Written by Chris Perver
Many of you may have heard this news before. I didn't comment on it at the time it was published, as I wanted to wait and see just how significant this turned out to be. At the beginning of the year, an American drilling company by the name of Noble Energy, made a major gas discovery during exploratory drilling off the coast of northern Israel. At a staggering 3.1 trillion cubic feet, it was the largest discovery of natural gas in the history of the company. And it was found just 90 kilometers off the coast of Haifa. Further drilling in February had increased that estimate to around 5 trillion cubic feet of gas, and experts said they thought even that figure was too conservative. By late March an additional 500 billion cubic feet of gas had been discovered. The discoveries have increased tensions with Lebanon, which laid claim to any gas that was discovered to be within its coastal waters. But the drilling rights to wells are owned by an Israeli firm, and further examination of the sites proved that the gas pockets were within Israel's territory. Israel had been struggling with a natural gas shortage due to difficulties with the supply from Egypt. But this latest discovery is expected to last at least 15 years, meaning not only will Israel no longer be dependent on Arab gas, but it could become a major energy exporter.
Quote: "The new discoveries could therefore save Israel from serious natural gas shortages beginning in 2012 and the continued use of dirtier fuel sources while building, at great cost, the infrastructure needed in order to import liquefied natural gas. They could save Israel from depending on British Gas, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, with their associated political, military and economic implications.
So what has all this got to do with end time prophecy? Israel's position in the Millennial Kingdom, in which the Jewish state will become the head and not the tail of the nations, and will lend to many nations and not borrow (Deuteronomy 15:6), seems to indicate that the land of Israel is rich in natural resources. God describes it in Exodus 3:8 as "a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey". Not only that, but the Bible states that oil will be discovered in Israel. A few days ago I pointed out how end time prophecies concerning the tribe of Judah are being played out before our very eyes, through the disengagement from Gaza, along with efforts to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Today we are looking at another one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Once again I have taken a map of Israel, and drawn an outline around the areas that were inhabited by each of the tribes. I have imposed this on a modern map of Israel. This time we are looking at the tribe of Asher, which dwelled in the North West region of Israel, around the city of Haifa. As you can see, Haifa is located on the 'toe' of Asher. Haifa happens to be Israel's industrial heartland, and it is also where these recent gas deposits have been discovered. These were the words of Moses, that he prophesied over the tribe of Asher, before they entered the promised land.
And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
Shortly before he died, Jacob called his twelve sons together, to give them his patriarchal blessing. He also spoke a prophecy over each one of them, the fulfillment of which can be traced throughout the entire Scriptures, and which continues to this very day (Genesis 49:1). When Jacob began his blessing, he said to his sons, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days", Genesis 49:1. Some wonder why Jacob never got round to telling his sons what would befall Israel in the last days. Jewish rabbis teach that Jacob both did and didn't get round to telling his sons what would befall them in the last days. He did not mention any of those things which we would normally associate with the tribulation period. But Jacob's prophecy concerning the tribe of Judah represents a clear picture of one who was coming, who was manifest in these last times for us (1st Peter 1:20).
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
Looking at the prophecies of Judah, it is clear that the one who is being spoken of here is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the one that the archers sorely grieved, when He gave His life for us upon the cross of Calvary (Psalm 22). He is the Shepherd of Israel, the Good Shepherd that would give His life for the sheep (John 10:9). He was the Stone that the builders of the nation rejected, and the same is become the chief corner stone (Luke 20:17). He was the one who was separate from His brethren, in that He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Do you know Him? Have you trusted Him as your Saviour? He bore God's punishment for your sins when He died upon the cross (John 3:16). And all who believe in Him can know their sins forgiven (Acts 13:38-39). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31).