We may be sure that at least part of the motivation behind this whirlwind visit is the mutual threat of an increasingly empowered Iran, particularly in view of Biden’s anticipated commitment to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal. Mutual interests, not only of opportunity but of urgency, are creating new bonds between historic enemies, right on time!
Prophecy is clear that a disarming illusion of lasting security must come to the region before the outbreak of the final, unequaled tribulation (Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:21, 23-24; 1Thes 5:3). Recognizing this, many are watching the historic “Abraham Accords” with due attention.
Until very recently, nothing could have seemed more improbable. This has never happened before in history, but it is right in line with what prophecy leads us to expect.
We know that the Antichrist (AC) will exploit this new state of affairs till he sees his advantage (Dan 11:23, 31). Toward the middle of the week, he will secretly, behind the scenes, form a counter alliance that will, without warning, strike Israel with irresistible, overwhelming force.
Those who know the scripture will see this developing in advance. They will recognize the imperatives of prophecy that must precede the AC’s invasion of Israel. As some will most certainly “see” the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, this means there must first be a restoration of the “daily sacrifice”, which demands a new temple (Isa 63:18; Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15-16; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 11:2).
Since this development can hardly be missed, believers in the literal fulfillment of prophecy will have a precious advantage to see the approach of this ultimately transitional event, as well as the march of events that lead up to it, as seen in Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26; Dan 9:27; 11:21-31; 1Thes 5:3).
As these signal developments progress, watchful believers who “understand” the times and the meaning of these events will know to prepare for the great transition that will come when the Antichrist will make the normal means of buying and selling an impossibility for believers (Rev 13:16-17).
It is sobering to contemplate what this will mean for professing Christians caught completely off guard. To be caught off guard and thus exposed to the unparalleled deception of “those days” will owe in no small part to professing believers’ neglect to follow Jesus’ express command to read and “understand” Daniel’s prophecy concerning this particular event (Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4-5).
And, where care has been taken to study Daniel’s prophecy in light of Jesus’ Olivet prophecy, and Paul’s reference to the man of sin (compare Dan 11:31-37 with Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:3-4), a survey of the history of interpretation will confirm that no other topic of prophecy has engendered greater disagreement among scholars, and hence greater confusion and ignorance among pastors and their congregations.
Jesus well knew that an accurate knowledge of this event would reveal, not only what follows from it, but a notable sequence of foretold details that must lead up to it (Dan 11:23-31). Knowledge of these necessarily preceding conditions and events will prove a critical, God-ordained blessing of advance warning to those who have followed Jesus’ decisive command in Mt 24:15, “whoever reads (the readers of Daniel’s prophecy of this particular event), let them understand.”
A comparison of Eze 38:12-13; Isa 19:1-25; Joel 2:1-3; and Dan 11:41-43 will strongly indicate that some of the moderate Islamic nations of the Arabian peninsula (e.g., ancient Sheba and Dedan – Eze 38:13) will express fearful foreboding at the Antichrist’s invasion of Israel. Shortly after this, Egypt will also be overrun and profoundly savaged.
It is not unreasonable to infer that such rage and fury will be due to Egypt’s friendly relationship with Israel. This will doubtless be viewed by the northern Islamic nations, who are hostile to the peace, as an act of betrayal, portending that Egypt’s fate may also be the fate of other nations near and far who have supported the peace with Israel. So, the strategic gap between north and south appears to be widening, exactly as anticipated in prophecy.
It is more than incidental that the very alignment depicted in prophecy has come so lately and swiftly into place. Until very recently, nothing could have seemed less probable. Consider how Egypt has flipped from the rabidly hostile Morsi government to the much more friendly government of al-Sisi, ‘from foe to friend’ overnight. Who knew?
Then there is the once-friendly Turkey (Eze 38: 2-6) that has gone ‘from friend to foe’ under Erdogan, also almost overnight. And now, the Gulf States are softening in their onetime non-negotiable disavowal of Israel’s right to exist, endorsing a new policy of “normalization” in the new “Abraham Accords”.
Of course, to natural eyes, these remarkable trends can always be explained by natural causes. But to the eyes of faith that see through the prism of prophecy, many of the outstanding pieces of the prophetic puzzle that once seemed so remote are falling into place at a remarkable pace.
That these things should follow upon one another in such a close succession further suggests the realistic possibility of the fulfillment of a view that has been held by many over the centuries. This is the well-known, well-documented view that the return of Jesus would introduce the 7th millennium of sabbatical completion, ending the 6 millennia given to human government.
This is not a recent view but has been maintained by a significant number over the centuries. Some, even within the early part of the last century have interpreted the “two days” of Hos 6:2 as answering to the two millennia that should elapse between Israel’s fall and Jesus’ return (Isa 8:14; 28:16; Ro 9:33; 11:11-12; 1Pet 2:8; Ps 110:1; Mt 23:39: 24:30; Zech 12:10; Acts 3:18-21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7), with the third day answering to the millennium that follows upon Israel’s long awaited national resurrection (Isa 25:7-8; 26:19; Hos 13:14; Eze 37; Dan 12:1-2).
There are many other compelling arguments from scripture that further support this interpretation of a long parenthesis of “many generations” between the two comings (Isa 61:4; Eze 38:8; Hos 5:15-6:2; Mic 5:1-4; Mt 23:39).
Not only was Israel to become a “nation” again after “many generations” of exilic desolation (Isa 61:4; Dan 12:1), “always a continual waste” (Eze 38:8), but upon their return, the once desolate wastelands would become a coveted prize of wealth and prosperity (Eze 38:11-13; Dan 11:24; Joel 2:2).
It is remarkable to observe that just before the Antichrist’s invasion that precipitates the day of the Lord (Joel 2:1-3; 3:1-2, 9-17), the prophet Joel compares the Land to Eden for its beauty (Joel 2:3). With the invading forces of the Antichrist (the “northern army” compared to a devouring plague of locusts, Joel 1:4; 2:20, 25), the verdant Land of Edenic beauty is turned suddenly into “a desolate wilderness” (Joel 2:2-3). This agrees perfectly with Eze 38:11-13; Dan 11:24, etc.
Whether this view of a prophetic terminus corresponding to Hosea’s prophecy of the “three days” will be confirmed remains to be seen. Of course, longstanding political mountains would have to move almost overnight, but the recent events that have fallen so providentially into place certainly merit our closest attention, as we earnestly pray “Thy kingdom come”; “Come soon, Lord Jesus!”
Consider this brief summary of relatively recent significant developments:
–> the return to the Land in 1948
–> the recovery of Jerusalem as the Jewish capital in 1967
–> the very recent alignment of the nations in perfect accord with prophecy
–> the amazing beautification of the Land
–> the burgeoning prosperity of Israel and the region
–> the peace initiatives that promise the kind of “tranquility” in the region that will pave the way for the opportunism of the AC (Dan 8:25; 11:23-24)
–> the preparations and loud demands for equal access to the Temple Mount
–> the rise of anti-Zionist Islam, obsessed with the apocalyptic vision of recapturing Jerusalem and possessing the Land, in fulfillment of what the prophets call the “ancient/ everlasting hatred” (Ps 83; Isa 34:4-8; 63:1-4; Eze 25:15; 35:5; 36:5; Obad; Mal 1:4)
–> the extreme and swift departure from the apostolic faith in the professing church
–> the ominous resurgence of world antisemitism.
All of this, and so much more, cries out for sober preparation and urgency.
In a way distinct from any other time in history, with many more essential details now in place that were conspicuously absent at the Roman destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D., the days of ultimate, all-inclusive fulfillment are fast upon us. An alignment now exists of nations and circumstances essential to the fulfillment of the last very interdependent cluster of events that prepare the way for Jesus’s return.
We may prefer to err on the side of caution, but who will not at least agree that it is hard to conceive it mere happenstance that all of this should seem to be coming into such swift alignment so near to the closing of the second millennium since Israel’s fall and Jesus’s ascension?
Can it be too lightly dismissed that by Hosea’s “three days” prophecy, God has indeed foretold the time between the advents? Many over the years have thought so. The case fully made – and heard – is quite compelling. In fact, few have really heard it. Many will yet say, “What difference does it make?”, and “Doesn’t this imply the forbidden setting of a date?”, and many other popular non-sequiturs that throw cold water.
One thing is certain: Had the Lord foretold the time of His return in a less “cryptic” way, the world would have more easily anticipated it. It would not have been thief-like (1Thes 5:3; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 16:15, in light of Dan 12:10). But the very confusion and disagreement in the church over all things eschatological may well prove that God indeed has foretold us all things, including the duration of the mysterious interim, albeit in a way so as to remain sealed until the time of the end (Dan. 12:4, 9).