>> Iranians planning to execute Christian pastor, but have temporarily delayed the execution — please pray
>> Pope urged to denounce archbishop’s ‘political stunt’ [of saying Jews aren’t the chosen people]: Jewish groups call on Benedict XVI to condemn remarks denying Jews’ link to Land of Israel. ‘These latest moves will damage interfaith relations and embolden anti-Semites and terrorists,’ Simon Wiesenthal Center says
Tensions are rising in the Middle East this week amidst several new and troubling developments.
First, “Iran began loading fuel into the core of its Bushehr nuclear reactor Tuesday morning, moving closer to the start-up of its first atomic plant,” reports the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “Iranian and Russian engineers started moving nuclear fuel into the main reactor building in August but a reported leak in a storage pool delayed injection of the fuel into the reactor.” This is the latest evidence of the increasingly close strategic alliance between Russia and Iran. It is particularly concerning in light of the Iranian leaders’ belief in the imminent arrival of the Shia Islamic messiah known as the Twelfth Imam, and in light of the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 — what is known as the War of Gog and Magog — which indicate that Russia and Iran will form an alliance against Israel in “the last days” of human history, before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Second, a new report in a French newspaper indicates that the Iran-backed Shia Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah now has some 40,000 rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon aimed at Israel in preparation for an apocalpytic war involving the Twelfth Imam.
Third, in an intriguing sign of good news, “a new preliminary geological survey indicates 26 million barrels of recoverable oil worth $2 billion may be sitting underneath the sandy soil in the area of two kibbutzim in the Western Negev, near Gaza,” says a new industry report. “Besides the estimates of oil at a depth of 2,000 meters, or approximately 1.25 miles, the preliminary survey also reports an additional estimate of 12 million barrels of recoverable oil at depths of up to 4,000 meters, worth $900 at current prices. The area is adjacent to the small Heletz oil field, which so far has produced more than 16 million barrels of oil. If the new field is drilled, it will be the first deep-well drilling in the area in decades.”
Meanwhile, off the coast of Haifa, an historic, $150 million drilling operation has begun to reach the massive natural gas fields discovered earlier this year. Some industry experts believe Israel will be energy independent in the next few years, and will become a net exporter of natural gas, most likely to markets in Europe. Lars Larson had me on his nationally syndicated radio show last night to talk about the game-changing nature of such developments, and the possible prophetic nature of these oil and gas finds. He alerted me to an interesting blog that has been tracking such events over the past week. I confirmed for Lars that in the Old Testament there are several End Times prophecies that petroleum will be discovered in Israel in the last days, as I detailed in my non-fiction book, Epicenter: How The Current Rumblings In The Middle East Will Change Your Future.
OTHER HEADLINES TO TRACK: