At the mere mention of feuds, the legendary feud between the Hatfields and McCoys comes to mind. It was indeed a feud of epic proportions. If you watched the movie on the History channel you were shown that it lasted off and on for nearly 30 years. And, by the time it finally came to its bloody end, three Hatfields and seven McCoys were killed or executed.
But that feud would be considered child’s play in comparison with the family feud that’s been going on between two half brothers in the Middle East for centuries. There has never been a day of real peace between those two families since the days that Abraham fathered those two half brothers: Isaac by Sarah, his wife; and Ishmael by Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar (an Egyptian). Surely you can already see the makings of a serious family feud brewing—sibling rivalry to the max! Moreover God caused the rivalry to intensify by promising to make both of them into great nations—one good and one bad. Of Sarah’s son God said, “ I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants (Genesis 17:16 NLT).” And of Hagar’s son God said, “This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives (Genesis 16:12 NLT).” Wow! How would you like to hear that prophesy from God?
Sure enough, as always, it happened precisely as God had promised. Isaac fathered what is now known as the nation of Israel, and Ishmael fathered what is now the nations of Muslims. The bitterness between those two families first began to take root when Hagar became pregnant (Genesis 16:4), then really began coming to a head when Sarah banished Hagar and her son to the desert (Genesis 21:10), and then surfaced among the descendents when the sons of Jacob (Israel) sold their younger brother, Joseph, to a group of Ishmael’s vagabond sons. (Genesis 37:27). And as we all know, that bitterness has has continued to fester from that day until the present with no sign of resolution. As we now look toward the Middle East, we can easily see that was only the beginning of their family feud—a feud that is still spreading and intensifying exponentially to the extent that the whole earth is threatened. Countless millions have been brutally murdered. Nations outside those two families are even taking sides and becoming part of that bitter fray (including our own good ole U.S. of A). Remember Hitler and the holocaust? Remember 9/11?
When President Truman recognized the new state of Israel in 1948, it only served to add fuel to the fire. Peace in the Middle East has become an inevitable part of any U.S. president’s agenda. Every president since then wants to be the hero that brokers lasting peace between those two feuding families. It would truly be a feather in their cap. But all to no avail. The USA Today issue of 11/22/2012 featured the headline, “Middle East peace continues to elude U.S. Presidents.” Perhaps they should familiarize themselves with Bible prophecy on the subject. Genesis 16:12 still stands.
I would venture that as we see all the turmoil and destruction in the entire Middle East, we all long for that seemingly endless fighting to cease. So, the big question is, “Will there ever be peace in the Middle East?” The short answer is a superficial “Yes”, but it will be no more than window dressing; it will only give a false sense of security for the moment. The bitterness will remain. As usual, the Scripture gives us a ‘heads up’ concerning that pending disaster. In 1 Thessalonians 5:3 we read, “When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape (NLT).”
Whew! So, what on earth will it take to finally bring that terrible, bloody feud to an end? If we follow this line of thought to its conclusion, it will apparently be that final great and terrible battle fought in the valley of Megiddo. Continuing with that scenario, it will be a war between the descendents of those two half brothers: the peace loving children of Israel whose traditional greeting is Shalom (Peace), against the children of Ishmael who are totally bent on terrorism; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel), versus the Allah of Ishmael (Islam); the Christ of Isaac versus the Anti-Christ of Ishmael; the true prophet of the Bible versus the false prophet of the Qur’an! Nothing short of that—the final battle of this age will ultimately end that feud once and for all.
As a matter of fact, according to the 2nd chapter of 1 Thessalonians, the only thing keeping Allah and the sons of Ishmael at bay during this present age is God’s Holy Spirit. He is the only one restraining the lawless one and all his minions. He is the only one with the power to protect us from the evils of that lawless one. If the Holy Spirit didn’t have the nation of Muslim’s hands tied, we would already be living in great tribulation. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7 NKJV).” In other words, when the Holy Spirit is ‘taken away’, all hell will break loose on planet earth. Without the Holy Spirit of God dwelling among us, Allah and the sons of Ishmael will be free to release all their pent up vengeance on little Israel.
Now follow me, these are comforting words! We (Christians) won’t be here! We’ll be gone during that final devastating carnage! “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1Thessalonians 5:9 ESV)”, Thank Goodness, all of us who have put our trust in Jesus, the Christ will be caught up (raptured) safely into His arms. “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17 ESV)”.
So, since the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of God’s true believers, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV)”, and He will be with us as long as we are here on earth. Thus, it also stands to reason that when we are taken away (raptured), the Holy Spirit will go with us leaving Israel with no earthly ally. But, not to fear, little Israel will not be left alone to fend for themselves. God will come to their rescue, and I don’t have to tell you, our awesome GOD WINS!
Then, and only then, will there finally be lasting peace. The ending of that bitter family feud will usher in the long awaited millennium of peace on earth spoken of in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. “Therefore comfort one another with these words (1Thessalonians 4:18).”