WAR ON THE HORIZON?
In my estimation, the foundations for a new regional conflict were laid in the 1980s.
Early in the decade, Iran-in the wake of the 1979 Shiite Muslim revolution-actively switched from being an ally of Israel to a self-declared enemy. This new enmity was fleshed out in 1982 when Iran fathered the radical Hezbollah movement in war-torn Lebanon.
Today, the movement’s militia wing possesses one of the largest arsenals on earth, including chemical weapons and hundreds of thousands of mostly Iranian-supplied missiles and rockets. For all we know, one or two “field” nuclear warheads may also be in its ever growing arsenal. It is fairly clear that Hezbollah would play a major role in any new regional conflict.
Later in the decade, the radical Sunni Muslim Hamas movement sprang up in the Gaza Strip. Although Shiite and Sunni Muslims are currently busy slaughtering each other elsewhere in the roiling Middle East, especially in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, the mullahs in Iran have succeeded in allying their country with Hamas terrorists, providing financial aid, weapons, and military training to the radical movement which openly calls for Israel’s total destruction, as of course do officials in Tehran.
Earlier this month, Israeli army leaders declared that Hamas is now back to full fighting strength following the radical militia’s blistering defeat in the 2014 summer war, during which the terrorist group blasted parts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with mid-range rockets for the first time.
Another terror group, the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” movement based in Syria and Iraq, became a fully active player in the Muslim jihad war to annihilate Israel on February 9. That is when the group announced that it had fired four rockets at the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat. The attack came from the nearby Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, where Islamic State fighters have been gaining strength for several years. Israel’s highly sophisticated Iron Dome anti-rocket system successfully intercepted three of the rockets while a fourth landed in an open area outside of the Red Sea port city, which is always bustling with mainly European tourists this time of year.
One of the latest threats emanating from Tehran came in late January when Iranian Revolutionary Guards official Musqtada Al Sadr said that any attempt by President Trump to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, would be considered “an act of war” by Iran and other Muslim countries and groups, and would be responded to accordingly.
In fact, Iran needs no excuse to go to war with Israel since it has already been in an open state of hostility with the world’s only Jewish State since 1979. What Al Sadr’s harsh words seem to indicate is that Iran is now ready to attack Israel at any time, at the very least via its Muslim proxy forces stationed in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
In early February, the Shiite Islamic regime test fired another ballistic missile in violation of a UN resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran, the Obama Administration and several other world powers. President Trump responded by saying Iranian leaders were “playing with fire.” Later his new national security advisor, Michael Flynn, told reporters that “The international community has been too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior. The ritual of convening a United Nations Security Council in an emergency meeting and issuing a strong statement is not enough.”
In response to the warnings coming out of Washington, Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a fiery a speech on February 7, proclaiming that President Trump “should be afraid of me.” He added that Trump’s electoral triumph “confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the US ruling system.”
Earlier in the week, Iranian-backed Yemeni Shiite Houthi rebels announced that their forces successfully launched a long range ballistic missile that can reach the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Any missile attack upon the oil rich Sunni Arab country would probably unleash a much wider regional war along with a worldwide oil price surge that would greatly benefit Vladimir Putin’s struggling petroleum-based economy.
Another possible regional war spark is the vicious internal conflict raging in neighboring Syria since early 2011, which has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and always has the potential of spilling over into Israel. In fact, numerous clashes have already taken place along the shared border, and Israeli warplanes have periodically bombed Syrian, Hezbollah and Islamic State positions inside of the crumbling Arab country. Several Israeli military analysts say the Trump Administration’s contested travel ban from Syria and six other regional Muslim countries has also increased the prospect of armed attacks upon American and Israeli targets in the turbulent Middle East and elsewhere.
The escalating turmoil in the Middle East comes as Russia continues to grow in regional strength and influence, largely due to America’s widely perceived retreat from the region under former President Barrack Hussein Obama. The prospect that Russian military forces may end up clashing with Western and/or Israeli forces, either by design or accident, is always ever present and seemingly growing.
Many Christian prophecy buffs are expecting Russia to soon launch the international attack upon Israel foretold in Ezekiel 38 and 39. I’ve already mentioned that I do not share this view, given that the prophesied end time assault is said to end with Israel’s total spiritual salvation. Such a “pre-tribulation” attack does not jive with other biblical oracles which reveal that a powerful worldwide ruler known as Antichrist will govern and oppress the entire planet, including Israel, for three and a half years before the final battles of history engulf the Middle East and elsewhere.
However a separate “preview war” pitting Russian forces against Israel and its allies, possibly including the United States, is entirely possible in my estimation. Given Vladimir Putin’s escalating worldwide aggression, and Donald Trump’s apparent assertiveness, such military clashes may now be considered probable.
It may be that in the midst of any pending clash between Syria and Israel, the Syrian capital city of Damascus will be entirely wiped out, as foretold in Isaiah 17. I suspect that this ancient oracle will be the next one to be fulfilled on the world stage as the prophesied final military and spiritual showdowns of history unfold.
Many more difficult days seem to lie just ahead for America, Israel and the rest of the sin-soaked world. However we who know the Lord as our Savior and King can rejoice over the fact that these dark days were clearly foretold long ago by many ancient Hebrew prophets, including Peter, Paul and Yeshua (Jesus).
In fact, the Lord instructed His followers to “lift up your heads” toward heaven in response to the world’s end time drama because the dark days would signal that “your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 22:28). And that is the glowing silver lining behind today’s stormy skies!
Many Christian prophecy buffs are expecting Russia to soon launch the international attack upon Israel foretold in Ezekiel 38 and 39. I’ve already mentioned that I do not share this view, given that the prophesied end time assault is said to end with Israel’s total spiritual salvation.
I have great respect for David’s views on prophecy, that’s why I published his article here on my blog. But I disagree with his belief that the Gog-Magog war will result in Israel’s “total spiritual salvation”.
It is my belief that it will result in a return to Old Testament observance with Temple worship and sacrifice re-instituted. And that this, along with a peace covenant, will mark the beginning of the final seven year period prophesied by Daniel.