iranian-missile-boat-tests-surface-to-surface-system-300x181According to The Times Newspaper, Israel accepts that within a year Iran could become a nuclear power. The Times quoted the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think-tank, which had been briefed by intelligence officials and ex-military chiefs to prepare scenarios for the day after an Iranian nuclear weapons test. Their report predicts that Iran testing a nuclear weapon would cause a profound shift in the Middle East power balance and suggests that the U.S. would propose a defence pact with Israel, but would urge it not to retaliate to the Iranian test.

Apparently, “The simulation showed that (the Israeli military option), or the threat of using it, would also be relevant following an Iranian nuclear test,”. The Times went on to comment :- “The simulation showed that Iran will not forgo nuclear weapons, but will attempt to use them to reach an agreement with the major powers that will improve its position,”

This conclusion is not exactly ‘Rocket Science’ (!) but what concerns the rest of the world is that Iran is nearly there! In early January, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has begun enriching uranium at a heavily fortified underground site, which would be a very difficult target for air strikes. So, what is Israel to do? To date, aware that the nuclear clock is ticking, she appears to have restricted herself to covert operations. Iran has had :-

· several, top nuclear and weapons scientists mysteriously assassinated

· centrifuges destroyed by the Stuxnet worm

· and explosions at ballistic missile and uranium enrichment facilities –

Israel has not claimed responsibility for these occurrences but they would almost certainly appear to be the handiwork of Israel’s security services.

US intelligence now believes that Iran has actually begun the process of nuclear warhead assembly.  This accounts for the dramatic reversal of the Obama administration's wait-and-see attitude on attacking Iran. If Iran has, according to one expert "reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less" then Israel and the US must act soon.

That action appears to have started. The United States is providing state of the art radar to supplement Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield and help combat (Iranian??) missile attack. Also 10 days after the Iranian Navy conducted manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz, Intelligence about a major Israeli-US missile defence exercise code named ‘Austere Challenge 12’ was released.

It was reported that the US would be sending "thousands" of troops to Israel, to mount a ‘joint excercise’. The stated aim being to improve cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli forces and to test air defence systems against incoming missiles and rockets. Israel already has the “Arrow” system, jointly developed and funded with the U.S. and designed to intercept Iranian missiles in the stratosphere, far from Israel.

A similar exercise to test missile defence technology was held in 2009 code-named Juniper Cobra 10. Thousands of U.S. and Israeli troops were involved then and both Governments state that Austere Challenge has been in the planning stage for quite some time. However, the timing of this announcement is undoubtedly ‘sabre rattling’.

However just days after President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reiterate his “unshakeable” commitment to Israel’s security, Israel announced that it was postponing the exercise for around 3 months.

 The White House did not elaborate, but the President reportedly told the Prime Minister to back off any plans for attacking Iran.

The sudden postponement of “Austere Challenge,” was attributed to budgetary and logistical problems. However, it is difficult to believe that money is a problem whilst a delay of three months will give the Obama administration additional time to try to prove that its sanctions against Iran are working, hopefully precluding the need for a military strike to stop Iran’s nuclear development.

 The machinations of Israel and the USA are not surprising at the time when, because of Iran and her nuclear ambitions, tension is mounting in Israel, Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Gulf. At this time too Britain is sending HMS Daring to the Gulf. The Daring is considered by some to be the most powerful air-defence warship in the world being able to detect airborne and even ballistic missiles. Further to this the British Defence Secretary has publicly warned Iran that its threatened blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would be the "Red Line" that would bring confrontation.

Also in these last few days the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has undertaken his first trip to Saudi Arabia which he hopes will "broaden and deepen" the UK-Saudi relationship.

So, we see the beginnings of the strengthening of a force of nations, which will oppose Gog when he and his forces, including Iran (Persia), sweep down upon Israel. We have noted in previous articles that The Bible warns us in Ezekiel 38, that Gog, (Russia) will gather a great army and invade Israel. 

A careful reading of this and other passages, shows that this  invasion force is opposed by, what Ezekiel describes as “the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof…” in other words 

hms daring cca1e4a83819401b9e6f545ef259e227-576x324Britain & her commonwealth countries, including the oldest & greatest of those “young lions”, the United States of America.  Notwithstanding this half hearted opposition, Russia will lead her allies into a battle at Jerusalem, known scripturally as the Battle of Armageddon.

Other Biblical prophets also warn of this event (Zechariah 14.Revelation 16:13-16.Isaiah 19:1-4.Obadiah 18-21.Isaiah 63:1-6. Joel 3).  Daniel chapter 11v40-41 also speaks of the same time. In this prophecy Russia is called ‘the King of the North’ while ‘the glorious holy mountain’ is Jerusalem.

40  And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

41  He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42  He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43  But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. 44  But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. 45  And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

We note here, too, that the rapacity of the Northern Invader drags him and his armies down to Egypt for plunder before turning back to attack Jerusalem.  A not improbable concept at present, seeing the confusion which reigns at present in a weakened Egypt.

 Although this will be the battle of Armageddon, it won’t be, as many imagine, the End of the World. This will be the battle which brings the Lord Jesus back to the earth to begin the campaign to establish his Kingdom over all nations. A campaign which will end with an earth at rest, finally at peace, worshipping God as He has commanded. This is shown to us in the wonderful vision of the future with which Isaiah begins his prophecy Isaiah 2:1   The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

May that time come soon.

Citations: Iranian missile test photo WDR; HMS Daring photo Royal Navy