Yesterday’s Headlines in Light of Biblical Prophecy – Program 5
| October 10, 2013 |
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Hal Lindsey, the late Dr. David Breese, Dave Hunt, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Randall Price; ©2002|
|Does the Bible say there will ever be peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs? What about Jerusalem? Will Israel ever share the city peacefully with anyone?|
Peace Between Israel and the Palestinians?
- Announcer: The Israeli-Arab conflict has been raging for 53 years. Suicide bombers, brutal attacks and reprisals are causing many people to wonder, “Is peace possible in the Middle East?”
- Arafat: “We know but one word – Jihad, Jihad, Jihad, Jihad.”
- Jimmy DeYoung: I believe that we’re at a spot in history when there is no way there is going to be peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. They want war.
- Hal Lindsey: Well, there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and there’s only one thing that unifies them. They disagree over many things, but they all agree that they must liberate Jerusalem and destroy Israel.
- Announcer: Today, Dr. John Ankerberg looks at world events from 1991 to the present in light of biblical prophecy.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Everywhere that I’ve gone in the last months of time, people are saying, “How do the events that are taking place in the Middle East, how do they square with what the Bible is saying?”
- Lindsey: This is the first time in history that all of the prophetic scenario the prophets predicted would come together just before the return of Christ is actually in view.
- Dr. David Breese: Jesus, when He delineated these things said, “And when you see these things begin”—not end but begin—“to come to pass, then lift up your heads and look up because your redemption draws nigh.”
- DeYoung: 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.
- Lindsey: I believe that the Bible is very clear that the last war of the world will start with a war over Jerusalem.
- Announcer: What does the God of the Bible say will happen in the future? We invite you to join us for this very special program.
- Ankerberg: Welcome. As you have listened to the news about plans for peace in the Middle East, the question arises, “Does the Bible say there will be an ultimate peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs?” In past programs we have seen that the Bible predicted the Jews would be gathered from all over the world and become a nation. Against all odds, that became a reality in 1948. The Bible also predicted the Jews would recapture Jerusalem and in 1967, that took place. Today, we are witnessing another biblical prophecy. God says that in the last days He is going to make Jerusalem “a cup of trembling” for all nations, “a burdensome stone” for all the people.” That is happening before our very eyes. The nations of the world are literally turning against Israel, all except for the United States. And even for the United States, Israel is becoming a burdensome weight that threatens our relationships with Arab countries, our access to oil, as well as our relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.
- Today we’re going to examine what the Bible predicts about the future of peace in the Middle East. Will there be an ultimate peace treaty that all sides can sign and abide by? You may be interested to learn that the Bible says there will only be an ultimate peace treaty when a powerful political figure guarantees it from outside the Middle East. Unfortunately, the Bible says this peace treaty will only last a short time and then terrible consequences will come. To understand what the Bible says about this coming peace treaty, I’d like you to listen to what international news correspondents and biblical scholars have said in the past when other peace treaties have been signed in the Middle East. It almost sounds like they are talking about events that are happening today. Listen:
- Ankerberg: And Dr. Breese, in talking about Israel, the nation of Israel, right now we’ve got a peace conference that is going on. And it looks to me—and a lot of people are optimistic about the fact that there may be a peace agreement between some of Israel’s neighbors and themselves—talk about that and the significance of even having Israel negotiating for peace in light of Daniel, talking about what’s going to happen in the future. Is this the peace conference that the Bible is talking about, or is this kind of a prelude to what’s coming?
- Breese: Well, first of all, John, the peace negotiations that Israel is conducting is an illustration of the fact that Israel is not a viable nation militarily on its own. It must be a surrogate of a larger nation. Now, the nation that has been the mentor for Israel—that has supplied it weapons up until now—has been the United States, really the only friend that Israel has had in the world seriously.
- In fact, it is my opinion that there are two reasons why God continues His blessing upon the United States. One is because we are the fountainhead of world evangelism in many ways; secondly, because of our friendship to the nation of Israel. The Psalmist said, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee.”
- But now, in the minds of the Israelis as they look toward America, they are not as sure of the friendship of America as they were once, and so they must look across the world and they must ask the question, “Who is the emergent power of the world? Is it possible that there is coming to pass a nation or a complex of nations that will represent a power superior to what we have seen in days gone by?” And their conclusion, as they look at the world as it is today, their conclusion in answer to that question is, “Yes.” They are looking north and west to Europe. They predict, as Europe itself predicts, that it is coming together as a “United States of Europe.” When it does, by the way, it will have 325 million people. It will have a gross national product larger than that of the United States, and so it is not that we are surprised when we see that Daniel Chapter 9, predicts that Israel will make a covenant with the leader of Europe who is called “the prince that shall come.” That covenant will be a basis on which perhaps many things Europe may do for Israel: help rebuild the temple, build up its armed forces, give it straight financial contributions, and other things.
- But in the middle of that period of time called the Tribulation, the Antichrist will change his mind. He will decide that he is God. He will bring to pass, by the way, the final form of the great religion that will obtain across the world. He’ll put an image of himself up in the Temple at Jerusalem. This will so chagrin the people of Israel that they will rebel against him. Then there will be that last horrendous cycle of persecution in the midst of which the Bible says God will open for Israel a fountain of cleansing. He will put within them a new heart. A great curiosity will arise. They will say, “Why is all this happening to us?” And Christ will appear to them and they will say, “From whence are these wounds in thine hands?” He will say, “These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” And a weeping, repentant Israel will turn to Jesus Christ. That will be a great day. They will produce 144,000 witnesses alone to tell the world about the Gospel of the Kingdom.
- But as we see today’s scenario, it’s not doing violence to our mind, in a sanctified imagination, to image these things developing perhaps very soon.
- Ankerberg: Hal, people want to bring that question up right off the bat and that is, “Boy, things look awfully peaceful right now.” I mean, for the first time the Arabs and Israel, they’re actually talking to each other and maybe we’ll come to some kind of a peace arrangement.” Do you think that the Bible is still correct in saying the greatest battle of world history—the Battle of Armageddon—is still going to be fought there and what would lead anybody to that conclusion that it actually might happen?
- Lindsey: Well, as I said before, it’s impossible for Israel to give enough to ever satisfy the Muslim nations. The only thing, from the standpoint of the Qur’an, that would ever satisfy them would be the dismantling and destruction of the state of Israel. And so whatever is going on in the way of peace is all transitory. We know that there will be a temporary peace, a pseudo-peace established by this great leader from Rome; and yet, it will not be sustained.
- I believe that the Bible is very clear that the last war of the world will start with a war over Jerusalem. And as I look at Ezekiel 38—in fact, I’ve just done a special report called “The Magog Factor.” As I look at Ezekiel 38, virtually all of the allies that are described in Chapter 38 of Ezekiel are now Muslim nations.
- Ankerberg: Dave Hunt, in your book you talk a lot about the fact that we’re going to have peace before we have this big conflagration. Maybe you could talk a little bit in terms of Israel. The fact is, if a peace treaty is signed, what we should think about that peace treaty and then, even if you had a peace treaty, what might spark off a great conflagration right there in the Middle East?
- Hunt: Well, John, let’s make it clear again to our audience, if they haven’t gotten the message already, this isn’t three sensationalists up here dreaming up scenarios, you know, to excite people. We are talking about what the Bible says, as you have indicated a number of times, and we have a solid basis. We have thousands of years of history that were written ahead of time where God said what would happen. He said what would happen with Israel. So, we’re not dreaming this up. We are simply going on beyond what has been fulfilled to what is yet to be fulfilled. And we’re basing it on the Word of God.
- And as I think both Hal and Dave have already said, there will be peace. Whether shrimps learn to whistle and they give up land for it or not doesn’t really matter. There will be peace. And the whole world is focusing on it. The whole world knows you’ve got to have peace. And there will be a peace treaty. It says in Daniel 8, “Through peace he will destroy many.”
- So, as Hal said, and as you’ve pointed out, the weapons that are being sold into the Middle East, that peace will be very transitory. It will be a delusion. It will be a setup. It will be a trap. Israel, instead of looking to her Messiah, instead of looking to God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who made these promises and who brought her back to her land—is going to look to the arm of flesh. And cursed be the man who puts his trust in man, the prophets have said. And so Israel is going to pay for putting her trust in a human treaty instead of her trust in the Lord.
- Ankerberg: In 1998, I talked with an international news correspondent who had the privilege of being in the southern end of the Jordan Valley near the Red Sea where he watched King Hussein, then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and President Bill Clinton sign the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. I asked him why the different peace treaties that had been signed through the years were not working when there had been so much optimism around their formation. This is what he said:
- DeYoung: Well, when we think about the fact that the Jewish people are being gathered over the last 100 years out of 108 nations of the world back into the land that God promised to give them, that is a significant indicator that God’s Word is right on target. And then the establishment of the nation. In 1998, I was at the president’s house on Independence Day and as we were standing there with all the ambassadors from around the world gathered for this special reception at the president’s house, four F-16s streaked across the sky. My heart started to pound within me as I thought about the fact that now these people gathered had formed into a nation and speaking Hebrew—I heard it in the background—which is all significant as it relates to biblical prophecy.
- We thought about last week also the revived Roman Empire. I remember right after the Gulf Crisis there was a special meeting and I, as a journalist, attended it there in Jerusalem. A man from the European parliament was there and he was talking about the fact that they were forming the economic union, the European Community, and they said that Israel plays a significant role because they send so much of the food stuff into Europe—I think about 65% of what they consume comes from Israel—and in his conversation he made a statement. He said, “You know, we have so many requests from nations who want to come in and be a part of the European Union.” He said, “In fact, we have decided that we’re going to limit it to the original borders of the old Roman Empire.” Oh, man, when he said that, I checked my tape recorder to see if it was working, picked myself up off the floor, realizing what he had just said. And that’s all coming together!
- But then, as I sit at my listening post in Jerusalem, very interesting to watch the nations around Israel. For example, back in 1979 Jimmy Carter pulled together Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt; and he pulled together Menachem Begin who was the prime minister of Israel at the time. They wrote together and agreed upon and then signed the Camp David Accords. In 1993 I sat as a journalist in the government press office and on a big screen television watched Yitzhak Rabin, then prime minister of Israel, Yasser Arafat, chairman of the PLO, and President Bill Clinton step out onto the White House lawn and sign the Oslo Accords. And then, of course, I had the privilege of being in the Arabah—which is the southern end of the Jordan Valley near the Red Sea—and watch King Hussein and then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Bill Clinton sign the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan which I have right here in my hand. Unbelievable to watch this! And every time one of those agreements was signed, somebody would call me, knowing I was a student of prophecy: “Oh! Is that the peace agreement that the Antichrist is going to sign?” And three times I said, “No. No. No. Don’t call me anymore.” But then I finally said, “I better go back to the Word of God.” I went to chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, verse 27, where it says, “And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many [the Jewish people].”
- I said, “Wait a minute! It didn’t say anything about signing a peace agreement. It said he would “confirm it.” And I got to thinking. The Camp David Accord is not working. President Mubarak of Egypt has never been to Israel in the 19 or 20 years now that that agreement has been signed. I knew the Palestinian agreement was not working because in five years there have been more Jews killed by the Palestinian people than in 45 years of the history of Israel before it. And I understood that this agreement, the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, was really not being normalized. Actually, this agreement that is on the table is waiting to be confirmed. The word there is gabar in Hebrew which means “to confirm it, to strengthen it, to make it stronger.” And here it is, waiting to be confirmed.
- Well, that Antichrist is going to come on the scene and he’s going to say, “Hey, I can take all those peace agreements and make them come together!” Then he’s going to tell the Jewish people, “Put your temple up. Put your temple up there on the Temple Mount.” He’s had it all in line with what’s going to happen: the temple will go up. It’s going to become his palace, his tabernacle. He’ll walk in and desecrate that temple and when he does, he will intensify persecution against the Jewish people in that last 3-1/2 years. I praise the Lord I’ve been to Petra and I know that there’s a place prepared of God—Revelation 12:6—that He’s going to house a group of Jewish people to keep them protected. But there will be many Jews–two out of every three Jews will be killed.
- You know, the Jewish people went through a Holocaust back about 50 years ago. But the worst holocaust is yet to come. Only one-third of the Jews were killed at that time. Zechariah 13:8 says that in the future, two out of every three Jews will be killed. That’s the coming holocaust that will be the worst slaughter of Jewish people ever to take place in the history of this world.
- Ankerberg: And Rennie, you’ve taught biblical prophecy for 38 years or whatever, and the fact is, you’ve studied these Scriptures and when people hear about these events that we’ve been talking about, that God is saying these things are going to come about, they say, “Why those events? What in the world is God up to?” Would you put that in focus for us, please?
- Showers: John, they all have to relate to God’s ultimate purpose for history. His ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself by demonstrating the fact that He alone is the sovereign God of this universe. When you read Genesis 1:26-28, we are told that when God created man, He gave man dominion over the entire earth. The fact that God did that tells us that the original form of government for our world was a theocracy. A theocracy is a form of government in which God’s rule is administered by a representative. It was God’s plan that Adam be His representative, administering His rule over this earthly province in behalf of God and in accord with God’s will. When you look at the last verse in Genesis 1, we’re told that after God had completed creation, He looked at everything He had made and all of it was very good. No part of His creation had gone sour on Him yet. But then there was an exalted angel who through pride rebelled against God. God changed His name to Satan. Satan entered the earthly picture according to Genesis 3 and was successful in getting Adam and Adam’s wife, Eve, to join in his rebellion against God. And so there was a fall of man away from God that took place. That caused at least two major tragic consequences for mankind and the world.
- Number one—Now that God has lost His earthly representative Adam, the theocracy was lost from planet Earth. And number two—Satan thereby was able to usurp the rule of the world system away from God and according to Scripture, Satan and his forces have been dominating and controlling the world system ever since and they are doing so today. This is why Satan, for example, when he tempted Jesus could offer Jesus the rule of all the kingdoms of the world system and told Jesus the reason he had that authority was because it was handed over to him. It was handed over to him by God’s representative, Adam.
- Satan wanted to do this for an ultimate purpose. Satan’s purpose for history is to overthrow God as the sovereign Lord of the universe and replace God with himself as that sovereign lord. But there can only be one ultimate Sovereign and so this meant there was going to be all out war now between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan throughout the course of world history. And that provides us with the key for understanding the purpose of history. It is for God to glorify Himself by demonstrating the fact that He alone is the sovereign God of the universe and no one can overthrow Him.
- But the Scriptures make it very clear for God to do that, there are at least two major things He has to do before the history of this world comes to an end.
- Number one—He must crush His enemy, Satan, and get rid of him and his kingdom rule from planet Earth altogether. And the Scriptures indicate that God will do that through a combination of the seven-year Tribulation plus the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. According to Revelation chapters 6 through 18, throughout the seven-year Tribulation God will pour out three series of judgments upon His enemy Satan’s domain here on planet Earth: seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments, seven bowl or vial judgments. Through those series of judgments, God will systematically attack, beginning to tear down Satan’s kingdom rule. And then, according to Revelation 19, after that seven-year period of Tribulation, Christ will come out of Heaven on the back of a white horse–symbol of a victorious conqueror. And we’re told He is coming back to wage war; to wage war against what’s left of Satan’s forces here on planet Earth. And Revelation makes it very clear, He will get rid of the Antichrist; He will destroy the rulers and the armies of all the Gentile nations of the world. In Matthew 24 He makes it very clear He will rid the earth of all unsaved people and then after His Second Coming, in Revelation 20, He has Satan bound, casts him into the abyss where he is held prisoner for a thousand years, and then Revelation 20:4-6, Jesus and His saints will reign over the earth.
- That says the second thing God must do to accomplish His purpose in history. After crushing Satan, He must restore His theocracy, where once again He will have a man, an Adam, functioning as His representative, administering His rule over this entire planet for the last stage of world history. And Revelation 20 says that will be for a thousand years. And Jesus Christ is that Adam. That’s why Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus “the last Adam.” The first Adam lost the theocracy by defecting from God in Genesis 3. Jesus Christ in His glorious Second Coming returns as the last Adam to restore that theocracy and then as God’s representative to administer God’s rule for the last one thousand years of this history. And by doing those two things, God will glorify Himself by demonstrating the fact that He alone is the Sovereign God of this universe.
- Israel as a nation must repent of its rebellion. Today, it’s in rebellion against God. Most of the Jews in the world today, sad to say, even in the nation of Israel are totally secular and could care less about God and spiritual things. This is one of the reasons God will bring the Tribulation Period upon them, to break them of their stubborn rebellion and bring them to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Israel as a nation must repent and receive Jesus Christ as its Messiah and Savior before God will crush Satan. And so to Satan’s way of thinking, “If Israel has to repent and believe in Jesus before God will crush me, if I can totally obliterate Israel from the face of the earth before it repents, then God will never crush me.” That’s what was ultimately behind the Holocaust in World War II. Adolf Hitler at 13 years of age got heavily involved in the occult and continued to do so throughout his life. When he became the chancellor of Germany in 1933, one of the castles he confiscated for his purposes in Germany he turned into an occult training center for his SS troops. The Nazis were heavily involved in the occult. PBS, the public television network here in America, ran a multi-week documentary on the heavy involvement of the Nazis in the occult. That’s why they went after so many of the Jews to annihilate them and that’s why Satan, as Elwood referred in Revelation 16, Satan is going to send demons into the world, fallen angels, toward the end of the Tribulation Period to persuade the rulers of all the Gentile nations to bring their armies against the nation of Israel. By the end of the Tribulation Period, he wants those armies to be his instruments to try and annihilate the people of Israel before they can repent and believe in the Lord Jesus.
- Ankerberg: That’s why these events are going to be taking place and some of them are even going on right now.
- Rennie, wrap this up. As long as you’ve got us on this topic, wrap it up. For people that are listening in, in light of God’s purposes, what should people who aren’t even Christians, what should they do with this information and what should Christians do in light of this information?
- Showers: John, the Bible makes it very clear. God has revealed these future events in the Bible not to satisfy our curiosity of what’s going to happen, but to change hearts and lives right now. And for unsaved people, God has given these prophecies to warn them of what is ahead for them. If they don’t believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior before the Rapture of the Church takes place, they’re going to be left on the earth after the Rapture to go through this horrible seven-year Tribulation Period and come under the dictatorial power of the Antichrist. And when Antichrist, in the middle of that Tribulation Period, claims that he is God and requires everyone to worship him as God or else he’ll put them to death, they’re going to be faced with a horrendous decision to make. And either way they go, it’s going to be a no-win situation for them. So God wants to warn unsaved people ahead of time, “You had better heed the warning of what’s going to happen in the future from My Word now” and right now, before it’s too late, turn to Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Savior from sin.
- For Christians, God has revealed these future events to shake us loose from our complacency and lethargy, make us face up to reality of what’s going on in the world around us and what we’re heading for as a world and as Christians, and therefore, as Christians, we had better be asking ourselves some pointed questions: What am I doing with my life right now that will count for all eternity? And what should be the priorities in my life now as a Christian in light of these things that seem to be on the near horizon which will certainly happen because God says they will happen.
- Ankerberg: Next week, we’ll examine the question, “Do the events taking place in the Middle East now indicate Christ’s return to earth is near?” I hope you’ll join me.