If you’ve followed this humble blog, you’ll know that Israel and Pope Francis are topics which tend to come up a lot. We’ve talked about Israel’s God-given right to its land, and why dividing it isn’t a good idea. The Pope has received even more coverage. It’s nothing personal, but whenever one of the most popular and powerful religious figures in the world says atheists go to Heaven, Muslims worship the same God as Catholics, and the Cross of Christ was a failure, it needs to be addressed. Well, now the two subjects have merged.
According to the Daily Mail, Pope Francis “used his Christmas message to urge Israelis and Palestinians to formulate a two state solution.” Specifically, the Pope asked that “Israelis and Palestinians resume direct dialogue which would ‘enable two people to live together in harmony and end a conflict which has caused great conflict for the entire region.’” With all due respect, shouldn’t Jesus be the focus of a Christmas sermon? Besides, the Israeli-Palestinian issue has nothing to do with the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the rest of the region.
Setting that reality check aside, Israel will be divided at some point, and it won’t bring world peace. One of the reasons for God’s coming judgment of the nations is the dividing of Israel, which the Lord calls “My land” (Joel 3:2). The Antichrist will make a deal with Israel and many nations (Daniel 9:27), and this deal will confirm “the holy covenant” (Daniel 11:28). In other words, the international community, including all Arab states, will recognize Israel’s right to exist. Here’s the catch: Israel will have to give up the territory it captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. The Golan Heights will be given to Syria, while East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be given to the new State of Palestine.
Incidentally, the Antichrist will hate Jewish ownership of the land of Israel (Daniel 11:30). That’s why this coming confirmation of God’s holy promise to the Jewish people is also called “a covenant with death” (Isaiah 28:15). Eventually, the Antichrist will invade Israel (Ezekiel 38), overwhelm it like a flood (Isaiah 28:18; Daniel 9:26; Revelation 12:15) and desolate the Temple (Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:31). Although Israel will be at peace for a short time (Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14), like it was in ancient Judah, their agreement won’t last (Isaiah 28:18; Daniel 9:26; Revelation 12:15).
To protect themselves from Assyria, Judah made a deal with Egypt (Isaiah 30:1-7; Isaiah 36:6-9). It didn’t work out. The Assyrians invaded Judah, took some of its cities (Isaiah 36:1), and tried to make Judah surrender (Isaiah 36:2-21). King Hezekiah wouldn’t have it. He turned to the Lord in faith (Isaiah 37:1-35), and God supernaturally destroyed the Assyrians (Isaiah 37:36-38). Of course, a time is coming when the Lord will supernaturally destroy Israel’s enemies again (Ezekiel 38:17-23), because they’re going to divide the land He gave to the Jewish people (Joel 3:2). God takes His promises very seriously (Hebrews 6:13-16), and world peace won’t happen until the Prince of Peace returns in power (Isaiah 9:6-7). Come quickly Jesus (Revelation 22:20)!