Bible Prophecy, War and the Middle East – Program 5
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Hal Lindsey, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dave Hunt, and Dr. David Breese; ©2003|
|Are Palestine and Israel moving toward peace? What about the nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran?|
Roadmap for Peace
Today, on The John Ankerberg Show: Bible prophecy, war, and the Middle East. In the midst of terrorist threats, divisions in the United Nations and events in Iraq, where does the Bible say history is headed? Today, in addition to events in Iraq, North Korean leaders sent shockwaves across the world threatening that any economic sanctions imposed against their nation would be regarded as a declaration of war and the start World War III. Are we approaching the last great war the Bible calls the Battle of Armageddon? What is the hope of Christians around the world? How close are we to the return of Jesus Christ?
Answering these questions, John’s guests are some of the most respected and knowledgeable professors and teachers of biblical prophecy around the world. They are: international journalist Jimmy DeYoung, who for the last 12 years has lived and reported from Jerusalem, Israel; also, Hal Lindsey, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dave Hunt, and the late Dr. David Breese. We invite you to join us.
- Ankerberg: Welcome. After many days of war, many nations who have voiced a commitment to war must now show their strong commitment to security and peace. Many problems still remain to be faced, including North Korea’s threats, Iran’s new nuclear capabilities, and of course, the looming conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In the midst of all this turmoil, where does God say history is headed? President Bush promised that soon he would implement the Roadmap for Peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. But will those who are militant Islamic terrorists in the Middle East allow the peace process to proceed? Listen as prophecy scholars Dr. David Breese, Dave Hunt, and Hal Lindsey discuss these questions.
- Ankerberg: Dr. Breese, we’ve talked about the fact that prophecy predicted that the Jews would come back and form a nation. That’s happened. The Bible prophesied that they would take over the capital Jerusalem, their holy place, again. And third, they would build the temple. The drawing plans are there. The utensils are actually being made. Right now George Bush is getting ready to go to the Holy Land and he wants to have the Jews give up land for peace. What is the Israeli strategy? Take us into the mind of a Jewish person. What would they be thinking as they see Bush and the world trying to force them to give up land so there will be peace?
- Breese: Yes, we can certainly expect immediately the strong pressure for a peace conference. Now the initial agenda will be peace in the Middle East. But agendas change, and soon it will be world peace but that will focus upon the critical, what shall we say, culprit of the Middle East being the state of Israel. And you can be sure that there will be pressure to give up land for peace. In my opinion, Israel will give up land to the Arabs when shrimps will learn to whistle! And the reason is that if the West Bank were gone, Israel would have a narrow waist about 15 or 16 miles wide that could be overthrown in seconds. It’s ridiculous.
- Ankerberg: Dave Hunt, why is it the Arabs want Israel?
- Hunt: Let me just give you a couple of quotes. First of all, Yasser Arafat’s uncle who used to be Grand Mufti of Jerusalem fled to—you know, he was a friend of Hitler—fled to Germany. Over Radio Berlin during the Second World War, he said to the Arabs, he said, “Rise as one man and kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God and religion and God is with you,” okay? Arafat says, “Our struggle with Israel is such that when it is finished, Israel will cease to exist. There can be no compromise.”
- Because of Islam, you’ve got to understand Islam to understand the problem over there. The Qur’an claims to accept the Bible, but in fact it contradicts it. It denies that Jesus died for our sins. Somebody else died in His place instead of He dying in our place. But more apropos to what we’re talking about, it says that it was not Isaac who was offered upon the altar and to whom the land was promised—his descendants the Jews—but it was Ishmael who was offered by Abraham upon the altar and it was the descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs, who were promised this land. Therefore, if the Jews exist, that cuts out the very foundation of Islam. The Muslims must destroy Israel or they must admit that Allah is not the true God and that the Qur’an does not tell the truth.
- Lindsey: Well, the Scripture says that the Jew does not own the land. It also says the Arab does not own the land. It says God owns the land. And in Ezekiel 36 God says to them, “I also scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judge them. Therefore say to the house of Israel thus says the Lord God,” verse 22, “it is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for my holy name which you have profaned among the nations where you were driven.” In other words, I go there because it’s a phenomenon to watch its prophecy coming to life in action. You see, when you go there you find that they’re not godly people, they’re not believing in the God of Israel. They are mostly agnostics. So why are we talking favorably about them and sounding as if we’re against the Arabs? We’re not.
- Hunt: Everything they’ve done is not perfect, right?
- Lindsey: Exactly. God loves the Arabs and He has provided a way of salvation for them through Jesus Christ. He also loves the Jew, but He has a covenant relationship with them. He has sworn to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—in spite of their sin which He predicted would occur—He would bring them back and He would bring a believing remnant out of that. Now, there are those who would say, “That’s not fair. They don’t deserve it.” But can you say that you deserve salvation? No one does.
- Hunt: Amen.
- Lindsey: And that is by the grace of God that He is going to do what He did. He will fulfill His Word and if you’re listening in tonight, and you’ve never come to see that Jesus Christ died for every sin you’ll ever commit in your life, He has removed every barrier that stood between you and God. He now offers you a free pardon. You can receive that right now, just as He will deal in grace with Israel.
- Ankerberg: Some people listen to Christians talking about biblical prophecy and think that they are against all Arab people, or at least all Islamic people. That’s just not true. I can disagree with the truth claims in Islam, but that does not keep me from loving people, whether Arab or Muslim alike. To emphasize this point, I want you to listen to my good friend, Dr. Renald Showers. Listen:
- Showers: John, the Old Testament prophetic scriptures make it very clear, and even New Testament passages as well, that Israel will be the major trouble spot of the world in the future seven-year tribulation. And one of the major sources of trouble that God foretells will be for that nation are Islamic nations of the world. Daniel 11 indicates that both Syria and Egypt will attack Israel in the future tribulation period. Both of those nations are Islamic nations today. And then we’re going to see later on from Ezekiel 38 that there would be a whole group of other Islamic nations that are going to come with joint military force against Israel in the future. And the leaders at least of the PLO, many of them are Islamic people. That’s the religion of many of the Palestinians that are there and so the more they gain territory in that land of Israel, or as they would call it “Palestine,” the more they can be like a fifth columnist movement as these other Islamic nations from outside will come against Israel. And so it could be a very deadly combination for the people of Israel there.
- Having said that, I want to make it very clear as a Bible-believing Christian, in these statements we’re making, we are not against Arab people as such or even against all Islamic people as such. We’re talking here primarily about leaders, radical militant Islamic leaders of some nations and of the PLO that, because of their religious faith, ultimately want to see Israel annihilated from the face of the earth. We do not want to give the impression that we have hatred for all Arab people or even for all people who hold to the Islamic faith around the world. Many Arab people today are Christians. They are believers in Jesus Christ the same as we are. Other Arab people are very much peace-loving. They want peace and there are many of them there who deep down inside would want peace with Israel, but they’re scared to death that some of the radical leaders will come down upon them hard and abuse them and maybe even assassinate them if they make that known.
- Ankerberg: Do you remember the first time you heard that the Iron Curtain might fall? It was hard to believe, wasn’t it? But it happened. It made it possible for millions of people across Russia and the Soviet Union to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. Now some people wonder if the Islamic curtain could come down. This would allow millions of Muslims around the world to openly hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and its claims on their life. Could it happen? I discussed these questions with Dave Hunt and Dr. David Breese. Listen:
- Hunt: We’ve seen the Iron Curtain come down, right? You had whole ministries that were based on anti-communism and the big bugaboo was, “Communism is going to take over the world.” Instead of Communism moving West, Democracy is moving East. It’s not going to last long, but there’s an opening for the gospel right now. I think the Islamic curtain is going to come down, too. We’ve talked about the Iron Curtain, but not many people talked about the Islamic curtain. It is against the law to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia today, okay? You have to be a Muslim to be a citizen of that country. And we’ve had an incredible demonstration of something the world has never seen. We’ve had infidels, infidels, who the Qur’an says, “Whenever you meet an unbeliever, take off his head and massacre him,” okay, until the massacre is complete.” That’s what they’re supposed to do with infidels. Instead of that, they had to appeal to infidels. The Emir of Kuwait stands in front of the United Nations and appeals to a world of infidels to come and restore his country from an Islamic leader who in the name of Allah is raping and plundering and so forth, okay? So it took infidels to defend Mecca and Medina. That’s got to make thinking Arabs think. And as I think it was Hal or one of them said, Saddam said, “We’re going to see who’s on the side of God and who’s on the side of Satan.” I think that Islamic curtain’s got to come down. The Emir of Kuwait has got to allow democracy to come in and I think it’s going to move, a new freedom will move through the Islamic world and a disillusionment that’s going to open the door for the gospel before it’s going to be too late.
- Breese: I think that this is certainly a time to pray that out of the events of this last couple of years a tremendous Christian witness could be run out into the Muslim world. You know, it has been very difficult to touch a Muslim for Christ. A lifetime of effort many times produced one convert. It is already happening in a small way but it can’t be broadly published, but wouldn’t it be something that if out of this God would open a window of opportunity, however brief, that perhaps millions of these people could be won for Christ. That’s something for which we should pray.
- Ankerberg: Now I believe that events will quickly start to turn to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You know, many peace treaties have already been signed and agreed on by the different parties in the past, and yet none of them have been successful. Why? Where does the Bible say we are heading in the future? I asked this question of Jimmy DeYoung and Elwood McQuaid. Listen:
- DeYoung: I hold here the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan and the other peace agreements that are not really working. They’re not being normalized as they’re supposed to be. And in fact, after the Palestinian Oslo Accord was signed, in the last five years that it has been in force, there have been more Jewish people killed by terrorists than there were in the 45 years previous to the signing of that particular agreement.
- So the peace agreements are not working. They are not guaranteeing peace in any way, shape or form. Terrorism is running rampant in the Middle East. And, by the way, America was touched with terrorism in their embassies there in Africa, so we had a taste of it. But that is only going to increase. When you look at the terrorists associated with Israel: Hezbollah, just in the southern portion of Lebanon, which are attacking the northern part of Israel; in the infrastructure of Israel itself you have Islamic Jihad and you have Hamas. And their stated goals—it’s not a question of do we really have to find out what their philosophy is—their stated goal is, “We want to rid the world of the Jewish people and we’ll do that, if we have to, in bits and pieces.” Yasser Arafat who makes one statement to us and another statement to his people is basically calling for Islamic Jihad; he is calling for war. You know, the Palestinian Covenant, over 30 clauses in that covenant which calls for the demise of the Jewish people, the destruction of the state of Israel.
- They say they’ve changed it. They play back and forth word games. The president of the United States has Arafat several years ago into the White House to announce they’ve changed the covenant. And still, later on, at the Wye Plantation, for example, that was one of the sticking points: you’ve got to change the covenant. Well, if you change the covenant, it doesn’t matter, because the Palestinian educational system is infiltrated with every bit of the philosophy in the covenant and they’re teaching the children—I’m talking about children starting at six years of age through high school—they’re teaching them the philosophy that was contained within the Palestinian Covenant: “These people don’t belong here. We belong here.”
- Yasser Arafat said several years ago, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take this thing in stages. Whatever they will give us at the negotiating table, we’ll take that and we’ll use that then to launch our attack on the Jewish people.” When you look at the build-up of military might in the Arab world, it’s unbelievable. I mean, never before has there been such armament in the Middle East in the hands of men who are known terrorists. Even within the Palestinians themselves, they are bringing all kinds of weapons from Egypt. Now they’re going to have a seaport; they have an airport. They can fly the weapons in. I say to you that we are on the verge of war.
- Now, the Bible says all of that. I’m telling you what current events are in reality, but God’s Word prophesied over 2,500 years ago that’s the situation we’d be in the end times when all these nations, when all these people, want to go against Israel and wipe them off the face of the earth, take that little piece of property. When you think about less than one-tenth of one percent of the population of the world, less than five million Jewish people, are surrounded in their one little nation by 23 nations of over 350 million people. Why is it that they can’t coexist in a peaceful atmosphere? It’s because God’s Word says their hearts and their minds are going to be deceitful and gartered with joyful hearts they’re going to go forth to rid the world of the Jewish people. That’s where we are right now.
- Dr. Elwood McQuaid: “‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.” Yasser Arafat, as Jimmy mentioned, the staged plan to dismantle Israel piece by piece after for many years saying, no recognition, no negotiations, no peace, ever. Now, he came away from the Wye Plantation making certain promises about the Palestinian charter, about not being violent, about not making bellicose statements against Israel. Only days later, a few days ago in Ramallah, he was speaking to an Arab crowd and here’s what he said. He said, “We will establish a Palestinian State”—which he promised not to do—“regardless of what Israel thinks. We are willing to take our rifles and go to the streets. We will once again call on the generals of the stones”—those are the children that during the Intifada were throwing the stones—he said, “We will bring our rifles. There will be blood in the streets.”
- Now, since then he has had to retract that because Israel got word of what he was doing. But this is the spirit that says, look, there will never be peace in the Middle East as long as radical Islamic elements say unequivocally, Israel must die.
- Ankerberg: Tell us, for the person that wants to know the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who is coming back, how would a person come into a relationship with that One?
- McQuaid: Well, let me say, first of all, it’s time for people to take that very, very seriously, because as we scan the prophetic scene and look at what’s going on, we look at the Middle East searching for peace. This desperate search for peace; it’s almost an obsession. They have not found it; they will not find it; because there’s only one source of peace and that is in the Messiah of Israel and the Sovereign Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. If there’s ever an object lesson that an individual can take from national catastrophe and international catastrophe, it is this: That there is no solution except in God. And if you narrow that down to your own heart and life, know this: that the only option you have if you want peace is Jesus Christ. And you can find Jesus Christ by receiving the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. But the time to do it is now, John. There’s no time to wait.
- Ankerberg: Wrap up in 30 seconds, for Christians tonight that are watching, the Bible has a lot to say that when you see prophetic events and when you hear the statements that are made in Scripture that we are to do something and to be something, talk to that point.
- DeYoung: Number one, we’re to be prepared; prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Preparation: Admitting you’re a sinner, believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, calling upon Him to come into your life and save you. Once you’re prepared, we need to live productively. Titus was told by Paul, “Lay aside ungodliness and worldly lusts. Live soberly, godly and righteously.” How do you lay aside, how do you live? “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing.” We need to walk and live pure. And thirdly, we need to be productive in these last days before the Rapture takes place. We need to tell our friends of the soon coming of Jesus Christ and help them to be prepared for that soon coming.