by Jack Kelley of GraceThruFaith.com
With so much news from the Middle East this past week, we're going to delay publication of the next chapter of our commentary on the Book of Romans to bring you a prophetic perspective of current events. First, a quick review.
The Russian sale of anti-missile batteries to Iran was completed this week, enabling Iran to protect its nuclear installations from attack. In addition, it's been reported that the promised delivery of fuel rods for the Bushier reactor, which Russia had delayed, is back on the schedule again for sometime in 2007.
North Korea-Iran Connection
Iranian scientists, having been present at North Korea's nuclear test site are now hosting their North Korean counterparts in Iran. Their purpose? North Korea is helping Iran prepare to conduct its first test before the end of 2007. If successful this will dramatically alter estimates of Iran's progress toward full nuclear capability. As I've reported before, North Korea is really acting on behalf of Russia and China. Both countries stand to gain substantially through this, oil and gas for China, influence in the region for Russia, cash for both.
Iran Threatens US
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed this week to hit back at US interests world wide if Iran is attacked. Another high-ranking Iranian Ayatollah said that being surrounded by US troops "works to our advantage. It means that the US is now within our firing range in the East, West, and elsewhere." The US has to be taken out of the picture before Iran can make good on its pledge to wipe Israel off the map. To this end Iran has mounted attacks against the US monetary system, is involved behind the scenes in Iraq, and claims to have sleeper cells in the US ready to launch terror attacks against the infrastructure and even civilian population centers.
Hamas Fatah Unity Government
Hamas and Fatah have been convinced to agree on a unity government for the Palestinians. Saudi Arabian King Abdullah negotiated the agreement, strongly advising the US and Europe to go along even though it doesn't obligate Hamas to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel, or abide by prior PLO agreements with Israel. King Abdullah further said that if the West doesn't resume aid to the Palestinian Authority now, Saudi Arabia will pick up the tab itself, effectively undercutting Western influence.
Hamas seems to have gained the upper hand in the agreement. There are early concerns that Fatah, which is seen by the West as being more moderate and therefore preferable, may be seeking accommodation with hard-line Hamas, which is aligned with Iran. If so, it will give Iran a position in Israel's south similar to the one they enjoy in the North with Hizbollah. Iran has placed 4000 rockets in the South with Hamas and 3-4 times that many in the North with Hizbollah, all pointed at Israeli population centers. It appears that the real driving force behind forming a Palestinian unity government may be to make final preparations for war with Israel.
Lebanese Firing On Israel's Border. Russian Spotters?
After Hizbollah planted some major explosives along the Lebanese border with Israel, the IDF went into the buffer zone between the two countries to remove them. The Lebanese Army began firing. Israel returned fire, and the UN forces stepped in. Russian intelligence has all but taken over the town of Sidon in Southern Lebanon and advises Hizbollah, Lebanon, Syria and Iran on IDF troop movements in the north. Many qualified observers expect the Israel-Lebanon war to flare up again as early as this spring. Both Syria and Russia appear ready to take part. Iran will likely rely on Hizbollah for now.
Islam Demands That Israel Stop Repairing Gate To Temple Mount
Threatening an intifada worse than the one begun in 2000, Islamic national and religious leaders have demanded that Israel be forced to stop repairing the temporary footbridge leading to the Western Wall Plaza. This footbridge is Israel's only self controlled access to the Temple area and Moslems have been waiting for years for it to collapse so they can shut the Jews completely out. While there's no work being done within 50 yards of the Temple Mount, Moslem officials have accused the Jews of destroying two rooms of the Al Aksa Mosque to make way for a new Jewish Temple. The rhetoric coming from the Islamic world is strikingly similar to that which preceded the last intifada, as are the behind the scenes preparations.
Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. (Ezekiel 38:7) This verse is a direct command to Russia and the Moslem Coalition from the Lord Himself. For students of Ezekiel 38-39 the purpose behind Russia and Iran's involvement in these recent events is clear. They're working feverishly to prepare themselves and those allied with them for a future attack on Israel. Russia has sold air defense systems and anti-tank weaponry to Syria as well as Iran and runs a state-of-the-art intelligence gathering service from Lebanon. And we already know about Russia's plans to build a deep-water port in northern Syria and re-locate a portion of its Naval fleet to the Mediterranean.
Iran has re-armed Hizbollah and is consolidating its power in Gaza. It plans a nuclear test before year end. Iranian involvement in Iraq is becoming the world's worst kept secret. Joint US-Iraqi action beginning this week in Baghdad is intended to disrupt Iran's flow of men and weaponry to terrorist groups there. The addition of another US Carrier Attack Group to the Persian Gulf is for the purpose of patrolling the Iran-Iraq border from the air and disrupting cross border traffic. President Bush has authorized US troops to kill or capture any Iranian combatants they encounter.
Clearly Russia and Iran are obeying a call from the Lord they don't acknowledge, as He sets them up against His people. His purpose is to defeat them so completely that Israel and all the world will recognize that it was He Who did this. "I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God." (Ezekiel 39:21-22)
This will be Israel's wake up call, the unmistakable sign that the long night of their diaspora (scattering) is over. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. (Ezek 39:28)
This supernatural victory will result in a national demand for a Jewish Temple. Without one they can't properly worship the God Who didn't abandoned them after all, but will have come to their rescue in the time of their most desperate need. As Jews from all over the world stream into Israel, the thing they'll want first is a way to acknowledge their God according to the Jewish religion. And as the treaty that permits the Temple's construction is put into force, Daniel's 70th Week will have begun.
Two Stops Earlier
A man on a bus asked the one seated next to him which stop he should get off at to reach his destination. After determining where the man lived, the seatmate replied, "It's two stops before mine. So when you see me get off, you should have gotten off two stops earlier." That sums up our interest in the End Times Scenario. When Daniels' 70th Week begins it means that Israel will have officially returned to their covenant relationship with God. Otherwise they would neither need nor want a Temple.When they return to their covenant relationship, it means that the Battle of Ezekiel 38 will have been won. Otherwise they wouldn't be in covenant with Him again.
And that means that the Age of the Church will have ended and the Church will be gone. Otherwise God wouldn't have turned His attention back to Israel. Acts 15:13-16 tells us that after the Lord has taken a people for Himself from among the Gentiles, He'll return to rebuild David's fallen Tabernacle (the Temple). And Paul wrote that Israel's heart will be hardened against God until the full number of Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25) You see, we'll be getting off two stops earlier. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 02-10-07
Labels: End Times, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Prophecy, Rapture, Russia