Israel’s economy is strong and growing stronger. In the last decade, the nation’s per capita gross domestic product has grown by 45 percent, significantly better than most Western nations. Foreign direct investment in the first quarter of 2019 increased by more than $45 billion and is currently at a record high. Israel is a world leader in scientific research and technology innovation and development.
Militarily, Israel is stronger than ever. While it isn’t the largest military in the Middle East, the Israel Defense Force is technologically superior, more highly trained and better equipped than all the others. This gives Israel tremendous confidence in its military, intelligence and security establishments.
Israel is also confident strategically and geopolitically. Terrorist violence is ever present, and the nation remains surrounded by enemies, some of which regularly fire missiles at Israel’s towns and cities. But those seeking Israel’s destruction are either weakened by political dysfunction (e.g. the Palestinian Authority) or relatively ineffectual before Israel’s superior strength. Israelis believe that as long as they remain strong and alert, they will be safe and secure.
Given these conditions, it’s easy to understand why the Jewish state today is feeling confident and optimistic.
Concurrently, it is enjoying a resurgence in its relationship with America. Donald Trump’s view of the Jewish state is basically the polar opposite of his predecessor, who practiced an adversarial foreign policy that sought to undermine Israel and embolden its enemies. Since President Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, his basic approach to Israel has been to look at what Barack Obama did, then do the opposite.
America and its president are a major part of Israel’s success, and its confidence and optimism. At a time when anti-Semitism is mounting globally and Israel is being maligned and isolated, having the support of America’s president has been extraordinary and indispensable. Caroline Glick called Mr. Trump “the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history. No other president comes close.” He has also been called the “first Jewish president of the United States.”
Shmuely Boteach, a popular American rabbi, described the sentiment many Jews have toward Donald Trump in a Jerusalem Post article in April. “Hearing the most powerful man on Earth acknowledge the rise of Jew-hatred all over the globe, and his declaration of war against it, helped to greatly assuage Jewish feeling of isolation and abandonment,” he wrote. “U.S. President Donald Trump told us that we’re not in this fight alone. There will be no modern Masada. There is no Fortress Israel. The most powerful nation on Earth is by Israel’s side” (emphasis added).
One can appreciate this man’s sense of hope, and the general confidence and optimism in Israel today.
But how long can the good times last? There are reasons to believe that Israel has too much confidence, too much hope, both in itself and in President Trump.
First, though, consider what Donald Trump has done for Israel.
On May 22, 2017, just four months after taking office, Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall, one of the Jews’ most revered sites. It was a very public gesture, delivered early in his presidency—and deeply unpopular with the international community—and was a clear sign of where America’s president stood.
Six months later, on Dec. 6, 2017, Mr. Trump again made history by becoming the first U.S. president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Then on May 14, 2018, the 51st anniversary of the Six-Day War and Jerusalem’s unification, America opened its embassy in Jerusalem. This decision was also deeply unpopular with the international community and within America’s political establishment. This didn’t faze Mr. Trump. America had promised for decades to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, and he was determined to follow through. Israel was thrilled and grateful. At the embassy opening, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, “Finally, we have a leader who promised it and also kept his promise.”
That wasn’t the only big development in May 2018. The week before, on May 8, President Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Iran nuclear deal. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” he said. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
This decision was also extremely unpopular. It infuriated Barack Obama and virtually the entire political establishment, as well as Russia, China, Europe, Britain and most of the international community. None of this bothered America’s president. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire nation of Israel were ecstatic.
On March 21 this year, America’s president made another pro-Israel announcement. With one tweet, he overhauled a major American policy on Israel: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability!” A few days later, the White House made it official. Again, this decision rankled politicians in America and in the international community. But that didn’t deter Mr. Trump; Israel came first!
Since January 2017, within the notoriously anti-Israel United Nations, the U.S. has robustly defended Israel. Until she resigned last December, Nikki Haley, handpicked by Donald Trump as America’s ambassador to the UN, was an absolute warrior for Israel. She introduced Security Council resolutions condemning Hamas and withdrew U.S. support from unesco, unrwa and the UN Human Rights Council, all favoring Israel.
America’s president has initiated many other significant changes, including cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority (which, among other corrupt behavior, uses funds to pay family members of terrorists), officially designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity, and routinely and publicly defending Israel and furthering its interests, both domestically and globally.
Under President Trump, America has delivered on promises that have been made for decades. Many of the president’s actions have been significant, meaningful, even historic.
Considering all these decisions, it’s easy to understand Israel’s affection for Mr. Trump and why many Israelis and Jews are so hopeful. There is a certain confidence and comfort that comes with knowing that the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth has your back. Add in Israel’s economic and military strength, and you can understand the nation’s optimism.
But is Israel too confident? Both Israel and America ought to remember the words of wise King Solomon: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
To understand why, we need to examine what Bible prophecy says about the present situation.
Prophetic Parallel in History
Gerald Flurry, the Trumpet’s editor in chief, has explained the prophecy in Amos 7, which identifies Donald Trump as a modern-day type of King Jeroboam ii of Israel.
King Jeroboam presided over a spectacular renaissance in the kingdom of Israel in the first half of the eighth century b.c. (2 Kings 14:23-29). Israel attained a level of material prosperity, power and national security it hadn’t experienced since King Solomon. Today, America and Britain are the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel, and these nations are enjoying an obvious resurgence. (You can read more about this prophecy in our article on page 20.)
Who is ultimately responsible for this resurgence? Verse 27 says that it was God who “saved [Israel] by the hand of Jeroboam.” Mr. Flurry explained this crucial point in the May-June 2018 Philadelphia Trumpet: “This resurgence was not because of any personal greatness or leadership skill by Jeroboam. It was because God took pity on Israel in its affliction. It was because God did not want the name of Israel blotted out. It was because God saved Israel!”
The same is true today: God is behind the resurgence in both America and the Jewish state!
The Jews today are the descendants of ancient Judah. The nation of Israel covers virtually all the territory included within that kingdom. Anciently, both Israel and Judah experienced a national resurgence at precisely the same time. You can study Israel’s resurgence in 2 Kings 14 and Judah’s resurgence in 2 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 26.
The King James Study Bible says during the first half of the eighth century b.c., “both kingdoms were enjoying great prosperity and had reached new political and military heights.”
As is so common with human nature, the material prosperity and power caused the people of both Israel and Judah to grow overconfident and arrogant. 2 Chronicles 26:16 says, “But when Uzziah [Judah’s king] became strong, he became so proud (of himself and his accomplishments) that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful and sinned against the Lord his God …” (Amplified).
Both Israel and Judah became overconfident. They became fixated on material wealth and pursuits and on satisfying carnal passions. “It was also a time of idolatry, extravagant indulgence in luxurious living, immorality, corruption of judicial procedures and oppression of the poor” (ibid). Many were so deceived they actually believed God was blessing their nation for its righteousness.
Anciently, the revivals in both Israel and Judah were short-lived. As Mr. Flurry wrote, “And that resurgence was temporary. Not long after, Israel was conquered and its people dispersed in captivity to the Assyrians.” The affluence in the kingdom of Judah lasted a little longer, but it also ended: Judah was soon conquered and enslaved by the Babylonians.
This history is so positive and inspiring, if only America, Britain and the Jewish state would give it the time and attention it deserves. God is using this history and its present parallels to warn these nations. He is giving these nations a resurgence so He can deliver one final warning. He is trying to communicate with us!
Will you listen to what God is saying?
Israel should not allow President Trump’s ardent support to bait it into the trap of overconfidence. It must not exaggerate America’s long-term commitment and ability to support and defend the Jewish state. It must not allow its economic and military strength to foster a false sense of security. After all, what happens if America’s president suddenly changes his approach? What comes after Donald Trump? His current stance on Israel is an exception among world leaders. At some point, this anomaly will end. Then what? Israel is confident and optimistic, but it must be realistic. And it makes a grave mistake if it leaves God out of the picture.
For now, Israel has Donald Trump on its side. Thanks to God’s sanction, America’s president is a powerful force to be aligned with. But Bible prophecy says Mr. Trump, and the resurgence underway in both America and Israel, is a temporary phenomenon.
Time, geography, global trends and Bible prophecy are on the side of Israel’s enemies.