If only a few thought Israel's existence was controversial then it wouldn't be. The events in this last six months show the world leaders (and media) giving Israel an increasing prominence, which Israel may not wish for.
The controversy of Zion
Objectively, the increased attention is incomprehensible. Israel's unwanted attention, it seems, is generated by those who would deny the Bible – but in every action to deny it, they fulfil it.
Isaiah declared that there would be a day of vengeance, and a year of recompense for the controversy of Zion (Chapter 34:8).
For there to be such a reckoning, requires a controversy.
We have that controversy, not thanks to literal-ist Bible scholars, who might wish to fulfil prophecy, but due to people who would deny there is a god at all, who are allied with those who uphold a book criticising alleged Jewish and Christian practice of the 7th Century. It is fair to say that the vociferously angry purveyors of controversy over Jews possessing various parts of the Holy Land would all deny that Isaiah wrote the straightforward word of God.
Isaiah is not the only prophet who spoke of an era of controversy. Joel says when Jewish Judah (Judea) and Jerusalem return, God will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for 'my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land' (Joel 3:2). The Quartet on the Middle East no doubt believe they are rational to divide and part the land. They are not trying to fulfil Bible prophecy, yet their words and actions since 2002 establish the veracity of Joel's.
Zechariah names the controversy of Israel as being who owns Jerusalem and Judah in that order, saying, 'The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The saying of the LORD, who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him: Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of staggering unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it fall to be in the siege against Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the nations; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.
In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness; and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the chiefs of Judah shall say in their heart: 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength through the LORD of hosts their God.'
In that day will I make the chiefs of Judah like a pan of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that stumbles among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David ...as the angel of the LORD before them.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. (Zechariah 12:1-10)
Jeremiah speaks of a controversy and pleading, with the nations, a wider scale repeat of the events played out after Babylon's destruction of ancient Jerusalem (Chapter 25:28-38).
In the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses there is testimony that there is to be
a controversy over Zion.
God's recompense to those who seek to challenge whom He has given Zion to.
There is a controversy. The controversy involves more than words. Those who oppose Israel's existence as a nation, and, more recently the territorial gain for defensible borders since 1967, have said: 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.' (Psalm 83:4(5)). Israel says, 'Woe is me, that I sojourn with Meshech (son of Japheth, Russians), that I dwell beside the tents of Kedar (Arabia)! My soul has full long dwelt with him that hates peace. I am all peace; but when I speak, they are for war.' (Psalm 120:5-7).
The Torah states that Jews shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge, but to love their neighbour as themselves (Leviticus 19:18) including the stranger among them (Leviticus 19:33). The Proverbs re-articulate the law. Israel need not say, 'I will do so unto him as he as done to me' for God renders, in the end, to people according to their work (Proverbs 24:29). But the most powerful expression of this is the prophecy of Moses' Song.
'For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; .. all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He. Is corruption His? No; His children's is the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse....
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, ..He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the portion of the LORD is His people, Jacob the lot of His inheritance. ...He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle that stirs up her nest, hovers over her young, ... But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked .. and he forsook God who made him, and condemned the Rock of his salvation. ..And the LORD saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters. And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.
They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. .. I will heap evils upon them; I will spend My arrows upon them; The wasting of hunger, and the devouring of the fiery bolt, and bitter destruction;.. I thought I would make an end of them, I would make their memory cease from among men; Were it not that I dreaded the enemy's provocation, lest their adversaries should misdeem, lest they should say: Our hand is exalted, and not the LORD has wrought all this.'
For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. If they were wise, they would understand this, they would discern their latter end.
How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had given them over and the LORD had delivered them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter; Their wine is the venom of serpents, and the cruel poison of asps. 'Is not this laid up in store with Me, sealed up in My treasuries? Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, against the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that are to come upon them shall make haste. For the LORD will judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants; when He sees that their stay is gone, and there is none remaining, shut up or left at large.
And it is said: Where are their gods, the rock in whom they trusted; ...let him rise up and help you, let him be your protection. See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me; I kill, and I make alive; I have wounded, and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say: As I live for ever, If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to My adversaries, and will recompense them that hate Me. (Deuteronomy 32:3-41)
This ought to give all pause. There is no praise here of Jews, and it is a National Anthem of Israel's beginning, a song of Moses, and of the Torah, but, woe be to those 'no-people' whose bitterness is of serpents, whose foot shall slip, who wait for the time when their controversy with Israel forces no nation to remain as a stay to Israel. Those whose doctrine leads even women and children to kill others and call it glory, is aptly called the poison of asps. Those who don't know of this song are the only ones who are fulfilling it.
Do the nations consider how one Jew can take on a thousand Arabs? Do Jews in general consider this? It is not for Jewish goodness, in fact here is no people who are good (Psalm 14:3, Matt.19:17) and none upright (Micah 7:2), Israel's victory is rather to show that their Rock is with them.
Again there is another witness. The prophet Ezekiel speaks of the controversy, and names the mountains of Israel (Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank)
You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD: Because the enemy has said against you: 'Aha! even the ancient high places are ours in possession';
even the place of the temple
'therefore prophesy, and say: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Because, even because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that you might be a possession unto the rest of the nations, and you are taken up in the lips of talkers, and the evil report of the people;
... to the cities that are forsaken, which are become a prey and derision to the residue of the nations that are round about;
therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Surely in the fire of My jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the nations, and against all Edom, (the Arabs in Israel allied to those Arabs living in Jordan) that have appointed My land unto themselves for a possession with the joy of all their heart, with disdain of soul, to cast it out for a prey;
therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains ..Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations; therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: I have lifted up My hand: Surely the nations that are round about you, they shall bear their shame. (Ezekiel 36:1-7)
That there exists a controversy in these precise terms, with the media giving Israel an 'evil report' of the sort they don't give to other nations, indicates that the end of the manifestation of the fury of God also will surely occur. It is a long time since the earth has felt the fury of God. The Egyptians at the time of the Exodus, could tell us what the fury might entail, and as yet there is no antidote to plague, hail and darkness. Who does not fear earthquake, wind and fire? Yet how few hear the still small voice Elijah heard.
If any seek to do His will, they shall know whether it be of God or whether I speak for myself. Judge not according to appearance, rather we are to judge rightly. The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saw the international condemnation increasing from the killing in Dubai and more recently increasing again with the Gaza Flotilla, and rejoiced, as he saw it favouring his cause, and without basis called it, "the death knell of the Zionist regime” (www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=177807) The weak King Ahab of ancient Israel spoke wisdom to the King of Syria, 'Tell him: Let not him that girds on his armour boast himself as he that puts it off.' (1Kings 20:11).
All the nations have not yet come against Jerusalem in battle, with armies. As yet it is a matter of verbal controversy, with Edom (who call themselves Palestinians) who have appointed the Land unto themselves for a possession. It is not yet the time for the pouring out of the Divine recompense. There are yet a few days left of the post 1967 Generation.
There is yet a transformation to occur on the mountains of Israel, Judea and Samaria (called the West Bank). Ezekiel living at the time of the Babylonian captivity was told of events his day, and wrote down,
And I will make the land most desolate, and the pride of her power shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, so that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land most desolate, because of all their abominations which they have committed. And as for you, son of man, the children of your people that talk of thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying: Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that comes forth from the LORD; and come unto you as the people cometh, and sit before thee as My people, and hear thy words, but do them not - for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness; (Ezekiel 33:28-31).
Mark Twain on his 1867 journey in Palestine, as it was then called, noted often the trouble they had with camel traffic on the paths, but not after leaving Shechem. The tone changes from Shechem, Shiloh, past the ruins of Bethel, on the mountains of Israel riding towards Jerusalem, Twain writes,
There was hardly a tree or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. No landscape exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bounds the approaches to Jerusalem. Innocents Abroad, Chapter LII
These mountains from Samaria to Jerusalem (and to Hebron) in 1867 were desolate as Ezekiel wrote they would be. But Ezekiel also speaks of a regathering of Jews to good pasture, on the same mountains,
For thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, here am I, and I will search for My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks .. I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the habitable places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. (Ezekiel 34:11-14).
That the people be fed is to prepare a people to 'Behold', at the time when 'I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in' (Malachi 3:1). Ezekiel was told, say to the people, 'Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, where they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel' (Ezekiel 37:21-22).
In the light of the controversy, over Israel's possession of the mountains of Israel, it seems the current controversy led by Iran now may have a most peculiar outcome according to Ezekiel, that of peace and national growth for Israel on the mountains of Israel. Before the final controversy over Zion to be led by Gog, Israel dwells on the mountains of Israel (called the West Bank), in the latter years, and Gog shall 'come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they (Israel) shall dwell safely all of them.' (Ezekiel 38:8).
Some see that Israel does dwell safely, but the thought put in Gog's mind indicates a material change from the present situation. You, Gog, 'shall think an evil thought: And you shall say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn your hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. (Ezekiel 38:10-12). The mountains of Israel, Judea and Samaria, where the people dwell safely, where they have cattle and goods, are to have no walls or bars or gates at the time just prior to the final controversy over Zion. Today there exists a long and quite well known wall about the Mountains of Israel!
The years since 1967 have shown Gog's evil thought is a remark on a recent change in the situation. There is a wall about the mountains of Israel, but there will be none. Gog, it seems, shall hate that Israel dwells safely and will go down because they dwell without walls. But the result of Gog's hosts (including Persia) controversy is a recompense, a payback, which is their destruction upon the mountains of Israel that they coveted, and which none but God decides who owns.
You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you, and all your armies, and the peoples that are with you; I will give you unto the ravenous birds of every sort and to the beasts of the field, to be devoured. You shall fall upon the open field; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. And I will send a fire on Magog (those of Gog), and on them that dwell safely in the isles; and they shall know that I am the LORD. And My holy name will I make known in the midst of My people Israel; neither will I suffer My holy name to be profaned any more; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it comes, and it shall be done, saith the Lord GOD; This is the day whereof I have spoken. (Ezekiel 39:4-8).
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
...every one worships the work of his own hands, that which his own fingers have made
You cannot bear with them.
Enter into the rock, and hide you in the dust, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the LORD of hosts has a day upon all that is proud and lofty, and upon all that is lifted up, and it shall be brought low; And upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan;...And upon every lofty tower, and upon every fortified wall; And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all delightful imagery (of an image dominated society). And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
And the idols shall utterly pass away. And men shall go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake mightily the earth. In that day a man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crevices of the crags, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the glory of His majesty, when he arises to shake mightily the earth. Cease ye from man, in whose nostrils is a breath; for how little is he to be accounted! (Isaiah 2:5-22).
Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36). Or as Habakkuk wrote, 'Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that a man may read it swiftly. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it declares of the end, and does not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay.' Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him; but the righteous shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
Faith is akin to trust, in which the substance of trust is the mercy promised to the fathers of Israel (Deut. 19:8, 27:3, Neh.9:23, Luke 1:72. Acts 13:32, 26:6, Rom.15:8) This is the matter at the core of this controversy. It is a matter of life to every person who considers and decides which side they are on.
As Moses said, 'I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your seed; to love the LORD your God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave to Him; for that is your life, and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.' (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). To which Joshua added, 'And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.' (Joshua 24:15). All the world now has the choice of which side they take, to pander and serve the gods of humanism akin to the word of the servants of Allah,
or as Moses said,
“Who is on the LORD's side?” (Exodus 32:26)
For more on Christian view of Israel
Or on the Sons of Zion