“And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom...” Matthew 24:6
When we see the troubled end times, we think of the Scripture in Isaiah 57:20-21, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Again we look at the Scripture, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (II Timothy 3:1). The word, “perilous” means “difficult dangerous, loss of strength.”
For some months this article has been about the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. At this time there has not been any progress, although much pressure is being put upon Israel. Recently Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington speaking to 14,000 pro-Israel activists, and he said, “Israel is ready to make a historic peace with the Palestinians.” He urged Abbas to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” once and for all with “No excuses. No delays. It’s time.” He read from the Bible, Deuteronomy 30, and said, “My friends, on behalf of the people of Israel, I bring you a message from Jerusalem, the cradle of our common civilization, the crucible of our shared values. It’s the message from the Bible, ‘I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life so that you and your offspring may live.’ Ladies and gentlemen, my friends, never forget – America and Israel stand for life. We stand together on the right side of the moral divide. We stand together on the right side of history.” It is so unusual to hear a leader of Israel quoting from the Bible.
The Scripture also admonishes us to, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee.” Soon a peace will finally be accomplished, but it will be a false peace promoted by the nations, from which will come a mighty leader with the answers to world peace (Dan.9:27). Israel and the world will be fooled into thinking that finally things are settled. This peace will only last for a short time (I Thess. 5:1-4). The Antichrist will be revealed as to who he really is, and whom he represents, which is Satan, God’s enemy, and the enemy of mankind. We are fast approaching that day. Be watching and waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus is near.
This is a time of tumult and danger in the Middle East. The danger from Iran is still very real. They may have deceived some of the nations, but they are still treacherous and hate Israel. Recently, Israel seized an Iranian ship carrying 40 missiles and 400,000 rounds of ammunition headed for Gaza and Hamas. Netanyahu warned that future ships could conceal nuclear weapons which are a threat to Israel and the world. “Peace, peace and there is no peace.”
Recently, Netananyahu came to Washington to talk with President Obama and received what the press described as a “wintery welcome.” Israel is being blamed for the impasse with the peace deal, while Abbas is proclaimed by our government “a willing partner and Israel as the obstacle to peace.” A warning was given by Secretary of State John Kerry that if Israel didn’t comply so that peace can be brought in, “They will face a third Intifada,” referring to the terroristic times of bombings and chaos in the past. We truly must heed the Scripture about praying for Israel.
According to the Scripture terrible times are ahead during the seven years of tribulation, when the false peace will be broken and the Antichrist will persecute Israel worse than ever before. Jeremiah 30:7 says, “ Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. It shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of Hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him; But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David [Beloved Jesus] their king, whom I will raise up.” Also, referring to that time, Daniel 12:1, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book.” The last three years of the seven years of tribulation will be terrible for Israel. God will deal with them, and a small portion will endure until the end of the tribulation and be saved. (Matthew 24:13).
The crisis in Syria continues after three years of fighting with no end in sight. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has annihilated many in mass killings. According to Global Research News, President Putin of Russia in September, 2013 gave Syria advanced weapons called S 300 SAM, and has threatened to also give them a more advanced missile called S 400, ranked as the World’s most advanced missiles, which Russia has, far superior to the Patriot missiles, made by the U.S.A., which NATO has given to the rebels in Syria to fight against Assad. In a subtle way we are fighting Russia.
Like that old song says, “The bear went over the mountain.” The Russian Bear is still alive. President Putin warned the US, and France in 2013 in response to NATO’S statement that they would arm the rebels in Syria, that he would arm the Syrian government, which he has done, giving them the most advanced anti-ship missiles that Russia has, and this illustrates the depths of its support for the Syrian government. These missiles have a range of 180 miles, and can do an extraordinary amount of damage. If being fired from the Mediterranean Sea they can easily hit Israel, or if fired out to sea, they could easily sink US Navy vessels. If this would happen, some are saying, “It will be impossible to stop a full-blown war between the United States and Syria and it’s ally Russia.” The situation in Syria is very dangerous and serious.
Prophecies in the book of Isaiah, chapter 17:1, where the prophet speaks of the “Burden of Damascus” concerning Damascus, Syria being destroyed. The word “burden” means “doom.” So, the prophecy is about the doom of this ancient city, which has stood many thousands of years until our day. Abraham mentions Damascus in Genesis 15:2, when questioning God about who would be his heir. He said, “Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?” So that city was there at that time, approximately B.C. 1913, at the time of Abraham. Yet the prophecy is still future at this time. With the tremendous civil war going on in Syria, one wonders if this will be the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy and Damascus will be destroyed.
This war in Syria has killed at least 150,000 counting both sides, with many by the Syrian government in mass executions, and has displaced thousands of refugees into neighboring countries, such as Israel and Jordan. Israel has been a major contributor in helping the refugees. Recently, the USA closed the Syrian embassy in Washington, giving the reason that the Syrian ambassador had left Washington over a year ago and had “suspended consular services," so there was no need to keep the building open any longer.
The Russian Bear has moved into part of Ukraine, and has annexed Crimea. Putin is on the move. He doesn’t seem to fear the USA. Perhaps he thinks that we are weak and will do nothing. What I see in their ascendency is what we see in Ezekiel 38 & 39. Gog and Magog [Russia] will unite with Persia, Libya, Turkey, Gomer [Germany] and Ethiopia and come against Israel in this end time. They will be slain by the Lord upon the mountains of Israel. There appears to be prophesied a nuclear war because Ezekiel 39:12-15 tells of “men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth to cleanse it; after the end of seven months shall they search.” It seems that this might be the war that is represented by the Red Horse in Revelation 6. First the white horse, representing the first part of the tribulation, when it will seem that peace is finally attained. This will be brought about by the “covenant “ of Daniel 9:27, then the peace will be broken. It remains to be seen how it will all be played out. But God’s Word is absolutely true and will be fulfilled in God’s due time.
This whole chapter, Isaiah 17, speaks of the time when nations will be in turmoil just before the Lord Jesus Christ will come in power and glory at the end of the tribulation period. All the nations will be judged as to how they have treated Israel, according to Matthew 25, as the “sheep nations” (those who have respected and treated Israel right, and the “goat nations” (those who have persecuted and been aggressive toward Israel) will be divided on God’s right hand and upon His left hand, while the “sheep nations” will be allowed to be in the earthly Kingdom of Christ, but the “goats” will be dissolved as nations.
Truly, we are living in the last days just before the tribulation. Next on the agenda is the rapture of the overcoming saints, known as the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us of that blessed time. The Lord is working right now, as He has been doing all through this Grace Age to enable the people of God to be this dedicated group by the working of the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure.” It is not by our own goodness that we win this race (I Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:7-14; Hebrews 12:1), but by His divine work in us. Our part is to yield - His part is to work. And He does. He is faithful! Praise his name!