September 10, 2023 - A. V. Rauf
Peace in the Middle East??
The Bible tells us in the Book of Psalms 122:6 to Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Ultimately true peace will return to Israel when Jesus returns at His Second Coming.
When the people ofJerusalem come to know the Prince of Peace as their personal savior and invite Him to come back to their city, then Jesus will return to Jerusalem. From Jerusalem He will rule and reign over all the earth. Did you know that? In Matthew 23, at the end of that chapter, we read:
Matthew 23:27–“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Bible prophecy envisions peace in the region in two stages. First, there will be a false peace engineered by a false messiah. Ultimately, the world will witness an even greater and everlasting peace between nations at the return of Jesus Christ as mentioned earlier.
The Prophet Zechariah in the OldTestament prophesied the Jerusalem would become focal point in International affairs that would impact the entire world in the last days:
Zechariah 12:2-3–“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.
Just a few years ago, in the year 2020, the world witnessed the signing of the Abraham Accords, which represented a normalization of relations between Israel and the Gulf States of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, followed by Sudan and Morocco. Thus, there have already been many economically, socially, culturally, and politically. The nations normalizing ties want peace with Israel in but also for defense reasons, as Israel has the most powerful military in the Middle East.
Its students of Bible prophecy, we should expect a false peace to come before the true and lasting peace. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, the Apostle Paul detailed the events of what he called the “Day of the Lord.” I wrote about the Day of the LORD in a prevous blog:
Paul wrote about a future time when everyone is saying, “Peace and safety,” and then sudden destruction comes:
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6–But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Thus, when we see events unfold that point towards the manifestations of what was spoken of in the Holy Writ centuries ago, we need to pay attention.
It is now being reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia have begun negotiations that are being brokered by the United States and a major topic for discussion involves the implementation of a Saudi-based Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solutions was published in the Al Arabiya News on 8 June 2022. Its author – Ali Shihabi – is a confidant of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister – Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and also a member of MBS’s advisory board on Neom – a US$500 billion megacity being built in north-western Saudi Arabia covering an area equal to the size of Israel.
The plan calls for a merger of Jordan, Gaza as well as parts of Judeau and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank. Furthermore, the plan has not been rejected by either Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Liberation Organization or King Abdullah, the ruler of Jordan.
NOTE: The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are two Palestinian territories that were part of Mandate Palestine and were captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. Alongside this self-governing Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are claimed by the State of Palestine as its sovereign territory.
Most world leaders will accept a false peace treaty, described in Daniel 9:27, which the activities of a future false messiah will bring about. This false messiah will be so politically influential and powerful, so militarily strong that he will guarantee this peace agreement. Then, after a few years, he will break that treaty himself, and Israel’s temporarily peaceful neighbors will turn and make war against the Jewish people.
Yet, in spite of this growing peace among Israel’s neighbors, of greater concern is whether or not these efforts will eventually to bring the Shiites or Muslim radicals into this unity. This would mean Iran. Now let’s briefly discuss the role of Iran vs. Saudi Arabia and how this ultimately effects Israel:
In Islam, the title Ayatollah in Arabic translates to “Sign of Allah”. It is also the highest ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics after the Grand Ayatollah. Ayatollahs are considered experts in Islamic jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy. Currently, there are only 47 Ayatollahs in the world. Out of the 47 Ayatollahs, 17 of them are assigned to 8 Muslim countries outside Iran.
In January of 2016, the King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, decided to behead one of the Ayatollahs, Nimr Al-Nimr. Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, 56, was among a group of 47 people put to death in 12 different cities around the country, either by firing squad or beheading, according to a statement from Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry.
As a result, much havoc was unleashed. For example, Shiites instigated rioting in several countries and the Saudi Embassy in Mashhad, Iran was set ablaze with calls to destroy Saudi Arabia which echoed throughout the Shiite world while Iran vowed to destroy Al-Saud and the Iranian government stated Saudi Arabia would pay a “high price” for the executions.
The former prime minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, openly stated that the execution of the prominent Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia would be the downfall of the Gulf kingdom’s government.
Mr al-Maliki, who was prime minister of Iraq between 2006 and 2014, said in a statement that his countrymen “strongly condemn these detestable sectarian practices and affirm that the crime of executing Sheikh al-Nimr will topple the Saudi regime as the crime of executing the martyr al-Sadr did to Saddam,” referencing the death of another prominent cleric in Iraq in 1980.
Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are major rivals in the Middle East and are arrayed on opposing sides in several regional conflicts. The rivalry between these two is not new, with Saudi Arabia having destroyed Shiite holy places and Iran making countless claims of persecution. Iran has recently forbidden its citizens from traveling to Mecca to practice the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. Iran’s prohibition on traveling to Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, could allude to the possibility that Iran will even eventually abandon Mecca altogether.
I believe that event, seven years ago may have indeed been the catalyst to what is now becoming a paradigm shift in the Middle East.
According to Jewish Rabbis it is Iran that will pose a final threat to Israel prior to the advent of the Messiah. Iranian leaders have repeatedly stated that their goal is to wipe Israel off the map.
Isaiah 21—The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me. Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.
For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed: And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.
The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it.
Pay close attention to this coming Peace deal, especially if it involved the dividing of Jerusalem.