The promise of peace between Israel and two Arab states—the signing of the Abraham Accords—who would not exult?
All who love the Lord God of Israel, who want their hearts to beat in time with His, and those who know about even a fraction of what the Jews have endured, yearn for this.
Shalom aleichem! And all the glittering, potential fruits of it! Both sides comprehend what rich benefits are to be reaped from a ‘people-to-people’ peace.
“So what about you,” I have been asked. “Where do you stand on all this?”
I stand here:
The strength of the Jewish response to the agreement is completely comprehensible to me. No nation has ever been more cruelly dispossessed of peace; none has prayed for it more—their collective cry ascending to Heaven from the ends of the earth, every day, for thousands upon thousands of years.
What’s not to support? As a Christian living for more than half of my life in this loveliest of lands, with this most hated of people, I so much want to rejoice, to stream my deepest encouragement into their overflowing happiness of hope.
But I cannot.
I cannot rejoice, because I know what the Bible says about the course of Israel’s journey: By the time it is over, we will have seen the restoration of the People to their own Land (Isaiah 14:1), the restoration of the Land to its only People (Ezekiel 11:17), and the restoration of this physically reconstituted nation to her God. All this—as Scripture foretells, and as the media, every day attests—while the nations all around grow in their hatred of her.
I cannot rejoice, because the principality of Islam—Shia and Sunni—is an implacable foe of the God of Israel who will never permit a genuine, lasting peace between his adherents and the Jews. Expediting pilgrimage to ‘Al-Aqsa’ will only reinforce Islam’s hold on the Temple Mount.
And I cannot rejoice, because I have been here before.
From Jerusalem, 27 years ago, on the same Hebrew date (27 Elul) and at the same venue (the White House), I witnessed the heralding of a ‘new Middle East’.
Multitudes of Israeli and other Jews acclaimed the ‘Oslo Accords’; Christians were impassioned; Evangelical teachers vied with each other over which major ‘End Times’ event it presaged.
We know what it spawned: decades—and counting—of cyclical terror; multiple massacres of Jews; relentless pressure on Israel to surrender the concrete commodity of land for a conceptual pretend peace; the abject failure of the withdrawal from Gaza, where Jews wrenched Jews from their homes and Hamas moved in.
‘Oslo’ exposed the moral bankruptcy and total unworkability of ‘Land for Peace’.
It also discredited the prophecy specialists whose predictions were shown to be ludicrous.
Now ‘Abraham’ has arrived, like lightning from a clear sky. No one—no-one!— predicted this. Like ‘Oslo’, it was birthed behind closed doors. And after an initial stunned silence almost everyone—Jews, the press, general public in many lands, and a new generation of eschatology ‘experts’—enthused.
Between the August 13 announcement and September 15 signing of the agreement, Evangelical leaders (including high-profile Messianic Jews) hosted a rash of Zoom meetings to instruct Christians how we should interpret and respond to this.
And urged our support of it.
Apparently, because their view is predominantly Church-centered, whereas the Bible’s is overwhelmingly Israel-centered, these teachers’ deductions often seem disconnected from God’s purposes and at odds with Scripture (as written, not as interpreted). Instead of clarifying, they confuse, misleading their sheep. (More about this another time…)
I will not fault love-starved Israel for the way she has chosen to pursue peace. My heart, however, cannot cheer her on. My soul fears for her. I’m not saying I don’t trust God. He has gathered Israel to keep her (Jeremiah 31:10; 46:27; Ezekiel 34:28); as I trusted Him before ‘Oslo’ I trust Him now and my faith in Israel’s future is unwavering. But I am trepidatious about how the Abraham Accords, and others that may follow, will be played out.
And it hurts—the price Israel has already paid and paid this time.
These accords are incomparable to ‘Oslo’ and to the cold peace agreements with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). Those entities waged fierce and frequent war against Israel, while the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain never fought her.
But that is not the heart of the matter.
Concerning Israel’s destiny, the vast weight of Scripture speaks to God’s zealous Zionism (Zechariah 8:2), to His rock-solid determination to bring His people home (Jeremiah 24:6; 32:41) and to restore the Land, with Jerusalem, to them.
By glaring contrast, there are no prophecies predicting a nationally reconstituted Israel finding friendship from God-rejecting nations, and welcoming all religions to worship their gods in Jerusalem!
How astoundingly close we were, just a few weeks ago, to seeing Israel return its sovereignty to more of its birthright.
But then, to make these historic agreements, Israel’s leadership chose to bypass what is its central and most crucial calling: the calling back to The Land.
The Arabs only signed on condition that Israel would lay claim to no more of [the Land].
As I watch and pray, the inner question that I cannot silence is this: would Abraham be in accord with the treaty that bears his name?
His call, from the start, was to the Land:
‘Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”’ (Genesis 12:1).
God decreed the Land of Canaan exclusively and forever the inheritance of the nation that was begun in Abraham and multiplied into being through Isaac and Israel. (Genesis 50:24)
More than 60 times in the Torah, the Almighty emphasizes the sole national ownership of the Land, and proclaims its purpose:
The Land is the stage on which His plan to redeem mankind is being played out.
The Land is the birthplace of the nation. Here He planted them, nurtured them, pruned them, established a king over them, and came to dwell among them in His Temple as their God.
It was in this Land that Israel became “the head of the nations”, and from which dizzying heights she tragically fell, to become “the tail”.
Through Moses and all the prophets, we learn how it was from the Land that God drove the nation, because of their unfaithfulness, and how it is back to the Land that He pledged to restore the surviving remnant of the Jews.
Since 1882, God has been about this, gathering His scattered sheep from over 120 countries and, incrementally—through settlement and struggle; through victories in war—restoring their Land to them.
God plans, with the nation’s replanting in the land and in Jerusalem, to raise up the fallen dynasty of David (Amos 9:11-15). Scorning global opposition, He will set His King on His Holy Hill in Zion.
God had promised Abraham that, once in this Land, his seed would bring blessing to all the families of the world.
While all the land on which he walked was deeded to him, the Patriarch purchased just a single piece of property—for a family burial plot. In Hebron’s Cave of Machpelah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lie—still in the Land—awaiting the resurrection of the dead.
The ‘Abraham Accords’ say nothing about the Land. Nothing. The Arabs only signed on condition that Israel would lay claim to no more of it.
Intriguingly, it was at the Tomb of Abraham that, 10 years ago, a grassroots movement known as the Women in Green—formed in 1993 in response to ‘Oslo’—held the first Sovereignty Conference (I was privileged to attend) and entered the political realm.
Back then, no one dared use the “S” word. It was an ‘extremist’ view – ‘anti-peace’. In the decade since, under the unflagging efforts of these women, the promise of sovereignty has gathered national steam and gained traction in government, featuring at the very top of Israel’s last three election campaigns.
Through all the changes of administration in the White House and political upheaval in the Knesset, the Women in Green have remained true to the ideal of ‘First, The Land’.
A recent, extraordinary, letter captured their clarity of vision:
“The Land of Israel has warmly welcomed the returning Jewish people [as] is manifest in agriculture, industry, hi-tech, medicine, and countless other areas. If only we continue to adopt the ways of the Zionist return of the people to its land, we will receive an exponentially greater return from the yield of the land and from the yield of the ingathering of the exiles to it.
“During this period,” they continued, “we must, to a certain extent and for a while, place our global aspirations on the back burner[and] focus on nationalism. … We cannot skip this stage. We cannot expect that a people that does not appreciate its essence and does not invest in it will have the ability to stand as a lighthouse for the nations.”
(Read the Women in Green’s just-published “basic principles of the aspiration for sovereignty” here: www.ribonut.co.il/BlogPostID.aspx?BlogPostId=501&lang=2
This is the vision—and it speaks to God’s promise that, in the final days of this age, as gentile lands fall into darkness, Israel’s Land is to serve as an Ark—a place of safety for the Jews, and a beacon of hope.
The Enemy has long known this. In mortal fear of the King, and aware that Israel must first be restored for Him to come, Satan has tried everything to thwart it: He sought to destroy the Jews in the Diaspora (Crusades, Inquisition, Pogroms, Holocaust) so that they could not return; to keep the Land from being returned to them before 1948; to drive them back out in successive wars since then; and, by hook or by crook, to try to take back the Land via ‘the Palestinian cause’.
Because the Land is destined to be a safe place for Israel, the ‘State of Palestine’ is designed to sink her.
Palestine is a weapon.
Tirelessly, like an army of white ants weakening beams and planks, ‘Palestinian’ groups are working from within to ensure that this Ark will never float.
As documented by the organisation, Regavim, even as Israeli sovereignty has been suspended—with apparent settlement building freezes imposed in Samaria and Judea—a ‘reverse sovereignty’ is frenetically underway: the sovereignty movement for Palestine. (www.regavim.org/sovereignty-in-reverse-palestinians-have-seized-30-percent-of-israeli-land-in-territories)
For years, there has been massive Arab construction in Area C—to which the Palestinian Authority has no permitted right. In my frequent traversing of Samaria and Judea (the ‘West Bank’) as tour guide, I have seen ‘Palestinian’ towns mushrooming throughout Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem.
Those who know that Europe has long hated the Jews will be unsurprised to learn that an enormous amount of funding for this illegal land grabbing comes from the EU. Here; jpost.com/middle-east/eu-builds-for-palestinians-in-area-c-fms-speak-against-annexation-635051
The Abraham Accords will do nothing to stop this; will not even slow it. The Arabs’ devouring of Israel’s land is racing ahead as I write. Only the bringing of the Jews’ historically sovereign land under Israeli law will thwart the designs of those who hate Zion.
The Jews, I wrote above, have been long dispossessed of peace. They have, likewise, been long dispossessed of their land. Way back in history, they lost first their peace, then their land. It is Scripturally axiomatic that, until they again possess their land, they will never again possess peace.
The Abraham Accords have been signed. There is nothing more to be done on that front. Nothing to be done against it. It is really not our war.
For me, the heart of this battle—the fiercest epicentre of this war—has always been about the Land and about Jerusalem. As Gentiles, we mostly cannot fight it in Israel, but we can fight it for Israel, in our lands.
The battle is the LORD’s. He is fighting it (Isaiah 31:4). It is where I have chosen to stand and fight, too