Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Will There Be Peace in Israel?

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has ancient roots. Will there ever be peace? Following is an excerpt from “Israel: What You Need to Know” by David M. Virkler:

The heart of the conflict basically boils down to two opposing ideas. For the Israelis, the issue is their right to exist as a nation. For the Palestinians, it is the desire to see Israel cease to exist as a nation.

The trouble goes back much farther than the current conflict or previous uprisings and even farther than 1948. The present situation is fulfillment of an astounding prophecy tucked away in Genesis 16. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, panicked and thought God’s promise of a child needed her human help. She gave Hagar, her Egyptian maid, to Abraham as a wife, and Ishmael was born. Hagar’s pride over her child-bearing resulted in friction between the two women, and Hagar and Ishmael were sent away into the wilderness. There, God sustained them and gave a promise of relative greatness for Ishmael and his progeny. There would be a problem, however. “He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (Genesis 16:12)

The descendents of Isaac and Ishmael—today’s Jews and Arabs—would live together, but they would not get along. This conflict may be mitigated from time to time, but it will not be eliminated until the millennial reign of Christ when Israel, Egypt and Assyria will join in worship of God (Isaiah 19:24).

Eventually, there will be peace in Israel, but it will be false peace. Antichrist will convince the Jews to accept his leadership. He will confirm a previously-made covenant likely among Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and, yes, the Palestinians (Daniel 9:24-27). Antichrist will break this pact after three and a half years, and then, literally, all hell will break loose (Revelation 6:8).

Following the seven-year Great Tribulation, Christ will return to earth. His feet will touch the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount (Zechariah 14:2-4). He will rule in Jerusalem after the world’s armies are destroyed there, and Satan will be bound for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3). Only then will there be a true peace in Israel.

God told Abraham, “I will bless those who you, And I will curse those who curse you.” (Gen. 12:3) Israel has a unique place in the plan of God, and many evangelical organizations in the United States have this concept as a basic plank in their denominational outlook. We in America have likely been blessed because of our country’s position as Israel’s ally. Pray for wisdom for our government’s leaders that they not abandon that view and our blessing be lost.

The events in the Middle East clearly indicate that the stage is being set for the rapture of the Church (I Thessalonians 4:16 & 17) and subsequent seven-year Tribulation. We must be ready to meet the Lord at any moment, and we must be diligently about the business of winning lost souls for Christ.

Psalm 122 enjoins us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Verses 6-8 say, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces. For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

Real peace in Israel will come only through her Messiah—our Savior, Jesus Christ. Rejecting the Messiah meant a missed peace for the people of Israel. Until our prayer for the peace of Jerusalem is fully answered in the Millennial rule of Christ, personal peace is available to any individual by receiving Him as Savior. Trusting Christ gives us the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). When people respond to Christ inwardly, they can promote peace outwardly. “For He Himself is our peace, who…has broken down the middle wall of separation…that He might reconcile…both to God in one body through the cross….” (Eph. 2:14, 16)

If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, do so today! In a world where peace is often temporary, elusive or even impossible, you can have lasting personal peace with God and the peace of God.

Click here to read the entire article “Israel: What You Need to Know” as well as a companion article by Dave on “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”. You will also find articles on other Middle East countries. Click here for information on ordering the print versions of these articles.

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