“ISIS out, Iran in” – a Very Serious Problem along Israel’s Borders

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of their meeting in Sochi on August 23, 2017. (AFP Photo/Sputnik/Alexey Nikolsky)
Netanyahu, Putin meet in Sochi, August 23, 2017 (Photo credit: Reuters)

Just yesterday, in a 3-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian resort city of Sochi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern regarding Iran’s presence in Syria, particularly on Israel’s borders.  Iranian troops are filling the void left in areas where ISIS is being driven out.

“With joint efforts we are defeating Islamic State and this is a very important thing. But the bad thing is that where the defeated Islamic State group vanishes, Iran is stepping in….Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent…Lebanon….we cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. It arms terrorist organizations, it sponsors and initiates terror.”
~Benjamin Netanyahu (8/23/2017)

Talk of Iran’s missile development and disregard for UN sanctions and the Iranian Nuclear Deal were a part of the conversation, as were intelligence secrets regarding Iran.  Putin, at least in the “made for TV” press briefing, seemed to be rather disinterested.  Hopefully the 3-hour discussion out of site of TV cameras yielded a bit of sensitivity for the Israeli predicament.

Right now, I’m in the midst of finalizing a new Bible study called What in the World is Going On, and following today’s news is a bit like reading Bible prophecies written on newsprint!  Syria is the battleground, but a coalition of Russian, Iranian and Turkish interests are building in opposition to Israel.

If you are familiar with Ezekiel 38, you know that Russia and Iran will lead a large coalition from the north into Israel in the last days.  But, beyond that, here are some things to think about:

  • Is it any wonder Putin seemed disinterested?  Perhaps he WAS more interested during private meetings, but nothing I’ve seen indicates that this meeting had much of an impact on Putin.
  • Russia and Iran are heavily entangled militarily.  Russia has built nuclear facilities in Iran and has provided instruction from the best nuclear scientists in Russia.  Recently, Iran received shipment of the S-300 missile defense system from Russia.  But above all, the Bible names them as co-conspirators and leaders of the conflict known as the War of Gog and Magog.
  • Syria is a key factor.  That’s the battleground right now, but won’t be for long.  Isaiah 17:1 tells us Damascus (Syria’s capital city) will be utterly destroyed.  Damascus is known to have the largest cache of chemical weapons (and perhaps other “dirty” bombs) in the region.  Right now, these rogue regimes are active in Syria:
    • Syrian President Assad (who used chemical weapons on his own Syrian citizens)
    • Rebels (opposing the Assad regime)
    • Russia (propping up the Assad regime in order to protect their interests in the region)
    • ISIS (intent on capturing as much territory as possible…but losing ground at the moment)
    • Iran (focused on setting up camp on Israel’s borders)
    • Turkey (wishing to protect its interests in opposition to the Kurds)
    • Kurds (desirous of creating a state for themselves)
  • With that much chaos in Syria, it is not difficult to imagine Damascus falling into the hands of “bad guys!”
  • With pressure from Iran on their borders, will Israel be forced to take action before Iran does?  If so, will Damascus be in the line of fire?
  • Some believe (as I do) the destruction of Damascus could be the spark that lights the fuse of the Ezekiel 38 War of Gog and Magog.
  • Russia, Iran and Turkey are already in position, just outside Israel’s borders.

So, as I put the final touches on a new study dealing with current events, I’m just hoping I don’t have to re-write much of it prior to teaching it!

The study will start Sunday, September 17 and will run through November.  If you are in Phoenix area, why not join us at Calvary Community Church?  We’ll be at Northwest campus at 9:00am each Sunday, and at Central campus at 11:00am each Sunday.  (Find a map and more information here.)  Invite your friends and come join us!

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