From Bill Sutter’s Desk Nov/Dec 2010
Before Benjamin Netanyahu began his current term as prime minister of Israel, he spoke about Iran at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I’ll never forget hearing him declare with conviction, “There is no prime minister of Israel who wouldn’t do whatever is necessary to protect the Jewish people.” Today they need protection more than ever, as Iran’s new arsenal of weapons bolsters the country’s radical Shiite theology.
Some in the West dismiss Iran’s mullahs (religious authorities) and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who boast they “can destroy Israel within a week” and that “annihilation of Israel should be a global goal.” However, these men are deadly serious. They believe a hidden Twelfth Imam will return to bring order to a chaotic world; so the more chaos, the better.
Iran’s arsenal now includes ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear or chemical warheads 1,500 miles, threatening not only Israel but also North Africa, Eastern Europe, the rest of the Middle East, and even most of India. And under development are missiles that could reach the United States.
In fact, on state television Iranians watch missiles rising from their desert sands into the air to chants of Allahu Akbar, “Allah is great.” Islamic suicide bombers in Israel shout the same mantra, as did the Islamic terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, and other chosen targets in the nation they call the “Great Satan.” With its delivery systems now in place, all Iran needs are the nuclear weapons.
Much attention has focused recently on Iran’s Russian-built nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr, which fired up in August. However, many believe the greater threat lies at undisclosed locations throughout the country where efforts to enrich uranium to nuclear-weapons grade are likely moving ahead with full steam, gaining Iran the ability to act on its threats to eliminate Israel, which is located well within range of Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Unfortunately, the United States has responded almost lackadaisically. By emphasizing “engagement” and follow-up economic sanctions, the administration of President Barack Obama hopes to persuade Iran away from its nuclear intentions. While U.S. intelligence argues that Iran could be a year away from having “the bomb,” Israeli intelligence believes Iran could ratchet up its uranium-enrichment activities and have nuclear weapons within months.
We know Israel took out two other threatening reactors in the past: Iraq’s in 1981 and Syria’s in 2007. Israel’s response to the Iranian threat could include intercontinental ballistic missiles, air strikes, cruise missiles, or even strikes by drones. Meanwhile, Israel is watchful, attempting to assess the situation and also see if Iran makes any attempts to install antimissile and antiaircraft systems.
For us as Christians, Iran is more than a current-events or political issue. It is important in Bible prophecy. According to Ezekiel 38, Persia (present-day Iran) is part of a coalition of forces that invade Israel. Others in the coalition include Russia, Turkey, and the Islamic republics of Central Asia. It appears we are witnessing the alignment of nations according to the pattern of Ezekiel 38. Yet we know with absolute confidence Iran will not destroy Israel. The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed the certainty of God’s protection of the Jewish state and the Jewish people from the unholy designs of the world’s hostile nations:
Hear the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock” (Jer. 31:10).
The Lord is the One in control—not Ahmadinejad, the mullahs, or any of Israel’s enemies. And He will protect His people.
If or when Israel strikes Iran to remove the immediate nuclear threat, we can expect the world’s reaction to be swift—against Israel. That’s when Christians with a biblical heart for God’s Chosen People will need to stand together against the vicious tide of world opinion and, with faith in our God, express our support in word and deed of Israel and the Jewish people.