Sunday, July 8, 2012

US sends USS Ponce to Gulf instead of to decommission

Some Middle East news I thought was interesting. After June's ramp-up on the Negev and Gaza Strip with Hamas bombs falling, and the last minute rush of UN's Kofi Annan to try and get a peace going in Syria, and Turkey's anger over Syria downing its jet, tensions were at a ridiculous height. Over the last two weeks that tension has ratcheted down a bit, but now are ramping up again. Iran has renewed its belligerence and has made some provocative statements. The US has made some decisions, and things are cycling back to new heights. The news regarding these things is below.

Please view all this through the lens of prophecy concerning the last days wars of Psalm 83, Isaiah 17 and 19, and Ezekiel 38-39. I say this because those prophesied battles have not yet been fulfilled in their entirety, and we see movement in these days toward that final fulfillment, for the first time ever in some cases.

Throwing in the towel on Syria:

Annan admits failure of Syrian peace mission
"Kofi Annan, the joint UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, has admitted his failure in solving Syrian crisis, according to a French daily. "We have made significant efforts to resolve this situation by peaceful political methods. Obviously, we have not succeeded. And there is no guarantee that we will succeed," Annan said in an interview with Le Monde."

So America stepped in to make a few statements:

Clinton warns Syria violence must end to avoid ‘catastrophic assault’
"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday warned time was running out to save Syria from a “catastrophic assault” after international envoy Kofi Annan admitted his peace mission was failing. The comments by the top U.S. diplomat came as 15 people, including 12 civilians, were killed across the country, according to a rights watchdog. “It should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime their days are numbered,” Clinton told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo."

And the US made a decision to send an aging carrier group to the Gulf instead of decommission it, like they had planned.

US beefs up Gulf naval force amid tension with Iran
"A U.S. navy ship that had been slated for decommissioning has been sent instead to the Gulf to help mine-clearing operations, the U.S. Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain said, the latest move in a gradual U.S. build-up as tensions with Iran smoulder. A fleet spokesman in Manama said the USS Ponce, described as a "afloat forward staging base" (AFSB), had arrived on Thursday after undergoing refitting for its new mission."

‘Floating base’ deploys to Gulf: US Navy
"An ageing American naval ship converted into a “floating base” has arrived off the coast of Bahrain to support counter-mine operations in the Gulf, the US Navy said Friday.The deployment of the USS Ponce marks the latest in a gradual build-up of American forces in the region since tensions spiked with Iran in December over its nuclear programme, with Tehran threatening to possibly close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.Equipped with a helicopter landing deck and space for troops, the amphibious transport ship, in service since 1971, can support an array of missions as a “forward staging base” involving special forces, countermine operations or repair work for warships, officials said."

Joel C. Rosenberg calls this area the prophetic "epicenter." His language mirrors scientific language concerning earthquakes. The United States Geological Survey defines an earthquake epicenter as, "the point on the earth's surface vertically above the hypocenter (or focus), point in the crust where a seismic rupture begins."

We view prophecy through Jerusalem as the epicenter because that is the lens through which God acts. Jerusalem is His focus and Israel is His hypocenter. It is the point on earth where the prophetic rupture begins. Many scholars believe the initial rupture kick-starting the final 7 years of this present age will be either the Psalm 83 battle, Isaiah 17 event or the Gog Magog war described in Ezekiel 38-39; or a rapid succession or combination of all three. All three prophecies are located in and around Israel.

This is because despite having been continuously inhabited for almost 6000 years, Damascus (Isaiah 17:1) has never been destroyed. Because despite Israel's enemies always and endlessly stating they will wipe Israel from the earth, never in documented history has that particular combination of allies attacked her, (Psalm 83) and the same is true for Ezekiel's Gog-Magog war.

So we watch the epicenter. In earthquakes, scientists still cannot figure out when or where one will occur. But our God is the author and perfecter of time, precise in His word, and orchestrates all events on the earth and above it. He told us ahead of time when the final prophetic rupture will be (when we see the signs begin to happen- Luke 21:31) and what to do when we see the begin (Luke 21:28; 1 Thess 5:4-5).

As Jesus warned His people to watch, as Paul warned his people to watch, so we watch. And wait. Not impatiently, but expectantly, and in joy that the author and finisher of our Faith is coming to complete His word. Thy kingdom come...Thy will be done.

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