Peace Or War? Does Bible Prophecy Reveal The Next Steps In The Middle East?
By Britt Gillette/End Times Bible ProphecySeptember 23, 2020
Share this article:
In recent decades, no area of the world has been home to more conflict and ongoing animosity than the Middle East. A cauldron of ethnic, political, and religious clashes, many believe the spark that ignites World War III will come from the Middle East.
Central to the region's ongoing conflict are Muslim hostility toward Israel and disputes over control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. These are the exact events the Bible says will happen in the last days. The Bible says Jerusalem will be "like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger" (Zechariah 12:2-3). That's precisely what we've seen.
The re-establishment of Israel in 1948 led the neighboring Arab nations to declare war. In the years that followed, Israel fought no less than four conventional wars with its neighbors and has spent every moment preparing for all-out war.
For all of its 72-year history, the Arab nations of the Middle East have viewed Israel as a mortal enemy. The lone exceptions have been peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). Yet despite those treaties, many of the citizens of those two countries remain hostile toward the Jewish state. Is that changing? Some say it is, and they point out recent events that promise to transform the Middle East.
One of those events took place last month. That's when Israel entered into its first peace agreement with an Arab neighbor since the 1994 treaty with Jordan. On August 13, President Trump announced the Abraham Accord - a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The Abraham Accord is notable because the UAE is the first Persian Gulf state (and only the third Arab state) to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Ultimately, the agreement promises to build deeper cultural, economic, and military ties between the two nations. Diplomats claim the agreement is a template for establishing a new era of peace and prosperity in the Middle East.
Less than a month after breaking news of the Abraham Accord, President Trump announced a similar peace agreement between Israel and Bahrain. Like the UAE, Bahrain will establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. As if that weren't enough, in between the UAE and Bahrain deals, Trump brokered another deal that led Serbia and Kosovo to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
What do these agreements mean? Do they really herald a new era of peace in the Middle East? Some think so. But it's more likely they herald a growing recognition on the part of many Arab Muslim nations of their common need to counter Iran's growing influence in the region.
All these nations have a shared interest in thwarting Iran's regional ambitions, even if it means partnering with Israel to do so. For that reason alone, many people believe we'll soon see similar peace agreements between Israel and other Arab nations, such as Oman and Saudi Arabia.
So is any of this in the Bible? And if so, what does it mean?
The Seven-Year Treaty
Students of bible prophecy immediately take notice of any peace deal involving Israel. Why? Because the Bible says an Israeli peace treaty plays a central and pivotal role in the end times.
Over 2,500 years ago, Daniel said a mighty ruler will enter into a covenant or a treaty with Israel for a period of seven years (Daniel 9:27). This treaty kicks off the seven-year Tribulation and makes the ruler behind it a major player on the world stage. Who is this ruler? None other than "the man of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:3) himself - the Antichrist.
Do any of the recent peace agreements qualify as the Daniel 9:27 treaty? Some say yes. They point out that the Daniel 9:27 treaty is a covenant made "with many," and in this case, we see agreements between Israel and many nations - the UAE, Bahrain, Kosovo, and Serbia - with the prospect of more nations joining in the near future. But that's where the similarities begin and end.
The treaty outlined in Daniel 9:27 is set for a specific period of time - seven years. None of the recent peace deals with Israel mention a period of seven years. Also, the man behind the treaty of Daniel 9:27 is a specific individual - the Antichrist. This is important to note.
Because when it comes to the recent peace agreements with Israel, the driving diplomatic force has been the Trump administration, and Donald Trump is not the Antichrist. Despite what many of his political opponents may think or say, he simply doesn't fit the profile.
The Bible describes the life and times of the Antichrist. It provides details in regard to his ethnic background and political career. Like Barack Obama before him, Donald Trump doesn't fit the description.
While people have accused every U.S. President of the past several decades of being the beast of Revelation, the Bible says the Antichrist will be the leader of a revived Roman Empire (Daniel 7). He will come from among the people of the Italian peninsula (Daniel 9:26), and He will be called the Assyrian (Isaiah 10:12; Daniel 8:9).
Furthermore, the Bible says the Antichrist will emerge from a group of ten kings (Daniel 7:7-8), and not all of these ten kings will willingly cede their power. Three will oppose him (Daniel 7:8).
None of these verses describe Donald Trump.
So unless a dramatic change takes place, the recent Israeli peace agreements are not the treaty described in Daniel 9:27. However, that doesn't mean they don't have prophetic significance. In all likelihood, they lay the groundwork for the treaty Israel will eventually sign with the Prince of Darkness.
A Time of Peace
While the Bible doesn't cite any end times peace agreements other than Daniel 9:27, it does mention a time of relative peace Israel enjoys in the last days. The prophet Ezekiel described this time of peace as a time when Israel will be an unprotected land of unwalled villages - a time when Israel will live in great confidence of its safety (Ezekiel 38:11).
During this time, a massive coalition of armies will invade Israel from the north (Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2), and Russia will lead them. Known as the Gog of Magog War, the invading nations are as follows:
Rosh = Russia
Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan, Ethiopia
Put = Libya
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah = Turkey
While the recent peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain aren't the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27, I believe they're setting the stage for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. The battle lines of the Middle East are being drawn, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the official response to the recently announced deals.
Most predictable among them was Iran's reaction. According to Al Jazeera, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United Arab Emirates of betraying the Islamic world and the Palestinians. He promised the Emiratis will be disgraced forever, and the stigma of their betrayal will always be remembered.
It's clear Tehran stands against this alliance, but the most revealing reaction came from Turkey's President - Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan threatened to suspend diplomatic ties with the UAE and withdraw its ambassador after the Gulf state and Israel agreed to normalize relations.
Until recently, this would have been a surprise. After all, Turkey is a longtime ally of Israel. However, since Erdogan rose to power in 2003, he's slowly dismantled many of Turkey's democratic institutions. He's taken an antagonistic stance toward Israel and strengthened Turkey's ties with Russia and Iran. All that's left to permanently move Turkey into the Russian/Iranian sphere of influence is a clear break between Turkey and NATO.
While we wait for that moment, the military forces of the three most powerful members of the Gog of Magog alliance - Russia, Iran, and Turkey - are now cooperating in Syria. This puts their joint military forces right on Israel's border. And not just any border - Israel's northern border.
This is where Ezekiel said the invasion force will come from - north of Israel (Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2). Is this a mere coincidence? I don't think so. Never in history have these three nations formed an alliance. Now, they're stationed directly to Israel's north.
God continues to set the stage for the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies. Turkey has made a strategic choice to align itself with Russia and Iran. The UAE and Bahrain have made a strategic choice to align themselves with Israel.
If Oman and Saudi Arabia follow suit as expected, it explains why these nations aren't part of the Gog of Magog alliance. Eventually, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and their allies will launch an overwhelming invasion force against Israel (Ezekiel 38:8-9). When they do, God will destroy them and display His power and glory for all the world to see (Ezekiel 38:23).
The Bottom Line
We'll have to wait and see what further developments take place before we can know for sure what the prophetic significance of these peace deals will be. None of these agreements are explicitly mentioned in the Bible, and none of them qualify as the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27.
However, collectively they're setting the stage for a prophetic event that will soon take place - the Gog of Magog invasion.
Never in world history have the invading nations of Ezekiel 38-39 banded together. Today, they have. Never before have Russia, Iran, and Turkey posted armies on Israel's northern border. Today, they have. Israel enjoying peace with its neighbors and a false sense of security is the only missing ingredient.
Once it's in place, the stage will be set for the fulfillment of the events described in Ezekiel 38-39. It's just the latest sign highlighting how close we are the end of the age and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.