Naughty Northern Neighbors

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As you learned yesterday, Israel faces difficult challenges from Russia, Iran and their coalition.  Let’s finish this week’s study by looking further at news regarding Ezekiel 38 Who’s Who nations.  We’ll focus on Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, all northern neighbors of Israel.  Review the map below to get a good sense of where those nations are located in relation to Israel.

Also, keep in mind that Turkey is among the nations listed in Ezekiel 38, and Syria and Lebanon are puppet-states of Iran.

Let’s review Ezekiel 38:1-6.  Please read that passage once more.  Of the ancient countries listed in that passage, which ones may refer to Turkey?  (Hint: see Who’s Who Among Northern Invaders) In recent history, Turkey has been one of Israel’s strongest Middle East allies.  In fact, Turkey has been one of only a few Middle East allies of Israel.  For many years, Turkey and Israel have joined together in routine air combat training over the deserts of Turkey.  However, that ceased several years ago.

Read Growing Ties Between Turkey, China, Iran Worry Israel and US (July 10, 2010; Haaretz.com.)  According to that article, who seems to be taking the place of Israel in those training missions?  Does that cause you concern?  Why or why not?

Indeed, Israel’s allies are very abruptly diminishing.  In fact, Turkey continues to sever ties with Israel and turn more and more toward alliances with other Muslim countries.

Lebanon, a tiny nation immediately north of Israel, along the Mediterranean Coast, has been a hot spot for Israel throughout much of history.  A significant conflict occurred in 2006 when Hezbollah paramilitary forces launched rockets into northern Israeli cities.  Israel’s military responded with air strikes and artillery fire on specific targets within Lebanon, Hezbollah’s base of operations in the area.  (If you are interested in detail, read more here.)

Tensions continue to mount there, as evidenced by the clash in January, 2015.  Read Deadly border clashes stoke fears of war in Israel, Lebanon (Washington Post, January 28, 2015)

A major concern regarding Lebanon is the presence of Hezbollah, a recognized terrorist organization that has practically taken over the tiny nation of Lebanon.  Who do you suppose is behind Hezbollah, supplying them with weapons and with finances in which to carry out these sorts of attacks against Israel?  None other than Iran, a co-leader of the soon coming northern invasion!  Do you see the table being set?

In October, 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a historic trip to Lebanon.  Read Ahmadinejad Tells Lebanese at Rally Near Israel Border: The Zionists will Disappear (October 14, 2010; Haaretz.com)  Having read that article, what do you believe Iran’s goal is in Lebanon?

Finally, let’s consider Syria.  Several terrorist organizations have headquarters in Damascus, Syria’s capital; and interestingly enough, God’s Word has a specific prophecy concerning Damascus.  In a later lesson, we’ll study more in depth about Bible prophecy concerning Syria.

Fellow Sojourners, we are seeing prophecy fulfilled in our day.  We are all wise to read the headlines with our eyes on Scripture!  Tomorrow’s headlines have already been written in God’s Holy Word, as He wrote history long before it happened!  What an incredible God!

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