Jacob’s Troubles :: By Steve Meehan

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee – Psalm 122:6

These are perilous times for the nation of Israel. Her existence is being threatened on a multitude of fronts. If ever there was a time when the Jewish state needed more the prayers of those that love her, that time would be now. Those groups that seek her destruction are stepping up, while nations that once supported her are backing off.

In the south, Egypt has had a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, when Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin signed the Camp David peace accords after 13 days of secret negotiations the previous year. All through the Mubarak years, there had been relative calm between the two nations. Israel had to give up control of the Sinai Peninsula as a condition of the peace treaty, thus beginning a “land for peace” mindset for any further negotiations with her Arab counterparts.

Then recently, as a result of the so-called Arab Spring, Hosni Mubarak was ousted and replaced with a “democratically elected” Muslim Brotherhood leader, namely Mohammed Morsi. One of Morsi’s first declarations since taking office, was that he intended to “amend” the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, which is more than likely Islamic- speak for rendering it null and void. He has since re-militarized the Sinai in efforts to control Gaza rebels who are infiltrating from the Gaza-Egypt border, but could also be used as a pretense for a further military buildup along the Israel-Egypt front – a development that the Israeli leadership is concerned about.

In the north, along Lebanon’s border with Israel, Hezbollah – the Iranian-backed militia/terrorist group – has continued to build up its arsenal of rockets, some of which are capable of hitting Tel Aviv and surrounding areas. They continue to be a growing menace and may soon get their hands on weapons of mass destruction from nearby Syria.

In Gaza, to the West, as soon as Israel gave up that land, Islamic militants/terrorists took over. Since the inception of the Hamas regime, there has been a continual barrage of crudely made rockets fired into Israel. Repeated airstrikes by Israel in their efforts to get Hamas and other groups to stop firing rockets has not succeeded. Tunnels leading into Gaza from the Sinai have been blown up by the IDF and a naval blockade has been set up off the coast of Gaza, to try to stem the tide of arm shipments into the area. Activity in and around that strip of land requires constant surveillance by Israel.

In the northeast, Syria has always maintained that a starting point for them in any peace negotiations must be the return of the Golan Heights to their control. That pretense for peace with Israel by Syria is about as worthless as the signed document that Neville Chamberlain exuberantly waved to the crowd on his return from a meeting with Adolph Hitler, who had guaranteed that he had no intentions of any further aggressions towards Europe. Syria only wants the Golan back because of its strategic importance in launching any future wars against Israel.

Now Bashar al Assad’s regime of Syria is involved in their own Arab Spring uprising, having raged on now for about 20 months. That civil war has, by all estimates, surpassed the 20,000 lives lost mark and is now spilling across the border into Turkey. The Turkish government is striking back and the conflict could further escalate into a conflagration with other surrounding countries – namely Israel. Assad has threatened to unleash his stockpile of chemical and biological weapons on any outside groups or nations who interfere with his attempts to cling to the reins of power. Would he consider using them against the Turks?

A more likely scenario could be one where Assad would possibly use some against Israel, in an effort to get the Arab world from closely observing what he is presently doing to his own countrymen, and instead come to Syria’s help if he were to get Israel involved in a massive retaliatory strike after being hit by Assad’s WMDs. It would be an extremely foolhardy venture on his part, but if he feels that he is going to lose power anyway, he may just roll the dice.

Another scenario involves those weapons falling into the rebel’s hands, or Al Qaeda groups infiltrating into his country, or maybe even Hezbollah getting control of some of them. It has been recently reported that Assad has had some of those weapons moved; either to safeguard them or have them at his disposal should he decide to use them. In any case, this bears close monitoring by Israel. They may have to take quick and decisive action to prevent those sinister weapons of war from being used against them.

Probably the biggest threat facing Israel and the one that has been in the news a lot lately, is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Under no circumstances can Israel allow the Iranian regime to develop and stockpile those weapons. Israel has been warning the world for years that that effort has to be stopped, including the use of military action to prevent them from acquiring such capability. Negotiations have ensued, inspectors have inspected, sanctions have been implemented, but still the centrifuges spin on toward the goal of enriching enough uranium to tip a missile or two with a nuclear warhead.

Time is running out. Ahmadinejad has only until next year to remain in office. He would like nothing more than to get his hands on some nukes and to start a catastrophic war that would then usher in his Mahdi. He made his little spiel during his recent UN address that the return of the 12th Imam is soon to take place. In their apocalyptic vision, their Mahdi could only come back as a result of an Iranian shock and awe campaign or something cataclysmic that would bring the reclusive imam out of hiding.

Time is running out for Netanyahu as well. He practically pleaded with the UN body – particularly the USA – to set a red line and do whatever is necessary to stop Iran in their tracks. He even felt compelled enough to have his Boris Badenov cartoon bomb as a visual, in effort to convey how close the Iranians actually were in their pursuit of nuclear weaponization. However crude and simplistic it may have been – and I’m sure he knew he would open himself up to scorn in using such a diagram – he felt it necessary to show how desperate and how close the situation is to becoming a reality and that unless stopped, Iran will have achieved their goal.

Will it fall on deaf ears? Will the world take action or simply resort to the use of further sanctions? Will the US finally draw a realistic red line before it is too late? Or, will Israel have to go it alone and take out the sites and suffer the consequences of any fallout?

These are extremely difficult days for Israel. The pressures on Netanyahu and the Israeli leadership have to be tremendous. Either way, it is a no-win situation. Iran can not be allowed to have such nuclear capability at their disposal; the result of that would be untenable for Israel, the Gulf nations, Europe and the USA. On the other hand, taking military action against the sites would also result in a huge backlash for Israel: Iran could try to bottle-up the Strait of Hormuz like they have threatened; they could attack US bases in the region; they could fire their long range conventional missiles at Israel; and most certainly, Iran would get their proxies in Hamas, Hezbollah and maybe even the Syrians to launch an assault against the Jewish nation.

Israel needs our prayers now more than ever. Tough decisions have to be made. The weight of the world must be on Bibi’s shoulders. Strike or wait? Will the USA come to their aid or not? The backlash from the world community on Israel could be severe. Oil prices will almost certainly skyrocket in an attack and the subsequent fallout, thus putting more pressure on the already fragile world economies. A further rise in the cost of a barrel of crude could plummet some countries over the cliff into the abyss. All of these factors have to weigh heavily on the thought process of the Israeli leadership.

Very dark days indeed lie ahead for Israel; their troubles will become ever-increasing.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. – II Timothy 3:1

They have the Body of Christ this side of the Rapture praying for them on their behalf:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. – Genesis 12-3

But after that event, who will be there initially to pray and support the nation of Israel in her struggle against those who wish to see their demise? The world is becoming a dark place with the Church still here; imagine how darker it will become after the restraining power of the Holy Spirit indwelt Body of Christ is removed. Seven years seems like an awful long time to see the condition of the world continually deteriorate, with all the accompanying wars, plagues, disease, earthquakes and loss of life.

Israel will have their hands full during the Tribulation period, with the prospect of a looming confrontation with Iran over their nukes on the horizon; action against Syria as prophesied in Isaiah 17; a possible Psalm 83 war with surrounding Arab nations; the Gog-Magog battle; a false peace treaty inked by the antichrist that is described in the Bible as “a covenant with Death and Hell”; and a fleeing Israel out of the land at the midpoint of the Tribulation, when they refuse to worship the beast and his image and a severe persecution ensues. All will culminate at the end of the seven year period during the Armageddon campaign in northern Israel, where the loss of life will be unimaginable.

Israel needs our prayers like never before. The Church may be gone before any of this takes place; Israel will still be here suffering through the time of Jacob’s Trouble.

e-mail author at GoTitans25@aol.com