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Israel – God’s Prophetic Timepiece – The Clock is Ticking

“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance.”  (Joel 2:31–32)

When we want to determine where we are  on God’s timeline in terms of the Last Days, we need look no further than God’s timepiece and the epicenter of prophecy: Israel and even more specifically, Jerusalem.  As well, one of the Biblical ways that God reveals the times and seasons is through heavenly signs.

Looking back over this year, a myriad of events of extreme historical and spiritual importance have coincided with the Blood Moon Tetrad of 2014–15.  The epicenter of these events has been Jerusalem, making her the front lines as a possible third intifada gains momentum in Israel and threatens to infect the entire world.

Blood Moon Tetrad

The Book of Genesis says God uses the sun, moon, and stars for signs and seasons.  Between Passover 2014 and Sukkot 2015 is a series of four total lunar eclipses that coincide with Passover and Sukkot each year.  In between the two eclipses in 2014 and in 2015 is a full solar eclipse.  As well, the final lunar eclipse will be particularly rare.  Not only will it be part of a tetrad, it will be a supermoon (moon at its closest approach to the earth) and a harvest moon (full moon nearest the Autumn equinox).

Historically speaking, the tetrads that fall on Passover and Sukkot have coincided with key events in Israel’s past that seem to indicate they are heavenly signs.

  • The 1493–94 Tetrad followed a year after the Jewish expulsion from Spain.  America, which was discovered in that same period, promised to be a land of freedom from pogroms and expulsion.
  • The 1949–50 Tetrad followed the establishment of the independent State of Israel, and marked the Israeli Parliament’s move to Jerusalem, on the day Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared Jerusalem as the Eternal Capital of Israel.
  • The 1967–68 Tetrad saw the 1967 Six-Day War and the recapture of Jerusalem from Jordanian forces who had occupied eastern Jerusalem for 19 years.
  • This year, the first two moons of the 2014–15 Blood Moon Tetrad, which fell on the first night of Passover and Sukkot, led to a time of trouble for Israel.  The second half of the tetrad will fall in 2015, which is just around the corner!  Events thus far have been significant, perhaps suggesting that the end-time battle for Jerusalem has begun.
Tzipy Livni John Kerry Saeb Erekat

US Secretary of State John Kerry (center) offers his hand to Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.  Erekat is shaking hands with Israeli Justice Minister and peace talk negotiator Tzipy Livni.

The events that have unfolded this year indicate a season of heartache, global division and war; Israel’s enemies have risen against her from without and within.

With the first Blood Moon on April 15, 2014 came an increase in Hamas missiles being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel and the collapse of the 2013–14 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which were supposed to end in an agreement by April 29.

Instead, Fatah, the leading Palestinian political party united with Hamas (the head political party of Gaza, and an identified terrorist organization), forming the Palestinian Unity Government.

While the world embraced the formation of a unity government, Israel condemned it because Hamas is a known terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel.

“Abu Mazen [Abbas] could have chosen peace with Israel instead of peace with a murderous terror organization.  Tonight, while talks are ongoing to extend peace talks, he chose Hamas…  He who chooses Hamas does not want peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Abbas Hamas Palestine Unity Government

(Government of Israel graphic)

Escalation of Violence in Israel: Three Israeli Teenagers Murdered

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  (Ephesians 6:12)

Less than two months after the first Blood Moon, on June 12, three Israeli teenagers were abducted and murdered by a Hamas cell in the West Bank, which is Judea and Samaria, Israel’s ancient heartland.  They were taken from a bus/hitchhiking stop in Alon Shvut while on their way home from their yeshivot (religious high schools).

Shortly after, Netanyahu correctly identified Hamas as being behind the abduction and severely criticized the unity government.

“The pact with Hamas has led to very harsh results, results which are the exact opposite of advancing peace between us and the Palestinians,” the prime minister said.

Hamas abduction murder Naftali Fraenkel Gilad Shaer Eyal Yifrah

Hamas calls the abduction and murder of Naftali Fraenkel (left), Gilad Shaer (middle), both 16, and Eyal Yifrah (right), 19, a highlight.

“All of the terrorist organizations—Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist organizations—are committed to the destruction of Israel and they draw encouragement from this pact.  Their personnel are constantly trying to murder, attack and abduct Israeli citizens simply because they are Israeli citizens.  Over the decades they have tried to perpetrate abductions and, to our regret, they occasionally succeed,” he said.

“There is no possibility of talking peace with Israel while, at the same time, establishing a unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization that aspires to destroy Israel.  Those same elements in the international community that said that the Palestinian agreement with Hamas would advance peace now see the true results of this union,” Netanyahu continued. 

Palestinian media cartoon three Israeli teens rats

Palestinian media cartoon likening the three Israeli teens to rats caught on a fishing line.

As Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers combed the Hebron area for the missing teens, they found ample evidence of increased radicalization among Palestinians, uncovering dozens of terror tunnels and hundreds of weapons caches.

During the IDF’s house-by-house search for signs of the teens, they also discovered nearly 20 home-based laboratories used to produce improvised explosive devices (IED).

These weapons were intended for use against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

IDF Soldiers search missing teens

The Israel Defense Forces conduct a search for the missing teens in the Hebron area.

Moreover, as Israel searched for the teens, Arab violence in Judea and Samaria continued to escalate.  While the missile attacks from Gaza surged, Palestinians stepped up the rioting with large rocks, explosives and bottle attacks against the Israel Defense Forces.  Palestinians also used firebombs and other deadly projectiles.

Palestinian Arab children celebrated the abduction of the three teens, and signs of the three-finger salute campaign grew blatantly in the streets, on the Temple Mount, and in social media.  Some Palestinians, even children, outright called for the murder of Jews by chanting, “Khaybar, Khaybar ya yahud, jaish Muhammad saya’ud—O Jews, Mohammad’s army will return.”

(Khaybar, which is an oasis in Saudi Arabia, was the location of a mass slaughter of Jews by Mohammad.) 

Children three fingered salute teenage kidnapped abduction murder

One photo of many three-finger salutes that were posted online to celebrate the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens.

The Connection Between Gaza Missiles and Iran

After Hamas missiles continued to incessantly pummel Israel, and armed Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip invaded Israel through Hamas-constructed terrorist tunnels, Israel spent her summer locked in war with neighboring Gaza.

On July 8, Israel was forced to launch Operation Protective Edge, activating its defense forces to protect Israeli civilians from Gaza rocket-fire and to destroy more than 30 tunnels burrowing under Israel’s borders, tunnels designed for the purposes of murder and kidnapping Israelis.

Meanwhile, in July, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said, “We believe the West Bank, too, should be armed just like Gaza and those who are interested in the fate of the Palestinians must work in this respect so that the pains and miseries of the Palestinian people will be decreased due to their mighty hands and the weakness of the Zionist enemy.”

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

This summer, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei called for the arming of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

As Operation Protective Edge continued, in August, Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, called on Palestinian Arabs living in Israel’s regions of Judea and Samaria to take up arms against Israel.

“The Palestinian people, especially the youth, resistance forces and warriors have valuable experiences in fighting the Zionist enemy and through the spread and expansion of more serious fighting in the occupied territories, the usurpers and occupiers will have no option other than leaving these holy occupied territories,” Jazzayeri told Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars.  (Algemeiner)

“The countdown has started for a change in the model of confrontation in the West Bank,” he said.

Iran, the greatest threat to Israel’s existence, has admitted to arming Hamas and has continued to build up its own nuclear capabilities.  Just two weeks ago, this rogue nation once again threatened Israel, claiming that it had raised an army of millions of volunteers to flood Gaza and Syria with soldiers.

The Muslim violence that had sprung up after the first Blood Moon has spread throughout Israel.

A long-term Tel Aviv resident named Ronen lamented that the atmosphere is extremely tense right now.

“They want to kill us! …  Why won’t they just let us live?” he asked. 

Shipment Iranian missiles IDF Gaza Strip

A shipment of Iranian missiles intercepted by the IDF before they reached the Gaza Strip

The Second Blood Moon: Violence on the Temple Mount

This year, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders have pressed Arabs and Muslims to rise up and kill Jews “by any means.”

Terror seems to inflame terror, resulting in repeated eruptions of violence on the Temple Mount, with Muslim assaults against Israeli security forces and Jewish visitors.

Temple Mount tensions reached a boiling point during Sukkot, this year, coinciding with the second Blood Moon on October 8.  Muslims blockaded themselves in the al-Aqsa mosque as police pushed rioters back to allow routine Jewish visits.

Temple Mount Dome of the Rock

The Muslim Dome of the Rock sits on the location where the Holy of Holies in the First and Second Temples were located, connecting the spot to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

One Canadian Messianic Jewish Believer visiting the Temple Mount just after Sukkot experienced firsthand Muslim animosity toward Jews on the Mount.

“From the moment we arrived on the Mount, they made it clear we were not welcome.  Some Muslims followed us.  On a number of occasions large numbers of Muslims would chant their mantra [allah akbar—God is greater] as we walked by.  A large rock landed just feet in front of us as we rounded the first perimeter,” Charles Immanuel said.

“We started with two police escorts, but by the time we crossed in front of the al-Aqsa Mosque, we were surrounded by at least eight.  It seemed to me at that point that over a hundred Muslims were angrily chanting.  I distinctly felt like I was surrounded by hungry animals wanting to eat us alive.”

Since the second Blood Moon, Jerusalem itself continues to seethe with violence as Arabs and Muslims riot daily.

Rioters have terrorized the citizens of Israel with stabbings, shootings, rocks thrown at Jewish drivers on busy highways and at kindergarten children playing in school grounds.  Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and other projectiles are flung at police on the Temple Mount itself.

Jewish Temple Mount Police Escort Security

Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount now need to have an armed escort of Temple Mount police to remain safe on the Mount. Even with the escort, the visit can be fraught with verbal abuse and physical threats.

On October 17, 2014, Abbas called on “settlers”—apparently referring to all Jews—to stop from even accessing the Mount, as well as apparently, another site in the heart of Jerusalem—the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

“We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary in any way,” Abbas said, grouping the Muslim holy sites with those related to Yeshua (Jesus or Issa in Arabic), who is a prophet in Islamic scriptures, thereby claiming religious sovereignty over all holy sites.

“We will protect the first direction of prayer, the second Mosque, the third Sanctuary after the other two Sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina), the site of Muhammad’s Night Journey and the cradle of Christ.  We will protect the land of the prophets from the enemies of the prophets.  We will protect the land of the Apostles from the enemies of the Apostles,” said Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser on Religious and Islamic affairs.  (PalWatch)

Yehuda Glick

Yehuda Glick, advocate for the rights of Christians and Jews on the Temple Mount

On Wednesday, October 29, the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick, an advocate for Jewish and Christian rights on the Temple Mount, led to the Mount being closed the next day.  It was the first time the Mount was closed since 2000.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas lauded the actions of Moataz Hejazi —the would-be assassin of Yehuda Glick—who was killed shortly after shooting the Jewish activist multiple times.

Hamas and Fatah have urged this rebellion, with Hamas praising the acts of the car terrorists that attacked in recent weeks and the digger that overturned a passenger bus earlier this year.  They call the consequent deaths of terrorists “murder” and underplay the actual sequence of events in public reports.

“He who rose to the heavens as a martyr, who defended the rights of our people to our holy sites, we strongly condemn his murder,” Abbas said of Hejazi.  (JPost)

Aerial view Temple Mount

The Temple Mount platform

Palestinian media also incites violence by deliberately misrepresenting the facts in order to mislead Palestinians.  For instance, on November 4, when a Palestinian deliberately drove into pedestrians at the Jerusalem Rail, the headline of the PA’s official news service, Wafa, read, “Israel Police Shoots, Kills Jerusalemite upon Car Crash.”  The “Jerusalemite” shot by police was the terrorist Ibrahim al-Aqari, whose wife said that he chose to go out on a mission of martyrdom after hearing about police pushing back Arab rioting on the Temple Mount that day.  (JPost)

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Wafa story “goes on to say that the driver lost control of his car and happened to kill a police officer and injure ‘at least 10 others.'”

On November 5, repeating the scene from Sukkot, Arab adults and youth tried to blockade themselves in the al-Aqsa Mosque, using firework launchers, firebombs, rocks and metal rods as weapons against the police.  The violence caused the closing of the Mount, the second time in a week.

While on Sukkot the police force had cleared the barricade and locked the offenders inside the mosque doors before the Mount’s early-morning Jewish visitors arrived, the Arab radicals on November 5 tried to stop the police from locking them inside a second time by blocking the doors open.  (JP)

On November 18, two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver, axe, knives and a gun invaded a Jerusalem synagogue and murdered Jewish worshipers as they recited morning prayer.

Attack synagogue Palestinian Jewish

Recent Palestinian violence in a Jewish house of worship in Jerusalem left a grizzly sight of blood mixed with prayer shawls and Jewish prayer books

Tension on the Temple Mount

In 1967, another rare Blood Moon Tetrad coincided with the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot.  This was the same year Jerusalem was reunited and the Jewish People regained access to the Temple Mount, after the surrounding Arab nations had prepared to invade Israel.

To head off a potential holy war between Judaism and Islam, Israel handed over the administration of the Temple Mount to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.

“By choosing to relinquish the full spoils of victory, by opting not to realize the conqueror’s capacity to impose its will, the leadership of the Jewish nation self-evidently undermined the Jews’ claim to the Temple Mount in the eyes of the Muslim world,” said Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz.

“At the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, it is clear [to Muslims], the Jews have no legitimacy whatsoever for many ordinary Palestinians,” he said.  (Times of Israel)

Yet, the prophecies that foretell the state of the world in the last days confirm the prominence of Jerusalem on the world stage, as well as the importance of Israel to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The Lord promises to fight against the nations that come against Israel. These nations have rejected the Jewish connection to parts, if not all, of Jerusalem—they have refused to recognize the millennia of Jewish history in God’s Holy City.

Even the United States refuses to connect Jerusalem with the State of Israel in its foreign policy, blocking the inclusion of “Israel” on the passports of Jerusalem-born American citizens—a 2-year-old case that has divided the US Supreme Court as recently as this last week.

Jerusalem-born Menachem Zivotofsky, 12, and his parents have been pursuing the upholding of a 2002 US law to give Jerusalem-born Americans the right to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports.

Jewish family walks ancient walls Jerusalem

A Jewish family walks along the ancient walls of Jerusalem.

Jewish History of the Temple Mount Documented by the Bible

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to maintain the status quo of the Temple Mount—where Jews have been permitted to visit and Muslims have been permitted to pray since a 1967 agreement with the Kingdom of Jordan, in November Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel described the Temple as “the forefront of Jewish salvation.”  Ariel said it is a Biblical requirement to build the Temple.  (Middle East Monitor)

When Ariel visited the Temple Mount ahead of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), he was met by Arab rioters hurling curses, rocks and fireworks.

“The sovereignty over the Temple Mount is in our hands and we must strengthen it,” he said from the Mount.  “It cannot be that rioters will time and again take advantage of the sanctity of the site for riots, disorder and attacks on Jews.”  (Arutz Sheva) 

Jews Temple Mount

Jews visit the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred site.

In recent decades, Palestinians have sought to disassociate the Jews from Jerusalem, and the God of Israel from the House of Israel, but the Jewish People have a long, documented history in Israel and especially on the Temple Mount.

For instance, Abraham bound his beloved son Isaac (Genesis 22) on the Temple Mount.

“God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’”  (Genesis 22:2)

Isaac’s willingness was a forshadowing of Messiah Yeshua’s submission to God’s plan for the salvation of the world—through His death on the Roman execution stake on the hill outside Jerusalem called Golgotha, “the place of the Skull.”

Yeshua Cross Roman Execution Stake Tree of Sacrifice

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5)

Before the First Temple was built on the Temple Mount, Adonai moved to halt a plague against Israel.  As an angel exacting the plague stood on the Temple Mount site, on the threshing floor of the Jebusite Araunah, God intervened on Israel’s behalf (2 Samuel 24:16).

King David received a word from the Lord to “go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite” (2 Samuel 24:18).

After buying the threshing floor, “David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.  Then the Lord answered his prayer on behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.”  (2 Samuel 24:25)

David gave the site to his son Solomon, telling him to build the Temple of the Lord there.  Solomon did as his father said, and in response to Solomon’s prayers, dedication of the Temple, and invitation to God to dwell there, God’s Glory filled the Temple.

“The cloud filled the temple of the Lord.  And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled His temple.”  (1 Kings 8:10–11)

The Lord issued this blessing:

“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting My Name there forever.  My eyes and My heart will always be there.”  (1 Kings 9:3)

As stated in 1 Kings 8:29, Solomon asked God to hear the pleas of His people whenever they would cry out to Him while facing the Temple, and it is toward Jerusalem’s Temple grounds that Jews today still pray.

Facing Temple Mount to Pray

A Jewish man faces the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The Temple During the Time of Yeshua

Much of Yeshua’s life and ministry involved the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

As a baby, Yeshua’s parents brought him “to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” for the consecration of the firstborn unto God, in keeping with the Law of Moses.  (Luke 2:22)

At every Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot following, Yeshua and His parents would go up to the Temple to remember and celebrate the love and mercy of God, and His redemption of the Hebrews from slavery.

When Yeshua was 12 years old, around the age of His bar mitzvah when He accepted the yoke of the commandments, Jewish Torah scholars and teachers were amazed by His wisdom and understanding of Scripture.  He should have returned home with His parents after the Passover celebration, but He stayed behind to discuss the Word of God with these learned men.

When His parents returned to Jerusalem to find Him, He said to them, “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?”  (Luke 2:49)

Reading Torah Western Wailing Wall Kotel

Reading the Torah at the Western Wall, an ancient wall of the Temple Mount, on Passover.

As an adult, Yeshua taught within the Temple on a daily basis when in Jerusalem: “Each day Yeshua was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear Him at the temple.”  (Luke 21:37–38)

According to the prophets, in the last days, “the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.”  (Micah 4:1)

Yeshua Among the Doctors, by James Tissot

Yeshua Among the Doctors, by James Tissot

Prophetic End-Time Jerusalem

Where the State of Israel has largely chosen diplomacy and concessions since 1948, today’s fire-hot tensions in Jerusalem will require difficult choices to be made by Israeli officials for the safety and future of the Jewish people.

The prophets of Israel foretold that there would be birth pains before the last days, “days of distress unequaled from the beginning” and never to be equaled again, and signs in the heavens before the returning of the Son of Man in the clouds.

“The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  (Mark 13:24–25)

With a tetrad of blood moons all falling on Jewish holidays this year and next, the four Blood Moons and the solar eclipse in the middle on March 20 have drawn thousands of eyes skyward—and inward, to reflect on how we should live in this end-time season.

This rare holiday tetrad also has captured people’s attention because of Biblical prophecy linking the appearance of a blood moon to the Day of the Lord—ultimately, the Messiah’s return to the Earth.

The prophet Joel describes days when “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”  (Joel 2:30–31)

Blood moon over the earth (Youtube capture)

Blood moon over the earth (Youtube capture)

While the prophet Jeremiah instructed the people not to “be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them” (Jeremiah 10:2), Yeshua did say that “people will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  (Luke 21:26)

While Jerusalem presently endures the attacks of her enemies, God promises that the remnant of Israel, “the meek and humble … will trust in the name of the Lord. … They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.

“Sing, Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter of Jerusalem!  The Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy.  The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.  On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.  The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.'”  (Zephaniah 3:14–17)

The Temple Mount, Mount Moriah, Mount Zion, Har HaBayit—by any of its names, Judaim’s Most Holy Place, though at the heart of this end-time battle for Jerusalem, is at the heart of the covenant between God and His people, Israel.

We can be 100% certain that although things may initially look bleak, and although we may be going through a season of trouble marked by Heavenly Signs, God is faithful.  He has something good in mind, and He will be victorious!

“For the LORD has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His dwelling, saying, ‘This is My resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.’”  (Psalm 132:13–14; see also Zechariah 2:12)

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