What’s the Latest in the Middle East? (Part 1)

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Current headlines seem to confirm day-by-day what the prophets of old predicted over 2,500 years ago. As those prophetic signs continue to flash like neon in today’s dark world, it becomes more and more difficult to deny the soon return of our Lord Jesus. We’ll discover why as we view some current events through the lens of Scripture.

Let’s start with the latest activity in and around Syria.  As you know, Israel rarely confirms or denies its military operations, yet in a very rare admission, Israeli officials recently confirmed hundreds of attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, including a heavy strike on weapons storehouses near the Damascus airport last Friday.  Over months of satellite surveillance and “on the ground” intel, the IDF observed daily flights from Tehran to Damascus.  Though the planes often appeared to be commercial jetliners, they were actually carrying arms from Iran.  In typical Israeli style, Iranian troops were allowed to fully fill weapon storehouses before the IDF took care of business!  One strike, lots of collateral!

Such was last Friday’s attack on military targets near the Damascus airport.  Initial reports from the Syrian government media were that Israeli missiles were all shot down.  Yet, here are before-and-after satellite images of one of the primary targets:

Furthermore, out of embarrassment, the Syrian media reported that civilian aircraft, not Iranian transport aircraft, were hit.  But the damage is clear.  It is believed key military personnel fighting for Iran also lost their lives in the strike.

Despite genocide and use of chemical weapons by its own leaders, Syria immediately filed complaints with the UN Security Council, claiming Israel is getting away with attacks.

Meanwhile, a war of words took place between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Donald Trump.  Erdogan’s desire to annihilate the Kurds in Syria is obvious and President Trump vowed to impose harsh economic sanctions on Turkey if they attack the Kurds.  Because Turkey’s economy is already tanking, Erdogan was forced to back down.  Discussions are now underway to create a security zone in Syria.

In other news, Israel announced they will soon wrap up Operation Northern Shield, the initiative to find and destroy Hezbollah terror tunnels from Lebanon into Israel.  The IDF located a sixth tunnel last week and believe it is the last Hezbollah attack tunnel dug into Israeli territory.  Early on in the operation, Hezbollah denied the existence of tunnels from Lebanon to Israel.  However, when the IDF pumped cement through the tunnels, it flowed out inside Lebanon!

Additionally, a power struggle is ensuing within the ranks of Hezbollah.  The tunnel scheme has not only been embarrassingly uncovered, but totally destroyed. It is also believed the key Hezbollah leader is hospitalized due to a severe illness.

Funded by Iran, the tunnels were meant to be a means of infiltration, kidnapping and massacre of innocent Israeli citizens.  Despite being in violation of international law, Hezbollah has been met with virtually no resistance beyond Israel.

So much more is happening in the Middle East, so we’ll examine more headlines tomorrow.  However, let’s get to the point of all this.  God revealed future events to Old Testament prophets who recorded their visions of what would take place in end times.  Today, we are watching 2,500-year old prophecies play out right before our very eyes.  For example, the prophet Isaiah predicted the fall of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1), and based on the current state of things in Syria, we wonder how much longer Damascus can stand. 

God gave Ezekiel a vision of a great invasion of Israel from the north.  A coalition, led by Russia, and including Iran and Turkey, will form in order to fulfill the prophecy of the War of Gog and Magog.  Ezekiel 38 describes it, and we are seeing it

What is one to do? 

But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

~Luke 21:28

Look up, my friends, look up!  Our redemption draws near!

See you tomorrow!

Perhaps No One has Ever Gotten it Done in the UN Like Nikki Haley

As 2018 comes to a close, we say good bye to one of America’s most powerful, yet civil, servants.  Nikki Haley’s job as US Ambassador to the United Nations ends as the final page blows off the 2018 calendar and we will all miss her candor, delivered with integrity.

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I am not a political expert, but I have found much in which to be impressed. An Indian-American, Haley grew up in the Sikh faith, but turned to Jesus at age 24 and now speaks forthrightly about Christianity and her personal relationship with Jesus, her Savior.  That faith has been a guiding light in public service, and she has been perhaps the most staunch supporter of Israel in US history.

According to her resignation letter to President Trump in October, she is returning to private life and will not be seeking election to any office in 2020.  She is a terrific public servant and I hope she will once again consider serving the American people.  Meanwhile, I pray she and her family reap blessings as a result of her faithful service.

She will be missed.

Here is her final address to the UN Security Council, delivered just a few days ago:

Thank you, Nikki Haley, for your service, and particularly your strong stance with Israel.

Anti-Israel Resolutions, “Operation Northern Shield,” and Political Drama in Israel

While hypocrisy continues to reign supreme at the United Nations, Israel is forced once again to take action to thwart Iranian-backed plans of attack, perhaps bolstering Netanyahu’s position as Prime Minister.

Lest you believe I’ve gone totally off the rails by lumping those current events into a hodgepodge of nonsense, stick with me.  I think we can draw it all together!

First, let’s tackle the kangaroo court known as the UN.  On Friday, six new anti-Israel resolutions passed, including two that reject Jewish ties to Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem.  (Others had to do with the “Syrian Golan Heights,” and “peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.”)

All this in an era where not one single resolution has been issued to deal with things such as the use of chemical weapons in the mass murder of Syrian civilians by the Syrian government; incessant missiles, fire kites, etc fired at Israeli citizens by Hamas; or Iranian violations of current UN resolutions prohibiting test firing of ballistic missiles.  Anti-Israel bias in the UN is as strong as ever.

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While the UN is busy entertaining (and passing) ridiculous resolutions, the IDF is busy taking care of business on Israel’s northern border.  Yesterday they launched “Operation Northern Shield.”  After a decade of patiently monitoring construction of terror tunnels by Hezbollah, and the recent escalation of Iranian aggression via its proxies, Israeli military leaders determined it is time to deal with the threat.  The IDF is now on mission to destroy terror tunnels from Hezbollah-controlled, Iranian-backed Lebanon into Israel.  (Here is a video detailing Hezbollah’s plans, in their own words!)

That leads us to the complicated political situation in Israel.  It’s a long story I won’t go into here, but suffice it to say the press is hounding Netanyahu as he battles accusations of bribery and fraud.  Meanwhile, his government almost blew up a couple weeks ago when Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned and left the coalition in protest of Netanyahu’s agreement to a ceasefire in Gaza.

That decision was criticized by many, though Netanyahu hinted that there were bigger fish to fry…but was unable to explain publicly.  Now we know what the “bigger fish” are: the Iranian-backed threat on the northern border.  Wisely, PM Netanyahu did not want to stretch his military thin, should more action break out on the northern border.

With a coalition hanging on by a thread, and a possible indictment over his head, “Operation Northern Shield” could not have come at a better time!  Particularly in Israel, leaders typically gain much greater support when national security is at stake.  (Find out more about that in Northern Shield was Planned, but its Political Timing is Impeccable.)

So, how do we tie it all together?  Easily.  Israel will ultimately stand alone, so action at the UN should be no surprise.  Iran and other foes will be relatively free to operate without major ramifications from the UN or anyone else, leaving Israel no choice but to take care of their own national security.  That requires strong leadership, and it seems that Benjamin Netanyahu has been called by God “for such a time as this.”  Will it last?  Perhaps not, as God alone…not Netanyahu, not the IDF, and not any other force…will deal with Israel’s enemies when the War of Gog and Magog actually occurs.

The time could be very near.

“Hamas is Not a Terrorist Group!”

Yes, I know we are celebrating the festive Hanukkah season, but unfortunately ridiculous news in the Middle East does not take a holiday!

The UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a resolution condemning Hamas for firing rockets at Israeli citizens, demanding an end to the incessant violence.  However, according to Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, “Hamas is not a terrorist group!”

What is interesting here is that Fatah and Hamas have been fighting one another for years over joint control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  The two organizations are fierce adversaries…unless, of course, Israel is involved.  In that case, they team up like long lost allies!

The Fatah spokesman went on to say that rather than condemning Hamas, Israel, “which is the true face of state-sponsored terrorism,” should be condemned.  

Another Fatah spokesman, Abbas Zaki, managed to cram his foot further in the Fatah-Hamas mouth when he said:

“If Hamas, which is practicing resistance, is labeled a terrorist movement, this would mean that all Palestinians practice terrorism. Hamas belongs to us and we belong to Hamas. We can’t leave Hamas to fight alone.”

Hamas is recognized by virtually the entire free world as an unquestionable terrorist organization.  Per Fatah’s assessment, it seems Hamas is not alone.

The resolution was drafted by the US and is reportedly supported by all EU nations.  Friends, please pray today that UN delegates from around the world will vote truthfully, and that a resolution condemning Hamas’ violence will finally be issued.

PS: We’ll return to our Hanukkah celebration tomorrow morning, so stay tuned!