Is it possible? Events of the eighties at Mount Sinai and Jerusalem are an actual prelude to soon-coming world peace!
THE WORLD NEWS spotlight has been focusing on the boiling caldron of animosities and wars in the Middle East. The hostage crisis with Islamic Iran, the Arab-Israeli wars, the Arab oil crisis, have flared all over news headlines. This entire embroilment has enflamed out of an ancient jealousy between two women over one man. Yet out of the present emotional flare-up emerges now a prelude to final GLOBAL PEACE for the first time since mankind has inhabited the earth! it is a factual story, stranger, more exciting and intriguing, than any fiction. Yet the world is unaware of this tremendous portent or its fascinating background. Seven modern events involving Middle East antagonisms, the United States and Britain converge into this immediate forerunner to world peace. I have been remotely involved, personally, in some of these seven events. These recent events and their background is a long story, but one of major significance to the whole world. I have only recently returned from my most recent Middle East visit. There I had significant personal conferences with Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt. President Sadat showed me architect's renderings of his historic projected World Peace Center at the base of Mount Sinai. Amazingly, this is an actual prelude to soon-coming world peace! Mr. Sadat invited my participation in this peace project. But my personal detached involvement in this whole Middle East activity, leading to the climactic crisis at the close of this age, began even before the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
I Meet Arab and Zionist Leaders
After the end of the Second World War, 1945, the charter for the United Nations was drawn up at the San Francisco Conference. I attended the entire conference. There I met and had private talks with several world leaders. I had two long meetings with sheik Hafiz Wabba, Plenipotentiary Extraordinary and spokesman for the Arab world at the conference. Later, February, 1947, my wife and I were in London en route to Switzerland to investigate a possible establishment of a European branch of Ambassador College. The sheik was hosting in London a royal reception in honor of crown prince Emir, who later became the late King Saud of Saudi Arabia. There I had another private talk with the sheik. Again in June, 1958, we were in Cairo, Egypt. The sheik was spending the summer in Alexandria. He and his wife came over to Cairo to spend an afternoon with Mrs. Armstrong and me. After the San Francisco Conference and formation of the United Nations, I attended the first meeting of the Security Council. It was held at Hunter College, in the Bronx, New York City. While in New York I had a conference with the secretary of the Zionist movement. Whether it was Chaim Weizmann or his successor I do not now remember. He was working energetically through the United Nations for establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. He told me the Zionist view. God, he said, had promised this land to the nation Israel. It had always been called "the Promised Land." It belonged to Jews by divine right. If GOD ordained that Jews should be there, he, of course, had a well-founded argument. And just about everybody supposed the biblical account did affirm the divine right of Jews to have there a national state. But, on the other hand, sheik Hafiz Wabba told me the Arab side of the story. It was equally convincing. "Do you feel," he asked me, "that your American people have a right to the land of the United States, including California?" "Your people have occupied this country as a nation less than 200 years, and California still a shorter time." This was said during the San Francisco Conference. "Suppose the Japanese came claiming the land of California by divine right, and demanded they be allowed to move all Californians out, and make it a Japanese national state. Would you think their claim valid? Well, we Arabs have occupied Palestine for many times 200 years, and the Zionists want us to move out and turn it over to them." Thus leaders of both Arabs and Zionists explained to me their respective view, prior to the United Nations' declaration of 1948 making that part of the land assigned as "Israel" a national Jewish state. But what the Zionist leader, and the whole world, did not know — and does not know yet is that actually happened after God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. True, the promise was made to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, and not through Ishmael. And therein lies the very beginning of the age-long animosities between. Arabs and Jews. As I stated at the beginning of this article the entire interracial antagonism started with the jealousy between two women over one man. God originally had promised Abraham, "I will make of thee a great nation" (Genesis 12:2) and later, "thou shalt be a father of MANY NATIONS"(Genesis 17:4). Abraham's wife, Sarah, was barren and childless. This, in those days, was a reproach for a wife. So Sarah brought her Egyptian maid, Hagar, to Abraham asking him to give her a child by the maid. But when Hagar was pregnant, she despised Sarah. Sarah treated Hagar harshly, and Hagar fled. Hagar became the mother of Ishmael, who became the father of twelve princes, fathers of the Arab world. God had not caused the pregnancy of Hagar, but had, by a miracle, caused Sarah to become pregnant when ninety years of age. Her son was Isaac. God passed the PROMISES made to Abraham on through Isaac, not through Ishmael, though God promised Abraham that Ishmael would be the father of a large people — which turned out to be the Arab world. The promises, the land and nations (plural) as well as the messianic promise through Christ, were passed on to Jacob. God changed Jacob's name to Israel. Israel's twelve sons became the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. Four hundred thirty years after the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17), when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God led them to the "PROMISED LAND" through Moses. God promised them (Lev. 26) that if they obeyed His laws in their national government, as established through Moses, they would become the greatest people on earth, the wealthiest and militarily the mightiest. If not, the promises would be taken from them and restored only after a duration of 2,520 years. They never obeyed God's laws — for long at a time. After Joshua, the judges, and the prophet Samuel, they demanded a kingly government like the rest of the world. God gave them Saul, then David, then Solomon. When Solomon's son, Rehoboam, became king, Israel rebelled, making Jeroboam king, later establishing a new capital at Samaria. The tribe of Judah with that of Benjamin, seceded, taking the new national name, kingdom of JUDAH, so that they might retain Rehoboam as, king, and Jerusalem as capital. The kingdom of ISRAEL, its new capital at Samaria, as a people had never been called "Jews." Only the southern kingdom of Judah was called Jews. The first place in the Bible where the term Jews is mentioned is II Kings 16:6, where ISRAEL, allied with Syria, was at war against the Jews! The tribe of Levi joined with the Jews of the kingdom of Judah. But the kingdom of ISRAEL, often called by the national name, "House of Israel," in the Bible, flagrantly disobeyed God. After nineteen kings in seven dynasties, they were invaded by Assyria, 721-718 B.C. They were defeated and removed from their land, taken as slaves to Assyria. Within about a hundred years they and the Assyrians had migrated northwest. The ten-tribed nation ISRAEL, or "the House of Israel," migrated on into western Europe and Britain. They lost their language, lost their identity. They had rejected God's Sabbath, God's signs to identify them as His people (Exo. 31:12-18). They became known as the "Lost Ten Tribes." The world has never known what became of them, or where they are today. (See our book The U.S. and Britain in Prophecy,) In 604-585 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldean Empire — the world's first real empire — invaded and removed the Jews of the House of Judah from their home in southern Palestine to Babylon. Seventy years later a Jewish colony was sent back to build a second temple at Jerusalem. Solomon's temple had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar's forces . But most of Judah, the Jews, became scattered in many nations in the Middle East. This Jewish colony, with its religion, Judaism, considerably altered from that which came through Moses by the rabbis after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, was there at the time of Jesus. The temple had been repaired and enlarged by their ruler Herod, who served the Romans who then ruled the world. In A.D. 70 Roman armies destroyed the temple and Jerusalem, and the remaining Jews were scattered. Some very few centuries later Arabs moved into that land. The prophecies of the Bible affirm that the "Promised Land" shall be restored to "the HOUSE OF ISRAEL" — not just Judah — at the Second Coming of Christ, and that Judah would be fighting there prior to that time — as they are now, believing they are "Israel." So the whole world, including Israel and Judah, is confused and mixed up as to WHO is WHO between Israel and Judah!
The Seven Modern Events
The first of the seven modern events I want to cover is the establishment of the State of Israel in Palestine by the United Nations in 1948. I want to mention here that Britain was involved here. This event followed the British Balfour Declaration of 1917. And, of course, as I have covered above, it was high-pressured by the Zionist movement. The second of these modern world-news events in the Middle East was the four wars between Arabs and Israelis, starting with the war of Independence in 1948. The third event I wish here to recount was my meeting with Prime Minister Golda Meir, following those four wars, the fourth of which was the Yom Kippur or October war of 1973. I had been making frequent visits to Israel since the fall of 1968. and was involved in a number of projects there. "I wish," said Mrs. Meir earnestly, "that heads of Arab states would sit across the table from me in friendship. We could do so much to help our Arab neighbors. Our scientists and technicians could help them into much increased prosperity for their peoples. Our musicians and leaders in the artistic field could take to them much uplifting and cultural life. We could mutually help each other." That was a direct attitude from the top in Israel of the "GIVE" way, which must lead eventually to world peace — after Christ's coming. Since 1968 1 have been personally involved in supporting the International Cultural Center for Youth (ICCY) in Jerusalem. It is working with success to bring cultural cooperation, instead of competition, between Israeli and Arab youth.
The Incredible "DECLARATION OF PEACE"
The fourth of these seven modern events was the most incredible peace overture of modern times. After four bitter wars against Israel in thirty years, President Anwar el-Sadat did an unheard of thing. On November 20, 1977, he DECLARED PEACE, not war! At extreme personal danger and unprecedented political risk the Egyptian president braved a personal visit to Jerusalem to speak in peace to the Israeli Knesset. It was the most sensational overture toward international peace made by any head of state in our time! Consider Mr. Sadat's position at the time. Egypt was the acknowledged leader of the Arab world. Headquarters of the Arab League was in Cairo. Mr. Sadat held high political prestige — perhaps the highest — in the Arab world. He braved furious opposition from all other Arab nations and their leaders in making this trip. It required vision, a sense of right against opposition, and extreme personal risk as well as political risk. How many would have had the courage? Result? Prominent Egyptians and editors abroad were assassinated. President Sadat's life was threatened. He lost immediately his prestigious credibility in the Arab world outside Egypt. The headquarters of the Arab League was moved from Cairo to Tunis. But President Sadat risked more than that. Egypt had been receiving military aid and military training for his army from the Soviet Union. Once the Soviet gains a foothold in any nation, they continue pressing on toward total domination, unless pushed back by superior force (of which there is none). Yet Anwar Sadat had the guts to reject further Soviet aid, and order their military officers and instructors out of Egypt! It left Egypt with only one possible national ally — the United States! Still further, he was the only Arab leader in the Moslem world who had the kindheartedness and courage to let the Shah of Iran die in peace under his protection! The fifth of this chain of events was the Camp David talks, bringing President Jimmy Carter and the United States directly into this chain of events, preliminary to world peace. The United States President used his office to bring the two Middle East leaders together in a very tough effort toward Middle East peace. The leaders were faced with no easy task, in a world dedicated to the incentive of "GET" instead of "GIVE" — of war instead of peace. The sixth of these seven events occurred when Prime Minister Begin and Israel "GAVE" back to Egypt large portions of the Sinai peninsula. Of course it still left to try to work out the tough questions of the West Bank, the violent PLO demands for a new separate Arab state, and the Gaza strip. Nevertheless this was another step in the direction of "GiVE." Finally, the seventh of these events, President Sadat's planned PEACE CENTER at the foot of Mount Sinai. Both the center, and its Mount Sinai location are dually symbolic of PEACE. I'm honored to have a part in it. This brings us to my most recent visit to the Middle East. On the day before the United States' national presidential election, November 4, 1980, I had a conference in his Jerusalem office with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. With me, as usual was Mr. Stanley Rader. Also with us was the mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. Also our own TV camera crew. Mr. Begin had been in a meeting with government officials in Tel Aviv. He interrupted that meeting, giving it a two and one-half hour recess to drive one hour to Jerusalem for this meeting, and then to return to the meeting in Tel Aviv. When we arrived at the reception office outside Mr. Begin's office, they told us we would not be able to see Mr. Begin — he was out of the city. Imagine their surprise when they saw him walk in for a warm handshake with us! Inside his office I apologized for having caused the interruption in the TeI Aviv meeting, and be replied, "Mr. Armstrong, I would get out of bed at two in the morning to see you, if necessary!" We had a most enjoyable meeting, which seemed to reflect a spirit of love. We asked Mr. Begin for any statement he would like to make to the American people. This will appear in a later issue of The Plain Truth. Our meeting ended in a bear hug, and his smiling approval for having his picture appear with Mr. Sadat on the front cover of this issue.
Mount Sinai Peace Center
Eight days later came the meeting with President Sadat at the Gaza Residential Palace in Cairo. Mr. Sadat was giving an address on national television at a Teachers' Association graduation ceremony. Mr. Stanley Rader, and Mr. Osamu Gotoh and I were first driven to the building where the ceremony was being held in an auditorium on the ground floor. It was a large office building of some twelve stories. We three were taken to a top story reception room adjacent to an executive office. There we viewed on television the president's speech and the ceremony below. As it was about to close, we were escorted down to a waiting car in a large parking way in front of the building. In front of our car was a Cadillac ambulance, immediately behind the president's car. We waited for some little time. Then Dr. M. Abdul-Kader Hatem, our friend of some six or more years' standing, personal adviser to Mr. Sadat, joined us in our car. A siren pilot car led the procession ahead of the presidential car. We were speeded in this motorcade through crowded traffic to the palace. Crowds lined the street waving at their president. The ambulance, I learned, now follows the presidential car wherever it is driven — another price Mr. Sadat pays for his peace efforts with Israel. At the palace Mr. Sadat had entered before we left our car. The First Lady was waiting for us on the front portico. We had met her before. She took my arm and walked with me inside, through a wide corridor, and into a reception room on the left. On the right, in another room, a group of U.S. congressmen had been waiting for the president. They knew we were Americans, and quizzically questioned our being there. The reception room was all set up for TV lighting by both our own TV crew and the government's. President Sadat saw the congressmen for some twenty minutes first, while his wife entertained us. As he came in, she left. Madam Sadat is a very beautiful and charming lady. After shaking hands and being photographed with TV cameras on us, we took seats prepared so that the president and I sat close in a corner, I on a sofa with Mr. Rader on my right and Mr. Gotoh on his right, and Dr. Hatem seated on a chair close to and on the left of Mr. Sadat. The TV cameras continued for a couple minutes, or so, then turned off the very bright lights and left. That evening, on the TV evening news, in both English and Arabic, considerable coverage was given to our meeting, but none to the U.S. congressmen. We discussed world conditions, causes of evils and of peace, and affirmed the building of "an iron bridge of peace" between Egypt and America. Then President Sadat showed me the architect's rendering of the projected $70 million World Peace Center at the base of Mount Sinai. It portrayed a walled complex within which were a mosque, a synagogue and a church, symbolizing cooperation between religions and between nations. Adjoining is to be constructed a modern resort hotel. It is especially significant that this World Peace Center is to be constructed at the base of Mount Sinai, for there it has a meaning it could not have anywhere else on earth. It was atop Mount Sinai that God gave to Israel and the world — written on tablets of stone with the finger of God — the TEN BROAD PRINCIPLES OF PEACE AND UNIVERSAL WELL-BEING AND ABUNDANCE! There are, I repeat again and again and again, the TWO ways, broadly speaking, of life — the one I simplify as "GIVE," the other "GET." The Ten Commandments sum up in ten points the spiritual LAW OF GOD — outflowing LOVE to God, and to neighbor. The first four summarize the principle of love to God, and the last six to man. The whole world has grossly overlooked the whole purpose and meaning of human life on the earth. The world has entirely mistaken the purpose and meaning of government, of religion, of science and technology, of education. Humans were created and put on earth to BUILD PERFECT CHARACTER. To produce, to accomplish, to create abundance, and to do it in peace, happiness and joy. It all boils down to a way of life! The way to peace, to happiness, to production, to accomplishment, to invigorating, satisfying, exhilarating achievement, to true success, is the way of "GIVE." That is the way of out-flowing love to God and to man. The way of mutual serving, helping, sharing, cooperating. You help me produce and I help you. Together, both producing, we have more than when I try to "GET" by taking what you have produced, and you strive to take from me what I already have. The purpose of government is to regulate the behavior and performance of people in this "give" way — to prevent the self-centered greedy or hostile from stepping on the true rights of others — to guide those subject to the government into the way of "GIVE." The real purpose of education is to educate the mind in this way of "GIVE" and all the tools needed for that purpose — the tools of reading, speaking, writing, figuring mathematically, the accumulation of needed knowledge to this same end. But how woefully educators have missed the mark! They educate, beginning with five- and six-year-olds, in false values, worthless goals, wrong incentives, all from an utterly false, materialistic approach. The entire purpose and meaning of religion is to bring humanity into the way of "GIVE" — to rescue us from "GET," which is the way of SIN. All our human troubles and evils have been caused by the "GET" motive. The ways of "GIVE" and "GET" are spiritual in nature. The way of "GIVE" is a SPIRITUAL LAW, set in relentless motion by the Creator, as inexorable as the law of gravity. Break that law and it will break you! True religion — that of GOD the Creator and Jesus Christ the Savior-King and Ruler — is to rescue a suffering humanity from the cruel evils of the "GET" way — from SIN — and bring us, with the gift of eternal life, into the happy way of "GIVE." In other words, to bring us to a REPENTANCE of sin, turn us from it, and into the way of GOD'S LOVE, for eternal joyous achievement! But what do we find in the, message of a supposed "Christianity" in this world, deceived and maneuvered by Satan? We find a "Christian" religion based on the "GET" principle. They shout, "ACCEPT Christ!" "RECEIVE Christ!" "GET salvation!" They say this great overall spiritual law — the basic way of life to PEACE and everything desirable and good — is "DONE AWAY"! They proclaim a different Jesus (II Corinthians 11:4) — a disagreeing Son who "did away with" His Father's Commandments. The Gospel of Jesus is the MESSAGE Jesus brought from God and proclaimed to man. But they proclaim their own message ABOUT the Person of Christ, not His message of the Kingdom of God. They overlook God's LAW — His WAY OF LIFE. They have not made this a better world. They have not brought PEACE to the world. Rather, WARS have been largely fought over religious contentions and rivalries and hatreds. The world's religions have been spawned by Satan the devil. The world has been deceived! But now in God's nations, Britain and the United States, we see moves toward peace. In Israel and Egypt, through their courageous two leaders, there is a turning toward THE WAY of PEACE! So what is the significance of the Peace Center at the base of Mount Sinai? It was atop that mountain that the Creator-GOD handed down to Moses for all mankind the ten broad principles of the way to PEACE — to righteousness, to joyous accomplishment and invigorating eternal life in achievement! Of course, that way had been shown to the first humans — Adam and Eve. That basic spiritual LAW had been in relentless effect since humanity began. It is an eternal law! But it was handed down visually and historically from Mount Sinai. Now, at its base, as a result of Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Israel "GIVING" back this area to Egypt, and the courageous initiative of President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, this Peace Center at Mount Sinai's base will stand as a prelude to soon-coming WORLD PEACE! This Peace Center will not, of itself, bring that peace. The living Jesus Christ will! But this Peace Center is emblematic of it, and as a result of moving in the direction of peace instead of war by these two Middle East leaders, it foreshadows or becomes a prelude to the world peace that is as sure as the rising of tomorrow's sun!