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Peace for the Middle East?

editor - 1 January 1970

Peace is better than war. Every right-minded man will agree with that. There are positive developments in the Middle East but according to biblical prophecies there will be wars as well.

The positive developments for example are the “Abraham Accords”, the agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. These Arab countries normalized their relations with Israel on September 15, 2020. The accords are named after the common ancestor of Jews and Arabs: Abraham. Meanwhile, Northern Sudan has normalized her relations with Israel too.

“The accords are named after the common ancestor of Jews and Arabs: Abraham”

There is no reason at all why Isaac’s offspring (ancestor of the Jewish people) and Ishmael (ancestor of the Arabs) should not be able to interact in a friendly manner. They had the same father – Abraham – but different mothers, respectively Sarah and Hagar. One received the Covenant, the other God’s blessing, Genesis 17:15-22. The Bible calls Isaac the “son of the promise”, and Ishmael “the son of the flesh”. These two adult boys ultimately and unitedly buried their father Abraham, Genesis 25:9-10.

State of Israel
The complicating factor in the entire process of peace negotiations in the Middle East is Islam. If there is any talk of peace at all with Israel, the devout Islamist means: the “peace of Allah”. That peace is offered to Israel, but this entails that Israel’s entire territory one day will return in the lap of Islam. For over 1000 years this small land of Israel with in it the city of Jerusalem as the third holy city of Islam – after Mecca and Medina – was under Islamic rule.

“These Abraham Accords by no means imply that the Islamic States recognize that Israel is entitled to her own independent Jewish State”

So, there can only be talk of temporary normalization of relations with Israel. These Abraham Accords by no means imply that the Islamic States recognize that Israel is entitled to her own independent Jewish State. They only accept the fact that this is momentarily obviously the only political reality. The same applies to the accords with Egypt and Jordan.

However, in 1917 Great Britain issues the Balfour Declaration, in which the British Government pledges its support to the foundation of a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine at that time. During the San Remo Conference in 1920 after the First World War,  Great Britain receives the mandate from the other three members of the League of Nations (France, Italy and Japan) to put its flesh on the bones of the Balfour Declaration. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations vote on Resolution 181, which divides the mandate area in a Jewish State and an Arab State. The Jews accept the UN Partition Plan and prepare for an independent State. The Arabs reject the plan. On May 15, 1948, the British mandate ends, and in connection with this David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.

For the first time since the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple and the massacre and deportation of many thousands of Jews by the Romans – in 70 AD and again in 135 AD – there is an independent Jewish State in the Middle East: Israel.

Signs of the End Times
For me, that is a sign of the End Times, pointing at the soon coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel and the “King of Kings and the Lord of Lords”, as Revelation 19:16 says. And He will sit on the throne of His father David and rule over the house of Jacob (i.e., the twelve tribes of Israel) and of His Kingdom there will be no end, promises the angel Gabriel to His Jewish mother Mary, Luke 1:30-33.

The coming of that kingdom will take place in three phases. Firstly, the signs of the Kingdom in Israel when Lord Jesus was present on earth personally. Then the signs of the Kingdom during the almost 2000-year period of the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom worldwide, Matthew 24:14. The third phase will begin when the King Himself will be on earth in Jerusalem/Israel in the midst of us.

“His Kingdom will not end”, says Gabriel. Maybe this third phase has a short interlude. Later – and who knows how soon – after Jesus’ coming in glory on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:10-11) He will rule from the earthly Jerusalem, where once King David ruled the twelve tribes of Israel. Peace and righteousness will cover the earth, Isaiah 2:2-4. Thereafter this phase will culminate  in the renewal of all things, when the entire Creation will be redeemed. Romans 8:19-22, 2 Peter 3:8-13 and Revelation 21.

Unfulfilled prophecies
The Bible speaks of wars that will afflict the Middle East. These are prophecies that are still unfulfilled till the present day. Like Isaiah 17:1-2 that speaks about the complete destruction of Damascus, the capital of Syria, that you can see on a clear day from the Golan Heights in Israel.

Although Damascus was the scene of heavy fighting when different historical superpowers tried to take possession of it – just think of the recent Syrian civil war since 2011 – nevertheless, the city was never completely destroyed, but continued to exist. Isaiah 17:1-2 says about this: “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid.” These verses do not say how Damascus will be totally destroyed. Earthquake? Acts of war with devastating bombardments? It doesn’t say. But it does say that it will happen. Deserted, with only grazing herds in the region.

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins” (Isaiah 17:1-2)

Or Isaiah 19:16-17 in which Egypt will shudder with fear for Israel what the Lord’s uplifted hand will do to Egypt by the land of Judah. Or Psalm 83:2-9 with in it a first ring of nations right around Israel with Assur (Syria/Iraq) in the background – saying jointly and unanimously: “Come, let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

Or Ezekiel 38 and 39 with in it a second wider circle of nations around Israel (Syria and Egypt are no longer mentioned here!) that want to wipe Israel off the map all of a sudden. With Turkey and the former Soviet Republics and Russia in the background? Those who read Ezekiel 38 and 39 find in these chapters an alliance of nations led by the prince of Gog from the far north – for many that is Russia (and/or Turkey) and/or the republics from the former Soviet Union – together with countries from Europe and the Middle East. Today, many of these countries are Islamic countries. It is interesting to read how Flavius Josephus (Jerusalem 37 AD – Rome, about 100 AD) identifies those old names in his book “The Jewish History”: 20 books of Jewish history “from the Creation till 66 AD”, several of which can be found in the list of nations in Genesis 10. These books were written by Flavius Josephus to familiarize the Roman-Greek audience with Judaism and Jewish history.

Interesting also to compare them with the English-language book, “Epicenter“ by Joel C. Rosenberg (published in 2006) that identifies them as follows: “Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal: Russia and the former Soviet Republics. Persia: Iran. Cush: Sudan, Ethiopia and possibly Eritrea. Phut: Libya, Algeria and Tunisia. Gomer: Turkey and possibly Germany and Austria. Beth-Togarmah: Turkey, Armenia and the Turkish speaking countries of Asia Minor and Central Asia. “Countries with mountainous borders with Israel” Syria, Lebanon and the northern part of Jordan. “Many nations with you: possibly further Islamic allies. Sheba and Dedan: Saudi Arabia,  Yemen, Oman and the Golf States. Does the Bible aim at an Islamic holy war, a jihad, against Israel?

And unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible about wars afflicting Jerusalem are also found in Zechariah 12 and 14 – and in Joel 3 – in which ultimately all nations, you could say in our days: The United Nations, will try to lift that immovable rock called Jerusalem. Not to mention the wars described in the Book of Revelation, especially chapters 8 and 9.

“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria” Isaiah 19:23-25

One day peace in the Middle East will be political reality, like Isaiah 19:23-25 says: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”” Assur, in my opinion, is the fertile region in the “half-moon” between the River Euphrates and the River Tigris. It encompasses Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. It was the territory of the Assyrian and later the Babylonian Empire. And later part of the Persian, Greek and Roman Empire!

May the Prince of Peace soon come!

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