Will Israel peace treaty mark the beginning of the Tribulation?
By Craig C. White
Just before the people of Israel entered into the land that God prepared for them God had a talk with Moses. God told Moses to tell the people how they ought to behave while they are in the land. God started by giving the people of Israel the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1). Thou shalt not serve idols, remember to keep the Sabbath, thou shalt not kill, and so on. One of the last things that God told the people is that they should not make agreements with the inhabitants of the land. The people of Israel should not make allowances for their gods. They should not make treaties with their enemies that they should live in the land with them. God said that making a treaty with their enemies would be a trap that they would be caught in. God repeated this warning for emphasize (Exodus 34:12)!
Exodus 23:32-33 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
Today Israel is feverishly working to make a treaty with the Palestinian Authority that the Palestinian people should have a place for their god and that they should live in the land with the Israelis. The peace accord aims to create a sovereign Palestinian nation inside of the land of Israel.
Israel has already made allowances for the Palestinians to share their land. About one third of the nation of Israel is occupied and controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The current peace treaty or security agreement will add further territories to Palestinian control and worse it will give all or portions of the old city of east Jerusalem over to the Palestinian Authority. Today the temple mount in east Jerusalem is under the authority of the Islamic Waqf. The Islamic Waqf is a Muslim organization that acquires property to use for charitable causes; all in the name of serving Allah. The Islamic Waqf has severely restricted the Israeli use of the temple mount.
Israel map credit: The World Fact Book www.cia.gov
Israel Map: The shaded gray areas show the Palestinian occupied areas. In the south the Negev is a harsh desert and mountainous region. The Negev accounts for almost half of the land mass of the nation of Israel. It has a population of only 200,000.
The land of Israel today does not include the entire portion of land that God gave to Abraham. God gave Israel all of the land from the Nile River to the Euphrates River.
Genesis 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
At the same time that God told Moses not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land; God also restricted the geographic area that the Jewish people should first inhabit. The modern day borders of Israel represent that geographic area.
Exodus 23:30-31 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. 31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
Israel is no ordinary nation. Likewise the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is no ordinary peace treaty. As you would imagine there are arbiters on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have the final say in negotiations. Netanyahu has expressed his support for the creation of a Palestinian state but has voiced concerns about insuring the safety of the Jewish people. Netanyahu has appointed veteran lawyer Isaac Molho as his chief negotiator. Another key figure in the negotiations is Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Ms. Livni has been a harsh critic of Netanyahu. She is a staunch proponent for creating a Palestinian state in Israel. The exceptional part of these negotiations is that they include international security provisions. In other words Israel will have to agree to rely on US, UN, and perhaps other international military forces to ensure peace in the dual state. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is smack dab in the middle of it all. There seems always to be encumbrances to these negotiations but all parties involved are pushing for a deal within the next two years. A date of April 2014 has been set for the end of the current round of negotiations.
Zechariah 11:16 tells us that God will raise up a rotten ruler in Israel who will not look out for the best interest of his people. He is called the idol shepherd. I think that he will be instrumental in allowing Israel to fall into this trap. Indeed Ezekiel 34:2-8 identifies Israel as having many idol shepherds. Perhaps some of these negotiators are among Israel’s idol shepherds or perhaps we are still looking for Israel’s Idol Shepherd to appear since some of Israel’s leaders still demonstrate concern for their nation. Please read my commentary titled “Woe to the Idol Shepherd” in my eBook “Israel’s Beacon of Hope”.
At any rate peace and security for Israel is the cry of the day. The problem is that the bible says that when the rulers of Israel say “peace and security” that is when they are all in big trouble.
1Thessalonians below was written to the church at Thessalonica. So it was written to Christians both Jew and gentile. While it certainly concerns the Jews it was not addressed directly to the nation of Israel. My point is that it is addressed to Christians today.
1Thessalonians 5:1-9 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
The verses above say that Israel will be surprised when the day of God’s judgment comes. They will expect peace but will receive persecution. In fact during the same time that God judges Israel he will also judge the entire world. So the unbelieving world will also be caught unaware of the coming disaster.
Isaiah 28:22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5 goes on to say that believers in Jesus Christ will not be surprised but that they will see the disaster coming. Verse 9 states that Christians will not suffer God’s judgment but that they will be saved from it. This brings up the concept of the Rapture of the Church. I only want to say that the Rapture (or the taking away into heaven) of Christians may happen before Israel signs their peace treaty. But there is more to consider.
The Antichrist is a political ruler who will become the head of a coming world empire. I think that he will engage in several military conquests; even invading Israel, and that at some point he will make a peace agreement with Israel. In Daniel 9:27 below, the Antichrist will make a peace treaty with the many for seven years. This marks the seven year Tribulation period of Israel. The many may refer to the majority of citizens of Israel or it may refer to many nations. In either case the agreement obviously concerns Israel. At some point Israel has resumed offering daily animal sacrifice. That means that at some point they have built a new temple. After three and a half years the Antichrist causes the sacrifices to stop. The Antichrist makes the temple to become unclean until the suffering of the nation of Israel ends. This last three and a half year period is called Jerusalem’s “Great Tribulation” (Mat 24:21).
Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Why am I telling you this? I am pointing out that Israel is working on a peace treaty with the Palestinians which also involve world powers. Plus the Antichrist will one day make a treaty with Israel. Are they the same treaty? I don’t know. I am going to give you the short answer. I think that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is quite possibly the Antichrist (read my commentary titled “Erdogan is the Antichrist!” in my eBook “Halfway to Armageddon”). If not then I think that the Antichrist will be another Turkish Prime Minister. If Erdogan or somebody else that meets the criteria of the Antichrist is not involved in the signing of Israel’s Palestinian peace treaty then it does not mark the beginning of the Tribulation period. It is important to remember that the treaty that marks the beginning of the Tribulation requires the participation of the Antichrist. It becomes more urgent since Israel may indeed enter into a peace agreement within the next couple of years. Perhaps Israel will sign a separate peace agreement with the Palestinians. Perhaps the hostilities of the Antichrist will finally push an international security agreement to be finalized in Israel. Perhaps the Church will be taken away before any treaty is signed. Whatever happens we all should know that an agreement to live with Israel’s enemies is a trap!