The Big Picture: Filling In Some Blank Spots
Vol: 93 Issue: 22 Monday, June 22, 2009
Since the beginning of the demonstrations and rioting in Iran, the Iranian government has discovered it is just like the Great Satan that it hates so much. Or so it is now arguing in defense of its hotly disputed election.
At a news conference Monday, Hassan Qashqavi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, called the turnout officially put at 85 percent, or 40 million voters a brilliant gem which is shining on the peak of dignity of the Iranian nation.
He accused the West of spreading unacceptable anarchy and vandalism. But, he said, the outcome of the vote would not be changed. We will not allow western media to turn this gem into a worthless stone, he said.
However, on Iran’s English-language (and state-controlled) Press TV, the GRC accidentally admitted on Sunday night that the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters — in fifty different cities throughout the country.
Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman for the authoritative Guardian Council a 12-member panel of clerics charged with certifying the vote denied claims by another losing candidate, Mohsen Rezai, that irregularities had occurred in up to 170 voting districts.
“Not so!” protested Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei. Kadkhodaei responded to the charge indignantly, saying: Statistics provided by the candidates, who claim more than 100 percent of those eligible have cast their ballot in 80 to 170 cities are not accurate the incident has happened in only 50 cities!”
(“Only fifty cities? Stop it. You’re killin’ me.”) It’s just like American elections, anyway, says Qashqavi. “No one encouraged the American people to stage a riot because they disagreed with the re-election of George Bush,” he said.
(George Bush. . . George Bush . . . George Bush . . . – I’m sorry? You were saying?)
The effort to invoke George Bush is as lame as it is funny. I recall a whole lot of folks demanding riots in the streets after each Bush election.
If Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy as Iran’s elected leader is in question, then that should give the Obama administration some serious leverage with Ahmadinejad moving forward.
It should, but it probably won’t. Obama has so completely ignored the ongoing strife in Iran that one headline in today’s Washington Post read; “White House’s Online Silence on Iranian Elections is Gaining Notice.”
Noted the Washington Times, “President Obama has betrayed the pro-democracy protesters in Tehran. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are risking their lives to contest Iran’s rigged elections. They understand that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election was a fraud and that his main challenger, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, is the victim of a stolen election. “
On the other hand, what is Obama gonna say? “Your election isn’t legitimate because you won the same way that I did?”
Pressing that issue just highlights the fact that Obama was elected in a landslide election that was just too similar to Ahmadinejad’s to give him much moral authority on the topic. (The baton-wielding, jack-booted thugs in this picture were outside a polling station in Philadelphia, not Tehran.)
That’s one reason that the White House has avoided voicing any support for the demonstrators in Tehran or questioning the Ahmadinejad government’s legitimacy. Even rank hypocrisy has its limits.
The Iranian uprising is only partly about the elections. Noted one opposition leader, “Before we had 20% democracy and 80% dictatorship. Now, it is 100% dictatorship.” So it isn’t really that significant a change, to all intents and purposes.
Just as Mousavi’s political views aren’t really that much different from those of Ahmadinejad. Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.
The 1956 Hungarian Uprising propelled Imre Nagy to the front ranks of the opposition although Nagy was as much a product of the Communist system as anybody. But the people needed somebody to rally around, and Nagy was as good a symbol as any.
Mousavi is a bit like Nagy. It isn’t the leadership that Iranians are railing against. It is the system. Noted today’s Washington Times;
“The genie is out of the bottle. The supreme leader no longer reigns supreme. . . . The opposition protests threaten to discredit and sweep away the key institutions of the Islamic Republic. Most Iranians rightly sense that Mr. Ahmadinejad and the apocalyptic mullahs are taking Iran down the path to national suicide. Once Tehran acquires the bomb, a nuclear showdown with Israel is not only likely, but inevitable. It is not just Israel that will be wiped off the map. So will Iran.”
The Bible says that’s not gonna happen.
Israel is not going to be wiped off the map by Iran. The Bible says that Israel survives the Tribulation and goes on to repopulate the Millennial Kingdom, together with the surviving Gentile sheep nations.
And Iran isn’t going to be wiped off the map by Israel. The Bible says that Iran will survive to join the Gog-Magog Invasion against Israel. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Iran’s mullocracy survives its current crisis. Or that what follows the mullocracy will necessarily be an improvement.
But even if the mullahs do manage to hang on to power the result will be a different Iran. Which provides some new puzzle pieces for the Big Picture insofar as Israel is concerned.
Key to understanding the Big Picture is understanding that, although Muslim, Iran is not an Arab country. The Iranians are Persians. An alliance between the Arabs and Iran is only slightly less distasteful to both sides than would an alliance with Israel.
Iran has no genuine friends in the Arab world, and in a sense, they aren’t even really co-religionists.
The Persians are Shi’ite while the majority of the Arab world is Sunni. Think of it as an alliance between the Catholics and the Mormons against a common enemy. Although both claim to be Christian, they have nothing in common except the shared enemy. Remove the shared enemy, and they have NOTHING in common.
Hamas is Sunni, but would make an alliance with anybody in its mission to destroy Israel. The Ahmadinejad government has given Hamas more that $150 million over the past three years, according to the Mossad. More than 80% of Hamas’ arsenal of weapons are Iranian-made.
No matter how this turns out in Tehran, it won’t be good news for Hamas. The same for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Without Iranian funding and support, they’re just another terrorist group.
Without Iranian support, Syria finds itself holding the ball with nobody to pass to. Without Hezbollah, Syria’s control of Lebanon is seriously weakened, as is Syria’s capacity to seriously threaten war with the Jewish State.
According to the Prophet Ezekiel, the Gog Magog War takes place at a time when Israel is living in relative peace and safety. Ezekiel pictures Israel as a land of unwalled villages.
A war between Iran and Israel would be one of annihilation. You can’t get to Gog Magog from here. Some things have to change.
Regime change in Iran would have a ripple effect across the Middle East and the right regime change could change the dynamic across the Middle East overnight.
Israel could suddenly find herself surrounded by crippled enemies. An illusion of peace and safety would not be far behind.
I am often asked if the Gog Magog War will happen before the Rapture or during the Tribulation Period. There is a third option that is seldom considered. The Gog Magog War could just as easily take place in between the two events.
The Rapture of the Church is a signless event that could have happened at any moment since the first century. However, the Tribulation is an event for which there are plenty of signs.
The Apostle Paul wrote his 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians specifically to disabuse them of the heresy of the time that suggested the Lord had already returned for His Church and left them behind.
What is unique to this generation is that the presence of the Church is increasingly becoming an obstacle to some of the other signs of the Tribulation moving forward.
The Prophet Ezekiel says that the Jews of Israel will be occupied for some seven years cleaning up the carnage left behind by the Gog-Magog War.
It doesn’t necessarily follow that the Gog-Magog war must begin before the Rapture because otherwise there won’t be time to burn all the weapons.
Neither is it accurate to conclude that pre-Tribulation is the same as pre-Rapture. There could be a considerable interval after the Rapture before the Tribulation Period begins. There was an interval of roughly forty years between Pentecost and the interruption of Temple worship in AD 70.
There is no Scriptural reason to assume there won’t be some interval of time between the removal of the Church and the resumption of Temple worship.
If the Rapture and Tribulation were back-to-back events, then the doctrine of imminency would be meaningless. The signs of the Rapture would be the same as the signs of the Tribulation.
But there ARE no signs preceding the Rapture.
We can see the Tribulation coming, but there are still lots of blanks that need filling in. The restoration of the Temple to Temple Mount. The development of a truly global religious system and the rise of a global religious leader.
The one-world government and one-world economy are not yet fully developed according to Scripture.
There is nothing in Scripture that says that the Rapture marks the first day of the Tribulation Period. It only marks the conclusion of the Church Age. So regardless, everything is on time and on schedule, just as the Lord said it would be.
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. ” (Matthew 24:44)
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)