Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, once said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” An incredible statement but one which has been proven true over and over again. And so too in 2020, we have witnessed more miracles.

For the first time in 26 years, Israel signed a peace deal with an Arab country on 13 August 2020. It was named “the Abraham Accord!” At the announcement, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, David Freidman said, “Abraham, as you know, was the father of all three great faiths. No person better symbolises the potential for unity between these three great faiths than Abraham. This is why that accord has been given that name.” Only four weeks later, on 11 September, it was announced by Donald Trump that Israel had also signed a peace agreement with Bahrain. Here is one report on this event:

“In the entire modern history of the Middle East, since Israel established its independence in 1948, only four Arab governments have recognised the Jewish state and signed peace treaties with it. Two of those — the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — did so this week… It up-ends decades of stale but ubiquitous diplomatic formulations. It normalises Israel, normalises the Middle East and is the most promising regional development in decades.

The Muslim and Jewish hands of friendship extended in this process magnificently transcend one of the oldest and most bitter religious, cultural and political conflicts the world has known. The Arab leaders involved have made shrewd assessments of their own national interests, but they deserve praise for the genuinely idealistic element of these accords, which certainly are not without risk for them. These developments would not have taken place without at least the tacit approval of Saudi Arabia.” (Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor, The Australian 17.09.20)

A Geopolitical Earthquake

Most significant is the flow on effects of this agreement. After the first accord, with UAE, well-known columnist David Friedman, made the following comments in the New York Times (13.08.20):

A Geopolitical Earthquake Just Hit the Mideast: The Israel-United Arab Emirates deal will be felt throughout the region. For once, I am going to agree with President Trump in his use of his favourite adjective: “huge.” The agreement brokered by the Trump administration for the United Arab Emirates to establish full normalization of relations with Israel, in return for the Jewish state forgoing, for now, any annexation of the West Bank, was exactly what Trump said it was in his tweet: a “HUGE breakthrough.” It is not Anwar el-Sadat going to Jerusalem — nothing could match that first big opening between Arabs and Israelis. It is not Yasir Arafat shaking Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn — nothing could match that first moment of public reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. But it is close. Just go down the scorecard, and you see how this deal affects every major party in the region — with those in the pro-American, pro-moderate Islam, pro-ending-the-conflict-with-Israel-once-and-for-all camp benefiting the most and those in the radical pro-Iran, anti-American, pro-Islamist permanent-struggle-with-Israel camp all becoming more isolated and left behind. It’s a geopolitical earthquake.”

The article concluded with these perceptive comments:

“Up to now, the UAE has kept up a delicate balance between Iran and Israel, not looking to provoke Iran, and dealing with Israel covertly. But this deal is right in Iran’s face. The tacit message is: “We now have Israel on our side, so don’t mess with us.” The vast damage Israel inflicted on Iran through apparent cyberwarfare in recent months may have even given the UAE more breathing room to do this deal. But there is another message, deeper, more psychological. This was the UAE telling the Iranians and all their proxies: There are really two coalitions in the region today — those who want to let the future bury the past and those who want to let the past keep burying the future. The UAE is taking the helm of the first, and it is leaving Iran to be the leader of the second.”

These events have arisen as a result of the “cold war” between Gulf States and Iran over the last 15 or so years. A horrendous proxy war in Yemen has played out between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Gulf nations have come to realise that Israel is not their enemy.

More peace deals on the horizon?

There is now much speculation about more Arab nations finalising peace agreements with Israel. The Former White House Middle East Envoy, Jason Greenblatt made the following observations:

“It may be hard to see at first blush, but the directive of the sanctification of God’s name and the historic significance and impact of the Abraham Accords are intimately related. The Accords are already showing their potential as a unifying force in the Middle East, and are already being hailed as a major step in paving the way for peace agreements between Israel and other Arab nations. There is already much speculation as to which Arab country might be next in line to make peace with the Jewish state.” (Newsweek, Opinion, 16.09.20)

An agreement with Saudi Arabia would be the most significant win for Israel and the Middle East. One commentator said:

“There is every indication that other Gulf states are open to a relationship with Israel. Importantly, analysts and diplomats believe the Bahraini agreement is a proxy for Saudi Arabia, which has huge sway over its smaller neighbour. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has suggested that the Palestinian cause should not stand in the way of some ties with Israel.” (The Australian 16.09.20)

Arab nations aligned at Armageddon

We know from Ezekiel 38:13 that Arab nations on the Arabian Peninsula will question the Russian invasion of Israel at Armageddon: “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”

The picture presented in both Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11:40-45 is a north/south conflict at the time of the end. Nations to the north of Israel will be allied together under the guardianship of Gog, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Whilst often included in the “Arab league” of nations, the occupants of these four countries are not actually Arabs by descent. It is the nations to the south, around the Arabian Peninsula who will be allied with Great Britain (Tarshish) at Armageddon. The southern nations are predominantly Sunni Muslims, Arabs descended from Abraham. Both peace accords recognise that Abraham was their common father.

A similarly well-known Scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:3-4: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” The achievement of peace with Arab nations will no doubt give Israel added confidence just prior to Russia’s invasion, as outlined repeatedly in Ezekiel 38. The prophetic picture is one where Israel dwells in self-confidence, believing she has of her own ability achieved peace and security. The great lesson Israel has to learn is that true salvation will only come from acceptance of their true Messiah Jesus Christ (Ezek 39:22-29; Zech 12:6-7; 13:6-9; 14:5-9).

Arab nations and the establishment of the kingdom

The peace agreements are however much more significant than a peace and safety cry and alignment of nations. These are ultimately the preparation for God’s kingdom on earth. Britain and the gulf nations are linked together in the context of the setting up of God’s kingdom in Isaiah 60:

“All they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord… Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them” (Isa 60:6,9).

Britain’s role as guardian and protector of the Gulf States was prominent at the end of the nineteenth century. Britain was there at the right time for the Balfour declaration of 1917. Her protective role was finally withdrawn in 1971, but trading alliances continued between them. Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the gulf countries in 1979 was one of the most successful of her reign, cementing their partnership.

A particularly fascinating cross reference is Psalm 45:12: “the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift.” Great Britain (Tarshish) is the latter-day “daughter of Tyre” because she took on the role of ancient Tyre as the great trading merchant nation of the latter days. Isaiah 23:6 specifically states that the latter-day Tyre is Tarshish. The leadership of a humbled Great Britain will acknowledge Christ’s marriage to his bride, the saints. Psalm 72:9-10 presents a similar story: “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.”

These Scriptures fit together to present an amazing alliance in the latter days between Britain, the Gulf States, Israel and the Commonwealth nations (“the young lions”). God has prepared nations spread throughout the world (the “isles”) to assist in the establishment of Christ’s righteous rule throughout the world. These nations will not join with Catholic Europe’s rejection of Christ. Britain has separated herself from Europe just in time for this alignment to take place. In a similar pattern to the queen of Sheba in Solomon’s day (1 Kings 5-10), Britain and the gulf nations will acknowledge Christ’s righteous rule. The two monarchs to acknowledge Solomon’s kingdom as being of Yahweh was the king of Tyre and the Queen of Sheba. This in type reflects the alliance of nations in the latter days.

Meanwhile, Russia has increased its military presence significantly in the Eastern Mediterranean in the past five years and continues to do so. Russia first moved into Syria in September 2015 and is now rapidly building up military and naval bases in North Africa. France has allied with Russia in the Libyan war, on opposing sides to Turkey. The alignments have taken time, but they are now fitting together perfectly.

Many Jews will flee to Arab lands to find protection as a result of Russia’s invasion. Jews will flee to Jordan and will flee up the Arnon valley to seek refuge (Isa 16:1-5). Jews and Arabs will then acknowledge Jesus Christ as Messiah and King in Jerusalem. Arab nations that acknowledge Christ and support Israel will be blessed as a result:

“A prophecy against Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia, bring water for the thirsty; you who live in Tema, bring food for the fugitives. They flee from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and from the heat of battle.” (Isa 21:13-15 NIV)

“Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house.” (Isa 60:5-7 ESV)

God will ultimately bless these Arab nations abundantly in the kingdom. The prophet Isaiah presents a beautiful picture of God’s blessings upon them (35:1-10; 41:17-20; 43:18-21).

The year 2020 has been constantly described as “unprecedented.” A year of shocks and surprises. However, the world may soon realise that the events of 2020 were more significant than they even first realised.