Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Hour You Do Not Expect

The Stratfor analyses are generally very insightful. But a recent one discussing the potential for war in the Mideast in the aftermath of the Gaza Flotilla Fracas could have been much improved with a biblical world view. A good understanding of Bible prophecy helps us make more accurate projections of what is likely to happen.

Stratfor does not think that all the caustic rhetoric directed against Israel makes it any more likely that war is imminent. They see Israel as a regional superpower that will maintain the status quo. They do recognize the potential for Iranian nuclear weapons to disrupt that balance but do not believe this is an immediate threat to Israel. They also said, “the threat posed by intifada, suicide bombers, rockets from Lebanon and Gaza, and Hezbollah fighters is real, but it does not threaten the survival of Israel.”

Stratfor reinforces their theory of an ongoing Mideast power balance on the basis that Israel’s enemies are so divided amongst themselves that they are incapable of forming even a partial coalition against Israel. This appearance is actually a fulfillment of the prophecy that the descendants of Ishmael, “shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him” (Genesis 16:12, NKJ).

While Israel’s neighbors are divided on many things, they are united in their hatred of Israel. An old Arab proverb says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” And the Bible makes it clear that Israel’s neighbors will indeed mount enough of a coalition that Israel needs to deal with them… “They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You” (Psalm 83:4-5).

A couple factors I was surprised that Stratfor did not even bring up was Syria’s improved ballistic missile technology from North Korea coupled with their own chemical weapons. The fact that Stratfor does not address Syria’s weapons of mass destruction reveals their wishful thinking that the status quo will be maintained in the Mideast. Effectively Stratfor is saying, “where is the promise of His coming? …all things continue as they were from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:4).

The Stratfor article seemed to be an apologetic that war was not inevitable in the Mideast. While everyone likes an optimist, it is pretty obvious to even the casual observer that it wouldn’t take much to spark a major conflagration there. Egypt and Syria certainly think war is imminent. It struck me as I read the Stratfor article that the author had no sense that the events associated with the Lord’s return are to be expected. This in itself is a sign that His return is near since He told us in Luke 12:40, “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The Apostle Paul tells us that at the time of the Rapture many will be lured into complacency by a false peace… 1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “for when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” The good news for followers of Jesus during this age is in the verses that follow…
“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6)

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