Will Israel Invade Lebanon?
Israel’s war on Hamas is winding down. The urban centers of Gaza City and Khan Yunis are quickly being consolidated under Israel’s control. The bloodbath many were expecting once the Israel Defense Forces (idf) entered Gaza has yet to materialize, and may never. But that doesn’t mean the war itself is about to conclude. Its bloodiest chapter may be ahead of us. This concerns developments not in Gaza but in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Iran-backed terror group, has skirmished with the idf since October. A Hezbollah surprise attack seems unlikely at this point (they threatened to invade if Israel invaded Gaza, but didn’t follow through)—but evidence suggests Israel’s patience is running thin and it may launch a preemptive invasion of Lebanon.
On December 6 at a conference in the town of Nahariya, Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with mayors of towns near its border with Lebanon. Gallant stated that Israel is considering escalating its pushback against the terror group.
In 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1701, forbidding Hezbollah from keeping a military presence south of the Litani River. (The Litani is roughly 18 miles north of the Israeli border.) Hezbollah’s attacks at the Israeli border have violated that resolution. If this keeps up, Gallant threatened, Israel will “act with all the means at its disposal” to push Hezbollah back across the river.
Gallant suggested that diplomatic options would be explored first. But diplomatic pressure isn’t working. Hezbollah has continued attacking Israeli targets almost daily. Speaking to reservist soldiers on December 17, Gallant reaffirmed the option of going to war with Hezbollah.
“We don’t want to get into a war situation,” he said. “We want to restore peace and we will do it either through an agreement or with forceful action, with all its implications.” If Hezbollah won’t back off, Gallant threatened, “we won’t hold [war] off for too long.”
Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz was even more explicit on December 15: “If the world doesn’t get Hezbollah away from the border, Israel will do it.”
Hezbollah may leave Israel with no choice. On December 4, Hamas called for recruitment among the Lebanese. This could not have happened without coordination and a green light from Hezbollah. Given how the war in Gaza is progressing, it’s highly unlikely a surge of Lebanese recruits will provide the strategic edge necessary to kick the idf out of Gaza. But openly poking at Israel like this shows Hezbollah doesn’t take Gallant’s threats seriously.
Hezbollah is far better armed than Hamas. Taking Hezbollah out would be a much more intimidating undertaking. But the October 7 massacre showed Israel what happens when it doesn’t keep a festering terrorist neighbor in check. What Hamas did was horrendous; allowing Hezbollah the opportunity to launch the first strike would be catastrophic.
This could be what they want. Hezbollah probably backed off from invading Israel because of the threat of foreign powers—especially Germany—coming to Israel’s aid. But if Israel is the one to fire the opening shots, Hezbollah could have more maneuverability to do some damage.
Time will tell if anything comes from the tensions in Israel’s north. But one way or another, Lebanon is about to face a major political upheaval. And this upheaval will involve Hezbollah heavily.
Psalm 83 says: “Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. 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” (verses 1-4).
The members of this alliance are listed in the next verses: “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 …” (verses 6-8).
Biblical and secular history records no such alliance as ever having formed by these ancient peoples—and certainly not for the purpose “that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” That is because this passage is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. But it makes no sense unless one understands the modern identities of these ancient peoples.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet The King of the South:
You must know who the modern descendants of these peoples are to understand just how timely and relevant this prophecy is. Here are the modern names of these nations, as taught at Ambassador College under Herbert W. Armstrong: The Ishmaelites are Saudi Arabia; Moab and Ammon both refer to Jordan; the Hagarenes anciently dwelled in the land known as Syria today; the Philistines are the modern Palestinian Arabs; Gebal and Tyre are Lebanon. We cannot be extremely precise in this understanding, but it gives a good general idea.
One people listed here that lies outside the region is Assur. At one time, this was the capital of Assyria, which is the term that biblical prophecy uses for modern-day Germany. Germany is part of this alliance and is, in fact, the power behind it!
Lebanon today is an ally of Iran rather than Germany because of Hezbollah’s control of Lebanon. But if Israel invaded Lebanon and remove Hezbollah from the picture—perhaps backed by Germany—this could change fast.
As the prophecy also shows, this wouldn’t be good news for Israel. Hezbollah is no friend of Israel, but neither will be whoever brings Lebanon away from Iran. As events develop in Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere, the perspective provided by the Bible is the one most needed to know where they will lead.
To learn more, please read our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches an Alliance Between Arab Nations and Europe.”