>Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger come upon you [Second Coming of Jesus Christ]. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites [Philistia/Palestine]! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines [Palestinians], I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. — Zephaniah 2:1-6
– Zephaniah’s Prophecy Fulfilled Before Your Eyes:
1) Since December 27 40% of Ashkelon Residents Have Fled Hamas Rockets for Relative Safety of Northern Israel (source)
2) Defense Ministery Assumes Control over Local Government Functions in Southern Israel, Extends “Special Situation” Radius to Include Ashdod (source)
– Turkey: The Missing Link in the End-Times Russian-Arab Military Coalition against Israel
1) Jerusalem Post: Turkey under AKP Regime No Longer a Reliable NATO Ally, Drifting into Alliance with Russia and Iran
2) Ankara Offers to Send Troops to Gaza; Proposal Receives Warm Welcome from Hamas, Would Be First Turkish Troops in Vicinity of Israel since 1917
For students of Bible prophecy–particularly the end-times prophecies concerning the Magog invasion of Israel (Daniel 38 and 39), the obliteration of Damascus (Isaiah 17), and the demise of Gaza (Zephaniah 2, Zechariah 9)–an intriguing alignment of nations against Israel and its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead, has emerged in recent weeks and months. This alliance is led by the Russian Bear (Magog), which emerged from a 17-year hibernation last August when the Soviets re-invaded Georgia. Tbilisi’s army, much to the Kremlin’s displeasure, was trained and equipped by the USA and Israel. This may very well constitute the “hook in Gog’s jaws” (Ezekiel 38:4), which draws Magog to its supernatural doom on the mountains of Israel.
The modern coalition, per Ezekiel’s prediction, includes Iran (“Persia” until as recently as the early 20th century), Libya and Ethiopia (both by name in the Holy Scriptures), and Turkey (Togarmah), a secularized Muslim country that holds NATO membership and which has never before been in alliance with the Soviets or the Islamic states. Isaiah’s prophecy refers to Syria (Damascus), while Zephaniah’s prophecy mentions Syria (Assyria), Jordan (Moab, Ammon), and the Palestinians (Philistines). The King of Jordan’s website admits: “The Iron Age (c. 1200-332 BCE) saw the development and consolidation of three new kingdoms in Jordan: Edom in the south, Moab in central Jordan, and Ammon in the northern mountain areas.” Incidentally, in identifying themselves as Palestinians, Israel’s modern enemy is also identifying with the ancient pagan nation of Philistia, which caused so much grief for the ancient Hebrews.
The exact timing between these three prophecies is not clear, at least to your resident blogger, but it would appear that they will unfold in close proximity to one another.
First of all, the Russian Navy has reactiviated its Soviet-era maintenance and resupply site in Tartus, Syria, which can accommodate a dozen warships and presently hosts about 50 naval personnel and three floating piers. Russian media reports have suggested the facility could be turned into a base for the country’s Black Sea Fleet, which could lose its base in Sevastopol, Ukraine in 2017. On Monday, reports Novosti, Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the destroyer Admiral Levchenko arrived at Tartus on their tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea. “Our sources,” explains Debkafile, “believe Moscow may be signaling its disapproval of Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.”
More than a week ago the Admiral Kuznetsov’s deck-based fighter jets carried out drills in Greek airspace around the islands of Rhodes and Crete, before weighing anchor at the Turkish naval port of Aksaz, which is near Rhodes. Earlier on Monday the Russian and Turkish navies, presumably under the foolish provisions of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program, completed joint search and rescue operations. Greece and Turkey are both NATO member states but have growing military relations with Russia, the country that NATO was supposedly designed to hold at bay. During the Cold War joint military exercises between NATO and Soviet Bloc states would have been unthinkable.
Second, Turkey has positioned itself to become a key player in peace talks between Israel and its Arab Muslim enemies, especially Syria and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. On January 8 the Turkish media quoted government spokesman Cemil Iek as saying: “We can send troops to the region [Gaza] if it is going to contribute to peace.” Last week Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem in Turkey to discuss the implementation of a cease-fire in Gaza. “The international community must act in unity. Nothing is more valuable than the lives of people,” Babacan told reporters at a joint press conference, “Any ceasefire should be monitored by international groups. Turkey would not shy away from undertaking such a mission if it were asked to contribute.” Finally, a Turkish diplomat complained, “We were disappointed when the indirect peace talks we had been mediating since May between Syria and Israel were dealt a blow by Israel’s military incursion into Gaza. Turkey has a privileged position: it is anchored in the West but also has an influence in its region.”
Although Egypt’s government, which is theoretically at peace with Israel, has rejected suggestions concerning the deployment of international monitors on its border with Gaza, the embattled Hamas welcomes the presence of Turkish troops. “We trust Turkey and its role as an Islamic country,” Hamas officials opined, referring to a proposal submitted by Turkish officials to Hamas’ exiled political chief Khaled Meshal in Damascus. Turkish troops were last present in Israel in 1917, when the forces of British Field Marshal Lord Allenby routed the Ottoman Turks from “Palestine.” The same year the Balfour Declaration expressed the British government’s sympathetic view of the restoration of the Jewish homeland.
Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently condemned Israel for its invasion of the Gaza Strip, invoking Allah’s judgment upon the Jewish state. While visiting a Palestinian patient at a Turkish hospital today, Erdogan once again uttered harsh words against Israel, accusing the IDF of using white phosphorus shells against civilians. On January 14 the Jerusalem Post acknowledged that Turkey is no longer a reliable NATO ally but, rather, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is drifting into alliance with Russia and Iran. Svante E. Cornell editorializes:
Ankara’s deep links to the US and Europe are too strong to be reversed anytime soon. But as long as the AKP remains in power, these ties are likely to gradually erode even further. Rather than a part of the West, Turkey could rather become equidistant between the West and powers like Russia or Iran. Were that to happen, it would require strategic thinkers in Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv to reconsider some of their earlier assumptions.
France, whose President Nicolas Sarkozy is co-president of the new Union for the Mediterranean, has also offered to deploy soldiers from his country to monitor a proposed cease-fire.
Third, since the Israeli Defense Forces began Operation Cast Lead on December 27, tensions along Israel’s borders with the Arab states of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan have risen. Last Thursday, “Lebanese militants” launched two barrages of rockets on northern Israel. Israeli forces responded with mortar fire. No one claimed responsibility for the initial rocket attack, but Israeli defense commentators suspect that Hezbollah militimen, Lebanon’s de facto rulers, were behind the salvos.
On Sunday IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights came under cross-border fire, producing no casualties. “In the afternoon, there were a number of bullets fired from Syria at an Israeli army force doing engineering work near the fence,” an IDF spokesman related, “No one was hurt but a vehicle was damaged. Forces in the field are examining the incident and a complaint was sent to UNDOF which sent a team there. The circumstances of the incident are still unclear.” The IDF believes that Palestinian militants based in Syria, rather than the regular Syrian army, were reponsible for the small arms fire.
Earlier today, moreover, an IDF patrol near the Israel-Jordan border at Eilat, on the Gulf of Aqaba, came under small arms fire from unknown sources. Israeli forces returned fire. Jordanian authorities denied that their soldiers were reponsible. Eilat is adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba, to the south, and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, to the east. Jordan has been at peace with Israel since 1994, while a state of war has continued between Israel and Syria since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Fourth, the Islamo-Nazi regime in Iran is carefully monitoring the Israeli offensive in Gaza, as evidenced by the arrival of Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Ankara to discuss Operation Cast Lead with Turkish officials. Contrary to claims by the Iranian media, the Israeli Navy denies intercepting an Iranian vessel carrying “humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians, 20 miles from the Gaza coast.
Last week Ashiyaneh, a cell of Iranian computer hackers, stated that they carried out a cyberattack against Mossad’s website to protest the ongoing Israeli incursion of Gaza. “The Zionist Regime considers the merciless killing of the defenseless people in Gaza as its right and assumes that the world people will keep silent about it,” the hackers declared. Mossad, which means Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, is Israel’s national intelligence agency. Leftists and faux rightists erroneously believe that Mossad, as well as the US Central Intelligence Agency, are the chief sources of the world’s ills.
Fifth, the Free Gaza Movement, a consortium of troublesome terrorist sympathizers, leftists, and peaceniks organized by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), is also meddling in Israel’s Gaza offensive by trying to deliver “food and medicine” to the Palestinians. Free Gaza is using communist Cyprus as a staging ground for their “relief efforts,” probably because the government in Nicosia has also condemned Operation Cast Lead. Two weeks ago the Israeli Navy ordered one such ship, which was transporting a diverse crew including one Cypriot parliamentarian and CNN journalists, back to Cyprus in order to maintain its blockade of Gaza. Two days ago another “aid ship,” also carrying politicians from Greece, Spain, and Belgium, returned to Cyprus as a result of mechanical problems.
Pictured here: The ruins of the al-Taqwa Mosque in Gaza City, bombed by the Israeli Air Force. The IDF contends that Hamas uses mosques as ammo dumps and missile platforms and that, therefore, the religious facilities are legitimate military targets. Utilizing extensive ground-based intelligence, the IAF has bombed a number of such sites across the Gaza Strip. Airborne video shows secondary explosions that reveal the presence of ammunition stored in the mosques.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government has respectfully rejected calls by the United Nations Security Council to unilateraly impose a cease-fire on Operation Cast Lead. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained: “Yesterday, we heard, and we respect the calls of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and, of course, we are also monitoring developments on the Egyptian initiative, but the fighting goes on and the IDF is continuing to apply force.” Today Israeli ground forces continued to clash with Hamas gunmen in Gaza City and endeavored to destroy the terrorist organization’s extensive, Vietcong-like smuggling tunnels under the Palestinian exclave. The IDF estimates that at least 450 Hamas gunmen have been killed, along with an additional 500 Palestinians. The Israeli military also believes that among the remaining 500, a significant percentage were also Hamas operatives.
Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buchris, the Jerusalem Post reports, made a “lightning trip” to Washington yesterday for talks with the Pentagon about a “wide range of issues,” including the Iranian nuclear threat and ongoing IDF operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Last week the Pentagon denied that a large arms shipment bound for Israel, with a little help from the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command, was related to Operation Cast Lead. Although the USA does not figure in Bible prophecy, at least not by direct mention, America’s support for Israel over the years has probably served as a shield against God’s judgment on a country that has by and large turned its back on its Christian heritage.
The latest developments in the Middle East are prophetically significant because they portend the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, a seven-year period of war, desolation, and God’s judgment on the nations. The last will witness the death of more than one quarter of the world’s population (Revelation 6:8). We believe that the Magog invasion of Israel occurs at the beginning of this period as the Jews will require seven years to dispose of the invading armies’ weapons. See Ezekiel 38:4 and 39:9 where the weapons of modern warfare are portrayed under imagery understandable to the ancient Jews.
Current events also point to the soon fulfillment of the rapture, or the physical translation of the saints to heaven prior to the tribulation period (1 Thessalonian 4, Revelation 3:10). The instantaneous removal of millions of Bible-believing, born-again Christians from the earth might be a welcome relief to militant communists, atheists, and Muslims, but the rapture will deprive Israel of its staunchest supporters in the face of ever-growing hatred toward Jews and the Jewish state.
In the wake of the IDF’s offensive in Gaza, anti-Semitism is once again resurgent throughout the world. The attempt on January 6, presumably by French Muslims, to ram a car through the gates of a Toulouse synagogue and then torch the vehicle is but one example. A lecture was in progress in the synagogue when the incident occurred. Three petrol bombs were found in a second car nearby.