On September 15, 2020, the United States brokered an agreement between the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain to normalize relations. This normalization of relations pertains primarily to business, including tourism, and to military weaponry. It breaks a taboo that no Arab countries (after Egypt and Jordan) would officially “open for business” with Israel unless the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was resolved first. A major difference between this Abraham Accord and the cold-peace agreements with Egypt in 1979, and with Jordan in 1994, is that there has never been a war between the latest parties as there have been between the former.
This accord will not bring peace to the region in the long-run because already Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas have rejected the accord as a betrayal of the Islamic Palestinian “cause” of the destruction of Israel. They intend to resist and to fight to the bitter end. At the same time, the leaders of both the UAE and Bahrain stated at the signing ceremony that they still believe in the two-state solution for the everlasting enmity between the Palestinians and the Israelis. What does set this accord apart is the recognition of Israel as a viable and sovereign nation by these Arab countries.
Is this “peace deal” good? I have mixed and ambivalent feelings about that. On the one hand, most normal people want peaceful relations at every level of human interaction. And the longer the better. But there is also an enemy who is both quick, and also sly, who will wait to take his opportunity to take advantage of the “naive innocent” who are good-willed. But the implacable enemy is not. The Antichrist, who will emerge from the Islamic Middle East, will also seek to entice Israel with “good things”, hoping to get her allegiance, as long as she gives up on any intentions of possessing the promised land of Canaan for an everlasting inheritance. Those words may not be expressed, but that is the intent. Naboth, who owned the vineyard that Israel’s King Ahab coveted and offered to purchase, understood that he could not give up his inheritance. This put Ahab into a mental state that allowed his wicked wife Jezebel to goad him into killing Naboth and taking the vineyard for himself. He was the king, after all! Who was Naboth to deny him what he wanted?! Will Israel be willing to give up her birthright and blessing for temporary and futile gain, like Esau?
For believers in God’s peace plan through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, this accord also presents a two-edged sword: it does not encourage Israel to repentance back to her God, who alone gives peace based in His righteousness, nor does it promote the urgency of taking the gospel to the Arabs as their only real hope in the name of the Son of God the Father. The Abraham Accord does not quicken alertness to the looming Day of the LORD (YHVH) in the not-too-distant-future. This good thing deceives us into thinking that there is still much time, and that we can solve any problem, if people would only be reasonable.
On the worldly stage, the leaders of the countries of the world make the best decisions that they can for their own geopolitical purposes. The Sovereign God of Heaven and Earth uses the best the world can do to further His own plan and purpose. He gives everyone a choice as to whom or what they will believe. The light has come into the world, but the people prefer the darkness because their deeds are evil. They do not want to submit to His will and to His holiness. This is human nature ever since the temptation in the Garden of Eden.
But, praise God for His wisdom that is far above ours! While He will bring all nations against Jerusalem, He is also extending His right hand of fellowship to any and all who will repent and believe the gospel. Pressures may come upon the UAE and Bahrain at some time that will bring them to renege on the terms of agreement in the Abraham Accord. God will use this to get Israel to know that they have no one to count upon — not themselves; not any nation or particular leader; not even Israel-supporting Christians — and bring more Israelis to seek the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and to acknowledge their unbelief and unfaithfulness against Him.
Our God will also use these accords to bring more Muslims to Himself through Jesus/Yasua even as their governments may eventually turn against Israel. The openness and seeming genuineness of the relaxed manner between the leaders gives ordinary Muslims — and even Arab Christians — to reconsider their attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. As individuals and families open themselves up to letting some light into their darkness, the living God is near to draw them closer to the revelation of His Son, and of Him being a loving Father who is merciful and perfect in all His ways towards the children of men in general, and towards the children of Abraham in particular.
(Both descendants of Isaac and of Ishmael are children of Abraham in the flesh, but only Isaac is reckoned a son covenantally. Muslims are not sons of Abraham, since Islam is a faith issue, not a lineage issue. Born-again Christians are sons of Abraham in the faith, because they believe in the God of Abraham, which Islam does not. Jewish people are sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the flesh, but Jews who do not believe in Yeshua/Jesus are not Abraham’s children in the faith. The Holy Spirit is working to bring reconciliation into the family of Abraham, which comes only through believing in the name of Yeshua/Yasua/Jesus for salvation from our sin and from our sins.)
Romans 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Thanks for this perspective. Excellent.
Excellent exegesis and exhortation. Thank you very much.
This is an outstanding article Howard, nail on the head!