It’s certainly been a turbulent start to 2020! With the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani only a few days into the new year, the world has been on high alert for many nations being dragged into war. Since then, Iran has retaliated with a missile strike on Iraqi military bases that house U.S. forces. Although this didn’t result in any casualties, fears grow that this could escalate very quickly and only heightens rumours that a major war is not far away. This is symptomatic of Jesus’ warning of what the world will be like before his return:
You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6 NIV)
The world certainly seems to be in a state of increased consternation, and the threat of conflict and escalating tension are indicative of the times we’re living in. Those who take the Bible at face-value know that great turmoil lies ahead and watch in anticipation as world events unfold before us as predicted. This is what makes this particular development even more important – Iran is a highlighted as a key player in end-time Bible prophecy so any major activity involving this nation attracts the attention of many Christians who are aware of end-time signs.
The Bible identifies Iran as being part of a huge end-time coalition with Russia, Turkey, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia in the Ezekiel 38 prophecy that leads to the Magog war – this involves a massive attack on Israel. This event will involve all the nations of the world in some way and could be considered World War 3 if it is the next major war. What makes this particular prophecy fascinating is that the Lord himself will dramatically intervene with action that is undeniably supernatural in nature:
This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ (Ezekiel 38:18-23 NIV)
Furthermore, Iran appears in Jeremiah 49:34-39 (referred to as Elam) that seems to describe a separate battle. As this article describes, the passage in Jeremiah 49 foresees disaster against those in Elam, which is in the South-West region of modern-day Iran. With this being the location of Iran’s main nuclear power plant in Bushehr, it is plausible that this prophecy could prove to be a precursor that triggers events outlined in Ezekiel 38.
Iran is certainly one to keep an eye on, especially with the significant increase in tension with the United States. However, also watch out for developing alliances between Russia, Iran, and Turkey as this would indicate that things are shaping up in anticipation of the Ezekiel 38 showdown. There have been signs that closer relations are developing between these nations in the past few years.
Ultimately, everything we see going on in the world with the political battles and military strikes is setting the stage for the climax of Jesus Christ’s return – the king is coming!
Will you be ready?
This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam’s exiles do not go. I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who want to kill them; I will bring disaster on them, even my fierce anger,” declares the Lord. “I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.
38 I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,” declares the Lord. “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 49:34-39 NIV)
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you. “‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land. “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”’ (Ezekiel 38:1-13 NIV)