Summary: A review of the transformation of semitic fighting during the Millennial reign of Christ the Lord.
“In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD of hosts. One of these will be called the City of Destruction.
“In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a saviour and defender, and deliver them. And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
“In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.’”
These are dark days in the Middle East. The President of Iran repeatedly calls for Israel’s destruction. He is simultaneously engaged in a game of brinkmanship with spineless Western governments over his quest to develop nuclear weapons. Iraq is degenerating into internecine warfare between competing Muslim sects. Palestinians fight Palestinians, when they are not trying to kill Israelis and calling for the destruction of the United States. The Middle East appears to be a boiling cauldron of bitterness and hatred as virtually every Muslim leader seeks to advance his own interests through attacking the continued existence of the Jewish state.
As events in the Middle East unfold, we are watching fulfilment of prophecy. God, through Zechariah, prophesied the central role Jerusalem will play as we approach the last days, “I am about to make Jerusalem a cup that brings dizziness to all the surrounding nations; indeed, Judah will also be included when Jerusalem is besieged” [ZECHARIAH 12:2]. Though no individual can predict the precise timing for the fulfilment of prophetic events, God has spoken of certain events that serve as signposts pointing to the fulfilment of prophecy.
Jerusalem will be “a cup of staggering to the surrounding peoples;” Israel will be besieged [ZECHARIAH 12:2]. Surrounded by hostile nations intent on their destruction, the nation of Israel will be increasingly isolated and the cry of those prepared to destroy that tiny nation will grow to a maddened roar. There will be a multiplication of false Christ’s, a growing awareness of natural disasters, and growing unrest among the nations. Throughout the world, multiple “small” wars will break out as the restless peoples flex their muscle [MATTHEW 24:5-8]. Though the great world bodies dedicated to peace will call for an end to these wars, they will be powerless and an increasingly wary world will yet more intently look for a strong man capable of putting an end to the wars.
In the midst of the darkness that seems to be spreading across our world, the child of God sees a glimmering hope that is not generally recognised. We have been warned by the Master Himself, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” [LUKE 21:25-28].
Perhaps we are not witnessing the end; perhaps it is only the beginning of the end. Nevertheless, I am convinced that it is the time for the people of God to straighten up and to raise their heads. The Apostle to the Gentiles warned, “You know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand” [ROMANS 13:11, 12a]. We cannot say with certainty that the time of the end is at hand. Nevertheless, we know on the authority of God’s Word and He is working in history so that it is His Story.