Iran-Israel Tensions Continue Flaring

Tehran and Tel Aviv have sparked violence for decades. But fire is coming.

On Monday, following a cyberattack on its underground Natanz nuclear facility, Iran cast all the blame on Israel. The attack caused what was initially reported to be a blackout at the nuclear facility, known to be the only uranium enrichment plant in Iran.

Israel hasn’t publicly claimed responsibility for the attack. Israeli official are always hesitant to acknowledge secret military or intelligence operations. However, Israeli media widely reported that Israel was behind it.

If you remember from early last summer, Natanz was involved in a previous attack. A mysterious explosion and fire resulting from a planted explosive device caused extensive damage to one of the buildings at Natanz.

This week’s attack may have been more similar to what happened last June than first reported. Initially the Natanz “blackout” seemed like little more than a coordinated power failure, but Iranian officials quickly began describing it in more violent terms:

While the nature of the attack and the extent of the damage at Natanz remains unclear, a former Iranian official said the assault set off a fire while a spokesman mentioned a “possible minor explosion.”

One official then referred to the Natanz plant as a target of “nuclear terrorism.” U.S. officials told the New York Times that an explosion had completely destroyed the power system that supplied the facility’s centrifuges.

Restricting Iran’s nuclear activity

As a reminder, Iran resumed its nuclear operations in 2018 when President Trump withdrew the United States from the groundbreaking Iran deal. Though Trump imposed new sanctions, Iran immediately resumed the nuclear work the deal had previously restricted.

The Biden administration is now negotiating to re-enter the landmark nuclear accord—which would mean lifting Trump’s sanctions—but Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to keep this from happening. He didn’t like the original deal, because he thought it allowed for too many compromises. For one thing, the deal didn’t restrict Iran’s ballistic missile program. From his perspective, any nuclear activity in Iran must be considered a threat to Israel:

“My policy as prime minister of Israel is clear: I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel,” Netanyahu said. “And Israel will continue to defend itself against Iran’s aggression and terrorism.”

Officials from Iran have used equally inflammatory language:

“The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by state media as saying on Monday.

“They have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists.”

For its part, the United States has insisted that the Biden administration did not know about the Israeli attack. But if someone within the State Department did know, it could throw the nuclear deal negotiations into chaos.

Catching fire

Tensions between Iran and Israel have been smoldering for years, but some experts are beginning to warn that this undeclared war—sometimes known as a “near war”—is about to catch fire.

Last month, the Israeli Air Force carried out air strikes against targets in Iran-backed Syria.

On March 25, an Iranian missile hit an Israeli-owned container ship in the Arabian Sea.

Last week, an Israeli mine damaged an Iranian military ship in the Red Sea.

In November, Israel allegedly used an AI-equipped machine gun to assassinate Iran’s top nuclear scientist. (In fact, Israel has been accused of being behind the assassinations of at least four Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade.)

Is Israel feeling abandoned by the United States? Is she trying to drag Iran into a war? Can the United States contain these tensions by renegotiating a nuclear deal—or would that deal have too many concessions to please Israel?

Striking the match

Those are all important questions without easy answers. What we do know is that the declared objective of Iran’s Muslim religious leaders is to destroy Israel—and a successful nuclear weapons program in Iran would give them the opportunity to do exactly that.

I believe two things very strongly related to these tensions:

First, Israel has the right to defend herself with a preemptive strike. In my book Tipping Point, I write about the Begin Doctrine. This Israeli counterproliferation policy permits the nation to defend herself preemptively against any hostile weapons programs that threaten Israel’s national security. In the past, Israel has acted on this doctrine by destroying chemical, nuclear and other technology facilities throughout the Middle East.

Benjamin Netanyahu has been clear that he can and will strike Iran in self-defense. In fact, during the Obama presidency, Netanyahu once said, “Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would be infinitely more costly than any scenario you can imagine to stop it.”

Second, the United States, as an ally of Israel, should never allow the Iranians to develop nuclear technology or nuclear weaponry. Sanctions or not, any new nuclear deal with Iran needs to include those provisions without compromise.

I have written many times before that the ongoing tensions between Israel and Iran—and the existence of the Begin Doctrine—may be the match that sets the world on fire. As these proxy wars and air strikes continue, they may soon lead to the largest global warfare since World War II.

Wars end with peace treaties

That’s concerning enough. But remember this: Wars end with peace treaties. The launch of the prophesied Gog-Magog War may cause extensive damage but won’t last forever. I believe the end of this multinational battle in the Middle East will result in Israel signing a treaty with a powerful world leader.

That leader will then negotiate a compromise with the Islamic world, allowing Jews to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem—which is currently occupied by Muslims and a prominent mosque—and begin resuming sacrifices there. This will be the prelude, of course, to the seven-year Tribulation.

That powerful world leader will turn out to be the Antichrist. After the first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation, he will break his promises to Israel, enter the Temple, stop all sacrifices and proclaim himself God. He will then persecute the people of God like never before.

Daniel’s prophecy describes this:

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”—Daniel 9:27

The Bible tells us the truth about the future, and God is actively fulfilling what the Bible foretells. Without prophecy, all we see is a crazy world that is getting scarier by the day. With prophecy, we see a world God foretold thousands of years ago in detail—one that is announcing the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ. So I want you to understand these prophecies. They help us contextualize the events happening in the world.

Are you ready?

So when you read of increasing tensions, strikes and attacks between Israel and Iran, don’t be alarmed. God’s Word said this would happen. No other book in the world and no other religion has come close to predicting the future in advance like the Bible does.

The stage is set. The situation between Iran and Israel is becoming more volatile. We are at the threshold of the fulfillment of the Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38:1-9. When this happens, we will know we are on the cusp of the immediate events of the end times. I believe the Rapture will take place before the Antichrist’s peace treaty—which could very well be what ends the Gog-Magog War.

Are you ready? Is your family ready? Are your friends and loved ones ready?

Are you alarmed or are you comforted? Remember, Bible prophecy warns sinners and comforts saints. You can tell which you are by your response to it.