Conflict in the North – Hezbollah attack the North of Israel as tensions rise further in the Middle East
Hezbollah attacks northern Israel
To the direct North of Israel lies the country of Lebanon. A country which is four years into an economic and financial crisis. Operating amongst its population is an organisation called “Hezbollah” which means “Party of Allah”. It was established in 1982 by Lebanese Muslim clerics after the Lebanon war with Israel in order to resist Israel. It is a Shia Islamist group which sees the Supreme Leader of Iran as the ultimate clerical authority. It continues to have very close ties with Iran and although most countries of the world consider it as a terrorist organisation Russia does not. It sees Israel and the Jews as their enemy.
In this country last week, in the city of Beirut, a drone strike assassinated Hamas chief, Saleh al-Arouri. It is widely suspected that Israel carried this out, although they have not confirmed or denied this.
In response to this, Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah has been reported to have said Arouri’s death would “not go unpunished”.
A BBC report published on the 4th of Jan 2024 stated “Saleh al-Arouri died in a drone attack in Beirut on Tuesday. Israel has not confirmed it was responsible. Mr Nasrallah described Arouri’s death as a “major, dangerous crime about which we cannot be silent”. He added that if Israel wages war on Lebanon “there will be no ceilings, no rules” to Hezbollah’s response.
“We are not afraid of war,” said Mr Nasrallah in a televised address. “Those who think of going to war with us will regret it. War with us will come at a very high cost.” He previously said that any killings in Lebanon would be a red line. Hezbollah – like its ally, Hamas – is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and others. It is the largest political and military force in Lebanon and has ministers in the country’s government.”
True to their word, on Saturday 6th January 2024, Hezbollah attacked Israel with rockets. On that day the news outlet Haaretz published a report entitle “Hezbollah Targets Northern Israel With Heavy Rocket Barrage in ‘Initial Response’ to Killing of Hamas Leader”.
The Jerusalem Post also ran a report entitled “Waves of hostile aircraft intrusion alerts sound across northern Israel”. It stated “An hour after the first wave of alerts, numerous additional hostile aircraft intrusion alerts sounded in another part of the Israeli north, including areas such as the Golan Heights. Dozens of hostile aircraft intrusion alerts sounded in numerous separate communities in northern Israel on Saturday morning. Rocket alarm sirens also sounded in northern communities… the IDF said that it had detected 40 launches from Lebanese territory directed at the area of Meron, in northern Israel on Friday. Meron is approximately ten kilometers from the Israeli-Lebanon border.”
Another media agency VOA reported that “The Lebanese militia group Hezbollah said it launched more than 60 rockets at a Israeli military base Saturday. The strike was an “initial response” to the assassination of one of its leaders, Saleh al-Arouri, earlier in the week, Hezbollah said in a statement. Hezbollah believes Israel is responsible for the strike that killed Arouri, but Israel has not claimed responsibility.”
There are fears that this will bring further conflict to Israel and a wider regional war.
What does the Bible say?
As Bible students we ponder how these events might fit into what the prophecies have stated in the scriptures of truth. Are there any prophecies about our times which indicate if we should expect a hostile people in Lebanon? What is their role and destiny?
The Bible has many prophecies about the time it calls “The Latter Days”. The start of this time period is clearly defined as the time when God will restore again the Jewish people to their land. We know that it continues up until the Jewish Kingdom of Israel is restored again on the earth under the rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ when the earth will ultimately be at peace (Isaiah 2:2-11).
We have, of course, seen the Jews return to their land and they declared Israel as an indipendent nation state in 1948. We are living in the Latter Days.
During this time of the “Latter Days”, the Bible talks of a great war which will occur when all nations will come against Jerusalem to battle. This great war is called “Armageddon”. Ezekiel 38 tells us that Russia lead the nations in this attack and at the time of the attack the Jews will feel confident and will be dwelling safely. With Russia will be the Persiaons (or Irainians as we would call them today). Zechariah prophecies that it is at this time when Israel is attacked that Jesus Christ will appear on the world stage, save the Jews and establish Gods Kingdom again on the earth.
Surrounding this conflict we have some interesting details about the part Lebanon will play. We will consider two specific prophecies, one from Joel and one from Ezekiel.
Joel 3 – Tyre and Zidon
Joel 3 is clearly a prophecy relating to the time period after the Jews have returned to their land (v2). Within this context God declared “Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;” (v3). Tyre and Zidon are territories north of Israel in modern day Lebanon where Hezbollah reside. The coasts of Palestine are clearly a reference to the area of Gaza where Hamas have been operating.
An interesting feature of this prophecy is that the prophet goes on to explain what these peoples had done to cause God to call them out specifically. The prophecy says they had:
– Taken Gods silver, gold and pleasant things (v5)
– Captured and sold people from Judah and Jerusalem, including children (v3+6)
When this precisely occurs (or whether this has already occurred in the past) is difficult to determine. However the events on Oct 7th 2023, when Hamas came into Israel and captured Jews from their Kibbutz’s, indicate this attitude and behaviour is not something we can confine to history alone and it may well form the role these people take in the attack of all the nations on Israel in the future.
However we can see a prophecy here which clearly depicts these peoples as being hostile to Israel – just as we see they are in our news stories.
Ezek 28:20-24 – Zidon
This is a prophecy specifically about Zidon in the north of Israel in Lebanon where Hezbollah currently operate. “I am against thee, O Zidon” says God in verse 22. Although we do not get the detail of Zidon’s crimes the prophecy depicts a judgment on this location and people before God causes a regathering of his people (v25-26). This judgement seems to be final because it says “there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel”. It must therefore be future – because they are a “pricking brier” to Israel.
Piecing this together then it seems that as the Jews begin to come back to their land after the attack of the nations at Armageddon, God is against Lebanon for their treatment of His people, the Jews. Verse 23 will be unfolded “For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
The Destiny of Hezbollah
Therefore it does not seem like a good end for the Hezbollah and the enemies of Israel in Lebanon. They indeed currently hate the Jews and hate Israel, as we would expect from Bible prophecy. We are reminded of the great promises of God to Abraham when he said in Genesis 12:3 “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee”. This national promise was extended to Jacob in Gen 28:4, the Father of the Jewish nation.
We see the Bible is again accurate in its prophetic depiction of these peoples. The fact that a hostile people to Israel exist in the area of Tyre and Zidon in Lebanon is a testament to the fact we are living in the time period just before Jesus returns.
One thing is for sure though. Something must quell the current aggression toward Israel by both Hamas and Hezbollah – for as we’ve mentioned, Armageddon only occurs when Israel is at peace. Could the current military campaigns of Israel and the subsequent political settlements that might occur after the dust settles bring about such a situation?
We shall have to watch and wait and see. Join us next week as we continue to document the events of the Latter Days with our Bibles in hand and as we watch and wait for the return of God’s son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to the earth to sit on the throne of his Father David (Luke 1:32).