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Yesterday’s headlines read like the opening chapters of a Tom Clancy
novel.

A mob of angry Arabs lynch two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah. In
retaliation, Israeli helicopter gunships launch rocket attacks on Yasser
Arafat headquarters in Gaza and other targets under the control of the
Palestinian Authority.

Hundreds of miles away, meanwhile, a U.S. Navy ship in port on the
Arabian Peninsula is struck by a small boat loaded with explosives in
what appears to be a terrorist suicide mission. At least six Americans
are killed with the number expected to rise, 30 are injured and 12 are
missing.

Arafat declares “war.” Clinton calls for calm.

The question arises: What does all this mean? Where is it leading? Is
this how World War III begins?

Of course, de-escalation of the crisis in the Middle East is just as
likely as escalation. But it is probably no more likely. We’re living in
interesting and explosive times.

The focal point of the violence is,

just as I predicted less than
two months ago, the city of Jerusalem.
Am I some kind of prophet? Absolutely not. But I do read the prophets, and I recognize what they say about the times in which we are living.

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it,” wrote Zechariah about 2,500 years ago.

How did he know? How could he have predicted that the most fought-over, coveted and disputed piece of real estate in the world would be a city with little geo-strategic value, no great natural resources and no waterways?

What Jerusalem has is spiritual value. And, make no mistake about it, what we’re seeing in the Middle East today is a spiritual conflict. It’s not about oil. It’s not really about land. It’s a manifestation of a titanic war in the heavens.

Unless we realize that, unless those who attempt to broker a peace acknowledge that, there is little hope of defusing the crisis in the long term.

Let me give you an example of what I mean: In August, when Israeli rabbis began discussing the possibility of building a synagogue on rubble of the First and Second Temples, Islamic clerics and Arabs throughout the Middle East reacted explosively.

Ikrema Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, warned that building a synagogue on the hill would set off major chaos in the region and start a war “that only God knows where it would lead.”

He meant just what he said, because he knows this is a spiritual battle, not a struggle so much over real estate. Many Arabs understand it. Fewer Israelis do. And even fewer Americans get it.

“Farah,” you say, “are you crazy? What kind of religious psycho-babble are you spouting?”

For the life of me, I don’t know how anyone can ignore what the Bible says about Israel and Jerusalem being the center of things. The very existence of Israel as a reborn Jewish state is a testament to God’s covenant with his chosen people. The United Nations may have been the worldly vehicle to proclaim the nation born in a day in 1948, but it was part of a heavenly plan.

Has there ever been another nation that ceased to exist for nearly 2,000 years and was and reborn in a day, just as the prophet Isaiah predicted? I don’t know of any.

“OK, Farah,” you might say, “if you’re so smart, tell us what’s going to happen next.”

Well, like I said, I’m no prophet, so I don’t make predictions. But, reading ahead in the Good Book is all anyone has to do. Where this is all leading ultimately seems clear to me.

Some day — and I suspect that day is not far off — what happened yesterday in the Middle East is going to look like a slow news day.

“A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you,” it says in Zechariah 14:1,2. “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.”

Jerusalem is going to be besieged by armies from all around the world and the city will be divided again. Did you catch that? It sounds just like today’s headlines, doesn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking: “Farah, don’t tell me you believe this hocus-pocus stuff. Ancient prophecies? Promises from God? What’s next? The tooth fairy?”

Well, you know what? If we don’t take the Bible seriously, then Israel has no legitimacy as a nation. It has no special place in history. And the Middle East conflict is reduced to a materialistic struggle over worthless real estate. Heck, it ought to be a no-brainer to solve this problem.

Just watch. It’s not going to happen. There are forces at work in this conflict that cannot be seen or understood by man. It’s not only the focal point of the world, right now, it’s also the focal point of the spiritual universe.

“So, Farah,” you ask, “what are we talking about here — the end of the world?”

Not really. It’s just the beginning — or the birth pangs, really — of a new one.

It’s a good story, really — a real thriller. You should check it out. It even beats Tom Clancy.

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