Is the war in Lebanon one of ‘the signs of the times’? Jesus used this expression when He spoke to the Jewish leaders of His day. He told them that they were quite able to ‘discern the face of the sky’. He said: ‘In the evening you’ll say: It will be good weather, for the sky is red, and in the morning: It will be bad weather, for the sky is red and threatening… but the signs of the times you can’t discern!’
The weather forecast is every 24 hours. Is the Lebanon-war one of the signs of the time?
… so much more as Lebanon is one of the neighbouring countries to Israel, about which the prophet said: ‘Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about….(Zach.12:2).
‘The cup of drunkenness’ may well refer to the unbalanced religious ideology of Israel’s neighbouring, Islamic enemies.
What has been going on in Lebanon and what is yet to happen might – as far as I can see – be a first, small fulfilling of the word of Isaiah, when he says: "Behold the former things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them" (42:9).
The Lord God of Israel may with the Lebanon-war be telling the world something, which is yet to happen. The war is no particular fulfilling of any written prophecy – but it is a distinct ‘foretelling’ and as such an important sign of the time…
The ‘foretelling’ goes like this:
"It is not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest" (Is.29:17).
With such an encouraging word the believers everywhere lift up their heads. In the night of tragic events they are looking forward to the fulfilling of the words of the apostle, when he speaks of the Lord Jesus, saying: ‘whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the prophets since the world began’ (Acts 3:21).
One of these places the prophets of old have spoken about is Lebanon!
"Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down", they say (Is.33:9) – but they are also foretelling, that ‘Lebanon is going to be ‘a fruitful field and that in such a measure that it shall be considered a lovely forest… and not only that, but even the fulfilling of this prophesy shall become one of the greatest signs of the times…
The prophetic word about Lebanon goes on like this:
"… and in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness" (v.18).
The perspective of this utterance is of such new-covenant-dimensions, that the Lebanon-war suddenly opens up for new expectations! Is this (that ‘the deaf shall hear the words of the book’) what the apostle spoke about, when he wrote about the people of Israel,… ‘for their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ…’ (2.Cor.3:14)?
If this is the case that Lebanon is a sign of the taking away of the veil, which according to the apostle is blinding the Jewish People, so that they cannot understand the reading of the book – then we better have a closer look at the prophecy!
First of all I need to repeat that I do not consider the Lebanon-war as a final fulfilment of the words of Isaiah! I speak about the recent events in the Middle East as sinister signs in ‘the face of the sky’, which for the moment are ‘red and threatening’ … and I refer to a spiritual revival among the children of Israel as a wonderful promise to be seen ‘before it springs forth’ (Is.42:9).
The prophet Isaiah must have been shaken by the declaration that the destitution of Lebanon is connected to ‘the day, when the deaf shall hear the words of the book and the eyes of the blind shall see…’ (Is.29:18).
Even the opposite words of this message were the ones entrusted to him, when he first heard the voice of God in the temple of Jerusalem! While the seraphims were standing around the majestic throne of the Almighty, he heard the words: "Go and tell this people: ‘Hear ye indeed, but understand not, and see ye indeed, but perceive not!’ (6:9)
Filled with desperation the prophet asked: "How long Lord? – and got the dreadful answer: "Until the cities be wasted without inhabitants, and the houses without men, and the land be utterly desolate" (v.11).
… which means (as far as I can see) that the fulfilling of the divine promise (that the blindness and deafness may begin to disappear) is not when everything finally has been re-established – but already when desolation is at hand! That is why – I believe – ‘the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness’ (Is.29:18)… and that is why the apostle declared that ‘God hath commanded the light to shine out of darkness’ (2.Cor.5:6)… Yes, ‘when darkness was upon the face of the earth… the Spirit of God moved … and God said: "Let there be light!" (1.Genesis 1:1-3)
Likewise the God of Israel is moving with His Spirit upon the dark face of the waters of the Middle East. Lebanon is a sign of the times. Light is approaching, the brilliant morning of the Messiah…
… and now the actual events in regard to Lebanon; they have to do with the divine principle of creation: "And God divided the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:4).
The international community is for the moment in danger of making peace… where there is no peace. "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying: Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer.6:14).
In regard to the particular ‘Lebanon-promise’, the prophet Isaiah continues: "The terrible one is brought to none, and the scorner consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off" (29:20).
As long as a terror-organisation is ruling Lebanon, there can be no peace. Hizbollah (and Hamas) must ‘be brought to none’! There can be no cooperation whatsoever with Iran; its present president, the scorner, ‘must be consumed’, and no compromise can be made with Syria (watching for iniquity) ‘it must be cut off!’
… and around the negotiation-table of the UN those, ‘who make a man an offender for a word… and are turning aside the just for a thing of nought’ (Is.29:21) must likewise be cut off. The hour has come to ‘divide the light from the darkness.’
The Lebanon-situation is not left in the hands of corrupted men. "When Lebanon is ashamed" (Is.33:9)… "I will arise, saith the Lord" (v.10).
This recent Middle East-war has brought the world nearer to ‘the everlasting burnings’ (Is.33:14) (‘des flammes eternelles) It is a dreadful place, where the leaders of the nations cannot any longer ‘conceive chaff’ (Is.33:11); they dare not any longer ‘take counsel – but not of the Lord’ (Is.30:1) (prendre des resolutions sans Moi) and they certainly should not ‘make a covenant with death (terror)’ (Is.28:15).
No, this is the day to ‘walk righteously’ and ‘speak uprightly’. This is the hour to ‘despise the gain of oppression and bribe’ (Is.33:15). This is the moment ‘to bless Israel’ (Numbers 24:1) and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.