Wars & Rumors of War: What the Bible Says about War in the Middle East
by Betty Miller
The Bible Predicts Wars and Tribulation in the Last Days
The summer of 2006 brought many trials to people all over the world. One of which was the escalating war in the Middle East. Along with war, there are a plethora of other evils and tribulations abounding in the world. Some people have experienced drought, while others have lost everything by floods. We are seeing many different kinds of natural disasters all over the globe, with tsunamis, hurricanes, mudslides, volcanoes, earthquakes, tornados and fires. We are living in an hour when these things are described with adjectives like catastrophic, extreme, massive, intense, acute, excessive, tremendous, severe, huge, record-breaking, unheard of, frightening, gigantic and uncontrollable. The upheavals in the earth are pictures of the upheavals in society with terrorist attacks, wars (physical as well as cultural wars), anarchy, violence, and murder. The evils in the earth are producing fear in mankind. The Bible tells us that when we, as Christians, see these things happening on a worldwide scale, we should look up, for our redemption is drawing near. We are told by Jesus not to be troubled. The only way we can remain free from being troubled is to know the One who has overcome all things and stay close to Him. Jesus is the only One who can sustain us in the hour of tribulation.
A Time of Sorrows Precedes the Great Tribulation
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:6-8
We are currently experiencing the “time of sorrows” that is spoken about in this verse. Other verses call this the “time of birth pains or travail.” War is one of those birth pangs and especially the war in the Middle East.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10
Bible Prophecy Declares Israel Will be in the Center of End Time Events
The war in the Middle East is actually a threat of tribulation for the entire world. Prophecies in the Bible spoke of this day and told how Israel would suffer under the siege of armies that would try to destroy them. In the end, they will not be destroyed as a people, as they are destined to have their eyes opened to Jesus, the Messiah, and many Jews will find redemption and salvation in Christ. The words of Jesus recorded in the Bible speak of a time of trouble that has never been experienced in history, but is soon to break out, that will be the trigger for the beginning of what Jesus called “The Great Tribulation.” This event will occur in the Holy Land among the Jewish people.
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Matthew 24:21-22
The book of Daniel also speaks of this same time in history.
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Daniel 12:1
And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. Mark 13:5-14
When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:20-28 (NIV)
What Is the Abomination of Desolation?
The Bible says that when we see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, that an event called the “abomination of desolation” will occur there, and those living there should flee to the mountains for safety. This “abomination of desolation” will cause great sorrow for women who are pregnant and those who have young children. We know that nuclear radiation causes deformities in unborn children, as well as children and this scenario would be a dreadful one for pregnant women and nursing mothers. I realize that this scripture has been interpreted in many different ways, but I would like to share with you what I believe this scripture means and challenge my readers to ask the Holy Spirit for a witness to this interpretation.
God wants us to understand the Bible and He promises that if we wholeheartedly seek Him, He will hear and answer (Jeremiah 29: 12, 13). If we want to understand, we can. It may not come all at once, but as we seek Him, He will open our eyes. One of our shortcomings as Christians is that many of us have listened to end-time teachings but never have asked the Holy Spirit if the teaching is the truth. We have considered ourselves ignorant and assumed the teachers must have all the answers. But God wants each one of us to understand His Word, and He will give us understanding as we seek Him for it. He will confirm His true teachers and teachings if we seek Him by faith, with a pure heart. We have a responsibility to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
The word “desolation” comes from the word “desolate” which means “uninhabited, deserted and barren.” What kind of war would leave a city desolate so that it could not be inhabited? This would be a horrible abomination on any land. This is a perfect description of the aftermath of a nuclear blast.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Matthew 24:15
We all know that Jerusalem is referred to as the “Holy Land” or the “Holy Place” so if the “abomination of desolation” is the result of a nuclear attack, then this scripture tells those who live in Judea to flee to the mountains to escape the fallout.
The book of Isaiah also gives a description of the daughters of Jerusalem who will become bald and mourn the many dead in the land. Baldness is one of the things that happens as a result of radiation.
And it shall come to pass that instead of the sweet odor of spices there shall be the stench of rottenness; and instead of a girdle, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; and searing [of captives by the scorching heat] instead of beauty. Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty men in battle. And [Jerusalem’s] gates shall lament and mourn [as those who wail for the dead]; and she, being ruined and desolate, shall sit upon the ground. Isaiah 3:24-26 (AMP)
What Event Triggers World War III?
This war is not the battle of Armageddon, but rather a third world war that occurs at the beginning of the tribulation, while Armageddon happens at the end of the tribulation the way that I see it. This causes some confusion for some in the time line of end time events. The news of the day is already speaking about World War III and the inhabitants of Israel are already prepared for the threat of a nuclear bomb. Men of God recorded these prophetic words of Jesus over 2,000 years ago, proving the Bible to be the inspired Word of God.
Some people believe that the scripture in Matthew 24, regarding Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, was already fulfilled in 70 AD when Titus and his armies laid siege upon Jerusalem in the first Jewish-Roman war and totally destroyed the city and the temple. However, if we pay close attention to the scripture in these verses, we will notice that his disciples asked Jesus three questions. So there are actually three prophetic events that Jesus talked about. One of which did occur in 70 AD, but the other events are still futuristic.
- Tell us when shall these things be (the temple stones thrown down)?
- What shall the sign of thy coming be?
- When shall the end of the world (age) be?
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Matthew 24:1-4
We are also warned that deception will be one of the major things that will abound right before the coming of the Lord. Therefore, we must seek the truth with our whole heart in order to avoid being misled.
When was the Jewish Temple Destroyed?
While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? Matthew 24:3 (AMP)
1. The first question as to when the temple stones would be thrown down did occur during the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, as Titus not only destroyed and burned the temple, he also destroyed the wall around Jerusalem, except for one small portion that was used for a camp, according to Josephus, a historian of the times . But the rest of the wall was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those that came to Jerusalem to believe it was even inhabited. Even the trees were cut down and the country became desolate in every way.
However, verses 21-22 of Matthew 24 have not been fulfilled yet, as the world has not experienced the kind of tribulation that Jesus describes here as being so terrible that no flesh would be saved without the Lord intervening by shortening those days of tribulation. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
What is the Sign of the Coming of the Lord?
2. What is the sign of the coming of the Lord? In Chapter 12 of the book of Revelation we find a description of the church that was a great wonder and sign in heaven. Isaiah speaks of a people who will be a holy people who will show forth the glory of the Lord in the time of the end. So the “sign of the Lord” will be an overcoming church who will preach and demonstrate the gospel of the kingdom of God during a time of great tribulation.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. Revelation 12:1
For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. Isaiah 66:18-20
When Shall the End of this Age Occur?
3. When shall the end of this age be? Matthew 24:13-14 says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Notice the end comes after the “gospel of the kingdom” is preached, not after the “gospel of salvation” is preached. No one knows the exact timing for this event as the Bible only tells us the signs of the times we are to watch for and instructs us that the most important thing is to be ready to meet the Lord as many will be taken unaware.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 2 Peter 3:10-12
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Matthew 24:19-24
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Matthew 24:36-44
God Will Use His Overcomers to Demonstrate His Kingdom Power
The end will only come after God demonstrates His kingdom power and authority in the earth through a remnant of His people who are totally dedicated and committed to His will. This company of believers are known by a number of names. The Bible describes them as follows:
The Bride of Christ, the Overcomers, the Remnant, Forerunners, the First Fruits, the Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a Peculiar People, the Joshua Generation, and the Third Day Company. This company of believers will perform signs and wonders and do exploits in the name of the Lord, so that the message of salvation will go out into the whole world during the time of the abomination of desolation.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Daniel 11:31-32
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:5-6
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:21-22
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:5-8
Jesus is Our Refuge in Tribulation
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:25-28
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalm 91:1-11
There is only one way that we can overcome the fear and anxiety of the age during this time of sorrows and tribulation, and that is to give our hearts to the Lord, as we can only find our refuge in Him. We are to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. We must all remember that God is in control, even if things around us are out of control. We are also instructed in the Bible to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as these evil wars are never the will of God, but come about because of the will of fallen men who rebel and reject God.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Psalm 122:6
Jesus does not want us to be fearful during this hour, but rather to look to Him for our guidance, safety and peace.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
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1 Wikipedia Encyclopedia: Seige of Jerusalem (70 AD)
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Title: What the Bible Says about War in the Middle East
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