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Don't Panic About August 22!

Prophecy Central Commentary

Ron Graff - Aug. 11, 2006

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By now, you may be aware of the fact that a highly respected Princeton professor thinks that Iran MIGHT attack Israel with an atomic weapon on August 22 (a few days from now!) There are many reasons why this scenario merits consideration, and many reasons not to over-react to the theory. We will give this information in outline form. Supporting sources listed at the end of this article supply the details.

A Sobering Possibility

The warning comes from a venerated Princeton historian.
Professor Bernard Lewis is a top expert in Middle East affairs. He is considered by many to be the greatest living Western scholar of Islam.

The idea has been widely publicized by credible news outlets.
The prestigious Wall Street Journal was first to print the professor’s editorial.

WorldNetDaily, an extremely popular conservative Internet news source reported the theory. This brought it to the attention of a large audience that might have missed the Wall Street Journal piece.

Fox News has reported the story, They haven’t made it a headliner, but they given space to the threat.

CNN’s Glen Beck has publicized the matter by devoting a large segment of his hour-long prime-time slot yesterday to the theory. He also expressed the belief, held by many, that the various escalations of terrorism are all part of a larger attack that will continue and increase in the days ahead. These escalations include the Hezbollah provocation of war with Israel (with Iran’s full support), and the thwarted plan by British terrorists to destroy thousands of people in multiple aircraft on their way to the United States.

Known radical beliefs of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad make the story plausible.
Ahmadinejad has been very vocal about his goal of eliminating Israel. He has often said that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Iran is developing nuclear weapons and has vital military contacts with other countries that already have them.

Ahmadinejad believes that he and his country are meant to prepare the way for their messiah very soon.

August 22 has been mentioned often by Ahmadinejad recently, even in the context of answering the U.N. about their nuclear program.

August 22 is the anniversary of a most meaningful event in Islamic belief: the “night ride” of Mohammed to Jerusalem, and then to Heaven and back.

Ahmadinejad and many of his followers would not be constrained from using a nuclear weapon against their arch-enemy, Israel, by the normal fear of having their own country destroyed. During the Cold War, nuclear nations would not dare use their atomic weapons because their enemies would retaliate with complete destruction. This concept was called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). This fear would not work with Islamic radicals because they welcome martyrdom.

Ezekiel does predict a nuclear war against Israel.
This campaign, reported in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39, does foretell a major attack against Israel by “Gog and Magog,” generally believed to be a Russian coalition with Iran (Persia) as a key ally. The war involves “fire and brimstone” from the heavens. Russia has extensive ties with Iran, especially in regard to the supply of weapons. And Russia has been very reluctant to approve strong sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program by the U.N.

An Unlikely Outcome

Exposing a conspiracy usually postpones the execution of the plan.
Numerous terror threats have come and gone since 9/11 (2001), and it is likely that some of them would actually have happened if they had not been exposed ahead of time. Once a plot has been even partially exposed, it makes it too difficult to accomplish, and by not following through with the plan, the terrorists gain the additional advantage of making their opposition look foolish.

Iran probably doesn’t have a nuclear weapon yet.
In spite of their obvious rush to develop the capacity to enrich uranium, and reports of the possibility that they have already obtained nuclear weapons or fuel from other sources, it is still unlikely that they have the capability to launch such an attack less than two weeks from now.

Professor Lewis himself cautioned us against over-reacting to his theory.
He said, "It is far from certain that Mr Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for August 22."

Biblically, Israel should enjoy at least a brief period of peace before the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
These prophecies say that the attack against Israel will be at a time that they are living in peace and security (Ezekiel 38:8-11). This has never been the case since Israel became a nation again in 1948. A significant struggle like the one they are now fighting on several fronts could very well lead to the elusive Middle East Peace Agreement that has been proposed repeatedly, but never fully implemented. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” This could mean that there will be a temporary period of peace in Israel before the great war of Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Christians must not be dogmatic about the exact times and details of prophecy. Jesus said we could not know the day or hour of His return (Matthew 25:13). On the other hand, He chided the non-believers of His day for not recognizing the “signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:2-3) The wise course for us is to know Jesus Christ personally, live holy lives, and be faithful in sharing the Gospel with others while we still have time. (2 Peter 3:11-12)

Internet Sources:

Prophecy Central’s “Gog and Magog” Section – Summary of many articles about Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and his beliefs.

Prophecy Central’s “Mid-East Conflict”

Prophecy Central’s “Israel-Lebanon War”

Iranian cataclysm forecast Aug. 22 - WorldNetDaily

Could Aug. 22 Be the End of the World Thanks to Iran? - Fox News

Is Foiled Terror Plot Part of Something Bigger?; Is Iran Working Towards the Apocalypse? - Glen Beck- CNN

Bernard Lewis thinks MAD may not work with Ahmadinejad - The American Thinker

Apocalypse Now? – Joel C. Rosenberg – National Review

World To End on August 22 - The Guardian – Columnist Brian Whitaker thinks the whole thing is silly.

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