World War 3 on the Horizon?

On January 3rd, 2020, US President, Donald Trump, authorized an airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

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On January 3rd, 2020, US President, Donald Trump, authorized an airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The Times of Israel reported,

“Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran’s Quds Force, was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport, Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday. The US Department of Defense confirmed it had carried out the airstrike. ‘General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,’ it said. ‘General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more'” (1).

Since this targeted killing of Soleimani, the world as a whole has been on edge in anticipation of the possible fallout of this airstrike. The Times of Israel goes on to state “Soleimani’s death will likely mark a major escalation in a simmering conflict between the US and Iran that recently boiled over in Iraq with the storming of the US embassy by pro-Iranian militiamen following a US strike on a Tehran-backed militia” (1).

Soleimani is an individual that had a hand in advancing Iran’s activities in the Middle East including gaining a foothold in Syria and rocket attacks in Israel, so his death is by no means a trivial matter to Iran, the US, Israel, and other parts of the world. Israeli deputy national security adviser, Chuck Freilich, also stressed this fact by highlighting he was “‘one of few truly irreplaceable’ figures in Iran, who masterminded many of the country’s military endeavors abroad and who was seen as a potential future leader of the Islamic Republic” (3).

The Times of Israel notes, Soleimani, a key enemy to not only the US and Israel but also Sunni nations throughout the Middle East, had been threatened with assassination by a variety of state actors over the years” (3). Due to Soleimani’s level of importance, his death is seen as a serious blow to Iran.

Inevitable Retaliation

Whether you disagree with the President’s actions or believe what he did was warranted, the fact is, what’s done is done and the US now has to deal with the possible consequences of it. “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Friday morning that a ‘harsh retaliation is waiting’ for the US after an American airstrike on a pair of cars at Baghdad’s airport killed Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran’s elite Quds Force” (2).

After the killing of Soleimani, it was clear to the world that what would come next is Iranian retaliation. Such speculation as to what could happen and when have even led the hashtag “#WWIII” to trend on Twitter and other social media platforms as fears of a possible world war grew.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated, Iran and the ‘free nations of the region’ would take revenge on the United States for the killing. There is no doubt that the great nation of Iran and the other free nations of the region will take revenge for this gruesome crime from criminal America” (2).

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif went on to say, “The malice and stupidity of America’s terrorist forces in assassinating General Soleimani, this hero martyr and the leader of combating terrorism and extremism, will certainly further empower the tree of resistance in the region and the world,” it said. The ministry said it would “use all its political, legal and, international capacities to enact the decisions of the Supreme National Security Council to make the murderous and terrorist regime of America answer for this clear atrocity” (2).

A Coming War with Iran?

Although this situation “marks a major escalation in the ongoing standoff between Washington and Tehran,” it’s yet to be seen the full implications this will have in the Middle East and the world as a whole. Are we truly heading into World War 3 or does the US simply need to brace for retaliation from Iran until this eventually “dies down?” Speculation abounds.

While this situation is a serious and delicate one and should be treated with the utmost care, I don’t believe this is leading to another world war. Iran itself has a history of using tough rhetoric without action being taken. This time we’ve seen Esmail Ghaani – Soleimani’s successor – threatened the US by stating “Be patient, and you will see the bodies of Americans all over the Middle East” (4). At the same time, a senior Iranian commander threatened that they were targeting around 35 US sites in the Middle East for retaliation.

President Trump, of course, had his own threats as a response, stating on Twitter Saturday evening, “Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American” (5).

Although much of these developments are still fairly recent and it’s still difficult to say what Iran (as well as their proxies) could do, as of the publishing of this article – January 5th, 2020 – we have begun to see some consequences of the assassination:

  • Iran said Sunday it would no longer abide by any of the limits of the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers (6)
  • Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of US troops from the country (7)
  • Hackers who claim to be working for the Iranian government have hacked a US government website in a “revenge” attack (8)
  • Iran has placed an $80 million bounty on Trump’s head (9)

Prophetic Implications

Although the world views this in a certain way, we need to look at these events through God’s word. For the Christian, we need to be reminded that these are the types of things that will categorize the last days and will only continue and get worse as we get closer to the tribulation. We shouldn’t get carried away or be fearful like others, but instead, trust in the Lord. Let’s keep in our prayers, US personnel in the Middle East and around the world who may face danger from Iranian retaliation.

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:3-8, NKJV).

Even after a couple of days after the initial airstrike, we’re starting to see the consequences of the US assassinating Soleimani. Iraq has held a vote to essentially end US military presence in the country while Iran is deciding to no longer abide by the limitations of the 2015 nuclear deal. In my opinion, there are two reasons these things could be prophetically significant.

In Ezekiel 38 we see many nations come against Israel for a spoil, but no one comes to her aid except God. The most we see is in Ezekiel 38:13 a few nations (believed to be Saudi Arabia, UK, Australia, and possibly the US) protest this invasion. Navigate to my article, The Coming Middle East War, to learn more about this prophecy and the nations involved. For years, people have been asking “where’s the US in all of this?” Could part of the fallout of this assassination be the US either being “pushed out” of the Middle East or restricted to act in certain capacities in the future, ultimately leading it to be out of the way when such a coalition comes against Israel?

In relation to Iran saying they won’t abide to the nuclear agreement, this could only mean they’ll ramp up their efforts for their nuclear ambitions. One of Iran’s often stated goals is to wipe Israel off the map. I highlight some of these threats in my article, Escalation in the Middle East.

Of course, Israel is watching Iran closely and has stated multiple times they will act for the safety of Israel if they’re threatened. Israel will prevent Iran from getting a weapon at all costs and will strike them first if necessary, leading to the possible fulfillment of prophecies such as Isaiah 17:1 and Ezekiel 38-39. Ultimately what I believe we’re seeing is more stage setting for the fulfillment of future prophecies. But to get there, it just might mean the Middle East needs to become more “destabilized” as we’re seeing and like many around the world fear. Ultimately, God is in control and all of this is leading to a foreknown end.

As Christians, we shouldn’t fear these things but instead, pay attention to them and realize that God is at work! These kinds of events show us how close the tribulation is, and even closer, the rapture of the church!

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. These are amazing times we’re living in as we see Bible prophecy unfolding right before our eyes and the world stage being set up for the fulfillment of many prophecies. 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.

Sources

  1. US kills powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad airstrike (January 3rd, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  2. Iran supreme leader vows ‘severe revenge’ after US kills top general Soleimani (January 3rd, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  3. By killing Soleimani, the US takes a dramatic step with unknown consequences (January 3rd, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  4. Soleimani successor promises ‘bodies of Americans’ across the Middle East (January 4th, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  5. Trump threatens to hit 52 Iranian sites if Tehran attempts reprisal (January 5th, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  6. Iran steps back from nuclear deal in wake of Soleimani killing (January 5th, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  7. Iraq’s parliament calls for expulsion of US troops (January 5th, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  8. World War III trends on social media following Soleimani killing (January 5th, 2020) – The Times of Israel
  9. ‘Iran’ launches cyber-attack on US government website warning ‘we’re always ready’ (January 5th, 2020) – Daily Star
  10. Iran puts an $80m BOUNTY on Donald Trump’s head… (January 5th, 2020) – Dailymail

 

 

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

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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.