Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Apr 26, 2010

Think Tank Forecasts New Middle East War

The Washington Institute has issued a report saying that a disastrous war between Israel and her neighbors may be looming on the horizon. If hostilities do in fact break out, the “fighting could take on a regional dimension not seen since 1973,” said David Schenker, a senior fellow and director of the Arab Politics Program for Near East Policy.

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has been doing his part to destabilize the region. In a recent speech delivered on Hizbullah's Martyred Leaders Day, Nasrallah laid out the new strategy for reprisals against Israel:

“If you [ Israel ] bomb Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, we will bomb Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. If you bomb our docks, we will bomb your docks. If you bomb our oil refineries, we will bomb your oil refineries. If you bomb our factories, we will bomb your factories. And if you bomb our power plants, we will bomb your power plants,” Nasrallah declared.

Syria's new level of boldness is the key reason for the prediction of war. Syria has transferred shoulder-fired ordnance to Hizbullah, which has previously been marked by Israeli officials as a “red line” issue. It has openly expressed its support of terrorist organizations. There are now reports that the Syrians have delivered Scud missile to its allies in Lebanon. If the guerrilla forces were to obtain Scud missiles, they would pose a huge danger to Israel.

A Scud missile was originally designed to carry a 2,000-pound conventional warhead, with ranges from 100 to 180 miles. During the second Lebanon war, most of the rockets fired at Israel only had payloads of a few pounds, and they could only reach about a dozen miles into the nation.

The leadership in Damascus is obviously trying to see what it can get away with in Lebanon. At some point, they are going to miscalculate and Syria it will find itself in direct conflict with Israel.

The State Department has already acknowledged this possibility in a recent statement: "The risk of miscalculation that could result from this type of escalation should make Syria reverse the ill-conceived policy it has pursued in providing arms to Hizbullah," it said. "Additionally, the heightened tension and increased potential for conflict this policy produces is an impediment to ongoing efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East."

The IDF recently came very close to attacking a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon, but at the last moment decided against it, according to the Wall Street Journal. Israel has already proven how far it is willing to go to preserve its strategic interests. When it bombed a Syrian nuclear plant in September of 2007, the raid could have easily triggered all-out war between the two nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faces danger on so many fronts, he must have the hardest job on the planet. Last week, he sounded an urgent alarm regarding the Iranian nuclear threat. Netanyahu told ABC News that “we have a lot less time with each day that passes.” He called for the international community to deliver “crippling sanctions” against Iran. So far, the global community has been unwilling to apply proper pressure on the Islamic state.

I don't see any willpower on the part of the UN and the Obama administration. We already have a police effort in Southern Lebanon. Their mission was to prevent Hizbullah from rearming. They failed so miserably in their task, I can only conclude that they are on the side of the terrorists. President Obama has talked about the desire for peace, but he's yet to draw a line in the sand on what must happen. He has proven himself unwilling to upset his Arab brethren.

I think what is holding war back is the fact that the Middle East has become so dangerous. Israel is unwilling to provoke an enemy that is armed to the teeth. The Arabs are so busy building up their network of missiles, they don't have time to attack the Jewish state.

We don't need the Washington Institute to know that war is coming to the Middle East. The Bible predicts that there will be several conflicts in the coming days.

I keep seeing on the news Middle East correspondents reporting from the city of Damascus. If they knew anything about Bible prophecy and how closely our day matters to the prophetic Word, they might decide to file their reports from some other city.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isa. 17:1).

-- Todd

End-Times Stage-Setting in View

It becomes increasingly difficult each week to determine which Bible prophecy indicator to examine in the "Nearing Midnight" column because so many signals of possible prophetic import beckon--no matter which way on the geopolitical, socioeconomic, geophysical, or religious world horizon one looks.

So, because of length limitations, I've chosen only two items of likely prophetic significance for this update. Had we no such limits, the number of news items of possible prophetic relevance would be overwhelming, the stage-setting for Bible prophecy fulfillment is so prolific.

The first of the items that stir prophetic ponderings is the nation Turkey and its "willingness" to involve itself in diplomacy between the West and Iran's development of its nuclear program. Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, after holding talks with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, indicated that Iran says Turkey is welcome to mediate to some extent the Western and Iranian governments' standoff with regard to Iran's nuclear technology development.

Western governments object to the Iranian nuclear program because they fear the purpose of the program is to produce nuclear weapons, not to produce electrical energy. The objection is logical because Iran has oil riches that would provide petroleum-based electric power for that nation for many decades into the future.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken practically every speaking opportunity to state that he intends to wipe Israel off the map. Israel is growing impatient with Western attempts to deal gingerly with the Iranian regime. Sanctions in order to make Iran be more forthcoming in proving its nuclear efforts are peaceful haven't proved effective, and at any rate, are most often never fully implemented. It becomes increasingly evident to the Jewish state's top leadership that a military solution might well be the only solution to the threat to their security.

Turkey is currently a member of the UN Security Council. It supports Iran's right to pursue peaceful nuclear development. But Turkey, at the same time, is officially against all nuclear weapons development. There will come a time when Turkish leadership will have to either side with the Western concerns--thus with Israel--or with Iran, if the Iranians refuse to provide absolute proof its intentions are peaceful nuclear usage.

Togarmah is the name for the ancient territory now primarily occupied by Turkey. The people of Togarmah are prophesied to join the Persian (primarily present-day Iran) in the Gog-Magog attack of Ezekiel chapters 38-39. Recently, the government of Turkey has changed dramatically from an administration friendly to the West and Israel to one openly hostile in its rhetoric to the Jewish state.

This is partially true because Turkey is dependent upon Iran to supply much of its natural gas for energy. However, the Islamic ties are an increasingly powerful influence that binds together these prophetically intertwined peoples.

The rapid movement of Turkey as of late from the Western sphere of influence into the Eastern--particularly into the radical Islamic camp--calls for increased watchfulness.

The second of the stage-setting developments for fulfilling Bible prophecy I would like to look at is the internal pressures building with in the European Union (EU).

The excerpt of an article that follows, in my view, encapsulates to some extent the powerful dynamics that are in the process of rearranging things for the reviving Roman Empire of Bible prophecy.

A Citigroup note to clients has warned that the eurozone is likely to fall apart unless the European Union's member states fuse both on the fiscal and political level. "Europe needs to stand up and decide if it is going to be a 'United States of Europe' or a 'patchwork quilt' of independent states," reads a note by Tom Fitzpatrick, chief technical analyst at Citigroup in New York... Investors are warning of threats to the European currency even if the Greek crisis is resolved... In February this year, hedge fund wizard George Soros also warned the eurozone was bound to break up without fiscal union. (Lee Phillips, "Citigroup Says Only ‘United States of Europe' will Save Euro," Headline News, 4/21/10).

There is great concern building over the euro's continuing downward slide. For example, it has declined 6.1 percent against the U.S. dollar in recent days. The instability and fluctuations are causing the monetary powers that be, particularly in the Western economies, to seek a single currency, ultimately. The EU is the developing model around which many believe the future one-world integration of all things fiscal must be built.

Antichrist, the biblically prophesied final world dictator that is to take power before Christ's return, will come out of the area of western Europe, according to Daniel 9: 26-27. His power will be derived largely from world economic power represented by the ten kings and ten kingdoms of Revelation 17:12-13.

The control of all buying and selling through a numbering-and-mark system is foretold in Revelation 13:16-18, indicating, most biblical eschatologists believe, a supercomputer system of keeping track of all transactions. Certainly, most all of the ingredients for the biblical end-times formula are in focus today. Therefore,the stupendous twinkling-of-an-eye moment of Christ's call to His church--all born again believers--must be near.