The Abraham Accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates sent shock waves across the Middle East when it was announced on August 13. At the time, I was on a video conference call with Messianic Jewish and Arab Christian leaders from Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and nations once known as Assyria. We had just finished praying for all the biological children of Abraham to begin to reconcile in Jesus in the spirit of Isaiah 19:23-25: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria…The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork and Israel My inheritance’.”
Isaiah 19 will not reach its fulfillment until after Messiah returns, just like Israel’s restoration will not be complete until that future time. Meanwhile, however, God is knitting our hearts together in fellowship, worship and prayer as an expression of His love — and small but significant step toward the children of Abraham becoming one.(John 17:20-21) Naturally, all of us on the video call were excited when news of the Accord broke. We had petitioned heaven for years for a greater opening of our region to the Gospel. So we immediately sensed a Kingdom purpose in the groundbreaking Accord.
How might God use a peace resulting from the Abraham Accord, assuming it is formally authorized and implemented, to open the Middle East to Jesus on a wide scale basis? As you probably know, 1Timothy 2:1-4 instructs us to pray for governing authorities. In context, Paul is telling Timothy (and us) to pray for them, that we may live peaceably, for God desires all humankind, including governing leaders, to be saved. However, the passage can also be interpreted more broadly to suggest that one reason to pray for our authorities is so they will open doors to cities and nations for peaceably sharing the good news and truth of salvation.
Peace is conducive to spreading the Gospel, and since the days of the early Church, most revivals have occurred during times of peace. The Greek word translated “peaceable” in 1 Timothy 2 means “still,” “tranquil,” “undisturbed.” It refers to the absence of war or disruptive hostility. It does not imply complacency or indulgence, which sadly, can be associated with the word “peace” in some developed nations today.
The groundbreaking Accord is expected to inspire a type of domino effect in the region. Many commentators say it will encourage other Arabic speaking states, beginning with Bahrain, Oman, and Morocco, toward similar treaties with Israel. Even Sudan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, historic enemies of Israel, commented publicly on the prospect of establishing diplomatic ties with Israel shortly after the Accord was announced.
Why would peace with Israel further open the Middle East to the Gospel? Diplomatic ties with the Jewish state would help break the curse of anti-Semitism that grievously enshrouds Arab nations. To the extent these nations might start to actually bless Israel, they would then be blessed. Warm relations with Israel would enable her to serve as a light to her neighbors in the practical spheres of technology, healthcare, and much more. This would likely pave the way for Christian marketplace missionaries to penetrate the stronghold of Islam as never before.
To be sure, God has sovereignly pierced the Islamic veil with supernatural dreams and visions of Jesus. As a result, Iran is experiencing genuine revival, as are small pockets of other countries in the region. So peace on earth is no prerequisite to salvation; in fact, in times of persecution the Church usually flourishes.
But the issue is more nuanced where Islam is involved. Making peace with the Jewish state necessarily means recognition of her right to exist. Since fundamentalist Islam does not recognize the right of a Jewish state to exist, any peace treaty with Israel necessarily involves a serious blow to its stronghold. When and where strongholds of Islam are shaken, doors typically open wider to the Gospel.
An additional consideration on account of Islam is the extent to which the Abraham Accord could prove to be a false peace with damaging consequences to Israel. In my prayerful opinion, the outcome of the matter depends mostly on the heart condition of our people. Will Israel trust in God rather than a piece of paper (not yet signed) which could easily be torn to pieces? If we look to God as our king, surrendered to His leadership and trusting in Him, we will be blessed. If, however, our trust is in the fleeting and inevitably self-serving favor of men, I believe we set ourselves on a dangerous course.
By grace, God is restoring Israel gradually and progressively, despite our collective unbelief. And despite that unbelief, He has preserved for Himself a small remnant of faithful followers of Yeshua. By grace, we stand in the gap before Him on behalf of our people. Perhaps the heart disposition of the remnant will impact what may unfold concerning the Abraham Accord.
Other, related considerations remain. To formalize ties with the UAE, PM Netanyahu has agreed to postpone plans to annex or extend sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, Israel’s biblical heartland. In so doing, he appears to be breaking a promise repeatedly made for years to the Jewish people. Mr. Netanyahu’s new and indefinite promise to place God’s promised land in geopolitical limbo is intrinsically problematic. However, it is not the same as an outright relinquishment of land and ought not be equated with such.
The Abraham Accord does not divide or exchange land for supposed peace, as would be required in a two-state solution with the Palestinians. In effect, Jews living in Judea and Samaria should be able to conduct their lives the same as they do now. What might happen later with the land as a result of the Accord is another issue, about which we can only speculate at this time — and pray.
Israel’s agreement with the UAE involves a third country, the United States. It has not yet been revealed to what extent the US may be wrongly complicit in “freezing” Israel’s biblical heartland. It is known, however, that President Trump wants to broker an historic deal with the Palestinians. He appears quite willing (if re-elected) to pressure Israel to relinquish portions of Judea and Samaria in order to achieve it. It is also known that the UAE will receive substantial American military aid as a reward for peacemaking with Israel. The latter could have positive consequences for Israel with respect to Iran, or negative consequences, or both.
The Abraham Accord hints at prophetic realities described in Ezekiel 38. That chapter refers to a future peace in Israel which is suddenly disrupted by a coalition of nations invading from the north. There is good reason—but no absolute evidence—to identify this axis of evil as primarily involving Russia, Iran and Turkey, while excluding those same countries now contemplating peace with the Jewish state. Israel’s establishing of diplomatic ties with the UAE, nearby Gulf states, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and certain other Arab countries, would therefore seem consistent with Ezekiel 38, in a positive sense. (Ironically, Russia and Turkey currently have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.)
In summary, the Abraham Accord is highly nuanced with seemingly positive and not so positive, unpredictable consequences. How, then, should we pray concerning it? When global affairs become increasingly complex, sometimes our prayers must become increasingly simple. Therefore, I suggest we begin and end with the exemplary prayer of Yeshua: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mathew 6:10) In addition, I’ve listed six points below, reflecting my own cautious optimism.
- Pray that Israel will trust in the Lord as her only king and faithful defender in seeking peace with nations surrounding her.
- Pray for a government in Israel that will seek peace which opens doors to the Gospel in the Middle East, including Israel herself. Pray for the fulfillment of Isaiah 19:23-25 according to God’s ways and timing.
- Pray that Judea and Samaria, including all of Jerusalem, will be restored to Israeli sovereignty according to God’s ways and timing.
- Pray for all hidden traps and snares in the Abraham Accord to be revealed.
- Pray that Ezekiel 38 and the future treaty initiated by the anti-Christ figure of Scripture will come to pass only in God’s sovereign ways and timing. (Daniel 9:27, Revelation 17:17)
- “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that she be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
Thank you for praying with us!