Events in Palestine: the End is closer than ever
Events in Palestine are at the center of world media attention. The escalation of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians has reached an unprecedented heat in recent days.
It is important to point out that not only the Israelis are massacring the Palestinians, but the rockets launched by Hamas are also reaching their targets. Israelis are also losing their lives.
The flare-up of the Arab-Israeli conflict once again resurrects a whole range of ominous apocalyptic plots. All three world monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - agree that the end of the world will begin with a great war in the Holy Land. So the End is closer than ever.
The State of Israel itself is, in the eyes of religious Jews, a State of the End. The fourth diaspora (galut), which began with Titus' destruction of Jerusalem in 70, after which the Jews were scattered all over the world, ends only in the age of Moshiach.
Modern Israel is built, in a sense, on credit.
The Jews after World War II strained all their strength to take control of Palestine, by hook or by crook. They thought that with their efforts they were hastening the coming of the delayed Moshiach. Preparing the terrain for his arrival, they created a kind of pre-State.
After they seized Jerusalem by force and made it the capital. The last step was to tear down the Al-Aqsa Mosque, sacred to Muslims, and to begin building the Third Temple. According to Jewish tradition, you must first find a red cow and offer it as a ritual sacrifice. But if absolutely necessary, it is possible to interpret what is meant by "red" in different ways, or even - in the spirit of Postmodernism - to tint doubtful places.
But if Moshiach delays any longer, there could be a fundamental bankruptcy of not just Israel, but of Judaism and Jewry as a whole.
For Muslims, Palestine and Jerusalem, as well as the al-Aqsa Mosque, for whose fate they are justifiably worried, are in the same time
• the site of thousands of years of habitual habitation,
• and also a holy shrine, third in the significance after Mecca and Medina.
Again, Muslims believe that the end of the world will be directly linked to a great religious war in Middle East – in area stretching from Syria to Egypt, including all of modern Israel. So the Islamic and Arab world, reacting violently today to the escalating violence in Palestine, is driven not only by outrage at the Jewish occupation and the harsh -- sometimes racist -- style of behavior of the Israelis, but also by anticipation of the Last Battle. Both Shiites and Sunnis are ready for it. As far as the end times are concerned, both Islamic major branches agree between themselves. And they both see the solution to the Palestinian problem only in the destruction of Israel as a Jewish Nation-State.
For the Christian world, Jerusalem is also sacred. And biblical prophecies, as well as the Christian Apocalypse, for their part speak of the Last Battle of Satan with the army of the archangel Michael, which must take place in the Holy Land.
Obviously, in the age of mass materialism it is common to interpret these stories allegorically, as pure metaphors, but those Christians who take Scripture seriously cannot help but notice how closely the events of our time resemble the end-time prophecies.
Armageddon is located in Israel.
And the one whom the Jews regard as Moshiach, in Christian understanding, will be none other than the Antichrist. So for the Christian world, too, the aggravation in Palestine is a very warning symbol.
Sceptics and materialists, of course, will once again explain all that by
• intrigues of Netanyahu, confused by domestic politics,
• socio-economic conditions,
• stock market fluctuations, or
• oil prices.
But those who kill each other in Israel and those who believe more in the Holy Writs than in the frivolous commentators and experts who change their views day by day, are clearly interpreting events in a more serious way. The price of human life is too big to pay for some small and transient things. Getting involved in a tense End Times scenario is another matter.
The right thing to do is to get involved.
That is my directive today. History is coming to a denouement. And better to face it.