We are living in remarkable times.
No kidding. It’s like every single day we are watching the pieces of God’s prophetic puzzle fall one-by-one into place.
Sooner rather than later I think, the puzzle will be complete, the picture will be crystal-clear, and the stuff of prophecy will become the headlines of history.
And we are watching it happen!
Case in point: Just now, Air Force One ever so gently lifted off the tarmac at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv. The first Presidential visit by Barack Obama to the Holy Land is over. (Interestingly enough, the farewell ceremonies were cut short by a blinding sandstorm. Don’t know if that has any significance.)
Now let me be clear. In and of itself, this particular presidential visit has little if any prophetic significance. History will no doubt record that little of any substance was achieved. Sure, President Obama made his obligatory visits to Jerusalem and Ramallah, where he met with the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestinian Authority. Talk of peace filled the air: The need for Middle East peace. The priority of peace. The mutual benefits of peace to both parties. The threats to peace from Israel’s unstable neighbors to the North, South, and East (Syria, Egypt, and Iran respectively).
But isn’t it so ironic that even as the words Shalom (Hebrew) / Salam (Arabic) were being bandied about, two qassam rockets launched from Gaza exploded in southern Israel? Listen carefully and you might just hear the faint echo of the Prophet Jeremiah when he quotes God as saying, “All they ever offer to my deeply wounded people are empty hopes for peace… saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
Middle East peace: So near, and yet so far.
But here’s the thing: No one, including me, expected anything of substance to result from this heavily-reported (over 100 US journalists accompanied the President to the region) visit. Now that it’s over, the earth will keep spinning, the rockets will keep flying and exploding, and the tensions will keep flaring.
But one day, something of substance will indeed take place.
Consider this: One day, a world leader (most likely coming out of the EU or UN, not the USA) will sit down with the Israelis and Palestinians and achieve the unachievable — a treaty of peace guaranteeing the safety and security of Israel.
The whole world will stand in awe of this historic achievement. The Middle East in particular will heave a huge, collective sigh of relief.
Peace will reign supreme. Or will it?
They say that the devil’s in the details. And that little maxim certainly applies to this scenario. This world leader will pull off the illusion that he truly is a champion of peace. So much so that many in Israel will hail him as their long-awaited Messiah. But don’t be fooled.
If my sense of both prophecy and today’s realities in the region is correct, this pseudo-Messiah will negotiate a breathtaking breakthrough, the broad contours of which will look something like this: A seven-year (Daniel 9:27), two-state solution. (Interestingly enough, just two days ago both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu verbally endorsed a “two state solution” in their joint press conference. “Fully committed” was how Netanyahu put it.)
The State of Palestine will be able to claim Jerusalem as its capital (Revelation 11:2), and in return Israel will finally be allowed to build its 3rd Temple (Daniel 9:27).
That’s not much of a stretch to imagine those few conditions as the basis of a peace accord. It could have happened this week. It didn’t. But one day, it will. And at the very moment that all parties ink that deal, a seven year period of time referred to by the prophets as “the Tribulation” (Matthew 24:29) will begin. We could be that close.
I’ve got to admit, whenever world leaders sit down with Middle Eastern leaders to talk “peace,” my heart beats a wee bit faster, my sense of anticipation grows a tad bit keener, and I cannot help but wonder, “Is today the day?” No, today was not the day. But one day, Yes! It will be the day.
Sadly, this treaty will hold for only 3 1/2 years, at which time the mask will come off. This world leader, man of peace, supposed Messiah will brashly break the very treaty that he himself negotiated. He will enter the Holy of Holies (where only God can dwell), sit upon God’s throne, and proclaim himself the Almighty (Daniel 9:27).
Once his mask comes off, it will be made clear for all to see that this “champion of peace” is in reality that monster to whom the biblical prophets referred as “The Beast” (Revelation 13:1), “the Antichrist” (1 John 2:18), “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and other equally-disturbing names and titles. Let there be no mistake. He will not be the Holy Spirit-empowered Jesus Christ; he will be the Satan-possessed Antichrist.
His agenda is clear: to lull Israel into a false state of security, only to betray her by proclaiming himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and to bring the combined military might of the world against God’s people, and against God Himself, in what is commonly called the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Now that is quite a story; indeed, quite an unbelievable story to some. But who would have believed that today, thousands of years after these prophecies were penned, the whole world would be watching that lovely little land called Israel, yearning for peace, peace when there is no peace?
No, nothing of much significance happened this week. But one day, sooner rather than later, the final pieces of the prophetic puzzle will fall into place, the prophetic picture will be complete, and once all the dust settles, our God will reign, the devil and his many minions will be soundly defeated and finally destroyed, and “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). Saved not by a false Messiah, but by Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.