“How Close Are We?”
As I launch into the third part of this series on Israel’s prophetic ‘end of the age’ wars, I would like to make it clear that I am not of the opinion that the nation of Israel — in spite of the fact that it is called the ‘chosen nation,’ — is better than any other nation, and certainly not without fault, nationally or religiously. Many wonder why God would call Israel His ‘chosen nation.’ The reason is simple: God chose a man, Abraham, to become the patriarch of a nation that would become host to bring the promised Messiah into the world. God set His plan into motion long before Abraham ever had a true relationship with God. That is what makes Israel ‘chosen.’
The majority of Israel’s population today is mostly secular. Those who are religious, are still looking for their Messiah. They have not accepted Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of that role. The number of Jews however, who do recognize Jesus as their Messiah is today growing faster than ever. According to the latest statistics I am aware of, approximately one million of the nearly 15 million Jews worldwide, now make claims to be followers of Jesus Christ, as their Messiah. According to the Scriptures, the vast majority of Jews will continue to be blinded to their true Messiah until they find themselves in the midst of the Apocalypse. It is during that very difficult time that God has promised to open their eyes to see what (or rather, Whom) they have failed to recognize these past two millennia. The promises God has made concerning Israel are irrevocable. This means, in order to fulfill His promises, God will see to it that Israel is spared the success of those who have sworn to annihilate the nation in the short days ahead.
Now, back to the question: How Close Are We?
In order to give us some idea of how close we are, we will also look at what could possibly happen next. There is now a very high probability for a devastating preemptive strike by Israel on Iran. Israel has run out of options. The fact that Iran is now bragging that its new supersonic missile can reach Tel Aviv in 400 seconds (6.66 minutes) is adding gasoline to a fire that has already been ignited. This is on top of the fact that Iran’s nuclear program has continued in spite of all sanctions put upon the nation and at this time, Iran’s newest centrifuges are running full speed upgrading its stockpile of uranium to weapon’s grade material. Iran has enough uranium for several nuclear bombs. Although it will never be said officially, there are reports that Iran already has nukes, having made deals with other nations, like possibly North Korea or Pakistan. Iran has needed more time however to perfect its delivery systems..
The Israeli Defense Force is well aware of Iran’s growing threat, not only with its nuclear weapons, but also its expanding arsenal of sophisticated military weapons. Once again, I would like to direct our attention to what was foretold by God’s prophets in the Old Testament. This is concerning an ancient land many are not aware of, called Elam. Elam covers roughly ⅓ of the landmass of present day Iran (known as Persia until 1935). Ancient Elam was located in what today is the central western part of Iran, bordering the Persian Gulf. It includes Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, a large portion of modern Iran’s nuclear facilities, as well as an untold number of underground missile silos aimed to the west. Here are a few verses we find in Jeremiah 49 about Elam:
34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, 35 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might. 36 Against Elam I will bring the four winds, and scatter them toward all those winds; there shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go. 37 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…Jeremiah 49:34-37
Some Bible scholars are of the opinion that this passage is only referring to ancient history and has nothing to do with our present time period. If we read on in the chapter, we find these words in verse 38: “But it shall come to pass in the latter days…” I believe this passage is an example of what is sometimes called a “layered” or “dual” prophecy, meaning it refers to more than one fulfillment. There are many of these within the prophetic Scriptures. For the sake of brevity, I will not provide an explanation of this entire passage which actually extends to the end of the chapter, but will instead refer the reader to author Bill Salus’ excellent and well researched book: “Nuclear Showdown in Iran, Revealing the Ancient Prophecy of Elam.”
For the purpose of this writing, suffice it to say that there are distinctions between what God says concerning Iran in Ezekiel 38-39 and its part in the Gog-Magog war, and what God says specifically to ancient Elam, even though it is part of modern day Iran. I believe Iran is facing double-jeopardy; once when God intervenes before the Gog-Magog war ever erupts and then again when Iran joins in the Gog-Magog War detailed in Ezekiel 38-39.
The prophecy concerning Elam states that God will break Elam’s bow. That may very well refer to the missile silos aimed west toward Israel. For some inexplicable reason, the delivery systems are broken and unusable. No matter how many missiles are available, they are useless if they can’t be delivered! The prophecy also states that God intends to break the foremost of Elam’s might. That would likely include nuclear weapons. God’s fierce anger will bring disaster upon the head of this predatory enemy. The prophecy continues by saying that God will chase this enemy down (send the sword after them) until He has consumed them. Verse 36 tells us that the inhabitants that do happen to survive what is coming will be scattered all over the world. It seems that Iran’s military might, at least as it is represented in the territory of ancient Elam, will be destroyed—much as with Damascus. Iran’s military will effectively be crippled when it joins Russia and its allies in the Gog-Magog War.
Will Israel attack alone in this operation? Might America join Israel? The Bible doesn’t really say. Israel has however often stated that it is well able and willing to go it alone if necessary. The United States and Israel did however join together in a massive exercise in the spring of 2022, called “Chariots of Fire.” Every branch of Israel’s military joined some from the US and practiced bombing Iran. The exercise had a three part plan:
- Five billion set aside (this year) for bombing Iran
- Protecting Israel’s borders after the attack
- Dealing with its casualties in Israel
When could this be initiated? Anytime! The stage has already been set. And, the probabilities of this happening sooner rather than later have gone up substantially since Benjamin Netanyahu has once again been reelected Prime Minister.
Israel knows it will be a very expensive operation, therefore, the large amount of money set aside. The second bullet point above references the fact that Israel knows that Iran will turn all of the proxies loose as soon as the attack has begun. Israel will face thousands of rockets and missiles a day from Hezbollah out of both Lebanon and Syria in the north, 1,000-1,200 per day by Hamas from Gaza, hundreds from Shiite militias in Iraq, and an unknown number of sophisticated missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen. This of course points out the obvious in the third bullet-point above. Casualties; sadly, many of them!
There will likely be some type of an event that will cause Israel to attack Damascus. Exactly at what stage this will happen is not known, but when it happens the outcome will be devastating. Could it be that Syria launches missiles with chemical or biological agents against Israel? It would not be surprising in light of the fact that Syria’s military has gassed their own people hundreds of times in past years. Syria today still has one of the world’s largest arsenals of chemical weapons. Much of this arsenal is underneath Damascus. Israel has warned Syria of such an attack, promising the destruction of Damascus if Syria uses weapons of mass destruction against Israel. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah refer to the complete destruction of Damascus. Isaiah puts it this way:
“…Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1
“…Behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us. Isaiah 17:14
Jeremiah adds these details:
23 Against Damascus: “Hamath and Arpad are shamed, for they have heard bad news. They are fainthearted; there is trouble on the sea; it cannot be quiet. 24 Damascus has grown feeble; she turns to flee, and fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor…26 her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the LORD of hosts. 27 “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.” Jeremiah 49:23-24; 26-27
By a careful reading we find that not only does Israel destroy Damascus but apparently also the corridor north of Damascus possibly including Idlib and Aleppo. Israel however appears to get hit very hard as well including substantial casualties — particularly in the north..
It is very likely that once Damascus has been destroyed, all of the surrounding nations will panic and wonder if their own cities are next to be destroyed. Many of the major Middle East cities are not all that far apart. This will likely put the Arab nations into an uproar as they will worry about their own cities like Cairo, Baghdad, or Mecca being hit. If the full Psalm 83 war has not become engaged by this point, it surely will now. Jordan and Egypt have standing peace treaties with Israel but they are only paper-thin and will for sure be canceled. Both Jordan and Egypt will become engaged with their brother Arab / Muslim nations, as will Saudi Arabia.
Could other cities in the Mideast be destroyed as well as Damascus? The prophet Jeremiah once again provides information that is not often recognized.
2 “…Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will cause to be heard an alarm of war in Rabbah of the Ammonites; it shall be a desolate mound, and her villages shall be burned with fire, then Israel shall take possession of his inheritance,” says the LORD. 3 Wail O Heshbon, for Ai is plundered! Cry, you daughters of Rabbah, gird yourselves with sackcloth! Lament and run to and fro by the walls. For Milcom shall go into captivity with his priests and his princes together. 4 Why do you boast in the valleys, your flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? Who trusted in her treasures, saying, “Who will come against me?” 5 Behold, I will bring fear upon you,” Says the Lord GOD of hosts. “From all those who are around you, you shall be driven out, everyone headlong, and no one will gather those who wander off. 6 But, afterward I will bring back the captives of the people of Ammon,” says the LORD.
Rabbah is modern-day Amman, Jordan. The detailed passage above speaks to the complete destruction and collapse of the city and its surrounding area. Milcom is a reference to the pagan State god that was worshipped by the Ammonites in ancient Israel’s time. Jeremiah under inspiration says that Milcom will be no challenge to Israel’s God YHVH, the Almighty, when He decides to make His move. The prophet Zephaniah also had warnings concerning what is today modern Jordan. This is God speaking…
8 “I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the insults of the people of Ammon, with which they have reproached My people, and made arrogant threats against their borders. 9 Therefore, as I live,” says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Surely Moab shall be like Sodom, and the people of Ammon like Gomorrah—Overrun with weeds and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation. The residue of My people shall plunder them, and the remnant of My people shall possess them.” Zephaniah 2:8-9
There is hardly a question about what it is that God is saying in these passages. to our way of thinking, this may all seem extreme, but in light of the thousands of years this ancient hatred has gone on and what the end result it would bring, God settles the score according to His covenant with His people.
I suspect that the Psalm 83 war will quickly lead to the Ezekiel 38-39 war. The two could even happen in tandem. It is worth noting that not one of Israel’s border enemies are listed with the enemies being brought down upon the mountains of Israel in the Gog-Magog War. In fact, the Gog-Magog War will have its military coming down from the north through Lebanese and Syrian territory. Another part of this massive invasion will come from the eastern side of the Dead Sea in Jordan. None of Israel’s border enemies are even mentioned. This is because they have already been soundly defeated by Israel.
The prophet Zechariah provides more detail for us to consider:
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And it shall happen in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples, all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. Zechariah 12:2-3
It’s not hard to recognize the “drunkenness” that the world is demonstrating with anything having to do with this city and the nation whose capital city it is. It’s interesting that some translations use the word “dizziness” instead of “drunkenness.” The world is being driven to a dizziness…or is insanity? It’s a well documented fact that there have been more resolutions crafted against the nation of Israel including supposed human rights violations, etc. than the total resolutions against all other nations in the world combined. In light of well known human rights violations in nations like North Korea, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and so many others, how is it possible for this small nation of Israel to carry such enormous guilt? It’s not even rational! This is nothing less than a malevolent demonic distortion of reality that has been brought upon our modern world in regards to the nation of Israel.. It will continue to increase to a crescendo when the whole world turns against Israel, as described at the end of verse 3 above.
In verse 6 of Zechariah 12 we find these words:
In that day, I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left…
“Governors” above can also be translated as “clans,” “leaders,” or “captains.” In other words, when war breaks out between Israel and its border enemies, Israel’s attack will be devastating and her enemies will be decisively crushed. I believe this is speaking of the Psalm 83 war because God says He will empower Israel’s military to accomplish this. In the Gog-Magog War, Israel’s military will have absolutely nothing to do with the complete destruction of the military alliance invading Israel. It will be all GOD.
So, how close are we?
Zephaniah has this to say just before he gives his own detailed description of what is going to happen to Israel’s border enemies in this great Mideast war we are on the threshold of.
1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation (unashamed, without longing), before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! 2 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. Zephaniah 2:1-2 (emphasis mine)
The prophet Joel also provides strong indicators of how close we are today…
For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land. Joel 3:1-2 (emphasis, mine)
It is worth noting that most often when such phrases as “in those days” or “at that time”, the Bible is referring to prophetic fulfillments at the end of the age. It is in our generation that God has brought the nation of Israel back onto the world stage. And it was Jesus who warned that the generation that sees the convergence of end time events as described in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, including Israel’s return as a nation, will see His return as Messiah! The convergence of events is on the world stage today! That discussion is for another time…
I’ll conclude with an admonition found in Luke 21:34-36:
34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth, 36 watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The only way anyone can be “worthy” as stated above is when a person has repented and asked for the free gift of Salvation provided through the Blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God (Jesus) on the cross 2,000 years ago. Do it TODAY! It is free for the asking!!