Israel Negotiates Peace with the Syrians
Where could it be leading?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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Welcome to Bible in the News a weekly podcast on Bible Prophecy which we see being fulfilled in our newspaper headlines week by week. This is David Billington with you. It has been announced that Israel is holding informal peace talks with the Syrians. The Syrians want the Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the June 1967 war, returned. If they achieved this it would be a major boost to their status in the Arab world and could help them to shed the image of a state that sponsors terrorism. The Golan is the area east and north east of the sea of Galilee
From the eastern shores of the Galilee the land steeply rises upward into these strategic highlands. A year and a half ago I had the privilege of a drive up the Golan Heights by myself. The road winds steeply up and it takes somewhere in the region of half an hour before you're driving along the top of the ridge. I took a trip up a strategic hill, I drove as far as the rental car could handle and then I walked the rest. There were signs warning of the possibility of remaining mines so I stayed on the trail! At the top of the hill there were old Syrian tank stations and trenches. It was from here the big Syrian guns would pound the little Kibbutzim on the land below. The view was breathtaking. Stretching out below me to the west and southwest was the land of Israel, a land of hills and valleys, a land which the LORD God cares for. To the northeast I could see into Syria. The hill was a high-point looking down into both countries. It was into this region that Jesus went when he needed time alone to pray, he would kneel before his Father with the promised land--his inheritance--stretched out before him. It will be here that Jesus will bring his bride when they enter the inheritance. "Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards." (Song of Solomon 4:8)
I took some pictures of the view as the sun slipped below the horizon in the west. In the ensuing darkness I couldn't find my glasses, so if the Syrians take over they may get my glasses too! The Golan Heights are also the principal water source for the Jordan River and for all Israel--a country desperate for water. It is really hard to imagine what Israel could gain by giving up this strategic sliver of land.
Whenever they start having peace talks I honestly get depressed. We all want peace but we know true peace will only come with the kingdom age. You may recall the verses in the first letter to the Thessalonians 5:1-3: "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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." You may also remember that in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 38, which is a prophecy for our time, that the northerner Gog invades Israel when they are dwelling in peace and is ultimately destroyed on the mountains of Israel. There can be no mistake as to the timing of this prophecy. Lets read Ezekiel 38 verse 8 together: "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." It is after many days and in the latter years, the mountains of Israel which have been a continual waste has been brought forth out of the nations. Today there are Jewish towns all over the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel is emphatic that the regathered Israelites are living in peace, just go through the chapter and see how many different terms are used to describe peace, security and prosperity.
Israel living in peace and security would be a sign that the return of Jesus Christ to the earth is imminent. In fact those true believes in the Hope of Israel may never witness that event, they could have been called away by Jesus Christ to judgment and to be a constituent of the little stone power that will smite the kingdom of men. This little stone will be prepared without hands and will appear to the world as if from nowhere. Why get depressed then? The reason peace talks get me down is because they are negotiating over the promised land. As if battering away some of the inheritance will achieve a lasting peace! Like the profane man Esau who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. A peace treaty signed by dishonest corrupt politicians is probably worth less than the morsel of meat.
How many partition plans of the holy land have we seen over the last 100 years and land for peace schemes? These in themselves are a fulfillment of prophecy and something the nations of this world will be judged for. Consider Joel chapter three: "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land." I also dearly love the Jewish people and it hurts me to see them mistreated. Every time there is land for peace it inevitably involves Jewish families being torn from their land and homes. The peace turns out to be a pseudo peace, international guarantees crumble and become worthless and in the end Israel gets nothing. It's painful to be an observer never mind a Jewish family who has been thrown off their land.
Will the new negotiations lead to the pseudo peace prophesied in Ezekiel 38? We'll have to wait and see. I wouldn't expect anything to quickly. The Americans aren't very friendly with the Syrians who have caused trouble in Lebanon and house terror organizations in their capital. They are an ally of Iran and it has recently been revealed that the Israelis bombed a nuclear reactor the Syrians were building with the help of North Korea on September 6 last year. Lets just say Syria isn't too popular with Washington right now. Olmert himself is in a very weak position, hounded by corruption charges with calls for him to resign--the announcement of talks is perfect timing for Olmert, one wonders if there may be some foul play there. His government isn't very strong and he would have difficulty getting a controversial peace treaty through the Knesset.
It is interesting to consider however that if at some point Israel does withdraw from the Golan, the whole Middle East conflict would be focused on one piece of territory--Judea, Samaria and the old city of Jerusalem. The Biblical heartland of the kingdom of Israel.
Come back next week God willing as we continue to watch the signs of the times at www.bibleinthenews.com and www.biblemagazine.com.
Printed: Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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