The June 26, 02 headline from the Denver Post read, "Arafats pay to terrorists cited by U.S." The article reported on intelligence information that revealed PLO President Yasser Arafat had authorized a $20,000 payment to the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade which claimed responsibility for a recent suicide attack in Jerusalem that killed six people.
A related article in the same paper which subtitled, "Moderate [Arab] governments neatly sidestep presidents call for Arafats removal," focused on how in a recent speech President Bush called for the replacement of Yasser Arafat and promised a Palestinian state in 3 years if preliminary conditions are met.
On June 27, 02 foreign ministers from 57 Muslim countries met in Sudan and condemned the U.S. Presidents call for Arafats removal. They then pledged their united support behind the aging terrorist whom they referred to in an official declaration as "gallant."
Especially distressing to the Muslim alliance was the perception that Arafat was now vulnerable to removal by military means.
Whether or not Yasser Arafat will remain in power, and will a Palestinian state be established within the borders of Israel are two questions answered in the prophetic Scriptures.
Before we examine the Bible it needs to be pointed out that the present area under Palestinian control, called the Gaza Strip, is located in what used to be the coastland nation of Philistia.
This expanse of land now accommodates some of the most deadly terrorist organizations found in the Mid East. Israel recognizes that because of this fact they can anticipate their bloodiest confrontations with the Palestinians when they mobilize against this area.
When Yasser Arafat returned from his exile in Tunisia in 1994, he originally set up his central headquarters in Jericho. Shortly thereafter he moved his main headquarters to Gaza City where it remains intact.
Other PLO command quarters located in Ramallah and Hebron are being destroyed piecemeal by Israeli artillery during 2002.
It would appear that Yasser Arafat will eventually have to leave the West Bank to seek refuge in Gaza. This possibility is also addressed within the pages of Holy Scripture.
As we have shared in the past from Zech. 9:5-7, a bloodthirsty king is to perish from out of Gaza while in opposition to restored Israel in these last days.
We quote, "Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; and Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. "A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. "I will take away the blood from his mouth, and the abominations from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, and shall be like a leader in Judah, and Ekron like a Jebusite."
All of the elements for the fulfillment of this prophecy appear in place. Israel finds itself continually crossing sabers with a bloodthirsty king who has his headquarters in Gaza. He is without question the pride of the modern day Philistines who affectionately refer to him as "the old man."
Fifty-seven Muslim nations at the organization of Islamic Conference attested to his tremendous popularity in Sudan on June 27th.
That Arafat may very well be the king prophesied of to perish from Gaza gains extra credence when it is recalled that during the April, 2002 siege of Arafats headquarters in Ramallah it was reported by the Associated Press "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was considering allowing Arafat to leave his shattered West Bank headquarters for Gaza if the Palestinian leader agrees to use his intact security force in the southern Palestinian enclave to crack down on militants there." (Colorado "Springs Gazette, Apr. 26, 02, "Palestinian youths leave Church of Nativity").
It is doubtful that Ariel Sharon truly believes Arafat will suddenly begin to suppress terrorist activity in Gaza if granted a change of venue.
What other motive might Mr. Sharon have for this offer to Yasser Arafat? Could it be that Mr. Sharon thinks it would be advantageous to isolate all of the deadly vipers in one pit? The day does not appear far off when the world will find out if this is so or not.
But will the Palestinians ever achieve a form of statehood? The Scriptures tell us yes, although only temporarily.
God tells us in Zeph. 2:1-6 that an undesirable or shameless nation shall come forth from the area presently known as the Gaza Strip. This is to take place before the day of Gods fierce anger which prophecy students recognize as the Tribulation Period destined to close out the present age.
The land of the Gaza Strip which cradled the Cherethites and was known as Canaan in Old Testament times is prophesied to become a place of terrible bloodshed. In the end Israel will possess this coastland as her inheritance.
We quote, "Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, before the decree is issued, before the day passes like chaff, before the LORDs fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORDs anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORDs anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon desolate; they shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines "I will destroy you; so there shall be no inhabitant." The seacoast shall be pastures, with shelters for shepherds and folds for flocks. The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed their flocks there; in the houses of Ashkelon they shall be down at evening. For the LORD their God will intervene for them, and return their captives."
On June 30, 02 CNN Headline News reported that Jews who had established settlements according to biblical mandate on Israeli soil were being removed from their enclaves by the Israeli Defense Force. The reason cited was lack of government authorization to settle on land in dispute by the Palestinians and the United Nations.
The dividing up of the land that God has restored to Israel in these last days is prophesied to be one of the main catalysts that will precipitate the judgment of the nations before the return of Jesus Christ.
By the Word of God found in Joel 3:1-17 we are told how Tyre and Sidon (which is Lebanon), and the coasts of Philistia (the Gaza Strip) are warned of the futility of retaliation when the land they claimed as their own is returned to its rightful owner.
The prophet Joel warns of the tremendous persecution which will befall Israel during the Great Tribulation. He prophesies that the nations will never break Israels hold on Jerusalem and that these issues will eventually bring the nations before God to judgment in the valley of decision.
We quote, "For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, "I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land. "They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy in exchange for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink. "Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head; "because you have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My prized possessions. "Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem you have sold to the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their borders. "Behold, I will raise them out of the place to which you have sold them, and will return your retaliation upon your own head. "I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off; for the LORD has spoken." Proclaim this among the nations: "Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, and let them come up. "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears; let the weak say, "I am strong." Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord. "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for their I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. "Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow - for their wickedness is great." Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again."
Gods foreordained future for the Mid East appears to be already evident in 2002. Lebanon is still embroiled in disputes over the United Nations mandated border with Israel while Hizbullah terrorists continue to launch attacks against Galilee with an extensively built-up arsenal.
Once immovable men such as Ariel Sharon now agree to a future Palestinian state on Israeli land and Jerusalem remains the paramount point of contention which Israel declares unnegotiable.
In October of 2001 Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon astounded his hard-line supporters when he announced he would accept the creation of a Palestinian state, but then stood on traditionally familiar ground when he stated that Israel would never give up control over Jerusalem ("Sharon spells out terms of Palestinian state," Colorado Springs Gazette, Oct. 17, 01).
The Anti-Christ, who is prophesied to strengthen a seven year treaty with Israel according to Dan. 9:27 will soon have his ideal moment to take center stage.
After the prophesied Arab/Israeli war of Psa. 83 the defeated enemies of Israel will be prepared to accept the Anti-Christ led nations terms for a settlement. Israel will agree to the parting of its land with the Palestinians and most likely a redefining of its border with Lebanon.
We might speculate that in return for this partitioning of Israel, the Jews will receive international support for rebuilding their Temple and restoring their ancient rites of worship on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Muslims and Jews could then worship on the Temple Mount on their respective holy days of Friday and Saturday without so much as a chance encounter.
Zephaniah 2:8-10 prophesies that Ammon and Moab (which is Jordan) will become the plunder and possession of Israel.
This being the case, another seemingly insurmountable problem for Mid East peace could be resolved. It deals with the Palestinian insistence that all exiled Palestinians and their descendants be granted the right of return to Israel. Their enormous numbers would overwhelm Israel and therefore the Jews refuse to consider this as a realistic demand.
Since the Palestinians origin can be traced back to Jordan, and Israel will one day soon possess Jordan, it seems plausible to establish an expanded Palestinian state within Jordan to absorb the Palestinian exiles.
However it will be that the Anti-Christ manages to establish a temporary peace in the Mid East, his astounding efforts will never bring Israel to the place where she will give up control of Jerusalem.
We are told in Dan. 9:27 that this prince who shall come will turn on the Jews and break the 7 year covenant 3 ½ years into the contract. The issue of Jerusalem will continue to fester and grow as the world gathers against it until the very final moments of the present age.
We are told in Zech. 19:9, "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."
It is foolish beyond words for anybody to take part in a word or deed that leads to the dividing up of the land of Israel. By doing so you can be assured by Gods declaration you have put yourself in opposition to Him. Even more foolish are those who do not recognize the lateness of the hour and stand vulnerable to eternal damnation because of their unforgiven sins.
God will soon call up to Heaven every believer in Jesus Christ whether they are dead or living (I Thess. 4:15-18).
Sometime after this glorious event the Anti-Christ will confirm the 7 year covenant which will close out the age in fiery tribulation before Jesus Christ returns with His saints (Jude verses 14-15).
You can receive the promise of eternal life this very moment by believing in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Trust the Lord this moment and be born again as a new creation into His eternal kingdom of joy and peace.