Jerusalem—On Nov. 13, 2018, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was on the edge of collapse. In one 25-hour period, the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas launched over 400 rockets, missiles and mortars into Israel from the Gaza Strip. It was the largest single-day barrage ever. For those Israelis within range of the missiles, it was the last straw. I spoke to Israelis who experienced the attacks, and most of them emphasized the need to push back against Hamas to stop the incessant fire. Living under the constant threat of war and the stress of having less than 10 seconds to get to a bomb shelter is clearly taking a toll.
During the rocket barrage, Netanyahu convened his war cabinet to decide Israel’s response. After six hours of intense discussion with defense and intelligence officials, Netanyahu unexpectedly decided to stand down Israeli forces and enter into a ceasefire with Hamas.
This was a hugely unpopular move both among the public and within his coalition. Defense Minister and coalition partner Avigdor Lieberman resigned over the inaction, reducing the ruling coalition’s majority to only one seat. Netanyahu’s position as prime minister was in peril.
Netanyahu is a savvy politician; he understood that his decision would jeopardize his 10-year tenure as prime minister. Still, he decided not to act forcefully against Hamas. Why?
It now seems clear that Netanyahu viewed the Hamas attack as just one front in Iran’s broader war against Israel. He recognized that dedicating resources to the fight against Hamas would leave the rest of Israel vulnerable to Iranian attack, especially the northern border communities. Since the Gaza rocket barrage, we have learned that Iran, via Hezbollah fighters, was preparing an even deadlier offensive: a ground invasion.
Invasion Tunnels Discovered
Three weeks after Hamas’s rocket barrage, Israeli forces revealed that they had discovered a massive underground attack tunnel from Lebanon that penetrates the Israeli border. It was the first publicly disclosed discovery of Operation Northern Shield, a mission two years in the making, intended to detect and neutralize a network of sophisticated secret tunnels built by Hezbollah for the purpose of launching a ground invasion into northern Israel.
Netanyahu reportedly discussed the tunnels during his six-hour war cabinet meeting in November. Apparently it was part of his rationale for not going to war with Hamas. He was concerned Hezbollah would open a second and far more dangerous front by sending numerous terrorists into Israel through these tunnels.
The Israel Defense Forces (idf) posted a photograph of the tunnel on December 4. It shows a 6-by-6-foot tunnel 80 feet below ground, equipped with ventilation, electricity and communication lines. It runs 130 feet into Israeli territory. Unlike the Hamas attack tunnels, which are dug through sandy soils in Israel’s south, this tunnel was carved through solid rock.
Further proof that the tunnel was Hezbollah’s handiwork came soon after Israel inserted a robot inside the tunnel to investigate. It sent back stunning footage of a man approaching the robot from the Lebanon side of the tunnel. He leans in to look, which puts his face close to the camera. The robot then sets off a small explosive device, startling him, and he flees back the way he came. Within days, Israeli intelligence and others revealed the man to be Imad Fahs, a mechanical engineer who commands both a Hezbollah observation unit and a tunnel unit. Fahs obtained a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from K. N. Toosi University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. He also reportedly trained with Mexican drug cartels near the United States border.
The construction shows it is not merely for a quick entrance into Israeli territory to kidnap civilians or soldiers in order to grab a bargaining chip in future negotiations. This large, sophisticated, structurally sound tunnel (and surely others like it, yet to be discovered) is for the mass movement of Hezbollah terrorists—evidence of a large-scale, Iranian-backed enterprise to threaten civilians in northern Israel.
The tunnel confirms a long-publicized mission of Hezbollah to conquer Israeli communities in the Galilee region.
In “Hezbollah’s Operational Plan to Invade the Galilee Through Underground Tunnels,” Israeli Brig. Gen. Shimon Shapira (Ret.) summarized Hezbollah’s decades-old plan to invade northern Israel, a plan that was explicitly described by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in 2012 as the “Conquest of the Galilee.”
Shapira summarized Hezbollah’s plan this way: 1) train Hezbollah forces to take control of isolated Israeli communities along the northern border; and 2) construct tunnels under Israeli territory, close to Israeli communities, to facilitate infiltration by several hundred fighters, and not just to abduct soldiers or civilians.
According to Shapira, Hezbollah forces studied the tunnels that North Korea constructed in the event of an invasion into South Korea.
The tunnels prove that Iran and Hezbollah’s longtime and oft-repeated threats to conquer Israel are not merely rhetorical but are as real as the rock through which the tunnels are carved.
However, the tunnels are only one aspect of Iran’s plan. According to the “Conquest of the Galilee” plan, the invaders are to cross into Israeli territory under the cover of a mass barrage of Hezbollah missiles fired into Israel.
Missile Threat Is Real
It would be a mistake to think of Hezbollah as just a regular terrorist group.
Hezbollah has no tanks or planes, but its army of fighters, its missile stockpile, its small arms and its combat training make it a formidable force. The last round of war it unleashed on Israelis in 2006 killed 44 Israeli civilians. Since then, it has become far more powerful.
During the 2006 34-day war, Hezbollah fired about 200 rockets per day and had a stockpile estimated at 12,000. An estimated 99 percent of those were short-range rockets, a few dozen of which were medium-range or long-range types.
Today, Hezbollah’s stockpiles have multiplied 10 times. The idf estimates that the group has 120,000 to 130,000 rockets, including thousands of medium-range and hundreds of long-range types that can reach anywhere in Israel. Israeli intelligence estimates that instead of firing about 200 per day as in 2006, Hezbollah could launch 1,500 per day.
Israel has never experienced such a terrifying barrage of missiles. While it has the most successful antimissile shield on Earth—including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and the Arrow 3—the sheer volume of such an attack would be overwhelming.
This is especially true given recent reports of Iran acquiring precision strike capabilities in its own missiles—and reports that it has shared the technology with Hezbollah.
On Oct. 16, 2018, at 2:04 p.m., a Fars Air Qeshm Boeing 747 landed at Beirut Airport, allegedly carrying gps-retrofitting technology bound for nearby Hezbollah missile sites. The components would enable Hezbollah missiles to strike within a 10-meter radius of their intended targets.
U.S. intelligence tagged this plane in April 2018 and followed its movements. In July, it flew from an air force base in Tehran, landed in Damascus and then continued to Beirut. In August, it again flew from Tehran to Beirut. It landed in Beirut again in early December.
Over the last two years, Israel has carried out more than 200 strikes against Syria to keep Hezbollah from gaining capabilities such as this. Iran had been flying weapons to Damascus and then trucking them into Lebanon. But now it appears that Iran is flying weapons directly from Iran to Lebanon by cargo plane.
Hezbollah has stated that it has precision missiles. On Sept. 20, 2018, even prior to the Fars Air Qeshm flight, Nasrallah said, “The resistance now owns precision missiles.” Then, right before Israel launched Operation Northern Shield, he released a video showing scenes of Hezbollah fighters preparing to launch rockets, and the targeting of numerous strategic Israeli locations such as the Dimona nuclear facility and the idf military headquarters in Tel Aviv. The video includes the threat, “Attack, and you will regret it.”
This video followed numerous boasts by Nasrallah that any Israeli actions against Hezbollah targets inside Lebanon would result in catastrophic losses for Israel.
And Israel knows that Nasrallah is telling the truth.
Leading to World War III
Iran and Hezbollah have been promising to destroy Israel for so long, it is easy to dismiss their words as empty threats.
But these tunnels prove that Iran is actually enacting its plan to invade Israel and conquer its territory. Iran is so committed to its plan that it funds Hezbollah’s efforts to the tune of $700 million per year even while the Iranian economy is suffering under harsh financial sanctions.
Our modern, sophisticated, enlightened societies like to believe that we have evolved way past the time of nations being hell-bent on the destruction of others. However, what we are witnessing in the north of Israel is Iran’s manifest desire to do just that. Remember, Hezbollah is not an independent force; it readily acknowledges that it receives all its funding and mission objectives from Iran.
It should be beyond clear by now that Iran cannot be induced into becoming a responsible, peaceful nation in the world community. Decades of efforts to do this have failed miserably. The fruits of Iran’s long-standing radical agenda, including its unabashed funding of terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah, are clear to anyone who considers the facts.
While Israel may be able to thwart Iran’s attempts in the short term, Bible prophecy shows that Iran will not give up its genocidal ambitions against Israel, nor its quest for dominance in the region, until it is stopped by overwhelming force. War is inevitable.
As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said for more than two decades, radical Islam, led by the fanatical Islamic regime in Iran, fulfills the role of the biblical end-time “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40). This king leads a group of Islamist nations and is described in that verse as having a foreign policy that pushes at other nations—not just with words, but with deadly force.
Daniel 11:40 reads, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” In this prophecy, which is clearly for the “time of the end,” the king of the south pushes against the “king of the north,” whom we have identified for over 70 years as the quickly rising German-led Europe.
As Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet The King of the South, the word translated “push” means “to wage war. Push is a violent word!” While there are likely many ways that Iran could push at Europe, including the control of Middle East trade routes and terrorism, the context of Daniel 11:40 shows a contest over Jerusalem is part of it. Verses 40-44 reveal that the European power will march its armies into the Middle East to combat the pushy king of the south. In verse 41, the “glorious land” refers to Jerusalem.
Europe’s foray into Israel will be motivated by a successful Iranian-backed Palestinian campaign to violently take half of Jerusalem out of Israel’s control. Another prophecy, Hosea 5:13, states that Israel will actually reach out to the king of the north for help. That it seeks relief from the very nation that perpetrated the Holocaust is another indication of the intense pressure Iran and its proxies will put on the Jewish state.
Reaching out to Europe instead of reaching out to God, however, will not solve their problems.
Germany will answer Israel’s call and march its armies into the Middle East—not out of compassion for the Jews, but because of its own lust for control of the Holy City. While feigning the role of peacekeeper, these armies will come into the “glorious land,” but when they arrive, they will actually turn on the Jews in a sinister double cross. Their play for Jerusalem will echo the Crusades of the Middle Ages.
Unlike the Crusades, this final battle over Jerusalem has a hope-filled end. Another latter-day prophecy, in Zechariah 14:1-2, shows how half of Jerusalem falling to the Arabs—an event which prompts Israel’s call to Germany—is actually the first domino to fall in a succession of events leading to the return of Jesus Christ and the end of bloodshed on Jerusalem’s streets. (This is explained in detail in Mr. Flurry’s booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy. Request your free copy.)
Armed with the understanding of these prophecies, we can know that when we see Iran pushing at the Jewish state, we are close to this colossal, world-redefining event!