U.S. and Israel announce historic UAE peace deal

Why this "path to peace" may find its conclusion in the Gog-Magog War

Yesterday, the Trump administration announced a surprise peace deal to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Along with the United States, the two countries issued a joint statement that outlined how Israel and the UAE will establish formal embassies in each other’s countries while working together to face common challenges and expand diplomacy and trade.

This makes the UAE only the third Arab country to strike a peace deal with Israel. The others are Egypt (which signed a deal with Israel in 1979) and Jordan (1994).

The historic agreement requires Israel to make an important concession. Israel has agreed not to annex parts of the disputed West Bank, which I wrote about in June.

The establishment of friendly relations between the UAE and Israel is a big, big deal. A number of commenters are describing it as one of the most significant steps toward peace in the Middle East in decades. Here are the words of President Trump about the joint statement:

Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity—in this region, and in the world. Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.

One important paragraph from the full statement describes how Israel and the UAE will collaborate on security, tourism, technology and more:

Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit. Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations.

Can peace be sustained?

While I welcome every step toward peace, close readers of my articles may wonder how this deal relates to end times prophecy. In my previous post about Israel’s intention to annex Palestinian territory in the West Bank, I pointed out that the Jews’ return to biblical Israel—all of biblical Israel—is a significant step leading up to Jesus’s return, as foretold in Joel 3:1-2. God is still regathering His people to the land He gave them.

While the peace plan allows Israel to apply its sovereignty to over 30 percent of disputed land in the biblical Judea and Samaria, it designates the rest of the West Bank for what could eventually be a Palestinian state. So the land remains divided. Israel’s agreement not to exercise its bold annexation claim means that region won’t return to the Jewish people as quickly as many hoped.

I still believe the West Bank belongs to God and the fight for Jerusalem and the biblical land of Israel isn’t over. I also believe this peace deal does not mean a setback for the people of God who are eagerly waiting Christ’s return.

First, understand that every “peace deal” is temporary. Year after year, Israel has yielded land or backed off her claims to land, yet lasting peace has never come to the Middle East. Each concession of land to the Palestinians simply leads to renewed aggression from them. Palestinian leaders are already beginning to discount the agreement. Israel is also standing firm. “I will never give up on our right to our land,” said Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the agreement.

The apostle Paul writes about the Day of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians 5 and warns us not to put too much stock in humans’ pursuit of peace:

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.”—1 Thessalonians 5:2-6

Enter Sheba and Dedan

Secondly, Bible prophecy still has plenty to say about the present moment. I’ve written before about the Gog-Magog War prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39.

Ezekiel 38:13 mentions the nations of Sheba and Dedan, who come to Israel’s defense and question the Gog-Magog invaders about their intentions. I believe Sheba and Dedan represent modern Saudi Arabia and Yemen, two of the most powerful nations on the Arabian Peninsula. The UAE, of course, is also located on the Arabian Peninsula, right next to Saudi Arabia.

In fact, in describing this peace deal from the Oval Office, President Trump mentioned that “more things are happening” and other Arab states could join the agreement soon. Could a deal with Saudi Arabia follow?

We will have to wait and see, but regardless, the deal has already inflamed Israel’s relations with Iran, a nation I believe will be a major player in the Gog-Magog War. Iran’s deputy foreign minister called the deal a “strategic mistake,” warning, “UAE will be engulfed in Zionism fire.”

With the Islamic Republic of Iran’s history of threatening destruction of Israel, the Jewish state needs allies. It isn’t surprising to me that Israel is working hard to build stronger ties with Muslim countries in the Arab Peninsula. While Ezekiel 38-39 makes it clear that the majority of nations will align against Israel, at least a few nations will come to Israel’s aid.

As a result of this historic deal, the UAE may end up being one of those “friendly” nations toward Israel in the Gog-Magog War, which will signal the beginning of the end.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We are seeing end times prophecy being fulfilled.

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