Tensions in the Middle East: What Do They Tell Us?

Wow! What an event-filled first week of 2020!  Earthquakes.  Floods.  Assassinations.  Riots in the streets.  Continued political intrigue.  The clock is ticking toward the coming of the Savior!  Now, that is great news!

Tensions were stretched razor-thin in the Middle East as Iran and the United States conducted their own version of a "stare-down."  Our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, was attacked by a rioting crowd of Iranian-backed Iraqi militants.  They were able to breach the outer wall, but could not penetrate the interior of the embassy.  After two days, the assault was over.  Then came the rocket attack that killed General Soleimani and several others just outside the Baghdad airport.  Immediately Iranian leaders threatened the destruction of American assets in the Middle East.  Last night, following the three days of mourning for the General, Iran did launch about a dozen missiles toward joint Iraqi-American airbases but caused little damage and no casualties.  As of this morning, President Trump affirmed that Iran was standing down in their immediate threats. 

What has been noticeable in this situation has been the silence on the part of the Chinese and Russian leaders.  After all, those nations last month conducted joint military exercises in the Gulf of Oman.  The relationship between Iran and Russia has only increased in strength over the years.  Yet, when the second most powerful person in Iran is assassinated, the only thing heard from the Chinese and Russians is "crickets."  Exactly what is the meaning of the silence I do not know. 

So what happens now?  That is the sixty-four million dollar question.  Yesterday Iranian President Rouhani said that Iran would no longer abide by the Iran Agreement, which only the European Union members were supporting presently since President Trump pulled the United States out of that treaty.  That means that the Iranians will move forward with the intent of creating some type of nuclear weapon.  Many nuclear experts had indicated that it could take less than a year before Iran would have such a weapon.  We already know that they have the missile capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon almost anywhere in the world - certainly cities within Israel are within striking distance.  But Washington DC and New York City could also be potential targets, especially if such a weapon would be delivered via submarine or ship.  The thought of a nuclear Iran is frightening to nearly everyone as is the thought of a nuclear North Korea.  Both nations are under the leadership of unstable men.  Both nations believe strongly that they are right and everyone else in the world is wrong.  Both nations have not been adverse to using their people indiscriminately.  Just look at the number of Iranians who died during the Iran-Iraq War years ago.  Just consider how both Iran and North Korea have tortured and executed thousands of their own citizens.  Those regimes are reckless.  Would they use restraint in launching a nuclear attack?  It is highly unlikely.

What will be the response of those nations that border Iran?  What will be the response of the European Union?  What will be the response of both Russia and China?  What will be the response of the United States?  Stepped up economic sanctions will only hurt the common people within Iran, people who are already hard-pressed just to survive.  Will they become angry enough at the leadership of the mullahs that they will rise up in rebellion against them and the Iranian Republican Guard?  Oh the questions that are upon the table seeking answers in the coming weeks and months. 

Remember this: God is not done with Iran.  He still has a purpose for them to fulfill, a purpose that is outlined in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  Yes, Iran will invade Israel, but not with nuclear weapons.  Yes, they will be joined in that invasion by the armies of both Russia and Turkey.  And there upon the "mountains of Israel", as Ezekiel proclaims, God will destroy them.  It will not be an Israeli air strike.  It will not be a successful defense by the Israeli Defense Forces.  No, Ezekiel tells us that God Himself will step in with His destructive hand and those armies will be destroyed. 

So, friends, whatever will happen, rest assured that Iran will not be utterly destroyed.  Its nuclear capabilities might no longer exist, but its hatred for Israel and for the West will still be its passion.  I am so glad that God is in total control, aren't you?  It is amazing to watch Him accomplish His purposes through the nations of the world.  Keep on looking up.  Keep one eye on the biblical account and one eye on the news reports.  Is there a relationship between the two?  Absolutely!  God is writing His Story!


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