Egypt: Growing Unrest in the Muslim World
Despite peace talks, the recent violence in Egypt makes peace seem like an impossible dream. What can bring peace to the volatile Middle East?
Just this week over 600 people were killed in protests in Egypt. Since President Mohammed Morsi’s removal from power July 3, about 900 people have died in Egypt’s violence. More deaths are sure to follow.
And this is just Egypt.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed nearly 8,000 lives since the year 2000. In Syria, the death toll has topped 100,000 in their bloody civil war. No peaceful solution is in the foreseeable future. Al-Qaeda has developed a strong base in the Arabian Peninsula (a geographic area with many ungoverned areas) and is believed to be planning attacks on embassies or other Western interests in the Middle East and North Africa in the month of August.
Why so much violence in this area? Why the Middle East?
Some 4,000 years ago God promised a son to the patriarch Abraham and his wife Sarah (Genesis 15:1-4). But as time went on, Sarah became impatient and persuaded Abraham to have a child by her maid Hagar (Genesis 16:1-3).
But soon after Hagar was pregnant with the child, who would be named Ishmael, stress began to build between Sarah, Abraham and Hagar (verses 4-6).
More than 13 years later, Abraham and Sarah had a child together, just as God promised. They named him Isaac. But now the tension grew worse, and Sarah had Abraham tell Hagar and Ishmael to leave (Genesis 21:1-2, 8-11).
God foretold the future of Abraham and Hagar’s son Ishmael. God said that Ishmael would “be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man. And every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Genesis 16:12).
Many of the Arab peoples are descendants of Ishmael. God said that Ishmael and his descendants would become great in their own right (Genesis 21:17-18); and indeed the Arab countries are rich in oil reserves, the source of their wealth today.
The descendants of Isaac include the Jews and many living in America, Britain and other European nations.
So the tension that began between these two half-brothers centuries ago continues to this day. And, as God foretold, violence would follow the descendants of Ishmael.
This is partly why the Middle East has a long history of conflicts and violence.
Can man bring peace to the Middle East?
The animosity between the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac has had centuries to fester, so the dislike has only grown.
When we read about the suicide bombers—those who are more than willing to die for their cause—why should we think that any man or government can bring peace? Despite current attempts by the U.S. administration to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis, the ancient animosity and incompatible worldviews of the two people make a lasting peace settlement nearly impossible.
No, history has shown, and God has foretold, that there will be no lasting peace in the Middle East, especially in the area of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2).
But peace will come.
One will bring real peace to the Middle East
It won’t be man who brings peace, but Jesus Christ. When Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He will return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and confront the armies gathered there (Zechariah 14:1-4).
Not surprisingly, Christ will initially have to use force to stop the fighting in the Middle East. Prophecy even reveals that the warring nations will view the returning Jesus Christ as an invading army and will try to fight and defeat Him (Revelation 19:19). These nations will be no match against the power of God.
But after He has everyone’s attention, real peace will finally come. It will take time, but the Prince of Peace will eventually transform the Middle East, as well as the rest of the world, into a land of peace. This lasting peace will be brought about because of the influence of God’s Spirit in man (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Prophecies of the Millennium reveal that former enemies will become examples of peace in a new society where all nations work together and are connected for good. A fascinating prophecy in Isaiah 19:24-25 reveals: “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’”
These three nations are mentioned because they are three peoples who have historically been at odds and who will be major players in end-time prophecy:
- Israel (descendants of all 12 tribes scattered through northwestern Europe, Scandinavia, North America and, of course the nation named Israel ).
- Egypt (presently one of the most powerful Muslim nations, possibly a symbol for the entire bloc of nations that represents the end-time king of the South).
- Assyria (modern Germany, the nation that will lead the last revival of the Roman Empire, called “the Beast” in Bible prophecy).
These three nations will be examples of the peace brought to the world as a result of the reign of Jesus Christ.
The day that Jesus Christ begins His rule on earth is pictured by one of God’s holy days called the Feast of Trumpets. On our modern calendar, that day is observed on Sept. 5 of this year.
No, peace isn’t here yet. But it will be. We have God’s word on it!
To learn about the peaceful world that will result from the rule of Jesus Christ, read about the 1000-year Millennium.