Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rumors of Wars

When Jesus tells His followers to watch for His return, He makes it a point to be clear about what we are to watch for. If we want to consider the possibility that He lists what to watch for in order of it's importance, we might do well to notice the second thing He describes for us is contained in the phrase "wars and rumors of wars". The word rumors is only found in the Bible twice, and only in this passage and in the Mark account where Jesus is talking about the signs of the end. That fact caught my eye immediately, and probably is very important in order to understand what Jesus is trying to tell us. The Greek word for rumor found here comes from a root word which means to "report". So the thought here seems to be that Jesus is saying we need to watch for reports about the possibility of a coming war. Since we have already decided that our watching is not to be random but specific, and the next major event in Israels' history will be the destruction of Damascus, it follows we should be watching the news for reports of a possible conflict that could fulfill this specific prophecy.

Now it is probably almost impossible to find anyone who is not familiar with the problem of Iran attempting to obtain a nuclear weapon. Their pursuit of a nuclear capability has been reported in the news for several years now, as well as the statements by Israel that they will never allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. Obviously, although the nations of the world have attempted to slow or stop Iran's progress, the fact remains that they have moved ever closer to their goal. Conversely, if history has taught us anything about Israel it's that they will do anything they feel is necessary to protect the survival of their nation and people. If they say they are going to do something, you would be foolish to ignore their warning. Yet despite these warnings, Iran seems intent to do just that. It makes me wonder if in fact, Iran for some reason is intent upon provoking an attack. Now you might wonder if a conflict with Iran is what is being "rumored", what has that to do with the prophecy of Damascus we are watching for? The answer to that may be found in what else Iran has also been quietly doing for the past several years.

Many may have forgotten the Lebanon War of 2006, in which the radical terrorist organization Hezbollah launched approximately 4000 rockets into Israel from Lebanon. Fortunately for Israel, the damage from these attacks was not as bad as it could have been for the rockets available to Hezbollah were small, unreliable, and for the most part unguided. Since then, however, it has been reported that they have rearmed with more than 30,000 rockets of a much more sophisticated capability, a much larger payload, and an increased range that puts most of Israel at risk. Where have these rockets come from you ask? Not surprisingly, they are coming from Iran, and what's more, Iran is not selling them to Hezbollah, they are giving. Even better, Iran doesn't send them all the way to Lebanon, but rather they fly them to Damascus where Hezbollah picks them up for transport back to Lebanon. Why would Iran be investing so much in this particular way? The simple answer is that they lack the ability to attack Israel from their own territory. To try and respond militarily to any attack by Israel from their own country would be futile. The distance is too great for any rocket response, and a ground offensive couldn't proceed through Iraq because our forces are in the way. They could, however, tell Syria and Hezbollah to launch every rocket they have into Israel in the hope the destruction would be so massive that Israel would be unable or unwilling to respond. If this scenario were to occur, I believe the Bible has already told us what Israels' response would be; and I for one, wouldn't want to be living in Damascus.

On October 19Th, at a speech in Seattle, vice presidential candidate Biden stated that as President, Barack Obama would be tested by the world just as John Kennedy was. What's more, he said it would be within 6 months. Why? Maybe because it has also been reported that both presidential candidates had recently been provided with information from the current administration that Iran would be able to construct a nuclear bomb by February 2009, just 3 months from now. That of course, only leaves Israel 3 months to do something about it. What will happen when they do, and does the Bible give us any clues as to when this will happen? I believe it does, and that fact along with the events occurring in the political arena both here in the United States as well as in Israel, are rapidly combining to produce what could easily be described as the "perfect storm".

Note: Some of you have had the opportunity to read my book about this coming conflict, and have asked if more copies are available. The good news is that I have had it converted to a PDF file so it can be downloaded and read with Adobe Acrobat Reader. The bad news is I have no idea how to get it on this page for downloading, so if you want a copy please just e-mail me and ask for a copy and I will e-mail it to you. Check my profile for the e-mail address. Thanks, Allan