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on the part of of the the Jewish religious leaders to recognize clearly all the prophecies about the Messiah and to understand them correctly before he appeared. Jesus called his followers' attention to many of those prophecies and how they applied to him and were fulfilled by him. And the apostles' writings went on to explain how many more versus in the Old Testament applied to the Messiah and pointed out how those were fulfilled by Jesus. Yet, serious Jewish students of Scripture had been unable to discern the correct scenario: that the Messiah would not arrive as a conquering hero, but would appear humble and would be killed and would only later return in power.

The same may well be true with the prophecies about the final conflict over Jerusalem. We may best understand them after the events take place. Meanwhile we can take comfort in these words of Jesus: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that soon she will be destroyed. ...and the heathen will trample over Jerusalem until their time is up. ...When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near." (Luke 21:20, 24, 28 Today's English Version)

Chapter 15 America's Role

Does the Bible prophesy that Israel would have a powerful ally in the form of the United States of America during the final days of of this world? No, at least not explicitly. Of course, we might learn in retrospect, after all the apocalyptic the events of the book of Revelation unfold, that some of the cryptic language there contained hidden allusions to America. But, there are certainly no clear references to the U.S.A. in Bible prophecy.

On the other hand, there is plenty of precedent for a Gentile super-power to play the role America has been playing until now.

Bible history relates the major role that the Egyptian world power played in the origin of ancient Israel. Joseph, son of the man Jacob whose name had been changed by God to Israel, was serving as prime minister of Egypt. As a gesture of favor toward his prime minister, Pharaoh king of Egypt invited Joseph's father Israel and Joseph's brothers, the heads of the future twelve tribes, to move to Egyptian territory and live there with their families and their flocks. It was there during their alien residence in Egypt, that the Jewish people grew in population to the size of a small nation. Then a later king of Egypt began to fear this growing nationality and enslaved them and became their oppressor. The book of Exodus in the Bible relates the story of Israel's victory over Egypt by means of the mighty hand of God.

Will America similarly switch sides as Egypt did? Will America cease being Israel's ally, and become its enemy instead? Bible prophesy demands it.

The ancient neo-Babylonian empire, like modern-day Iraq under its dictator Saddam Hussein, was Israel's enemy. But, after conquering Israel and Judah, and deporting the Jewish population, a later king of Babylon installed some bright young Jewish men in positions of power in his government. Thus, the Hebrew prophet Daniel was given a high position of as prime minister in the Babylonian government. He rose to become the third most powerful individual in the Babylonian empire. Daniel's Jewish friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were made governors over certain Babylonian territories. And it was due to his high position that Daniel was able to deliver God's message personally to the king of Babylon, the message that led to our modern day expression "the handwriting on the wall," when Babylon was about to fall to its nemesis, the Medo-Persian empire.

Certain Jews later rose to high positions also in that empire of Media and Persia that succeeded Babylon as the world's super-power. The Bible book of Esther relates the story of powerful Haman the Agagite who tried to exterminate the Jewish people, their miraculous rescue by means of King Ahasuerus's Jewish wife, Queen Esther, and the rise to power of her uncle Mordecai, who became prime minister in

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