May 11, 2009

When They Say Peace…

By Terry James

The drumbeat for peace can be heard within the rumblings of strange changes that inflict convulsive crisis after crisis upon this troubled planet. Israel, just as Old and New Testament prophets foretold, is at the heart of the birth-like contractions that have to be deliberately ignored to be missed. Paul the apostle and prophet wrote under inspiration,
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1Thessalonians 5:3).
This prophecy, I’m convinced, is most relevant to this particular hour in these waning days of human history. I believe, as a matter of fact, that this and surrounding Scripture relates directly to the rapture of all believers in Jesus Christ. I will attempt to explain a bit further into this commentary. First, I want us to try to understand exactly where this generation is presently positioned on God’s prophetic timeline.

Israel, which Zechariah the prophet said would become a burdensome stone and cup of trembling to the whole world, is already, in this pre-tribulation era, exactly that at this juncture in the geopolitical scope of things. The Jewish state is at the center of a call for peace that is unlike any such call in history.

Potential for nuclear conflict has diplomats — particularly of the western world - on edge, to put it mildly. Pakistan is in danger of falling to Taliban marauders, such prospects causing great consternation. The thought of Pakistan’s nuclear weaponry in the hands of those who have thrown in their lot with the likes of Osama bin Laden are disconcerting. That Iran is on the precipice of having such weaponry is even more disturbing, and a thing those who cry peace and safety simply cannot and will not tolerate.

Fears of the growing Iranian threat have to some extent brought even the Israelis and the Arabs to the point of talking things over. Jordan's King Abdullah told a news conference in Berlin,
"What we are discussing today is a combined approach of bringing together Arabs, Europeans, and the United States as a team to create the circumstances over the next several months that allow Israelis and Palestinians to sit at the table, but also with Lebanese, Syrians and Arab nations” (“Jordan says new approach to Mideast peace emerging,” by Salah Nasrawi, Associated Press,5/6/09).
So, international negotiators led by the Obama administration are putting unprecedented efforts into coming up with a strategy for peacemaking. Those calling for peace will have to convince the Israeli government and the Arab Islamic nations of the Mideast to agree to do the give-and-take compromises essential to formulating a peace that will defuse war seen as inevitably on the horizon.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now international Mideast envoy, announced that the Obama administration and others are working on the strategy for peace talks that he expects to be unveiled within six weeks.
“ ‘We're about to get a new framework,’ Blair said late Tuesday. ‘I can only speculate right now about what that framework is going to be. The reason I say people should be more hopeful is that this is a framework that is being worked on at the highest level in the American administration, (and) in the rest of the international community’" (“Blair: New Mideast Peace Plan Unveiled in Weeks,”, 5/6/09).
Paul’s words of end-times prophecy resound within current headlines. The world’s call for peace and safety just happens to be focused on the one city about which God told Zechariah to issue the Lord’s proclamation:
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).
The fascinating thing to consider here is that in Bible prophecy the focus of nations on end-times Jerusalem and the call for peace are connected in a way that cannot be denied. Neither can it be realistically denied that the focus on the exigencies of the present, with the international community trying to divide Jerusalem for the sake of “peace,” causes words of concern to leap from hourly news headlines.

Now for something of truly astounding importance to be considered. Please weigh carefully what follows.

The Apostle Paul is the prophet given the duty of laying out the coming of Jesus Christ for believers. The prophecy likens that coming as “a thief in the night” breaking in upon an unsuspecting household. This cannot be the second advent of Revelation 19:11 because the entire world of earth-dwellers who are still alive after the seven years of tribulation will see the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords. It will not be a stealthy coming, but a glorious re-entry (with the saints accompanying their Lord) into a world about to be destroyed by incorrigibly wicked humanity.

To make the point of the astounding importance of the current cry for peace surrounding Jerusalem and Israel, let’s consider the Scriptures immediately surrounding Paul’s prophecy about “peace and safety”—i.e., let’s look at this block of Scripture in context:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:4).
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Related News

Pope urges Middle East peace - Aljazeera
Petraeus says Taliban threatens future of Pakistan - ABC Online
UN Security Council calls for a Palestinian state - AP
Israel seeks Egypt's support against 'extremists' - AP