I have learned something about politics: politicians know how to “spin” a loss into a victory. Was the Iran nuclear deal a victory for the P5 +1 team (United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, plus Germany)1 or for Iran? I suspect we will not know the answer for some time. Rarely, however, is there truly a “win-win” agreement (as Iran’s President Rouhani stated). I must say that the look on Iran President Rouhani’s face was quite a bit more festive than that of President Obama as he stood behind the official White House podium. I can’t say that I’ve seen pictures of Americans (or Israelis) dancing in the streets– only Iranians. Of course, since the agreement released over $100 billion in oil revenue frozen in foreign banks, I imagine Americans would be dancing in the streets if the tables were turned. There is one little problem that remains for the Iranian citizenry: how do they know they will ever benefit from the $100 billion? Iranian leadership has been financing its Shia Islamist proxy-cells all over the Middle East, all-the-while its billions have been frozen and its unemployment rate has soared to a high of 14.7% (26.9% for youth) and inflation to 40%. If Iran used its billions to finance Hezbollah (Shia) in Lebanon, President Al-Assad’s Shia forces in Syria, the Houthis (Shia) in Yemen, HAMAS (Sunni Islamist) in Gaza (only at times), Shias in Bahrain, and Shias in Iraq (now leading the effort against ISIS in Iraq and northern Syria), why should anyone expect the financial windfall to make its way to the people on the streets of Iran? In fact, Iran’s Shia proxies surround the Middle East (see map in orange, except Russia which is an ally not a proxy) and the cost to finance their military activities has been estimated in the billions per year. Quoting Jonathan Spyer in the Middle East Forum:
“The ending of sanctions on the IRGC, and more broadly the likely imminent freeing of up to $150 billion in frozen revenue, will enable Iran to massively increase its aid to its long list of regional clients and proxies. Iran today is heavily engaged in at least five conflict arenas in the region.” Read more.
The financial windfall is only beginning for Iran, according to many sources. As the doors are opened to the world’s corporate giants, so will the tide of favor among the nations of the world. We should expect a groundswell of favor, including the P5 +1 nations. They have every reason to favor Iran. To do otherwise might undermine the prospects of the nuclear agreement working, and as we all know, politicians all have a legacy to build and protect. If the nuclear agreement begins to crack, they will do everything to ignore the cracks until the cracks are fissures of destruction. Of course, it will be too late then and legacy will not matter. By that time, the descriptors in Revelation 18 of a nuclear holocaust will have such a global impact that people will be more interested in simply surviving than figuring out who did it and why.
There really are only two sides of the road in this matter — Iran (and its new bedfellows (P5 +1)) on one side and Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt (and the Gulf Cooperation Council) on the other. Even if we were take a more magnanimous view of P5 +1’s ability to monitor and react if Iran fails to perform, the result will likely be the same — nuclear holocaust, whether Iran pulls the trigger or Israel does — a lot can happen in the ten years the nuclear agreement is in place.
Here is what Israel had to say about the nuclear agreement and its impact on the Middle East:
New York Times: Iran Deal Denounced by Netanyahu as ‘Historic Mistake’
By ISABEL KERSHNERJULY 14, 2015
JERUSALEM — Furiously denouncing the accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program on Tuesday as “a historic mistake,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not be bound by the agreement and warned of negative repercussions in a region already riven with rivalries and armed conflict. Read more.
CNN reported an unidentified Saudi official who stated that the deal marked a “monumental historical miscalculation.” The Telegraph ran this article:
… Saudi Arabia regards Shia Iran as a competitor for leadership in the Muslim world, and sees its hand behind many of the region’s conflicts. The two are supporting opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen, while Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies fear Iran’s influence among their own Shia populations.
I must admit that most sources I read indicate America left the negotiating table with little more than “the shirt on its back,” while skillful Iranian negotiators gave Iranians something to cheer about. One expert writing for the Middle East Forum put it this way:
Iran Nuclear Deal Makes War More Likely, by Efraim Inbar, July 15, 2015
… The Obama administration was willing to offer almost unlimited concessions to the skillful Iranian negotiators, ignoring all its own deadlines and red lines. It is clear that President Obama was desperate for a deal in order to leave office with a “legacy.”
While Washington congratulates itself on a “successful” result, what counts is the perceptions of the countries in the region. Alas, all countries in the region can only conclude that America is indeed weak. America has capitulated to Iran. Read more.
Dare we guess what President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had to say? As one of Iran’s proxies (with a $1 billion line of credit from Iran), his statement should not surprise us:
In another message addressed to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Assad said: “In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.” Read more.
The 15 member United Nations Security Council approved the agreement on 7/20/15. Similarly, the European Union on 7/20/15. The U. S. congress has sixty days to do so; alas, at this point little can be done as the favor of the agreement is snowballing down the hill at a momentum unlikely to change. According to one source, the first negotiation on the nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions occurred in May, 2003, when Iranian officials submitted a list of agenda items for negotiation. Read more. That means the agreement has been in negotiation for the last twelve years! Who would dare attempt to stop it at this point?
So how do we process the events of the day with Scripture in hand? The first thing is to look at who is on whose side. Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the same side — not a good thing to be on the side of Israel in the end-of-days (Zechariah 12:2-3, Zechariah 14:2, Ezekiel 38:9-12, Revelation 11:2). Yes, Israel will ultimately be victorious (Ezekiel 38:18-19, 22-24) for the Lord will never desert His people. He has demonstrated His faithfulness in protecting the remnant beginning in the days of Jacob’s sons in Canaan (then Egypt), continuing through the exile in Babylon, and the succeeding conflicts that scattered the Jews all over the world, yet returned them in 1948 by act of the United Nations. God will certainly not forget His promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3, 17:7-8) by removing His protection in the end-of-day (Genesis 45:7, Ezra 9:8, Isaiah 10:20-22, Isaiah 11:11, Zechariah 8:11-12, Romans 9:27).
Saudi Arabia, the #1 exporter of the world’s crude has aligned itself with its unnatural ally, Israel, against Iran. In my book, Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, I propose that Saudi Arabia will be attacked by ten of its Muslim neighbors — led by a Shia nation, i.e., Iran, in fulfillment of Revelation 17:12-14. Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust as described in Revelation 18:8. I interpret Iran and Shia Islam to be the power through whom the wrath of God is poured out upon the world (Joel 3:2). The destruction of Saudi Arabia launches the Tribulation, and Israel is overcome subsequent to this event (although timing is never clear in interpreting end-of-days Scripture.)
We could likely add Egypt to align with Saudi Arabia and Israel in the end-of-days, at least so long as Egypt’s present leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Read more), continues to lead. President al-Sisi made some revolutionary statements about Islam at the beginning of the year when he declared to a group of leading clerics at Al Azhar University in Cairo, regarded by many as the world’s leading Sunni Muslim institution of learning, that the only hope for Islam was a revolution in its ideology, the ideology that created an “ISIS.” Read more. And, as I recently posted, Egypt is the last country to align with in the end-of-days. Perhaps that is because the reform in Islamist ideology proposed by President al-Sisi will go further than he expected but not far enough. Read more.
There is another passage that possibly is being fulfilled in the modern-day nuclear agreement– Daniel 8:19 NASB, 23-25 NASB. This passage describes the “final period of indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.” (Daniel 8:19 NASB). The passage further refines its time of application to “the latter period of their rule when the transgressors have run their course.” The “transgressors” are identified as Media-Persia and Greece (Daniel 8:20-21 NASB), the two empires that overcame the Jews in 535 BC (through defeat of Babylon) and 332 BC (through the defeat of Media-Persia), respectively. However, the “transgressors” have “run their course” (NASB translation) so these empires have completed their dominion at the time of fulfillment in the end-of-days. The “king” that arises in the tribulation period will apparently be from one of these two empires, i.e., Persia or Greece (he cannot arise from both, and even though Greece is the last of the two empires to survive, historically, this does not require us to name Greece as the nation from which this king will arise; both empires have “run their course.”) The king will be “insolent” (he does not listen to others, his view is the only one that matters; basically, he is a real hard guy to work with). He is “skilled in intrigue” (ESV translates “master of intrigue”). This phrase is one of the reasons bible scholars identify the Antichrist as a smooth talker, a gifted and charismatic person, and able to easily influence others. The phrase is further reinforced by verse 25 which states, “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence…” In other words, the “king” will succeed because he has great influence on others. His influence will cause mighty men to be deceived, and because they are deceived, many people will be destroyed. The text states, “He will destroy to an extraordinary degree … He will destroy mighty men and the holy people…” (Daniel 8:25 NASB). The “mighty men” must be leaders of countries. To destroy the mighty men is to destroy the countries they represent. The “holy people” could be Jews or Christians, although I interpret them to be the Jewish people based upon Isaiah 62:12 NASB, Isaiah 63:18 NASB, Daniel 12:7 NASB.
It is important that we notice the phrase “while they are at ease.” I propose that they are “at ease” because the nuclear agreement, having been ratified, puts world leaders and their people in a false sense of security. The Middle East has successfully been calmed for a period, the nuclear arms race threatened by Saudi Arabia has somehow been abated through the treaty. It has set the world at ease. Iran is secretly preparing the materials and delivery system to successfully deliver nuclear explosives, at least so far as the “insolent king” is concerned.
Perhaps this king is the only one aware of this plan? Even negotiators on his behalf are unaware of what his plans are. If that be the case, the profile of the insolent leader could not be more appropriately filled than by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Ayatollah is the supreme leader in Iran, the spiritual leader in a Shia state that considers him to be divinity, literally. He is the final word in Iran. He said this after the agreement was signed:
“Whether the deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon,” Khamenei said at the end of prayers marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “Even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change. We don’t have any negotiations or deal with the U.S. on different issues in the world or the region.” Read more.
The Times of Israel gives “Nine things Khamenei Hates About you” based on Khamenei’s address in Iran following the reaching of an agreement on the nuclear accord. Read more. Does that qualify as “insolent” to you?
Another key phrase is, “…he will even oppose the Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:21). The Prince of princes is likely Michael, the chief angel and the protector of the people of Israel. Daniel 10 describes spiritual beings at war with one another (Daniel 10:13 NASB, 20-21 NASB). Daniel 10:14 NASB gives us the time of application, “… the days yet future.” Both Daniel 8:19 and Daniel 10:14 describe the same time period of application. Daniel 10:13 describes Michael as “one of the chief princes.” Daniel 10:21 describes Michael as “your prince.” Daniel 12:1 states, “… Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, …” Based on these passages, Michael is likely the Prince of princes in Daniel 8:25, and Daniel 8:19f is prophesying that at the appointed time of the end not only will there be a battle taking place among the nations but also a spiritual battle in the heavenlies.
Applying Daniel 8 to the modern-day, Iran and her skillful negotiators, under the direction of the Ayatollah, are the powers that deceive the mighty men, the world leaders. Treaties are signed, agreements are ratified, and the world is put at ease. The world (and the church) will believe all is well. Yet, one day we will awake to reports of nuclear bombs being launched against Israel — and then against the nations. Not only will the Middle East erupt but the planet.
I must tell you — It is not ISIS that Americans need concern themselves. It is Iran. Read more:
Jesus come quickly, before the world erupts. Hallelujah.
Blessings. (If you would like a free copy of my book for the cost of the postage, let me know by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see www.whenthepiecesfit.org, the website for my book, published in 2011.)
- Five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, the key trading partner of Iran. Iran’s nuclear program depends mainly upon German products and services. [↩]