Were Ariel Sharon and His Actions In Bible Prophecy?
Israel's pullout from Gaza was certainly a sad affair. 10,000 people had to leave their homes and even exhume graves of loved ones for relocation. In considering such a pathetic situation, it's hard not to let pathos or emotion cloud your perspective and see what may be going on before your eyes is actually for the long term good of Israel. It's hard not to consider Ariel Sharon, the mastermind behind the unilateral disengagement, as a villain or very bad man. To help balance the emotional picture and case against Sharon, I'd like to point out a few things I see in considering this situation for over a year now.
Gaza Disengagement Practical Move
Several commentators see this move as right for Israel given the terrible situation. Yes, pulling out sends a message to the Palestinians that terrorism works. But let's be realistic: terrorism has worked. However, let's not forget why it worked, namely, because it had a lot of help at Oslo and by Arafat's strategic genius before and after Oslo. Also there is the demographic problem. Israel cannot be both a democracy and a Jewish state with Palestinians outnumbering Jews, as one study says is the case when you include Gaza and the West Bank (resulting in an Arab Prime Minister of Israel). The study said that by placing Gaza's 1.3 million Palestinians outside its boundaries, Israel bought itself another 20 years of a solid Jewish majority inside the lands it controls.
Gaza Pullout Against Torah, Israel's Deed To the Promised Land?
Now, of course, pragmatism is good only so long as it does not go against God's will. If your practical course of action is cursed by God then it's not going to turn out as well as you hoped. The settlers and religious groups in Israel are claiming this is the case. They say that Sharon is giving away the Promised Land against God's will. While it may seem on the surface that Ariel Sharon is doing this, this misses the main Torah condition of Israel living in the Promised Land: obedience to Torah.
Ancient Israel was kicked out by the Assyrians and Babylonians and later the Romans in the First Century for failing to keep all of the Torah. In the earlier exile it was for the Northern Kingdom's idolatry and the Southern Kingdom's breaking of the Land Sabbaths (shemitah, requiring them to not plant their fields every seventh year). After Judah was brought back 70 years later (one year for every Sabbath year they broke), they were allowed to stay around until the year 70 AD when the Romans came and destroyed the temple. But once again, as the New Testament records, they were not keeping the Torah fully. Jesus / Yeshua of Nazareth came as the promised "Prophet like unto Moses" who they were commanded to hear or it would be "required of them" (Dt 18:15, 18-19). And what did this promised prophet say to them, "I am the Messiah, allow me to rule you?" No, that is for the next time. He pointed out to the leaders repeatedly that they were not obeying God's word and did not even have eyes to see the way to obey:
Matthew 15:3 (KJV) - But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Matthew 15:6 (KJV) - And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Mark 7:8 (KJV) - For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Luke 19:41-44 (HCSB) - 41 As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it,
42 saying, "If you knew this day what [would bring] peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes.
43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build an embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side.
44 They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
Israel today is mostly secular. The rest who are religious are once again not following the commandment of God, but their own tradition. The very washing of hands and things Jesus refused to follow (Mt 15) are not found in what God commanded in the Torah, but only in the Oral Torah invented by the Jews later. And this is what religious Jews today follow now as written down in the Talmud-not the Torah. This little understood fact is very important to remember when you hear the settlers and religious in Israel make claim to the Promised Land based on Torah. They are not fulfilling the Torah requirement to make such a claim. God has not changed. They have no Torah right to be in Gaza or anywhere today.
Then Why Is Israel In the Promised Land Today?
So, you may ask, if Modern Israel is secular and forsaking the Torah again today what are they doing in the Promised Land at all?
In brief, they are not there because God has ended their exile in fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 as is commonly taught (nor is he planning to turn them back to Torah today before Ezekiel 37 really is fulfilled at the start of the Millennium). Instead, they are there to fulfill other Bible prophecy. Namely, the building of the Third Temple that the Man of Sin ("Antichrist") will inhabit to bring on the promised strong delusion that he is God (2The 2:4) over those who do not have a love for the Truth (2The 2:10).
Before that can happen, however, a war must come so that Israel gets complete control of the Temple Mount to build on, something they gave away in 1967. Perhaps 40 years later in 2007 this will come to pass? Regardless, we are one step closer. Many have known for some time that Isaiah 17 predicts Damascus' reign as the longest inhabited city must end soon here in the End Times. What I saw only recently is the tie-in to Gaza. Compare Amos 1 with Isaiah 17. Israel's enemies in Gaza too will be destroyed apparently at the same time that Damascus is destroyed (see Amos 1, Zeph 2, Zech 9, Isa 17). In other words, this pullout had to happen to fulfill prophecy. Post gaza-pullout, we are now one step closer to this war, a scary thought.