The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS is on a massive land grab in the Middle East. Along the way they are stealing millions, brutalizing civilians, and slaughtering anyone who stands in their way. Much of the northern half of Iraq is in their control along with large parts of Syria. There are continued reports of ISIS fighters in the vicinity of the Golan Heights and incursions into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. What do these developments mean for Israel and are they prophetically significant? We will look at the realities on the ground and in the Bible to find answers to the question of Israel and the ISIS threat.
Most of us know the basic facts about ISIS because the group has dominated recent headlines. We are well aware of their brutality, merciless slaughter of captives, and massive land grab in Iraq and Syria. We need to take a realistic look at the dangers posed to Israel and the prophetic implications of this enemy in the vicinity of the Jewish State.
Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups make it clear that their ultimate goal is the complete destruction of Israel. ISIS has employed the same rhetoric, but the ability to carry out such a threat presents a reality no one can simply dismiss as the railings of yet another radical Islamic group. Along the way, ISIS has captured vast amounts of wealth. When Mosul Iraq fell……$500 million was the take from that city alone. Other cities like Fallujah, Tikrit, and Kirkuk fell and the spoils of battle went to ISIS as well. Needless to say, this group is well funded and there are no shortage of men willing to join their ranks. Some are Iraqi and Syrian men who see the options are to fight alongside ISIS or die and there are also many foreign fighters joining the ranks.
It takes wealth and personnel to wage war and ISIS has both. By far, the biggest payoff during their movement across Syria and Iraq is the stockpiles of weapons they have amassed. I spent two years in Iraq in Tikrit and Baghdad and I know that we left the Iraqi army well equipped. Tikrit is now in ISIS hands and along with it… the massive military base we left behind. Every time the Iraqi Army surrenders control of a city or former base, weapons fall into the hands of ISIS. The matter of weaponry is a very important one because as the militant group gains territory….they gain new hardware to wage war elsewhere.
This is simply conjecture and speculation on my part, but what if ISIS acquired weapons of mass destruction? Is it possible they have already obtained chemical weapons or radioactive materials along the way? There is undeniable evidence they have in fact acquired WMDs. Jane’s Intelligence Review along with other credible sources report that over 80 lbs. of uranium is missing from the Mosul University science lab after ISIS took control of the city. This squares with a claim made in just the past week by ISIS that they have smuggled a ‘radioactive device’ into a european city.
In another clear indication that ISIS has obtained chemical weapons……there is cause to believe they used chemical weapons in the Syrian border town of Kobani. In late October of this year, after explosions and a foul smell in the air…..patients began showing symptoms that commonly follow a chemical attack such as large red blisters on skin, breathing difficulties, and vomiting. There is also several reports by the Iraqi army that they have sustained injuries from a chlorine based chemical attack.
Some of you may be asking: What does this have to do with Israel or Bible prophecy for that matter? The answer is rather simple because (if) ISIS continues to swallow up land and mile by mile….move closer to Israel’s borders, there is no doubt that they would use WMDs on the Jewish State. Moreover, Israel has multiple threats on all sides from Hamas in Gaza to Hezbollah on the Lebanese border. There is a lot of instability along almost all of Israel’s borders except with Jordan. Even the relatively stable border with Jordan might not remain that way for long.
Some strategic analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before Jordan becomes another ISIS target. It remains to be seen if ISIS has staying power and will in fact become a growing fixture along Israel’s borders. One thing is certain, if they get the opportunity to launch attacks on Israel…..they will.
There are a lot of players in the region, but it would not surprise me at all if ISIS is part of a large destabilizing force as we approach the last days. As if Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria weren’t enough….when you introduce ISIS into the equation, it would be completely logical for Israel to push these enemies back during a successful military campaign and acquire a lot of land in the process. If Israel believes they are under a direct threat from a WMD attack by anyone along it’s border, then military action to protect itself is a foregone conclusion.
Top brass in the Israeli Defense Forces is taking notice of growing threats to it’s security. Israel’s Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz commented on the ISIS threat and it’s problematic northern border during a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post.
“If ISIS ever plans an attack on Israel….they will lose outright. We will take Lebanon and knock it back 70 or 80 years, in all areas, and we’ll see how that plays out. And it could also turn out that we’ll need to capture Lebanese territory. There are no surprises here, but rather things we are preparing for, year after year, season after season, staring the challenge in the eyes.” –General Benny Gantz -IDF.
The bottom line is this: Although the situation in the Middle East is always changing, there is no doubt the pieces are falling into place and the end time scenario is taking shape. Knowing that Israel’s enemies like the Islamic State, Hezbollah, Hamas, and of course Iran will eventually or may already possess WMDs…..it should be a prophetic heads up for a believer who is watching and waiting. When we are beginning to see geopolitical conditions line up with the end time scenario written about over and over again in the Bible, doesn’t it become clear that our redemption is drawing near?
I believe it is just a matter of time before Israel’s enemies launch an attack or plan one using WMDs against population centers. The question that remains is will the IDF launch a preemptive strike first? One thing is becoming clear…..when we look at the news coming out of the Middle East, we see the stage is being set for the soon return of Jesus. Those of us who are longing for and love His appearing can look at the events happening in the world through the lens of scripture.
We understand time is short and the rapture is imminent! We must use the time we have left to warn people about God’s judgement and wrath that’s coming. Today is the day of salvation. People need to know that there is no hope without Jesus. As the days come to a close and the news from around the globe confirms that……let’s share Jesus and His gospel with renewed love and a sense of urgency with those we meet.
All for Him,