Rapture Linked to Current Middle East Peace Process Part 2 of 2By Michael Hile
Due to the importance of crude oil to the economies of the world and other spiritual, economic, and political factors, the countries of the world have aligned themselves into a confederacy of nations that is determined to bring peace to the Middle East region through international diplomacy involving negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian people. This global confederacy of nations called “the Quartet” (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations) has a primary goal of dividing the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem in order to establish a viable, contiguous, Palestinian state inside the current borders of Israel. God made it clear in the Old Testament that He had given Israel temporary custody of His land, and He would take punitive action against those nations that divide His land (see Genesis 15:18, Joel 3:2).
The “Roadmap to Peace” plan, if implemented by the Quartet, will create a Northern and Southern Israel, with Israel’s enemies living in Gaza (Hamas) and the West Bank (Fatah). A narrow strip of land would connect the two land masses (Gaza and West Bank). The many statements made by the Quartet (and Israel under duress) in recent years concerning “peace and security” are numerous and uniquely qualify this group of nations or their successors as the object of Paul’s prophecy. The following quotes from members of the Quartet in recent months and years using “peace and security” terminology echo the prophecy Paul gave the Thessalonians, and link the Rapture to the “times and seasons” in which we are living.Statement by Middle East Peace QuartetMarch 1, 2005London
“The Quartet commends the Israeli cabinet's recent approval of the initiative to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and reiterates that withdrawal from Gaza should be full and complete and should be undertaken in a manner consistent with the Roadmap, as an important step toward the realization of the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. ... The Quartet remains ready to engage, actively reaffirms its encouragement and support for both sides for the progress they have made in recent weeks, and reiterates its commitment to the fulfillment of the vision of two states, a safe and secure Israel and a sovereign, contiguous, democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security” (http://www.un.org/news/dh/infocus/middle_east/quartet-1mar2005.htm). Statement by Middle East Peace QuartetDecember 15, 2008New York
“The Quartet expressed its considered view that the bilateral negotiations process launched at Annapolis is irreversible and that these negotiations should be intensified in order to put an end to the conflict and to establish, as soon as possible, the State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel. The Quartet affirmed that a final treaty and a lasting peace will be reached through simultaneous and mutually re‑enforcing efforts on three tracks...” (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/sg2147.doc.htm). President Obama's Press Conference TranscriptMarch 24, 2009White House
At President Obama’s press conference on March 24, 2009, he stated “...that it is critical for us to advance a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side-by-side in their own states with peace and security” (http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/03/president_obamas_press_confere.html). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu StatementMarch 25, 2009Jerusalem
One day later, incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians "should understand that they have in our government a partner for peace, for security, for the rapid development of the Palestinian economy" (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090325/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians). President Obama Addresses Turkish ParliamentApril 7, 2009Ankara, Turkey
"Let me be clear," Obama said, "the United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of good will around the world. That is a goal that the parties agreed to in the road map and at Annapolis. And that is a goal that I will actively pursue as president." Both Israel and the Palestinians, he said, "must overcome longstanding passions and the politics of the moment to make progress toward a secure and lasting peace" (http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/71058/-obama-we-are-committed-to-annapolis.html).
The proliferation of speeches and statements from the Quartet concerning “peace and security,” along with many other end-time prophecies (Daniel chapters 2, 7, 9, 12; Ezekiel chapters 38-39; Revelation Chapter 13, et al.) that are in the process of development, are compelling evidence that we are living during the “times and seasons” Paul talked about. The time of the Lord’s return is not only linked to statements about “peace and security,” the events encompassing the Rapture are also compared to the birth pangs (labor pains) of childbirth. “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” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
No one knows exactly when a son or daughter will be born, but everyone knows a child is on the way several months before the actual due date. After conception, the tiny baby grows and develops in the mother’s womb with each passing day for a period of about 40 weeks (Psalm 139:13-18). When the time for delivery draws near, the labor pangs begin and everyone starts watching expectantly, knowing the day and hour of the birth are getting closer. Sometimes there is premature labor, false contractions (Braxton-Hicks) that occur before real labor begins. As the birth pangs increase in frequency and intensity, the time of the birth can be anticipated and known with greater certainty as the moment of birth approaches.
The reason Christians should not be caught off guard by this unique event called the Rapture is due to the birth pangs (contractions, warning signs) that will be present before the event takes place. As the birth pangs foreshadowing the Rapture increase in frequency and intensity, we can “know” (ginosko- “to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of”) with greater certainty that the day of the Rapture is close at hand, just like we know when the birth of a child is near and certain.
32 “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:32-34).
The “day and hour” of the Rapture are not known, but when the birth pangs of Christ’s return begin to appear, we can “know” that the day of the Rapture is drawing near. What specific form these pre-Rapture birth pangs assume is not altogether clear at this time, but they will likely include economic, religious, political, and military turmoil as well as famines, earthquakes, and disease as described in Luke 21:7-28. Recent natural disasters in the United States and throughout the world such as droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes (cyclones), earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis might be false birth pangs or they might be harbingers of things to come if we are close to the day of the Rapture, as the evidence suggests.51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord”
(1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
For several decades, we have been hearing participants in the Mideast peace process talk about “peace and security.” In recent months, the negotiation process between the Quartet, Israel, and the Palestinians has increased in frequency and intensity as world leaders jockey to find a solution to the Middle East problem through implementation of their key document called the “Roadmap.”
Worldwide political, religious, and economic turmoil has also greatly increased in intensity during the past year, with the industrialized nations meeting regularly to resolve the financial crisis caused by an unsound monetary policy. The prospect of a new world order and new international currency looms on the horizon, as anticipated by many who follow the Bible prophecy signs associated with the end of the age.
The evidence is overwhelming that we are living during “the times and seasons” of the Lord’s return. Believers are admonished to “watch…and be ready,” as Matthew 24:42-51 tells us, and inform their family and loved ones about what is going on prophetically. All of the “signs of the times” we see appearing indicate that the day of the Rapture is imminent and that we are approaching the “day and hour” set by God the Father (Acts 1:7) when we will “be caught up together... to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Approaching prophetic events that are casting their shadows backward into our times serve as “an early warning system” reminding us that we should be getting our spiritual houses in order and taking care of the Master’s business (Mark 13:33-37). That involves making sure we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior so that whether we go up at the Rapture or experience an untimely death, we will have made our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10, Philippians 2:12). Salvation in Christ also qualifies us to be part of the bride of Christ at the marriage of the Lamb, and to be a participant at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:7-10).
As we see the day of the Rapture approaching, don’t let anxiety, fear, and depression get you down and rob you of your impending joy and “Crown of Righteousness” that the Lord will personally give to all those “that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). It is “high time” for the saints of God to “wake up,” “comfort one another,” “exhort and edify one another,” and “lift up our heads” as we see the day of “our redemption” drawing near (Romans 13:11-14). Don’t be left behind!