MidEast Crises: End In Sight?

Pastor Longinus Ekeh, May 26, 2014, 09.00am.

The personality of the current Pontiff, Pope Francis, has been so fascinating. Through his expression of humility, exhibition of servant spirit, and open arm to different faith groups, he has already made remarkable impressions on world history. He is popularly known as the people's Pope; he was voted the Times Man of the Year for 2013. Incidentally, he is doing this at the expense of the truth of the Word of God.

"The giddy embrace of the secular press makes Francis suspect among traditionalists who fear he buys popularity at the price of a watered-down faith. He has deftly leveraged the media’s fascination to draw attention to everything from his prayers for peace in Syria to his pointed attack on trickle-down economics, which inspired Jesse Jackson to compare him to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rush Limbaugh to wonder whether he’s a Marxist... Francis both affirms traditional teachings on sexuality and warns that the church has become distracted by them. He attacks priests who won’t baptize children born out of wedlock for their "rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism.” He declares that God “has redeemed all of us … not just Catholics. Everyone, even atheists.” He posed with environmental activists holding an antifracking T-shirt and called on politicians and business leaders to be “protectors of creation.”" Times Magazine.

If God has redeemed every man, what is the need to preach the gospel? And what should people repent of? Well, those are not our focus in this article. Our question is, is he going to bring peace to the Middle East?

According to the scriptures, the Man from Rome would be the peace broker in the Mideast crises, not the United States President or UK Prime Minister. Daniel 9:25-25 reads,

“25 Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolation have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

Two different rulers were mentioned here, that is, in verse 25 (referring to the Messiah) and in verse 26 (referring to another ruler). The ruler in verse 26 would;

a. destroy the city (Jerusalem)

b. destroy the sanctuary (the Temple)

c. confirm a covenant with many for one 7 (that is, 7 years usually known as the 70th Week of Daniel)

d. In the middle of the 7 (after 3-1/2 years) he would break the covenant

e. he would put an end to sacrifice and offering (he would stop the Jewish sacrifice to God)

f. he would erect an abomination that causes desolation (he would set up his own image in the Temple and demand worship as he claims to be God).

It is important we note that these events were supposed to take place after the Messiah had been cut off or crucified (verse 26). The exploits of this king and his personality were further described in Dan.11:21-45. Note these common features in those two different descriptions (Dan 9:26-27 and Dan.11:21-45), the breaking of the covenant he will make, and blasphemy against God.

Probable Fulfillment

There were some characters before the coming of Christ that seemed to fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 11. Rulers like Antiochus Epiphanes and Alexander the Great. In fact, the former came closer to fulfilling it than the later, yet none of them was a complete fulfillment of that prophecy. Furthermore, when we consider that Daniel 9:26-27 places the existence of this king as post-resurrection (that is, after the resurrection of Christ) we would not look to any ruler prior to the advent of Christ as a fulfillment of those scriptures.

When we scan the pages of history since Jesus Christ resurrected and left for Heaven, the person who came close to fulfilling that prophecy was General Titus, the Commander of the Roman Army that conquered Jerusalem in AD 70. This prophecy however, could not have been fulfilled by General Titus because he was humble enough not to arrogate victory to himself, instead, history has it that he saw himself as a vessel through whom the God of Israel expressed His wrath upon Israel.

Attention then shifts to Emperor Nero. He was no doubt the arch enemy of Christians in his days. He persecuted Christians, killed them, and was nicknamed, the Antichrist. He became the first Antichrist by the edict of the Catholic Church. But history never had it that he set up an abomination that causes desolation, neither did he stand in the Temple of God in Israel claiming to be God.

We see that neither Nero nor Titus could fit into the description of this ruler mentioned in Daniel 9:26-27. That was supposed to be a Roman Prince. A Roman Prince (General Titus) made a partial fulfillment of that prophecy when he destroyed Jerusalem, but the full accomplishment of that prophecy is for the future, another Roman Prince would rise to fulfill it, and he would be the Antichrist.

The Antichrist - a peace maker

The Bible tells us that the Antichrist would come to power as a peace maker. He would make secret accords with many nations; he would also "confirm a covenant" with Israel. Daniel 11:21 says, "And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." Watch that peacemaker from Europe!

The Antichrist would love the poor

The Angel told Daniel (Daniel 11:24) "He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time." Peace, love for the poor, and equal distribution of wealth would mark his foreign policies. Watch out!

The visit of Pope to Israel

This man of peace has been the first Pope to mediate on Mideast crises. Although the details of the visit was not made public, but the visit obviously has to do with the current crises in the Mideast, despite the media report that political issues were off the table. He met with Benjamin Netanyahu at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem, and also with Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The Pope invited them to come to the Vatican in June to pray for peace, according Times of Israel.

If we recall that the accord that gave birth to the European Union was signed in Vatican, we begin to wander whether another accord to end the Mideast crises would be signed again in Vatican. If this happens, watch out. According to the scriptures, the man of peace who would bring peace to the Mideast by signing accords will later turn into a monstrous beast, and claim to be God.

Is the world headed in this direction now? Let's watch and see!

"2Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 3For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."" Hab.2:2.

May the Lord help us all to keep watching, waiting, and ready , in the name of Jesus Christ.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father..." (John 14:12).