The Second Signpost is the invasion of the Middle East by Iran. Daniel 7:5 and 8:3-4 tell us about it. The former passage tells us that many countries will be ravaged by Iranian forces, and the latter passage tells us that Iranian forces will advance in three directions. About three and a half years ago I created the map of the Second Signpost, shown as Figure 10-2, for my first book Hidden In Plain Sight, published in January 2012. That map is shown below as Map #1.
Map #1, showing the invasion by Iran, was based solely on my interpretation of Scripture (Dan. 7:5, 8:3-4, i.e. the Second Signpost) overlaid on my research of the geopolitical and military landscape in the Middle East. The map was also used for Figure 10-2 in Daniel Revisited. Map #1 shows three directions that Iranian forces are to run out from southwestern Iran, if Daniel 7:5 and 8:3-4 are read literally.
Map #2 (a revision of Map #1) shows what has happened in the last year or two – enemies of Iran have either risen as new such as ISIS, or have become of greater concern to Iran with actual military force being used against Iran’s interests. These enemies are aligned geographically along each of the three directions prescribed by Daniel 8. Let us take a brief look at the enemies in the three directions, using Map #2 as a guide, seeing how the Second Signpost is drawing nearer and coming into focus.
To The WEST
ISIS (or IS) is Iran’s new enemy to the west. In Map #1, in 2011, we knew Iranian forces had to run west, per Scripture. Since Iraq and Syria were already controlled by Iran by that time, the reason for Iran to run out in that direction was unclear. However, in April 2013 ISIL became a semi-political entity that held territory and since that time has expanded. With its extreme Sunni fundamentalism it is has become a major threat – a new enemy – to Iran’s ability to spread its Shia revolutions throughout Syria and Iraq. Iran declared a set of redlines that, if crossed by ISIS, would result in war. At the moment, Iran has likely allowed a stalemate between ISIS and Iranian-backed Shia militias to give Iran time until its invasion is ready, while ISIS conveniently provides the crisis. The reason for Iranian forces to run west is now much clearer. Battles rage in Syria against Assad, and outside of Baghdad, and in Tikrit.
Iran’s goal of spreading Shiism across the Middle East would require Iran to invade and occupy ISIS-held territory to link Iran and southern Iraq with Syria and Lebanon. Hence, Iranian forces will charge west.
To The SOUTH
Saudi Arabia is Iran’s old enemy to the south. What has changed is Saudi Arabia has begun a military campaign against Iran’s ally Yemen. In Map #1, we knew Iran had to run south, per Scripture. Saudi Arabia, spreading its brand of Sunnism known as Wahhabism and using its vast oil money to fund the activity has been an ideological enemy of Iran for centuries. What has changed is that Iran has backed the Shia Houthi rebels who have taken over much of Yemen (see Map #2).
The city of Aden has now become a battleground. Aden is Yemen’s most important seaport. Whoever controls Aden controls a major channel for military supplies into the country. The Houthis began an advance against Aden. In response, Saudi Arabia has begun bombing Houthi positions and has now set up a naval blockade of Aden to prevent shipping in and out of Aden. Iran’s recent naval exercise went as far south as Aden, most likely to establish a supply route and to establish a military presence. We may see a standoff between Saudi and Iranian naval forces.
In addition Saudi troops are clashing with the Houthi militia at the Saudi-Yemen border. Combine the ground battle with Saudi Arabia bombing Iranian-backed Houthis, there is now a military reason for Iranian forces to charge south.
The monarchy in Saudi Arabia fears the Iranian nuclear deal and what it may mean for the region (and rightly so). Therefore, the Saudis are doing everything they can to hedge against Iran’s growing power.
Iran’s goal of spreading Shiism across the Middle East would require Iran to invade and occupy Saudi Arabia. This would also give Iran the opportunity to take both the oilfields and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. It is the control of the oilfields (which is one-quarter of the world’s daily supply) that would take peace from the earth.
To the NORTH
Turkey, like Saudi Arabia, is an old enemy of Iran. Turkey today considers itself the chief military champion of Sunni Islam. In addition to that we have seen President Erdogan’s reaching to restore for Turkey the glory and power of the old Ottoman Empire. Persia and the Ottoman Empire were adversaries for centuries. Iran is the chief Shia Muslim power.
Unlike the enemies along the Western and Southern directions no clear enemy or goal stands out along the Northern direction. What might we see in the times ahead of the Second Signpost? Might there be a new ally of Iran (forced of course) to the north? Although today Azerbaijan is a secular Shia majority nation, Iran has had its eyes on Azerbaijan since 1979. Azerbaijan used to be part of Persia until the 1920s and many Azerbaijanis live in Iran. We might see Azerbaijan become another “ally” like Syria and Yemen. We might also see, like with Saudi Arabia against Yemen, Turkey getting involved militarily against Iran’s allies by directly intervening in Syria to remove Assad from power.
These are only possibilities of course. However, since the Bible speaks of the west, south, and north, it might seem consistent for the picture to change in the north along the lines that it has in the west and south. But again this is speculation.
One thing seems clear – the military situation to the west of Iran and to the south of Iran is ripening for the beginning of the major invasion and war that is the Second Signpost. We will see if this “ripening” occurs towards the north of Iran. This is not to say that there must be further developments in the north, for the Bible says Iran will run to the north when it runs west and south.