Them that dwell safely...
Peace in nine months.
August 2, 2013 - Audio, 8.50 MIN
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"The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues, and they will meet within the next two weeks either in Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal negotiation. The parties have agreed here today that all the final status issues, all the core issues and all other issues are all on the table for negotiation. They are on the table with one simple goal: a view to ending the conflict, ending the claims. Our objective will be to achieve a final-status agreement over the course of the next nine months"
These are the words of US Secretary of State John Kerry as reported by the BBC and they fall right in line with how Bible prophecy depicts the state of Israel in the time period just before the return of Christ.
This is Matt Davies joining you for Bible in the news.
Israel releases 104 terrorists
Another week has gone by and yet again Israel features heavily in the news. For such a small areas of the earth per square foot it must receive more media coverage than any other part of the planet.
This time the news focuses in and around the efforts of John Kerry who has made six visits to the Middle East since entering office in February. His efforts seem to now be bearing fruit as Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to discuss peace.
It has come at a high price to Israel though. During the early part of the week Israel announced the release of 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners. This was approved by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday after a tough debate, during which the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu was reported to have "stressed the need to take tough and painful decisions in order to move towards renewed peace negotiations".
Netenyahu faced serve criticism to which he sent an "open letter" to Jewish citizens explaining why he had decided to agree to this deal.
One of the leading critiques was coalition parter and leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett. He was reported to have said: "Terrorists must be killed, not released. In every one of my previous positions, I fought against releasing terrorists, and I have no intention of acting any differently when I'm in the cabinet. Let my hand be cut off should I vote in favour of releasing terrorists. We support the peace process, but no country in the world would agree to release murderers as a gift."
The Palestinians had warned though that without Israel consenting to their demands to have the prisoners released they would not even contemplate peace talks. Israel in it's drive for peace has therefore consented.
In a bias media this point seems to have been overlooked. It appears that Peace talks have started only because Israel have been prepared to loose ground.
Here we are then. Another peace process has begun and these developments all sit in line with what we might expect to see as we live in the latter days.
In Ezekiel 38 the Bible records the state of the world just before a world wide controversy effects the land of Israel.
At the start of the chapter we read of a group of nations, called by their ancient names, who invade the land and people of Israel. We then read in verse 18 that this is the time that God acts to save his people Israel.
Linking this with companion prophecies such as Zechariah 12:10 and 14:1-4 we can see that God's intervention is done through one who the Jews once "pierced". So we see that enigmatically hidden within these passages are prophecies of how Jesus Christ and his immortalised faithful followers will reveal themselves to the nations of the earth and establish their reign. The events foretold are what true followers of Christ are looking forward to. The start of the Kingdom of God, the restored Kingdom of Israel in the past when Jesus Christ will sit on the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32).
Peace and safety
However what is interesting in the context of our news stories this week is the condition of Israel at the time of the invasion.
Obviously the first thing to note is that Israel exists and the Jews will have been regathered to their land. When we look back in time we can therefore see the declaration of the nation of Israel in 1948 and their subsequence survival against all odds as the continued fulfilment of this prophecy.
Other things to note though is the state of things in the land. Consider verse 8 which says:
"After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword,and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them."
Verse 11 states:
"And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,"
So Israel then is in a state of peace. They are "dwelling safely". We look at Israel today and this would be a hard thing for us to say is in place. Things must change for the full criteria of this prophecy to be met.
So when we hear then of another peace process beginning we ask the question - is this the angels working behind the scenes to produce the situation required by this prophecy?
Peace in nine months - are we ready?
Mr John Kerry thinks he can get peace in nine months. We do not know if he can. We do not know if this is the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle being finally put into place. What we can do though is watch and consider if we are ready for that time when Christ will "descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God" 1 Thess 4:16. For the time "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:" 2 Thess 1:8.
As we see these developments occurring in Israel and the cry for peace getting louder we consider the wonder of Gods word we must consider carefully our position before God. Do we know his gospel? Do we live it? Soon the time of opportunity will be at an end.
Let us watch and wait patiently then for the Kingdom of God and the return of Jesus Christ. Join us again next week, if our Lord has not returned, for another Bible in the News...
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