We've seen this scenario too many times to count. The "rules" of engagement - "rules" which have been determined by a combination of the media and the Islamic terrorist groups; "rules" which follow a predictable pattern. Before looking at these rules, we must remember one important fact: there is no desire for peace by these terrorists - only the desire to completely destroy Israel, so that it no longer exists. This is not a secret, because the terrorist groups in the region, namely Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah make their intentions quite clear.
The terrorist groups and the media have set up these rules of engagement, and it goes something like this:
1. The terrorist groups launch missiles into Israel. Over and over. Last week alone, to cite one such example, approximately 80 missiles were launched from Gaza, into Israel, every day. Yet this fact received virtually no coverage in the mainstream media. No one seemed concerned that missiles were being launched into Israeli cities, farms and children's schools every day.
2. The terrorist groups launch these missiles from locations that are embedded in their communities, ensuring civilian deaths should Israel take any action to prevent these missiles from being launched. In other words, the terrorist groups set up a scenario that will certianly lead to civilian deaths. They do this for a purpose (see below).
3. Israel warns the terrorist groups (in this most recent example, from Gaza, courtesy of Hamas) over and over to stop the missile strikes or Israel will have to take action. Hamas ignored the pleas, while expecting, at some point, a response from Israel. Hamas then places more civilians in harms way, also known as "human shields" (their words, not mine). The mainstream media ignores the Israeli pleas for Hamas to stop the missile attacks.
4. Israel finally takes action, and destroys the Hamas missile assembly locations and the missile firing locations. As expected, some of those civilians in the immediate area are hurt and/or killed, just as Hamas planned. The media and the Muslim population becomes "outraged" and goes public with the breaking news of Israeli "occupation".
5. The world condemns Israel for their "aggressive action".
In these last days, the truth seems elusive. Prophecy watchers have been observing the recent missile attacks against Israel on a daily basis, with almost no media attention. Now that Israel has finally taken action, we see the predictable "outrage" and media coverage of Israeli's response - as if Israel just decided to "invade" the region, unprovoked.
This most recent conflict may differ from previous conflicts however in a few important ways. Of course, the predicted media/Muslim response has gone according to the usual plan, aka the "rules of engagement", but Israel may ignore the media this time:
There is much speculation that Israel will continue into Gaza with ground troops, which would ensure a broader and longer lasting conflict.
Additionally, Iran has publically made a call to all Muslims to enter the region and fight along with the Hamas terrorists
(article here). This sounds very similar to the build up preceeding the predicted epic battle described in Ezekiel 38-39, and represents another step towards further escalation.
Hezbollah has also threatened to invade Israel from the north, and as a result, if this does happen, Israel has threatened Syria (who backs Hezbollah, along with Iran) with military action. This marks a much more aggressive approach by Israel, than the usual limited response.
This situation could spiral out of control quickly. With every passing day, if this conflict continues to escalate we may see one or both of the following scenarios - all potentially significant prophetically:
- Creating more public attention and pressure towards confirming a peace plan in the middle-east; a situation always ripe for the anti-christ to arise and finally "confirm" such a plan, according to Daniel 9:27.
- Creating the scenario predicted in Ezekiel 38-39, which will involve a massive, epic invasion of Israel by the surrounding Muslim countries, as led by Iran and Russia - only to be supernaturally and dramatically ended by God Himself.
Whatever happens with this current conflict, will most likely result in either a small "stepping stone" towards a greater prophetic fulfillments, or, this conflict could actually result in a specific, dramatic prophetic fulfillment (as stated above). At this point its hard to know.
Either way, we'll be watching.
UPDATE: Joel Rosenberg's Weblog is providing some excellent updates on this stutation blogspot here