Middle East Peace
The Intractable Middle East Problem (1)
God’s National Firstborn Son, Returning before the Time
. . . Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me” . . . . (Exodus 4:22b, 23a).
There is an existing problem in the Middle East, having to do with Israel and the nations (mainly Moslem), which is far from simple. From a biblical standpoint though, it is not as complex as one might be led to believe. One might say, from a biblical standpoint, a person can understand the problem; apart from a biblical standpoint, it is not possible to understand the problem.
“Israel,” of course, is the key. And concerning problems existing between Israel and their Moslem neighbors in the Middle East (Arab, Iranian, et al.), during the spring of 1991, James Baker, Secretary of State under the first President Bush, stated that this is “the most intractable problem that there is.”
James Baker was also one of the two men who co-chaired the Iraq Study Group in late 2006, turning out an assessment and recommendations — The Baker-Hamilton Report — on Iraq and the Middle East in general that referred to the situation as “grave and deteriorating” and warned of “dwindling chances to change course before crisis turns to chaos.” And the somber faces and urgency in the voices of both James Baker and Lee Hamilton told the story apart from the report itself.
Was James Baker correct in his assessment of the situation in the Middle East over twenty years ago? Insofar as man solving the problem, he was as correct as one can become.
Were James Baker, Lee Hamilton, and others in this group correct concerning the more recent assessment of the Middle East situation? That could be answered two ways:
1) From a biblical standpoint, the situation is far worse than the report indicates.
2) Also from a biblical standpoint, the situation is much brighter than the report indicates.
And the preceding would require explanation, providing, at the same time, information to address the whole of the issue at hand.
A Biblical Base
First, dealing particularly with the intractable problem in the Middle East, this MUST be done from a biblical base. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY! Apart from a biblical base, a person will only find himself as mired down trying to deal with the problem as the problem itself has become.
A biblical base is simple and easy to come by. However, it would not be acceptable to the secular world at all.
How could it be acceptable when most of those in the Middle East are Moslems, along with the fact that the bible would not be acceptable as a base to work from by any nation attempting to solve the problem, whether the United States or elsewhere?
Even Israel, which gave mankind the Bible, would have major problems in this respect because of that which would have to be stated and dealt with. And the preceding would be true even among many Christians in these nations, among those purporting to believe the Bible.
Allow an example to illustrate the point, part of which bears directly on the Middle East situation. And, in order to understand the existing problem, this would have to be dealt with first and foremost anyway.
The One Nation with a God
In 1954, at the urging of President Eisenhower, the words “under God” were added to a line in the United States pledge of allegiance to the flag, making the pledge of allegiance read, “one nation under God” (the words “under God” [or similar words] had been used in statements and documents by a number of preceding U.S. presidents, beginning with Washington, the first president).
But is the United States really “one nation under God”? Is this true from a biblical perspective? — the ONLY means through which one can possibly answer the question. Christians will fight the ACLU and others through whatever means deemed necessary over this issue. But does either side really know what Scripture has to say about the matter?
The biblical base for this and all the remainder of the Middle East problems can be found in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. One doesn’t even have to go into the New Testament. Such would be of little to no value in the matter anyway, for there is nothing in the New that cannot be found in some form in the Old. The New is simply an opening up and unveiling of that which had its beginning in the Old. So, for the most part, we’ll simply stay with the Old since all of the information is there anyway.
For “one nation under God” a person would begin with Genesis chapter nine and proceed from there. This chapter deals with Noah and his three sons following the Flood, and everyone in the human race today can trace their ancestry back to Noah through one of his three sons.
Note Genesis 9:24-27:
So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him.
Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.”
And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.
May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; and may Canaan be his servant.”
Only one of these three sons — Shem — is said to have a God (v. 26). Neither Ham nor Japheth had a God, which is evident from the continuing text. If either was to receive spiritual blessings, which could come only from and through the one true God, they had to go to the one son with a God. As stated in the text, Ham and/or Japheth had to “dwell in the tents of Shem” (v. 27).
That is to say, in order to receive spiritual blessings, Ham and/or Japheth had to go to and partake of that which God had bequeathed to Shem. Or, in the words of the explanatory statement by H. C. Leupold in his word studies in the Hebrew text of Genesis, the expression “implies friendly sharing of his hospitality and so of his blessings.”
This is the manner in which God has established the matter in Genesis, and it can never change.
The lineage from Shem, in the respect seen in Genesis 9:26, goes through Abraham nine generations later and then through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, from whom sprang the twelve tribes of Israel, the nation of Israel. In short, the descendants of Shem through this lineage alone have a God. The whole of this matter is something clearly revealed and seen in Scripture.
Other descendants of Shem, such as the Arab nations (from Abraham through Ishmael, or through one of the six sons of Keturah, or through Isaac’s son, Esau), are as the descendants of Ham and Japheth in this respect. They are to be “reckoned among the nations [Gentile nations].”
Israel, on the other hand, is not to be “reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9; cf. Deuteronomy 14:2).
And the preceding is not only because of that which is stated in Genesis 9:26 but that which is stated in Isaiah 43:1ff as well. The former forms the base for the latter, explaining the “why” of that which is stated in Numbers 23:9.
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel . . .
I will say to the north, “Give them up!” And to the south, “Do not keep them back!” Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth-
Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:1a, 6, 7).
Within the lineage from Shem through Abraham to Jacob, God waited eleven generations until Jacob appeared on the scene to act in a manner that set the one group of people with a God completely apart from the remainder of the human race. God, at this time, performed a special creation in the person of Jacob.
God could not have performed this special creative act prior to Jacob, for sons outside the lineage would have been involved in this creative act (e.g., both Abraham and Isaac had more than one son).
Then, with the creation having occurred in connection with the natural man, “Jacob,” rather than the spiritual man, “Israel,” the creation can be passed from father to son through the natural man, allowing all twelve of Jacob’s sons, along with their descendants, to be included in this special creative act.
Isaiah 43:6, 7 clearly states that every descendant of Jacob is himself a special creation, as Jacob is seen as a special creation back in verse one. This can be true because, as is previously seen, God performed a special creation in Jacob, the natural man (not Israel, the spiritual man). And because of this, God’s creation of Jacob can be passed on via procreation, making Jacob’s twelve sons and all their descendants special creations, separate from the Gentiles.
Thus, the fact remains that, because of creation, “Jacob” is seen as a son of God; and, through procreation, all of his descendants are seen in Scripture individually as sons of God, with the nation as a whole seen collectively or corporately as God’s son. And, following the adoption, the nation would be viewed as God’s firstborn son, something that can never change (Exodus 4:22, 23).
(Only “Sons” rule in God’s kingdom, whether in the angelic realm or in the human realm. “Sonship” in Scripture has to do with creation and regality, not with salvation [though everything is tied together, and salvation results in creation (a new creation “in Christ” today) and is for purposes having to do with sonship and regality].
All angels, because of their individual creation, are seen as sons of God. Angels occupy varying positions in God’s government of the universe and must occupy a position of sonship to do so.
Note what are evidently congresses of the sons of God in the opening two chapters of Job [angelic rulers appearing before the Lord at evidently scheduled times (1:6ff; 2:1ff)], with Satan appearing among other sons of God [Satan, the appointed ruler over the earth, one province in God’s kingdom; the other sons of God appointed rulers over other provinces in the universe].
And Satan, as the others, is seen as a son of God simply because “sonship” has to do with creation and regality, with his fall not causing a change in his position as God’s son.
“Adam” was a son of God because of creation [Luke 3:38]. God created Adam with regality in view [Genesis 1:26-28]. Man was created to replace the incumbent ruler, Satan [man and his progeny to replace Satan and his angels]. But, Adam, as the federal head of a new order of sons, fell, disqualifying him and his progeny from occupying the position for which this new order of sons was to assume.
But God provided redemption, something previously unknown in the angelic world when Satan and his angels fell. And redemption can only be inseparably tied to the reason for man’s creation in the beginning.
And God performed all of this in a manner quite different than man might even think about or consider [Isaiah 55:8, 9], which may very well account for much of the confusion on “salvation” existing today [i.e., man dealing with the “why” of salvation more from his own finite wisdom and understanding rather than going to Scripture to see what God has to say about the matter, resulting in numerous non-Scriptural ideologies].
God waited 2,000 years, and then called one man out of the human race [Abraham], through whom He would later form a special creation out of his grandson [Jacob] and ultimately form a nation from the descendants of this special creation.
And through this nation the entirety of God’s plans and purposes would be accomplished, beginning with redemption [John 4:22], with the end of the matter seen in regality during the coming Messianic Era and evident regality out in the universe during the ages beyond.
Thus, there is the importance of not only Israel but sonship in relation to Israel; and, as well, this all projects out to the importance of this nation being brought to the place of repentance.
And the importance of adoption, as seen in Scripture, then comes into the picture at this point as well. In the angelic world, “sons of God” rule [with adoption unknown]; in the human realm, matters move beyond the thought of simply Sons holding regal positions in God’s kingdom to that of firstborn Sons holding these positions [God’s act of taking a son and adopting this son into a firstborn status (with Christ occupying the position of God’s firstborn Son through being begotten)].
Thus, in the human realm, unlike the angelic realm, only firstborn Sons can rule in God’s kingdom. With regality in view, Israel was adopted in past time, continuing to hold the position of firstborn today [regardless of their unrepentant state, for this has nothing to do with God’s past act of adopting the nation]; with regality in view, Christ occupies this position [that of Firstborn] through a divine begetting; and, with regality in view as well, the Church waits for the adoption yet future [waits for being adopted into the position of God’s firstborn son].
For more information on this complete subject, including adoption, refer to the author’s book, God’s Firstborn Sons.)
Thus, this entire thought of creation and sonship, followed by adoption, is what separates and sets apart both the Jewish people individually and the nation of Israel as a whole from all the Gentiles (individually, or nationally), with Scripture making a sharp distinction between Israel on the one hand and the Gentile nations on the other (cf. Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 7:6; Amos 3:1, 2).
(Accordingly, prior to that seen in Isaiah 43:1ff, there was only one creation in the human race — the creation in Adam.
Following the creation in Jacob in Isaiah 43:1ff [God taking an individual from the Adamic creation and performing a separate and distinct creation], two creations existed in the human race.
Then, following the events of Calvary and those seen in Acts 2:1ff, a third creation came into existence in the human race — the new creation “in Christ,” taken from both Jew and Gentile, from both of the prior two creations.
And though the creation in Jacob can be passed on from father to son [for the creation has to do with the natural man], the new creation “in Christ” is different. The new creation “in Christ” has to do with the spiritual man and cannot be passed on from father to son, though available to the son through his own personal exercise of faith.
And, just as the old Adamic sin nature is not done away with in the new creation “in Christ,” neither was it done away with in the prior creation in Jacob. All three creations possess this in common.)
With the preceding as a base to work from, one can then understand verses such as Psalm 72:18 and Psalm 96:5. The first verse refers to:
. . . the LORD God, the God of Israel . . . .
And the second verse states:
For all the gods of the peoples [KJV: nations] are idols [lit., ‘nothing’] . . . .
That is to say, the gods of all the nations (whether they be idols, demons, or anything else) are “nothing” in comparison to the God of Israel, the one true and living God.
Psalm 33:12 is often misunderstood in the preceding respect:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord . . . .
That statement is not a reference to any Gentile nation. It can’t be! From a biblical standpoint, such could not be possible (unless projected out beyond Man’s Day, into the Messianic Era, during that future time when a Gentile nation would be able to associate itself with Israel in the respect seen in Genesis 9:27)!
The statement, contextually, has to do with Israel, the only nation with a God. The only way any Gentile nation can have a God is to go to the nation with a God, go to Israel.
God made that quite clear at the outset of His word, in Genesis chapter nine. And today, with Israel in her current state of unbelief, for the most part scattered among the nations, it is not possible for a Gentile nation to dwell in the tents of Shem and possess a God.
For a New Testament reference relative to the preceding, note Ephesians 2:12. Christians possess a God, but this is only because of and through a Jewish Messiah who came through Israel. With Israel in her current state of disobedience and unbelief, the same thing cannot presently be true of nations per se.
Thus, from a biblical standpoint, it is not possible for any Gentile nation to look upon itself as “one nation under God.” And that one truth really forms the central base for understanding the entire Middle East problem.
At the center of the problem is Israel, the only nation on the face of the earth with a God, a standing that Israel holds even in the nation’s present state of unbelief. And surrounding this nation with a God are Moslem nations with a governmental system, intermixed with a religious system, with a god who is described in Psalm 96:5, the same place the god of the United States or any other Gentile nation is described during the present day and time.
Israel’s Position among the Nations
And, as seen, beyond the preceding, Israel is God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, 23), the one and only nation among all the nations that God recognizes as possessing the rights of the firstborn — a firstborn right among nations, which, among other things, includes the right to hold the scepter, the right to rule. Then, with Israel exercising these rights (which the nation will one day exercise, though that is far from the case today), the Gentile nations are not only to be ruled by Israel but also to be blessed through Israel (in accordance with Genesis 12:2, 3, realizing another part of the rights of the firstborn, the priestly rights).
The Gentile nations today rule under Satan and his angels (in accordance with that which is seen in Daniel 10:12-20). But Israel, not to be reckoned among the nations, occupies a position separate from this rule (in accordance with that which is also referenced in this chapter in Daniel, in v. 21).
(Note the sharp contrast in the government of the earth as it has existed during the last 2,600 years and as it will exist yet future once God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized. Conditions in the government of the earth are quite different when the Gentiles hold the scepter [present], as opposed to Israel holding the scepter [past, but more particularly future].
As previously seen, the descendants of Shem through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — comprising the nation of Israel — form the only nation on the face of the earth with a God [Genesis 9:26; Psalm 33:12]. And for the Gentile nations, without a God, to acquire spiritual wealth and blessings, they must go to the one nation with a God. They must go to the nation of Israel [something really not possible today because of Israel’s condition and position among the nations].
The Gentile nations though, as previously seen, do possess gods, but not the one true and living God. The gods of the nations are said to be “nothing” compared to the one true and living God [1 Chronicles 16:26; Psalm 96:5]. The gods of the nations could be anything separate from God Himself — materialism, demons in Satan’s kingdom, etc.
All of the Gentile nations find themselves in the same position, in the natural realm. And they simply cannot move from that realm into the spiritual realm [except, of course, that spiritual realm where Satan and his angels operate, which is aligned with the natural]. The man of flesh simply cannot function in the realm where the man of spirit exists.
Many individuals out of the nations, over centuries of time, have moved from the natural into the spiritual realm through a Savior who came from the one nation with a God. But it is not possible for the nations themselves to do this. Again, nations simply cannot function in this realm.
In this respect, there is no such thing as a Gentile nation with a God, or a Gentile nation that can be referred to as a Christian nation [the Church, taken mainly from the Gentiles, is referred to as a “nation” and has a God, though the Church is neither Jew nor Gentile but one new man, a new creation “in Christ,” with a heavenly citizenship (Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9, 10; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-15; Philippians 3:20)].
Gentile nations, in their governmental structure today, rule within a form of a theocracy, though a corrupted form connected with Satan and his angels. “Satan” is the god of this present age [2 Corinthians 4:4], and he and his angels rule through the Gentile nations from their place in a heavenly sphere [Daniel 10:13-20].
God rules the entire universe, and He rules over all parts of His kingdom through angels whom He has placed in regal positions throughout the universe. The earth, one province in the universe, is ruled in this manner, though presently through a rebel ruler. God presently rules the earth through Satan, the god of this age.
God has delegated power to Satan, and Satan, in turn, has delegated power to subordinate angels ruling with him. It is this delegated power and regal position [his throne] that Satan will give to the beast during the coming Tribulation [Revelation 13:2; cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Luke 4:5, 6]. Then the beast will rule in this same manner under God, as a rebel ruler in a corrupted form of the theocracy.
It is immaterial whether a nation’s government is like that of the United States [where there is a separation of religious and civil powers] or like that of a Moslem country [where religious and civil powers are inseparably connected], in the final analysis all Gentile governments have a common connection. All occupy their positions directly under Satan and his angels, who rule in a rebel respect under God.
There is only one nation on the face of the earth with a government that rules after any other fashion than the preceding, and that’s the one nation with a God, the nation that is not to be “reckoned among the nations” [Numbers 23:9], the nation of Israel. The angelic princes of the Gentile nations [each nation has a prince, with other princes under him], who rule through the nations from a heavenly sphere, are demons [Daniel 10:13-20]. But Israel’s angelic prince, ruling through the Jewish nation in the same manner, is Michael [Daniel 10:21], and Michael [evidently with a host of angels as well (cf. Revelation 12:7)] exercises power under God separate from Satan and his angels.
This is why God could establish a theocracy and rule in the midst of Israel during Old Testament days. As well, this is also why God will be able to establish a theocracy in the world yet future.
“Israel” is the key. Since Abraham’s day, the separate creation during Jacob’s day, and the subsequent inception of the nation during Moses’ day, God has looked upon and dealt with the Gentile nations through one nation alone, through Israel [cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 4:22, 23; 12:2; 19:5, 6; Isaiah 43:1-11; Zechariah 2:8]. And the manner in which God deals with the nations in this respect can NEVER change [Romans 11:29].
Israel’s position relative to the nations is why Israel must be brought to the place of repentance, Gentile world power destroyed, Satan and his angels removed from power, and God’s three firstborn Sons [Christ, Israel, and the Church (following the adoption)] placed in power [cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Hebrews 2:5].
Satan knows this, and over millennia of time he has done everything within his power to thwart God’s plans and purposes by launching his attack at the fountainhead, seeking to destroy Israel. And this is why Satan will give his power, his throne, and great authority to the earth’s last ruler during the Times of the Gentiles [Revelation 13:2b]. Satan will use this man in a final, climactic attempt to do away with the nation of Israel.
But God, in His sovereign control of all things, will use this man’s efforts to achieve a completely opposite end — to bring about His own predetermined plans and purposes for Israel. Matters in that day will be as in the words of Haman’s wife, Zeresh, relative to Haman attempting to slay Mordecai:
. . . If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him. [Esther 6:13b]
For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, The Most High Ruleth)
Satan, of course, knows all of the preceding, whether Israel and the nations, or Christians, know or do not know these things. And well he should know these things, for he and his angels have been ruling through the Gentile nations (knowing that they can’t rule through Israel) for millennia.
And, throughout this time, Satan has been doing and will continue doing everything within his power to prevent the one nation with a God from ever fully exercising her God-ordained position as firstborn son. He knows that should this occur, not only would he have to relinquish the scepter but conditions relative to Israel and the nations would become as described in Zechariah 8:20-23:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities;
The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.’
Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.”
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
And in an effort to prevent the preceding from ever occurring, Satan and his angels, ruling from a heavenly sphere through the Gentile nations on earth, have been seeking for decades in the Middle East, through the nations, to bring about that which is stated in Psalm 83:4:
They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
In Psalm chapter eighty-three, ten Gentile nations are seen allying themselves against Israel in the preceding respect, foreshadowing the ten-kingdom confederacy of Gentile nations that will one day rule under Antichrist and ally itself against Israel in exactly the same manner.
But, as Scripture clearly attests, it will all be for naught. God has already spoken concerning the matter. God has already had the final Word.