President Bush is clearly focusing on the Middle East. So are today’s headlines. But nowhere is it emphasized as it is in the Bible. Even references to Russia and the “Kings of the East” (likely China and others nations) are in context how they fit into the Middle East scenario. And there aren’t a lot of biblical references to peace in that region before the early stages of the Tribulation. The antichrist “will destroy many through peace” (Dan. 8:25). There will be cries for peace–“peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Jer. 6, Jer. 8, Jer. 14, Ez. 13).
Clearly the “Bush Doctrine” is causing at least a temporary new wind in the region and even Bush opponents Sen. Diane Feinsten and Sen. Ted Kennedy acknowledged this. For now, America has shaken many in that region. In one case–the Palestinian elections in January–it was at the expense of Israel.
Here are some conclusions I have drawn:
* The “Bush Doctrine” is making Middle East nations nervous, as are our successes in the war on terror.
* Freedom is the longing in every human heart. When other nations in the region saw 8 million Iraqis voting in January, they collectively asked, “Why not us?” But democracy in that region can mean that terrorists are elected as they were in the Palestinian elections with over 90% being from Hamas or Fatah. All candidates running in Egypt’s first-time election are hard core Islamists. The recent Saudi elections weren’t very impressive as women were not even allowed to vote. Some democracy!
* The “cedar revolution” in Lebanon will likely give that nation more freedom but not without a terrible fight with Syria and Iran. Syria sent a convoy of 500 busses this week with Syrians demonstrating on behalf of Syria and her leader, Bashir Assad. Lebanon will always have to deal with the radical terror group Hezbollah who will remain entrenched there, hiding in the shadows, given aid by Syria and Iran to perpetrate terror. And until Syria is pushed to the limit by the international community, she will always maintain some presence there.
* It’s one thing to have “democracy” but it’s another thing to have democracy “terrorist-style.” What has been gained for the people in those nations or the rest of the world?
The Middle East’s totalitarian temptations die hard but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some short-term victories. Even Libya’s strongman Muammar Ghadaffi has a new spirit of co-operation with the West once he saw Saddam pulled from his rat hole in Iraq–but don’t expect democracy in Libya any time soon.
What does the Bible say? It only talks about ongoing wars in that region before the supernatural short season of peace the antichrist brings. There is the Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, spearheaded by Russiabut using Muslim allies in the region to come against Israel. There is the war of Psalms 83 where many Islamic Middle East nations join the choir singing, “Come let us wipe out the very memory of Israel.” Doesn’t sound like real “democratic” nations would participate in that.
Thus, it’s a stretch to think that peace and democracy efforts today are going to be long-term in that region. The Bible is the bottom line, not the U.S. State Department, any current presidential administration, the E.U., or the U.N. We need to do a “reality check.” Let’s acknowledge the victories in ridding much evil in Afghanistan and Iraq, and pray for the above-mentioned scenarios as they unfold in their quest for freedom.
(Jan Markell is founder/director of Olive Tree Ministries. To learn more, consult her Web site, www.olivetreeviews.org.)