Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

What Would Happen if Israel Nuked Iran

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

In those first minutes, they’ll be stunned. Eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare, nerve endings numbed. They’ll just stand there. Soon, you’ll notice that they are holding their arms out at a 45-degree angle. Your eyes will be drawn to their hands and you’ll think you mind is playing tricks. But it won’t be. Their fingers will start to resemble stalactites, seeming to melt toward the ground. And it won’t be long until the screaming begins. Shrieking. Moaning. Tens of thousands of victims at once. They’ll be standing amid a sea of shattered concrete and glass, a wasteland punctuated by the shells of buildings, orphaned walls, stairways leading nowhere.

This could be Tehran, or what’s left of it, just after an Israeli nuclear strike.

Iranian cities—owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities—are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, “Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region.

Its scenarios are staggering. An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people—86% of the population—and leave close to 800,000 wounded. A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated 5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a nuclear detonation.

Estimates of the civilian toll in other Iranian cities are even more horrendous. A nuclear assault on the city of Arak, the site of a heavy water plant central to Iran’s nuclear program, would potentially kill 93% of its 424,000 residents. Three 100-kiloton nuclear weapons hitting the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas would slaughter an estimated 94% of its 468,000 citizens, leaving just 1% of the population uninjured. A multi-weapon strike on Kermanshah, a Kurdish city with a population of 752,000, would result in an almost unfathomable 99.9% casualty rate.

Cham Dallas, the director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia and lead author of the study, says that the projections are the most catastrophic he’s seen in more than 30 years analyzing weapons of mass destruction and their potential effects. “The fatality rates are the highest of any nuke simulation I’ve ever done,” he told me by phone from the nuclear disaster zone in Fukushima, Japan, where he was doing research. “It’s the perfect storm for high fatality rates.”

Israel has never confirmed or denied possessing nuclear weapons, but is widely known to have up to several hundred nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Iran has no nuclear weapons and its leaders claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes only. Published reports suggest that American intelligence agencies and Israel’s intelligence service are in agreement: Iran suspended its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.

Dallas and his colleagues nonetheless ran simulations for potential Iranian nuclear strikes on the Israeli cities of Beer Sheva, Haifa, and Tel Aviv using much smaller 15-kiloton weapons, similar in strength to those dropped by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Their analyses suggest that, in Beer Shiva, half of the population of 209,000 would be killed and one-sixth injured. Haifa would see similar casualty ratios, including 40,000 trauma victims. A strike on Tel Aviv with two 15-kiloton weapons would potentially slaughter 17% of the population—nearly 230,000 people. Close to 150,000 residents would likely be injured.

These forecasts, like those for Iranian cities, are difficult even for experts to assess. “Obviously, accurate predictions of casualty and fatality estimates are next to impossible to obtain,” says Dr. Glen Reeves, a longtime consultant on the medical effects of radiation for the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who was not involved in the research. “I think their estimates are probably high but not impossibly so.”

According to Paul Carroll of the Ploughshares Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation that advocates for nuclear disarmament, “the results would be catastrophic” if major Iranian cities were attacked with modern nuclear weapons. “I don’t see 75% [fatality rates as] being out of the question,” says Carroll, after factoring in the longer-term effects of radiation sickness, burns, and a devastated medical infrastructure.

According to Dallas and his colleagues, the marked disparity between estimated fatalities in Israel and Iran can be explained by a number of factors. As a start, Israel is presumed to have extremely powerful nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery capabilities including long-range Jericho missiles, land-based cruise missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and advanced aircraft with precision targeting technology.

The nature of Iranian cities also makes them exceptionally vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to the Conflict & Health study. Tehran, for instance, is home to 50% of Iran’s industry, 30% of its public sector workers, and 50 colleges and universities. As a result, 12 million people live in or near the capital, most of them clustered in its core. Like most Iranian cities, Tehran has little urban sprawl, meaning residents tend to live and work in areas that would be subject to maximum devastation and would suffer high percentages of fatalities due to trauma as well as thermal burns caused by the flash of heat from an explosion.

Iran’s topography, specifically mountains around cities, would obstruct the dissipation of the blast and heat from a nuclear explosion, intensifying the effects. Climatic conditions, especially high concentrations of airborne dust, would likely exacerbate thermal and radiation casualties as well as wound infections.

In addition to killing more than 5.5 million people, a strike on Tehran involving five 250-kiloton weapons—each of them 16 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—would result in an estimated 803,000 third-degree burn victims, with close to 300,000 others suffering second degree burns, and 750,000 to 880,000 people severely exposed to radiation. “Those people with thermal burns over most of their bodies we can’t help,” says Dallas. “Most of these people are not going to survive… there is no saving them. They’ll be in intense agony.” As you move out further from the site of the blast, he says, “it actually gets worse. As the damage decreases, the pain increases, because you’re not numb.”

In a best case scenario, there would be 1,000 critically injured victims for every surviving doctor but “it will probably be worse,” according to Dallas. Whatever remains of Tehran’s healthcare system will be inundated with an estimated 1.5 million trauma sufferers. In a feat of understatement, the researchers report that survivors “presenting with combined injuries including either thermal burns or radiation poisoning are unlikely to have favorable outcomes.”

Iranian government officials did not respond to a request for information about how Tehran would cope in the event of a nuclear attack. When asked if the US military could provide humanitarian aid to Iran after such a strike, a spokesman for Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, was circumspect. “US Central Command plans for a wide range of contingencies to be prepared to provide options to the Secretary of Defense and the President,” he told this reporter. But Frederick Burkle, a senior fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Harvard University’s School of Public Health, as well as a coauthor of the just-published article, is emphatic that the US military could not cope with the scale of the problem. “I must also say that no country or international body is prepared to offer the assistance that would be needed,” he told me.

Dallas and his team spent five years working on their study. Their predictions were generated using a declassified version of a software package developed for the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, as well as other complementary software applications. According to Glen Reeves, the software used fails to account for many of the vagaries and irregularities of an urban environment. These, he says, would mitigate some of the harmful effects. Examples would be buildings or cars providing protection from flash burns. He notes, however, that built-up areas can also exacerbate the number of deaths and injuries. Blast effects far weaker than what would be necessary to injure the lungs can, for instance, topple a house. “Your office building can collapse… before your eardrums pop!” notes Reeves.

The new study provides the only available scientific predictions to date about what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean. Dallas, who was previously the director of the Center for Mass Destruction Defense at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is quick to point out that the study received no US government funding or oversight. “No one wanted this research to happen,” he adds.

Rattling Sabers and Nuclear Denial

Frederick Burkle points out that, today, discussions about nuclear weapons in the Middle East almost exclusively center on whether or not Iran will produce an atomic bomb instead of “focusing on ensuring that there are options for them to embrace an alternate sense of security.” He warns that the repercussions may be grave. “The longer this goes on the more we empower that singular thinking both within Iran and Israel.”

Even if Iran were someday to build several small nuclear weapons, their utility would be limited. After all, analysts note that Israel would be capable of launching a post-attack response which would simply devastate Iran. Right now, Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. Yet a preemptive Israeli nuclear strike against Iran also seems an unlikely prospect to most experts.

“Currently, there is little chance of a true nuclear war between the two nations,” according to Paul Carroll of the Ploughshares Fund. Israel, he points out, would be unlikely to use nuclear weapons unless its very survival were at stake. “However, Israel’s rhetoric about red lines and the threat of a nuclear Iran are something we need to worry about,” he told me recently by email. “A military strike to defeat Iran’s nuclear capacity would A) not work B) ensure that Iran WOULD then pursue a bomb (something they have not clearly decided to do yet) and C) risk a regional war.”

Cham Dallas sees the threat in even starker terms. “The Iranians and the Israelis are both committed to conflict,” he told me. He isn’t alone in voicing concern. “What will we do if Israel threatens Tehran with nuclear obliteration?… A nuclear battle in the Middle East, one-sided or not, would be the most destabilizing military event since Pearl Harbor,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter Tim Weiner in a recent op-ed for Bloomberg News. “Our military commanders know a thousand ways in which a war could start between Israel and Iran… No one has ever fought a nuclear war, however. No one knows how to end one.”

The Middle East is hardly the only site of potential nuclear catastrophe. Today, according to the Ploughshares Fund, there are an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons in the world. Russia reportedly has the most with 8,500; North Korea, the fewest with less than 10. Donald Cook, the administrator for defense programs at the US National Nuclear Security Administration, recently confirmed that the United States possesses around 4,700 nuclear warheads. Other nuclear powers include rivals India and Pakistan, which stood on the brink of nuclear war in 2002. (Just this year, Indian government officials warned residents of Kashmir, the divided territory claimed by both nations, to prepare for a possible nuclear war.) Recently, India and nuclear-armed neighbor China, which went to war with each other in the 1960s, again found themselves on the verge of a crisis due to a border dispute in a remote area of the Himalayas.

In a world awash in nuclear weapons, saber-rattling, brinkmanship, erratic behavior, miscalculations, technological errors, or errors in judgment could lead to a nuclear detonation and suffering on an almost unimaginable scale, perhaps nowhere more so than in Iran. “Not only would the immediate impacts be devastating, but the lingering effects and our ability to deal with them would be far more difficult than a 9/11 or earthquake/tsunami event,” notes Paul Carroll. Radiation could turn areas of a country into no-go zones; healthcare infrastructure would be crippled or totally destroyed; and depending on climatic conditions and the prevailing winds, whole regions might have their agriculture poisoned. “One large bomb could do this, let alone a handful, say, in a South Asian conflict,” he told me.

“I do believe that the longer we have these weapons and the more there are, the greater the chances that we will experience either an intentional attack (state-based or terrorist) or an accident,” Carroll wrote in his email. “In many ways, we’ve been lucky since 1945. There have been some very close calls. But our luck won’t hold forever.”

Cham Dallas says there is an urgent need to grapple with the prospect of nuclear attacks, not later, but now. “There are going to be other big public health issues in the twenty-first century, but in the first third, this is it. It’s a freight train coming down the tracks,” he told me. “People don’t want to face this. They’re in denial.”

iran

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5028

Russia & Turkey: Magog and Gog

Game-changing Russian missiles ‘already in Syria’ – Aaron Klein – http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/game-changing-russian-missiles-already-in-syria/?cat_orig=world

Obama aware, disappointed in support of regime

A Russian convoy of game-changing S300 missile batteries reached Syria last week, claimed Arab intelligence sources speaking to WND.

Israeli security sources said there is no information to support the Arab claim.

The information comes as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported Israel relayed a message to the Obama administration describing as imminent a Russian deal to sell the advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria.

The S300 missile batteries are able to intercept manned aircraft and guided missiles.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Texas the administration is aware of the reports and is disappointed in Russia’s continued support of the Syrian regime.

“We have consistently called on Russia to cut off the Assad regime’s supply of Russian weapons including air defense systems that are destabilizing to the region,” Carney said. “We have also long said that Russia could play a more constructive role in Syria.”

According to the Journal report, Syria has been making payments on a 2010 agreement with Russia to purchase four batteries for $900 million with delivery expected within three months.

The Journal reported the S300 package included six launchers and 144 operational missiles each with a range of up to 200 miles.

Russia staffs Mediterranean fleet – Turkey weighs payback for Syrian bombingshttp://www.debka.com/article/22965/Russia-staffs-Mediterranean-fleet-Turkey-weighs-payback-for-Syrian-bombings

Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Sunday, May 12, that the process is underway for creating a permanent staff to run Russian fleet operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet’s home port, Adm. Chirkov said a staff of 20 officers was already in place. And the Mediterranean deployment would comprise five to six warships and their service vessels as well possibly as nuclear submarines which, say our military sources, are armed with nuclear ballistic missiles.

debkafile’s military sources: The new permanent deployment is the next Russian step for safeguarding Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus and deterring military attacks on his Hezbollah allies and Iranian interests in their three-way bloc.

Moscow is also announcing loud and clear that Russia is finally restoring its military presence to the Middle East in 2013 after the last Soviet squadron exited the Mediterranean in 1992.

The Russian naval step came 24 hours after two car bombs reduced to rubble the center of the Turkish town of Reyhanli near the Syrian border, killing 46 people and injuring scores. Turkish ministers at the scene Sunday openly blamed Syrian military intelligence for the attack’s planning and execution.

This raised concerns in Moscow that Ankara was preparing to deliver a serious reprisal, possibly in the form of an aerial or missile assault, on Syrian military targets.

Russian tacticians reckoned that, after Israel’s two air strikes against Assad regime targets, the Tayyip Erdogan’s government could hardly avoid direct action without appearing to be failing in courage in the eyes of the Turkish public.

Some action is doubly pressing as Prime Minister Erdogan prepares to travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama on May 16 and present him with evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons in his war on Syrian rebels.

The Reyhanli bombings and Turkey’s potential retaliation sent a fresh wave of alarm across the Syrian neighborhood. Once again, Israeli Air Force warplanes thundered Sunday across South Lebanon and over Hezbollah strongholds in the eastern Beqaa Valley near the Syrian border.

Given all these circumstances, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chances are virtually nil of getting anywhere in his trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to persuade President Vladimir Putin to hold back advanced S-300 anti-air missiles from Syria. He can expect to find the Russian president driving full speed for arms deals – not just with Syria, but also with Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.

Putin clearly regards Obama’s decision to keep the US clear of military involvement in the Syrian conflict as an open gateway for a Russian military comeback to the Middle East after a 21-year absence, armed with a cornucopia of weapons for winning clients. For now, there is no stopping him, not even if Turkey or Israel were to embark themselves on military intervention.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5019

KAHLILI: Teetering on the brink

Iran is teetering on the brink of political chaos in the wake of last week’s news that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested, questioned and warned to shut up by the heads of the Islamic regime’s security forces before being released seven hours later.

With a candidacy-filing deadline at hand for those who would succeed Mr. Ahmadinejad in next month’s presidential election, according to the regime’s media outlet Baztab, the president warned that if his handpicked candidate — close confidant and adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei — were not allowed on the ballot, he would release a tape that proved his 2009 re-election was a fraud, engineered by the regime’s supreme leader. After publishing that news, the Baztab website was immediately taken down by security forces and its editor arrested.

The report of the arrest came from a source in the regime’s intelligence apparatus but was denied by the regime itself. However, Mr. Ahmadinejad a week earlier said he had been warned that if he released information embarrassing to the regime, he would be taught a lesson. He said he won’t back down and that he has files that, if revealed, would implicate certain officials.

As I reported recently from a Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit source, Mr. Ahmadinejad taped a phone conversation between himself and Vahid Haghanian, the head of the office of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The two discussed fraud in which Mr. Haghanian said election officials added millions of votes to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s tally to declare him the winner. While the two argued about the fraud, Mr. Haghanian told Mr. Ahmadinejad what Ayatollah Khamenei, the real power in Iran, expected of him.

The man who lost the official vote to Mr. Ahmadinejad in 2009, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been under house arrest since February 2011. Millions of Iranians took to the streets after that election, calling Mr. Ahmadinejad’s reported 62 percent tally of voters a fraud and demanding a free election. Thousands were arrested, with many tortured and executed.

The Obama administration, which was engaged in back-channel negotiations with Iran at the time over its illicit nuclear program, stayed out of the debate on fraudulent elections, claiming any support would jeopardize the protesters, thereby missing a great opportunity as millions of Iranians chanted “death to the dictator.”

Information leaked from the regime’s intelligence service months later indicated that had the protests continued for several more weeks, the regime would have fallen. Though the Islamic leaders promised to collaborate with President Obama once the masses were suppressed, Iran announced that not only was the offer by world powers no longer acceptable, but it had reached a milestone by enriching uranium to the 20 percent level, which is well on the way toward use for nuclear weapons.

While Mr. Ahmadinejad was under arrest April 29, he was warned not to talk about matters detrimental to the Islamic regime, apparently a reference to his threat to release the damning tape.

As this was unfolding, the source said, hundreds of other Revolutionary Guard members questioned the president’s associates on the existence of documents that could harm the regime. They were probably searching for the tape.

Now there is a standoff between Mr. Ahmadinejad, the apparent fraudulently elected head of state, and Ayatollah Khamenei, the de facto head of state. Will Mr. Ahmadinejad release the tape and thereby bring international scorn to a regime already suffering international sanctions because of its nuclear program? Such a scenario would heap embarrassment on the dictatorial regime as the presidential elections near.

The Obama administration, though failing to reach an agreement on the regime’s nuclear program, has again mistakenly placed its hopes in back-channel talks with Ali Akbar Velayati, who is the ayatollah’s handpicked candidate to succeed Mr. Ahmadinejad.

As I reported last October, Mr. Velayati secretly met in Doha, Qatar, with a three-person delegation of the Obama administration. According to the source, one American is trusted by the Iranians, having met with Mr. Velayati more than 10 times over the past several years. Other U.S. and Iranian officials also participated in several of those meetings, which took place from 2009 to 2012 in Turkey, Georgia and Thailand to discuss Iran’s nuclear program as well as regional issues.

WikiLeaks recently revealed U.S. diplomatic cables that indicate that, as early as 2007, a close associate of the supreme leader communicated with the U.S. Embassy in Dubai to suggest that the U.S. government support the 2009 candidacy of Mr. Velayati, who ultimately did not run for the presidency. The Bush administration showed no interest.

Mr. Velayati, who is wanted by Argentina in the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, has been the subject of intense negotiations between Iran and Argentina to clear him of that charge as he prepared to run for the presidency. The source said the Obama administration has helped with this approach even though Israeli officials are furious over the possibility of such a decision by the Argentines.

The Obama administration should know by now that its failed negotiating approach has only bought time for Iran to develop its nuclear weapons program. If North Korea is any lesson, the world will not be able to sustain peace and stability if similar threats of a nuclear exchange rise in the Persian Gulf, where more than 20 percent of the world’s energy passes.

The best option is to dramatically increase pressure on the regime to widen the existing crack and support the aspirations of the Iranian people, who want nothing more than freedom and democracy.

iran

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5011

Magog connection to Boston Marathon bombers/Chechnyan region

bombers/Chechnyan region

Baghdad. Karachi. Lebanon. Damascus. These are the places on maps our eyes rove to when thinking of terror, jihad, and evil. We see a great amount of hate emanating from these places where satan has his throne. (Revelation 2:13; Ezekiel 28:12).

And just when we got used to this place or that place being the seat of terror, BLAM! Chechnya!

The two brothers who executed the terrorist bombings at the Boston marathon were from Chechnya. They were Muslim and subscribed to a jihadi point of view. The Boston police Commissioner said, “We believe this man to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people.”

Aha. This explains a lot. It is part of ground zero of where the Gog Magog nations will combine to attack Israel in the Gog Magog Ezekiel 38 war.

Russia’s Caucasus: breeding ground for terror

“Militants from Chechnya and other restive regions in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings, but the allegations of involvement in the Boston Marathon explosions would mark the first time they had conducted a terror attack in the West. The conflict in Chechnya began in 1994 as a separatist war, but quickly morphed into an Islamic insurgency whose adepts vow to carve out an independent Islamic state in the Caucasus.”

“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 Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army – 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.’ (Ezekiel 38:1-6).

These Magog coalition nations are the nations of today –

Magog – there are over 130 historical references tying Magog to the ancient Scythians. In Colossians 3:11 Paul mentioned the Scythians. The Strong’s concordance identifies a Scythian as an inhabitant of Scythia or modern day Russia. The Great Wall of China was known as the “Ramparts of Magog” in ancient times and was built to protect China from Magog. Magog was a son of Japeth and inhabited central Asia. His children, the Scythians, are the ancestors of today’s Russian people.

Meshech and Tubal – These two were brothers of Magog and are linked to the same general area, but more likely with the Turkic people. Josephus associated Meshech with Cappodocia, home of the ancient Hittite Empire in Eastern Turkey.

Persia – Iran

Cush and Put – Ethiopia, Libya and the north part of the continent; Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, etc.

Gomer– Eastern Europe of today.

Beth Togarmah – Armenians of today call themselves the House of Togarmah. The Turks (but not the Kurds, who are the ancient Medes of Media-Persia fame) are also included, and they’re the ones Ezekiel had in view.

Sheba and Dedan – commentaries none-the-less identify these two as probably representing the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, notably Saudi Arabia. The ancient capital of Saudi Arabia is still called Dedan on many maps today.

Tarshish

Tarshish was a son of Javan, who settled the area of Southern Greece. There are three schools of thought where Tarshish is concerned. One view locates Tarshish to the East, accessible from Solomon’s great seaport at Ezion Geber on the Red Sea. Since Javan and his family traveled north and west from Babel at the confusion of tongues, it seems unlikely. Large sea going vessels were often nicknamed “Ships of Tarshish” and more likely this is how Tarshish came to be linked with Ezion Geber, since both Solomon and Hezekiah built such vessels there. Others see this as a reference to ancient Tartessus, a seaport in southern Spain, near Gibraltar. Still others recall the sea going navies of the Phoenicians, who operated Ships of Tarshish out of nearby Cadiz and sailed as far north as England for tin, a metal used in the making of bronze and other alloys, which they mined in Cornwall. Some believe that the name Britannia is actually derived from a Phoenician word meaning “source of tin.” If so, since the ships of Tarshish brought tin to the ancient world, this reference could be to Great Britain making the “lions” (KJV) or “villages”(NIV) of Tarshish Great Britain’s colonies, of which the US is most prominent today. The fact that the lion is a symbol of the British Empire lends support to this view.

Now look at the map again. Chechnya is smack dab in the middle of the exact geographic region which will combine in an unholy alliance against God, striking His nation Israel in the last days.

One thing that the surprise Chechnyan connection and the surprise US terror act tells us, is that satan is alive and well and busy, even in ways and in places we are not aware. If there is a good to come of this act, it is to unite us in prayer, to take a stand for Jesus, and to remember to put on our armor and be on guard even more vigilantly- spiritually.

No matter how dark the day, the Light is coming. He will prevail. He already has prevailed. In this way, all things are working perfectly to work out His plan. In the glory of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. His truth marches on! His day is coming!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4954

Egypt and Sudan: The emerging “King of the South” alliance?

Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir have met together to declare bilateral relations between their two countries. You can read about these meetings at Front Page Magazine here. Ahram online also reported on the meeting here. Both leaders rose to power through the support of the Muslim Brotherhood within their respective nations. Why might this be significant as it relates to Biblical prophecy? Well, in Daniel 11:43, we are told that in “the last days”, there would specifically emerge an Egyptian-Sudanese-Libyan alliance. In verse 40, we are told that in the last days, there would be a military clash between the “King of the South” (Egypt) and “the King of the North”. Historically, this refers to the region where Syria, Turkey, and Iraq intersect, but which I believe it refers to modern day Turkey. The Scriptural basis for this first, is the clear emphasis of Ezekiel 38-39 on Asia Minor / Turkey as well as the fact that it was in Turkey that the World witnessed the “fatal head wound” of the seventh beast empire. Revelation 13 and 17 informs us that after the Roman Empire, another empire, a seventh empire, would emerge that would suffer a fatal head wound but that would eventually be revived as the eighth empire, it stands to reason that even as it was the Ottoman Empire / Caliphate that suffered the head wound. It this stands to reason that because it was in the Ottoman Empire that the historical continuum of the Islamic Caliphates suffered a fatal head wound, so also will the Ottoman Empire experience the miraculous revival. And of course, on the ground, all evidence points now to a re-emergent Turkey with growing regional influence and stature. The fact that we are seeing an emerging Turkish power in the North at the same time that we are seeing an emerging assertive Egypt is certainly worth watching. And as the African nations of Egypt and Sudan, two of the nations specifically highlighted by the prophet Daniel begin to publicly identify with one another, then we also must ask if we are drawing closer. While it is too soon to know for sure or to declare these things with clarity, it certainly does seem to be moving in the direction of fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel 11. The return of Jesus very well could be much closer than many think. Let us be about the work of God.

mb

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4918

‘GATE TO HELL’ DISCOVERED IN ANTICHRIST’S NEIGHBORHOOD

Joel Richardson

A significant recent archeological discovery in western Turkey may hold a prophetic hint as to the nation from which the Antichrist will someday burst forth onto the world scene.

According to a recent report by Fox News, archeologists have uncovered the ancient “gate to hell.” Not literally, of course, but rather they’ve discovered an ancient pagan temple known as “Pluto’s Gate,” the cave that was believed to be the portal to Hades, in Greco-Roman mythology.

According to the Greek geographer Strabo, the cave emitted a thick vapor that would kill any who came into contact with it. According to Francesco D’Andria, the archeologist who discovered the gate, “We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”

Some students of prophecy have noted the similarity of the gate to hell to the “Abyss” as described in the book of Revelation:

“When [the angel] opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions.” (Revelation 9:2-3)

What is more interesting about this find as it relates to biblical prophecy is the fact that the gate was discovered in modern-day Pamukkale, Turkey, known in ancient times as Hierapolis. According to the first-century historian known as Pliny the Elder, Hierapolis was also known as “Magog.”

In fact, it was specifically this ancient Turkish-Magog connection that informed the understanding of a wide range of Jewish and Christian theologians concerning the region from which the armies of Gog and Magog would descend into the land of Israel.

Gog and Magog, according to the biblical prophet Ezekiel, are armies of the final antagonists of the Jewish people, who would invade the land of Israel just prior to the return of Jesus. While many prophecy teachers today hold to the idea that the Battle of Gog of Magog is a preliminary and distinct battle from the final Battle of Armageddon, this belief is actually a relatively new minority view within church history. Consider the following partial survey of theologians, both Christian and Jewish, who have long looked for the Antichristian armies of Gog of Magog to come from the land of Turkey:

Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), an early Christian theologian, in his Chronicon, connected Magog with the Galatians in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.

Moses Ben Maimonides (aka Rambam) (1135–1204), the revered Jewish sage, in Hichot Terumot, identified Magog as being on the border of Syria and modern-day Turkey.

Nicholas of Lyra (1270–1349), a Hebrew scholar and renowned biblical exegete, believed that Gog was another title of the Antichrist. Lyra also affirmed that the religion of the “Turks,” a term used to refer to Muslims in general, was the religion of the Antichrist.

Martin Luther (1483–1546), understood Gog to be a reference to the Turks, whom God had sent as a scourge to chastise Christians.

Sir Walter Raleigh (1554–1618), in his History of the World, also placed Magog in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey:

“Yet it is not to be denied, that the Scythians in old times coming out of the northeast, wasted the better part of Asia the Less, and possessed Coelesyria, where they built both Scythopolis and Hierapolis, which the Syrians call Magog. And that to this Magog Ezekiel had reference, it is very plain; for this city Hierapolis, or Magog, standeth due north from Judea, according to the words of Ezekiel, that from the north quarters those nations should come.”

John Wesley (1703–1755), in his Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel 38 and 39, identified the hoards of Gog and Magog with “the Antichristian forces” who would come from the region of modern day Turkey.

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), one of American history’s most renowned theologians, also viewed modern-day Turkey as the nation from which the coming Gog Magog invasion would come forth.

John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), the British-Irish evangelist and a father of modern Dispensationalism and Futurism, in his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, views Gog as the final Antichristian forces God will bring against Israel:

“Gog is the end of all the dealings of God with respect to Israel, and that God brings up this haughty power in order to manifest on earth, by a final judgment, His dealings with Israel and with the Gentiles, and to plant His blessing, His sanctuary, and His glory in the midst of Israel.”

C.I. Scofield (1843–1921), author of the Scofield Reference Bible, viewed the oracle of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as speaking of the Battle of Armageddon. Scofield, spoke of Ezekiel’s oracle thusly:

“[T]hat destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future ‘day of Jehovah’; Isaiah 2:10-22; Revelation 19:11-21 and to the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14).”

Charles Lee Feinberg (1909–1995), a prominent Messianic Jewish expositor in his commentary on Ezekiel, states, “The armies of chapter 38-39 would appear to be included in the universal confederacies seen in Zechariah 12 and 14.”

Charles Ryrie, in his Ryrie Study Bible, views Gog and his hordes as one and the same with the Antichrist and his armies.

Dave Hunt, apologist, author and radio commentator, identifies the Gog of Magog Battle with other Antichristic prophecies and views it as a reference to the ultimate battle of Armageddon.

Many other prominent Christian theologians could be cited. If all of these theologians are correct, and Antichrist/Gog does come forth from the modern nation of Turkey, then it would certainly seem appropriate that Turkey is the home to the mythological location of the ancient gateway to hell.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4901

Tamar Gas Field Gives Israel Energy Independence

After four years of exploration and drilling, as well as a $3.5 billion investment, Israel announced Saturday that the Tamar offshore gas field has finally come online, a move government officials say will diminish Israel’s dependency on foreign gas imports.

Tamar is believed to have reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet). Discovered in 2009, the field, which lies some 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Haifa, is jointly owned by American company Noble Energy and three Israeli firms: Delek, Isramco and Dor Alon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday that the event marked “an important day for Israel’s economy.”

The Energy and Water Resources Ministry confirmed that “natural gas is now moving from the Tamar reservoir to a new naval production rig across from Ashdod, from where it will within 24 hours reach an absorption station in Ashdod.”

Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom said, “This is Israel’s energy independence day. It is truly a historic event — Israel has received energy freedom.”

Delek Group owner Yitzhak Tshuva was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying: “This is a very proud day for all of us. Our vision has become a reality. This is a tremendous achievement for the Israeli energy market and the beginning of a new era.”

International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who — while serving as finance minister in Netanyahu’s previous government — promoted legislation that paved the way for offshore drilling in Israel, said, “Pumping natural gas from Tamar will not only afford Israel clean and cheap energy, but it will also yield the state considerable revenue.”

The royalties the three Tamar partners will pay the state and Israel’s potential natural gas exports are expected to yield some 450 billion shekels (about $123 billion) in state revenue over the next 25 years, AFP said.

Israel generates approximately 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas and until 2012, Egypt provided much of those needs. That supply, however, was constantly interrupted in the wake of the Egyptian revolution, as the pipeline connecting the two countries was repeatedly blown up by terrorists. Cairo canceled its gas supply agreement with Israel in April 2012, claiming the terms of the deal were undermining Egypt’s interests.

Despite the fact that Tamar has come online, domestic electricity prices are not expected to drop. Israel Electric Corp. announced that its plan for a 6.5% price hike, slated for mid-April 2013, still stands. Tamar’s gas supplies are expected to affect the domestic consumers’ power bill in 2015 at the earliest.

Energy experts said that Tamar has the ability to meet Israel’s energy needs for decades and it is expected to save the market about 13 billion shekels ($3.6 billion) a year; as well as create thousands of new jobs and promote Israel’s position in the world energy market.

Israel’s second offshore gas field, Leviathan, which has yet to come online, is twice the size of Tamar, AFP said. It is believed to contain 450 billion cubic meters (some 15.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. Once online, Leviathan has the potential to make Israel a key player in the world energy market.

The Energy and Water Resources Ministry estimated in 2012 that once Tamar and Leviathan are both fully operational, Israel would be able to export some 53% of its natural gas.

israel_flag

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4885

Russia Sending Permanent Warship Fleet To Mediterranean: Is A Russian Naval Base In Cyprus Coming Next?

That Russia has previously threatened, and followed through with, sending ships to the Mediterranean is nothing new. In the past, every such episode was related to the protection of what Putin considered vital geopolitical interests in the region: whether defending the Syrian port of Tartus, various crude and natural gas pipelines in the region threatened by NATO expansion in Turkey, or offsetting heightened US presence around Gaza and Israel (and of course Iran). Which is why with the legacy conflicts in the region dormant, and the only news of any relevance being the European intervention in Cyprus against Russian oligarch interests, it is surprising we learn today that the Russian Navy will dispatch a permanent fleet of five or six combat ships to the Mediterranean Sea, with frigates and cruisers making up the core of the fleet.

How far into the Mediterranean one wonders? It wouldn’t be too difficult to put two and two together and assume that with Cyprus just a few hundreds kilometers away from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Israel, Russia may have not only a new geopolitical target, namely the now pseudo-insolvent Russian protectorate of Cyprus, but a perfect alibi to be in the region as well, and more importantly, have a Plan B to the Syrian port of Tartus which is Russia’s only naval base in the region.

How soon until we read that Russia is willing to invest even more unguaranteed loans into the Cypriot financial system…. in exchange for one tiny little naval and/or military base?

“Up to five or six ships must be on a permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea. They should be controlled through the command of the Black Sea Fleet,” Russian TV channel Zvezda quoted Admiral Chirkov as saying.

Supply vessels will also be included in the permanent deployment to the Mediterranean.

The decision to send Russian ships to the Mediterranean’s waters was first announced on March 11 by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

“I think that we have everything to create and maintain such a grouping. Certainly, this shows the positive dynamics of development of the Navy,” Shoigu told top officers of the Russian Armed Forces. By 2020, the Russian Navy will include eight missile submarines, 16 multipurpose subs and 54 combat ships, he added.

Chirkov said that top Navy officers are currently in the process of strategizing the deployment of a combat group to the Mediterranean. He also said that Russia is prepared to send combat ships to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

“There was an experience in the history of the Navy when we had squadrons in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Of course, if needed, we will [advise] the Defense Ministry’s top officials, the government and the President [on the deployment of] task forces on a permanent basis there,” Chirkov explained.

And an example of the kind of ship that will soon be floating in Cyprus’ back yard:

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4871

Top General: At Least One Arab State to Go Nuclear If Iran Does

Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. James Mattis said Tuesday that ”at least one other nation” has told him “at the leadership level” they will seek nuclear weapons if Iran goes nuclear:

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R., S.C.): If the Iranians develop a nuclear capability, how certain are you that other nations in the region would acquire an equal capability?

MATTIS: At least one other nation has told me they would do that, at a leadership level, they have assured me they would not stay without a nuclear weapon if Iran armed.

GRAHAM: Was that a Sunni-Arab state?

MATTIS: Yes, sir.

GRAHAM: So the likelihood of Sunni-Arab states acquiring nuclear capability to counter the Shia Persians is great, would you not agree with that?

MATTIS: I agree, and also other non-Sunni-Arab states in the general region.

The statements by Mattis contradict the findings of a recent report drafted by former Obama Pentagon official Colin Kahl and produced for the Center for New American Security. That report argues that Saudi Arabia–as well as other states–would be unlikely to develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquired nuclear weapons.

iran

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4829

Togarmah Emerges: Generals opting out as Turkish military seen ‘turning from secular to Islamist’ –

ANKARA – Turkey’s once powerful General Staff is reportedly struggling amid the resignation of senior military officers.

Military sources said senior officers were increasingly choosing early retirement rather than confront the intervention of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

They said many of the officers were dismayed by the return of personnel linked to Islamist groups as well as the arrest of 400 officers accused of supporting a coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party.

“The conclusion of many of mid- and senior-level officer is that the military is turning from secular to Islamist,” a source said.

The General Staff has acknowledged the resignation of an unspecified number of officers. But the command, which oversees the second largest military in NATO, said the retiring officers could be replaced.

“The allegations that there is command weakness in the Turkish armed forces are unrealistic,” the General Staff said on Feb. 6. “The retirements and resignations take place in January and February. The procedures for the personnel who want to quit willfully continues.”

In 2011, Erdogan oversaw the resignation of the chiefs of the three military services in protest of his intervention. The prime minister then selected his own candidate for chief of staff, and since then the military stopped expelling officers accused of Islamist leanings.

For his part, Erdogan said the reports of mass resignations of officers did not reflect any weakness in the military. He said the reports marked an effort to destabilize Turkey’s armed forces.

“They can ask for their retirement if they wish, but to approach it as if it is a deficiency is not acceptable,” Erdogan said. “It’s a virus put forward by those who want to stir up trouble and have bad intentions.”

turkey

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4777