Could you please explain how we should interpret certain Old Testament passages that are used by premillennials and dispensationals to justify theories based on what happens with modern-day Israel are somehow signs that the Second Coming is near?
For example, Genesis 12:3, Psalm 83, Zechariah 14:12, Isaiah 17 and 66:8, and countless other passages (most notably Ezekiel 38-39 and Daniel 2 and 7-9) are used to promote the various end times theories regarding Israel.
Also, how do you counter the notion that Israel becoming a nation once again in 1948 is a monumental event that is leading to the Second Coming? I've heard people say that the Second Coming wasn't "imminent" until Israel was reborn in 1948. Now I know there's not one verse of Scripture to back up that statement.
So if these passages aren't talking about what the premillennials say they're talking about, then what are they talking about? What light should we look at them in?
The reason I'm asking is that these verses seem to play on coincidences and similarities to current events in addition to the gullibility of most people. To these people:
Genesis 12:3 still applies, so anyone who doesn't support Israel is cursed.
Zechariah 14:12 is talking about nuclear weapons, even though the passage clearly says that the horrific imagery is the affect of a "plague."
Isaiah 66:8 is a direct reference to the rebirth of Israel in 1948.
Isaiah 17 is speaking about the future total destruction of Damascus, which will probably be accomplished through an Israeli nuclear strike on that city.
Not one of the verses I mentioned say anything to the effect of "once this happens, Jesus will return." For example, premillennials always say that once Russia invades Israel Jesus will return, or once Damascus is nuked Jesus will return, or whatever. However, not one mention of the Second Coming of Jesus is talked about in Ezekiel 38-39.
These passages are also surrounded by other passages that are almost surely speaking of things that happened during the Old Testament and are not currently unfulfilled. Some of them seem to be "after the fact" prophecies. Before 1948, were people expecting Israel to be reborn and usher in the "last days?"
Finally, Jesus Himself does not reiterate these prophecies when He speaks of His Second Coming. He makes no mention of a distant future rebirth of Israel, or a future Russian invasion of Israel (the disciples would have no idea of what he was talking about if He did!), or of someone making a peace treaty with Israel, or of a future nuclear conflict between Israel and Arab/Muslim nations. All He has to say is that no one knows the day or hour.
Also, what verses do people use to justify a "pre-tribulation rapture" and the "7-year tribulation" itself? I hear these teachings talked about all the time and they are believed by most people, so what verses are used to justify them and how can they be countered?