Muhammad’s first followers prayed toward Jerusalem. It was there, to the Temple Mount of the Holy City, that Muhammad was said to have been transported in a vision from his home in Mecca in his famous “night journey”; it was from there that he was met by the great biblical prophets and then ascended to heaven to speak with Allah before returning home.
Only later did Muhammad, who founded the religion of Islam, redirect his supporters to pray toward Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. But in the minds of Muslims, the night journey and ascension forever marked Islam’s spiritual connection to the City of God.
To this day, many Muslims believe the city belongs to Islam.
In their view, Jerusalem’s current occupation by Jews is just as wrong as its previous occupations by Romans and by Catholics, from whom Muslims forcibly took control on multiple occasions. Jewish control over Jerusalem is essentially a symbol of the injustice of Western imperialism—and a bitter reminder of the powerlessness of today’s Muslim society.
The growing giant among the Islamic nations today is Iran. And for over a decade, the Trumpet’s editor in chief has warned readers to watch for signs of Iran’s meddling in Jerusalem.
In his booklet The King of the South, Gerald Flurry wrote, “During the Crusades, Jerusalem was always the main prize. This city is of supreme religious importance to Jews, Christians and Muslims. … These two great and powerful religions [Christianity and Islam] both passionately desire Jerusalem.”
A decade ago, Mr. Flurry berated the West for being “spellbound by peace treaties” and thus suffering willful blindness to “Iran’s massive plot to control the Middle East.” Then he wrote: “The most precious jewel of Iran’s plan is to conquer Jerusalem. This would then galvanize the Islamic world behind Iran!” (Trumpet, February 1995; emphasis mine throughout).
This is one of many of Mr. Flurry’s statements that is proving itself more true with the passage of time.
Intelligence continually emerges on how the mullahs in Tehran, in pursuit of this “precious jewel,” have plotted a takeover in Israel for many years. To lay the groundwork, they have drawn from their standard arsenal of espionage, arms smuggling and terrorism—feverishly, furtively working to subvert the Jewish government and position themselves to assume control.
Now, with Yasser Arafat dead and buried and Ariel Sharon caught in a political bramble bush, an opportunity is opening for Iran to strike. Watch for it! Iran is trying to take over Jerusalem!
The Prophet Isaiah forecast a time at the end when “the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.” That time is swiftly approaching—but Isaiah’s prophecy already seems to describe our day. Years of effort at creating peace in the Middle East have been a grim failure.
Why? One of the principal reasons has been Iran’s designs on Jerusalem. The Islamic Republic has placed guns in the hands of terrorists, paid Palestinians to blow themselves up among Israeli civilians, fomented hatred and campaigned for war. As far back as the August 1998 Trumpet, Mr. Flurry boldly stated, “Iran has virtually destroyed the peace process single-handedly. Still, the world continues to talk about peace. Iran and radical Islam don’t want peace, and words won’t deter them.” When has Iran ever been held accountable for this disaster?
Mr. Flurry then called attention to this stunning declaration by intelligence analyst Joseph de Courcy in the Islamic Affairs Analyst: “Subscribers should be in absolutely no doubt about this. From Iran’s support for subversion in Bahrain, through its improving ties with Egypt, its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Islamist revolutionaries in Khartoum, to its close strategic alliance with Moscow, everything has the same ultimate purpose: the liberation of Jerusalem from under the Zionist yoke.”
This fact is critical to note. Yasser Arafat presided over a failed regime; his corrupt government essentially impoverished his people and delivered on none of his promises. Many see his death as opening the window to sunny new scenarios for democracy and peace in Israel. The reality is, the power best organized to fill the leadership gap is just as stained by terrorism as Arafat was—but with ties to Iran. And Tehran has the muscle, and the will, to take its campaign to “push Israel into the sea” to another level of horror.
Let’s look at a scripture that points directly at the likelihood of this event.
Zechariah 14:2 prophesies that half of Jerusalem will be taken into captivity. As our booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy explains, this must occur soon, because other prophecies dated to the beginning of the biblical “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) describe the city being completely overtaken, in that case by a European power (Luke 21:20). Zechariah is speaking of an impending, partial conquest of the Holy City by Islamic warriors—one that will precede the Tribulation.
Writing about this prophecy in our companion magazine Royal Vision, Mr. Flurry explained, “These verses prophesy that the Palestinians are going to take over half of Jerusalem very soon. I don’t believe that the Palestinians, by themselves, could do that—but they could if the king of the south [Iran, as labeled in the prophecy of Daniel 11:40] supported and helped them. We need to watch: Iran wants to take over that city. Such a conquest would galvanize the whole Islamic world to get behind the king of the south—a goal Iran has been working toward all along” (January-February 2005).
How specific! Is this something we can see unfolding in today’s newspapers? Absolutely.
The Party of God
The spiritual roots of Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah lie in Iran. Like Iran (and unlike the majority of Muslims), it follows the Shia version of Islam. In its foundational document “Program,” written in February 1985, the group identifies itself as “sons of the umma (Muslim community), the party of God (Hizb Allah), the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran.” It went so far as to name the Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the Iranian Revolution in 1979, as the group’s “commanding jurist,” whose orders it must obey.
Iran has nurtured and funded this terrorist group from its beginning, and this relationship has allowed Iran inroads not only into Lebanon, but also Israel. Hezbollah’s charter identifies the Jewish state as one of its chief enemies, saying, “Our primary assumption in our fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity has been aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people. Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated.” One of Hezbollah’s greatest victories was its battling the Israeli presence in southern Lebanon, which, after 15 years, culminated in Israel retreating to its own border in May of 2000.
Hezbollah’s founding document also makes clear its fundamental opposition to anything resembling a peace process: “We recognize no treaty with [Israel], no cease-fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated. We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies, for the reason that such negotiation is nothing but the recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine.” Hezbollah operatives, funded by Iran, have been responsible for hundreds of attacks that have sabotaged peace efforts over the past 20 years.
What is alarming, then, is how well this blood-stained “party of God” has positioned itself to influence Palestinian politics in the post-Arafat period.
An Israeli intelligence report authored in October 2004 showed that Hezbollah has been actively trying to infiltrate the Jewish state from within ever since Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. At that moment, as reported by IsraelNationalNews.com on Dec. 9, 2004, “Hezbollah and Iran realized the ‘explosive potential’ available in the Israeli-Arab population. Full-fledged citizens with complete mobility throughout the country, the Arabs of Israel were seen as a perfect way of enhancing Hezbollah’s ability to strike out at Israel.” In addition to collecting intelligence from Israel’s Arab citizens, Iran and Hezbollah began using them to establish and expand terror cells, to smuggle weapons, and to provide logistical and operative aid to other terror groups, all within Israel’s borders. An Israeli Arab arrested in November for spying for Iran offered an unsettling peek at the truth of the report. Voice of Israel radio said Iranian intelligence had given him a number of assignments, including recruiting terrorists and distributing money to the families of suicide bombers.
In December, more proof turned up. “Israeli security officials said Iran has expanded its office in Beirut established to recruit Palestinians and Israelis for espionage and other operations against the Jewish state. The officials said that Iran has allocated new funds for a range of operations in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” (Middle East Newsline, Dec. 10, 2004).
In a chilling story in the Dec. 13, 2004, Weekly Standard, Aaron Mannes documented further infiltration into Israel by Hezbollah and, by extension, Iran. “Iran and Hezbollah have provided funds, weapons and training to Palestinian terrorists. Many of the intifada’s most successful tactics were learned from Hezbollah. But all this assistance came at a price. According to Israeli intelligence, Iran is now ‘in control of terrorism in Israel.’”
The evidence is copious. Hezbollah has established close relationships with the majority of small leftist Palestinian organizations. The umbrella group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which includes several radical Palestinian Islamic factions, is under heavy Iranian influence and cooperates with Hezbollah. Alarmingly, Hamas, a terrorist group whose political support among Palestinians is rapidly growing (see sidebar, page 11), is actually coming under Hezbollah control. Mannes reports that “Hamas’s political leadership is now exclusively Syria-based, and Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon direct Hamas operations” (ibid.)—certainly a point to remember when following ongoing developments in Palestinian politics.
Hezbollah’s—and hence Iran’s—sway has also extended into the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah, Arafat’s former dominions. “Officers in Arafat’s personal bodyguard, Force 17, directed the first Hezbollah cells in the West Bank and Gaza,” Mannes explained. “In exchange for providing arms such as those on the Karine A—the arms-smuggling freighter intercepted by Israel in January 2002—Iran was allowed to open hospitals and social institutions in the West Bank and Gaza. These institutions serve as a cover for an expanded Iranian presence. In late 2002, a captured Palestinian agent for Hezbollah confessed to Israeli security that Hezbollah had established a network of supporters in the West Bank and Gaza to infiltrate Fatah and the PA in order to take control when the PA collapses.” That Hezbollah agent said he reported both to Iran and to Fatah leader Farouq Qaddumi, who after Arafat’s death essentially became no more than a Palestinian front man for Hezbollah’s activities in Israel.
If Hezbollah—or, perhaps more plausibly, a Hezbollah-controlled Hamas—does end up playing a large role on the new Palestinian political scene, it will amount to an Iranian takeover. “[I]n politics the advantage goes to the organized, and Hezbollah and its patrons have been preparing for this moment for some time” (ibid.).
Given these facts, it’s not difficult to see how Iran could swell Palestinian politics with enough power to throw Israel into even greater chaos in the time ahead. We must keep our eyes fixed on the “city of peace” to watch for the violent fulfillment of Zechariah’s forecast: Thanks to Iranian infiltration, half the city is about to be conquered!
As grim as that vision is, one can recognize it as wonderful news when it is put in the whole context of Zechariah’s prophecy.
The first verse of Zechariah 14 sets up the time frame: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh”! Verses 4 and 5 portray the stunning reality, just ahead of us, of Jesus Christ returning from heaven to smash the armies that will have gathered in the region to fight Him, and then touching down on the Mount of Olives, in the same great city where He was crucified and resurrected two millennia before.
The Islamic invasion of half of the city is presented right in the same context because, as Mr. Flurry describes in Jerusalem in Prophecy, it is the trigger that will start a chain of events leading inexorably toward the Second Coming!
Please note—and do not forget—these words from that Royal Vision article by Mr. Flurry: “When we look at these prophecies, we need to realize what they are all tied to. What you’re seeing in Jerusalem today is a prelude to Christ’s return. It will all lead to that climactic event, step by step!
“So watch Jerusalem!”
For anyone interested in the future of this city, Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy is a must-read. Request your free copy today.