Sunday, February 12, 2012

One Step Closer

By all accounts, events in the Middle East seem to be reinforcing the belief that a war is not only possible, but inevitable. Each week brings even more reports that prompt many to not only predict the imminence, but even go so far as to speculate on dates the conflict will erupt. When I wrote in 2007 about the possibility that the prophecy in Isaiah referred to the use of WMD's, little did I know how overt the preparations for that scenario might become.

Reports surfaced this past week revealing the movement of chemical weapons inside of Syria in obvious preparation for use either against their own people or to be launched into Israel. We also have seen a marked increase in language condemning Israel coming from Russia. Since many believe the prophecies of Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38 are related, one the result of the other, what we see may well be the preparation for the fulfillment of these two events.

One of the points I have made in the past few years in regards to the use of WMD's is that I firmly believe Israel does not make the choice to launch one preemptively, rather it is a response to their use by Syria which results in the destruction of Damascus. What is important to note is that the while the government of Syria makes no secret of the fact that they have an extremely large arsenal of chemical weapons, they also have demonstrated in the past they are more than willing to use them.

It was also reported Saturday that Iran is expected to make a major announcement concerning it's nuclear program sometime this week, which could add more urgency to Israel in making a decision about the possibility of military action. Looking at all that is going on in context with the prophecies concerning Israel, is it any wonder many are expecting their fulfillment in the very near future? What follows is a small portion of what I wrote concerning the relationship between Iran and Syria, and just how it might result in the decision to use a weapon of mass destruction against Israel.

The relationship between Iran and Syria is complicated, but the one thing that remains clear is that Iran has invested a lot of money, materiel, and personnel to develop and upgrade Syria’s military capabilities. Much of Syria’s missile technology and armament has been provided by Iran, and at present it is reported as fact by many intelligence sources that members of the Iranian Republican Guard are in Syria helping develop and train Syrian troops. So the question must be asked, just what does Iran want from Syria in exchange for all of this help?

There is no question that Syria now finds itself indebted to Iran in a very big way, so it's logical to wonder to what extent Syria might go in order to repay the debt, or, for that matter, how much would Iran require as a payback for its investment? Iran has made known their desire for the total annihilation of Israel, and even gone so far as to brag about how many missiles could be launched in the event of a conflict, however most intelligence organizations agree their boast exceeds their capabilities. This fact leads many to wonder if Iran has agreements with other Arab countries for help in any attack on Israel. If so, this would easily explain the extent to which they have gone to arm Syria with weapons and technology they have not previously possessed. It may well, in fact, explain one of the most disturbing reports to come out of that region in the recent past which is the Jane's Defense Weekly report about the WMD accident in Syria. If Syria indeed has the capability to launch a WMD into Israel, is it possible that Isaiah is trying to tell us this is exactly what is going to happen?

Let's look a little closer at the prophecy in Isaiah and examine exactly what it says. In the Isaiah oracle it says;

The cities of Aroer [are] forsaken; They will be for flocks Which lie down, and no one will make [them] afraid.
Isaiah 17:2 NKJV

The word "forsaken" in the Hebrew is "azab" which means "to depart, abandon, loose, relinquish, leave." The first thing that crossed my mind when I read this was not what it does say, but what it doesn't say. It doesn't say that Aroer is destroyed; only abandoned. It also says “cities” which gives the impression of a very large area being affected. I believe this may be our clue to understanding the entire scenario Isaiah presents here. If we look at this with the understanding of what technology Syria now possesses, it seems extremely possible that Isaiah is describing an attack on Israel with a weapon of mass destruction, such as a chemical, biological, or possibly a nuclear "dirty bomb" warhead. This would perfectly explain why this area is "abandoned" but not destroyed.

Isaiah even goes so far as to say that only animals will wander this area. Why would that be? If an attack of this type occurs, after the evacuation, the contaminated area would be quarantined and posted with warning signs in order to keep the public out. Unfortunately for animals, they can't read, and although I’m sure there would be patrols to keep people from entering the area, they aren’t going to be too concerned with policing the wild animals that want to wander. This area in Israel is well within range of Syria's Scud missiles, and we know they are placing chemical warheads on them. The area known as Aroer is now home to Israel’s nuclear research facility named Dimona. That would, in effect, make it a logical place to attack, and a very worthy target, but the real question is obviously why?

Again, I believe the most logical reason returns us to the question of Iran. Iran is at present considered to be the most dangerous, if not unsettling country in the Middle East. Their pursuit of nuclear capabilities has the attention of the entire world, and most fear what they intend to do when they achieve their goal. A military response by the west has been in the forefront of the news for more than a year now, and speculation on the possibility of a strike to cripple their facilities makes the news almost weekly. Iran has made it very clear what they intend to do if attacked by the west, and as you might expect, they include an attack on Israel as part of that response. The trouble is, while they boast about just how many missiles they would launch against the west if attacked, we know they do not possess near the number they promise to launch in response. If their threat is to be taken seriously and not as just bluster and exaggeration, the only answer to the question of how they would accomplish this is if they intend to enlist the help of another country or countries. What exactly would happen if Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Syria all began to fire their entire arsenals at Israel at the same time? Is it possible Iran is not bluffing? Does Iran have the leverage over these organizations to the point they could compel them to join in a response against Israel?

The world waits to see what Israel or the United States will do about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the news is full of speculation about existing plans to strike Iran militarily. Could an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities provoke a response against Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona? If so, the most important question we can ask at this point is just what kind of response could the world expect from Israel if they were attacked by all these organizations at the same time, especially if the attack included WMD's? The answer to that question might have already been written in something known as the Sampson Option.

Below you will find links to some of the articles that appeared this past week in regards to what we have talked about today. I hope you will find them useful in drawing your own conclusions as to what is happening in the Middle East, and perhaps motivate you to join myself and others as we watch expectantly for the return of Christ for His church.

Keep watching.

Assad forces mull use of chemical weapons in Homs, opposition says

The Syrian Dictatorship Prepares for Chemical Warfare

Russia to lash Israel for War Rhetoric against Iran

Iran to announce 'very major' nuclear advance

Krauthammer: Israel ‘will strike’ Iran to ‘prevent a second holocaust’