Aug 10, 2009

Rumors of Peace

Terry James
By Terry James

These are indeed the strangest of times. Two particular — and most important — indicators given by Jesus himself (remember that He is the very Word [John 1:1], thus all of the Bible is from Jesus) forewarning the end of the age are on or near today's front-page headlines. These indicators involve both war and peace — rather, rumors thereof.

Jesus issued the word for Daniel the prophet to write about a coming false peacemaker and false peace that will bring disastrous consequences:
"And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many..." (Daniel 8:25a).
The Lord warned of rumors of wars for the last days:
"And ye 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" (Matthew 24:6).
First in this commentary we will briefly look at the possible Iranian-engendered war rumored to break out at any moment. Developing reports seem to indicate that rumors of the impending war might be fading just a bit, while at the same time rumors of peace are rising to the surface of the seas and waves of these end times.

Iran's nuclear development program has for many months held the rapt attention of the world's diplomats — and of those of us who look at that troubling situation from the perspective of Bible prophecy. Iran's just re-elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of course, has been at the heart of verbally fueling the nuclear weapons development threat to Israel and the world. We will secondly examine the peace prognostications coming from some quarters, while the Iranian tyrant's unending call for Israel to be erased from the Middle East, and even from planet earth, seems to be fading from his most recent rhetoric.

Ahmadinejad's words clearly avoided all mention of Israel during his inauguration speech. One report gives the inferred changes in the Iranian leader's public rage against the Jewish state:
In his inaugural address — in tones somewhat quieter than his often-bombastic style — Ahmadinejad called for the nation to put aside its differences and “join hands.”... Ahmadinejad did not directly address Obama's outreach for the start of a dialogue on Iran's nuclear program, which the U.S. suspects is geared toward producing weapons. Iran says it only seeks energy-producing reactors. [Ahmadinejad ] said: “Iran is a nation of logic, dialogue and constructive interaction. The basis of our foreign policy is wide and constructive contacts with all nations and independent governments based on justice, respect and friendship.” (“Ahmadinejad Sworn in as Iranian President,” Jerusalem Post/ Associated Press, August 5, 2009).
The Iranian dictator faces a divided nation of citizenry, and even hostility within his own government. The change in his modus operandi — by at least for now not making Israel the center of hatred — indicates that he perhaps isn't as anxious to shake the nuclear fist in the faces of Israel and the rest of the world as he has been doing for so long. This opens up an interesting train of thought that I've been harboring in more recent weeks.

Considering the Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 prophecies, I've wondered how Israel might ever get to the status Ezekiel prophesied — that is, to be at peace and without military self-protection so long as Iran (known as Persia in ancient times) poses such threat. If Israel were to strike a blow against Iran's nuclear development facilities as predicted by many, such action would not lessen Israel's antagonists' rage, but would almost certainly cause it to increase. Thus, Israel could not for the foreseeable future put down her defenses.

While most who observe the matters involved in the Israel-versus-Iran confrontation believe that Iran's nuclear weapons production will in some way bring about the God-Magog attack, I can't see it at this point. Israel must be at rest — in "unwalled villages” (unworried about attack) for the Gog-Magog assault to occur. Israeli Defense Force generals would certainly laugh at such a proposition if one said to them that the Jewish state is presently without defense, or unconcerned about possible attacks.

I can see no scenario — in immediate or even near-immediate—terms that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would initiate the Gog-Magog attack. I'm wondering for now if the Iranian leadership, perhaps with the sly thinking and arm-twisting of the Russian leadership, might not to some extent step down from its nuclear weapons development — or at least convincingly appear to do so.

At the same time Iran might be stepping somewhat away from the brink of confrontation with Israel, news is coming from Jerusalem that movement might be afoot in the “Roadmap to Peace” process. Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, on behalf of President Barack Obama, has apparently proposed two unofficial initiatives to move toward the two-state solution that would frame a more expansive peace.
The Obama Administration is close to presenting its plan for peace in the Middle East to Israel and the Palestinians, senior officials said yesterday...No details were released, although it is thought that the plan is based on an Arab initiative whereby Israel would gain recognition from the Arab world in return for the creation of a Palestinian state...It is thought that the plan will have a broader regional approach than previous peace efforts, and will include the participation of Syria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon...One idea that George Mitchell, the Middle East special envoy, discussed with the Israelis has been for Israel to agree to a temporary halt in settlement constructions to get both parties to the negotiating table. Israel has demanded that the Palestinians who, with the exception of Hamas and other Islamist factions, have long since acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, should officially recognize it as a Jewish state... (“Barack Obama Is Close to Revealing Plan for Middle East Peace,” James Hider in Jerusalem and Tim Reid in Washington, Times online,
Although it is likely far from becoming official, the proposals Mitchell presented to the Israelis and certain Palestinian leaders seem to be taking root. If it does eventuate, it will be peace best expressed in terms once used by President John F. Kennedy, describing in his inaugural address during the Cold War era. It will most assuredly come to be a "hard and bitter peace," according to Isaiah 28.

Related News

America won’t wait long for Iran to return to N-talks - Daily Times
Talk isn’t enough to stop threat from Iran - Daily Herald
China urges more global effort for Mideast peace - AFP
Iran Rejects September Deadline on Nuclear Talks - Global Security Newswire