Just as the Bush administration had begun to think they were getting an upper hand on al Qaeda, it again raised its ugly head and sent shock waves of spine-chilling terror around the world. Terrorism from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Casablanca, Morocco, to the streets of Israel has again rocked and shocked the peoples of the world. These actions came on the heels of a recent comment by President Bush that he estimated that the United States had destroyed 50 percent of al Qaeda’s organization.
And just as the Bush administration was beginning to push its “road map” to peace in Palestine, the terrorist organization Hamas unleashed another round of deadly suicide bombings in Israel. This latest peace plan presents the combined efforts of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. It marks the most comprehensive attempt to end violence in the Middle East since the start in September 2000 of the second Intifada, a word that literally means “uprising,” but has come to mean “revolution.” It is applied to the Palestinian paramilitary and terrorist actions against Israel.
Even though the road map to peace is a collaborative plan, it stills falls the lot of the Bush administration to serve as the primary negotiator in the process. The principal plank calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state within a year. The blueprint envisions that Israel should, in principle, recognize a neighboring state before the two sides resolve the pivotal issues that have crippled previous peace efforts.
Plan interrupted even before implementation
But as usual, the process was instantly hamstrung by the Israelis insisting that the Palestinians must first stop their terrorist attacks—and the Palestinians insisting that the Israelis first stop developing new settlements on the West Bank along with military incursions into Palestinian residential areas.
The latest round of terrorist attacks in Israel was set off just hours before Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was to leave for Washington for a meeting with U.S. President Bush, forcing the prime minister to cancel the meeting, as he was forced to deal with the new crises.
Western leaders were hopeful that the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, also called by the honorific name Abu Mazen, would crack down on the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a militant offshoot of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement that has claimed responsibility for a string of suicide bombings in Israel.
Arafat had opposed Abu Mazen’s appointment for several reasons, especially because he feared losing his powerful influence over the Palestinian Authority. Arafat went so far as to infer a Palestinian civil war might erupt if Abu Mazen moved against the Al Aqsa and other militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Arafat obviously remains a powerful personality to be reckoned with in any future negotiations. So, circumstances may well defeat the peace plan before it really begins. Both sides are filled with unabated fear, hate and lingering suspicions of each other’s motives.
So what is going to happen now?
Jerusalem is the key
Over and over in this publication we have informed our readers of the importance of Israel and Jerusalem in geopolitics. Jerusalem’s significance in geopolitical affairs can hardly be overstated. Jerusalem’s importance centers on its strategic and symbolic value. Ultimately, its importance to the final grand crescendo between the forces of good and evil centers on its spiritual significance. Jerusalem is the spiritual capital and birthplace of Christianity and Judaism. The peoples of Islam view it as the third most sacred place on earth.
One of the great symbols of peace is located in the courtyard of the United Nation’s headquarters in New York City; it is a statue of a man beating a sword into a plowshare. The symbol for this statue is taken from the words of the prophet Isaiah. The prophet writes of a time when Jerusalem will become the civil and spiritual capital of the world. The people of the world will flow into Jerusalem and be taught God’s ways—His culture, which produces peace.
Isaiah concludes this inspiring and encouraging prophecy with these words: “Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×). These are the sure words of God.
The United Nations was founded on the noble principle of building a world organization to stabilize the nations of the world and bring peace. It has sought to reach its goals through various agendas that range from issues of health, environment, education and economic matters, to dealing with the numerous political squabbles among nations.
For the UN to achieve success, it must depend upon cooperation among the peoples of the world. But the nature of human beings is not given to cooperation and goodwill. God created humans subject to vanity, and gives humans the opportunity to choose which way they will go (see Romans 8:20 Romans 8:20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,
American King James Version×; Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Deuteronomy 30:19-20 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live: 20 That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may hold to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
American King James Version×). Humans consistently reject the way of God and choose to go their own way, trying to solve problems apart from God.
People do not want to follow God’s peace plan
There are powerful forces determined to usurp God’s plan for Jerusalem and take the city for their own purposes. When all is said and done, what are political affairs all about? Are they not about who is going to rule over the sons of men?
From the days of Cain, who killed righteous Abel because of jealousy, to the present day, various pseudomessiahs have sought to be in charge, oftentimes through the most evil Machiavellian tactics imaginable. On the other hand, there are men of good will who desire to bring peace for noble causes.
There are factions in Israel that believe Israel is destined to rule the world through a human Jewish Messiah. Furthermore, they believe that the land of Palestine belongs to them by decree from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
On the other hand, there are also factions in the Middle East that believe God wants them to kill all those who don’t agree with them and that they are destined to impose their culture on the peoples of the world.
Christians who really know the Bible know that Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth and Jerusalem will become the civil and religious capital of the world. But there is a powerful spirit being, a fallen evil spirit, Satan the devil, and his legions of demons, who are obsessed with usurping God’s authority and becoming the object of worship.
Satan knows the prophecies concerning Jerusalem, and he is determined to lead the world into great deception. This powerful fallen angel will cause the peoples of the world to believe that the human being he possesses and empowers is the great spiritual messiah that the world’s major religions expect to appear in the near future and lead the world into a new age of peace and prosperity.
Buddhists look for the appearance of the fifth Buddha; Hindus look for the appearance of Krishna; Islamic peoples look for the appearance of a great imam Mahdi; Jews look for the first appearance of the prophesied Messiah; New Agers look for the appearance of Myatria. But Christians rightfully look for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
As we have already noted from the book of Isaiah, the Bible clearly reveals that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, the Prince of Peace, who is going to lead the world into a new age of godly peace. In the interim, Bible prophecy reveals that evil men and seducers are going to wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13 2 Timothy 3:13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
American King James Version×). The state of the world will continue to deteriorate to the point that people will cry out for a strong ruler whom they hope will insure peace and prosperity.
Jerusalem will increasingly become the focal point of world leaders, and some type of pseudopeace is going to come to the Middle East.
Religious leader to play a major role
So far, the principal players trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem are political leaders. But a great religious leader, who will wield powerful spiritual influence, is going to enter the equation in the near future. At the present time, the Roman Catholic pope and that church’s adjuncts are aggressively promoting ecumenism—that is, encouraging the world’s religions to work together and develop common ground for cooperation.
Philosophers, intellectuals, religious leaders and politicians have written extensively on the role that religion plays in dividing the various peoples of the world into warring factions. The solution for some is to do away with religion—while the solution for others is to merge the world’s religions. But religion and spiritual forces are not going to disappear from the stage of world affairs.
The Bible reveals that there will be a powerful religious figure who will declare that he is God. In fact, he is a deceiver, led by Satan the devil. Note what the apostle Paul writes about this time: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
American King James Version×).
The Greek word for falling away is apostasia , meaning “false teaching.” Apparently, the false teaching is that Christ has returned in the person of the one who sits in the temple of God proclaiming that he is God.
Paul goes on to show that this person is led by Satan. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
American King James Version×).
The key to avoiding deception is to develop a personal love affair with the truth. But some might ask, what is truth? Jesus answers this age-old question, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
American King James Version×).
Jerusalem placed under international rule
The Bible reveals that nations will divide Jerusalem and rule over it. A geopolitical power is going to impose a pseudopeace that will deceive the peoples of the world. The apostle John describes the measuring and dividing of Jerusalem: “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months’ ” (Revelation 11:1-2 Revelation 11:1-2 1 And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given to the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
American King James Version×).
The full details for the new road map to peace in the Middle East had not been released at this writing. But it clearly calls for an independent Palestinian state. The great question concerning the disposition of Jerusalem will surely be one of the principal questions that will have to be addressed and settled. Past negotiations have called for some kind of division of the city of Jerusalem. The original UN Resolution 181 of November 1947 called for the creation of independent Jewish and Palestinian states with Jerusalem being under international control. The prophet Daniel makes it clear that the end-time global political leader is going to plant his headquarters in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:45 Daniel 11:45And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
American King James Version×).
During the same period that Jerusalem is given over to the nations, the world will be deceived into worshiping this global leader, who prophecy names “the beast.” He will be aided by one the Bible calls “the false prophet.”
John describes this: “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:4-8 Revelation 13:4-8 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×). This brings us to the great question for each of us: Is my name written in the Book of Life of the Lamb?
God will prevent mankind’s destruction
We can take consolation in the fact that there is a great God in heaven who is going to intervene in the affairs of men.
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:12-17 Revelation 6:12-17 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
American King James Version×).
Christ’s intervention will prevent the annihilation of human life from off the planet (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×). The “day of God’s wrath” will not lead the masses to repentance, as their deception will be too deep and complete (Revelation 9:20-21 Revelation 9:20-21 20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
American King James Version×).
Sadly, after God begins to intervene in world affairs there is no record of anyone repenting. God’s Spirit does not always strive with men. So today is the day to begin your love affair with the truth. Write for our free booklet, The Book of Revelation Unveiled . It will show you the positive message of hope contained in this capstone prophecy of the Bible.
The question is, Will you be deceived? Will you avoid the great deception to come? God’s Word urges you, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart” (Hebrews 4:7 Hebrews 4:7Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
American King James Version×). —WNP