Life in a Dangerous and Unfriendly Neighborhood

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As we know, Israel will ultimately face 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.

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Also, keep in mind that Turkey is among the nations listed in Ezekiel 38, while Syria and Lebanon (currently puppet-states of Iran) are not.

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) Until a few years ago, Turkey was one of Israel’s strongest Middle East allies.  In fact, Turkey was a Middle East ally of Israel.  For many years, they joined together in routine air combat training over the deserts of Turkey.  However, that ceased a few 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 have taken Israel’s place in training missions with Turkey?  Does that cause you concern?  Why or why not?

Indeed, some nations once friendly toward Israel have done an about face.  In fact, Turkey continues to sever ties with Israel and turn more and more toward alliances with other Muslim countries.  (The good news is that in recent times, other Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates seem to have warmed up to the Israelis.  However, it is too soon to tell if those nations will truly stick by Israel if conflict develops with other Arab nations.)

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)

Hezbollah, a recognized terrorist organization, has practically taken over the tiny nation.  Who do you suppose is behind Hezbollah, supplying them with weapons and 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.

Since that time, a different Iranian president has taken the helm.  Considered “moderate” by some, current president Hassan Rouhani carries the same hatred of Israel, yet is much more self-controlled than Ahmadinejad.  Thus, he is not considered the threat that Ahmadinejad was.  However, he was the primary Iranian thrust to the Nuclear Deal signed during the Obama administration.  His sights, too, are set on the destruction of Israel, which feeds right into what we read in Ezekiel 38!

Fellow Sojourners, we are seeing prophecy fulfilled in our day.  We are all wise to read the headlines while keeping an eye 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!

(This teaching originated in the Bible study, Looking for the Blessed Hope.  You will find the entire study posted on the left sidebar.)

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