War or Peace: Should We Have Gone to War?
Update! Could Iran Knock Out US With One Bomb?
2 Kings 18:17-33 (NJB): 17. And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller's Field. 18. And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder. 19. And the Rabshakeh said to them, "Say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this confidence of yours? 20. Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21. Behold, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 22. But if you say to me, "We rely on the Lord our God," is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, "You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem"? 23. Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them. 24. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25. Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.'" 26. Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, "Pray, speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall." 27. But the Rabshakeh said to them, "Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?" 28. Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29. Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30. Do not let Hezekiah make you to rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.' 31. Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: 'Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat of his own vine, and every one of his own fig tree, and every one of you will drink the water of his own cistern; 32. until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. 33. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
Update April 27, 2005 Prophecy News Watch www.prophecynewswatch.com
Iran is not only covertly
developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically
designed to destroy America's technical infrastructure, effectively
neutralizing the world's lone superpower, say U.S. intelligence sources, top
scientists and western missile industry experts.
"An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the American homeland, said one
of the distinguished scientists who testified at the hearing, is one of only a
few ways that the United States could be defeated by its enemies – terrorist or
otherwise," wrote Kyl "And it is probably the easiest. A single Scud
missile, carrying a single nuclear weapon, detonated at the appropriate
altitude, would interact with the Earth's atmosphere, producing an
electromagnetic pulse radiating down to the surface at the speed of light.
Depending on the location and size of the blast, the effect would be to knock
out already stressed power grids and other electrical systems across much or
even all of the continental United States, for months if not years."
I chose our text today (2 Kings 18:17ff) because it portrays a negotiation of war very similar to what we are hearing about right now. The King of Judah at Jerusalem is Hezekiah, one of the greatest and best kings. Hezekiah had reestablished true worship in Judah, destroying the pagan temples and worship shrines of his predecessors. Judah is now being invaded by the most powerful nation in the world – the Assyrian empire – ruled by the fierce tiger king Sennacherib. The Assyrians had already conquered Israel and Samaria, taken away all the riches of these lands, and now they’re about to take Jerusalem, at the very gates. In fact, the Rabshakeh declares that Yahweh had sent Assyria over to destroy Jerusalem; so what could they do about it? Then the Rabshakeh started insulting the troops and pointing out their lack of equipment. Then he blasphemed Yahweh.
But this menacing Rabshakeh (or cupbearer-in-chief, NJB) does something very clever. He doesn’t threaten in his own language, but in the language of Judah, and he cries out very loudly. Everybody hears him and understands what he’s saying. He was really getting through to those on the inside of the wall – the news spreads like wildfire. The emissaries of King Hezekiah, Eliakim, Shebnah and Joah, plead with the Assyrian, “Don’t negotiate in our language so all these people can understand. Speak in your own language.” But the Rabshakeh didn’t relent.
He cried, “Do you think I’m here just to speak with you or your king? No, I ‘m here to tell everyone, because, after all, won’t it be the common folk that’ll end up suffering when we strike? Shouldn’t they know that, before it’s all over, they’ll be eating dung and drinking urine? Shouldn’t they be told?” Now the Rabshakeh addresses the people of Jerusalem directly: “Don’t let Hezekiah fool you by saying that G-d will save you in the end. He’s powerless to save you from my clutches. Surrender now and we’ll give everyone some property and freedom.”
That’s a good strategy, especially since the whole might of the Assyrian Empire is paraded around the walls of Jerusalem. Everyone could behold the troop divisions, great cavalries and war machines as far as the horizon. Everyone could hear the threats and promises of this great enemy paraded before them. Some Judeans thought the Assyrians might turn out to be their liberators after all. The promise of land, freedom and the ceasing of hostilities were surely strong motivators. Some clamored for peace at any price. Yet others, perhaps the majority, were ready, able and willing to fight to the death for their country and religion, even street-to-street, house-to-house, hand-to-hand.
Now -- does the strategy of the Rabshakeh and scenario of the Jerusalem wall sound familiar? It certainly should.
The U.S. Air Force tested what it calls “the mother of all bombs” on Tuesday, March 11 (2003), just down the road from here at Eglin Air Force Base. They call it the MOAB, short for “Massive Ordnance Air Burst.” This MOAB was 30 feet long and weighed 21,000 pounds. Other MOABs weigh 30,000 pounds, making them the largest non-nuclear bomb in the world. The bomb is so big it’s to be dropped from a cargo plane. When it detonates over an area, it spreads a mist of flammable, explosive gas or liquid then sets it on fire. It’s similar to the terrifying Daisy Cutter bombs used in Vietnam and Afghanistan, but it destroys a much wider target range. The MOAB is a weapon of mass destruction.
MOAB is also a Bible name prominent in prophecy (Isaiah 15, for instance). Moab means, “from the father,” referring to an offspring of incest (Genesis 19:37). Moab also refers to the territory of the modern Kingdom of Jordan, on Israel’s border. Israel pushed Jordan (or Moab) out of Jerusalem in the war of 1967 to fulfill a prophecy of Jesus (Luke 21:24). (By the way, there is also a resort town in Utah called Moab that is officially protesting the use of the name of the town for the biggest bomb in the world.)
Another bomb that came out of the closet last week was the EMP bomb; EMP stands for Electro-Magnetic Pulse. The bomb, when exploded in an area, creates an electronic field that burns out all electronic circuits within the target radius. This bomb has been in the arsenal for years but required a nuclear blast to set it off. Now the U.S. has the technology to explode it without the nukes. An EMP blast over a large city like Baghdad would permanently disable all electronic equipment by burning out all circuits. Anything that runs on electricity would be neutralized, power plants to cars to cell phones to radios, permanently. However, the EMP without the nuke doesn’t kill anybody directly (unless that anybody has a pacemaker).
A Smoking Hole in the Ground
The news media has also released the possibility that when the U.S. invades Iraq, it will be a blitz, targeting 3,000 bombs, weapons of mass destruction, at Iraq during the first two days of hostilities. This is being called “the large bang,” constituting more firepower than was used in the entire Gulf War of 1990-91. It has also been made it public that if Iraq bombs Israel causing mass casualties, Israel will nuke Baghdad, leaving a “smoking hole” in the ground.
Israel has nearly five hundred atomic bombs in their arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. NATO official Anthony Cordesman writes that if Israel is struck by weapons of mass destruction from Iraq,
“Israel would probably massively retaliate with nuclear ground bursts against every Iraqi city not already occupied by U.S.-led coalition forces. Israel would also probably then posture itself for hair-trigger massive retaliation against any Syrian or Palestinian effort to exploit the Iraqi attacks.”
One thing is for sure – Israel will not sit back this time and be bombed. It will retaliate bigtime.
The U.S. and its allies are already fighting a propaganda war, dropping printed leaflets over major cities in Iraq. Last week, one newsman asked a government official, “Why is the United States so forthcoming in letting the ‘enemy’ know its war strategy? Is this information being leaked or is this all intentional? Won’t this help the enemy to be ready?” The government official just laughed. His reply was something like, “The U.S. and its allies are being very up front about strategy because they want the Iraqis and anyone else to know just what kind of overwhelming power they are up against.” Of course, the President publicly called for Saddam Hussein and his lieutenants to just step down and leave, allowing the Allies in to disarm Iraq. The U.S. government is using scare tactics to hopefully avoid an invasion, just as the Rabshakeh of Syria had.
There was indication that this propaganda was working last week when paratroopers from the British 16th Air Assault Brigade were on maneuvers in Kuwait near the Iraqi border. The Brits were discharging mortars when a band of Iraqi soldiers, who had somehow crossed an incredibly fortified border, tried to surrender. The Brits had to tell the Iraqis that the war hadn’t started yet, and they sent them back across the border, back to Iraq.
Isn’t this propaganda war similar to the conversation on the wall between the Rabshakeh of Sennacherib and the emissaries of King Hezekiah? It’s just the same; everything’s in the open. The U.S. and allies, like Sennacherib, are making it public knowledge exactly what kind of heck they’ll bring if there isn’t an immediate acquiescence to the demands of U. N. Article 1441.
King Hezekiah knew that Jerusalem, a tiny, weak enclave, didn’t have a chance against Sennacherib. 2 Kings 19 tells us that when Hezekiah heard the threats of Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh, he tore off his clothes, wrapped himself in hemp, and entered the house of Yahweh, commanding his advisors to do likewise. Then Hezekiah prayed until he got an answer from Yahweh about the fate of the nation (2 Kings 19). He was willing to surrender if that was G-d’s will. The point is that he sought out what the Almighty wanted of him.
On February 26th, Saddam Hussein was interviewed by CBS News anchorman, Dan Rather. The three-hour, prime time program was and still is very controversial. I thought it was a masterpiece of propaganda. Saddam did a tremendous job of bolstering his image. As I watched and listened, I thought, “Could this man (Saddam) who here seems so logical, kindly and religious, really be the slaughterer of millions?”
Then Dan Rather confronted Saddam with the prospect of the tremendous military might of the Allies and asked a question something like, “How can you think you’ll come away from such a powerful enemy alive?” Saddam was very cool and hopeful when he replied, “This matter is entirely in the hands of Allah; may his will be done.”
This might have been something King Hezekiah would have said to King Sennacherib if he had had the opportunity; but a confrontation didn’t materialize. After Hezekiah received his answer from Yahweh, an angel was sent into the Assyrian camp that night. The angel killed one hundred eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers in their sleep. When the rest awakened, there was such awe and confusion that the Assyrians remaining just went home. The war became a matter for G-d alone. I believe this Bible story is true. I also believe Yahweh has the ability stop any war, if only, like Hezekiah, his people will pray (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Peace and Safety
There is opposition to war all around the world. We can discount ‘official opposition’ like that from the French or Russian governments (purely greed-oriented), and discount many politicians (who care only about re-electing), and discount peace-talk from most movie stars and celebrities (advocating peace for publicity’s sake). However, there are literally millions in this world who are against going to war for very personal, religious and legitimate reasons. No matter what we think, we dare not discount the opinions of informed others. The elders of this community should know that war is hell and it’s usually wrong. War will mean thousands of casualties and untold suffering. And any war in a world like ours could lead to world war and global devastation from weapons of mass destruction.
We see our old cold war enemies posturing again. Russia and China have thousands of nukes and missiles. Iran and North Korea, the other members of the “Axis of Evil,” are found to be much farther along in their quest for nuclear weapons than was once thought, with Russia supplying Iran with plutonium and North Korea testing delivery missiles. Many hostile countries and perhaps terrorist groups already have the nuclear weapon known as “the dirty bomb,” in which nuclear waste material is let loose upon a peaceful population. Yes, any war could lead to a world war, a world war far more devastating than the last world war. There are very legitimate reasons for seeking and promoting peace.
Some were willing to go to Iraq and become “human shields” to act out their beliefs. These anti-war demonstrators were housed and fed by the Iraqi government. They wanted to be posted near libraries, schools and hospitals. But when Saddam sent them to shield power plants and weapons factories, their courage failed and some went on home. But nobody should imagine that people who are willing to die for their beliefs aren’t necessarily unpatriotic. And one can hardly call people who demonstrate against war as unpatriotic. It’s not easy to stand up for an unpopular belief. Jesus and his disciple all died doing that.
On a recent radio show, there was a lot of name-calling and fun-making of the peace demonstrators in our country. One caller made the statement that anybody who was for peace was a traitor and ought to move to Arabia. That opinion isn’t uncommon; but let me say, popular or not, it’s just plain wrong. Even the President, the chief instigator of invasion, confirmed the rights of a difference of opinion in a democratic society. With no multiple viewpoints, our country would like Iraq or Saudi Arabia, where dissent isn’t tolerated. What is truly patriotic is to think about what you believe, be sure in your mind, speak your piece then respect the opinions of others.
Love the Enemy
This brings us to the end of our time today and to a vital, essential question. If there is to be a war, if we are to be the aggressors or enforcers, however we see our personal role in it, we must ask ourselves – are we on the side of G-d? Yahweh defeated the massive firepower of the forces of Assyria by using not a MOAB bomb, but one lone angel. That’s all it took for him to stop a war. My friends: think and pray. Yahweh is always for peace, no matter what it takes for that peace to come: for
Isaiah 2:4,5. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
These words were given to King Hezekiah’s prophet, Isaiah, who went on to admonish:
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of Yahweh.
I think the time has come when all who love the L-rd need to tear their clothes, put on sackcloth and go to the house of Yahweh to seek his will. This is not the time for a rubber stamp decision, not the time to just go with the flow. The whole world and the peace and security of this nation may be in the balance. Great civil unrest, maybe even terrorist acts, may follow an invasion. It’s time to make the will of Yahweh sure in our own hearts. It’s time to be convinced of what is good and what is evil by the holy Spirit. It’s time to pray for guidance; pray for authorities; cast out demons; love your enemies and walk in the light.
March 13, 2003