Detour Along The Roadmap!

By Garner Ted Armstrong

Peace! Peace! When there is no peace!” cried Jeremiah.

And no wonder. While world leaders’ speeches fairly drip with good intentions; hope; with words like “progress,” and “peace process,” and “roadmap to peace,” a huge bomb kills and maims in downtown Jerusalem; countless thousands of vicious terrorists plot yet more suicide bombings, and Israeli armed forces carry out reprisal attacks aimed at killing leaders of terrorist organizations.

As I write, Israeli gunships are carrying out attacks in Gaza as a result of a huge terrorist bombing in Jerusalem.

Invariably, the so-called “innocent” are hurt, or killed. “Innocent” in the sense that maybe, just maybe, they are not themselves planning a suicide bombing; perhaps are not even the family of a suicide bomber; but nevertheless harbor in their hearts a virulent hatred of the Jews, and everything Israeli. According to Hamas leaders, “whether you are a baby or an old woman, you are a soldier of Zionism,” and therefore a logical person to kill!

When Palestinian bystanders are killed or horribly injured as a result of another terrorist bombing, it is like throwing gasoline on a raging fire. Hours ago, the black-masked rioters took to the streets with makeshift coffins, draped with Israeli flags, burned the flags and coffins as they shrieked and screamed, pumping their fists in the air, shouting slogans of revenge. A WAR is in progress in the Middle East, while world leaders speak of peace!

Jeremiah’s prophecy bears close scrutiny: “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11). “Healing the hurt” of the people whom God claims as His own means glossing over their sins; ignoring their abominable transgressions; failing to point out their defiance of God’s laws, all the while speaking soothing words of “peace.”      

There will be no peace in the Middle East until the intervention of Jesus Christ in human affairs! Peace is simply not possible for the following reasons:

(1) The Arabs never have, and never will, accept the simple fact of the existence of the State of Israel. There are other kinds of maps in the desk drawers of Yassir Arafat; and in similar desks of the leadership of Hizbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and many other terrorist organizations. Those maps show all the Arab states surrounding a region labeled, simply, “Palestine.” No Israel. On those maps, Israel does not exist.

(2) The Jews in Israel, for their part, have decided they will not cease to exist in order to accommodate the desires of the Arabs. They have determined, since Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau, that they will not commit collective suicide in order to satisfy the blood lust of millions of Islamic fundamentalists who hate them.

(3) The entire struggle in the Middle East is about religion, not politics. The hatred is kept alive in the mosques and synagogues even more than behind the scenes among political leaders. Incitement in the form of insistent, hate-filled propaganda, pouring forth daily and weekly from imam and rabbi alike; from parents and relatives; from friends and school chums, keeps fanning the flames of intense hatred and a desire for revenge in the minds of millions of children. Generation after generation of people who were not yet born in 1948, when the Jewish war for independence was fought; or in 1967, when the 6-day war was won by Israel, ending up with the entire Golan, the West Bank and all of the Sinai in Israeli hands. History has been rewritten; the cause of such wars has been perverted into a “struggle for freedom” on the part of the Arabs, and the perpetrators, according to them, have always been “the Zionists.”

(4) The Jews will never give up Jerusalem, which to them is their “eternal capitol.”

(5) Arafat and his ilk will never give up their demands that Jerusalem be surrendered to them as their capitol city.

(6) The Israelis who live in the more than one hundred fifty cities and towns (mistakenly labeled “settlements” – thereby carrying the connotation to the ignorant that they are nothing more than a circle of pioneer’s wagons, tents, and ramshackle, temporary camps) will never acquiesce to packing up and leaving their solidly-built stone homes, in which three generations of young Jewish children have been reared, schooled, and begun raising families of their own. Dozens of such so-called “settlements” have been there for over thirty years.

(7) The Palestinians will never give up their demands that the “refugees” (meaning the third and fourth generation of old and young Palestinians who have no recollection of their former “homes” [if they truly had any] in Jerusalem or the West Bank) return to their homes. Such homes, of course, no longer exist, if they ever did. Now, there are many, many times the number of so-called “refugees” who have been forced to live in squalid camps (the real “settlements”) in southern Lebanon and in other surrounding countries. The host Arab states never allowed the Palestinian refugees to assimilate, preferring to maintain them in their pitiful condition as a constant reminder of their demands; poignant “evidence” as to the “brutality” of the Israeli armed forces, who dared to defend themselves against the combined might of six Arab armies on a number of occasions.

(8) Should a “Palestinian State” ever be created, it would not bring peace, but instead create a legitimate, sovereign terrorist state WITHIN the state of Israel. Such a state could then effect treaties, pacts, mutual defense agreements; could open international ports and airports into which billions in arms could flow, including huge Russian-built “Antonov” transports capable of carrying tanks, APC’s, artillery and all kinds of weapons. Such a state would seek diplomatic ties with all other Islamic states. At that time, attacks such as those just carried out against a leader of Hamas would be interpreted as an “act of war” and all other Arab states who had signed on to a mutual defense pact with the “State of Palestine” would then be free to do what they have wanted to do all along, attempt once again to annihilate Israel.

Jerusalem: Focal Point Of Prophecy

The Bible is a Middle-eastern book. Jesus Christ lived and preached in those regions now called Israel, Lebanon, Gaza, and Jordan. His prophecies focus on Jerusalem and its immediate environs, as well as the entire world.

Bible prophecy is dual in nature, in the sense that it had a previous “typical” fulfillment, which was but a harbinger of the later literal fulfillment which is yet future. In His famous “Olivet” prophecy, Christ outlined the events which are just ahead of us now; events which in many cases are being carried out right now in world affairs. His disciples had come to Him in amazement, commenting on the size and beauty of the temple and its adjacent buildings: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.

“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

“All these are the beginning of sorrows [a time of world trouble; tribulation].

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

“And because iniquity [lawlessness; sin!] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

“And this gospel [good news] of the kingdom [Christ’s world-ruling kingdom on this earth: Isaiah 2, Isaiah 11; Micah 4; Revelation 19:11-20] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:1-14).

This striking prophecy bears a verse-by-verse explanation. When Titus’ armies destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, the temple was completely destroyed. Yet, the huge stones which made up its underpinning walls and foundations were not completely thrown down. Therefore, the specific statement that not one stone would be left atop another was not fulfilled.

Christ next spoke of false prophets; false religions. No truer words have ever been spoken. From that time to this, a miasma of confusion, deception, lies and deliberate fabrications have deceived millions. While the church Jesus Christ built (Matthew 16:18) began fulfilling His commission to the church (Matthew 28:18-20) in the first century, as detailed in the book of Acts, there were countless false teachers who rose up, both from within and without the church, who, true to the prophecy, “led away followers after themselves.”

Much of New Testament literature is testimony to the struggles ongoing between Paul and his helpers to keep the church free from apostasy; false doctrines; false hopes. Paul wrote,

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). The Jewish people of Paul’s time largely rejected Christ; rejected His message of coming world government. Paul turned to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6), and all of his letters save one are directed toward the Gentile churches which, while sometimes a minority of Jews were present, were largely made up of Greeks, Romans, and those of the provinces of Asia Minor, north Africa, and elsewhere.

True to Paul’s prophecy, echoing that of Jesus Christ, a vast apostasy took place under leaders like Simon Magus (Acts 8), until, by the time of the death of John on Patmos toward the end of the first century, those holding fast to the original gospel message of Christ were in the minority. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2, 3) shows how pervasive were the heresies which had crept into the church.

By the council of Nicaea, 325 AD, a church emerges to view which bears almost no resemblance to the church Christ founded; an apostate church which had adopted the false notion that God is an “hypostasis,” or a “Trinity; the Sabbath day, created and hallowed by Christ, who is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:26,27), was replaced by Sunday worship; the Passover (Lord’s Supper) was replaced by Ishtar (Pronounced, “Easter”), and false doctrines such as the “Immortality of the Soul,” from the speculations of such pagan philosophers as Plato and Socrates, were taking root.

But it was not until the sixth century that a caravan raider named Muhammad came along, who cobbled together a religion based on ancient pagan Arab superstitions, with smatterings of both Old and New Testament teachings. His new religion demanded absolute obedience; was a religion promising immediate entry into “paradise” (which he attempted to define in purely sensual, physical enjoyments) by killing the “infidels,” or those who refused to accept “Allah” as God, and Muhammad as his prophet.

Thus, by the dark ages, Jerusalem and the Middle East had become a hotbed of three false, conflicting religions: Nominal “Christianity” which bore no resemblance to the truths taught by Christ; Judaism, which had rejected Christ, and added laborious ritualistic requirements “grievous to be borne,” and “Islam,” the newest false religion on the scene, which was militant, and which was to be spread from the Balkans to the East Indies; from Persia to Spain; from Arabia to Egypt and Africa by the edge of the sword.

The crusades were nothing short of a series of decades-long struggles between those representing the state religion of England, France and Italy, and those representing the false religion of Muhammad – Islam. The Jews were also involved, though often caught in the middle, as they were during the struggles between the Ptolmeys of Egypt and the Seleucidae of Syria.

Today, those age-old struggles continue. The Western world owes its nominal “Christianity” to the Judeo/Christian roots of its various emperors, czars, popes and rulers, while the Middle Eastern world owes its fundamental Islamic beliefs to the “caliphs” (meaning “successors to the prophet”), and its imams in the mosques. Always sandwiched in between these opposing religious concepts were the Jews.

In 1948, based upon a declaration by Lord Balfour in Britain, the concept of dividing up Palestine into two states so the warring Jews and Arabs could “co-exist in peace” became a poignant necessity. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees were scattered all over the world; many in southern France. The world found a collective conscience temporarily when the ghastly truth about the holocaust became known, documented by film, and witnessed first hand by General Eisenhower and allied leaders. That conscience resulted in an offer to the Arabs for a “State of Palestine,” to co-exist alongside the “State of Israel.”

The Arabs haughtily refused; rejecting the concept of a Jewish homeland. When the Jewish leaders in Palestine unilaterally issued a “declaration of Independence,” the surrounding Arab states immediately launched a war, aimed at annihilating the upstart state before it could gain a realistic foothold. Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt attacked Israel.

Israel not only emerged victorious, but gained land beyond that which had originally been partitioned.

The combined Arab armies tried it again in 1956, again in 1967, again in 1973, and a constant series of rocket attacks, armed incursions and terrorist bombings have occurred ever since. As I write, the US government has chided Israeli Prime Minister Sharon for allowing an armed helicopter attack against the leader of Hamas (which killed bystanders, while the Hamas leader escaped with minor injuries), and word comes of at least 30 more casualties in a Jerusalem bus bombing, true to the screams of vengeance heard from Gaza immediately following the Israeli attack.

Strangely, it is perfectly logical for the US to use an unmanned drone to send a “hellfire” missile down upon a car in Yemen which killed several terrorist leaders, but not logical for Israeli helicopter gunships to attempt to take out top leaders of Hamas, which is one of the most oft perpetrators of terrorist bombings in Israel.

Truly, it is a time when world leaders continue to say “Peace, Peace,” when there is no peace! 

Following His prophecy about false religions and false doctrines, Christ said we would be living in a time of “wars and rumors of wars.” Nothing could better characterize the times in which we live!

Next, He said there would be “famines and pestilences.” Huge famines have struck this earth in recent years; major famines prevail right now in Africa. AIDS is killing millions; SARS is of global concern; puzzling viruses – “super bugs” – which have developed resistance to a broad range of chemical antibiotics, strike millions each year. Diseases such as emphysema, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and a host of others afflict countless millions, especially in the affluent countries of the West.

The murder of unborn babies continues, as thoughtless mothers carry out a pogrom against their own helpless children which rivals the systematic killing of millions of Jews by Hitler in World War II. The point is that Jesus Christ said all these things would be striking this world at the same time!

Again, following His warning about famines and pestilence, He emphasized there would be an upsurge in false prophets, as well as potential MARTYRDOM for those who dared to adhere to His word, and preach His true gospel without fear or favor!

Nevertheless, He said, “This gospel OF THE KINGDOM [its emphasis is not a smarmy, sticky, sentimental, emotional message about “only believe!”] shall be preached [published; proclaimed!] IN ALL THE WORLD for a WITNESS unto all nations, and THEN shall the “end,” (meaning the end of civilization as we know it) come!”

Christ’s message was completely ignored, while false teachers spoke, instead, about the PERSON of Christ. They wax eloquent about his “love” and His “grace.” But they IGNORE the powerful message about the horrifying WARS, PESTILENCES, FAMINES AND EARTHQUAKES which are to strike this sin-sick world; IGNORE the truly WONDERFUL NEWS about His coming intervention in human affairs, to bring this world real PEACE at last!

The only true “roadmap to peace” is found in the prophecies of Jesus Christ, not a short-sighted, impossible, false attempt among recalcitrant, hating enemies who DO NOT WANT PEACE, but want, instead, the ANNIHILATION of those they hate!

Just as I conclude this brief article, horrifying pictures of yet another huge bus bomb are being shown in Jerusalem. True to their shrieks of vengeance, the suicide bombers of Hamas have once more carried out a bloody, terrible, brutal attack against helpless civilians in downtown Jerusalem!

Rest assured this retaliation for the retaliation will result in retaliation. Roadmap? Or a major DETOUR, which reads, “bridge out ahead!” Now, will more speeches be given from the safety of diplomatic offices that “we will not allow this latest terrorist incident to derail our ‘roadmap to peace’?” Ludicrous. Ridiculous. Peace is only achieved among those who WANT peace, and who will abandon hatred.

What millions of Arabs want is the total destruction of Israel! Therefore, there will be no peace.

Jesus Christ says, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:26).

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