The Canary in the Coalmine

By Edward Thal /

Before the arrival of more sophisticated technology coalminers would take canaries underground with them as warning devices against methane. This deadly colorless and odorless gas brought sure death if its presence was not detected, and canaries were an effective early warning system—if they dropped dead in their cages the miners ran for the exits.

The nation of Israel is in some respects the world’s coalmine canary. This tiny sliver of land located almost in the geographical center of the world has always been a central focus of the Creator of this world. He nurtured and taught a nation there, a system of His moral law and government unfolded there and great promises and prophecies were focused there—on that land, its people and its eternal King.

Israel was especially blessed when it obeyed God, and was uniquely punished when it disobeyed. Of particular relevance to the canary analogy is the fact that surrounding nations were also blessed or cursed by God according to their treatment of Israel. The most significant prophesy regarding present-day Israel is that its rebirth as a nation after a long period of dispersion and judgment would be linked to the return of the Messiah and the establishment of His throne in Jerusalem. (See Ezekiel 36:22-28; Isaiah 66:8; Matthew 24: 32-34; Luke 21:24, 29-32, etc.)

Despite the Nazi plan to exterminate them from the earth, Jews returned to the Promised Land in increasing numbers after the end of World War II. In 1948 Israel became a nation for the first time since the year 70, when the occupying Romans totally destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and banished its people to the far corners of the empire. But the Hebrew language, religion and culture remained miraculously intact through the 1,878 years of dispersion and flowered with the establishment of modern Israel, affirming the truth of Biblical prophecy and the superintending power of God, the Author and Finisher of history.

This sudden and unexpected rebirth did not, however, sit well with the god of this world who has been at war with the Creator God since the Garden of Eden. In the twisted mind of Satan, Israel must be exterminated because every day of its existence confirms Biblical prophecies about a coming Eternal King of Kings.

As the prophesied return of the Messiah looms ever nearer, the frenzy of hatred and opposition against Jews in general and Israel in particular looms greater. Incredibly, despite the ghastly events of the last world war a new holocaust is brewing.

A very brief outline of Israel’s history is offered below as a small counter to the tidal wave of anti-semitic propaganda and increasingly unbridled hatred that assails the Jews today.

  1. Israel became a state in 1312 BC, about 2,000 years before Islam was founded. The borders of the kingdom at that time covered (roughly) present-day Israel and large tracts of Syria, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula, including Gaza.
  2. Jews ruled Israel for about 1,000 years and have maintained a continuous presence in the land for 3,300 years.
  3. For this entire period Jerusalem has been viewed by Jews as their capital city. It has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. No Arab leader has ever paid an official visit to Jerusalem – not surprising since Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the Bible and not once in the Qur’an.
  4. King David founded “modern” Jerusalem (it was inhabited by a tribe known as Jebusites when he conquered it in 1272 BC). Mohammed never set foot in Jerusalem.
  5. Jews pray facing Jerusalem, Muslims pray facing Mecca. If they are between the two cities, Muslims pray towards Mecca with their backs to Jerusalem.
  6. Muslims conquered Jerusalem in about 1000AD and it was later ruled by the Ottoman Turks until the British entered the city during the First World War (1917). Immediately after the Balfour Declaration in 1918 Jews from around the world began returning to Jerusalem in large numbers, buying land and houses from Arabs and joining their brethren who were already living there.
  7. In 1948, on the eve of Israel’s independence as a nation legally constituted by the United Nations, Arab leaders in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq urged Arabs in Israel to leave, promising to cleanse the land of Jewish presence. 70 percent of Arabs fled (about 630,000).
  8. At the same time attacks were launched against Jewish communities in the above Arab nations, causing some one million Jews to flee for safety to Israel. Despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned, Israel prevailed in that war and in every war since. In 1967 Israel took possession of a united Jerusalem and in 1980 the Israeli Government moved its seat to Jerusalem, declaring the city to be the “eternal capital” of the Jews.
  9. Arab refugees from Israel began calling themselves “Palestinians” in 1967, two decades after (modern) Israeli statehood. This was partly due to the fact that these refugees were deliberately prevented from assimilating into their host countries. Notably, of 100-million refugees from all countries following World War II, they are the only group to have never integrated in their host countries or with their co-relgionists.
  10. There are 22 Arab countries, many of them with access to fabulous wealth, and more than 50 Muslim-majority countries in all. There is only one small state of Israel. There are 1,500 million Muslims in the world and 16 million Jews, of whom only 6 million live in Israel.
  11. Including the last war in Lebanon and Gaza, Arabs have started six major wars against Israel. They have lost them all. But if Israel loses once, it will be entirely obliterated. Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah constitutions all call for the total destruction of Israel.
  12. Iran, with the collusion and often active assistance of many Western countries, including the United States, is intensely focused on developing a nuclear arsenal that will be employed to achieve their repeatedly-stated goal of wiping Israel off the map.