LTRP Note: We appreciate Tony Pearce’s updates on Israel, especially considering that you won’t get such information from mainstream media, most Christian media, and even most churches today (because to the world and much of proclaiming Christianity, Israel and the Jews are a non-issue—or worse, are viewed as an evil thing).
By Tony Pearce
Light for the Last Days
Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iranian backed terror group operating in Gaza, exchanged fire in a conflict in May. PIJ fired around 1500 projectiles at Israel and Israel responded with “Operation Shield and Arrow”. Israel’s Iron Dome Defense system intercepted more than 95% of rockets heading for built-up areas. Israel did what it could to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, using its pin-point accurate missiles which can target a single apartment in a residential block where the terrorists are found without destroying the whole block of flats. Egypt brokered a cease fire after five days of fighting which is holding at the time of writing.
Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the operation as a success:
The execution was perfect. We thwarted the entire top of the organization and damaged combat equipment that endangered Israel’s security. We destroyed 17 jihadist headquarters, eliminated dozens of terrorists, hit rocket and missile depots, thwarted anti-tank squads and more. . . . Today, the enemies of Israel and far beyond Gaza know that even if they try to hide, we can and we are willing to reach them at any time.1
Danger to the North
PM Netanyahu has said that Iran is behind 95% of all terror that has plagued Israel over the past few years. Iran has set up a nerve center in Beirut, bringing together terrorist groups under its influence— Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah, PIJ and Hamas. They aim at attacking Israel from Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Iran also has proxy groups targeting Israel in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
Israeli media published clips of Hezbollah forces holding a large-scale military training maneuver on the Israel-Lebanon border in May. They used Hezbollah’s significant rocket forces, as well as ground forces consisting of small, agile vehicles. Israeli analysts have warned that in a future conflict Hezbollah will try to overwhelm Israel’s defenses by firing thousands of rockets at Israel, causing Israel’s Iron Dome to run out of missiles. Hezbollah units would then penetrate the border and make lightning raids on Israeli towns in the north of the country, try to occupy them before the IDF can be full mobilized, and hold the local population hostage.
Former Israeli Chief of Staff Eisenkott proposed that Israel should go on the offensive with a pre-emptive strike on Hezbollah destroying their missile silos and infrastructure before they can be used. Netanyahu also made a comment on May 24th suggesting that Israel could take pre-emptive and sophisticated action against Iran like the one taken against PIJ. After a visit to an intelligence unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the prime minister went on to say that Israel’s enemies must know that “the future is already here” and that “the enemy must know that we are far ahead of them.” Israel continues to make attacks on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria, including in the capital Damascus.
Syrian President Assad has asked Russian President Putin to increase the presence of Russian forces in Syria. Russia together with Iran has helped Assad stay in power after it looked like he would be deposed in the Syrian civil war. Russia needs Assad to stay in power in order to maintain its air base and naval bases in Syria. Russia has supplied Syria with its S 400 missile system. Iran has boosted Russia’s war effort in Ukraine during the past six months by providing Moscow with more than 300,000 artillery shells and drones. Russia is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian military expertise in drone technologies and other areas. The growing Russian-Iranian military cooperation is a potential threat to Israel.
While all this is happening, US influence in the Middle East is becoming ever weaker. China is stepping up its influence in the region with a surprise move that has brought former enemies Iran and Saudi Arabia together in an agreement to restore diplomatic relations. This is a blow to the US, a victory for Iran and China, and a sign of Washington’s failed policies in the Middle East. The Saudi-Iranian pact is the direct result of the Biden Administration’s antagonism towards America’s traditional Arab allies, especially Saudi Arabia, and the American policy of appeasement toward the mullahs in Iran.
What About Ezekiel?
All this is serious news for Israel and opens the question of how this relates to Bible prophecy, especially the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-9). This prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39 points to a power to the north of Israel leading an alliance of nations including Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (probably the current territory of Turkey) against Israel in the latter days. For more details on this, see Light for the Last Days July 2022 edition, available on request.
This is what Ezekiel says:
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army . . . Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
. . . [I]n the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste . . . Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: . . To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
A brief summary of Ezekiel 38-9 is as follows:
- An army will arise in the latter days (end of this age) and come against Israel.
- It will be led by a power to the north known as Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. Most (though not all) scholars have linked this to the region of present-day Russia.
- It will have a number of allies—Persia (Iran), Cush and Put (possibly Sudan and Libya), Gomer and Togarmah (probably Turkey).
- It will be verbally but not physically opposed by other nations – Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions. – possibly moderate Arab Gulf states plus western nations of Europe and America.
- This invasion will happen after the Jewish people of Israel have been restored to the land of Israel from a long period of dispersion around the world.
- It will be supernaturally destroyed by divine intervention, on the mountains of Israel, bringing an end to the power of these hostile forces.
- The Holy Spirit will be poured out on Israel leading to the Messianic kingdom which will be ruled over by the LORD (Messiah). The following chapters—Ezekiel 40-48—describe this time.
Because of the coming together of elements of this scenario with current events and trends in the Middle East, some Jewish and Christian Bible scholars are suggesting that we are on the way to the fulfilment of this prophecy.
There are a number of different interpretations of this prophecy. Some say it is a symbolic picture of the battle of good and evil which should not be taken literally. When I discussed this with a Jewish rabbi, he said it refers to wars in the Persian Empire in Bible times which have passed long ago. At the same time, the general Orthodox Jewish view is that the prophecy does relate to an apocalyptic war at the dawn of the messianic age. Rabbi Pinchas Winston has written 100 books on the subject including identifying Ezekiel 38-9 and Zechariah 12-14 as events to happen in Israel before the coming of the Messiah. According to the Orthodox Chabad website: “The prophet Ezekiel (chapters 38-39) describes a climactic battle that will be instigated by Gog, and will be waged against Israel and G‑d.”2
There are different views amongst prophecy-minded Christians about this Scripture.
In his book Footsteps of the Messiah, Arnold Fruchtenbaum says that this event will happen before the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation, the seven-year period that will precede the end of this age and the “Day of the Lord.” Therefore, it could happen at any time now.
Herald of Hope magazine (www.heraldofhope.org.au) says it will happen in the first half of the tribulation period (after the rapture), when Russian and Islamic forces will invade the land of Israel.
In his book The Islamic Antichrist, Joel Richardson puts Ezekiel 38-39 at the end of the tribulation, the same event as Armageddon. He also says that this is an Islamic invasion, not led by Russia, but by Muslim powers hostile to Israel. In this interpretation, Gog, the leader of this alliance, is the same person as the Islamic Mahdi. According to Muslim belief, the Mahdi will bring about the end of days battle and worldwide victory of Islam by taking back Jerusalem from Israel. In Joel Richardson’s view, Ezekiel’s Gog is the same person as the Beast or Antichrist of Revelation 13, a Muslim leader who comes out of Turkey.
Current Developments in the Middle East
The current situation in Ukraine does raise a question about Russia’s ability to get involved in the Middle East conflict at this time. The Ukraine war has turned into a disaster for Russia with its army weakened, its morale and weaponry destroyed, and its economy in trouble as sanctions cut it off from the main market for its oil and gas exports to Europe. US estimates around 200,000 Russian casualties in Ukraine, killed or seriously injured. Up to a million men have fled Russia to avoid being called up into the army. The Russian army has been exposed as badly led, ill equipped and guilty of war crimes against civilians. Some western analysts are predicting the collapse of the Russian Federation into smaller units separate from the Moscow government if Russia suffers more losses and is defeated in Ukraine.
Iran is also in crisis, with widespread unrest against the Islamic regime. Very few people in Iran, especially the youth, believe in the values of the Islamists, whose main achievement since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has been to turn people off Islam. Many young people want a secular government and are open to Christianity and the Gospel. At the present, the Iranian regime seems to have contained the rebellion against their rule, which erupted at the end of 2022. However, it has only done this by unleashing its power of repression against the people, killing and imprisoning members of the opposition, thus making it even more unpopular.
Russia still has considerable resources at its disposal. If it can extricate itself from the Ukraine situation, it will still pose a considerable threat to the world. The Iranian regime also has powerful resources to contain the opposition and continue its malign influence at home and in the wider Middle East region. Russia and Iran are moving closer together, and Turkey too is becoming closer to these two nations. China is operating in the background, trying to strengthen an anti-US alliance with Russia and Iran. China has just mounted a diplomatic coup, making an agreement that restores diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is seen as bringing Saudi Arabia out of US alignment into a new relationship with China. Iran, Russia, and China have held combined naval drills in the Gulf of Oman and northern Indian Ocean, amid speculation that the three countries are teaming up against the United States.
In July 2022, Putin visited Iran to shore up his alliance and show that he is interested in continuing to operate in the Middle East region. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Syria to oversee the drills that mark the biggest Russian naval deployment to the Mediterranean Sea since Cold War times. Shoigu met with Syrian President Assad to inform him about the drills and discuss plans for further military-technical cooperation. Assad has asked Putin for more Russian involvement in Syria which should be permanent in its nature.
Iran has supplied Russia with drones to use in its assault on Ukraine. As Russia becomes ever deeper involved with Israel’s main enemy in the Middle East, it has become more hostile to Israel. It has shut down the Jewish Agency in Russia, which defends Jewish interests in Russia and helps any Russian Jews who want to emigrate to Israel. Russia’s chief rabbi (in exile) has urged remaining Jews in Russia to get out for fear that they will be victims of growing anti-Semitism in the country.
Putin is now applying even more pressure on the Jewish state by offering military assistance to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The prospects of Russian interference in Judea and Samaria should be concerning to everyone. Russia has issued a severe warning to Israel not to get involved in the Ukraine conflict and not to supply any weapons to Ukraine. While Israel has not done this so far, a report in The Times of Israel (April 10th, 2023) says the US believes Israel can be pressured into supplying lethal surface to air missiles to Ukraine.
Will Israel Attack Iran?
Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned that he will not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons, knowing that the prime target for the Islamic regime to fire such a weapon would be Tel Aviv. According to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), Iran has enough nuclear material for more than one nuclear weapon. It is installing hundreds of new IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Natanz uranium enrichment plant, bringing it nearer to the so-called “breakout capacity.” From there, it’s only a matter of time before the Islamic Republic will be able to produce a nuclear warhead that it can mount on one of its long-range missiles.
The Israeli military apparatus is prepared for a major confrontation with Iran. In November 2022 Israel carried out joint aerial drills with the US Air Force involving a mock mission to take out Iranian nuclear sites. Iran’s response to such an attack (if it happens) would certainly involve strikes on Israel from Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. It could also potentially drag Russia into the fray.
Sooner or later these developments could precipitate the War of Gog and Magog, in which an alliance of nations comes against Israel and is supernaturally destroyed by God’s intervention of Israel’s behalf. In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39, this army will be led by a power coming from the uttermost north in alliance with many anti-Israel nations including Persia / Iran. It will meet its doom on the mountains of Israel. In this case, Russia’s power will be broken, possibly the US’s as well, as Ezekiel 39:6 speaks of fire falling on Magog (Russia) and the coastlands of the sea (a way of describing distant lands whose names were unknown in the days of the Bible).
What remains of NATO and the EU may emerge as a dominant power in the west, in conjunction with globalist powers operating through the UN. Out of this, the antichrist emerges, makes a peace covenant with Israel which sets off the final seven-year period of the tribulation before the return of the Messiah (Daniel 9:27). Meanwhile, China rises in the east, preparing the way for the “kings of the east” to march into the Middle East across the dried-up River Euphrates at the last battle—Armageddon (Revelation 16:12).
A number of Hebrew prophets speak of these events, including Zechariah who gives a run down of the last battle over Jerusalem in chapters 12-14 of his book. This places a question over who owns Jerusalem as a subject of concern for the world:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:2-3)
In Zechariah 12:10, we read that as this crisis unfolds, the Jewish people in Jerusalem will look to one who has been pierced for their salvation:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
This prophecy speaks of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah who came the first time to be “pierced,” die as a sacrifice for the sin of the world by crucifixion, and then rise from the dead to give new life and forgiveness to all who turn to Him. Zechariah goes on to prophecy that the Messiah will return and stand on the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem, bring an end to the war and set up the Messianic kingdom bringing peace and justice to Israel and the world (Isaiah 2:1-4, Zechariah 14). The Messiah has come once before in the person of Yeshua / Jesus the Messiah. He is coming again, this time as King of kings and Lord of lords with all power to put down the forces of antichrist and set up His Messianic kingdom. Be ready.
For more information on this, send for my booklet 10 Signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We have had this translated into Russian and Ukrainian. Some are being distributed to Russians fleeing the war. We are also contacting Russians online and pointing them to this booklet on our website at https://lightforthelastdays.co.uk/publications/booklets/10-признаков-второго-пришествия-иисуса/ We also have our Hope for the Future leaflet translated into Farsi to give to Iranian people, many of whom are disillusioned with Islam and looking for a better way through Jesus.
“Covid, Vaccines, Global Reset, and Israel” by Tony Pearce