~~~~~~~~good4u1 note: All, this article (not sermon) is breathtaking and not for the faint of heart. This pastor is giving his understanding according to his study of prophetic Scripture and could be highly relevant. I have read this man's book when it was a free ebook and it was just incredible in his assessment of current Middle East situations and biblical prophecy, imo. So read this articleon in light of today's understanding of Islam and the Bible.~~~~~~~~~~
Iran, Israel, and Nuclear Weapons – The World’s First Step into the Tribulation?
Is there Biblical evidence to support Iran obtaining nuclear weapons in the end-times? If so, who will be Iran’s target? Israel? Another nation? The answer will surprise and shock you!
Iran and Israel have filled the news lately. With the threat of a nuclear Iran, the world’s questions have changed from whether Israel will take action to when Israel will take action. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barach recently stated (February 3, 2012), “A nuclear Iran will be more complicated to deal with, more dangerous and more costly in blood than if it were stopped today,” he said. “In other words, he who says in English ‘later’ may find that ‘later is too late.’”
World leaders are concerned about the impact of Israeli action against Iran on the entire world, even to the launching of World War 3. The recent veto by China and Russia of the United Nations Resolution urging President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down (initiated by the Arab League), reveals that “sides” are being drawn. Iran’s official news agency (FARSNews) reported on January 21, 2012, that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has “warned the US and Israel to stop threatening Iran, saying that military action against the Islamic Republic would cause an unpredictable chain reaction throughout the region.” One international news source (NZHerald.co.nz, February 6, 2012) reported, “For the first time in nearly two decades of escalating tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme, world leaders are genuinely concerned that an Israeli military attack on the Islamic Republic could be imminent – an action that many fear might trigger a wider war, terrorism and global economic havoc.”
In an NBC interview with President Barak Obama (February 5, 2012), the US President stated, “The US is working closely with Israel to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.” The President added: “I’ve been very clear – we’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating a nuclear arms race in a volatile region.” Nevertheless, it seems Israel is not very confident with the President’s “resolve.” On February 3, 2012, the Jerusalem Post reported a statement by Israeli Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon, “We [Israel] need a credible military option. The Iranians understand the West has capabilities, but as long as the Iranians don’t think that the West has the political stomach and determination to use it they will not stop,” Ya’alon said. “Currently, they [Iran] don’t think that the world is determined.””
Sunni Arab Gulf Leaders and Iran
The threat of Iran has caused Sunni Arab Gulf leaders to call for Arab unity against Iran. Reuter’s (December 20, 2011 ) reports, “Gulf Arab leaders … broadly endorsed Saudi King Abdullah’s [Saudi Arabia] call to form a “single entity” in what appeared to be an attempt to form a more united front against a perceived threat from Iran. The goal of greater union is enshrined in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council’s 1981 founding charter, but has only been given impetus by the mass uprisings that have reshaped the power balance in the Middle East, as well as fears of a newly assertive non-Arab, Shi’ite Iran across the Strait of Hormuz.” The Arab Gulf states moved further towards that unity, when, on February 7, 2012, they expelled Syrian ambassadors in their countries and recalled their envoys from Syria. Six Arab states make up the powerful “Gulf Cooperation Council” (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman).
Saudi Arabia and Iran
On October 11, 2011, the United States Department of Justice filed a criminal complaintin the Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir Southern District of New York charged two men, both having connections with the government of Iran, with attempted murder of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Sheik Adel al-Jubeir. Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen (holding both Iranian and U.S. passports), and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran’s al-Quds Force (a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) were charged. Shakuri remains at large and Arbabsiar was arrested on Sept. 29, 2011, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Recently, the New York Times reported (December 6, 2011) that Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia suggested that, if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East would begin. Saudi Arabia would have no choice but to join the race. With Israel having already obtained nuclear weapons, and Iran gaining them, the leadership of Saudi Arabia would be negligent not to immediately pursue the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
In a recent post by MidnightWatcher’s Blogspot, renowned author Walid Shoebat stated, “Iran will gain its nuclear weapons.” Shoebat offers Isaiah 21 as support for his statement. Isaiah 21:2f provides in part,
A harsh vision has been shown to me; The treacherous one still deals treacherously, and the destroyer still destroys. Go up, Elam [Persia], lay siege, Media [Persia]; I have made an end of all the groaning she has caused.… 9 Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.” And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground… 13 The oracle about Arabia. In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites. 14 Bring water for the thirsty, O inhabitants of the land of Tema, Meet the fugitive with bread. 15 For they have fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow And from the press of battle. 16 For thus the Lord said to me, “In a year, as a hired man would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will terminate; 17 and the remainder of the number of bowmen, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the LORD God of Israel has spoken.”
Shoebat interprets “Babylon” in verse 21:9 to be a reference to Saudi Arabia, whom he also interprets to be the “harlot” of Revelation 17 and 18. Arabia is mentioned multiple times in the prophecy: as “Dedanites” (v 21:13), “inhabitants of the land of Tema” (v 21:14), and “Kedar” (v 21:17). Shoebat interprets Saudi Arabia as the “daughter” of Babylon, and in need of our focus.
This writer concurs, in part, with Shoebat’s interpretation. Isaiah 21:11-17 is an oracle against Arabia and her coming destruction. Persia (Iran), however, is not mentioned in Isaiah 21:11-17 but in 21:1-10. That part of the oracle is a specific prophecy that Persia (Elam and Media) will wage war against Babylon. This oracle was fulfilled in 689 B.C. when the city was completely destroyed by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army; but the city was rebuilt by Sennacherib’s son. In 539 B.C., Darius the Mede captured Babylon (Daniel 5:31), but he did not destroy it. In 339 B.C., Alexander the Great destroyed the city. It has not been rebuilt even to the modern day (in fulfillment of Isaiah 14:22-23). (See Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) – Old Testament – The Bible Exposition Commentary – The Prophets).
This writer concurs with Shoebat that Persia (Iran) will wage war against “Babylon” (the “harlot” of Revelation 17/18). However, my Biblical support is quite different from that of Shoebat. “Babylon” is the “mystical name” (Revelation 17:5) for the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia. My support for this conclusion is detailed in chapters 11 and 12 of my book, Islam the Cloak of Antichrist. The highlights of my view follows:
1. Persia is first mentioned in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel 2:36-45. There, Persia is the “inferior” kingdom which destroys Babylon (fulfilled by Darius the Mede in 539 B.C.). However, the prophecy has a “dual fulfillment” in the end-times. Characteristics to identify the final kingdom are found in Daniel 2:41-43. The final kingdom is Islam, and the many reasons for this conclusion form what has come to be known as the “Islamic Paradigm.” This writer takes the Islamic Paradigm a step further to interpret Shi’ite Islam as the specific hand of the antichrist in the end-times. Some of the reasons for this interpretation are:
Shi’ite Muslims “combine in the seed of men” (through Ali [Muhammad’s closest surviving male blood descendant] and Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter married to Ali); Shi’ites do not “adhere to one another.” Shi’ites have historically been unable to find unity even within their own sect of Islam. Shi’ites cannot agree on the legitimate blood descendant who qualifies to be their leader, i.e., “Imam.” Shi’ites require two conditions to be met for legitimate leadership: 1 – blood descent through Ali and Fatima; and 2 – being “designated” as successor (called “Nass”) by the preceding Imam prior to the preceding Imam’s death. Because of Sunni persecution of Shi’ites, particularly the Imams of Shi’ism, the Imams frequently did not “designate” their successor prior to untimely death. The result was that Shi’ites bifurcated into multiple branches within Shi’ism based on the particular Imam each considered legitimate. “Fivers” believe that the fifth Imam is the last legitimate Imam, “Seveners” believe that the seventh Imam is the last legitimate Imam, and “Twelvers” believe that the 12th Imam is the last legitimate Imam. Among the different branches of Shiism, persecution has occurred due to the inability to agree on the legitimate Imam. (See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, p 66 – 67).
There are two “parts” in Islam, a weak part and a strong part (Daniel 2:42). Shi’ites are the “weak part” (10% of Muslims). Sunnis are the “strong part” (90% of Muslims). Shi’ites have been the weaker sect of Islam since the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D., when Sunnis successfully appointed the first caliph of Islam over the objections of the followers of Ali (Shi’ites); and ever since the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D., they have been mercilessly persecuted by Sunnis, the stronger sect of Islam (Arabs are predominantly Sunni Muslims. Iran is predominantly Shi’ite Muslims).
2. Shi’ites fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 7:8.
Daniel 7:8 states, “another horn, a little one, came up among them [the ten horns of the 4th beast], and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it…” Shi’ites fulfill this prophecy specifically. After the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D. (against the Sunnis), Shi’ites refused to accept the first three caliphs of Islam as legitimate leaders of Islam because they were not blood related to Muhammad. Shi’ites retroactively annulled the first three caliphs of Islam (the “Rightly Guided Caliphs”), and effectively rewrote Muslim history for Shi’ites. They retroactively replaced the first three caliphs with their own Imams, all of which were blood descendants of Ali and Fatima. The three replacements were Ali (Imam from 632 – 661 A.D.), Hasan (Ali and Fatima’s first son; Imam for 661 A.D.), and Husayn (Ali and Fatima’s second son; Imam for 661 – 680 A.D.). All three replacements were already dead when they were named Imams (caliphs). Their retroactive appointment by Shi’ites was a fulfillment of Daniel 7:8 because the first three historical caliphs were “pulled out by the roots” as if they never existed for Shi’ites. See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, p 72 – 74.
Daniel 2:44-45 prophesies that this final kingdom will be “crushed” by the hand of God in the end-times; but before it is crushed, it must fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 7:23, “… it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it”; and Revelation 13:8, “… and all who dwell on the earth will worship him [the deity of the false religion, i.e., Allah], everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
First Conclusion: Shi’ite Islam (Iran) will initiate the tribulation of the last days in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In the modern-day context, this means that Shi’ite Islam will obtain nuclear weapons. Iran is the Shi’ite nation most likely to fulfill this prophecy in the modern day.
Revelation 18 describes the “fallout” of the weapons used in this end-time conflict:
1. Destruction will be quick—in one hour (Revelation 18:10, 17, 19).
2. No one will come near her (the Harlot, i.e., Saudi Arabia) for fear of being impacted by what torments her (Revelation 18:10, 15, 17).
3. Her destruction will be accompanied by “pestilence” (Revelation 18:8).
4. Her destruction will include a “fiery annihilation” (Revelation 18:8, 9, 15, 18).
5. Her destruction will be accompanied by great amounts of smoke (Revelation 18:9,18:19:3).
6. Her kingdom will suffer a complete destruction (Revelation 18:6, 7, 14, 19, 20, 21).
7. Her destruction will somehow involve the “cup which she has mixed” (Revelation 18:6).
Second conclusion: a nuclear or similar weapon will be used in the attack by the “scarlet beast” (Shi’ite Islam) against the ”harlot.” The logical conclusion is that Israel’s pre-emptive attack will not be in time to stop the procurement and use of nuclear weapons.
Who will be the object of attack? As detailed in Islam the Cloak of Antichrist (pp. 210-233), the object of Iran’s initial aggression will be Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian petroleum will be the specific resource that motivates this assault. Saudi Arabia is the world’s #1 possessor of petroleum reserves. If Iran obtains Saudi petroleum reserves, it will have sufficient strength to put the world in a state of economic chaos. It is through this chaos that the tribulation will begin. Further, Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam; and Islam is, historically, “drunk with the blood of the saints.” Here is a summary of the characteristics of Revelation 17/18 that Saudi Arabia fulfills (see Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, p. 217):
1. The harlot’s “wine” has made the merchants of the world wealthy and great (Rev. 18:3, 15, 19, 23).
2. The harlot is pictured as the epitome of wealth (Rev. 17:4).
3. The harlot possesses something that the entire world desires and, in fact, is addicted to (Rev. 14:8; 17:2; 18:3).
4. The harlot “sits” on “seven mountains” (Rev. 17:9).
5. The harlot is blinded by her own arrogance; she believes her “fruit” will never depart (Rev. 18:5, 7).
6. The harlot is called “Babylon the Great,” and her use of wealth is likened to an immorality (Rev. 17:5).
7. The kings of the earth have committed “immorality” with the harlot (Rev. 17:2; 18:3).
8. The harlot will be hated by those with whom she is associated. Her associates will destroy her in one hour (Rev. 17:16; 18:10, 17).
9. The harlot is drunk with the blood of the saints and the witnesses of Jesus (Rev. 17:6).
It was from the bowels of Arabia that the persecution of the woman, Israel, and “those who hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17) was first launched. This persecution began in the 7th century A.D. and has resulted in the Middle East being effectively “cut off” (Daniel 9:26) from Christianity.
When will the Iranian attack occur? No one can know the precise date or formulae that must take place to usher in this conflict. However, Revelation 17:3 tells us that the scarlet beast (Shi’ite Islam) has ten horns. The ten horns are defined by Revelation 17:12-13,
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. “These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.”
There will be ten nations/groups (Sunni, Shi’ite, or non-Muslim) who will join forces with Shi’ite Islam (Iran) to launch an assault against Saudi Arabia. The alignment that will be formed will be by nations not “normally” aligned with one another. The Scripture states that it is the “common purpose” that causes the alignment of these ten nations/groups (Revelation 17:13; 16-17), and that they will be aligned for “one hour.” This “one hour” alignment is the same period that Scripture prophesies that the harlot, i.e., Saudi Arabia, will be destroyed (Revelation 18:10, 17:19). The point is that the alignment will serve only this purpose. There are not, at present, ten Shi’ite nations and/or groups that might align as one. This means that Sunni Arab nations/groups will join with the Shi’ite group in order for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Nations that are likely to join in this alignment might include the following:
Russia (publicly allied with Iran; vetoed Arab League sanctions against Shi’ite Syr), China (publicly allied with Iran, and joined Russia to veto Arab League U.N. resolution against Syria’s al-Assad), Turkey (currently assisting Iran in avoiding financial consequences of U.S. led economic sanctions), Iraq (Shi’ite), Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (Alawite Shi’ite) and a long-time ally of Iran, Hezbollah (Shi’ite, and funded by Iran; located in Lebanon); Sunni Muslim nations of North Africa, including Somali and Sudan, Libya, and Ethiopia (Ezekiel 38:5).
Nations not likely to join but who could join in order to bring the total to the ten required of Scripture are those of the Gulf Coordinating Council of which Saudi Arabia is the lead nation: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
Where is Israel? We cannot know whether an attack against Israel will precede that of Saudi Arabia because Scripture, at least from this writer’s perspective, does not give us a timeline of events in the Tribulation period, but rather, only an occurrence of events. Scripture does tell us that Israel will be attacked, and for a time, forty-two months, will succumb to the attack. See Ezekiel 38:8-9; 15-16; Revelation 11:2.
Difficult days are ahead for the world regardless of whether the target of nuclear weapons is Saudi Arabia or Israel, and regardless of which nation is the first target. This is also the case if Israel wages a pre-emptive attack on Iran. All of these events will likely mushroom into world economic chaos and World War 3. The good news is that the final Word is that of the Lord:
Revelation 19:1-2 (NASB) 1 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2 BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.”