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||U.S. About To Strike Iran?
Fears are steadily growing in the Middle East, Europe and here at home that the United States is readying a massive air strike against Iran's nuclear and military facilities in the next year or so, but possibly as early as this spring.
Newsweek ran a cover story last week on a possible U.S. strike entitled, "RUMORS OF WAR," echoing -- whether the editors meant to or not -- Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24 that in the last days there will be and "wars and rumors of war" before the Second Coming.....The Economist ran a cover story last week, entitled: "NEXT STOP, IRAN?"....in a major front-page story today, the Times of London cites senior British officials saying "they fear President Bush will seek to 'settle the Iranian question through military means' next year, before the end of his second term if he concludes that diplomacy has failed."....as one British official put it: "He [Bush] will not want to leave it unresolved for his successor."....meanwhile, I'm getting emails from all over the world -- including from people inside Iran -- wanting to know if a U.S. attack is imminent.
The White House and Pentagon say no war is being planned, but Iran continues to make a series of dangerous and provocative moves that could trigger hostilities after all.
At the same time, I can report a steadily growing interest among evangelical Christian leaders in the Mideast as well as in the U.S. in what the Bible has to say about the future of Iran. In fact, several prominent Christian leaders are currently developing radio and television programs that will soon be aired nationally and globally to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and to explain the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39, in which Russia and Iran form a military alliance with other Middle Eastern countries in an attempt to destroy Israel in what Ezekiel describes as "the last days."
First, let me review the latest geopolitical news; then we'll look at the inside story of rising evangelical interest in Iran.
Iran on Wednesday defied the United Nations' February 21st deadline to stop enriching uranium and instead is feverishly trying to complete the "nuclear fuel cycle," a highly complex scientific process that when mastered would allow the mullahs to build one nuclear bomb after another....."Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities," said a confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters. "Iran has continued with the operation of the (small ground-level pilot fuel-enrichment) plant....It has also continued with the construction of the (underground) Fuel Enrichment Plant, including installation of cascades, and has transferred UF-6 to the plant."
"The report -- sent both to the Security Council and the agency's 35 board member nations -- set the stage for a fresh showdown between Iran and Western powers," noted the Associated Press. "Even before it was issued, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. and its allies would use the Security Council and other 'available channels' to bring Tehran back to negotiations over its nuclear program."
Said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "I urge again that the Iranian government should fully comply with the Security Council" as soon as possible, he told reporters in Vienna, saying Iran's nuclear activities had "great implications for peace and security, as well as nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
That said, as the possibility of a military showdown between the U.S. and Iran grows, a growing number of prominant pastors and evangelical Christian leaders are interested in where Iran fits into Bible prophecy.....Last month, I was invited to a Muslim country in the Middle East to brief several hundred Arab and Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders on the latest geopolitical developments in the region and to teach on Ezekiel 38 and 39.....these are prophecies that most Christian leaders in the region are unfamiliar with, but as readers of this weblog know, have profound implications for all the people of the epicenter....it is too early to say if the fulfillment of these prophecies is close at hand, but it was a fascinating day of discussions that left many of these Christian leaders with a newfound sense of urgency to share the gospel with Muslims in their countries and to develop crisis management plans should a geopolitical war or a prophetic war break out in the next few months or years.
A few weeks later, I was traveling to New Mexico to preach on the implications of Ezekiel 38 and 39 for followers of Christ, and to continue working on a documentary film based on Epicenter that is being jointly produced and distributed by Tyndale House Publishers and Skip Heitzig, the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque.....my flight took me first to Denver, and as I boarded at Washington Dulles airport, I happened to sit next to Dr. James Dobson.....Dr. Dobson and I have known each other for a number of years and have often discussed events in the Middle East. Turns out, he had been in Washington for meetings with high level administration officials to discuss Iran, Iraq and the latest developments in the Middle East. He told me he is increasingly concerned about the Iranian nuclear threat, and has been studying Ezekiel's prophecies. He asked me to send him a copy of Epicenter and then discussed with me the possibility of doing a series of radio programs to explore these urgent issues later this spring....that's still in in development and I'll let you know more when I know more.
What's more, I recently found out that Kay Arthur, the world renowned Bible teacher, is also increasingly concerned about the military alliance that's forming between Russia and Iran and how this might relate to Ezekiel's prophecies.....last fall, a friend of hers encouraged her to read The Ezekiel Option and Epicenter.....she did, and ended up giving copies of Epicenter to each of her senior staff.....A few weeks ago, Kay called me and asked if I would come down to her headquarters in Chattanooga to teach on the Biblical description of the "War of Gog and Magog" and to record a series of radio and TV programs to explain these prophecies in light of current events.....I agreed, and just spent the last several days with Kay and her team doing just that.
Before going to Tennessee, I spent several days with a team of Iranian Christian pastors out West....they have a satellite television ministry which is seen by between 4 and 7 million Iranian Shiites every day.....they wanted me to discuss Bible prophecies about Iran with them and help them develop a plan to communicate "God's love and plan for Iran" through their live satellite broadcasts, as well as figure out how to answer the many phone calls and emails they are sure to get from inside Iran once such programs are broadcast into the country.....they see a showdown with Iran coming, and they feel passionately about reaching their fellow Iranians with the good news of Christ's love....these are amazing people.....one pastor and his wife used to be Shiite Muslims on the streets of Tehran in 1979 shouting, "Death to America!"....now -- because of how Christ changed their hearts and minds -- they live in the U.S., love America, love the Jewish people, and want to work together with a Jewish believer in Jesus like me to share the gospel with the people of Iran.....amazing.
There are, of course, other people teaching on these geopolitical developments and these prophecies besides me.....I simply share these developments to provide a few snapshots, to give you a sense of how Iranian actions are worrying political leaders and motivating evangelical leaders at home and around the globe.....will there be a war in the region this year or next?.....honestly, it's too early to say.....as I've been writing about for months, 2007 is the Year of Decision....President Bush and the Congressional leadership will need to decide soon just how they're going to handle the Iranian nuclear threat.....but Church leaders also need to decide just how they are going to handle the Iranian threat, as well....after all, time is short, and the stakes are high. CRO
copyright 2007 - Joel Rosenberg