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Rumours of War
A new Cold War & a Possible Hot One!
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September 5, 2008 - Audio, 9.30 MIN
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Hello again! This is Paul Billington with another edition of the Bible in the News. As the stand-off between Russia and the West continues this week, and U.S. warships cross the Black Sea with “aid” to Georgia, one thing seems fairly clear; When the Bear comes to push and shove, Europe will capitulate. A few noises of protest maybe--but certainly no will to fight for freedom. In accordance with Bible prophecy, it requires no stretch of the imagination to see Russia becoming triumphant over Europe.
But let us now look further south, and at another Bear--Iran! In Bible prophecy ancient Persia (known as aryan, or Iran) is a component in the great metallic image of Daniel chapter two. It is the second phase of the kingdom of men, answering to the silver chest and arms of the image. In Daniel chapter 7:5 it is a beast like a bear.

Today everyone knows what Iran thinks of Israel. The Iranian president has said that Israel should be wiped off the map. The fear has been whether justified or not--that this modern Persian bear has been busily developing the nuclear capability of doing just that. And no one is more sensitive to that than Israel itself of course.

This has been pointed out to Iran this week by the President of France who has been on a visit to Syria. "Sarkozy warns Iran it Risks Israeli Attack" was a Reuters headline. The French President  was reported as saying: "Of course the West is frightened. We don't want the nuclear bomb in the Middle East."

An interesting and informative article appeared in Forbe's magazine (Sept. 2, 2008) which I want to pass on to you in full. The heading was: "Iran Confrontation Coming." The article read as follows:

"After four years of intense but ineffective diplomacy Israel and the U.S. will soon decide whether or not the murderous mullahs of Iran will get the bomb. Steps short of war are still possible, but time is running out. Iran is heavily dependent on gasoline imports. A blockade would quickly bring the enfeebled Iranian economy to its knees. Unemployment is high, and not even burgeoning oil revenue is enough to buy off the populace. Even the French oil company Total is pulling out.

"Israeli intelligence believes Tehran will have a nuclear device by the end of 2009. Our own intelligence puts the date between 2010 and 2015. Iran's recent missile tests demonstrate that it is fully capable of delivering the bomb anywhere in Europe. By using a ship Iran could easily lob one into the U.S. Most of Europe, Russia and China, as well as our own State Department, think the world should learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, even one run by bloodthirsty zealots. After all, the Islamic fascists' real target is not them but Israel.

"The problem for Israel is acute. One or two nuclear weapons could virtually wipe out its population. Israel does not have an effective missile defense system, either for ballistic missiles or Hezbollah rockets fired from Lebanon. Moreover, next year the Russians will be delivering an antiaircraft system to Iran that, when operational, will pose real problems for Israeli bombers.

"If Senator Barack Obama wins the presidential election in November, the Israelis will feel intense pressure to act before he takes the oath of office in January. If Senator John McCain wins, the Israelis may feel there are a few more months before an irrevocable decision must be made. McCain might well have the fortitude to impose a blockade, but Obama certainly will not. The odds that President Bush will have the U.S. destroy Iran's nuclear facilities are almost nil.

"Unless there is a regime change in Iran (the army may decide to take matters into its own hands) or, miraculously, the clerical extremists decide to give up their nuclear ambitions, the Israelis will strike. The war will be ugly. It will take several days of strikes to truly damage Iran's nuclear facilities. And Iran will launch retaliatory missiles against Israel.

"Worse, the Israelis will be battling on several fronts. In 2006, when Israel invaded Lebanon to neutralize Iran-supported Hezbollah, that fanatical army had about 14,000 rockets. Today Hezbollah has some 40,000 rockets. In 2006 Hezbollah fired off thousands of rockets into Israel. While the casualties were few, the disruptions were many, as more than 200,000 Israelis moved to the south of the country. This time there will be many more disruptions and casualties. Hamas, which rules Gaza and has great influence over much of the other Palestinian territories, will also fire rockets into Israel, as well as try to send in suicide bombers. Iran will put pressure on its semisatellite, Syria, to fight Israel--which is why the Israeli government has been working overtime to see if it can reach a peace agreement with Damascus.

"The impact on the rest of the world will be severe, as Iran will--at least temporarily--block shipments of oil from Iraq and the other Gulf states by firing missiles at tankers.

"Will Washington be better prepared for what may happen between Israel and Iran than it has been for the credit crisis?"

So, the rumour of war is clearly in the world's news at the moment. But Bible prophecy is always ahead of the news--and two things are clearly revealed to us.

First, Israel will survive this time of crisis. Israel will be there and will be redeemed by her Messiah and Saviour. Secondly, Iran (and her original territory was much larger than it is now), is to come into alliance with Russia. She is to form part of the image-empire of Daniel chapter two, and will be part of it in "the latter days" (see Daniel 2:28). this is confirmed by Ezekiel 38:5. So both Israel and Iran will be active when the final crisis comes to pass.

But that does not exclude the possibility of war before those events. A major war and military confrontation in the Middle East may well take place--and especially if we see the prophecy of Daniel 11:40 in this context. Here we read that "the King of the South" is to push (or contend) with "him"--but what would happen if there was a confrontation with Iran? What other nations might become involved? Some have said that it could lead to world war--and Daniel 11:40 does speak of "the countries" being taken.

We may not know all the details, but we know enough to tell us what we need to know, and that is that we ourselves must be ready and prepared--perhaps for difficult times, and certainly for the Lord's coming.

There is no better way for us to prepare ourselves that by reading the word of God on a daily basis, and by thinking about what it has to tell us.

Yes, the Bible is in the News. So join us again next week God willing.

Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!