Is the situation in Israel today a fulfillment of a biblical prophecy? Should we as Christians have concern for the Israeli people?
Is the situation in Irael just now, prophecy being fulfilled? Should we as Christians be concerned for the Israeli people?
The quick answer is a definite no. I discuss in some detail the premillenialist view and the tendency to view modern events as fulfillment of prophecies in Revelation, Daniel or Ezekiel in an appendix in my book Daniel (to come out in a new edition next week! www.ipibooks.com).
Since it will take you a couple of weeks to get the book, most likely, let me give you a very quick answer–one which may not be completely satisfying, as I would need to back up my comments with a number of passages and discuss some of the typical interpretation of popular modern preachers.
If you are talking about the book of Revelation, I believe that virtually all the prophecies in this book have already been fulfilled during the time of the Roman emperors and the persecution of the Christians in the first three centuries. John is very specific that the visions he saw concerned events which would "soon take place." (Revelation 1:1) As if to give emphasis to fight the bogus popular use of Revelation today, the author uses the word soon seven times in the book. I believe the only prophecy in Revelation which applies to the future begins in Revelation 20:11 which describes the time of the end. Somewhat the same can be said for Daniel. Although some of his prophecies concerned events several hundred years into the future, you will find in my book on Daniel that all of the prophecies of Daniel were fulfilled in what is for us the past. Similar to Revelation, only Daniel 12:1f concerns the "time of the end."
Those who say that Jesus will come back to Israel to reign in the very near future will do well to remember the words in Matthew 24:26-28 and 36-41 where Jesus makes it plain that the coming of Jesus will be a great surprise and that anyone who says he knows when it will happen should be viewed with great skepticism.
Now, there may be an aspect of your question which really does not have anything to do with my response so far. Should we, as Christians, be concerned about what is happening in Israel? Of course, as citizens of the world, we should be concerned with any humanitarian crisis and any military crisis and suffering. Yes, we should be concerned with the suffering of the Palestinians and the danger to Israel, as we should be concerned with the situation in Darfur or in South Ossettia (in Georgia). I do not believe that what is happening in Israel today is a fulfillment of any particular prophecy. The meddling in Israeli affairs by the Christian religious right is something I am very concerned about. The assumption that the US, as a "Christian" country, ought to support Israel no matter what in order to bring about the fulfillment of some prophecy in Ezekiel is a dangerous thing, in my opinion, and it is not a correct biblical application.
Does God still have some sort of special concern for the Jews today? My opinion is no. However, I need to be humble and admit that I am not sure. Some see hints in Romans 11:25-32 that God holds a special place, even today, for Jews who have still not accepted Jesus as Messiah. Although I am skeptical of this view, I am open-minded and try not to be dogmatic about my views here.
Any specific prophecy being fulfilled in Israel today? No!
Ought we to have some sort of special concern, as Christians, for the nation of Israel today? No, in my opinion, but I will admit that my knowledge is not complete and perhaps those who take this view have some validity to their thinking.
John Oakes, PhD