The threatening rhetoric of Israel’s enemies is intensifying in the wake of the world’s condemnation of Israel enforcing the Naval blockade of Gaza. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said Israel must be me held to account for its action during a press conference with Syrian President Assad. Iranian President Ahmadinejad told an Istanbul crowd that the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla sounded “the death knell of the Zionist regime.”
These inflammatory statements are being made in an environment where the United States government is signaling weakness in standing with Israel as an ally. John Bolton’s assessment is that this will cause our allies to distance themselves from us resulting in the U.S. government being even more deliberative rather than taking decisive action. And this makes war more likely when rogue nations like North Korea and Iran realize that the United States is not going to stand by our allies when the going gets tough.
Israel knows how destabilizing it is for the U.S. to back away from supporting them and has been preparing for the inevitable war with their neighbors. The Israelis have been conducting readiness exercises and have requested from the U.S. more JDAM smart bombs along with a 50% increase in American army gear held in their emergency stores. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. complies with this request given the trend in our official support for Israel. Dragging our feet on this support request will do two things: (1) encourage Israel’s enemies to go to war with them before the U.S. policy changes and (2) make it more likely that Israel will have to use a nuclear weapon when there is a war.
Indications are that it is just a matter of time before war breaks out in the Mideast. Such a war could be initiated by Israel doing something preemptively against Iran’s nuclear weapon potential when it becomes clear that sanctions will not work. Our, even more likely, it could be initiated by Iran’s proxies Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria when they decide they have enough missiles massed to destroy Israel. It is hard to imagine either side waiting until next year when delay could put them at a disadvantage.
Jesus said that prior to His return, “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6, NKJ). He went on explain that wars are a sign of His coming when it becomes apparent, “these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). The original Greek word translated “sorrows” in the New King James version of the Bible means “birth pangs.” So a sign the Tribulation is near is when wars are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Israel has been involved in six wars since their inception in 1948 for an average of about one war every 10 years. Their most recent wars have happened more frequently, the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and the Gaza War in 2008. Given this trend, it will not be long before Israel sees another war. And given the preparedness of both sides, this next war is likely to be more intense and thus more decisive.
I also see significance in Israel’s next war being the seventh. The number seven represents “completion” in the Bible. Jesus said in Luke 21:24 that “Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” I would expect the “times of the Gentiles” to culminate in the Rapture of the Church because after this God resumes working through Israel again during the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27).
The next war in Israel will likely involve nuclear weapons. I’ve often thought that a great time for the Rapture would be when nuclear weapons are being used. People will be so distracted by the major geopolitical developments; they will not give a lot of thought to a few million Christians disappearing (consider 2 Thessalonians 2:11). If ever there is a silver lining to a nuclear war, that would be it.