The Coming Middle East War

As we witness tensions rise with the US and Iran, many are speculating if a possible confrontation may occur between Israel, Russia, Iran and its proxies. The Bible has been saying this very thing for over 2,500 years now that this will occur in the last days.

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We are living in very interesting and prophetic times. Natural disasters are on the increase in severity and frequency all over the world, not to mention here in the US as we’re experiencing unprecedented flooding as well as tornadoes in the earlier part of the year. Technology’s advancing at break-neck speed, giving way to advancing AI and human implantable microchips. But most important of all, Israel is back in their land and turned 71 years old in May 2019!

As Bible-believing Christians, we know we are in the end times due to many of what I just listed, but the most important indicator for us is an Israel that’s back in their homeland as end time prophecy presupposes a regathered nation of Israel. This is highlighted in prophecies such as Ezekiel 37:1-14 with the resurrection of the dry bones – a picture of the nation of Israel being revived.

Historically speaking, before Israel became a nation in 1948, they were finally expelled from their land by the Roman empire around 132-135 A.D. Many of the end times prophecies speaking about a regathered nation of Israel were written hundreds of years before they were uprooted from the land, but those same prophecies state Israel will one day return.

The Bible tells us that we should be watching in anticipation of the Lord’s return. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His time for not understanding the signs of their times concerning His first coming (Matt. 16:1-3). There are more prophecies concerning Jesus’s second coming, so how much more should we be aware of the times we’re living in and warn others of what’s to come?

In this article, I want to focus on the coming conflict and war that the Bible tells us will occur in the Middle East but, before that, want to call to our attention to some current events that help us paint a better picture of where we are and where the Bible says we’re going.

 

Struggle at the Strait of Hormuz

As of the publishing of this article – June 28th, 2019 – we’ve just recently had one of the most interesting weeks (in my opinion) in terms of geopolitical developments in the Middle East! If you’ve been keeping up with current events concerning the Middle East, you’d know that the US and Iran have had growing tensions for a while now. On June 13th, 2019, Iran allegedly struck 2 oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz (in the Gulf of Oman).

The US was quick to blame Iran for the attack and provided video footage showing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing unexploded mines from one of the oil tankers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

Unsurprisingly, Iran denied the claim. This comes at a time of already-increasing tensions as Iran stated in April they would attempt to disrupt the flow of oil in the Strait of Hormuz, and it seems they plan to break the 2015 nuclear deal, something the US did last year.

 

Heightened Tensions in the Middle East

 

As Washington began discussing possible retaliation to Iran’s strikes on the 2 tankers, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi – a top Chinese government diplomat – denounced US pressure on Iran and called for Iran to not drop out of the 2015 nuclear deal. He warned for the world to not open a “Pandora’s box” in the Middle East in light of increasing tensions, stating, “We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora’s box…In particular, the U.S. side should alter its extreme pressure methods…Any unilateral behavior has no basis in international law. Not only will it not resolve the problem, it will only create an even greater crisis.”

As things seemed to wind down after the strikes on the tankers on June 13th, Iran decided to strike down a US drone in the area. Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard claimed, “It shot down the drone Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace.” Trump denied this, claiming that the drone was in fact in international waters.

With this unprovoked act of aggression, many at the time believed the only thing to do was to retaliate – something other parties were also worried about. That same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a warning to the US concerning any attempts for a military confrontation with Iran, warning that it would be a catastrophe.

When asked about the possibility of a U.S.-Iran war, Putin said it’s a scenario he hopes not to see. “It would be a catastrophe, for the region at the very minimum, because it will lead to an increase of violence, and potential increase in refugees from the region,” the Russian president said. “But also, for those who would attempt it, it could have possibly sad consequences.”

 

Wavering Resolve

With the attack on the tankers and the US drone, it seemed as if retaliation was inevitable. On the day the drone was struck down, Trump first responded by saying “Iran made a very big mistake!” and told reporters we’d have to wait and see what action they take. However, later, he told reporters that he found it hard to believe. “I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said at the White House. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”

With this change of mind, Israel became worried that due to the unwillingness of the US to retaliate, it may embolden Iran to grow more aggressive in the region, leaving some Israeli officials speculating if Iran purposely shot down the drone “as a test of the Trump administration’s resolve.”

Why this is important to note is because a more aggressive Iran means an Israel that’s more determined to protect itself in the face of threats. Iran has made it its mission to wipe Israel off the map, and they pursue this agenda by using their proxies (Hezbollah and Hamas) in the region. Israel has stated multiple times that they will do what it takes to defend themselves.

Trump did, in fact, decide to not retaliate militarily, bringing Israel’s fears to life because doing so would potentially have killed 150 people. “US President Donald Trump said the US was ‘cocked and loaded’ to retaliate against Iran for downing an American drone Thursday, but canceled the strikes 10 minutes before they were to be carried out after being told some 150 people could die.” However, a cyber-strike on Iran’s missile systems was launched Thursday night (June 20th) and was in the works for weeks, first as a means of retaliation against the attacks on the 2 oil tankers.

 

Prophetic Implications

Hezbollah's rocket and missile capabilies

So where does all of this currently leave us? After a week (June 13th – June 21st) of high stakes tensions, things have seemed to calm down. This is all interesting to know, but why should the average Christian need to be paying attention to all of this? In January, I wrote an article (Escalation in the Middle East) concerning an increase in tensions between Israel, Syria, Iran, and its proxies and how the war of words and threats would eventually lead to action, tying it back to the Bible.

Now in June, we’ve found ourselves in a more fragile position. The question is where are we going? As the world looks at the Middle East with bewilderment and frustration, what should our response be? The believer in Christ has no need to worry but can, instead, rest in God’s Word and trust in what has been written over 2,500 years ago. Things in the world may seem like their falling apart, but in actuality, everything’s falling into place.

The Bible makes it clear to us that in these last days there will be confrontation between Israel and other nations. This isn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” The 2 notable prophecies regarding this are Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39. Isaiah 17 tells us about the complete destruction of Damascus, Syria which may be perpetrated by Israel (Isa. 17:1, 9, 14).

Based on the prophecy, it appears that Israel will suffer loss – noted as “the glory of Jacob will wane, And the fatness of his flesh grow lean” (Isa. 17:4, NKJV) – but will retaliate.“This is the portion of those who plunder us, And the lot of those who rob us” (Isa. 17:14, NKJV).

Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies about a coming war against Israel. This war will include Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and other nations (identifiable by their ancient and modern names) that will come against Israel. It will be such a great force that Israel will not be able to defend itself, nor will any nation come to its rescue. But God alone will protect her.

The timing of these prophecies themselves is difficult to place. They could occur before the tribulation, but many also believe they could occur within the tribulation itself. I personally plan to do more study in this area and present my findings in the future.

A possible scenario we could have is a more aggressive or emboldened Iran that increases their attacks on Israel by staging a multi-front attack or through the launching of thousands of missiles putting her in an existential crisis. To add to this, Iran and its proxies have soldiers and weapons in Syria and specifically Damascus.

Israel could level Damascus as possible retaliation, in turn angering Iran, Russia, and Turkey who also have their troops and weapons in Syria and are allied with Iran. This act of aggression would possibly justify (in their eyes) any act of retaliation this coalition would have as they decide to mount a combined offensive against the nation of Israel.

I’ll be the first to admit I could be incorrect in how this may transpire or the spark that may cause all of this to start. However, one thing I do know is that this isn’t a matter of “if” but, rather, “when.” Even the secular world without believing in the Bible already believes we’re one incident away from a possible World War 3 scenario – that’s how fragile things are now.

The nations of Ezekiel 38-39

What we’re witnessing today is the world stage being set for prophecies such as these to be fulfilled. Christians have been preaching about the reality of these prophecies for a long time now, but the secular world is just catching up to what’s been written in the Bible for millennia. At the same time, the secular world just now talking about this also shows the time we’re in and the near fulfillment of these prophecies.

If you’re either unfamiliar with this interpretation of events or you think me or other Christians are somehow overreaching in what we believe the Bible’s saying, below are several examples of articles that are speculating on a likely future confrontation between Russia and Israel as well as Israel and Iran and its proxies. Although I won’t be going into great details on the contents of the articles here, the headlines speak for themselves.

  1. The Great Middle Eastern War of 2019 (August 20th, 2018)
  2. Russia: A Friend of Israel or Prophetic Enemy From the North? (January 30th, 2019)
  3. Future Conflicts will Bring ‘Widespread Missile Fire on Israel,’ Cautions Former IAF (March 7th, 2019)
  4. Iran threatens to attack Israel if the US launches an assault on it with the aircraft carrier now in the region (May 13th, 2019)
  5. Israel vs. Russia: The Middle East War That Could Become a Nuclear Train Wreck (May 19th, 2019)

All of these articles, to some degree, are echoing the same idea – an impending conflict or war with Russia, Syria, Iran, and its proxies (Hezbollah and Hamas), something Christians have been saying for years.

The point of this article is to express how quickly things are converging and where the Bible says we’re headed. For the believer in Christ, these events excite us. This doesn’t mean we look forward to war and violence, but rather, we know these things are coming and rejoice in the fact that, if we see these events on the horizon, it means the rapture of the church is near! However, for those who have yet to put their faith in Christ, all of this serves as a warning of the coming tribulation – a 7 year period of time that will be the worst time in human history.

This is something I don’t wish for anyone to go through, but if you haven’t placed your faith in Christ’s sacrifice at the cross, you will be left behind to face the horrors of the tribulation. I challenge you to consider what’s been presented in this article. Going forward, I plan to continue this series as the world stage continues to be set and the prophetic puzzle pieces become clearer to us.

If you’re interested in other articles like this, navigate to my commentary page and follow me on my social media platforms to stay up to date with the latest news. Time is short, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Make sure you’ve made the right decision about Jesus today! It will be the most important decision of your eternal life.

 

 

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on himitsustudy.com

Featured Image by Hans Dorries
In-Text Image 1 by Pexels
In-Text Image 2: Hezbollah is the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, and has been described as “a militia trained like an army and equipped like a state” (As of July 2018, Source).
In-Text Image 3: The prophecy informs that, in the latter years, the invaders will attack Israel to capture plunder and booty. They covet Israel’s economic prosperity and conspire militarily to confiscate this livelihood as part of their spoils of war (Source).

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About the Author

Ayo is an energetic blogger striving to use his insights and God given talents to share the Gospel. Through his blog, he aspires to point skeptics of the bible to the truth of the Gospel using apologetics. His aspires to also inform others - both believer and non-believer - regarding the times we're living in preceding the Lord's soon return through the study of prophecy. He hopes to both inform his readers with facts, equip them with tools to communicate the Gospel, and offer hope and encouragement through God's Word.