Bible prophecy speaks of a temporary peace in the Middle East before Israel is attacked and Jesus Christ returns. Could this be the trigger for peace?
"I'm sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace.I've always been perplexed by this notion.Because no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel – that they're an obstacle to peace. That's because they aren't. On the contrary.Israel's diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace.Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.There's a phrase for that: It's called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous. It's even more outrageous that the world doesn't find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.
The Israeli Prime minister's video address published September 9th, 2016.
Ask yourself this: Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks? Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace? At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends. Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so.
I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don't pursue peace.
I envision a Middle East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace. Our region needs more tolerance, not less.
So the next time you hear someone say Jews can't live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications.
Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It's about time somebody said it. I just did.”
This is the audio from a video address published by the Israeli Prime minister on his YouTube channel on Sep 9, 2016.
A few days later on the 12th of September the Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas responded. According to official Palestinian news agency WAFA Abbas said the Israelis "don't want to progress one iota towards peace, in spite of their deceptive allegations… On the contrary, they go deeper with their settlements, infringement of holy places, ethnic cleansing and deliberate killing,”
The Russian solution
This recent political spat comes after Russia, on September the 8th, announced that it was going to lead peace talks between the two parties.
The Independent ran an article on 8th of September stating:
"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed in principle to meet in Moscow, in what would be their first face-to-face meeting in years.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed that an agreement had taken place on Thursday, the Associated Press reported."
It has been over 2 years since the previous peace talks broke down. Since that time violence in Israel has increased with Palestinian knife attacks on Jews and continued building in the West Bank area.
This new announcement opens up a new avenue of hope for the region. However instead of the United Atates being the champions of the mediation, Russia has stepped in. The Moscow meeting points to Russia's growing influence in Middle Eastern affairs.
Bible prophecy and Israel at peace
This interest from Russia is indeed what we might expect from Bible prophecy. The prophecy of Ezekiel 38 (which depicts the state of the nations of the world just before the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth), gives an interesting insight as to how the Jews will be living at this time.
We read in the prophecy of how the Jews will be invaded from the North by a confederacy of nations headed up by a mysterious character called “Gog”. In verse 10 we read:
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 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, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”
So at this future event, when Gog invades Israel just before Christ returns, Israel are dwelling safely.
The mountains of Israel
Not only are the Jews dwelling safely we are specifically told where they are dwelling safely. In the “midst", or middle, of the land. The term “midst of the land” is an interesting one. Literally in the hebrew it means the “navel” of the land. We are told in other parts of the prophecy where this is. For example in verse 8 that this is the area of the "the mountains of Israel”.
Where are the “mountains” of Israel that exist in the “middle” of the land? The answer is, the West Bank - also known as Judea and Samaria. The very area of controversy which exists at this time.
Indeed since 1948 when the state of Israel was declared the Jews have been regathered to their land as a great sign that soon Jesus will return to the earth. Not only that, as the prophecy suggests there are Jews living in the midst of the land in the West Bank. As of December 2015 there are reportedly more than 400,000 Jews living in this area. These Jews though are not yet at peace.
Perhaps the opportunity for the Israelis and Palestinians to meet in Russia though will change all of that.
The coming of Messiah
We watch and wait knowing that the Jews have been regathered to that land to be humbled and eventually prepared to accept the Messiah. The Lord Jesus Christ who will save them from destruction (Zechariah 12-14) and establish Gods Kingdom on the earth. Israel will indeed be the principle nation in that time as we read in Micah:
"I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”
This has been Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News. Join us again next week God willing.
If you are in the UK, here is a little reminder that, God willing, the South Wales prophecy day is to be held on Saturday 24th September at the The Princess Royal Theatre in Port-Talbot God Willing. If you can make it we hope to see you there.