God’s word tells us of an event which will mark the beginning of the tribulation period. We are told by both Daniel and John that the tribulation period will last seven years. Daniel 9:27 tells us of the event that will initiate this time known also as the “Day of the Lord.” “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
First - we notice who it is that will ratify this peace treaty. “He shall confirm the covenant.” Who is this “he” that will confirm or sign this peace treaty? Verse 26 tells us who this coming one is. He is called, “the prince that shall come.” Then he is identified with the people who destroyed the city of Jerusalem, an event perpetrated by the Romans in 70 AD. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people (Romans) of the prince that shall come (antichrist) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; (70 AD) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (verse 26).
We understand then that there is coming one who will sign a peace treaty with Israel and the nations. We further understand that this coming one will come from (be the leader of) the revived Roman Empire. The scripture calls this man the “antichrist” or the “beast” and it also gives to him many other descriptive names.
[For clarification, Paul tells us that the church will be raptured prior to the appearance of Antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3. Notice in verse 1 the subject of those 3 verses is the rapture. Remember also that the church may be raptured at any time; it may be raptured some time prior to the signing of the peace treaty. The rapture and the peace treaty are not necessarily tied together. The rapture is a signless event.]
For several decades now the entire world has been preoccupied with this peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. This is the same peace treaty which when signed by antichrist will precipitate the tribulation period.
At this very moment the UN, the US, the EU, Russia, Israel, the Palestinians, the Muslim nations and the entire world are wrestling mightily with this issue and it seems to be coming to a climax.
This brings us to our question, “Is the peace treaty about to be signed?”
As we study scripture on this issue the answer we come up with is NO.
Neither the Palestinians, the Arabs nor the Muslim world have any intention of signing anything that would legitimize Israel. They have one goal and that goal is the elimination of Israel (they have stated that many times). That is why the Palestinians refuse to negotiate.
In his speech to the UN on September 23, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas stated that he would “Never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” For talks to take place, he said, Israel must accept the Palestinian right to all the lands it captured in 1967 on the West Bank and Jerusalem. Turning to the Palestinian religious and historical affinity to Jerusalem, he called it the city of two Koranic prophets, Muhammad and Jesus, obliterating any Jewish ties to the city. That is the fulfilment of Psalm 83:12, “Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.” This claiming of the temple mount by Israel’s enemies is also foretold in Ezekiel 36:2, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places (temple mount) are ours in possession.”
Netanyahu outlined the historic Jewish ties to the Land of Israel to explain why it was so important for the Palestinians to accept the Jews' historical ties to their land, which they have consistently refused to do. For his part Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed, "The West Bank will not be another Gaza.” “In peace negotiations, Israel would seek defensible borders and a long-term military presence in a demilitarized Palestinian State”, said the prime minister – “especially after the experience of the uprooting of settlements and disengagement from the Gaza Strip resulted in years of missile attacks on southern Israel.”
The nations have been pressing for peace in the Mideast for decades now. They will continue to press for a peace agreement, but the facts are clear there is no peace agreement possible at this time.
Something must happen before this false peace treaty can come about. That something is a war that will so destroy Israel’s antagonists that they will sue for peace. I believe that that is the scenario described in the scriptures. I know that I have laboured this point, but if that is the situation that is about to break upon the world then we are justified in labouring it.
Israel has fought three major wars since 1948. In each of those wars Israel was outnumbered and out gunned. Israel had no hope of winning those wars. The God of Israel intervened in each case and gave Israel miraculous victories of Biblical like proportions.
Those wars are not mentioned directly in scripture, but they are alluded to in Zechariah 12:6, “In that day will I make the governors (1) of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: (2) and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again (3) in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”
That is a perfect description of what happened in those three wars. The context of these wars is the last days. Notice first, that it is a time when Israel has no king but is under governors (members of the Knesset), that is the present hour. Notice second, that during those wars the Israelis so overcame their enemies that indeed they seemed like a fire that consumed everything around them. The deserts were strewn with hundreds and hundreds of burned out enemy tanks and artillery pieces and downed enemy aircraft. Those scenes shown on TV; are indelibly etched in my mind. Israel was indeed like a fire and her enemies were the wood. Notice third, that it was during the war of 1967 that biblical Jerusalem was captured again and inhabited again by the Israelis.
Though the Bible did not give details about those wars it does give considerable detail about three wars yet to come. Those three wars are
1. the war of Psalm 83 (also Ezekiel 36 and Isaiah 17),
2. the war of Ezekiel 38-39 and
3. the war of Armageddon Joel 3 and Revelation 19.
In each of these three wars an attempt is made to destroy Israel and in each case God intervenes and destroys the enemies of Israel. The climax comes with the battle of Armageddon when Christ Himself comes and obliterates the armies of the entire world with the sword of His mouth and rules on the throne of David in Jerusalem.
These three wars each have different time frames. Each takes place in a different place. Each involves different groups which are named. These enemies of Israel form concentric circles around Israel. In the war of Psalm 83 we have the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jordan and Syria, all within or near Israel’s borders. In the war of Ezekiel 38-39 we have Russia, Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia and Libya which represent a wider circle of enemies. This war takes place on the mountains of Israel. Then in the battle of Armageddon we see the whole world drawn into the valley of Megiddo.
One of the amazing things we are observing is the preparation now being made for all three of these wars. Though each of these wars has its own unique time frame, nevertheless preparations are now underway for each of them.
1. The war of Armageddon takes place at the close of the tribulation period, in the valley of Megiddo.
2. The war of Ezekiel 38-39 takes place on the mountains of Israel. It takes place early in the tribulation period. We know that because the weapons are burned by the Israelis for seven years which would be accomplished prior to the millennial kingdom. We also note that the attack takes place during a time when Israel is at peace, this is mentioned three times in Ezekiel 38. The only time when Israel will experiences peace will be very early in the tribulation period. (See also 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
3. That leaves the war of Psalm 83 which will take place prior to the peace treaty and the tribulation period. The exact scenario of this war is now forming before our very eyes.
Notice the attitude of the nations around Israel today as described in Psalm 83:3-5, “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.” That is the situation in the Mideast right now; this scenario is unique to this very hour. The scene is now set for this war to take place. Though the leaders of the western nations stop their ears, the Palestinian and Islamic leaders have said very clearly, over and over again that their goal is the destruction of Israel. They have made it plain that Israel must be removed from the Mideast. “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation.”
The official Palestinian logo, which is on the petition to the UN for a Palestinian State, shows a map of the whole area with no Israeli presence.
In December 2009 the leader of Hamas actually sent a letter to the UN, in it he said, “The land of Palestine belongs to the Arabs, from sea to sea, there is no place for Jews in it.” In the last several days Palestinian leaders have declared that, “Their state would never accept any Jewish presence.”
Notice the people involved in this coming war: Psalm 83:6-8, “The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.”
It is not hard to identify the countries mentioned here. Edom is represented by the Palestinians according to a study done by Jimmy DeYoung. The Ishmaelites are Arabs, Ammon would be Jordan, and the Philistines would be represented by Hamas in Gaza. Tyre would represent Hezbollah in Lebanon. Assur is a suburb of Damascus, and would represent Syria. These are the combatants in this war in question. This is the very same group now preparing to go to war with Israel. The events described in Psalm 83 are directly related to the present Mideast situation. These groups are stockpiling missiles and weapons of all kinds, including weapons of mass destruction.
Hezbollah is said to have 60,000 missiles of all kinds and ranges. Some of these missiles can carry payloads of up to a ton. DEBKAfile reports that some of these weapons are ready to be equipped with chemical and biological warheads. Syria has an extensive arsenal of missiles, some equipped with weapons of mass destruction. Hamas is reported to have purchased weapons of mass destruction from the Libyan rebels.
Retired US General Paul Valley has stated that he believes a Mideast war is coming, a war that will change the world. IDF generals are preparing for a regional war with attacks from Gaza on the south, Syria on the east, Hezbollah on the north and from the Palestinians from within.
Notice the outcome of this war: I believe the outcome of this war will be the setup for the coming peace treaty. I believe that Israel’s enemies will be totally decimated in this war as God intervenes; I believe the scriptures make this plain. It also indicates that Israel will suffer severe damage in this war.
Isaiah 17:13-14, “The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. And behold at evening tide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.”
This is another war that Israel should lose, but once again God will intervene. Notice,” God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off.”
In verse 14 we see the fate of Damascus; that could well be the nuclear destruction of Damascus. Recently Israel warned Syria that if they use weapons of mass destruction against Israel, “We will wipe you out.”
In Psalm 83 we have the same message concerning the defeat of Israel’s enemies in this war. We see this in verses 13-17, “O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish.”
We have the same message in Ezekiel 36:5-7, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame.”
The results of this coming war will be the total destruction of the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jordan and Syria. I believe from what we read in these scriptures that the world will be left in a state of shock. I believe the possible use of nuclear weapons will terrify the world, lest the war should expand and others should use nuclear weapons.
There is another factor not mentioned in these verses. That factor is the looming world-wide economic collapse. We can easily understand how the world would be brought to its knees. I do not want to be light hearted about this coming situation, but throw in a few major terrorist attacks and a few catastrophic natural disasters and you have a scenario for a false messiah to ride onto the scene and through signs and wonders and miracles deliver the world from despair.
God has a purpose and a program, some of it He has revealed to us. In the three wars of Israel from 1948 – 1973 God was in effect saying to Israel, “Trust and obey Me and I will protect you and bless you.” In each of those situations Israeli’s were conscious of the fact that God was moving on their behalf. However there was no returning of Israel to the Lord, life went on much as before.
I believe that in the three Israeli wars yet to come, the God of Israel will speak more loudly to both Israel and to a rebellious world. As we study about those wars we learn that God’s judgement on the enemies of His people will grow in intensity. It will climax in the battle of Armageddon with the total destruction of all of the world’s armies.
Notice one of the great purposes of Jehovah in these coming wars. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth” (Psalm 83:18).
Also in Ezekiel 36:23, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”
Again in Ezekiel 38:18, “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
Understand that after the church is raptured God will not have a witness in the world, at least as the tribulation period begins. God will give His own witness to a rebellious world by His obvious divine intervention in the wars of Israel.
I believe several major things will result.
I. Israel will begin to take notice of what God has done, and 144,000 Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel will be saved and others will begin a turning to the Messiah of Israel.
II. I believe multitudes Muslims will see how the God of Israel has brought judgment on the millions of Muslims slain by the hand of God in these wars. Many Muslims will say the God of Israel is the true God and not Allah.
III. These wars which will glorify God will be the catalyst in the salvation of multiplied millions of tribulation saints.
IV. As all through history, millions will see the hand of God at work and do what unbelieving men have always done, they will turn away from the gracious God that seeks to draw them to Himself, and harden their hearts.
I believe that as antichrist comes on the scene he will first work his miracles and wonders in the EU. He will bring prosperity and order out of the confusion that now reigns in Europe. This success will cause the world to fall at his feet as he brings peace and safety to the whole world (though it will be only temporary peace).