LISTEN: Dozens killed in Ukrainian rocket attacks; ISIS clinging to territory despite airstrikes (Second Coming Watch Sunday Roundup #52)

This is the Second Coming Watch Sunday Roundup for January 25, 2015. On the Roundup we feature the top 10 prophecy-related news stories that happened this past week which point towards the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the end of the world as we know it.

1. According to the Associated Press, Indiscriminate rocket fire slammed into a market, schools, homes and shops on Saturday in Ukraine’s southeastern city of Mariupol, killing at least 30 people. The Ukrainian president called the blitz a terrorist attack and NATO and the U.S. demanded that Russia stop supporting the rebels. Ukrainian officials rushed to defend the strategically important port on the Sea of Azov, beefing up military positions with more equipment and sending in more forces. The separatists’ top leader declared that an offensive against Mariupol had begun — then later toned down his threats as the scale of the civilian casualties became clear. President Petro Poroshenko held an emergency meeting of his military officials and cut short a trip to Saudi Arabia to coordinate the government’s response.

2. According to AFP, the Pentagon has said that ISIS jihadists have lost only a tiny fraction of captured territory in Iraq after five months of U.S.-led air strikes. Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi government troops have retaken 700 square kilometers of ground mostly in northern Iraq, but the ISIS group still holds 55,000 square kilometers. That amounts to roughly one percent of ISIS-held territory changing hands since the U.S. launched air raids in Iraq on August 8.

3. According to the Times of Israel, Iran has threatened to attack Israel from the West Bank, in retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on Sunday that left 12 Iranian and Hezbollah operatives dead. The airstrike has been attributed to Israel and though Jerusalem has not officially confirmed it, anonymous government sources have admitted as much. The Deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Lt.-Gen. Hossein Salami vowed to “open new fronts [against Israel] and change the balance of power.” In an excerpt of an interview with Salami, the IRGC’s number two said that Iran and Hezbollah would provide a “special reprisal” to the strike, adding that opening a new front in the West Bank was in the works.

4. According to the Daily Mail, Kurdish forces have fired rockets into Mosul for the first time since Islamic State militants overran the northern Iraqi city last summer. A Kurdish officer said 20 Grad missiles had been launched into Mosul on Friday after receiving information that Islamic State militants were gathering to meet near the city’s Zuhour neighborhood. Kurdish officials said the strikes had hit their intended target, but two residents of Mosul contacted by Reuters said three civilians were killed in the attack.

5. According to the Times of Israel, a Syrian opposition field commander said the Free Syria Army has been monitoring Iranian, Lebanese, and even Russian soldiers on the border with Israel, as his forces plan a siege on the government-held regional capital of Quneitra. In a rare Skype interview from Amman, Jordan, where he is currently on leave, a battalion commander who spoke on condition of anonymity said the 12 troops killed by an apparent Israeli airstrike on Sunday were likely touring the Quneitra area, in part, to raise the morale of Shiite soldiers fighting alongside the Assad regime. The rebel commander opined that the Shiite forces indeed intended to engage Israel more significantly than in the past, making Israeli cooperation with moderate opposition forces on the Syrian Golan more urgent than ever before. The Syrian rebel commander said the Shiites have an agenda that endangers not only the Syrian opposition, but Israel as well.

6. According to the Times of Israel, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had said that a vote in the U.S. Congress for more sanctions against his country will kill a likely nuclear deal with the West. Speaking in an Associated Press debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Zarif warned that Iran’s parliament will retaliate by passing a bill to increase enrichment of uranium if U.S. lawmakers approve fresh sanctions. He said, “A sanctions bill by the U.S. Congress will kill the joint plan of action that we adopted last year in Geneva. Now the president of the United States has the power to veto it, but our parliament will have its counteraction.”

7. According to Catholic Online, In 2014, India saw a wave of violence towards Christians that left five dead, including one 11-year-old child. A new report from the Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum revealed that another 7,000 people experienced other types of persecution that year, including 300 clergymen or leaders of Christian communities who were victims of violence. Most of India is Hindu, but there is also a large population of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. In recent years the country of more than a billion has seen a sharp turn towards nationalism and fundamentalism, and those who do not fit the Hindu Indian profile are being targeted for violence or discrimination.

8. According to the Times of Israel, an Israeli television station has reported that Iran has built a 27-meter-long missile, capable of delivering a warhead “far beyond Europe,” and placed it on a launch pad at a site close to Tehran. It also showed what it said were the first satellite images of the missile ever seen in the West. It stressed that the missile could be used to launch spacecraft or satellites, but also to carry warheads. The Channel 2 news report showed satellite imagery documenting what it said was Iran’s “very rapid progress” on long-range missile manufacture.

9. According to Reuters, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the first group of about 100 U.S. troops to head to the Middle East in the next few days to establish training sites for Syrian opposition fighters battling Islamic State militants. Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the troops, mostly special operations forces, were authorized last week and would begin arriving in countries outside Syria in the coming days, with a subsequent wave of several hundred military trainers following in the weeks thereafter. The U.S. focus in the campaign against the Islamic State has been mainly on Iraq, with the exception of a large number of air strikes to support Kurdish fighters trying to prevent the takeover of the Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border. Kirby said on Friday that Kurdish forces now control about 70 percent of Kobani, which was seen a few months ago as being near collapse, with much of it in the hands of Islamic State.

10. According to Israel National News, Iran plans to continue its efforts to “destroy the Zionist entity” — and that includes arming terrorists in Judea and Samaria. Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said, “The arming policy of the West Bank is one of the policies of Iran and we will use all our capabilities in this way.” Dehghan made the comments at a memorial service for the Iranian general who as killed along with Hezbollah forces in an Israel Air Force strike last Sunday. Commenting on the attack, Deghan said “The Zionist attack will not be passed over,” and that Iran would take the “appropriate action” when it wished to.

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Our Second Coming quote for today is from C.S. Lewis. He said: “Precisely because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments.”

You can read these stories in more detail and get more prophecy-related news at

If you are not ready for the return of Jesus Christ, may I encourage you to get ready today by receiving Him as your Savior. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Keep looking up for your redemption draweth nigh. Let us join in the prayer of John the Revelator — “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

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