From the very beginning, God established the primary building blocks of life on earth and the structures under which mankind would flourish. From the rib of the man, He created woman, and through their union in marriage God formed the family. Next, He would separate a people for His own out of all the tribes of the Earth. Through the chosen bloodline of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God established the final building block, the nation, and called His chosen people Israel.
As recorded in Genesis, God decreed a specific location that Israel and her offspring would eventually inhabit. From the River of Egypt to the Great River Euphrates, the promised land was God’s chosen location for the eternal home of Israel. However, because of their disobedience to God and rebellion against the Roman Empire, they were exiled from Israel in 70AD, and the Roman territory was renamed Palaestina to eradicate the long historical connection of the Jewish people to their land.
“And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.”Ezekiel 39:23
The Jews in exile were often persecuted and suffered greatly. During the ancient, middle, and modern eras, each new generation of the Jewish diaspora faced suspicion, hostility and hatred. Nevertheless, they miraculously held on to their culture and religious identity, sustained by the promises of God in Scripture that one day they would return to the land of their inheritance. The Jewish people were to remain without a homeland for almost 2000 years.
In the mid-20th century, burdened with the guilt of World War II, the international community laid the framework to create a homeland for the Jewish people by a partition of then British-mandated Palestine. The Arab Higher Committee that represented Palestinian Arabs rejected the UN recommendation. Even after the murder of approximately 6 million Jews – two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population – by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, antisemitism did not end with the war but continued to plague the Jewish communities that had mostly been destroyed or displaced. Many were left with nowhere to go. The U.S. government pressured Britain to allow the immigration of 100,000 Jews into Palestine. After suffering the atrocities of the Holocaust, the Jewish people were elated to finally have a place to call their own, and they celebrated in the streets upon the unilateral declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
“And say to them, So says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and will bring them into their own land.”Ezekiel 37:21
In contrast, Arab leaders, who had largely collaborated with the Nazi Party on account of their own hostility to British rule and Zionism, called the independence of Israel “The Catastrophe”.
“…what we are seeing here are the birth pangs of a new Middle East”Condoleezza Rice – Former US Secretary of State
They immediately set out to destroy the fledgling Jewish nation – and so the wars began. Since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, the region, including the wider Middle East, has been in constant conflict – Arab against Arab, Muslim against Muslim, and Muslim against Jew.
Confirmation of the Covenant
The Islamic Arab nations, united by the desire to “drive the Jewish nation into the sea”, continued to attack the newly formed sovereign state. Tiny Israel was surrounded by hostile neighbours and was faced with overwhelming odds. Yet astonishingly, God’s chosen people continued to defeat the opposing forces, pushing them back and even gaining territory. In 1967, after the Israel Defense Forces inflicted a stunning defeat on the combined Arab militaries in only six days, the leaders of eight Arab nations met in Khartoum, Sudan and issued the Khartoum Resolution, including a declaration that became known as the Three No’s: “No negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no peace with Israel.”
Even in the face of this hardened stance, many governments, international envoys, and world leaders have tried over a dozen times to negotiate a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, without success.
“Anybody who cares about peace and stability in the world knows that a lasting and enduring resolution to the Israeli–Palestinian issue is essential.”Tony Blair – Past Middle East Envoy
Although peace has so far eluded the region, the Scriptures point to a final, internationally sponsored peace effort that will set the stage for dramatic future events. The fateful deal will most likely be touted as an acceptable compromise on four critical issues that Jews consider bound up with Israel’s history and prophetic trajectory.
The first is God’s covenant promising specific land to Abraham and his descendants “as an everlasting possession”; The second is the city of Jerusalem, where God chose to put His name and which Jews consider the eternal capital of Israel. The third is the Temple Mount, where the two Jewish temples stood; and the fourth is the widely anticipated Third Temple, where animal sacrifices will once again be offered and then halted by a leader of the international community, culminating in the setting up of what Scripture calls “the abomination of desolation.. standing in the holy place”.
The Bible foretells that a leader in the international community will confirm Israel’s right to exist in the Holy Land, 3.5 years prior to the abomination of desolation, thereby creating a false sense of peace and safety. Israel’s confirmation from the international community will fulfil a historical prophecy and start the final countdown to the battle of Armageddon.
“And he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [7 years]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and on a corner of the altar desolating abominations, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall be poured on the desolator.”Daniel 9:27
The abomination of desolation warned about by Jesus in Matthew 24, will spark events which will initiate the great tribulation, the final 3.5 years leading to the battle of Armageddon. At the time of this event, those living in Judea are warned to immediately flee to the mountains or suffer great persecution. It’s important to note, that this prophecy was not possible until at least 1967 as there were no Jews living in Judea, or the West Bank as it is commonly known today.
In 2002 it was decided that the Israelis and Palestinians simply could not make peace between themselves without international intervention. A new alliance was formed, consisting of the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The Quartet’s sole purpose was to produce a peace plan for the Middle East and oversee its adoption. The broad scale of this cooperation illustrates the common desire of international actors to forge a lasting peace in the region. In fact, over a dozen official attempts have been made to create lasting peace in the Middle East. Each has sought to settle the core issues, which include the final borders of Israel, the status of Jerusalem, and the holiest place in Judaism, the Temple Mount. Bible prophecy makes clear that the question is not if these efforts will succeed, but when.
America: Israel’s Best Friend
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America on a platform highly favourable to Israel and its existing government. As prophesied in Scripture, the US–Israel relationship is blossoming brighter than ever and will likely stay strong as the battles continue.
“The woman [Israel] was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time [3.5 years], out of the serpent’s reach.”Revelation 12:14
Unlike any previous president, Trump in December 2017 followed through on an in-principle commitment to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the following year the US relocated its embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Trump administration also officially recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an area vital to Israeli national security, and has changed U.S. policy on settlements in the West Bank.
In Israel, Trump has been celebrated on billboards, memorialised on specially minted coins, and has had an Israeli settlement named after him. The relationship has never been better. This has created a unique and historic opportunity for negotiation with Israel and the wider region, whose leaders are increasingly nervous about the regional ambitions of Iran, the nation most closely identified with the once mighty Persian empire.
The Deal of the Century: Abraham Accords
While it’s not clear whether the US will play an integral role in the final treaty leading to Armageddon, it is clear that there has never been a more pragmatically orchestrated attempt than Trump’s “deal of the century”. His plan leverages an economic as well as a political approach, engaging the entire region with massive financial and investment incentives to all parties who actively support it. In August 2020, the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the first Arab state since Egypt and Jordan to establish official diplomatic ties and fully recognize Israel (the first Gulf state to do so), forging the first breakthrough in Middle East peace in over 25 years. At the official signing at the White House on September 15, Bahrain joined the UAE by signing its own agreement with Israel to fully normalize relations. The four nations became joint signatories to the symbolic Abraham Accords Declaration.
“The declaration supporting peace between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Israel is an historic step on the road to genuine and lasting peace, security and prosperity across the region.”Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani – Abraham Accords Signing at the White House
The significance of the Abraham Accords is that such prominent normalizations of relations open the door wide for once-reluctant neighbours in the Middle East to follow suit. As lines are being drawn in the region and alliances solidified, some nations are realizing the benefits of being aligned with Israel and the USA, especially as war continues to destabilize the region and tensions rise with Iran.
“For those who bear the wounds of war cherish the blessings of peace … and ultimately, it can end the Arab–Israeli conflict once and for all.”Benjamin Netanyahu – Abraham Accords Signing at the White House
Heading Towards WWIII
Today, countless conflicts continue unabated around the world, and any one of these could present a possible trigger point for a regional or worldwide war. Conflict in the Middle East continues to occupy much of the world’s attention, with America, China, Russia, Turkey, and other global powers continuing to involve themselves in her affairs. Despite the international efforts to solidify peace in the Middle East, ultimately their efforts will not go as planned.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend and this idea continues to shape decisions of the various power brokers in the region as more powerful players choose their proxies for an inevitable regional conflict. Increasingly, European powers are selecting sides as was the case prior to World War I.
Unfortunately, the UN’s divided security council is powerless to prevent conflict as the possibility of World War III is seen on the horizon. Biblical texts suggest that this war could start at the Euphrates river (the modern nations of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran). If this prophecy is to be taken at face value, this prophesied war would be the most tragic and devastating of any war in history, with over 2 billion of the world’s population killed.
“..saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, Loose the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, …in order to slay the third part of men. And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million.”Revelation 9:14-15
What would the world be like after a disaster of this magnitude? Forged out of the distress of WWII, the UN was brought into being with the declared mandate of preventing war in the future. Wars will play a role in getting people to sacrifice their God given rights and freedoms for the greater good of society. War or just the threat of it, is a powerful driving force towards World Government.
“Unless some effective world supergovernment for the purpose of preventing war can be set up… the prospects for peace and human progress are dark…”Winston Churchill