a warning to others that violate His land to strike at His people Israel.

What God has done to Israel's enemies in the past He does again. Every man's sword is turned against his brother. Then there is pestilence and blood. Finally, with "an overflowing rain, great hailstones, FIRE AND BRIMSTONE" God wipes out the invading forces. "Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord." (38:17-23).

Whilst the Scripture does not specifically mention nuclear destruction, the inclusion of fire and brimstone may well have been the prophet's method of describing that which we have now come to associate with the havoc caused by a nuclear explosion.


There is an interesting sequel to this awful destruction of the invading forces. Ezekiel describes the clean-up process which takes seven years and a special burial site is allocated to "bury Gog and all his multitude. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land."

Special burial squads are employed to bury the multitudes of the slain. Particular mention is made that if any one sees the bones of the slain he is commanded not to touch them but to set up a sign for the burial squads to deal with them. We have learned the costly lesson of nuclear contamination and it is with amazing foresight that Ezekiel draws our attention to this fact.

FUTURE SURVIVAL? God makes it clear that, in spite of all the failure, unbelief and rebellion over the centuries, He is still the God of Israel and this nation is the object, not only of His chastisement, but of His faithfulness to His word: "Though I make a full end of all nations, yet will I not make a full end of you." (Jeremiah 30:11).