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The Coming Peace
By Dr. William L. Sonny Payne

united nations

The United Nations, with the help of the United States and Europe, has drafted a new resolution (Resolution #1701) to stop the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, which has been agreed to by Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah. But does it mean anything?

Will the conflict really cease, or will it continue now or sometime in the future? I personally think that it will continue for several reasons.

First, U.N. Resolution 1559, which promised Israel safety from attacks in the north, never worked, nor was it ever enforced, so why should we believe this new Resolution will be any different? Second, the goal of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and other Islamic terrorists groups is to completely destroy Israel, so why should we believe they will keep any kind of agreement, or Resolution? They never have yet. Hezbollah is already boasting that the “invincible Israeli army” has been defeated, and if this Resolution is enforced, and Israel leaves Lebanon, it most certainly will be a major defeat for them, just as it was when they pulled out of Gaza. So it is to this issue that I write this article and try to make some sense of all that is taking place, what it means for Israel now, and in the future, how it applies to Biblical Prophecy, and last but not least, how it affects you and me.

First, let me say that this conflict in the Middle East is not World War III, as some of the news commentators are reporting. It is a regional conflict, even though terrorism is affecting countries around the world. What we are experiencing is only a preview of what is to come. According to the Bible there are going to be two more major wars before the return of Jesus Christ. One is the battle of Gog and Magog, as recorded in Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. The other is the Battle of Armageddon, which will be World War III, as recorded in Revelation 16 and 19, and Zechariah 14. Some Bible scholars say that these two battles are the same, but it is not possible due to conflicting statements in the Bible regarding the two battles. Let’s look at them.

The Battle of Gog and Magog

1. There must be peace before this battle. Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14
2. Six nations are listed as coming against Israel, plus, other bands. Ezekiel 38:5,6
3. God will supernaturally destroy these armies. Ezekiel 38:17-23; 39:1-7
4. There is no mention of Antichrist in this battle.
5. The Holy Spirit is poured out on Israel. Ezekiel 39:25, 29; 37:1-14; 36:24-28

The Battle of Armageddon

1. There is no peace before this battle, but tribulation. Matthew 24:15-22, 29
2. All nations are gathered to battle against Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:2
3. Jesus will return and fight against these nations. Zechariah 14:3; Revelation 19:11-21
4. Antichrist is one of the key players in this battle. Revelation 19:19,20
5. There will be no need for the Holy Spirit to be poured out. Jesus will be ruling in Jerusalem.

The key to understanding where we are now, as far a biblical prophecy is concerned, is the word “Peace”. According to Ezekiel 38: 8, 11, and 14, there must be peace in Israel before the Battle of Gog and Magog.

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel . . . and they shall dwell safely all of them.” Verse 8.

And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely. . . .” Verse 11

"Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?” Verse 14.

We know that there is certainly no peace in Israel right now, nor will there be until these terrorist organizations are dealt with. Right now there is a move on in Israel to replace the political leadership, due to the horrendous blunders they made in this last conflict, costing the lives of many Israeli soldiers and causing the terrorist organizations, along with Syria and Iran, to believe that Hezbollah truly defeated Israel and that now is the time to mount a massive campaign to totally destroy the Jewish state. What they don’t know is that the Lord God Almighty is in control and is going to have the last say.

One night last week I could not sleep and was up reading the Bible around 3 A.M. As I read Isaiah 41:8-16, it was quickened to me that these verses applied to Israel and her enemies today, and that God was going to take care of things. These verses will be fulfilled, whether in regard to a breaking of the present cease fire, or a conflict in the very near future. It is my feeling, based on the evidence before us, that this cease fire will not hold very long. Something must be done to bring peace to Israel. Let's look at these verses in Isaiah.

8. But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The seed of Abraham my friend.

9. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou are my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

10. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

11. Behold, all they that were incensedagainst thee shall be ashamed and confounded: They shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.

12. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

13. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

14. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

15. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: Thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. 16. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.”

It seems to me that these verses describe, rather clearly, what could happen should Israel be forced to defend herself against Hezbollah and Syria. When we look at verses 15 and 16, in the above scriptures, they can easily be applied to the Israeli Air Force, and the Infantry, with their enormous artillery guns, tanks, etc., blasting away at the mountains to their north, thus destroying their enemies.

According to the Bible in Ezekiel 38:5, Persia, which is modern day Iran, will be one of the leading players in attacking Israel in the Battle of Gog and Magog, but I don’t see her going to war with Israel at this time, except in a secondary way. In regard to Syria, the Bible tells us in Isaiah 17:1, “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” This scripture has never been fulfilled to this day, but if the conflict erupts again between Israel and Hezbollah and Syria we could see Israel destroy Damascus and the Syrian regime.

There are a lot of unusual things taking place right now in regard to world leaders and their decisions concerning Israel, Lebanon and Syria. For example, Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, met with Syrian President al-Assad last week and agreed to have Syria place a battalion of its troops (600 to 800 soldiers) on the Lebanese border to help keep the peace. Plus, Annan agreed to give the Syrians training in “international expertise.” This is almost more than I can comprehend. Here is Israel’s arch enemy, Syria, who has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and has been supplying Hezbollah with weapons, being asked by the United Nations to place its troops along the Lebanese border as part of the “Peacekeeping Force” to prevent another outbreak between Hezbollah and Israel.

How much more ludicrous can it get? To tell you the truth, I don’t think we have seen anything yet. These people don’t have a clue about what is going on, nor how God is setting things up for His End Time show of power, and Israel’s deliverance. But how does all of this affect you and me as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ? First, it shows us how very close we are to the return of Jesus Christ. Secondly, we as true believers need to have our lives right with the Lord at all times, and our spiritual ears tuned to what He is saying in order to be prepared when things begin to come unglued. I believe our nation is going to be dealt a major blow, much greater than 9/11.

When I was in Washington D.C. in February of 2005, I had just come out of our nation's Capitol. Having walked back down the many steps to the street, I turned around to look back at that magnificent structure. As I did, I had an instant vision of the Capitol being on fire, with the fire coming out of the top and sides. I was taken back by what I had just seen, and I immediately told my wife and the other lady who was with us.

The next day we were going to meet with several friends who love the Lord and are key and powerful people in the D.C. area. Our meeting was to take place in Fredricksburg where we would gather for two days of intense prayer and hearing from God on some key issues that were very important to each of us and our work for the Lord. I was very cautious about telling them of the vision I had of the Capitol burning, but after seeking the Lord I felt that I should. We had all just finished breakfast when I related my vision. Almost with one voice they said that this was not the first time they had heard that. Will it happen in our next encounter with terrorism? I don’t know. All I know is that God will take care of His people, and we do not have to fear.

The glory of the Lord is soon to return to His Church, and we must be ready. We are living in the most perilous times in history, yet the greatest times for the true Church, as God’s prophetic clock continues to wind down to the hour of midnight. Our Lord admonished us time and again to “watch and pray”. Let us live each day in a constant attitude of prayer, praise and watching, whether in the marketplace, in ministry, as a homemaker or a student. God will direct us on a daily basis. He is faithful!

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