Bible In the News: Biden’s Bizarre Trip to the Middle East
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US President Joe Biden is directed where to go after meeting landing in Israel for his first Presidential Visit
The Requirement of Scripture
The scriptures require major changes in the Middle East which include peace, security, and prosperity as is outlined in the words of Ezekiel 38:
11And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.(Ezekiel 38:11–12)
Another major component is the continued normalization of between Israel and its Arab neighbours as we read in the next verse when these nations along with Tarshish and her young lions protest Russia’s future invasion:
13Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? (Ezekiel 38:13)
We also find Saudi Arabia providing protection for the Israelis who flee during the invasion predicted in Ezekiel 38:
13The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. 14The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, They prevented (assisted) with their bread him that fled. 15For they fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, And from the grievousness of war.(Isaiah 21:13–15)
These passages, and many more indicate a new page being turned in the relationship between the Arab states and Israel. They also indicate a decline in Western power in the region, albeit not a complete withdrawal.
A Different Game Than Trump
This week saw US President Joe Biden travelling to the Middle East. His trip was very different from the last US Presidential trip.
The policies of the two administrations are starkly different. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US Embassy to the city. He recognized Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan Heights. He brokered the Abraham Accords, bringing normalization between the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Trump flew directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel, the first US president to do this.
The legacy of Trump’s administration continues. Joe Biden flew directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia, the first US president travel that direction. Saudi Arabia also announced it would begin allowing Israel planes to use its airspace permanently. Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced this as Air Force One departed as the Times of Israel reported:
“We woke up this morning to happy news. The Saudi aviation authorities have announced that they will be opening Saudi airspace to Israeli airlines. This is the first official step in normalization with Saudi Arabia. The decision will allow Israeli airlines to fly on a direct route to Asia and Australia. This will save vast amounts of fuel, time and money. The savings will directly reach the pockets of Israeli citizens and lower the price of airline tickets. I thank the Saudi leadership for the opening of Saudi airspace. This is only the first step. We will continue working with necessary caution, for the sake of Israel’s economy, security and the good of our citizens.”
Next week the Israeli Defence Forces Chief, Lt. Gen. Avi Khavi will travel to Morocco, in a first-ever official trip by an Israeli military head to the North African nation.
The Significance of What is Not Said
However, what is most significant in Biden’s recent trip, is what is not being said by this democratic president. Michael Oren was the Israeli Ambassador to United States during the Obama administration’s first term, when Joe Biden was the Vice President. In an interview with Arutz Sheva this is what he had to say on Saturday:
This is a really superb visit. It began with the president coming down and saying, ‘I am a Zionist,’ which may not sound so earth-shattering to Israelis or to Jews but to people in his own party, a progressive wing where Zionism has become almost a dirty word, that’s an amazing thing for this president to say.
He has reiterated his support for Israel’s security. It’s really unequivocal support and he has reiterated his undying commitment to ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.
“It’s equally important to note what he hasn’t said, unlike President Obama.”
“[Biden] has not mentioned the ’67 borders or Israel’s need to return to the ’67 borders. He has not mentioned in any way a redivision of Jerusalem or a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Believe me the Palestinians aren’t happy with it. I think that this is for Israel a sign that this is not Obama 2.0. Joe Biden is a different president and he is a dear and committed friend to the State of Israel.”
Not everyone would share Oren’s enthusiasm. It is notable that the Biden Administration has not been able to ‘undo’ the work achieved during President Donald Trump’s administration.
A comparison made by Biden during his speech he gave in Jerusalem revealed the motive behind his policies – he likened the plight of the Palestinians to his Catholic background and oppression under the British:
You know that old expression, “hope springs eternal?” My background, and the background of my family, is Irish American. And we have a long history, not fundamentally unlike the Palestinian People, with the Great Brittan and their attitude toward Irish Catholics, over the years, for four hundred years.”
This really shows you his views on Israel and the Palestinians.
American retreat in the Middle East has forced the Arab States to start making connections with Israel. This was begun when Obama hit the big “reset” button turning its back on Israel and Saudi Arabia at the same time, along with other Arab States, by making its infamous nuclear deal with Iran. This forced the Arabs to start normalizing relationships with Israel, the only power in the area capable of doing something about Iran. This normalization brought about peace with the bonus of prosperity. The Trump Administration negotiating the Abraham Accords across the region.
David Friedman Interview
Melanie Philips, a British journalist who writes for The Times, interviewed David Friedman, the former Ambassador to Israel during Trump’s Administration this past week. Here are some excerpts from that interview which are revealing regarding the Saudis, the Americans and Israel in light of what we are told in Bible Prophecy:
The Saudis will normalize with Israel, I don’t have any doubt about that. And the tell, by the way, is the normalization with Bahrain. Bahrain was not normalizing with Israel without Saudi acquiescence, and if you… you know the overflight stuff was big a couple of years ago. I’m completely underwhelmed now by flights back and forth, because I’ve taken these flights. You fly from Tel Aviv to Dubai or Abu Dhabi or Manama, 90% of the flight is over Saudi airspace. That was unthinkable two years ago, but if that is the goal, take off and landing, I think we’re selling ourselves way short.
Philips would later write in an article in Arutz Sheva, commenting on Biden’s itinerary in Israel:
In Jerusalem, Biden’s itinerary was shaped to deliver a set of signals about the way his administration views Israel. And those signals were not good.
In her interview with Friedman, he had the following to say about the visit to the Arab hospital in Jerusalem:
The one that really bothers me is this trip to East Jerusalem. I think he is going to Augusta Victoria, to the hospital there. I don’t mind if the United States wants to throw some money at the hospital. The reality is money is fungible (interchangeable) that’s money that the Palestinian Authority can spend some place else, in most cases paying terrorists. It is not innocuous. People think, “what’s the big deal, your giving money to a hospital?” It is not giving money to a hospital, it is giving money to the PA.
Friedman also expressed his disappointment that Biden went to Yad Vashem, and not the Kotel, or Western Wall. Philipps picked up on this and had the following to say:
Going to Yad Vashem, (I mean, this is a rather cynical take), but, in my experience, a lot of people who talk out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to Israel are very keen to associate themselves with dead Jews, while being very, very, uncertain and even hostile to the idea, of what they would call Jewish Nationalism, which is simply Jews ability, or the right of the Jews to be a nation in their own homeland. That is one of the things that the Western Wall symbolizes: the unbroken line of history between today’s Israelis, and the Jewish people since the dawn of their being. That is what people find so difficult, and that to me is what not going to the Western Wall, unfortunately, symbolizes.
What was completely obvious with Biden’s visit to the Middle East is the lack of ability of Biden to run a country like the United States. He has a hard time finishing sentences, putting together coherent answers, and was seen several times in the past few weeks reaching to shake hands with people who were not even there. He was confused, and needed constant guidance as to where to go after struggling through a speech. He is obviously propped up by the people behind him. That is the scary part. Listen to Friedman explain who is behind Biden when it comes to foreign policy:
If you look at the staff, I mean the staff is, this is maybe the worse staff ever selected in the State Department and other agencies in terms of view towards Israel. You know, you’ve got Hady Amr whose I guess now the head of… he’s the head of something, they’ve created some organization that has to do with US Palestinian relations; Mahar Bitar, who has one of the most vial records against Israel; even Karine Jean-Pierre, the new spokeswoman who took over, has worked for anti-Israel organizations, and there are others. There’s a huge disconnect between Biden’s self-proclaimed love of Israel and the almost immediate staffing around him of people that have some relationship to the Israel file. They are terrible.
When asked about the why there is such an “anti-Israel” makeup of Biden’s administrative team, Friedman answered as follows:
I think that a lot of this is a reaction to the Trump administration. A lot of people watched this unfold. It was almost four years of no violence in the Middle East , four years of unprecedented support for the state of Israel, while that was predicted to result in an explosion of violence it actually resulted in an explosion of peace, through the Abraham Accords. This has got people upset, because all of their… all the things they studied, all their convictions, all their views for the past 25 years, beginning with John Kerry’s famous speech about how it is impossible to make peace without the Palestinians, it has all gone up. Now they are going to try and prove themselves right all over again. Because they have assembled the kind of worst possible team on this file to try to jumpstart a two-state solution. The reason I don’t get too bent out of shape is because they are going to fail. They are going to fail on all fronts. Israel is not going to play ball with them, even if… I hope I’m not wrong, but even a centre or centre left government is not going to make the kinds of mistakes that where made in the past, because we’ve learned the hard way what Oslo brought. I don’t think Israel is going to do this again, I hope.
The scriptures are clear when it comes to attitudes to Israel, going right back to the first Promise to Abraham:
3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.(Genesis 12:3)
God is very sensitive about his people whom he is in the process of redeeming and bringing back to himself as he states:
8For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. (Zechariah 2:8)
God is not going to suffer the bureaucrats, in what some Israeli journalists have called the Department of Hate, to undo what he is doing in the region. However, he will use them to accomplish his purpose as he did Pharoah in times gone by.
The Oil Factor
As many analysts have pointed out, the USA was energy independent under Trump until Biden came to office and started buying oil from Russia and Venezuela, and pushing ‘green’ initiatives. The American oil supply fell into chaos following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the Council on Foreign Relations in April,
“Biden announced the largest release of oil reserves from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves in history, up to one million barrels a day for six months.”
The real reason for Biden’s visit to the Middle East was to go, cap in hand, to an old ally they had snubbed since the election and ask for oil production to be increased. Fox News reporting:
Saudi Arabia agreeing to increase oil production levels by 50% for July and August. That commitment coming after President Biden met with Saudi leaders earlier today. The White House says that move will help to stabilize global energy markets.
As much as Biden want to snub Saudi Arabia, America has had to work with it. Ezekiel describes the latter-day alliance, and events are forcing the nations to comply.
The Angels At Work
Thankfully, the angels are at work, and regardless of man’s machinations they will bring about the Father’s will. Remember the words of Gabriel explaining to Daniel why he was delayed in coming to answer his prayer:
13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.(Daniel 10:13)
Following his interview with Daniel, Gabriel was to return to the King of Persia… and would be playing the long game, bringing the next empire onto the scene:
20…now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.(Daniel 10:20)
While we watch the finger of God at work amongst the nations we can have full confidence that “what God has promised He is able to perform”. We have every confidence, that though the nations align against Israel, and even within her allies there are adversaries, God will work his will.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.