At first glance, the Iran-Israel conflict seems like a mismatch. Iran has 10 times the population and nearly 80 times the land area of Israel. Also, Iran’s proven oil reserves (150 billion barrels) place it third on the list of oil-producing nations, whereas Israel currently stands in 94th place out of 97 oil-producing countries! Iran pumps nearly a thousand barrels of oil for each one pumped in Israel.
The mismatch continues in the military sphere. Counting all active, reserve, and paramilitary forces, Israel can muster a total of 750,000 troops. Iran can muster 5 times that number—over 3.8 million. The one area where Israel has an advantage is in nuclear weapons, but Iran is pushing hard to close that gap. Israel’s small size gives Iran a strategic advantage, should they finally develop a nuclear weapon. Over a decade ago, Iran’s former president noted that “the employment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth.”
Are demographics destiny? Is the eventual elimination of Israel unavoidable? Don’t write the obituary yet!
Israel and the Promises of God
Throughout Israel’s history, the nation has survived in the face of insurmountable odds and against overwhelming force. The Jewish people have experienced an unending cycle of existential threats coupled with God’s miraculous deliverance. From a human perspective, Iran seems to have all the advantages—but the events of the Bible remind us that the God of Israel is “high above all nations” (Ps. 113:4).
As I watch the current conflict, I’m reminded of God’s promise to Israel in the Bible. Iran cannot wipe Israel off the map because God promised the land to His people “forever.” How certain is that promise?
In Jeremiah 31:36, God said it this way, “‘If those ordinances [of the sun, moon, and stars] depart from before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘Then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.'” Israel’s continued existence as a nation is as certain as the fixed order of the heavens.
Although Iran tries to push forward with plans to destroy Israel, God has said they will fail. I do not believe it is an accident that “Persia” is singled out as one of the nations that will seek to attack and destroy Israel “in the latter years.” God doesn’t mince words about what He will do as a result. “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops, and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured” (Ez. 39:4).
I pay particular attention to the conflict unfolding between Iran and Israel because God identified Persia as one of the nations to watch as the end times begin to unfold. The current conflict is real, and so is the threat posed by Iran. However, God has already pulled back the curtain of time to reveal how the conflict will end—and the results will be startlingly similar to what God did for Israel in the past!
Dr. Charlie Dyer is Professor at Large of Bible at the Moody Bible Institute and host of The Land and the Book radio program.
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