by Irvin Baxter
US Secretary of State John Kerry has set a goal of reaching a Middle East peace agreement by May 2014. If his “stated goal” is achieved, the final seven years to Armageddon will begin at that time.
The Bible prophesies a seven-year period that will immediately precede the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth. Many important events are foretold to occur during this final seven years.
The seven-year period will begin when a peace agreement is reached between Israelis and Palestinians with the support of the International Community. The peace agreement will resolve several critical issues.
It will Create a Palestinian State
The agreement will be an interim agreement that creates a Palestinian state within temporary borders. This new Palestinian state will include most of the West Bank in Israel, which is biblical Judea and Samaria. These borders are being negotiated right now.
Settling the Status of Jerusalem will be Postponed
The peace agreement will be an interim agreement because the two sides will not be able to agree on the status of east Jerusalem. The Palestinians say east Jerusalem must be the capital of their newborn Palestinian state. However, the Israelis have already annexed east Jerusalem and declare that united Jerusalem is the eternal, undivided capital of the state of Israel. Since an agreement will prove to be unreachable on this issue, resolving it will be put off until later; probably seven years later. Though Palestinians have repeatedly said they would not agree to an interim agreement, they apparently will capitulate on their stance rather than trashing the entire agreement.
The Temple Mount will be Shared
The conflict over the Temple Mount, the world’s most disputed 37 acres, will be resolved by placing it under a sharing arrangement between the Muslims and Jews with international supervision. The Jews will be able to build their Third Temple there without disturbing the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque. The arrangement will be extolled as a triumph for interfaithism and religious tolerance.
Jewish Settlers in Judea can Stay or Leave
There are approximately 650,000 Jews presently living east of the pre-1967 border. Most of these live in east Jerusalem or in settlements very close to Jerusalem. It is understood by both sides that many of these settlements will be included in “land swaps” that will allow them to remain as part of the Jewish state.
The most difficult issue is, what will happen to the 100,000 to 200,000 Jews that live in areas that will be transferred to Palestinian control by the coming agreement? It is understood that the settlers living in lands that will become Palestinian will be offered reparations for their homes and businesses, enabling them to move to Israel proper. However, many of the West Bank Jews say they are not leaving their homes. They insist that Judea-Samaria is their Promise Land and they will not leave it. The Israeli government is not willing to execute a forced evacuation of over 100,000 Jewish settlers. Ariel Sharon carried 9,000 Jews out of Gaza by force in 2005, and it almost caused a civil war in Israel.
For many years, it seemed there was no workable solution to this intractable problem. However, Salam Fayyad, until recently the Palestinian prime minister, offered a simple solution. Those Jews refusing to move could simply stay, living as a Jewish minority in the new Palestinian state. Fayyad argued that 1.6 million Arabs live in Israel under the Israeli government. Why couldn’t 150,000 Jews live under the new Palestinian regime?
Many Jews will remain in their homes in the new Palestinian state. This will appear to be working for the first three and one-half years of the seven-year period.
Animal Sacrifices will be Resumed
Once the Jewish temple is completed, the offering of animal sacrifices will be resumed as is mandated by the Jewish Torah. This will ignite worldwide opposition especially by the animal rights activists. The demand that the daily slaughter of innocent animals be suspended will escalate until it becomes deafening.
The Abomination of Desolation
In response to this opposition, the leader of the International Community (the Antichrist) will assert his authority over the Temple Mount by ordering the sacrifices to cease. He will then claim to be the world’s ultimate authority and will possibly even claim to be the messiah. This action is called the Abomination of Desolation in the Bible.
Another Jewish Holocaust
Something about the Antichrist’s assertion of his authority over the Temple Mount will trigger great Palestinian anger toward the Jews living among them in Judea. The Palestinians will unleash merciless slaughter against the Judean Jews. It will be so sudden and so severe that Jesus warned the Jews to immediately run for their lives. He said if they were on their housetops to not even comedown to get their clothes. He said, “For then will be great tribulation such as never has been before nor ever shall be.” Some of the Jews will escape, but many will die.
The Great Tribulation
The Abomination of Desolation will occur halfway through the final seven years and is the event that triggers the Great Tribulation. During this final three and one-half years, the Antichrist will move to stamp out all resistance to his authority wherever he has control. All who oppose him will be considered enemies of the state and painted as political and religious terrorists. Jesus prophesied that it will be a time of tribulation such as never has been before nor ever again shall be.
The Mark of the Beast
The Antichrist will have become so drunk on power that he will hatch a scheme to force every person on earth to pledge his or her allegiance to him. It will be decreed that every individual will have to swear allegiance to the Antichrist and his one-world government or be boycotted economically. Each person on earth will be issued a global ID number that will be absolutely required to hold or obtain a job. Anyone employing a person without the global ID will be branded as a subversive and an enemy of the state. Once a person cannot find a job, he will no longer be able to “buy or sell”. He will have to bow the knee to the New World Order or else.
And what is meant by “or else”? The Bible says that those who oppose the Antichrist and his system of global governance will even be killed. Scripturally, it appears that it will be worse than life under Stalin, Hitler and Mao Tse-tung combined!
At the End of the Seven Years
When the deadline for the expiration of the seven-year agreement arrives, the Palestinians will demand that the International Community make good on its promises. The World Community quite possibly will have promised that east Jerusalem would become the capital of the new Palestinian state if they would agree to the interim agreement.
The United Nations will demand that Israel hand over east Jerusalem to the Palestinians, but Israel will steadfastly refuse. Finally, the World Community will resort to military force. An international military alliance will launch an invasion of Israel in order to force her to obey the UN’s resolution.
Israel will stand and fight against the forces of the International Community. Little by little, the armies of Israel will be forced to retreat before the superior firepower of the world government forces. Finally, the UN army will reach the outskirts of Jerusalem. The prophecies say the global army will capture half of Jerusalem—which will undoubtedly be east Jerusalem.
As the defeat of Israel seems imminent, the world government forces will decide it’s time to solve the Jewish problem once and for all. It’s time to wipe Israel off the map!
As Israel teeters on the brink of total collapse, suddenly heavenly forces led by the true Messiah will descend from heaven with a shout. He will place His feet on the Mount of Olives from which He left 2,000 years ago. The Jewish people will realize their Messiah has come to save them. They will rush out to meet Him, bowing in adoration at His feet.
Unexpectedly, the Jews bowing before Him will notice ugly scars in His hands and feet. Zechariah 13:6 says they will ask, “What are these wounds in thine hands?” Then Jesus will simply answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
All of a sudden, 2,000 years of blindness will be lifted from the Jewish eyes. They will say, “So you’re Jesus?” He will say, “Yes, I’m Jesus.”
Talk about repentance! Those bowing before Him will say, “Messiah, we’ve been so arrogant! We’ve been so proud! Messiah, could you ever forgive us?” Does anyone know what happens when people ask Jesus to forgive them? Of course, He will forgive them. He will then destroy the Antichrist and his religious partner the False Prophet. The now raptured and immortal church, together with the Jewish people, will then crown Jesus Christ KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS!
Will John Kerry’s diplomatic peace initiative result in the hoped-for Middle East peace agreement by May of 2014? Will mankind’s seven-year march to Armageddon then begin? We don’t have long to wait until we find out!
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