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A Political Earthquake Brings Seismic Change to the Middle East
The Abraham Accord with the United Arab Emirates
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August 16, 2020 - Audio, 10.06 MIN
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A massive political earthquake which will bring sudden and dramatic change has rocked the Middle East. Here are some of the headlines from news articles and opinion pieces over the last few days. The National Post, "Israel and UAE to normalize diplomatic relations in historic shift in Middle East politics”; The New York Times, "A Geopolitical Earthquake Just Hit the Mideast”; The Telegraph, “UAE’s Israel olive branch punches a wall through decades of Arab intransigence”; Stratfor, "The UAE Paves the Way for Arab Gulf States to Normalize Their Israeli Ties”; Times of Israel, "Hailing ‘new era with Arab world,’ Netanyahu says others will follow UAE’s lead”, and " After Israel-UAE deal, Kushner indicates more Arab countries will follow”, and; The BBC, "Kushner: Israel-UAE treaty a 'massive change' for the region”.

The accord for full relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, is to be called the Abraham accord. This is absolutely incredible news. Some of the media however, particularly on the left, seem to have played down this historic accord, no doubt reticent to grant President Trump a massive achievement — in fact as their standards go, Trump should be awarded a noble peace prize! However, the effects of this historic agreement will not be able to be played down, especially if more Gulf States follow the UAE’s example, of which there is a high expectation. This news is being compared to President Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem and the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in the 1970’s. Here are three areas where the Abraham Accord could be even more momentous than the peace treaty with Egypt.

1. The United Arab Emirates is a very wealthy country, in contrast to the peace agreement with Egypt, this agreement will have a massive influence on Israel’s economy.

2. Other Arab countries did not follow in Egypt’s footsteps making peace with Israel and the peace agreement has always been a “cold peace”. The next peace treaty was the OSLO accords and a peace treaty with Jordan, but this also has been a “cold peace”. However, in this case a number of other Gulf States are expected to follow the Emirates’ example.

3. In the peace agreement with Egypt, Israel had to give up the Sinai, in this agreement Israel has postponed annexing some of the West Bank, but in actuality haven’t given anything up. It seemed unlikely that Israel’s current unity government would have moved ahead anyway. Instead of giving land for peace, this agreement is a first of giving peace for peace.

A New York Times opinion piece by By Thomas Friedman summed it up this way.

"This deal will certainly encourage the other gulf sheikhdoms — Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — all of which have had covert and overt business and intelligence dealings with Israel, to follow the Emirates’ lead. They will not want to let the U.A.E. have a leg up in being able to marry its financial capital with Israel’s cybertechnology, agriculture technology and health care technology, with the potential to make both countries stronger and more prosperous.”

"But there is another message, deeper, more psychological. This was the U.A.E. telling the Iranians and all their proxies: There are really two coalitions in the region today — those who want to let the future bury the past and those who want to let the past keep burying the future. The U.A.E. is taking the helm of the first, and it is leaving Iran to be the leader of the second.”

From a Bible prophecy viewpoint, there are two major points to take note of. First, if the UAE uses their financial capital in Israel’s innovative technology sectors, an already prosperous Israel will move ahead in leaps and bounds — even more so if the other Gulf States join in. Secondly, this cements and clearly defines two “coalitions” in the Middle East, Iran and it’s allies and the Gulf States and their allies.

Ezekiel 38 presents a clear picture of a time of peace and prosperity that will be found in the land of Israel in the “latter years”, when the Jewish people have returned to the mountains of Israel after they have been waste for many years. Israel is described as a prosperous, dwelling confidently in peace in their land. It is at this moment, when Israel is recognized as dwelling in peace, that the northern alliance led by Gog, thinks an evil thought. Ezekiel 38:14-15 say, "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army.” The reasons for the invasion are stated in verse 12. First to take a spoil and secondly to lay their hand upon the desolate places of the land of Israel that are now inhabited.

As this hostile host of nations from the north moves upon the mountains of Israel, Ezekiel 38 also predicts an alliance to Israel's south, sympathetic  and astonished at the invasion. Ezekiel 38 says, "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”

This raises the question: Who are Sheba and Dedan?

Sheba and Dedan are mentioned in Genesis 25:1-4, they are descendants of Abraham the patriarch and his wife Keturah. They are cousins to the Midianite children. (There is another ‘Sheba and Dedan’ mentioned in Genesis 10:7, where "Sheba and Dedan" are the descendants of Cush. However, in Ezekiel 38 Cush or Ethiopia is with the King of the North.) The lexicographer Gesenius identifies Sheba with the Sabaeans, a nation and region of Arabia. He supposes there were two Arabian tribes, Sheba and Dedan, one in southern Arabia and one based in northern Arabia. Smith in his Bible Dictionary identifies Sheba with the great south Arabian kingdom and the peoples which composed it. Werner Keller in "The Bible as History" identifies Sheba with the ancient kingdom of Sheba based in southern Arabia, which was a merchant power who did business with the Kingdom of Israel under Solomon - the queen of Sheba came to visit. him. It is quite certain then that Sheba and Dedan in Ezekiel 38 are the tribes and kingdoms of the the Arabian desert, which is modern day Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Gulf States.

The nations of the Middle East are becoming aligned exactly as Ezekiel describes. There is an amazing future for the region of Arabia outlined in the scriptures, when the sceptre of the Lord Jesus is excepted by these kingdoms. Not only will they come to Israel to do business, but they will come to worship and be illuminated by the King of Israel and the light of Zion.

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.” (Isaiah 60:1–7)

What an incredible event, for one of the Gulf States and one of the wealthiest countries in the world to move to have full relations with Israel, an accord that will bring prosperity to the region!

Once again Bible students should be thrilled to see their long held expectations coming to pass. Amidst the chaos of todays world, the angels are quietly and surely at work bringing the nations into alignment for the great day of the Lord.

Join us again next week God willing, for the Bible in the News at — this has been David Billington with you.

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