By Bill Salhus
Matthew 24:6 says there will be rumors of war in the end times and current Mideast matters are definitely supporting this prediction. If you put your ear to the ground and eye to the press you can hear the battle cry shouts and observe the deployment of soldiers, heavy military equipment, and deadly arsenals in the Holy Land. Christ, apparently quoting Isaiah 19:2, further prophesied the coming of end time's regional conflicts; "kingdom against kingdom". (Matt. 24:7)
Mideast muscles flex, sabers rattle, and news reports roll off mainstream presses almost daily suggesting Christ was right and that Jordan’s King Abdullah’s April 17, 2010 warning of a summertime Mideast war may not be farfetched. Echoing Abdullah’s wartime sentiment, Syrian President Bashar Assad recently declared the following in a BBC interview on 6/17/2010:
1. Israel's recent attack on the Gaza aid flotilla has definitely increased the chances of war in the Middle East,
2. There is no chance of a peace deal with the current Israeli administration, which he called a pyromaniac government, and
3. The threat of regional war is more serious now than it has ever been over the past few years.
Recent news headlines trumpet the sound of a coming war in the Middle East. Below are just a few from various media sources over the past few months. Some of these headlines and comments are slightly paraphrased to reflect the author's opinions.
4/22/10 - Iran Begins Military Exercise “Great Prophet 5″ - This was supposedly a large military exercise conducted in the Strait of Hormuz, whereby Iran test launched 5 new land to sea and sea to sea types of missiles (DEFENSETECH)
5/8/10 - Iran practices “Judgment Day” attack plan - Following their Great Prophet 5 military exercises Iran practiced 8 days of war games demonstrating Iran’s ability to control the Persian Gulf and drive out U.S. and Israeli war ships. (Newsmax)
5/24/10 Turning Point 4: Israeli National Exercises Begin to Protect Civilians in Event of Missile; Chemical Attack - Israel conducted a broad reaching national civilian defense drill preparing its military and civilian society for chemical and electronic war attacks. Remember Israel began distributing gas masks to its civilians in February 2010 in preparation for a multifront attack from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and / or Hamas. (The Hashmonean)
5/30/10 Israeli Subs with Nukes in Gulf – Israel positions at least one of its nuclear submarines permanently in the Persian Gulf. It is not uncommon for Israel to patrol the Persian Gulf with warships, however, this is a new alarming development with rumors of war written all over it. (Free Republic)
Moving into June
6/10/10 Egypt prepares for Israel to Strike Iran in July (World Net Daily)
6/12/10 Saudi airspace opens for Iran attack.- Saudi Arabia opened up a thin strip of airspace for Israel to attack Iran. Upon the Saudis opening up their airspace to Israel, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia were reportedly practicing, independent from each other, for an Israeli strike upon Iran. (Jerusalem Post)
The two nations were supposedly testing out their missile defense systems to avoid friendly fire upon Israeli bombers on route to a potential attack of Iran. Friendly fire reminds us of the old saying, “the enemy of my enemy has become my friend”. Eschatologists should note that the Saudis and Egyptians are part of the unfulfilled Psalm 83 prophecy and thus this support for Israel will probably be short lived. These recent actions evidence both Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's grave concerns about Iran’s broader nuclear ambitions.
6/17/10 Syrian President Bashar Assad warns of increased chances of war in the Middle East in BBC television interview. (quotes stated above)
6/20/10 U.S., Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with Iran
British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi reports that Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and eleven American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of Egyptian soldiers. (Israel National News)
6/23/10 Iran on war alert over "US and Israeli concentrations" in Azerbaijan
Debka reports in a rare move, Iran has declared a state of war on its northwestern border. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps men and equipment units are being massed in the Caspian Sea region against what Tehran claims are US and Israeli forces concentrated on army and air bases in Azerbaijan ready to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
FORBES first reported similarly on this on 6/21/10 in an article by Reza Kahlili entitled “There Will Be War”. Kahlili writes “Iran has dispatched reinforcement troops to the Iraqi and Afghanistan borders.”
6/23/10 Iranian flotilla to set sail on Sunday June 27, 2010 - Ma’an news, the Arabic/English new source widely viewed in Palestinian territories declares. The Iranian Red Crescent sponsored flotilla will set sail for Gaza on Sunday 6/27/10. Iranian spokesman Abdul Rauf Adibzadeh confirmed the new date. The ship, called “The Children of Gaza,” will reportedly bring 1,100 tons of equipment, including 500 tons of medicine and food supplies, Adibzadeh said. Sailing via the Persian Gulf, the Port of Aden and the Red Sea, the ship will enter the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, aiming to arrive within a fortnight. A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Egypt refused Israel’s request to stop the vessel in the Suez Canal.
6/23/10 Israel National News (INN): Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border. - Quoting for the Iranian Fars News Agency, INN declares Israeli military aircraft landed 10 days ago (6/13/10) at the Saudi base near the city of Tabuk, located in northwest Saudi Arabia, one of the closest areas in the oil kingdom to Iran. Fars News reports that the Tabuk base will be the central station for an Israeli attack on Iran. Supposedly the airport in Tabuk was closed to all other traffic during the alleged Israeli landings
The INN article goes on to state, seemingly confirming the Debka and Forbes reports above, that Iran’s government-funded Press TV reported the Revolutionary Guards began closely patrolling the Islamic Republic’s northwestern border after noticing the buildup of American and Israeli troops. Azerbaijan’s independent Trend news site also reported on Wednesday (6/23/10) that American armed forces were in the country.
Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Mehdi Moini said Tuesday that his forces are mobilized “due to the presence of American and Israeli forces on the western border.” The Guards reportedly have called in tanks and anti-aircraft units to the area in what amounts to a war alert.
6/24/10 - Iran produced 17 kilograms of further enriched uranium – According to Tehran Times, Iran's nuclear chief said Wednesday his country has produced 17 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent, defying U.N. demands to halt the controversial program. (This is extremely troubling because Iran’s apocalyptic minded president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has publicly declared his intentions to “wipe Israel off of the map”)
The Turkey flotilla aid for Hamas episode seems to have been the manufactured crisis the enemies of Israel didn’t need. It appears to have awoken the sleeping giant of the Middle East, the Israeli Defense Forces. It is difficult to know if the above rumors of war will result in a skirmish or manifest into the Mother of all Mideast Wars. However, according to the Bible the Israeli War prophecies described in Isaiah 17:1, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38 & 39, and Jeremiah 49:34-39 are coming!
Possible scenario: the prophecy regarding Elam (Iran) in Jeremiah 49:34-39 might find fulfillment in two stages. First - a preemptive Israeli Strike upon the foremost of Iran's might, its nuclear sites. Second - a subsequent divine defeat for their role in Ezekiel 38 & 39 "Gog of Magog" invasion that could send Iranians into a massive dispersion. A strike upon the foremost of Iran's might and a massive dispersion are predicted by Jeremiah.
Interestingly, Jeremiah and his contemporary Ezekiel issue end time's prophecies regarding Iran. However, Jeremiah identifies modern day Iran as Elam, and Ezekiel alludes to them as Persia. (Map showing the area of the Elamite Empire (in red) and the neighboring areas. The approximate Bronze Age extension of the Persian Gulf is shown. Today, Iran's primary nuclear site (Bushehr) exists in the proximity of ancient Elam.)
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, [Iran] in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, The foremost of their might [suggests potential nuclear ramifications since prophecy probably remains unfulfilled]. Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them toward all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go. [massive dispersion could occur in the aftermath of Ezekiel 38 & 39] For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies And before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger,’ says the LORD; ‘And I will send the sword after them Until I have consumed them. I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD. ‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: [end time's implications] I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 49:34-39; NKJV, emphasis added)