What will the US Peace Plan Look Like?

Image result for trump with middle east leaders

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!

Trump: “Prayer Changes Hearts and Transforms Lives”

Welcome back friends!  This morning I shared a “feel good” story about what happens when a Muslim who hated Jews comes to faith in Jesus.  I also promised another “feel good” story today, so let’s fulfill the promise!

This story is multi-layered, as it highlights God’s incredible grace in reaching into the depths to save a criminal.  That, in itself, is a “feel good” story.  But the second layer of the story causes me great joy as well.

May 3 was the National Day of Prayer.  On that day at the White House, Vice President Mike Pence (a very committed Christian) welcomed guests to the glistening white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave before yielding the podium to President Trump.

Past presidents have spoken at National Day of Prayer events, some with glowing words Christians would certainly be proud to hear.  Never did I expect to hear what came pouring from the mouth of our president!  What a tremendous surprise!

I have to confess I was not a staunch Trump supporter during the elections.  In my mind he was the least of two evils.  My skepticism was based on my doubts that he would actually make a stand on moral issues and religious freedom, or that he would truly stand strong with Israel.

Boy, was I wrong!  While I still wish someone would take away his twitter account (ie – that he would quit calling world leaders names), I am so very grateful for the stand he takes on those critical issues.  We have never had a more pro-Israel president, and he has taken unprecedented stance on the sanctity of life, religious freedom and other moral issues.

But, back to the National Day of Prayer.  Wow!  I don’t know where he stands with the Lord in terms of salvation, but President Trump spoke very powerful, Biblical words of truth.  I pray that our President knows and has a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus, and I will always pray that he is guided by God’s wisdom.

Sit down and listen to this 5.5-minute segment of the President’s address during the National Day of Prayer.  I believe you will be blessed!

 

Image result for why israel mattersIf President Trump sticks to those beliefs, we have lots to feel good about!  But how do we place President Trump and his administration into context of prophetic events we see happening in our world today?  We’ll talk about that and much more during our study, Why Israel Matters, Sunday mornings at 11:00 am in Room 209 at CalvaryPHX Central Campus.  We start tomorrow (June 3, 2018), so please join us!  (Info and Directions)

PA Fury and Talks between Turkey and the Vatican

These remain interesting days in the Middle East, as tensions stir and factions plot their next move.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Abbas, in an address before the Palestinian Central Council  (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave an impassioned speech denouncing Israel, following confirmation of parameters of the US peace plan provided by Saudi officials.

The plan allegedly calls for something less than statehood for the Palestinians, Israeli control over security measures, permanent IDF presence in the Jordan Valley, no settlement evacuations and final status of Jerusalem delayed until later negotiations.

Abbas blasted President Trump, stating:

“We told Trump we will not accept his project, the ‘deal of the century,’ which has become the ‘slap of the century.’ But we will slap back.”

The White House responded, calling it “regrettable that the Palestinian leadership is looking to create a false impression against an unfinished plan they have not even seen,”

Meanwhile, as tempers flare surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Turkey is cozying up to the pope.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to visit the Vatican February 5 to discuss US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Both Pope Francis and President Erdogan have strongly opposed the US announcement.

So, what are we to make of these current events?  I’m sure we could draw from many Scriptural passages and principles, but let’s focus on a few simple things.  First, the fight for Jerusalem is just beginning!  Remember, the Bible tells us that Jerusalem will eventually become a heavy stone that will injury those who try to move it.  Both Mahmoud Abbas and the Israelis have stated that the status of Jerusalem is a key.  Each want it, so the Lord will one day intervene to settle the dispute!

Secondly, we know that Turkey has turned its back on Israel.  Once allies, Israel and Turkey are far from it now, as Turkey has gained renewed energy in its push to restore the Sunni caliphate to the status of the Ottoman Empire (and beyond).  Erdogan seeks control of that “empire.”

Meanwhile, we have examined the ultimate role of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church during the last days.  It will become the haven for the False Prophet and give rise to One World Religion.

I hope your seat backs and tray tables are in their upright and locked positions, as it won’t be long before this plane leaves the gate!

But we have hope, dear friends!  The Blessed Hope…the rapture of believers.  That moment is imminent (could happen any moment).  Let’s live with urgency as we keep looking for the Blessed Hope!  (Titus 2:11-13)

Hanukkah Celebrations in the White House and at the Western Wall

There is clear and growing affinity between the current American administration and Israel.  Early in his presidency, Donald Trump made a stop at the Western Wall in the Old City, and just recently proclaimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Hanukkah at WWAs we eased into Hanukkah last Tuesday, the joy was shared in both camps.  Israel’s top rabbis gathered to light the Hanukkah menorah at the Western Wall, and President Trump hosted a Hanukkah-lighting celebration.  Hosting Hanukkah celebrations at the White House is not a new thing, but was certainly a highly celebrated event this year, given the President’s Jerusalem announcement.

Above is a photo of the gathering at the Western Wall.  (Courtesy of Amir Tsarfati’s Instagram page.)  Below are comments made by President Trump, accompanied by a Holocaust survivor and the NYC rabbi who led the candle-lighting ceremony at the White House.

Hanukkah Celebration at the White House

As we continue celebrating the final days of Hanukkah and look toward Christmas celebrations, I hope your heart is encouraged by the faithfulness of our Lord, which is evident in both Hanukkah and Christmas.