The road to actual peace between Israel and the Arabs is full of land mines. Whether or not any kind of peace is actually attained, the Scriptures indicate that this current "peace process," will precipitate another Arab-Israeli war. Bible-believing Christians view the "peace process" with great prophetic interest. Those who have a short prophetic time frame expect this peace process will position Israel in the prophetic setting of Ezekiel 38:11—dwelling "at rest," "without walls and having neither bars nor gates." Then very soon Gog and his associates would invade Israel resulting in the destruction of our world order (Ezekiel 38 & 39). However, the Scriptures indicate another war between Israel and the Arabs before this drama of Ezekiel's prophecy can unfold. Therefore, whether or not peace is temporarily attained, this "peace process" will set in motion a series of events that will precipitate another Arab-Israeli war....But an Israeli-Arab war need only delay Gog's invasion by a matter of months.

The Rabin-Arafat agreement is at variance with God's agenda in our prophetic time as "the day for extending your [Israel's] boundaries" (Micah 7:11).[64] This peace agreement is intended to actually shrink Israel's boundaries. Consequently, this agreement will not last. There is only one nation on earth that has its boundaries decreed in the Bible. That nation is Israel. Israel's ultimate boundaries are from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18-21). These boundaries will be fully attained in God's Kingdom after this "time of trouble" or "great tribulation" which terminates our world or age (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:3, 21-22; Zephaniah 3:8,9). (Since the following prophetic analysis deals with future prophetic details, these details are presented in the spirit of dialogue. We will content ourselves here with identifying the minimum territory Israel will evidently occupy before the "time of trouble" is over and, incidentally, deal with the immigration of Russian Jews as this immigration is tied into the "Land issue" scriptures.)

The Israeli-Arab conflict is graphically portrayed in Psalm 83. A look at a map of the Middle East in Biblical times will identify the countries involved today. These are the nations that are saying, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent; they are confederate against thee" (vss. 4, 5). This confederacy, of course, is a reference to the Arab nations. Although this Psalm is a prayer to God ("Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace...") for the defeat of these nations ("O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind...")—the actual conclusion of this conflict is not described. But the Scriptures reveal how this Arab defeat is accomplished.

The same day Israel is fortifying and expanding her borders, Micah also describes as a severe time of trouble for the rest of the earth (Micah 7:11-17, NEW AMERICAN STANDARD):

It will be a day for building your (Israel's) walls. On that day will your boundary be extended...And the earth will become desolate because of her inhabitant on account of the fruit of their deeds...Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might...They will lick the dust like a serpent...They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the LORD our God they will come in dread.

What a fitting description of the time of trouble! Sandwiched in this time-of-trouble setting, the Lord is described (vs. 14) as feeding (Hebrew "ruling"[65]) Israel in a territory that includes "Bashan" (the Golan Heights) and "Gilead." Half the tribe of Manasseh received all of "Bashan" (Deuteronomy 3:3,4,13) and Golan was part of Bashan (Joshua 21:27) and still is. And Gilead is a part of the East Bank of the Jordan River (See Map VI). The current "peace process" in the Middle East is negotiating the status of the Golan Heights and the "West Bank." Can man negotiate with God on the status of His promises to Israel? If Israel is forced to temporarily compromise Land for peace, the Scriptures indicate that before the "time of trouble" is over, Israel will again acquire the Golan Heights and not only the West Bank—but the East Bank as well.

An immigration of Jews from "Assyria" and "Egypt" is described by Zechariah that is so large that it will fill the land of Gilead and Lebanon (Zechariah 10:10,11). Therefore, Lebanon (at least southern Lebanon as described in the Book of Joshua) belongs to Israel by Divine Right (Joshua 13:5,6). Israel already occupies a buffer zone in southern Lebanon. But an immigration from Assyria and Egypt is prophetically anticipated that will be so numerically great that "place shall not be found for them." The people will overfill the Land of Gilead (East Bank) and at a minimum southern Lebanon.

Literal "Assyria" is Iraq. There are fewer than a thousand Jews in Iraq and Egypt. This number is hardly enough to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah. "Assyria" must be symbolic. For example, in Micah 5:5-7, Assyria invades Israel just before Israel becomes a blesser nation (vs. 7). "Assyria" is repelled. Micah's prophecy is evidently a parallel account of Gog's invasion (Ezekiel 38,39). It is generally agreed that Gog and some of his associates mentioned refer to Russia and at least some of the republics of the former Soviet Union—including the Moslem republics. Therefore, the massive immigration from a symbolic "Assyria" may be a reference to the current wave of Jews from Russia and other former Soviet republics. Also, evidently "Egypt" is symbolic of the Christian world (Revelation 11:8). Where among the Christian nations are there so many Jews that could converge on Israel? There are over 5 million Jews in the United States alone.

In another prophecy in Ezekiel, Israel's ancient exodus from Egypt is identified as a microcosm of the exodus of Jews from all nations back to Israel at the end of the Christian Age (Ezekiel 20:32-38). God is described as bringing the Jews out of the nations "into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of Egypt..."

In this original exodus Israel had to cross a literal sea and a river in order to enter the Promised Land. The smiting of the "sea" and the "river" in Zechariah's prophecy (the Hebrew word here does not mean the Euphrates but merely a river) seems to be symbolic of removing obstacles that prohibited the Jews from leaving the former Soviet Union (Zechariah 10:11). The main obstacle was Communism. With the breakup of Communism, the massive exodus began. Over a half-million have immigrated to Israel. This continuing immigration of Jews is the largest from any country in the world (Jeremiah 16:14,15).

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north (Russia) and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

Isaiah also prophesies the smiting of a "sea" and a "river" (again-not the Euphrates as some translations incorrectly read) in connection with a large immigration of Jews from Assyria to Israel (Isaiah 11:14-16). The preceding verses show that Israel and Judah are gathered together from the nations (Isaiah 11:10-12). "Ephraim shall not envy Judah" (vs. 13) parallels Jeremiah's prophecy where the ten-tribe "house of Israel" (Ephraim) and the two-tribe "house of Judah" become one in Diaspora and return "together" to the Promised Land (Jeremiah 3:18).

Once in the Land, any peace agreement will explode in a two-front war on Israel's southwest and eastern borders. "They [Israel] shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west [Gaza strip on the southwest Mediterranean coast where the Palestinians now reside]." The Hebrew word for "fly" literally means "a flying attack from behind." The picture becomes even more vivid since the Hebrew word for "shoulders," can refer to a maritime coast, "the side [shoulder] of the sea" (Numbers 34:11). Any Palestinian state or self-rule on the Gaza Strip will be short-lived. Eventually, Israel by missiles or planes will fly out into the Mediterranean and attack the Palestinians from behind. What about the eastern front? "They [Israel] will possess Edom and Moab. And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them" (Isaiah 11:14, NAS).

These Old Testament nations occupied territories that are now within the Arab nation of Jordan on the East Bank of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea (See Map VI). A war in which Israel defeats Jordan and occupies portions of Jordan (Gilead, Ammon, Moab and Edom) could spark a wave of worldwide anti-Semitism and precipitate a further mass exodus (vs. 16) from Russia and the former Soviet Republics, "And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people who will be left..."

Gog is spoken of as coming from the "northern parts" (Ezekiel 38:14,15). While many prophecies speak of a regathering from all the nations, an emigration "out of the land of the north" (which seems to be the land of Gog, or the former Soviet Republics) is particularly emphasized (Jeremiah 16:14,15; 31:7,8; 23:8; 3:18). First, a small number would return, "one of a city, and two of a family" (Jeremiah 3:14-18). From 1878 to the fall of Communism in 1990, relatively few Russian Jews did return. A prophecy in Isaiah contrasts this trickle immigration ("gathered one by one") with the time when "the great trumpet shall be blown" and there would be a massive return (Isaiah 27:12,13). What "great trumpet" is this? The Jubilee Trumpet of old was a signal to return rights that were lost (Leviticus 25). Today the trumpet blast of human rights brought down Communism and over a half-million Jews fled to Israel. What will precipitate this even greater immigration wave from "the north"? The next massive immigration wave from the former Soviet Republics to Israel might occur after the next Arab-Israeli war as indicated in Isaiah 11:14-16. Time will reveal if this conclusion is a valid assumption.

The decisive victory over the Palestinians in Gaza on the west and Moab, Ammon and Edom on the east already considered in Isaiah are paralleled in Zephaniah (Isaiah 11:14 and Zephaniah 2:2-7). The setting is during "the day of the Lord's anger" (vs. 2). A complete defeat of the Philistines in the Gaza area is described. Of course, the literal Philistines have long since passed off the scene, but they are symbolic of the Palestinians who now occupy that territory. Ironically, one of the fanciful claims of the Palestinians is that they are descendants of the Philistines while simultaneously claiming to be descendants of Abraham. The origin of the Palestinians is identified by Ezekiel (36:1-7). The Lord is angry with "the people round about [Arabs]" the Land of Israel who came into the land and made it a desolation. The Lord will punish these self-styled Palestinians (see map on inside back cover).[†][66]

Zephaniah also indicts Moab and Ammon for all their abuses towards Israel. "I have heard the reproach of Moab and Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people and magnified themselves against their [Israel's] border" (Zephaniah 2:8). The Lord spared ancient Moab and Ammon during Israel's wilderness journey, but not modern Moab and Ammon which is the Arab nation of Jordan. During the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, it was Jordan who captured the "West Bank" and the Bible Jerusalem ("magnified themselves against their borders"). It was Jordan who expelled all Jews from the West Bank and East Jerusalem ("they have reproached my people"). It was Jordan who occupied Judea and Samaria (wrongfully calling them the "West Bank") until Israel's victory in the 1967 War. It was Jordan who destroyed all Jewish holy places in Jerusalem. Also it was Jordan with the Palestinians who sided with Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm in the hope he would fulfill his threat to "scorch half of Israel." Now in the "peace process," King Hussein of Jordan with dignity and poise knows how to say all the right things and the past is forgotten. But the Lord has not forgotten. Because of these sins, Moab and Ammon (parts of modern Jordan) shall become "a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people [Israel] shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people [Israel] shall possess them" (Zephaniah 2:9).

Thus the Scriptures forecast that before the invasion of Gog, Israel will gain more Land and more people. What may precipitate these two factors would be an Arab-Israeli war which would expand Israel's borders and simultaneously stimulate world anti-Semitism. Worldwide anti-Semitism, in turn, would precipitate a greater flood of immigration to the Land.

That punishment was already noted in Isaiah 11:13 and Zephaniah 2:3-7.

Introduction * Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3
Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Endnotes