May 29, 2024

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Will This Time Of War In Israel Pave The Way For A Time Of Counterfeit Peace?

Mark Hitchcock

Last month, Prime Minister Netanyahu quoted the book of Ecclesiastes, declaring, “The Bible says there’s a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war.” He’s dead right about that. Israel’s most important priority right now is to defeat and displace Hamas. That is the predicate for any future lasting peace in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Netanyahu called the current conflict Israel’s “second War of Independence.”

The first War of Independence was in 1948, the rebirth of the modern state of Israel, when they were invaded by five nations simultaneously. Calling this their “second war of independence” is a powerful statement. Netanyahu also said Israel is “only at the beginning” regarding the conflict with the terrorist organization.

A Time For War

Israel has now penetrated deeply into Gaza and is “tightening the noose” on Hamas. Hamas’ days, I believe, are numbered. The bigger concern right now is up on the northern front with Hezbollah, which is another surrogate/proxy of Iran. They are a much more formidable foe than Hamas.

There has been a recent increase in heavy barrages coming into Israel from Hezbollah. They’re hitting further and further into Israel, which then is causing Israel to respond with its airpower hitting further and further into Lebanon. We are seeing a major escalation between Hezbollah and Israel, both in the terrorist group’s attacks, aggression, and rhetoric.

So far, Hezbollah is just a major distraction. But the question is, will they open a full-scale second front? Many believe they will. The calculus right now for Hezbollah is that once Israel deals a death blow to Hamas, they’re going to be next and that this is the best time, while Israel is distracted with Hamas, for them to make their all-out attack.

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One other interesting development this month surrounded a paramilitary group in Russia, the Wagner group. They were headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a brief coup against Vladimir Putin before dying under very suspicious circumstances earlier this year. The Wagner group is transferring air defense systems to Hezbollah.

So, we now have Russia, one of the nations from Ezekiel chapter 38 that will attempt to invade Israel in the end times, providing air defense systems to Hezbollah through the Wagner group.

What about Iran? Is Iran going to get involved in a greater way, other than just through proxies? Currently, their proxies are attacking American troops and bases in Syria and Iraq. They are also the main power behind Hamas and Hezbollah. 

A Time For Peace

Prime Minister Netanyahu is right, “this is a time for war.” But what about peace? This may seem like a very strange time to talk about peace in the Middle East. Yet some experts are saying that this current war will actually pave the way for an expanded peace.

It’s an ironic twist. Iran unleashed Hamas, many believe, to torpedo and derail the peace talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Yet some are saying that, in the end, this may ultimately accelerate that process. 

The Bible tells us that the event that starts the coming seven-year tribulation period, the time of Jacob’s trouble, is a covenant that the Antichrist, the final world ruler, will make with many in the land of Israel.

We know it will involve some kind of peace agreement, because Daniel 9:27 describes the covenant allowing Israel sovereignty, the rebuilding of a temple, and the renewing of their sacrifices on the temple mount. For that to happen, there has to be a peace guarantee.

Daniel 9:27 says, “And he [this coming prince/Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]…”

Hamas’ attack against Israel may have seemed to destroy all hope of peace, but remember what has happened in Israel’s past. Egypt was the most aggressive enemy against Israel after they were founded in 1948. Egypt, with four other nations, attacked Israel in that war of independence. Egypt also fought the Suez War with Israel in 1956. Egypt was part of the Six-Day War in 1967, in which Israel fought with the surrounding nations. In 1973, Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the most holy day on the Jewish calendar (50 years plus one day later is when this Hamas attack occurred on October 7th).

Out of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, it looked like all hopes of peace were over; a mere four years later, Israel and Egypt began to engage in in-depth peace talks. Out of a terrible war in what looked like a hopeless situation in 1973, Israel had peace with Egypt in 1979. Israel gave up the Sinai to get that peace, and it has been maintained since then. Jordan also got on board and has had peace with Israel since 1994.

Many looking at what’s happening today are saying that when the chaos and conflict are finally over, people will be clamoring and yearning for peace, and it will make peace even more likely than before.

Last week, Time Magazine published the article “How Peace in the Middle East Can Still Be Reached.” The report is from several longtime advocates for Mideast peace who are both Democrats and Republicans.

“We believe that a silver lining could eventually emerge from the shocking invasion of Israel by Hamas and the tragic slaughter of over 1,300 civilians,” the article states. “Despite Hamas’ intention to prevent wider Mideast peace from emerging from the Biden Administration’s effort to broker normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and Saudi’s mixed signals on their willingness to move forward, we believe a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia could yet take place and that Hamas’ murderous rampage could paradoxically accelerate regional peace once Hamas is defeated.”

This may actually be paving the way for a greater peace.

“Hamas’ invasion does not change the tectonic shifts sweeping across the Middle East,” the article goes on to say. “If anything, a lasting defeat of Hamas may end up removing obstacles that have long stood in the way of regional peace.”

Another article in the Washington Post says, “Why Israel should promote peace in the midst of war.” The author states that the “foremost objective” of this war, ultimately, will be peace.

The New York Times published “Peace, a Forgotten Word, Renews its Claim in the Holy Land.”

“The current disaster also appears to be a watershed moment, with near unanimity that something must give,” they wrote.

This is, undoubtedly, a time for war, as Netanyahu says, but peace will eventually come according to God’s Word. It will be a false, temporary, and counterfeit peace brokered by the Antichrist, and that’s the event that will start the seven-year Tribulation.

What we see today, as bad as the war is, in an incredibly ironic twist, is actually going to pave the way for this broader, greater peace in the Middle East.

The Final Peace

Ultimately, there’s a final peace that’s going to come to this world. That will come when Jesus returns to this earth as King, when Jesus comes back, according to Isaiah 9:6, as the Prince of Peace.

Before that day, you and I need to be praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). God will prosper those who love Israel (Genesis 12:3). We also need to pray daily for the coming of the Prince of Peace. We need to be praying every day, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

Even so, come Lord Jesus. 

Mark Hitchcock is an author, associate professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, Senior Pastor of Faith Bible Church in Oklahoma, and hosts the weekly program “Marking The End Times.”

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