“Peace, peace” in Middle East. Then what?
At a recent sabbath fellowship I was asked what I thought of the new “peace deals between Arab states and Israel: are these a good thing or a bad thing, from especially God’s point of view?” I thought that would be a good topic to cover today.
Peace is usually better than being at war, right? There is a time for war too! (Like Dec 7, 1941; Ecclesiastes 3:8). But what does God have to say about peace in the Middle East involving Israel especially? The question I was asked got me thinking and I hope this blog will get you thinking too.
We might be seeing a series of major prophecies happening before our very eyes that is setting up the final years before Christ’s return. Today I want to focus on just one: “For when they say, ‘Peace, peace’ – then sudden destruction.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
In a sermon I gave recently about “as in the Days of Noah”, the one thing that Yeshua focused on about the days of Lot and Noah was this one thing: the “end” came suddenly. We always think of the evils of those times, but the FOCUS was on the suddenness of destruction that hit them all.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians that before the sudden destruction of the very end time, there will be a lot of people lauding peace … probably in several places, even while there continue to be wars and rumors of wars. So it’s a strange time.
So what am I talking about? The Middle East, a perennial powder keg for war. Tiny Israel has been surrounded for many decades by Muslim nations many times its size, who are intent on Israel’s (and America’s) total destruction. We were told for years and years that no peace was possible between the Palestinians and Israel until Israel had agreed to give Palestinians what they considered their own land to have their own independent country – meaning the West Bank.
But now all of a sudden – 4, and soon 5, Arab countries have initiated free interaction with Israel, which many are likening to peace treaties. How important is this?
The old preconditions before any established relations could start, meant of course Israel giving up the “West Bank” – which frankly was the core of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh and part of Ephraim and maybe part of Issachar.
And for years, the surrounding Arab and Muslim countries lived by that understanding: no peace with Israel until Israel gives the Palestinians the West Bank to have their own country. And never forget that GOD, who decides all nations’ boundaries, gave the land of Canaan to Israel. God considers it HIS land, in fact, and gets very upset when anyone tries to “divide up” HIS land (Joel 3:2; Jeremiah 12:14). Please take time to read the scriptures.
So though active war and bullets aren’t being exchanged every day between Israel and its Muslim neighbors, there certainly hasn’t been much peace. In fact, over the past few years many, many thousands of rockets have been fired against Israel from Hamas in Gaza and by the Hezbollah in Lebanon. So when peace is ever mentioned or concluded, that sounds like a good thing. And it’s better to live in peace than always being on the edge of all-out war. I agree with that.
So just be aware = that before the final events leading to Christ’s return, yes, there’s going to be a lot of violence and war – BUT, that will all be preceded by a time when the middle east especially SEEMS to be in a state of PEACE. Soon after I write this in December 2020, we may well see more major Arab countries pursuing peace with Israel as well. I’d really take a lot of notice if I see Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq do this.
Peace is nice. But don’t let yourself be caught off guard because of “peace”. The scripture I started with, in 1 Thessalonians 5, goes on to say in verses 4-6 that God’s children are children of light and we should not be among those caught off guard. No, we’re watching, we’re on our toes, we’re praying, we’re close to God, we seek Him, and we won’t be caught off guard by cries of “peace, peace.” Peace is a good thing. But we must not let it cause us to start thinking “all is well in the world”. It surely isn’t! We need God’s kingdom to come and we stay on our toes.
So after warning about peace and safety (or security), Paul is inspired to tell us all this. And what he says is much more apropos to US even, than it was to his audience in the first century. Please read it carefully and thoughtfully. I’ll start with the verses we started this blog with, but please keep reading to what our true FOCUS should always be.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-10 “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
4 “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”