Why Iran Told Hezbollah to Stand Down

Hezbollah fighters march in a February 15 ceremony to commemorate the party’s fallen leaders in the Lebanese village of Jibshit, about 50 kilometers south of Beirut.

Why Iran Told Hezbollah to Stand Down

Does Iran know something we don’t? Or is it stating the obvious?

While the world is focused on Israel’s war in Gaza, another conflict is simmering on Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group called by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis) “the world’s most heavily armed nonstate actor,” has been skirmishing with the Israel Defense Forces (idf) since October. Hezbollah is far better armed than Hamas. Despite rumors of an informal “peace” treaty, the threat of war remains high.

Iran, Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s paymaster, wants to obliterate the Jewish state. Hezbollah’s strength and proximity makes it one of Iran’s best weapons to accomplish this. With Israel sucked into Gaza, Hezbollah may never get a better chance.

Yet Iran told Hezbollah to stand down.

Iran sent a delegation to Lebanon earlier in February to speak with Hezbollah. It gave what seemed like a surprising message. One Hezbollah member summarized it to the Washington Post: “We are not keen on giving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any reason to launch a wider war on Lebanon or anywhere else.”

The source claimed two of Iran’s main goals in starting the Hamas war were to get the international community to pressure Israel to disengage from the Palestinian territories and to cause problems with moderate Arabs opening relations with Israel. Iran has achieved these goals. But if Israel goes to war with Lebanon, Iran worries it will lose more than it has gained.

The Hezbollah member summarized Iran’s instructions: “Netanyahu is squeezed in the corner now. Don’t give him a way out. Let us not give him the benefit of launching a wider war, because that would make him a winner.” In other words, Iran told Hezbollah not to do anything that could provoke Netanyahu into a war.

csis estimated in 2021 that Hezbollah had roughly 130,000 rockets. These include precision-guided missiles, antitank missiles, anti-ship missiles and antiair missiles. Hamas’s rockets before the war were estimated at less than half that number.

In short, as bad as war with Hamas is, war with Hezbollah is more terrifying. Even if Israel were to take the battle to Lebanon, an Israel-Hezbollah war would almost certainly bring catastrophic casualties. Already, politicians both inside and outside of Netanyahu’s Likud party are ready to oust Netanyahu after the war concludes. Starting a war in Lebanon could decrease his chances of staying in office. And the international community would be even angrier at him for setting more of the Middle East on fire.

Yet according to Iran, starting a war in Lebanon “would make him a winner.” In what way?

Lebanon is a poster child for everything that could go wrong with a country. Its presidency has been vacant since 2022. Its economy is in shambles, partly because much of the international community doesn’t want to give money to Hezbollah. Because of Hezbollah’s stonewalling, nobody has been brought to justice for the 2020 Beirut blast that killed over 200 and injured thousands more. Its own army is too weak to counter Hezbollah’s power.

Hezbollah may be Lebanon’s most powerful militia, but it’s far from the only one. Lebanon’s sizable Catholic population remains hostile to Hezbollah. If war starts, everybody will blame Hezbollah. They already blame Hezbollah for many of Lebanon’s other problems.

There is only one likely way Netanyahu could be a “winner” in a war with Hezbollah: permanently preventing Hezbollah from threatening Israel ever again. If the Lebanese people side with Israel, Hezbollah could be out of Beirut for good. Losing Lebanon would be a painful defeat for Iran.

If Israel invades, there is also the chance foreign partners could come to help. Germany has been especially pushy against Hezbollah since the war started. German pressure may have stopped Hezbollah from intervening months ago.

Iran seems genuinely concerned it could lose Hezbollah if it doesn’t play its cards right. But if this is the case, it wouldn’t require an Israeli invasion to uproot Hezbollah. Israel invaded in 2006 and Hezbollah is still in power. If Hezbollah today is this weak, anything—another economic depression, turf wars with other militias—could catalyze a revolution. Once this happens, Iran would lose one of its strongest weapons against Israel.

Iran’s directive means the writing is on the wall for Hezbollah.

In a 2014 Key of David episode, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry predicted Lebanon would fall into this kind of turmoil. “That means there’s going to be now a civil war,” he said, “a bloody civil war in Lebanon for control of Lebanon, and you’re going to see Lebanon and the European power prevail in that battle.”

Mr. Flurry made that prediction because of a prophecy in Psalm 83. The psalm lists a coalition of Middle Eastern peoples waging war so “that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (verse 4).

The people that make up the alliance are as follows: “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).

No conglomeration of these particular peoples with this purpose has ever surfaced in biblical or secular history. This is a prophecy for our time today. But it makes no sense unless one knows the modern identities of these peoples.

Mr. Flurry writes in The King of the South:

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!

Other prophecies show Germany and its allies will be in direct conflict against Iran and its allies. Right now, Lebanon is allied with Iran through Hezbollah. For the prophecy to be fulfilled, Lebanon has to switch sides. One of the most likely reasons this could happen would be if Hezbollah disappears.

It looks like Iran knows this disappearance could happen much sooner than many realize.

To learn more, request a free copy of The King of the South.