The world is abuzz with the news that President Trump ordered a deadly and successful strike on Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian military general who was directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers in the past couple decades. Iran had charged Soleimani with the task of annihilating Israel and attacking the United States bases in Iraq.
In Iran, people are literally dancing in the streets as they celebrate the death of this wicked man who spread terror and death in so many places. As many in the world breathe a sigh of relief at the death of this tyrant, they also wonder what’s next for our world. Could there be a devastating world war, much worse than anything that has previously happened?
It took a while for me to fall asleep last night as I thought through varying scenarios for what might occur as the result of this killing.
Could This Lead to the Ezekiel 38-39 War?
At first, I wondered if this would quickly escalate into the Gog and Magog war described in Ezekiel 38-39. But since Ezekiel does not mention the United States as a player in this battle, I could not see a clear relationship between the killing of Soleimani and the coming invasion of Israel.
If Iran greatly escalates the conflict with the United States as many in media expect, they would likely face sudden annihilation. If their close allies, Russian and Iran, also get involved in the conflict, this would have worldwide disastrous effects that I do not see happening before the seven-year tribulation. In addition, Iran must remain a viable force until the Gog and Magog battle.
If Iran and her allies could somehow drastically weaken the American forces in the region or strike a fatal blow against the United States, that would open the door to such a widespread invasion of Israel. But I believe that President Trump would not have taken such action without his military commanders assuring him they could protect our forces in the Middle East and here at home.
While not completely ruling out a successful preemptive attack on the part of Iran or her allies, another thought came to my mind last night as I thought of how the killing of Soleimani could pave the way to the war of Ezekiel 38-39.
I could not escape the thought that the rapture is the wildcard in all of this. My current focus is thus not on a devastating world war or a disastrous attack on the United States, but rather on Jesus’ appearing to take His church back to heaven (John 14:2-3).
No other event could so instantly take away the United States’ ability to defend itself in the Middle East or anywhere else. No other event could so suddenly remove the United States’ ability to defend Israel, which would leave her open to the massive attack described in Ezekiel 38-39.
I say these things in part because I know that many in our military are men and women of faith. Their sudden disappearance would leave our forces in great disarray. Many leaders in our government would also be suddenly missing from the scene, which would further complicate our response to an attack upon Israel.
In addition, I cannot imagine the quick, crippling impact the rapture would have upon the economy of the United States, which would also greatly limit our ability to respond militarily to any crisis.
Is the Rapture Really that Close at Hand?
“Are we really that close to the rapture?” you might ask. Yes, absolutely! Please know I am not making any predictions as to the timing of the rapture, but recent events in the Middle East should act as a wakeup call for the church: the Lord’s appearing could very well take place very, very soon.
I am totally convinced Jesus is coming for us before the tribulation begins, which is another reason for my confidence in Jesus’ soon return. The signs of the soon start of the tribulation abound throughout our world and are far too many for me to quickly list here.
Because of its impact upon the United States, the rapture would not only make Israel suddenly vulnerable to an invasion, Jesus’ appearing to take us home seems to be the connecting link between the rising tensions between America and Iran and the Gog and Magog invasion of Israel.
So what does the killing of Qasem Soleimani tell us? The coming of Jesus for us is ever so close at hand.
No one really knows if another Middle East war will suddenly erupt or how this will impact the security of Israel or of the United States.
One thing, however, remains abundantly clear; now more than ever before is the time to watch for Jesus’ appearing as Paul described in Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself.”
The Greek word for “await” in verse 20 points to an “intense anticipation” or an “excited expectation” of a future event.[i]
If this was true two thousand years ago, how much more so as we see what is happening in our world?
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[i] Colin Brown, editor, Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969) p. 244.