What will the US Peace Plan Look Like?

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Hi friends!  Are you like me…anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the US peace plan?  While I believe the peace plan will offer the Palestinians unprecedented resources to better the lives of their people, I will be shocked if they ever agree to a peace plan with Israel.  Why?   Because they don’t want peace with Israel…they want to convince the world of the Jewish “occupation.” That “sells.”  It gives them a degree of legitimacy on the world stage, and garners the sympathy of those who will financially support them.

But the White House is confident they can cut the “deal of all deals” and have some degree of peace in the Middle East. If the Palestinians will not come to the table, how can that be accomplished?

As you know, President Trump made a landmark trip to the Middle East soon after his election.  During that trip, he began to build bridges with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Emirates, while re-establishing strong ties with Egypt and Jordan.  The past week or so has been full of visits between foreign leaders of those countries and the US and Israel.  They are locking the soon-to-be-announced plan into place.  But how will it differ from the previous attempts at peace?

First, it is not just an Israeli-Palestinian deal.  Trump’s plan is to bring about peaceful coexistence between the aforementioned Arab nations and Israel. For decades, the US has tried to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, thinking that would spawn opportunities for peace throughout the Middle East.  President Trump turned that idea on its head and is offering a new plan: peace in the broader Middle East, forcing the Palestinians to either come to the negotiating table with a sincere desire for peace, or risk losing its Arab allies in the region.  Indeed, I believe that is at stake for the Palestinians.

Will it be a political deal?  Some (including me) think not.  I believe it will be a business/economic deal, whereby relations will be normalized between those Arab countries and Israel, and they will share in initiatives such as transportation, agriculture, technology, etc.  It is believed the Palestinians will be offered the same working relationships and unprecedented aid in making life better for their people, yet they will not be given Jerusalem as their capital.  They will probably be offered land (perhaps in the Sinai Peninsula), but they will likely decline the deal.  (Currently, they are refusing to even talk to the US negotiating team, and to my knowledge, have not even allowed conversations about peace with Arab countries.)

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!”
~Abba Eban, The Jerusalem Post, 11/18/2002

The plan will force the hand of the Palestinians, who will be left out and without an ally in the region, other than Iran and Turkey.  Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Emirates, Jordan and Egypt will all enjoy the benefits of collaborative efforts with Israel.

Interestingly, when Ezekiel describes the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38), those nations are NOT described as part of the coalition that comes against Israel!  Thus, we again see the stage being set for the Northern Invasion.

Now…one last thing before we call it a day.  Some are saying, “Well, if President Trump is bringing peace to the Middle East, couldn’t he be the Antichrist?”  No.  While he may be successful in closing a deal, it will not be as Scripture describes.  In our English translations, Daniel 9:27 indicates the Antichrist will “make” or “confirm” a treaty with Israel.  However, in Hebrew, the word means “to intensify, to make spectacular.”  Thus, a peace plan could be in place when the Antichrist comes on the scene, and he will intensify it.  “How,” you ask?  By allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple!  THAT is what will win the Jews over!

Finally, the Bible also says the Antichrist will come from the same region as the empire that destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The United States was not around in 70 AD!  The Antichrist will not come from America!  However, if you read this morning’s post entitled Rise of “Mystery Babylon,” you know exactly from what region the Antichrist will come!  So if you missed it, go back and read it!

We live in very exciting times, don’t we!  We are seeing the Lord bring about the culmination of His plan for the Gentiles, and SOON, we could hear the trumpet sound and be out of here!  Keep your eyes on Israel…God’s time piece.  The final moments are ticking away!

Life in a Dangerous and Unfriendly Neighborhood

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As we know, Israel will ultimately face difficult challenges from Russia, Iran and their coalition.  Let’s finish this week’s study by looking further at news regarding Ezekiel 38 Who’s Who nations.  We’ll focus on Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, all northern neighbors of Israel.  Review the map below to get a good sense of where those nations are located in relation to Israel.

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Also, keep in mind that Turkey is among the nations listed in Ezekiel 38, while Syria and Lebanon (currently puppet-states of Iran) are not.

Let’s review Ezekiel 38:1-6.  Please read that passage once more.  Of the ancient countries listed in that passage, which ones may refer to Turkey?  (Hint: see Who’s Who Among Northern Invaders) Until a few years ago, Turkey was one of Israel’s strongest Middle East allies.  In fact, Turkey was a Middle East ally of Israel.  For many years, they joined together in routine air combat training over the deserts of Turkey.  However, that ceased a few years ago.

Read Growing Ties Between Turkey, China, Iran Worry Israel and US (July 10, 2010; Haaretz.com.)  According to that article, who seems to have taken Israel’s place in training missions with Turkey?  Does that cause you concern?  Why or why not?

Indeed, some nations once friendly toward Israel have done an about face.  In fact, Turkey continues to sever ties with Israel and turn more and more toward alliances with other Muslim countries.  (The good news is that in recent times, other Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates seem to have warmed up to the Israelis.  However, it is too soon to tell if those nations will truly stick by Israel if conflict develops with other Arab nations.)

Lebanon, a tiny nation immediately north of Israel, along the Mediterranean Coast, has been a hot spot for Israel throughout much of history.  A significant conflict occurred in 2006 when Hezbollah paramilitary forces launched rockets into northern Israeli cities.  Israel’s military responded with air strikes and artillery fire on specific targets within Lebanon, Hezbollah’s base of operations in the area.  (If you are interested in detail, read more here.)

Tensions continue to mount there, as evidenced by the clash in January, 2015.  Read Deadly border clashes stoke fears of war in Israel, Lebanon (Washington Post, January 28, 2015)

Hezbollah, a recognized terrorist organization, has practically taken over the tiny nation.  Who do you suppose is behind Hezbollah, supplying them with weapons and finances in which to carry out these sorts of attacks against Israel?  None other than Iran, a co-leader of the soon coming northern invasion!  Do you see the table being set?

In October, 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a historic trip to Lebanon.  Read Ahmadinejad Tells Lebanese at Rally Near Israel Border: The Zionists will Disappear (October 14, 2010; Haaretz.com)  Having read that article, what do you believe Iran’s goal is in Lebanon?

Finally, let’s consider Syria.  Several terrorist organizations have headquarters in Damascus, Syria’s capital; and interestingly enough, God’s Word has a specific prophecy concerning Damascus.  In a later lesson, we’ll study more in depth about Bible prophecy concerning Syria.

Since that time, a different Iranian president has taken the helm.  Considered “moderate” by some, current president Hassan Rouhani carries the same hatred of Israel, yet is much more self-controlled than Ahmadinejad.  Thus, he is not considered the threat that Ahmadinejad was.  However, he was the primary Iranian thrust to the Nuclear Deal signed during the Obama administration.  His sights, too, are set on the destruction of Israel, which feeds right into what we read in Ezekiel 38!

Fellow Sojourners, we are seeing prophecy fulfilled in our day.  We are all wise to read the headlines while keeping an eye on Scripture!  Tomorrow’s headlines have already been written in God’s Holy Word, as He wrote history long before it happened!  What an incredible God!

(This teaching originated in the Bible study, Looking for the Blessed Hope.  You will find the entire study posted on the left sidebar.)

Is Islam a House Divided?

Despite the spread of Islam throughout Europe and Africa, and even to North America, there is a growing ideology that Islam may actually be destroying itself from the inside.  Stick with me and I will do my best to explain what I understand at this point!

Even in the West there seems to be a debate about the nature of Islam.  Is it a religion of peace or not?  The Muslim world, though, seems to know that jihadist Islam takes it’s form straight out of the Qur’an and the life of Muhammad, and is known as “pure Islam.”  The activities of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and other radical Islamic groups mirror those of Mohammad: torturing, maiming, beheading, enslaving, raping, and pillaging.

Some Muslims today are speaking out or taking different courses of action because they want to escape the brutality of “pure Islam” and become a civilized society.  For example, the underground church in Iran and other parts of the Middle East consists of over 1 million believers in Jesus Christ!  (Some place that estimate as high as 5 million!)  The Christians being slaughtered by ISIS right now are not Western citizens in Syria and Iraq for a vacation…they are natives who have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ!  Indeed, many Muslims are seeing that Jesus…not jihad…is the answer!

Perhaps an even greater example is the fact that staunch Muslim nations have recently sided with Israel, at least to some degree.

During the most recent skirmish in the Gaza Strip, Egypt not only promoted peace by offering solutions that were very fair to Israel, but appropriately placed blame on Hamas for the continued loss of lives after rejecting truce plans.  Arabic press reports criticized Hamas leaders for living in luxury while their people suffered.  Continued rocket blasts from the Gaza Strip into Israel were characterized as “idiotic” by Arabic journalist.

Jordan has also shown favor to Israel.  Not only do they have a peace treaty with Israel (as does Egypt), but they share in multiple social and economic projects with the Jewish state as well.  Even Saudi Arabia (the “mother of Islam”) and the United Arab Emirates have shown willingness to cooperate with Israel.  It is reported that, though they would likely deny it publicly, Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow Israeli jets access to Saudi Arabian airspace, should Israel choose to preemptively strike Iran.

So, could this rise in radical jihadist activity and the pursuit of a worldwide caliphate be the last ditch effort to gain Islamic “glory?”  It is very common knowledge that Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims are fierce enemies…except when they unite against Israel!  They consistently turn their violence and terror on one another, such as the case with Sunni ISIS attempting to overrun and overpower Shi’ites in Baghdad.  In fact, ISIS blew up far more Shi’ite mosques in Iraq than Israel did in the Gaza Strip.  (You didn’t hear that on the news, though, did you!?!)

It is certainly too early to tell if the current widespread jihadist activity is indeed the beginning of Islamic implosion.  However, it would certainly make sense in light of the Ezekiel 38 prophecy.  Here’s why:

  • Neither Egypt nor Jordan are listed among the people groups who will invade Israel, according to that prophecy.
  • Turkey, who has prominently distanced itself from Israel, and was an opposing voice in the peace talks with the Palestinians, is very distinctly a part of the northern coalition that will attack Israel. (So is Russia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and others currently opposed to Israel.)
  • Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are part of Sheba and Dedan…who stand around and do nothing during the northern invasion of Israel. They don’t join the attack as other currently Muslim countries will.

(For more on the identity of the Ezekiel 38 nations, check out Who’s Who Among Northern Invaders.)

Regardless of whether Islam is setting itself up for implosion or not, one thing we know for certain: Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and will rule and reign in the end!  So, when you look around today and see things spinning out of control, do not despair!  King Jesus will not be overcome!

Keep looking for the Blessed Hope, friends!