Israel, the Unwalled Nation?

Posted on May 4, 2013

0


unwalled 1By David Ettinger
(Originally published in the January-February 2013 issue of Zion’s Fire magazine)

Note: One particular section of this article may appear to paint Israel in a very unsavory and negative light, hence providing fuel for Israel’s detractors. However, no such intention exists. The ministry of Zion’s Hope, along with the author of this article, staunchly supports and loves the nation of Israel, prays for the peace of Jerusalem, and wholeheartedly believes that God will fulfill every biblical promise He has ever made to His beloved people. In the meantime, Israel – as does every other nation on the face of the earth – struggles with issues concerning sin and immorality. The facts in this article are presented to show the Israeli people’s desperate need for the Lord Jesus Christ, and also to illustrate how current issues of sin and immorality could possibly lead to the fulfillment of prophetic events concerning Israel’s future.

Introduction
It is rare to watch a news report about Israel without reference to the nation’s military prowess. This is as it should be: pound for pound, Israel is a powerhouse. For her size, Israel packs as much proportionate punch as any nation on earth.

It is with great perplexity, therefore, that we read end-time prophecies concerning Israel’s lack of military potency. Here is one of those puzzling prognostications:

After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them (Ezekiel 38:8).

“Living securely?” Israel? Really?

Before we examine this confounding oracle, let’s explore this portion of Scripture a tad more deeply. The above prophecy is addressed to “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:1). It is beyond the scope of this article to attribute precise identities to Gog, Magog, Meshech, and Tubal, but suffice it to say that what is being pictured here is an invasion of Israel in the last days. This invasion will consist of a confederacy of nations primarily north of Israel, and several from south of the Holy Land. Possible aggressors include Russia (the main player), Turkey, Iran, Libya, Ethiopia, and many people with them (Ezekiel 38:5).

What is most fascinating about this gathering of nations with bad intent is that they will not act on their own volition, but will be drawn into battle by God. Ezekiel 38:4 says:

I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords (italics added).

So, Israel will be invaded in the end days. However, at that time, according to verse 8, the people of Israel “are living securely, all of them.” Again, we must incredulously ask: “living securely?” How can this be? Ever since Israel reemerged as a modern entity in 1948, the surrounding nations have wanted to obliterate her from the face of the earth. Article 22 from the infamous PLO Charter of 1964 states:

Zionism [Israel, the Jewish state] is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods. … Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.

Such proclamations of doom give Israel no hope of dwelling in safety.

unwalled 2Another Scripture, Ezekiel 38:11, asks us to digest this rather hard-to-swallow revelation: “and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates.”

“Unwalled villages?” A people who are “at rest,” “live securely,” and “living without walls”? Israel? How can she possibly allow herself to be “unwalled,” which can more accurately be read “unarmed”?

Consider the hatred and vitriol the nations continue to hurl at Israel.

During a speech in Iran on August 16, 2012, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spewed the following:

The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of [Palestinian] land, in the future this story [of Israel’s existence] will repeat. The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land. … A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists.[1]

Sadly, Ahmadinejad’s statement is not the isolated raving of one lone lunatic, but the rallying cry of those ravenously craving Israel’s destruction. No one understands this better than Israel. With such satanic hatred focused on her, how in the world will this beleaguered nation permit itself to be transformed from what it is now – a formidable military power – to what Ezekiel prophesies it to be – an unarmed nation at peace?

Military Might
Because of the threat against her existence, Israel is an armed camp not to be trifled with. Just how strong is little Israel? This strong:

  • Israel ranks tenth in the world in firepower behind the U.S., Russia, China, but ahead of far larger countries Brazil, Germany, Pakistan, and Egypt.
  • This tenth-place ranking is amazing considering that Israel – because of her small population (about 7.8 million) – ranks 45th in the world in soldier availability. Israel has a potential military force of 3.6 million. This figure is dwarfed by China’s mind-boggling 750 million, India’s 615 million, and America’s 145 million.
  • Israel’s considerable military prowess is even more startling considering she ranks 51st among the nations in land mass.
  • Israel ranks 14th in total number of land-based weapons; an extraordinary fifth in total aircraft; and 18th in defense spending.[2]

Israel is armed, dangerous, and able to defend herself. She has done so admirably for more than six decades, but her time of self-sufficiency may soon be expiring. The transition from Israel as a daunting combatant to a passive peace-seeker is drawing frightfully near.

How will this happen?

Forsaking God
A brief look at Israel’s history of disobedience helps clarify her current state of spiritual bankruptcy. Back when Israel was still wandering in the wilderness, God promised to bless the nation for obedience:

I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword (Leviticus 26:6-7).

Israel’s responsibility was to walk in obedience; she failed. The prophet Isaiah tells us:

unwalled 3Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the Lord speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.” Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him (Isaiah 1:2-4).

It is little surprise, then, that Israel’s disobedience led to her banishment from the land. After all, if obedience would have translated into security, then disobedience would lead to exile:

The LORD, the God of their fathers … brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. All the articles of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and of his officers, he brought them all to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15, 17-18).

 Yesterday and Today: Dual Images
That was then; this is now. Just what, exactly, has Israel learned from her historical failures? Let’s take a look.

According to the Isaiah passage, Israel had forgotten the Lord, not even knowing Him as the ox and donkey know their master. To be sure, ancient Israel was a people who had “abandoned the Lord” (Isaiah 1:4). Sadly, the same holds true today. Religiously, Israel keeps a tight grasp on its Judaism, but largely in the “cultural” sense. In other words, Israel “practices” its religion, but does so, for the most part, faithlessly. Ask most Israeli Jews why they fast on the Day of Atonement, they will reply, “Because this is the custom of our people.” Today’s brand of Judaism in Israel is, with some exceptions, void of God.

Recent statistics on Israel’s religious beliefs bear this out:

  • 42 percent of Israelis identify themselves as “secular.”
  • 25 percent consider themselves “non-religious traditionalists” (not strictly adhering to Jewish law).
  • 13 percent identify themselves as “religious traditionalists” (somewhat adhering).
  • 12 percent of Israelis call themselves “religious” (lighting Sabbath candles and attending synagogue consistently).
  • 8 percent call themselves “Haredim” (the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, those with the most “God-consciousness”).[3]

What do these numbers mean? Basically, this: Only 33 percent of the nation identifies itself as having any level of affinity toward religion, and 67 percent have no religious inclination whatsoever – and this in the “Holy Land”! Of the religious adherents, only the “Haderim” possess a historical, biblical Jewish comprehension of God. They observe God with energy and zeal, however it is a zeal of their own making. Their faith, therefore, is in error because their zeal is misdirected. The apostle Paul speaks of such skewed faith:

Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:1-3).

Sadly, this passage speaks of the best Israel’s modern brand of Judaism has to offer, not its worst. There is zeal, all right, but applied in all the wrong places. Judaism in Israel is a system of works, not faith; idealism, not truth; man-centered, not God-centered.

Rising Iniquity in Our Day
Beside ancient Israel’s blatant disregard for God, she also exhibited blatant immorality, a taste of which is given by the prophet Amos:

Thus says the Lord, For three transgressions of Israel and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for money And the needy for a pair of sandals … And a man and his father resort to the same girl In order to profane My holy name (Amos 2:6-7).

unwalled 4This passage paints a picture of national moral depravity. The image of father and son engaging in sexual relations with the same woman could be referring to the practice of intercourse with shrine prostitutes, or to women used as concubines by both father and son.

Another intrepid prophet who boldly condemned Israel for her wanton behavior was Hosea. He did so in even starker tones than Amos:

I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot Or your brides when they commit adultery, For the men themselves go apart with harlots And offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes; So the people without understanding are ruined (Hosea 4:14).

The focus of this passage is on prostitution. In the Bible, the word prostitution is often used in a twofold capacity: physical and spiritual. Just as prostitution is one form of a husband’s unfaithfulness to his wife, so religious prostitution – idolatry – is a form of man’s spiritual unfaithfulness to God. Such moral and spiritual degradation led to Israel being cast out of the land.

So, morally speaking, has modern-day Israel shed its immoral past?

There is a rather pithy phrase that goes something like: “Jerusalem prays, while Tel Aviv plays.” Hmm, it seems Jerusalem, like Tel Aviv, does quite a bit of “playing” as well.

  • On August 2, 2012, more than 4,000 people marched in Jerusalem’s tenth (not first) annual Gay Pride Parade.[4]
  • Tel Aviv – Israel’s “play capital” – has gone well beyond “mere” gay pride parades. The city is looking to become a prime international vacation spot for the gay community. An advertisement on an Israeli website blazons the following:

Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 2013

Save the date – Tel Aviv Pride Week 2013

With a gay scene that competes with all gay capitals around the globe, an amazing beach, good weather, great food and other attractions in the country like Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv is definitely a place you should check out for your next trip. The pride parade takes place on Friday, June 7, 2013. With over 50 gay events throughout Pride Week, not to mention all the regular attractions the city has to offer, coming to Tel Aviv will be a vacation you will never forget![5]

This growing acceptance of homosexuality is just one area in which Israel has transgressed. Last year, an online advertisement for an event whose name we prefer not to mention, due to common decency, in Tel Aviv-Jaffa read this way:

The [expletive deleted] Walk of Israel takes place to protest against the male-dominated society that blames sexual harassment or rape on a woman’s appearance. The goal of the march is to call attention to the option every woman has to dress the way she wants, without being criticized for it by society. The organizers of the march have said they prefer the Hebrew term “sharmuta,” which means a woman who is sexually open, to get rid of the negative connotation of the word [expletive deleted]. Sharmuta is to present feminine sexual openness in a positive way.[6]

This event was rife with women dressed in scanty and tawdry outfits. It is admirable to call attention to the horror of sexual harassment and rape, but it seems this event was an excuse for women to display brazen behavior in public, which the Israeli media seems to have lauded.

But perhaps the most tragic area of Israel’s spiraling debasement is prostitution, which, shockingly, is legal in the Holy Land.[7] (Though legal, organized prostitution in the form of brothels and pimping is prohibited.) Prostitution is nothing new. We see instances of it in the Bible as early as Genesis 38 (Judah and Tamar). If prostitution in Israel was exclusively a matter of sinful, consensual adults, that would be one thing. However, Israel’s prostitution problem slithers its way through society.

Lamentably, Israel’s prostitution rate has grown in an area that almost defies comprehension: human trafficking. Here are some of the tragic numbers:

  • The 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, released by the U.S. State Department, classified Israel as a “tier two” country for human trafficking, meaning that a significant amount of human trafficking takes place in Israel. Other tier two countries include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, India, China, and Russia.
  • It is estimated that between 500 and 600 women a year are trafficked illegally into Israel for sex.
  • Israel’s prostitution and sex-trafficking industry brings in between $500 million and $750 million a year.
  • The average age of a “woman” who enters into prostitution in Israel is between 12 and 13.
  • Since the 1990s, approximately 25,000 women have been trafficked across the Israel-Sinai border to be sold for sex in Israel.[8]
  • Men in Israel make an estimated ten thousand visits to prostitutes every month. (About 25 to 30 percent of these visits are believed to be by the Haredim, Israel’s ultra-orthodox community.[9])

Before we continue, we must say a few things regarding these startling numbers. As recently as thirty years ago, such statistics would have been an abnormality in Israel. The original population of Israel in 1948, for the most part, lived relatively clean and moral lives. Since 1948, Israel’s population has swelled from approximately 800,000 (646,000 Jewish)[10] to 7.9 million today (almost 6 million Jewish).[11] Much of Israel’s moral decline came with the overwhelming influx of Russian-Jewish immigrants during and following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. From 1989 to 2003, approximately 950,000 Russian Jews immigrated to Israel.[12] Though many of them were upstanding citizens and contributed to the fabric of life in Israel, many others made their livelihoods from prostitution and drugs. Also contributing to Israel’s immorality problems has been significant European and African immigration.

What Does All This Immorality Mean?
In ancient Israel, when the levels of iniquity plunged to the miry depths, God banished the nation. The northern kingdom was deported to Assyria in 722 B.C., while the southern kingdom was exiled in three phases to Babylon in 606 B.C., 597 B.C., and 586 B.C. One major difference between ancient Israel and modern-day Israel is that ancient Israelites took centuries to drink from God’s “cup of His anger” (Isaiah 51:17); modern-day Israel has managed to “achieve” a similar level of societal decadence in little more than a generation since it once again became a nation.

unwalled 5Despite the fact that God wanted to shower ancient Israel with blessings, her faithlessness prevented Him from doing so. The prophet Jeremiah writes:

They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain in its season, Both the autumn rain and the spring rain, Who keeps for us The appointed weeks of the harvest.” Your iniquities have turned these away, And your sins have withheld good from you (Jeremiah 5:24-25).

On the same theme, Isaiah writes: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

In the same way, modern-day Israel has seemingly done everything she could to separate herself from the God who has preserved her for centuries and has returned her to her homeland after nearly two millennia away.

Where it is All Leading
So, what does all this have to do with Israel becoming an “unwalled” – that is, “unarmed” – nation that will be unable to defend itself against a potentially deadly invasion?

Israel, as a national entity, has separated herself from God religiously and morally. That’s not to say that there are not biblically God-fearing believers in the nation, however they are few. Nationally, Israel has spurned God and is, in essence, a humanist nation. Israel relies on diplomacy, military might, and the precarious friendship of its lone Western-power ally, America. As diplomacy and America’s friendship continue to erode, Israel will be left with only her military might. A time is coming – sooner than later – when Israel will be either attacked by a neighboring country, or will face the irrefutable certainty of a lethal attack and will launch a preventive strike first. Who will incite Israel to commit such a drastic military move? Iran, Egypt, and Syria are all logical options, but Syria may be the most logical. Though Syria has refrained from military skirmishes with Israel during the past few decades – decisive losses in three wars will do that to a nation – make no mistake about it: Syria despises Israel.

A possible scenario has Syria storing huge stockpiles of armaments for a strike against Israel. Eventually, the Jewish nation’s brilliant spy network – the Mossad – will uncover undeniable evidence of the brewing attack. Israel, backed by this expert intelligence, will strike first. When she strikes, she will strike hard.

This possible scenario comes courtesy of Isaiah 17:1-6:

Behold, Damascus [Syria’s capital city] is about to be removed from being a city And will become a fallen ruin. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; They will be for flocks to lie down in, And there will be no one to frighten them. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, And sovereignty from Damascus And the remnant of Aram; They will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,” declares the LORD of hosts. Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean. It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain, As his arm harvests the ears, Or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain In the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives on the topmost bough, Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, Declares the LORD, the God of Israel.

This possible nuclear attack by Israel on Syria could turn into the curtain-raiser to Israel’s new role of “unwalled” country. Notice that even though Damascus “will become a fallen ruin,” Israel also suffers as the “gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives on the topmost bough, Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree.” Because of the proximity of northern Israel to Damascus, Israel could well experience severe destruction via nuclear fallout from her own weapons.

However this transpires, one thing is certain: a nuclear attack by Israel will strike fear into the hearts of her neighbors. They will offer Israel peace if the Holy Land would but agree to vastly reduce or completely eliminate her nuclear arsenal. Naturally, Israel will scoff at such a notion, knowing that the promises of her neighbors mean nothing. However, the desire for peace – which has been Israel’s most coveted yearning since her 1948 rebirth – will prove difficult to resist. Israel will require rock-solid assurance that if she eliminates her mighty war arsenal, peace must be certain. Unable to trust the Arab nations, both sides will solicit the help of a third party.

unwalled 6Who is this third party?

It will be none other than the one referred to as “that man of sin” and “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), or more commonly, Antichrist. Not wanting to appear as if he is taking sides, Antichrist will assure Israel he understands her reluctance to make peace with her neighbors, instead assuring the war-weary nation that he will be the broker of peace. “Disarm yourselves,” he will in essence say, “and I will guarantee you peace.”

It is then that the prophecy of Daniel 9:27 will be fulfilled, when Antichrist will confirm a covenant with “many,” one of whom will be Israel. Antichrist will guarantee Israel peace if she will dismantle her nuclear stockpile. Hence, Israel will be “unwalled” in that she will not have the means – bombs, missiles, high-powered weapons, and anti-aircraft/missile weaponry – to defend herself.

All of Israel’s history has been leading to this. Israel has time and again said “No” to God, and will continue to do so to a point where He will turn Israel over to her enemies for discipline and cleansing.

How it will End
When the Gog-led confederation of nations attacks Israel sometime during the final seven years of world history, Israel will be completely defenseless. Antichrist, who had promised to preserve Israel, will turn his back on this nation with whom he entered into a pact, and will leave the overwhelmed Jewish people to fend for themselves. In fact, once betraying Israel by refusing to defend her, Antichrist will then turn around and encourage – or even lead – the “Gog” attack. However, just when it appears Israel is about to be overrun, the Lord will step into the fray and rescue His ravished people.

“I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the LORD God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 38:21-23).

unwalled 7God’s attack upon Gog will be twofold. First, He will cause the hordes of Gog to turn on each other. Second, the Lord will besiege Gog and his forces with a plague, as well as torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur. Gog will be destroyed, and Israel will be saved. But, most importantly, the Lord will reveal Himself as great and holy, and will make Himself known to the heathen nations. Whether or not they turn in repentance, they will at least know that the God of Israel – the God of the Bible – is indeed real, mighty, all-powerful, and reigns over all.

Israel’s Spiritual Salvation
Israel’s moral failings will lead the nation to become an unwalled people on the brink of destruction. As spoken through the prophet Zechariah, this is the Lord’s eternal plan: “‘It will come about in all the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;

But the third will be left in it’” (Zechariah 13:8). Though Israel will be rescued from the attack of Gog, many of her Jewish citizens will perish at the hand of Antichrist. However, God will preserve a remnant that will become the redeemed of Israel, the ones through whom God will fulfill the glorious promises He made to His people. Regarding this remnant, God will: “…  will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’” (Zechariah 13:9).

In that day, Israel will never again be forsaken, either physically or spiritually. The Lord proclaims, “‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. For I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire [b]around her, and I will be the glory in her midst” (Zechariah 2:4-5).

When Jesus returns and ushers in His kingdom, Israel will be forever walled as the Lord Himself will be an eternal wall of glory to His people!


[1] http://www.france24.com, “ ‘Cancerous tumour’ Israel will soon be destroyed, says Ahmadinejad” (August 17, 2012).

[2] Military statistics courtesy of http://www.globalfirepower.com.

[3] “58 Percent of Jewish Israelis are Religious or ‘Traditionalist’,” Arutz Sheva, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148286

[4] “4,000 march in 10th annual Jerusalem Pride Parade,” The Jerusalem Post, http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=279885

[7] Berg, Raffi (2007-11-06). “Israel’s fight against sex trafficking”. Jerusalem: BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7070929.stm. Retrieved 2008-01-14.

[12] Ibid.

Read more insightful articles by David Ettinger and Marv Rosenthal at zionshope.org.
Follow David Ettinger on Twitter.

Advertisements