For evangelical Christians, it is difficult to look at major developments in the Middle East without wondering about biblical prophecy.
Should we rejoice over the historic peace treaty between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain? Or is this leading to a dangerous, false peace that will only hasten the reign of the antichrist?
Let’s first recognize just how historic this peace treaty actually is.
For 30 years, from 1948 until 1978, not a single Middle Eastern nation made peace with Israel. It was not until 1979 that Egypt made that historic move, ultimately factoring into the assassination of the courageous Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat.
The next Middle Eastern (and Muslim) nation to make peace with Israel was Jordan in 1995, 16 years later. Since then, not a single Islamic, Middle Eastern nation has made peace with Israel. That is, until now, 25 years later.
Not only so, but this is the first time ever that two nations signed peace treaties on the same day. So, what previously took 47 years (from 1948 to 1995) took place in a matter of hours. This is completely beyond anything we have seen in the modern history of Israel.
Not only so, but this happened after President Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem and after he officially recognized Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights. This makes the peace treaty this all the more remarkable.
Let’s not forget that, for years we were told that for America to make such moves would be disastrous, leading to an all-out war with the Muslim world. Instead, the aftermath has been a path of peace.
That’s why Boaz Bismuth’s article on Times of Israel was titled, “The Event That Will Change the History of the Middle East.” He wrote, “Even in a pandemic, we can allow ourselves to rejoice at the first open, warm peace between Israel and Arab countries, and ignore the cynics who are seeking to downplay the importance of today's events.”
Obviously, the Palestinians are anything but happy with the treaty. And the details of the agreement must be carefully analyzed.
But what cannot be denied is the magnitude of this treaty, which is being hailed as the Abraham Accords. As one of the official documents states, “this development will help lead to a future in which all peoples and all faiths can live together in the spirit of cooperation and enjoy peace and prosperity where states focus on shared interests and building a better future.”
Yet it is words like this that cause some prophecy-minded evangelicals to say, “Not so fast! After all, there will be no true peace in the Middle East until Jesus returns. Plus, there are prophetic scriptures that speak of a false peace orchestrated by the antichrist that will lull the world to sleep, leading to the slaughter of millions. Beware!”
Scriptures that would come to mind include 1 Thessalonians 5:3, where Paul wrote, “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
Also relevant is Ezekiel 38:11-12, where the hostile nations will say about Israel, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.”
Who could imagine the nation of Israel described as “a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars”? Who could imagine Israel putting its guard down?
Yet, according to some prophecy teachers, this passage will be fulfilled at the end of this age. In that light, shouldn’t the Abraham Accords, which Trump described as “the dawn of a new Middle East,” be viewed with great suspicion, especially if 5 or 6 other nations follow suit and join the peace process?
As someone who has been studying the Bible intensively for the better part of the last 50 years, I can say with absolute confidence that I do not know.
I do not know if this will prepare the way for the antichrist.
I do not know if this will ultimately hurt Israel more than it helps Israel.
But what I do know is that Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
What I do know is that Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
What I do know is that it is better for Israel to have more friends than more enemies.
That being said, if sudden and dramatic peace came to the Middle East, I would be both hopeful and cautious.
Would this be the result of decades (if not centuries) of prayer and years of diplomacy? Or would it be the first step towards a dangerous, one-world government that will ultimately oppose God Himself?
Obviously, only God knows. But when it comes to making national decisions, they must be based on pragmatism more than prophecy. That’s because religious believers from all backgrounds have often misinterpreted prophecy before it unfolds, often wrongly predicting the end of the world or the return (or coming) of the Messiah.
But speaking of prophecy, this same Bible I have been quoting speaks of the day when nations like Egypt and Assyria (today, Iraq) will join together and worship the God of Israel after a time of great upheaval and judgment. As stated by the prophet Isaiah, “In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.’” (Isaiah 19:24-25)
In fact, Isaiah prophesied about other Arabian nations turning to the God of Israel through the Messiah (see Isaiah 42:11; 60:7)
And so, while only the Lord Himself knows the implications of this important peace treaty, at the least, let’s be glad that leaders are meeting together rather than killing each other. And let us see the Abraham Accords as a reminder of the day when all the nations of the earth will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord (Isaiah 2:1-4).
May He hasten that day!