As far back as the First Century, the Apostle Paul foretold that perilous times would come upon the world in the last days. Jesus said that they would be so frightening, that fear and panic would cause men’s hearts to fail them. Those who may have scoffed at such prophesies in the past, no longer do so – not since witnessing the terrible acts of terror and devastating natural disasters of our time.
The resultant insecurity brought about by these acts of terrorism, has not only stunned the world, but also changed the way the West views Islam. There is a good reason why many people believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict lies at the heart of it all.
An ancient conflict
The deep-rooted resentment between Arabs and Jews was revived with the rebirth of modern Israel in 1948, and has continued to escalate ever since.
The ongoing violence in the Middle East has dominated world news reports more than any other matter. Even the tragic events of 9/11 were somehow linked to it. The never-ending strife in and around Israel may be perplexing to politicians and the world in general, but not to those who know and believe the Scriptures.
Spirit-led Bible students are able to discern the signs of the times, in much the same way that the sons of Issachar were able to do so long ago. Their insight and foresight enables them to comprehend certain things must come to pass in order for God’s Word to be fulfilled.
Israel is the focal point
On the other hand, it is shocking how ignorant nominal Christians are, when it comes to the things that still lie ahead. Nothing seems to have any prophetic significance for them. It is becoming ever clearer to those who search the Scriptures that Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, will become the focal point of history in the days ahead.
As we approach the end times, all countries are being drawn into this conflict and forced to take sides. An alignment of nations is taking place right before our eyes. Bible-believers the world over are becoming increasingly alarmed, as they see their governments turn against Israel. Even America is proving to be less of a friend than anyone could have imagined a decade ago. Anti-Semitism is surfacing again in many different forms. This time, it includes calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The Second Coming is imminent
History records that God intervened in the affairs of mankind 2 000 years ago, by sending His Son into the world. There is good reason to believe that He is about to do so again, in a dramatic way. In the meantime, He is using every means to get man’s attention. It is His declared will and desire to bring as many people as possible to salvation, while the door of grace is still open.
Understanding the root
The Middle East conflict – as well as the Islamic terrorism which it spawned, needs to be examined from a historical, geographical, spiritual, political, religious and military perspective. To fully comprehend any dispute, one has to delve into the past, to establish how and why it arose. Only once the source of the disagreement has been pinpointed, will its complexities start making sense.
Brother against brother
This is especially true of the Middle East conflict. Its duration and intensity will continue to defy all rational explanation, until a thorough study of its root causes is undertaken. The Scriptures, which provide the most accurate record of man’s history prior to Christ’s first advent, are most enlightening in this regard – as indeed they are all in matters pertaining to life as we know it.
The more one ponders on the Middle East conflict, the harder it is to believe that the two foes have a common forefather in Abraham. But it is so. The great controversy between Islam on the one hand and Judaism and Christianity on the other, arises from who each side holds up as the child of promise (Isaac or Ishmael). Ishamel and Edom’s descendants still covet the land and blessings God gave to Isaac and Jacob’s offspring.
Never before have we seen as many nations gang up against the Jewish state, as right now. She is the pariah of the world and nothing less than her total destruction will satisfy the Muslim world.
Seeing the Messiah from afar
The history of mankind cannot be separated from the Biblical expose of Israel’s Messiah. Any sincere enquirer who takes the trouble to compare the unfolding of the Old Testament revelation of His coming with the course of history itself, will soon conclude that they ran concurrently for many centuries, before converging.
As the prophets of Israel peered down the corridors of time, they foresaw and predicted many historical events that no amount of human wisdom or imagination could have conjured up.
Centuries later their amazing prophecies were literally fulfilled. Often the accuracy of the details given by them, were truly remarkable.
False prophets abound
All other religious writings claiming to be divinely inspired, are questionable testimonies of deluded individuals, and will not be able to withstand close scrutiny. None of them have been validated by history, archaeology and fulfilled prophecy like the Bible has. They are thus easily exposed as fraudulent works of false prophets.
Only those whose eyes have been blinded by the god of this world would dare to question the Bible’s divine origin, or dispute that Christ has come in the flesh. How anyone can still refuse to acknowledge the now obvious convergence of human history and divine revelation, is hard to comprehend.
Sin produces strife
All human conflict can be traced back to Adam’s original sin and satan’s role in causing it. It is the source of all disobedience, pride, prejudice, envy and hatred. Man was suddenly capable of thinking and doing un-imaginably wicked things. Adam and Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, became a murderer and the whole earth was filled with violence in no time at all. Every generation thereafter has witnessed the havoc wreaked by this deadly affliction. It is a fact that whenever satan and his demons are active, sinful deeds and feuds are inevitable, Because of this, strife has been the order of the day throughout the course of human history.
A choice with eternal consequences
The day is approaching when every man will have to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and bend their knee to Him. It is better to willingly do so now, while choices that have eternal consequences can still be made.
When this blessed time of Christ’s return comes, divine law and order will prevail. The Middle East conflict which features so prominently in Bible prophecy, will then come to an end. So will all hostilities on the earth, because the Prince of Peace will see to it.
John Haupt is an author, speaker, tour guide and missionary. This article is an extract from his book, The End of the Matter. To order or for more info: www.jhpublishing.co.za