Israel Update: Signs of the Times

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April 2013

By David Dolan

Shalom from Jerusalem,

Last year, I sent out to my large email list some of my salient thoughts concerning the possible prophetic significance of the dramatic events that have been unfolding in recent years here in the turbulent Middle East and elsewhere on planet earth. Specifically I wrote about the so-called “Arab Spring” (which I labeled an “Islamic Fundamentalist Spring” in some of my public talks delivered near the start of the wave of revolts in early 2011), and its possible political, social and prophetic implications for Israel and the rest of the world.

Today—the last day of Passover, and a very dusty one here—I want to mainly focus on the prophetic side of the sharp tremors increasingly rocking this region. I realize that among my many thousands of Israel News Update subscribers are some who either do not believe in the God of the Bible, or do believe but are Orthodox or non practicing Jews who do not agree with my personal belief that Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) is Israel’s Messiah King. From the correspondence I receive, I also know that some of my readers are Muslims or members of other religions, with others professing to be atheists or agnostics. A few have written very angry notes in the past when I’ve (very infrequently) written about my personal religious beliefs or about my prophetic end time novels. So for anyone who might be offended by such material, or if you are just not interested in such topics, our email programs thankfully include an easy to use “delete” button! However since most of my readers seem to share my faith, I am sending this out to my list.

DARK MOONS ON THE HORIZON

For anyone still reading J this message, I want to focus this time on the upcoming cycle of lunar eclipses that scientists inform us will coincide with the first evening of Passover during the next two years, and also with the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles in 2014 and 2015. I have never before spoken or written about this rather rare and unique occurrence, which is known to scientists as a Tetrad; when four consecutive full lunar eclipses take place in the skies above planet Earth.

While scientists note it is fairly uncommon for this phenomenon to occur, it is even rarer for all four of the total consecutive eclipses to coincide with the full moons that signal the beginning of the two annual Feasts of the Lord. In fact, they say it has only occurred seven times since the era when Yeshua ministered on earth just before the Roman destruction of the Holy Temple here in Jerusalem and the subsequent scattering of the Jewish people from the land. However, after several centuries when no such Tetrads took place at all, there have been no less than two since 1949, with a third cycle beginning next Passover. Scientists say it will be the only Tetrad taking place on the biblical feast for the rest of this century. So a remarkable three such Tetrads are taking place in the space of just 70 years after centuries with none at all. I have been receiving increasing inquiries about my views on this intriguing topic, and thus this special message is being sent out to you. Please feel free to discard it, post it, forward it, ignore it, publish it, or whatever else you might wish to do.

I first became aware of the Tetrads connected to the biblical feasts about five years ago when talking with Mark Blitz, who heads a congregation near Tacoma Washington where I have spoken several times. From checking out NASA’s web site, he had earlier noticed the previous Tetrads that coincided with the biblical feasts, including one that took place just as the Jews of Spain were being forcibly expelled from that land in 1494, at the end of the horrific Spanish Inquisition. Mark had also shared this information with my friend and journalist colleague Bill Koenig, who wrote about it on his popular website, which was then picked up by World Net Daily and other media outlets.

By the way, I first met Bill in Dallas in the early 1990s where I shared some information that he later included in his book, Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel. The weather information, which was given to me by a Messianic friend who works for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, noted the interesting correlation between several “natural disasters” that had plagued the world and the United States during important dates in the unfolding Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” My talk especially focused on the “Perfect Storm” that struck the Atlantic Ocean in 1991 as the Madrid peace conference was getting underway, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that my friend and his family were directly in the path of in southern Florida.

Mark, Bill and many others have noted that besides the Tetrad which began on Passover in 1493 soon after the large Jewish community was ordered out of Spain (followed by the expulsion from neighboring Portugal in 1497), the two full eclipse cycles that occurred in the 20th century coincided with seminal historic occurrences in Israel’s short modern history. The initial Tetrad began on the first night of Passover on April 13, 1949. That date was just a little over one month after Israel’s blood-soaked War of Independence came to a successful end. The next Tetrad cycle also began on Passover, in 1967, which that year fell on April 24. That means it was just over six weeks before the short, but intense Six Day War broke out. A solar eclipse closely preceded it on April 20. As you all know, what looked like a probable terrible outcome for vastly outnumbered Israeli military forces turned out to be a stunning victory for them, as was also the case in the earlier Independence War.

If we closely examine the last three recorded Tetrads that began on the full moon of Passover and ended a year later on the first night of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, we can clearly see that they have three things in common—all involved the shedding of Jewish blood. The forced exile from Spain and Portugal and the Inquisitions that preceded them left untold numbers of Jews dead or wounded, while the Independence War took 6,373 lives (about 4,000 of them soldiers and around 2,400 civilians). Many more were wounded. Despite its short length, the Six Day War left nearly 1,000 Israelis dead and over 4,500 injured. Of course many Arab soldiers and civilians were either killed or wounded in the two wars as well, and others became refugees.

It is clear that not much, if any good came out of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and subsequent expulsions for the Jewish people. However the 1949 Israeli victory in its fierce year-long War of Independence was certainly not a given, especially since Jewish fighters were battling much larger and better equipped Arab forces from several countries that had declared a war of annihilation on the fledgling Jewish State. The June 7, 1967 conquest of Jerusalem’s walled Old City and of Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula were both totally unexpected and truly phenomenal, if not miraculous.

So if this same pattern holds true for the Tetrad beginning next Passover, Israel will face war, or at least great bloodshed, that will probably eventually end in some sort of victory. This could precede the first full moon eclipse, as was the case in 1948-49, or follow it as in 1967. In the Independence War, the first Passover lunar eclipse took place a full year after the conflict began, meaning if the pattern recurs, Israel could face a major war (both previous conflicts were major ones, to say the least) at virtually anytime. If the 1967 pattern was followed, then warfare could break out sometime after Passover next year. If the 1493 pattern prevailed, then bloodshed would precede the coming Tetrad, meaning it could also begin at any time.

Of course, no one can say that the previous three Tetrads that took place on the biblical feasts were anything more than coincidental with the dramatic events that seriously affected the Jewish people. However both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures do speak of celestial signs in relation to the Jewish people and their biblical homeland. Therefore, it is certainly noteworthy that the last three historic Tetrads that coincided with Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles did indeed either immediately precede or quickly follow some of the most noteworthy events in Jewish history. It is also interesting to me that each of the string of four full eclipses in a row began on Passover, with none beginning as they could have on Succot. According to the Bible, the Jewish New Year begins in the spring just before Passover.

WAR ON THE HORIZON

You don’t need to gaze at the moon to know that the tense Middle East is gearing up for another major eruption. While Israel itself has not been directly involved with the violent revolutions that began in Tunisia over two years ago and then spread to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon, and have also deeply affected many other countries including Jordan, it has been the object of existential threats emanating from Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and from the besieged Syrian Assad regime. Given that the intense and spreading Syrian conflict is now raging right next to Israel’s northern Golan Heights border with the country, and that Hizbullah says it is ready to ply Israel with thousands of deadly rockets at any time, as does Iran which continues to enrich uranium at an escalating pace, it is not hard to imagine that a major war is looming. Of course, Israeli government and military leaders are not just imagining such a scenario, but are busy preparing for it.

Any new Middle East conflict would naturally have significant implications for the rest of the world as well, especially Jews residing around the globe. Financial markets would probably take a nosedive. Violence could be expected to spill over to many other places (especially if Iranian allies like North Korea get into the act, which appears possible at any moment). Plus terror and/or military attacks might also take place in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, as both Iran and North Korea are currently threatening to unleash.

Speaking of the Jewish community living outside of Israel, I found it quite interesting to note that of the four consecutive total lunar eclipses that began on Passover of 1949, all were visible in Israel. In fact one began near the start of the Seder meal in this time zone, with the others occurring later in the night or just before dawn. However in 1967, only one of the four full eclipses would have been visible in Israel… during the third eclipse on Passover of 1968 (April 13). And according to NASA charts, only the first part of it would have been viewable from Israel since the moon did not become totally darkened until after dawn here.

In other words, while the 1949 cycle of eclipses was easily viewable in the skies above Israel, the 1967 cycle was almost exclusively visible only in the Jewish Diaspora. Could this have been a Divine message to the Jewish people around the globe that it was time to come home to their ancient Promised Land? Whether or not that was the case, the Six Day War did in fact spark off a tremendous wave of Jewish immigration to victorious Israel. The Independence War did the same, but it was mostly a large influx of regional Jews who were forced out of their countries by the hostile Arab regimes that governed them.

According to NASA charts, only the final total lunar eclipse of the upcoming Tetrad will appear in the skies above Israel. That will begin on September 28th 2015 just after midnight and reach its peak at 4:48 AM local time. However it will also be one of the longest total eclipses that ever occur, with full darkness lasting for over one hour. The other three eclipses will only be viewable further to the east in Asia, in Australia, over the Pacific Ocean and in the Americas, meaning Jews in Europe and Africa will also not be able to see them. Could this mean that the large Jewish community in North and South America (which when combined contains many more Jews than currently reside in Israel) and the substantial community in Australia might be the prophetic focus of the upcoming string of full moon eclipses until the very last one takes place? Only time will tell.

RAPTURE AND ANTICHRIST

Much of the Christian pulpit messages I’ve listened to on YouTube or on television concerning the upcoming Tetrad, or read online and elsewhere, seem to primarily focus not on its possible connection to the country of Israel and/or Jews scattered around the world. Instead, the focus has often been on the question of whether or not the four lunar eclipses portend an imminent rapture of the church (the prophesied “catching up to the clouds” of the saints, as described by the Apostle Paul and others). A related focus has been on the prophesied coming of an evil world known as the Man of Sin and the Antichrist, who persecutes true believers during the end time Tribulation period as foretold by Paul, the Apostle John, and by Yeshua Himself in his Olivet discourse.

Clearly, a major new Middle East conflict could greatly enflame the economic crisis that has adversely affected the world since 2008. If fact, it would be remarkable if it did not do so, given the vast oil resources in this region and their importance to the global economy. This in turn could easily be the catalyst for further revolutions in the region and all over the globe. Droughts, floods and other weather disturbances that are seemingly escalating around the planet can also limit the world’s food supply, potentially sparking off violent revolts as well.

It doesn’t take a genius to note that World War One and the subsequent collapse of the German economy was the background to Adolph Hitler’s swift rise to power. If anyone was a type of the coming prophesied world ruler, it was the Nazi leader. He came in like a sheep before turning out to be blood lusting wolf—ravishing his own country and much of the rest of Europe, Russia, North Africa and the Middle East, and taking the lives of soldiers from many other regions as well. So the prospect that any coming Middle East war could be the catalyst for the prophesied rise of the Antichrist worldwide ruler is certainly not far fetched. Might he precede, be concurrent with, or follow the next round of Tetrad lunar eclipses? Again, only time will tell.

However I do want to briefly summarize some of the material about this topic that I included in my 2001 book, Israel in Crisis, and in the narrative of my first novel, The End of Days. I do not believe that the book of Daniel foretells a seven-year period of end time upheaval, as do many of the ministries I am associated with, along with the Bible College I attended many years ago. I instead think that the first half of the prophesied seventieth week of Daniel (9:24) was fulfilled during the three-plus year public ministry of Yeshua here in the Promised Land. This view was first taught by some of the ancient church fathers. I believe it was the Lord’s “atonement for iniquity” that put “an end to sin” and brought in “everlasting righteousness” and thus “sealed up vision and prophecy” and brought the true “anointing to the most holy place,” as recorded in that verse.

The Messiah is even mentioned by that very term in verse 25, where He is also termed a “Prince.” His death at the hands of “the people of the prince who is to come” (which turned out to be the Romans, from whom verse 26 says another “prince,” the Antichrist, will come), is also prophesied in that verse. Therefore it is the Lord Himself who “makes,” or some versions say “confirms” a covenant (verse 27) “with the many for one week” via His death and resurrection.

If this is an accurate reading of what many scholars have called a somewhat convoluted text, the Seventieth Week of Daniel is not literally seven consecutive historical years that come at the very end of this age, as many teach. Instead, it begins with Yeshua’s ministry on earth nearly 2,000 years ago, and is interrupted in the middle of the “week” by his crucifixion. The second three and a half year period begins with the appearance of another “prince” (the final Antichrist) who comes “on the wings of abomination” and then “makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (vs. 27)”. This reading exactly matches several other prophecies, which foretell that the Man of Sin will rule over the world for three and a half years (42 months), not for seven years. He may indeed make some sort of political pact with Israel, as I have included in my novel and many expect, but that is not the “covenant” spoken of here.

If I and many others are reading this prophecy correctly, then the appearance of the Antichrist will apparently take place around four years before Israel’s Messiah returns to earth. The reason another six months or so is added to the 42 months is that we are told in the book of Revelation that the Antichrist will be dethroned via a series of Divine wrathful judgements that will fall upon the world in the months after he effectively loses his power to govern (Rev 8 and 9).

So if the prophesied final world ruler were to appear in the spring of next year, coinciding with the first lunar eclipse of the next Tetrad cycle, then the Lord’s Second Coming and the end of this age would take place near to or during the fall feasts in 2017. That would be precisely 100 years from the time when the seminal Balfour Declaration was issued by Great Britain on November 2,1917, leading to a Jewish State being endorsed by the United Nations in November 1947…exactly 30 years later. The year 2017 would also be 50 years after Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967, which contains the Jewish people’s holiest site on earth, the sacred Temple Mount. As you know, the biblical Year of Jubilee is marked every 50 years.

It is also interesting to note that both the Gregorian calendar year, which has become the world’s internationally accepted business calendar over the past century, and the Hebrew calendar year end with the exact same number. Thus, the year 2013 ends with the number three, as does the Hebrew calendar (where we are now in the year 5773). So the “sevens” listed in the years above are always the same in both calendars, at least for around nine months of each year.

Please note that I am not forecasting that the prophesied final world ruler will appear next spring, only that these dates and numbers are quite interesting indeed, especially given that they might exactly fit in with the first lunar eclipse next Passover. The upcoming Tetrad period may well begin with much Jewish (and worldwide) suffering and bloodshed, as in the previous three Tetrads, but it might also end with the final triumph over sin and death for people everywhere that know and serve the Coming King of Kings!

Does the next Tetrad portend the imminent rapture of the world’s true believers? I think it may well do so. However I do not foresee it as a sudden and secret catching up to the clouds that would precede the coming world leader’s appearance, as taught by a majority of my ministry associates and of course by many others. This “pre-tribulation” rapture expectation is frankly not found by me in my personal studies of the Bible, despite having been taught that position at my church before moving to Israel in 1980, and in the Bible College I attended in Washington state before that.

I certainly wish I could say otherwise. I have no great desire to face what Yeshua Himself warned would be a time of unprecedented trial, persecution and upheaval just prior to his VISIBLE return in the clouds (“in power and great glory” Matthew 24, verse 30), from where He will catch up His devoted followers (vs. 31) as the final bowls of judgment are poured out upon the Antichrist and his worldwide kingdom. Still, I do think the Bible is clear that the Second Coming is a one-time visible event (“like lightening flashes from east to west”), not something that takes place in two stages, one hidden and one public. If I and those who agree with me are wrong about this matter, I for one will be most pleased! However if we am right, I’m concerned that many true believers who hold a pre-tribulation rapture view may not be prepared to face such dramatic days (not that those who agree with my view are necessarily prepared for such a time). Either way, the best preparation in my opinion for whatever may lie ahead is to nudge up to the Lord of Lords as much as possible.

ISAIAH 17 AND PSALM 83

As I wrote before, I suspect that the next major regional war will begin with the fulfillment of Isaiah 17, which speaks of the total destruction of Damascus along with great suffering for Israel. This may well coincide with or ignite a conflict with Iran and other allies of the embattled Assad regime. It is true that the ancient Assyrians, who are spoken of extensively by the great prophet, conquered the Syrian capital city in his era. However historians say it was not the utter destruction of Damascus that is described in verses 1-3: “It will be for flocks to lie down in, and no one will (be around to) make them afraid.” A fuller examination of this prophecy can be found in my book Israel in Crisis.

I suspect a war between Israel and Syria and its allies would probably be followed, either quickly or after a short period of time, by the fulfillment of the conspiracy involving several regional Arab neighbors that is foretold in Psalm 83. There we are told they will join together in an attempt to “wipe Israel out as a nation” (vs. 4), which is of course precisely what Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and others have stated many times is their ultimate goal. A key to the fulfillment of that prophecy is the country of Jordan, which at this time still has a functioning peace treaty with Israel (unlike the collapsing treaties with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority). Several of the 10 Arab countries or tribes that are listed in Psalm 83: 6-8 resided in what is today territory under Jordanian control.

Of course, nobody can say for sure that the coming Tetrads will prove to be anything more than just a series of interesting celestial events with little or no prophetic or historical significance at all. Some of the Tetrads that took place on Jewish feast days in the last 2,000 years cannot be clearly traced to any important events in the Jewish world. However the last three certainly can be. I also find it quiet interesting that we have had seven Tetrads since the time of Yeshua that occurred on Passover and Succot. Seven is obviously a significant number in the Bible, beginning with the seven-day week. So this next one will be number eight…also a significant biblical number signaling completion and fulfillment. Are we about to witness some shattering events on planet earth? Stay tuned….

“How blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee, in whose heart are the highways to Zion (Psalm 84:5).

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DAVID DOLAN is a Jerusalem-based author and journalist who has lived and worked in Israel since 1980. His latest book, a novel titled MILLENNIUM:THE LORD REIGNS is available for purchase at his web site, www.ddolan.com in both printed and electronic versions at special introductory prices. His first novel, THE END OF DAYS, which is a companion work to the new novel, is available for a very low price of just $5.00.

HOLY WAR FOR THE PROMISED LAND (Broadman & Holman), his latest book, is an overview of the history of the Israel and of the bitter Arab-Israeli conflict that rages there, plus some autobiographical details about the author’s experiences living in the land since 1980. It especially examines the important role that militant Islam plays in the conflict.

ISRAEL IN CRISIS: WHAT LIES AHEAD? (Baker/Revell), which examines the political and biblical prospects for a regional attack upon Israel, settlement in the disputed territories, and related topics, is also available for purchase, along with an updated edition of his popular end-time novel, THE END OF DAYS (21st Century Press).

You may order these books at a special discount price by visiting his web site at www.ddolan.com, or by phoning toll free 888-890-6938 in North America, or by e mail at: resources@yourisraelconnection.org

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