The Beirut Blast: Catalyst for Biblical Prophecy
The Beirut Blast: Catalyst for Biblical Prophecy
Nothing grabs attention like a massive explosion.
In past decades, it would take a war correspondent with a film crew to bring video from a conflict zone into our living rooms. For a cameraman to happen to be filming when a blast occurred, and far enough away for the film to survive, would be pure luck. Even then, it would be days before the public would see the video.
Today, everyone with a smartphone is a videographer. Social media and streaming services mean that video appears instantaneously around the world. Still, to capture an unexpected explosion, you need to be filming in the right direction and at the right time.
In Beirut on August 4, all the cameras were doing just that. A fire in a port hangar, followed by an initial smaller explosion, got everyone’s attention—and out came the smartphones. From port workers and fire crews up close on the dock, to sailors at sea returning to port, to mothers high up in neighboring apartment buildings, to people dining in nearby restaurants, to concerned citizens miles away in the eastern hills or north coast—all had their cameras filming the billowing white smoke.
Then it happened.
A colossal blast unexpectedly sent debris and rust-colored smoke soaring. A pressure wave instantly flattened nearby buildings, flipping cars and blowing out every window in Beirut. The resulting shock waves, equivalent to a 3.5-magnitude earthquake, were felt more than 150 miles away on the island of Cyprus.
Twenty-seven hundred metric tons of ammonium nitrate had combusted in a flash. By comparison, two tons of ammonium nitrate were used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, making the Beirut blast almost 1,000 times more powerful. It was equivalent to 500 tons of tnt, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history.
Within moments, if you were on your own smart device or computer, you saw that shocking video—from one angle, then two, then 10, as more people uploaded their video to social media. The blast in the Port of Beirut was likely the most filmed explosion ever.
And understandably, it grabbed attention the world over.
The silver lining to this horrific event is that your attention is now drawn to the tiny Middle Eastern nation to witness a far more spellbinding event: the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
This seemingly unimportant nation is the linchpin for an important prophetic alliance between Europe and certain nations in the Middle East. And that alliance, prophecy says, will counter the Islamic regime in Iran. However, this tiny nation is currently dominated by Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia turned political power. This means a dramatic change is certain to take place there.
Before you divert your eyes from Lebanon, you need to understand how the Beirut blast is acting as a catalyst to bring about this staggering change in world affairs. The shock wave from this event will be felt in not only the Middle East but worldwide.
Aerial footage of ground zero of the blast shows a gaping hole in the port. The explosion created a chasm 45 meters deep and utter destruction in every other direction. Initial estimates put the damage around $15 billion. Over 160 people were killed, thousands more were injured, and nearly a third of a million people—15 percent of the city’s population—became homeless.
The question quickly surfaced, why were 2,700 metric tons of a highly explosive substance stored in the city, putting so many people at risk? The most logical reason was that Hezbollah, the force that has dominated Lebanon for the past decade, wanted it there.
The shipment of ammonium nitrate arrived at the port in late 2013 when the Moldovan-flagged cargo vessel Rhosus was forced to dock in Beirut after facing technical problems at sea. Lawyers representing the crew described the incident in the Arrest News: “Owing to the risks associated with retaining the ammonium nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port’s warehouses” (October 2015).
But reports in some Lebanese media claim Iran purchased the chemical compound and had the Rhosus make a beeline for Beirut to offload it and store it for future use.
Storing the volatile material at the port worried local port authorities. Customs officials made 10 separate appeals to the Lebanese government from June 2014 through July 2020 to remove it. One letter stated, “In view of the serious danger of keeping these goods in the hangar in unsuitable climatic conditions, we reaffirm our request to please request the marine agency to re-export these goods immediately to preserve the safety of the port and those working in it, or to look into agreeing to sell this amount [to the Lebanese Explosives Company].”
But the explosive material remained, just a stone’s throw from the central business district. Why?
All Roads Lead to Hezbollah
No direct links to Hezbollah have been made public by investigators as yet, and likely won’t be absent an independent international investigation. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see how Hezbollah was not fully aware of the explosive contents at the port. Both Israel and the United States Treasury Department have said previously that Hezbollah controls much of Beirut’s port facilities. “Any way you look at it, Hezbollah is involved,” stated Lt. Col. (Res.) Sarit Zehavi, a former Israel Defense Forces intelligence officer who specializes on Israel’s northern border. “Even if it’s just a regular accident, which this [the port blast] probably is, Hezbollah controls both the airport and seaport in Lebanon, so it’s responsible” (bicom podcast, August 11).
Along with control of the port, plenty of evidence suggests that Hezbollah was holding ammonium nitrate there to enable it to ship large quantities of bomb-making material where it wanted.
Soon after the shipment arrived, Israel’s Mossad agency began reporting to foreign governments that more Hezbollah activities involved ammonium nitrate.
According to the Times of Israel, the Mossad learned in 2014 that Unit 910, Hezbollah’s foreign operations group, was developing the means to launch terror attacks around the world. This led to sting operations in several nations involving ammonium nitrate in 2015.
In May 2015, authorities in Cyprus found 9 tons of ammonium nitrate in a Larnaca home. Hezbollah had paid a Lebanese-Cypriot man more than $10,000 to hide the material, which it planned to use to target Israeli interests in Cyprus. In August of that year, Kuwaiti authorities arrested three Hezbollah operatives who had stored 21 tons of ammonium nitrate in a residential house. That autumn, British authorities discovered 3 tons of ammonium nitrate stashed in thousands of disposable ice packs at a Hezbollah bomb-making facility in London. Last year, Mossad reportedly notified the German government that Hezbollah had stashed hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate in warehouses in southern Germany. This helped motivate Germany to ban the organization. In 2017, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel’s northern port city of Haifa by blowing up its ammonia tank.
Considering Hezbollah’s links to the port and its several foiled ammonium nitrate attacks, it becomes clear that Hezbollah was aware of the stockpile and was using it for its nefarious ends. Though a paper trail from the warehouse directly to Hezbollah has not yet been revealed, the Lebanese people are already blaming the group.
The Spectator’s Paul Wood wrote on August 5 that in the direct aftermath of the blast he received messages from Lebanese friends saying that Hezbollah was to blame. “Even if that’s not true,” he wrote, “it shows what some Lebanese are thinking—and therefore how this crisis might develop.”
Turning Against Hezbollah
Before the blast, Hezbollah already faced increasing resistance from the Lebanese. Hezbollah’s control over many of the government ministries gives it financial and political power, not to mention opportunities for corruption and mismanagement. However, as Hezbollah’s power has increased, international investment in Lebanon by the Gulf states and its allies has severely dropped, resulting in economic collapse. Lebanon’s currency has lost 85 percent of its value in the past year. More than half the population is now in poverty. People are enduring rolling blackouts, up to 22 hours per day, and food is becoming scarcer.
Foreign nations and the International Monetary Fund are ready to provide Lebanon with a massive aid package. Economists for the Foundation for Defense of Democracy said that, before the blast, Lebanon needed a staggering $93 billion. For context, the fdd noted that the imf’s largest-ever bailout in history was $57 billion to Argentina in 2018. Lebanon has just over 10 percent the population of Argentina, and needs twice the money to stay afloat. Again, this was before the $15 billion blast.
However, while the imf is willing to send a large sum to Lebanon, that money is conditional upon Lebanon accepting fundamental changes to its system that will curtail Hezbollah’s power. Hezbollah has refused, thus preventing aid money from coming.
Put simply, if Lebanon is to survive as a nation it has two choices: Accept being a client state of Iran and the poverty that comes with it, or rise up against Hezbollah and get help from the outside world.
It is not easy to revolt against Hezbollah, whose independent military is more powerful than Lebanon’s national armed forces. Yet even before the blast, voices in Lebanon were growing increasingly bold in holding Hezbollah to account.
The patriarch of the Maronite Church, which represents 40 percent of Lebanon’s population, began criticizing Hezbollah last month. “Today, Lebanon has become isolated from the world,” Beshara al-Rai stated on July 14. “This is not our identity. Our identity is positive and constructive neutrality, not a warrior Lebanon.” Such comments were interpreted to oppose Hezbollah’s violent interference in nations like Syria and Yemen.
Rai’s comments are significant because many Maronite politicians have abetted Hezbollah’s rise to power in the government. President Michael Aoun is a Maronite Christian, but is allied with Hezbollah. Now he and other Christian leaders have heard a loud warning from the Maronite leader and much of the population to sever that relationship. “It is to Patriarch Rai’s credit that he has shown that [Hezbollah’s] sway over Lebanon is more fragile than it appears,” wrote noted Lebanese commentator Michael Young in the National (July 29).
The blast widened the split between Hezbollah and Maronites because it was the predominately Christian neighborhoods surrounding the port that suffered most of the destruction. Christians, and many Sunnis and Shiites, are protesting in the streets to demand a total change in government. In a sign of a possible break with Hezbollah, President Aoun publicly endorsed possible peace talks with Israel in the future while talking with French bfm tv news channel on August 15.
A few days after the blast, Lebanese protesters stormed government buildings and assembled in Martyrs Square in Beirut to hang effigies of leading politicians, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Such open defiance of Hezbollah is unheard of in Lebanon. “Until that moment, daring to mention Nasrallah had been a life-threatening debasement of sanctity,” wrote Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghieh (Asharq al-Awsat, August 12). Now that taboo has been broken.
During the massive protests the week after the blast, more than 700 people were injured. Seeing the violence on the streets, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab dissolved his cabinet, ending his brief term in office. He finished his statement by saying, “May Allah protect Lebanon. May Allah protect Lebanon. May Allah protect Lebanon.”
Turning to Europe
Within 48 hours of the blast, French President Emmanuel Macron walked through Beirut’s destroyed downtown, surrounded by throngs of people expressing anguish and fury at their own political leadership. Some chanted, “Help us, Mr. President.” Others cried, “Revolution! Revolution!” Disillusioned by their own government’s corruption and incompetence, the Lebanese found Macron’s prompt arrival almost messianic.
The fear, however, is that any relief money will be controlled by the same corrupt politicians who wrecked the nation’s finances. Macron told one woman, “I can guarantee that this assistance will not be placed in the hands of the corrupt, and a free Lebanon will rise again.”
Macron conspicuously avoided visiting with Lebanese leaders; he went directly to the people. If he has his way, the international aid effort will take the same route.
“We will organize international aid so that it directly reaches the Lebanese people under United Nations supervision,” Macron said during a press conference. “I am here to launch a new political initiative. I will propose a new political decade during my meetings, and I will return on September 1 to follow up on it.”
Macron feels a responsibility to Lebanon, largely because this Middle Eastern nation of 7 million people was a French protectorate following World War i; its ties go back to Napoleonic times. While its most common language is Arabic, its second-most common is French. This September 1 is also the 100-year anniversary of Lebanon coming under French rule.
“We’re asking for the president of France to take over Lebanon,” a young Beirut resident told the New York Times. “Just throw away the government. There’s no future here for us if the current politicians stay. We’d rather get colonized than die here.” The somewhat bizarre call for recolonization speaks to the severity of Lebanon’s frustration with its leaders.
The hero’s welcome for Macron contrasted starkly with the reaction to Lebanon’s own leaders. Days after the blast, leaders of the main political parties had still dared not walk the area for fear of attack. Three days after the blast, President Aoun addressed the nation. As expected, he blamed “foreign interference.” The Lebanese people viewed his reaction as verification of the government’s utter failure.
Western reporters saw the prompt visit of Lebanon’s former colonizing power as bizarre. An Associated Press headline read, “Is France Helping Lebanon or Trying to Reconquer It?” Some critics characterized him as a 21st-century would-be emperor: “Macron Bonaparte.” But to Lebanese in Beirut and beyond, it’s not bizarre. It is, as some put it, “our only hope.”
“In a situation like this, it’s perfectly understandable that people hope to get rid of their political leadership,” said Maximilian Felsh, a professor at Beirut’s Haigazian University. “Anything is better than this. So I can understand that the majority of the Lebanese people hope that, if this was possible, some foreign power will take control of the country.”
Macron’s visit was a watershed event. It showed that the Lebanese trust a foreign president more than their own politicians, whether Shiite, Sunni, Druze or Christian.
Upon returning to France, Macron organized an online international donors conference that resulted in almost $300 million in pledges for relief efforts. The money is to be kept away from the Lebanese government and administered by a future United Nations mission. The Gulf states are willing to help financially, but not while Hezbollah is the dominant force in Lebanon. “Saudi Arabia will not continue to pay Hezbollah’s bills,” wrote prominent Saudi columnist Khaled al-Sulaiman in the Okaz daily. “It is untenable for Saudi Arabia to pay billions of dollars to Lebanon in the morning and in the evening be subjected to curses and taunts on its television networks.”
United States President Donald Trump confirmed that any U.S. aid would stay out of the hands of the Lebanese government. Germany’s Foreign Ministry also supported the French position, stating, “That’s precisely what the Lebanese people have rightly demanded. Individual interests and old lines of conflict must be overcome and the welfare of the entire population must be put first.”
Influential commentators are also calling for European forces to make their way to Lebanon. Ron Prosor, former Israeli ambassador to the UN and the United Kingdom called on Europe to act immediately to ensure that “any foreign and humanitarian aid arriving in Lebanon would get to those who need it, not Hezbollah.” “All the mechanisms and methods are already there,” he wrote. “What is missing is the will and decision to implement them. We should not ask for whom the bell tolls—it tolls loud and clear for the leaders of Europe. If they don’t act now to save Lebanon from Hezbollah and Iran, they may never get another chance” (Jerusalem Post, August 9; emphasis added).
While Europe has failed to act forcefully in the past, it appears that soon there will be European forces on the ground in Beirut directing money and aid, directly bypassing Lebanon’s Hezbollah-led government.
Bible Prophecy Is About to Be Fulfilled
The exact scenario of European nations supporting Lebanon’s quest to rid the nation of Iranian domination sets the scene for the dramatic fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
For the past decade, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has forecast that Lebanon will leave Iranian control and side with European and moderate Arab nations (article, page 1).
Mr. Flurry based this forecast on a mysterious prophecy found in Psalm 83. The psalm describes a confederacy formed to fight against Israel. “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee” (verses 4-5).
Which nations are to be part of this alliance? Verses 6-8 answer: “The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” As Mr. Flurry documents in his free booklet The King of the South, the modern Middle Eastern nations included in this alliance are Turkey, the Gulf states, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon (mentioned in this passage as Gebal and the inhabitants of Tyre). The alliance also lists Assur, which is modern Germany (for proof, read “The Remarkable Identity of the German People”).
A search through history shows that no such alliance against ancient Israel or its descendants has ever existed. This shows that this is an end-time prophecy.
Based on this prophecy, we can know for certain that Lebanon is going to side with a German-led Europe.
But we also know, based on another prophecy, in Daniel 11:40-43, that Lebanon will no longer be allied with Iran. This passage describes an epic clash between two great end-time powers: “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 ….” As Gerald Flurry proves in his booklet, the king of the south in this prophecy is radical Islam led specifically by Iran. The other power, the king of the north, is a German-led Europe—which Psalm 83 reveals will be allied with several Arab states, including Lebanon.
The Beirut blast, followed by the European-led recovery effort, propelled this prophecy toward being fulfilled.
It will not be easy for Europe to replace Iran and Hezbollah as the dominant outside force in Lebanon. Nevertheless, the public outrage at Hezbollah and the jubilant support for Macron show that revolution is coming to Lebanon. Bible prophecy says that, ultimately, it is certain.
The Trumpet has been watching for conditions inside Lebanon to reach the point where such a revolution is possible. And the Beirut explosion has provided a formidable catalyst.
It may even do more. This European intrusion into the Mideast is certain to infuriate Iran. Daniel 11:40 says Iran will start pushing at Europe. Could this in part be motivated by Europe entering the Middle East again—and what’s more, driving Iranian influence out of Lebanon? And then out of Syria, which is also prophesied to ally with Europe?
Read the rest of the prophecy in Daniel 11 through chapter 12. It details further prophetic events to take place in quick succession, leading directly to the coming of the Messiah. As these events begin to take place, we will actually be able to count the days to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! (Daniel 12:12).
Did God allow this massive explosion in Beirut in order to draw your attention to the biblical prophecies about to unfold in that little corner of the Earth? Events that start there will reverberate across the Middle East and the world.
Within a few weeks of the blast, most people had already moved on from events in Lebanon. Don’t be one of them. Figuratively, now is not the time to put away the video camera. A more significant event than the Beirut blast is about to take place in Lebanon, and God does not want you to miss it.
In fact, God wants to use these fulfilled prophecies to help you prove His powerful hand in world affairs. As it says earlier in Daniel, “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Daniel 2:21). God sets up kings and removes kings. Events in Lebanon will eventually lead to the removal of both the king of the south and the king of the north. Finally, when those very kings are destroyed, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed … and it shall stand forever” (verse 44).