THE ARAB/MOSLEM PATHWAY
We are pioneers on the Arab/Moslem prophetic Pathway. Although there are many prophecies about Israel’s neighbors, this pathway is rarely trodden by modern prophetic interpreters. And this is understandable — it is often difficult to determine whether many of these prophetic events lie in our future, or if they have been historically fulfilled. To add to the confusion, some commentators cite specific historical references as fulfillments, however, some of these alleged fulfillments stretch the meaning of both the prophetic word and the historical record.
In the 19th century, some fine expositors thought that many of the prophecies about Israel were fulfilled by the Church. They could not envision that God would literally regather Israel after two millennia of exile. When God began regathering Israel in 1948, all of these prophetic interpretations had to be revised. Today, most biblical commentaries interpret the vast body of Arab/Moslem prophecies to be historically fulfilled. But a close examination of many of these prophecies indicate that many may apply to current or future events.
Given the centrality of Middle Eastern affairs in our world today, it is important for prophetic scholars to begin rethinking this great body of prophecy. Many of the views and interpretations contained in this chapter are unorthodox. Hopefully, they will interest you enough to more closely examine the prophetic word in light of both the historical record and today’s newspaper for yourself.
THE EARLY ARAB/MOSLEM PATHWAY
The nation of Israel is surrounded by “relatives” — some close, some distant, most hostile. These tribal nations are predominantly Moslem. Although we tend to think of all Middle Eastern nations as being Arab, few if any of these nations are technically of “Arab” origin.
The Arab/Moslem pathway began with the migration and settlement of ancient family groups. In time, this pathway was dominated by a long succession of empires — some local, some “foreign”. As each new empire grew in size and military power, it would conquer and replace its predecessor. The Bible describes the birth and demise of many of these familial nations. Many of these nations face severe judgement in the near future principally because of their treatment of Israel.
The Arab/Moslem Pathway has become a “divided highway” — the path has split into a Radical “lane” and a Moderate “lane”.
On the Radical “lane” we find two groups, headed for two different futures:
GROUP 1: Iran (Persia), Ethiopia/Sudan (Cush), Libya (Put),
In the previous chapter we discussed the Judgement of “Group 1” when they cast their lots with Russia during the Russo-Israeli War. We will not address them again here.
GROUP 2: Iraq (Babylon), Jordan (Moab, Ammon, and Edom) and Saudi Arabia (Arabia).
Those nations in “Group 2” are either being judged or will soon be judged.
On the Moderate “lane” we find Egypt and curiously, “Assyria.” The future of these nations is quite interesting and perhaps not what you might expect.
But to understand the future, lets begin with the far distant past.
THE MIDDLE EAST FAMILY
After mankind was destroyed by the flood, the only survivors emerged from the ark. The three sons of Noah became the fathers of all modern nations. These grandsons of Noah set out to seek their fortunes, and began a process of settlement and migration which continued for millennia. In Genesis 10, we can see the familial roots of all nations.
In the following chart we can see three things.
Firstly, we can see the close family relationships of the nations. These familial ties account for both the closeness of ties between some nations, and the family quarrelling of others.
The second thing that we can see is that the invaders who attack Israel in the Russo-Israeli War are principally from the families of Ham and Japheth. Perhaps it is this family bond and ancestral history which helps to unite them.
The third thing that we can see is that many of the nations which surround Israel have the most ancient and direct historic origins. While it is more difficult to trace the lineage of the Japanese, English, or Aztecs back to these roots, the family branches which became Egypt, Syria, and Jordan are immediately apparent.
FATHERS OF THE NATIONS IN PROPHECY – GENESIS
Sons of Noah
…and their sons
…and their descendants
TIRAS Thrace/ Bulgaria
MADAI Medes/ N. Iran/ Kurdistan*
GOMER Ukraine/ Russia/ Cent. Turkey TUBAL N. Turkey*
MESHECH Rep. of Georgia/NE Turkey*
TOGARMAH E. Turkey*
NIMROD Babylon/ Iraq
ELAM SW Iran
ASSHUR Assyria/ Kurdistan
LUD W. Turkey
ESAU Edom/ Jordan
ISHMAEL Saudi Arabia
BEN-AMMI Ammon/ Jordan
KEDAR Saudi Arabia
MIDIAN Saudi Arabia
SHEBA Saudi Arabia
DEDAN Saudi Arabia
EMPIRES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
From her earliest days, Israel has had a tenuous relationship with her neighbors. God has more than once used these surrounding nations to conquer and punish Israel for her unfaithfulness. In fact, Israel was ruled and oppressed by these “gentile” nations from the Fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 BC until it declared its independence in 1948 AD. This domination has been in the form of a great succession of empires which have not only ruled Israel, but the entire Middle East at one time or another.
MAJOR EMPIRES DOMINATING THE MIDDLE EAST
Assyrian Empire 1100 BC – 625 BC
New Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire 625 BC – 539 BC
Persian Empire 550 BC – 331 BC
Alexander’s (Greek) Empire 336 BC – 146 BC
Roman Empire 264 BC – 565 AD
Byzantine Empire 4thC AD – 1453 AD
Moslem Empire 622 AD – 1OthC AD
Turkish (Ottoman) Empire 11thC AD – 1914 AD
British Empire and France 1914 AD – 1960’s AD
Rather than attempt to review all of these empires, we will concentrate our attention on the last three — the Moslem, Turkish, and European empires. These empires have the greatest bearing on our world today.
The Moslem Empire
Islam was introduced to the nations of the Middle East by Mohammed at the beginning of the seventh century. The belief that dying while fighting for the faith would assure entrance into Paradise made the Moslems mighty warriors. It was this common faith which forged the Moslem Empire.
In the seventh and eight centuries, the imperialist Moslem Empire vastly expanded. It annexed Israel and Syria in the north; Iran, Iraq and north-west India in the east; and North Africa, Spain and parts of France in the west. The Moslem invasion of Europe was stopped by Charles Martel, King of the Franks, at the Battle of Tours in 732.
The Moslem Empire was the center of cultural advancement, standing in stark contrast with the European “dark ages”. While the Roman Church was torturing and murdering European academicians for the sin of natural curiosity and free thought, the Moslems were
· founding many great universities,
· preserving the achievements of classical culture, and
· making advances in agriculture, architecture, mathematics and medicine.
Whereas European “christians” tortured and murdered “unbelievers”, the Moslem Empire did not forcibly convert indigenous populations. However, the appeal of Paradise as a reward for righteous living, and exemption from a tax on unbelievers was enough to convert many.
The Ottoman Empire
By the 10th century, the Moslem Empire began to disintegrate into independent Moslem kingdoms. In the 11th century, the Moslem Seljuk Turks seized Baghdad and dominated the Middle East. Two centuries later, their leadership role shifted to the Ottoman Turks. This Turkish domination of “Arab” land for almost a millennium is the root cause of the diplomatic problems between Turkey and her Moslem neighbors today.
As the Turks continued to expand their influence, their neighbors became increasingly nervous. During the late 11th century the Byzantine emperor appealed to the Roman Church for military assistance. The Roman Church viewed this plea as an opportunity to liberate the Holyland from Moslem control. It was in response to this appeal that the Crusades were launched. The Crusades were a Christian “holy war” or as the Moslems call it — a jihad. During the First Crusade, the European army gained control of Jerusalem and parts of the Holyland. A hundred years later, the Moslems, led by Saladin, retook the Holyland. Despite additional Crusades, Israel remained part of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I in 1918.
By the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire became known as the “sick man of Europe.” The Turkish government had become corrupt, inefficient and religiously oppressive. Many of the nations who suffered under its domination began to press for independence. Competition for control of the Balkans brought Turkey and Russia into confrontation. In 1914, Turkey entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) primarily motivated by her hatred for Russia. With the defeat of the Central Powers at the end of World War I, the Treaty of Lausanne provided for Turkey to retain Asia Minor, Constantinople, and the Dardanelles, but lost all non-Turkish territory.
The British Empire and France
In 1920, the Supreme War Council granted Britain and France mandates to administer lands in the Middle East. Britain was given control of areas which subsequently became known as Iraq, Jordan and Israel. France was given control of territories which subsequently became Lebanon and Syria. The borders of these emerging nations were drawn rather arbitrarily and did not conform to any historical or ethnic boundaries. It was this questionable process of nation building which
· encouraged Saddam Hussein to “question the sovereignty” of Kuwait,
· left the Kurds “homeless” and living as outcasts in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, and
· created a “Palestinian state” — the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — in a parcel of land originally promised to Israel.
The Middle East’s long history of domination and oppression has spawned much of the hostility and mistrust that we are witnessing today.
· the Arabs claim “ownership” of Israel based upon Islamic conquest of Israel between the 7th and 10th centuries.
· the Arabs dislike the Turks because of Turkish domination during the Ottoman Empire.
· the Arabs distrust the Iranians because they are Persian not Arab, despite the fact that they are fellow Moslems
· the Arabs and Israelis distrust the Europeans because of the Crusades and European colonialism after World War I.
Today, the Middle East is like the world’s most contentious “family gathering” – – with brawling brothers, knock-down, drag out inheritance fights, thieving cousins, petty bickering, religious arguments, and grudge matches that outlive their originators. The only thing upon which they can agree is their hatred for the family black sheep — Israel. And as with every family gathering that turns violent, soon the “police” will be called in.
While the other nations of the world share this “family contempt” for Israel, the Creator of the Universe does not. As we have discussed in previous chapters, we will soon be seeing the nations of the world negotiating and possible imposing a Middle East Peace Treaty. This peace treaty will not secure Israel’s future. However, Israel has the ultimate Judge looking out for her interests. That Judge has reviewed how each of these “family members” have treated Israel, and has already passed sentence.
THE JUDGEMENT OF BABYLON (IRAQ)
“We know how the war began and how it will end. We are still fuzzy about the middle part.”
–Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
In 1990-1991, everyone watched “Gulf War I” from the comfort of their living rooms. After a mere hundred hours of ground action, everyone believed they knew how it “ended.” Oh, yes, there was some humanitarian work to be done, the Iraqi’s would soon toss Saddam from power, but none the less, the war was over, the West was victorious and the world rejoiced.
We who live in Western society live in a fast forward reality. We want fast action and immediate closure. We have learned from our video screens that problems can develop and be solved in 120 minutes, given the casting of the appropriate cinematic hero — enter General Norman Schwartzkopf. While General Schwartzkopf is a hero of Cecil B. DeMille proportions, we would be very naive to believe that he has secured a lasting peace and that we have heard the last of Saddam Hussein.
Well, not so fast. I originally reported back in 1991 that one BIG hint that that the war was not truly “over” is found in the prophetic Word. The prophet Jeremiah seems to have indicated that there would be a break in the action when he wrote:
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; “The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is stamped firm; YET IN A LITTLE WHILE THE TIME OF HARVEST WILL COME FOR HER.” Jeremiah 51:33
I believed then, and I believe now that there is strong, circumstantial and prophetic evidence that we are not just witnesses to another conflict by of the final Fall of Babylon. The period through which we are now living, is just a seventh inning stretch before a cataclysmic judgement. This is the “fuzzy middle part”.
While I will not be presumptuous enough to declare this is a certainty. However, if the final judgement of Babylon is in progress, then this war will be a watershed event. It will set up the fulfillment of many other prophecies. Hussein may have correctly labeled Gulf War I as the “Mother of all Battles”, for it may be the immediate forerunner of Gulf War II, the Russo-Israeli war and Armageddon itself.
Fallen, Falling(?) Is Babylon
The area occupied by the ancient Babylonians and Chaldeans is now in modern Iraq. The primary prophetic texts dealing with the fall of Babylon are found in Jeremiah 50, 51 and Isaiah 13. Before looking at the similarity between the morning news and these prophecies, it is important to first discuss events to which I believe these prophecies do NOT refer.
Firstly, some interpreters believe that these passages in Jeremiah and Isaiah are referring to the first fall of Babylon. That occurred in 539 B.C. when it fell to the Medo-Persian empire.
I have a problem with that interpretation because of the following inconsistencies between the historical facts and the vision described by the prophets.
(1) In its first fall, Babylon was conquered by a single empire — Medo-Persia. In the prophetic Word we are told that it will be encircled by many nations from “the farthest horizons”.
(2) The prophets describe a cataclysmic destruction of Babylon. However, the first fall of ancient Babylon was not horrifically violent. On the contrary, here is a brief description of the Medo-Persian conquest of Babylon, “When Cyrus personally entered Babylon he was welcomed by the populace. He proclaimed peace to everyone in the city. The temples functioned as usual and care was taken to make the transition to Persian rule as painless as possible. Gobryas was made satrap of the new province of Babirush (i.e., Babylon) and many of the former officials of government were kept at their posts. A citizen of Babylon would have been unaware of the fact that a new era of history had begun.”¸2
(3) As a result of the destruction described by the prophets, the land of the Chaldeans will become perpetually uninhabitable. This has not historically occurred, at least prior to this writing.
Secondly, some interpreters have correlated these passages with the fall of “Mystery Babylon” found in Revelation 17. I do not believe this is correct. The Revelation passage uses the appellation “mystery”. This indicates that the author is presenting a deeper, symbolic thought other than a mere physical location. Rather, Revelation 17 is referring to the Babylonian/Roman religion — the many mother-and-child centered cults which developed in most cultures. Conversely, Jeremiah tells us in the introduction of chapter 50 that he is speaking about the physical location “Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans” — modern Iraq.
THE JUDGEMENT OF BABYLON, LAND OF THE CHALDEANS: A PROPHETIC VIEW
Jeremiah and Isaiah depict Babylon as a nation ripe for judgement. She has derived pleasure from oppressing Israel. God Himself directs her destruction, assuming it as His personal “work”. He “sets a snare” to bring her to judgement, intending to exact vengeance for His temple and His people. A “great nation and many kings” are “aroused from the remote parts of the earth” to execute His judgement. Turkey and Iran are subsequently called to battle. Jacob, God’s “weapon of war”, wrecks his vengeance for evil committed by Babylon against Israel. Babylon is skillfully destroyed and is henceforth a perpetual desolation. The land can “never again be inhabited or dwelt in from generation to generation.”
It is still too early in the unfolding of Middle East events to definitively state whether or not we have been witnessing the final Fall of Babylon. But there are striking similarities between that which has transpired and the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah. Only the complete fulfillment of these passages can assure us that we have made a “positive ID” of a prophetic fulfillment. Let’s look at the circumstantial evidence that we have to date:
The Date Stamp: Israel’s Return to the Land
In Jeremiah 50:18-19, the prophet may have given us a “date stamp” for Babylon’s destruction. That date stamp directly relates Babylon’s destruction to a time of Israel’s rebirth and her territorial expansion. This may help explain Hussein’s animosity toward Israel, her prosperity means his demise. In the past 45 years we have witnessed the rebirth and growth of the nation of Israel. Israel’s population has been swelling as Jewish immigrants from the four corners of the earth have been returning to the Land in record numbers.
Israel has been territorially expanding as well. Since 1948, Israel has been forced to engage in numerous wars with her neighbors to protect the tiny strip of land on which she dwells. As the Arabs have repeatedly encircled her in order to deprive her of that land, by the grace and provision of God she has emerged victorious from every war.
The “Golan Heights” is the modern name for ancient “Bashan”. That area was reclaimed by Israel from Syria in the Six Day War of 1967. The territory referred to as “Ephraim” includes much of the West Bank and was recaptured from Jordan during the same war. “Gilead” is the territory along the East Bank of the Jordan River, and at this writing, is part of the Kingdom of Jordan. The following passage from Jeremiah appears to indicate that the judgement of Babylon will occur sometime after this expansion of Israeli territory which occurred in 1967:
“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria. And I shall bring Israel back to his pasture, and he will graze on Carmel [Northern Israel] and BASHAN [the Golan Heights], and his desire will be satisfied in the hill country of EPHRAIM [the West Bank] and GILEAD [the East Bank].”” Jeremiah 50:18-19
God Himself Is The Judge Of Babylon
When Israel was wallowing in idolatry, God used Babylon to punish Israel and destroy the Temple in Jerusalem. Since Babylon conquered Israel in 586 BC, Israel has been oppressed by the Gentiles, and the Holy of Holies was emptied. Even though God Himself is regatheringIsrael yet a second time, and has given them sovereignty in the Land, they are still not free to reestablish God’s Temple on Temple Mount. The final Fall of Babylon is God’s personal act of judgement, and vengeance for the atrocities done to His Temple and People.
“…To declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for His temple.” Jeremiah 50:28
“…For this is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance on her as she has done to others, so do to others.” Jeremiah 50:15
“I set A SNARE for you, and you were also caught, O Babylon, while you yourself were not aware; you have been found and also seized because you have engaged in conflict with the Lord. The Lord has opened His armory, and has brought forth the weapons of His indignation, for it is A WORK OF THE LORD God of Hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.” Jeremiah 50:24-25
America In Prophecy, At Last(?)
For those who have been desperately looking for the United States in Bible prophecy, the Fall of Babylon could be it!
Firstly, Jeremiah describes the arousal of a “great nation” that is remotely located relative to Iraq. If the Gulf Wars are truly the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s and Isaiah’s prophecies, then the great nation described here is the U.S.A.:
“Behold, a people is coming from the north, A GREAT NATION and many kings will be aroused FROM THE REMOTE PARTS OF THE EARTH.” Jeremiah 50:41
“They are coming from a FAR COUNTRY from the FARTHEST HORIZONS…” Isaiah 13:5
That is a reasonably good description of the United States, which lies oceans away. The press has described the US relative to the “horizon” as well. The 1/20/91 New York Times stated that Hussein “knew the Americans were OVER THE HORIZON and believed they were not about to budge.” In 2002, when Iran denied a weapon’s request from Iraq, the press also described the US relative to the Mid-east horizon:
“Iran’s rebuff should help to allay fears that American pressure on both countries could force them into an alliance. “It makes no logical sense at this stage for Iran to cosy up to Iraq because of a potential OVER-THE-HORIZON threat from America,” the envoy said.” 20
Secondly, God’s army is composed of His “consecrated ones”. The United States probably has more believing Christians per capita than any other nation on earth.. It is interesting to note that there are many practicing Christians in the armed forces. In fact, during Gulf War I, the Saudi’s were shocked that these purported “infidels” from the West actually worship God.
“I have commanded MY CONSECRATED ONES, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, to execute My anger. A sound of tumult on the mountains, like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together! The Lord of hosts is mustering the army for battle. They are coming from a FAR COUNTRY FROM THE FARTHEST HORIZONS, the Lord and His instruments of indignation, to destroy the whole land.” Isaiah 13:3-5
So what has “aroused” this great nation from the remote parts of the earth? In a word, terrorism. Gulf War II is in direct response to terrorism- acts past, present and future. In the wake of the 9/11 Act of War, US President George W. Bush included Iraq in his “Axis of Evil” enemies list. As information is declassified in the future, perhaps we will eventually know the full extent of Saddam’s involvement in terror attacks on US soil.
For years the world has known that Iraq had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and a worldwide terror network. Their more recent advances in their delivery systems, including the possibility of having viable intercontinental ballistic missiles means that no one is safe. Iraq has taken and continues to threaten innocent lives WORLDWIDE. The title that Jeremiah gives Babylon, the “Hammer of the Whole Earth” seems to fit Iraq today:
“The noise of battle is in the land, and great destruction. How the HAMMER OF THE WHOLE EARTH has been cut off and broken! How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations!” Jeremiah 50:23
The end of Iraq will bring a sigh of relief to Israel and the world…
“Their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is His name; He will vigorously plead their case. SO THAT HE MAY BRING REST TO THE EARTH, but turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon.” Jeremiah 50:34
Another reason for attacking Iraq and removing Saddam from the total equation of the Middle East is OIL. The nations are addicted to the Middle East’s oil and their economies cannot function without it. They will do anything to guarantee their continued supply. Jeremiah provides a simile for that addiction:
“Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are going mad.” Jeremiah 51:7
Attack from the “North”
In the run up to Gulf War II, the newspapers have been publishing different versions of US battle plans. Some think it is the work of traitors, other think it is US propaganda. If our application of these passages from Jeremiah are truly applicable to our day, we have better intelligence than the NY Times:
“For a nation has come up against her out of the NORTH; it will make her land an object of horor, and there will be no inhabitant in it. Both man and beast have wandered off, they have gone away” Jeremiah 50:3
“For behold, I am going to arouse and bring up against Babylon a HORDE OF GREAT NATIONS FROM THE LAND OF THE NORTH, and they will draw up their battle lines against her…” Jeremiah 50:9
Even Saddam’s gut has told him that the primary assault of Gulf War II will come from the north:
“Saddam said he disbelieved the reports that the American war plan entailed strikes from the north, west and south, using personnel and facilities already in place in the Kurdish provinces of Iraq, in Jordan and in the Gulf. These stories, he said, were false, planted in the media to confuse him and his army chiefs. He was convinced that the brunt of the American assault would focus on Saddam’s personal tribal territory, the northwest region of Tirkit. By destroying the source of his political and military strength, the Americans would cancel Tikrit out as a value in the Iraqi power equation, removing both Saddam and his two sons, Qusay and Uday.” 21
Utter Destruction Of Cities
Unlike the result of the historical fall of Babylon, Jeremiah describes the final Fall of Babylon to include the utter desolation of Babylon’s cities:
“Her cities have become an object of horror, a parched land and a desert, a land in which no man lives, and through which no son of man passes.” Jeremiah 51:43
What would motivate such a horrific assault on population centers? Perhaps Saddam’s recently leaked battle plans hold the answer:
“Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has told underlings he aims to defeat any U.S. attack by avoiding desert warfare and fighting in major cities, where civilian and American casualties would be highest, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. …”Urban fighting is one of the most daunting scenarios U.S. military planners face. Baghdad in particular is a sprawling setting, where Hussein’s forces would have significant advantages,” the Times said. …As always, Saddam has no compunction about exploiting his subjects as human shields. The higher the death toll, the louder the cries from the blame-America-first left, domestic and foreign. “Military targets in Baghdad are sprinkled among a population approaching 5 million.”” 22
Gulf War II– After The Intermission
In Jeremiah 51, we find the following passage which appears to indicate that there would be a pause between the “pounding” of Iraq and the “harvest” of her judgement:
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is stamped firm; yet in a little while the time of harvest will come for her.” Jeremiah 51:33
However, if we are about to witness “The Harvest”, what can we expect to see in the near future?
Intervention by Turkey, Kurdistan and Iran
Jeremiah has prophesied that the “Medes” and the kings of “Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz” would participate in Babylon’s fall. Who are these folks? Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz were areas now located in Western Turkey. “Some scholars say the Kurds are descended from the Medes.”4 The Medes occupied an area which is now in Northern Iran. Therefore, Jeremiah could be speaking about the Iranians or the Kurds. The leaders Turkey and the Kurds have certainly been working closely with Washington and will play a major role in Gulf War II:
“…Summon against her the kingdoms of ARARAT, MINNI AND ASHKENAZ…” Jeremiah 51:27
“Consecrate the nations against her, the KINGS OF THE MEDES, THEIR GOVERNORS and all their PREFECTS, and EVERY LAND of their dominion.” Jeremiah 51:28
Even before Gulf War I ended, analysts were predicting that a weakened or destroyed Iraq might face dismemberment at the hands of her neighbors. Turkey, Iran and Syria politically and militarily positioned themselves for just such a move. Each distrusts the motives of the others and will be ready to pounce if they think another nation will beat them to the punch. If Iran makes a major military move when Iraq falls, Turkey and Syria would be pressured to respond in kind, just to protect their own interests and borders.
Hostility Towards Israel
Hussein, a secularist, has not only declared war on Israel but on her God as well. He has called all Moslems to rise up in a holy war and liberate Palestine from the “infidels”. He has set himself in direct opposition to God’s work of regathering the nation of Israel. Is there any wonder that God will judge him and his nation?
“…Repay her according to her work; according to all that she has done, so do to her; for she has become ARROGANT AGAINST THE LORD, AGAINST THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL.” Jeremiah 50:29
Surprise Iraq Attack Through Jordan
Saddam has been plotting a surprise for the Israelis and Americans – – an attack through Jordan. His plans are beginning to be uncovered in the press:
“Iraqi military intelligence units thrusting into Jordan to take over the kingdom’s main roads and open them to a large-scale invasion of Iraqi armored divisions, which will sweep up the Jordanian army and take control of the kingdom. The rush of events will, according to the Baghdad scenario, force King Abdullah to turn his back on the Americans and accept the role of Iraqi puppet ruler. Meanwhile, the Iraqi invasion force will proceed to wipe out the American and Israeli expeditionary forces in Jordan. …Awareness of this Iraqi scenario was at the bottom of the US war command’s decision to rush the extra 4,000 American troops to take control of Jordan’s strategic road links. …. Jordanian intelligence officials have dubbed Nawis, who operates out of the Iraqi embassy in Amman, “the Iraqi pasha” (Iraqi governor) of Jordan, a mark of his power and broad operational reach. They report he has been able to insert a group of his Palestinian agents into the West Bank, secreting them across the Jordan River bridges with the help of local smugglers. This is confirmed by American and Israeli intelligence. The agents are equipped with nuclear and biological weapons systems after receiving training in their use from their Iraqi controllers. Their orders are to activate those weapons upon a pre-arranged signal.” 23
Perhaps this plot was first unveiled by Jeremiah. (We will see later in this chapter that the kingdom of Babylon was seen by the prophet Daniel as a winged lion.):
“Behold, one will come up like a lion from the thicket of the Jordan to a perennially watered pasture; for in an instant I will make them run way from it, and whoever is chosen I shall appoint over it.” Jeremiah 50:44 (also 49:19)
Retaliation by Israel
Israel by definition means “soldier of God.” Ezekiel tells us that when God regathers Israel, just as He is doing in our day, Israel will be raised from the grave as “an exceedingly great army.”5 Jeremiah indicates that Israel, this great military power, will play a key role in God’s judgement of Babylon. During Gulf War I, Israel was passive and silent. Gulf War II will unleash God’s Ultimate Weapon:
“The portion of Jacob is not like these; for the Maker of all is He, and of the tribe of His inheritance; the Lord of hosts is His name. He says, “YOU ARE MY WAR-CLUB, MY WEAPON OF WAR; and with you I shatter nations, and with you I destroy kingdoms, and with you I shatter the horse and his rider, and with you I shatter the chariot and its rider, and with you I shatter the chariot and its rider, and with you I shatter man and woman, and with you I shatter old man and youth, and with you I shatter young man and virgin, and with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock, and with you I shatter the farmer and his team , and with you I shatter governors and prefects. But I will REPAY BABYLON AND ALL THE INHABITANTS OF CHALDEA FOR ALL THEIR EVIL THAT THEY HAVE DONE IN ZION BEFORE YOUR EYES,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 51:19-24
During Gulf War I, Israel showed great, uncharacteristic restraint by not responding to repeated Iraqi missile attacks in order to guarantee the cohesiveness of the coalition. Many in Israel feared correctly that their restraint had been viewed as a sign of weakness. The Intifada and wave after wave of terrorism was their reward. When God provides the Israelis with the opportunity to retaliate, their blow will be devastating.
During the Gulf War I, there was great concern that the Iraqis would employ weapons of mass destruction. When coalition forces used napalm to ignite the Iraqi oil trenches, it was feared that this would open the door for the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The coalition forces intentionally restricted their arsenal to conventional weapons and used a strategy of “measured response” to avoid escalation.
As Gulf War II looms, it is feared that Iraq will pre-emptively unleash weapons of mass destruction on Israel and US forces in the Middle East. American Intelligence presented the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee with the following assessment of an expected Israeli response to such an attack:
“If Iraq strikes at Israel with non-conventional weapons, causing massive casualties among the civilian population, Israel could respond with a nuclear retaliation that would eradicate Iraq as a country.” 24
Jeremiah tells us that Babylon will be rewarded according to her works. If Iraq uses WMD, it will surely result in her ultimate and perpetual destruction:
“…Repay her according to her work; according to all that she has done, so do to her…” Jeremiah 50:29
The Fall Of Babylon – -The End Of Iraq
The prophets are explicit about the Fall of Babylon and the final state of Iraq — it will be a perpetual devastation. Will there own weapons stores destroy their own nation? Will Israel or the US be ruthless in their strike? Be it through nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, Iraq will become uninhabitable FOREVER and Hussein’s palaces will be the inheritance of jackals.
“…Thou, O Lord, hast promised concerning this place [Babylon] to cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a PERPETUAL DESOLATION.” Jeremiah 51:62
“Therefore the desert creatures will live there along with the jackels; the ostriches also will live in it, and it will never again be inhabited or dwelt in from generation to generation. As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,” declares the Lord, “No man will live there, nor will any son of man reside in it.”” Jeremiah 50:39-40
“And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there. But desert creatures will lie down there, and their houses will be full of owls, ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there. And hyenas will howl in their fortified towers and jackals in their luxurious palaces…” Isaiah 14:19-22
FALL OF THE MODERN KING OF BABYLON
Saddam Hussein fancies himself as King of Babylon, comparing himself favorably to Nebuchadnezzar. As reported in the 4/19/89 New York Times, he has rebuilt the temples and palaces of ancient Babylon as his predecessor had requested and is working on the empire. In that Nebuchadnezzar’s vast empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, his nervous neighbors were not pleased by his use of the comparison.
His hero, Nebuchadnezzar, was a proud man transformed. Daniel told him (5:31-37) that as a result of his pride he would become mad until he recognized that “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it [sovereignty] on whomever He wishes.” Nebuchadnezzardid become mad for seven years. His madness passed when he confessed, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” When Daniel had a vision of the Babylonian empire, it was seen as a winged lion. It rose to walk on two feet and was given the mind of a man. This vision may represent Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual transformation.
God used Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon to punish Israel’s idolatry. On January 15, 588 BC his assault against Israel began. The Jews were to spend the next 70 years in “Babylonian exile”. In 586 BC, he looted and burned God’s temple, taking its treasures to Babylon. It was not until Babylon was overthrown by the Medo-Persians, that Israel was allowed to return to rebuild the Lord’s temple and their land.
Hussein is also a prideful man. He longs to destroy Israel. He also intends to punish Israel without God’s approval. His pride has become arrogance.8 That arrogance will be judged by God Himself.
Isaiah 14 And The Fall Of The King
The fourteenth chapter of Isaiah gives us a detailed picture of the demise of a Babylonian ruler. Is it possible that the ruler being described is Saddam Hussein? Again, there is strong circumstantial evidence that it is, but only time will tell.
We are provided with a “date stamp” for this prophecy in the first verses of this chapter. The fall of this king will occur after Israel is ‘again’ settled in her land. Could this refer to an unspecified period after 1948 when Israel regained her sovereignty after some 2500 years of occupation that began with Babylon?
“When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, and AGAINCHOOSE ISRAEL, AND SETTLE THEM IN THEIR OWN LAND…And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon…”9
Isaiah describes the details of the king of Babylon’s fall. Is this the fall of Saddam Hussein?
· Isaiah’s ruler has been striking “the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes, which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.” (v.6) Consider Hussein’s eight year war with Iran, immediately followed by his annexation of Kuwait and his frustrated attempt to invade Saudi Arabia, his gassing of the Kurds, his oppression of the Shiite Moslems, and his bombing of Israel, his sponsorship of terrorism worldwide….
· Isaiah’s ruler has disquieted the entire world. It is asked, “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook the kingdoms…”(v.16) He has “weakened the nations.”(v.12) At his fall, “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy”. (v.7) Hussein has invaded some nations, attacked others, threatened the remainder of the world with his terror network, caused political division in most nations as they discussed response to his aggression, and cause widespread economic instability and debt. His passing would certainly be cause for relief.
· Isaiah’s ruler has lived opulently. He has acquiring rare foreign woods, “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, “Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.”” (v.8) His “pomp and the music” of his harps are gone.(v.11) Hussein has built for himself numerous opulent palaces and a network of elaborate security bunkers.
· Isaiah’s ruler has at one time wielded great power, for dead kings greet him saying, “Even you have been make as weak as we…” (v.10) Hussein has lead one of the largest armies in the world.
· Isaiah’s ruler has had divine ambitions.(v.13) Hussein is a cultic figure. “Saddam’s photo hangs in most schools, businesses, homes and taxis here, even bathrooms. His face is on buttons and watches; children have changed the traditional Muslim greeting of ‘Salaamu Alaikum’, “peace be unto you,” to ‘Saddam Alaikum’: Peace be unto Saddam. … The late Arab intellectual and politician Michel Aflaq summed up Saddam’s importance to Arabs in one of his last speeches; “Saddam is God’s gift to Iraq and the Iraqi gift to the Arab nation.””
· Isaiah’s ruler has been an eco-terrorist, and “made the world like a wilderness.” (v.17) During Gulf War I, Hussein caused an oil spill in the Persian Gulf which caused widespread destruction of wildlife. He also set fire to over 600 Kuwaiti oil wells which are polluting the air, the ground surface and the aquifers.
· Isaiah’s ruler conquered cities and took hostages (v.17) Hussein captured many cities, the most prominent of which was Kuwait City. Before the Gulf War started, Hussein implemented the practice of using his Western “guests” as human shields at strategic sites. During the conduct of the war, he not only took military prisoners of war, but he took large portions of the Kuwaiti population hostage.
· Isaiah’s ruler is responsible for ruining his country and slaying his own people. (v.20) Can any less be said of Hussein? He is continually castigated for gassing the Kurds, but by the end of Gulf War II, it will be so true.
· Isaiah’s ruler is so hated, that he is not given a state burial, but lies in a mass grave as a “trampled corpse.” (v.19) (TBD!)
· Isaiah’s ruler’s sons are executed to insure that they will not follow in his footsteps. (v.21) Hussein has groomed his sons, Uday and Qusay, in his ruthlessness ways. Qusay, the younger brother, has already assumed the role of ‘Butcher of Bagdad’ and has been chosen by his father to be the heir-apparent. These apples did not fall far from the tree.
I believe that Isaiah 14 provides us with a near perfect description of the life and times of Saddam Hussein. If Hussein ends up in a mass grave, and his sons are executed, the picture will be complete and our identification confirmed.
THE JUDGEMENT OF JORDAN
Modern Jordan became an independent state in 1946. In 1948, her armies seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Israel. When Jordan’s King Abdullah negotiated a truce with Israel, he was promptly assassinated. He was succeeded by his grandson, King Hussein. Jordan has participated unsuccessfully in many Arab-Israeli wars — most notably its loss of the “stolen” West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
By opening its borders to the Palestinians, Jordan endured a brief, Syrian-backed, Palestinian-led, civil war in 1970. Jordan’s population is over 60% Palestinian. The crown does not rest securely on the king’s head. King Hussein was wary and deferent to his Palestinian “guests” and his problems were not limited to the Palestinians.
“The Israeli source [from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs] also noted that during April, 1989 food riots in the south, non-Palestinian Jordanians — formerly considered bedrock supporters of the King — stoned Crown Prince Hassan and waved the Saudi flag. … Syria’s Hafez Assad “has said loudly” that he views Jordan as an artificial creation that in the long run should be reabsorbed by “Greater Syria.” Saudi Arabia “tolerated the [Hashemite] regime as long as it was moderate, not disturbing the area.”11
During Gulf War I, Jordan placed 50,000 troops on her border with Israel. The people of Jordan were very angry that the Jordanian government had not seized the opportunity to attack Israel. So great was the pressure on the government, that it was in danger of falling.
“When King Hussein of Jordan was asked what confidence-building gestures he might be prepared to make toward Israel to lessen tensions, he cited only the fact that Jordan had not joined Iraq in attacking Israel — not exactly something that will induce Israelis to trade land for peace.”12
The hostility between Jordan and Israel has ancient roots. The nation of Jordan is comprised of three ancient tribes Moab, Ammon, and Edom. Moabites and Ammonites are the descendants of Lot by his incestuous daughters, and Edomites are the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. The children of Lot and Esau have always been at odds with the dhildren of Israel.
God will ultimately punish Jordan for its treatment of Israel. In fact, numerous prophecies tell us that Israel will ultimately POSSESS Jordan. Today, just the opposite is true – – Jordan occupies the East Bank of the Jordan, which is the inheritance of Israel’s son, Gad’s tribe. This, too, is a fulfillment of prophecy:
“Concerning the sons of Ammon. Thus says the Lord: “Does Israel have no sons? Or has he no heirs? Why then has Malcam [the national god of the Ammonites] taken possession of Gad and his people settled in its cities? Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “That I shall cause a trumpet blast of war to be heard against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon; and it will become a desolate heap, and her towns will be set on fire. Then ISRAEL WILL TAKE POSSESSION OF HIS POSSESSORS,” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 49:1-2
This Israeli territorial expansion is echoed in the prophecies of Obediah. In fact the main theme of Obediah is the destruction of Edom, which lies in southern Jordan.
“Then the house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau [Edom] will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,” for the Lord has spoken. Then those of the Negev [Southern Israel] will POSSESS THE MOUNTAIN OF ESAU, and those of the Shephelah [Judean hills near Gaza] THE PHILISTINE PLAIN [Gaza]; also, THEY WILL POSSESS THE TERRITORY OF EPHRAIM AND THE TERRITORY OF SAMARIA [West Bank], AND Benjamin will possess GILEAD [East Bank].” (V.18-19)
When Will Israel Possess Jordan?
It is difficult to determine when Israel will possess Jordan relative to other prophetic events, but we are provided with some clues. It seems that there are two plausible times — during the battle of Armageddon, or during the Judgement of Babylon.
In the previously quoted passage from Obediah 18 and 19, Jacob and Joseph are described as “fires” and “flames” when they possess Edom. In the description of Armageddon provided in Zechariah 12:4-9, Judah is described as a “firepot” consuming all of her neighbors. Perhaps this common simile used in describing Israel indicates that the possession described in Obediah will occur at Armageddon.
“”In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.”” Zechariah 12:6
During the Judgement of Babylon?:
Perhaps Israel will possess Jordan sooner than the battle of Armageddon. Firstly, it is clear from Isaiah 11, that the possession will occur at the time of the “second regathering of Israel”, that is, sometime after 1948.
“Then it will happen on that day that THE LORD WILL AGAIN RECOVER THE SECOND TIME WITH HIS HAND THE REMNANT OF HIS PEOPLE, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands [coastlands] of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. … And they will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west [Gaza]; together they will plunder the sons of the east; they will POSSESS EDOM AND MOAB; AND THE SONS OF AMMON WILL BE SUBJECT TO THEM.” Isaiah 11:11-12,14
Secondly, we are told in Zephaniah 2:8-11 that Ammon and Moab will be destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah, plundered by Israel and possessed. In Jeremiah 49:17-19, we are told that Edom will also be destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah. It is interesting that the description of the fall of Edom is incredibly similar to that of Babylon. We know that Israel will be used to judge the three tribes of Jordan, and we also know that Israel is the Lord’s “war-club” which he wields against Babylon. In that Edom and Babylon have a common destroyer, and meet a common fate, perhaps the timing of their destructions are coincident.
FALL OF EDOM (Jeremiah 49)
FALL OF BABYLON (Jeremiah 50)
(v17) “And Edom will become an object of horror; everyone who passes by it will he horrified and will his at all its wounds.”
(v13) “…everyone who passes by Babylon will be horrified and will hiss because of all her wounds.”
(v18) “Like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,” says the Lord, “no one will live there, nor will a son of man reside in it.”
(v40) “As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,” declares the Lord, “no man will live there, nor will any son of man reside in it.”
(v19) “Behold, one will come up like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennially watered pasture; for in an instant I shall make him run away from it, and whoever is chosen I shall appoint over it. For who is like Me, and who will summon Me into court? And who then is the shepherd who can stand against Me?”
(v44) “Behold, one will come up like a lion from the thicket of the Jordan to a perennially watered pasture; for in an instant I shall make them run away from it, and whoever is chosen I shall appoint over it. For who is like Me, and who will summon Me into court? And who then is the shepherd who can stand against Me?”
Thirdly, the possession of Edom is associated with the repairing of the Tabernacle. We know that Israel will be sacrificing to God during the first half of the seven year Middle East Peace Covenant. Could it be that they will both possess Edom and repair the Tabernacle immediately before or after the signing of the Middle East Peace Covenant?
“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the Lord who does this.” Amos 9:11-12
A Scenario: If Jordan Is Possessed When Babylon Is Judged
As we have discussed, the day may soon come — Gulf War II — when Israel retaliates against Iraq. Such a venture would almost certainly require violation of Jordanian airspace. During the early days of the Gulf War, the Jordanian government declared that such an incursion would be considered an act of war. Therefore, should Israel exercise its right to retaliate, an Israeli-Jordanian war is almost assured.
Jordan’s population is over 60% Palestinian. Despite Jordanian royal “neutrality” during Gulf War I, there is no doubt, that the people of Jordan hate Israel. In addition to cheering the over-flight of SCUD missiles into Israel, there have been ongoing border incursions by Jordanian guerillas, terrorists and homicide bombers. The premise for an Israeli-Jordanian War has already been established.
If an Israeli-Jordanian war does take place, Jordan will be vanquished and probably with lightning speed. In previous wars, it took Israel a mere two hours to eliminate the Jordanian airforce. After such a war, Israel will then occupy the “East Bank.” Will we soon witness another major land grant to Israel from her Lord? The prophets tell us that this must happen; it’s just the timing and prophetic sequence that is “fuzzy”.
“Greater Israel” Prophetic Possibilities
If Gulf War II results in Israel’s possession of Jordan, it could precipitate a series of very interesting prophetic events!
A Security Zone Leading to the Middle East Peace Covenant
Firstly, Israel would end up with a comfortable “security zone”. Her territorial borders would be greatly expanded as Jordan is “possessed”. She would now be in possession of the complete territory promised to her by Britain in the Balfour Declaration. (This will be addressed in greater detail in the next chapter.) To her east, her large and powerful enemy Iraq would be totally destroyed.
Israel’s tiny size and continuous oppression has produced a well-deserved state of paranoia. This paranoia is considered to be the root of many Middle East Peace failures. Therefore, if Israel is put at ease by this “security zone”, she may let her guard down and allow herself to be persuaded to sign the Middle East Peace Covenant. This expanded territory may give her the confidence that she needs to willingly divide her Land in exchange for peace. It is this division of “God’s land” that is one of God’s motives for gathering the nations at Armageddon.13 This “security zone” could also be part of the reason that Israel is described as enjoying a period of peace at the onset of the Russo-Israeli War.
Preparation of a Place of Refuge
Secondly, during the evil prince’s reign in Jerusalem, Israel will be brutally oppressed. In Matthew 24:16, Jesus counsels his brothers: “let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains.” Some scholars believe that Israel will flee into the Jordanian mountains. This would be more feasible if Israel possessed Jordan.
Reestablishment of the Biblical Sacrificial System
Thirdly, the possession of Jordan could play an active part in restoring temple worship in Israel! For almost two millenia, Israel has not had a proper temple or priesthood who could perform the rituals ordained in the Law. That could soon change!In Amos we have a prophecy which describes the restoration of the Tabernacle. It is interesting that this same prophecy also mentions the possession of the portion of Jordon called Edom.
“In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the Lord who does this.” Amos 9:11-12
An article in the 10/26/90 Jewish Press describes how restoration of the city of Shiloh and construction of a modern Tabernacle is already on Israeli drafting boards. An architect’s drawing of the modern Tabernacle accompanied the article with the following subtitle: “The building is a replica of the Mishkan[Tabernacle] that originally stood in Shiloh thousands of years ago. The architect followed specifications set forth in the Torah. The original Mishkan was built by the ancient Hebrews to house the Two Tablets given at Mt. Sinai and served as a center for religious services. For 350 years this was the main sanctuary for Jewish worship. It was then replaced by the Holy Temple, built by King Solomon.”
But is a “modern” Tabernacle what God had in mind? The prophetic reference from Amos sounds like He is going to “resurrect” David’s Tabernacle! How does this relate to Israel’s possession of Jordan, you might ask.
There is a mountain in Jordan called Nebo. The original Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the Alter of Incense may have been hidden by Jeremiah on Mount Nebo prior to the Babylonian looting of the Temple. This event is described in the apocryphal book of II Maccabees. Although the books of the Apocrypha are not part of the Jewish or Christian canon, they do provide valuable historical information. The following translation is taken from Apocrypha: An American Translation by Edgar J. Goodspeed14:
“It is also found in the records that the prophet Jeremiah ordered those who were carried away to take some of the fire, as has been described, and that after giving them the Lae, the prophet charged those who were carried away not to forget the Lord’s command, and not to be led astray in their minds when they saw gold and silver idols and their ornamentation. And with other similar exhortations he told them that the Law should not pass from their hearts. It was also in the writing that the prophet, in obedience to a revelation, gave orders that THE TENT AND THE ARK should accompany him, and that he went away to the mountain where Moses went up and beheld God’s inheritance. And Jeremiah came and found a cave-dwelling, and he took THE TENT AND THE ARK AND THE INCENSE ALTER into it, and he blocked up the door. And some of those who followed him came up to mark the road, and they could not find it. But when Jeremiah found it out, he blamed them and said, “This place shall be unknown until God GATHERS THE CONGREGATION OF HIS PEOPLE together and shows his mercy. Then the Lord will show where they are, and the glory of the Lord will appear, as in the days of Moses, and when Solomon asked that the place might be made very sacred.”” –II Maccabees 2:1-8
This passage tells us that the location of the original Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the Alter of Incense would be hidden until the “gathering of the congregation of his people”. Again, God’s regathering of His people in the land of Israel is the “date stamp” for this significant reference.
If Israel possesses Jordan, it could result in the return of the lost temple treasures after 2500 years! Would it not be just like our God to restore Israel’s Temple treasures using His judgement of their original oppressor, Babylon? Would it not be just like our God to restore temple worship using an act of judgement which He describes as “vengeance for His temple” (Jeremiah 50:28, 51:11)?
If God chooses this time to restore the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar of Incense to Israel, perhaps other treasures will be restored as well. One of these treasures is the “kalal” containing the Ashes of the Red Heifer.
The kalal is a pot which contains the ashes of a sacrifice described in Numbers 19. These ashes are required for the purification of individuals, especially the priesthood. When Jerusalem was under siege by the Romans in 70 AD, the kalaland other treasures were hidden in the Judean hills. Israel cannot resume biblical Temple worship until these ashes are found and the priesthood is purified.
Two searches are currently underway. First, some members of the Jewish community are making a worldwide search for a spotless Red Heifer. Secondly, the original kalal is being sought in the Qumran caves. In 1989, these excavations produced a small vessel of rare, 2,000 year old Balsam oil. Hopefully, these digs will soon produce the original kalal.
A detailed description of this search for these ashes and their significance may be found in The Next Move: Current Events in Bible Prophecy by Rob Lindsted, PhD 15 Dr. Lindsted also points out the significance of these ashes to the entire nation of Islam. He writes,
“Finding the ashes of the red heifer is important even to the Arabs. The Moslem bible is the Koran, and the first book is called Parah, which literally translated means “The Calf.” The Moslems believe that whoever finds the ashes will rule the world. That’s why the Arab countries are just as interested as the Jews in finding the little kalalcontaining the ashes of the last red heifer.”
If Israel finds the kalal, it is interesting to consider what effect it would have on the Moslem world. Will Moslems be obedient to their faith and cease to oppress Israel? Will this add to Israel’s “security zone”?
THE JUDGEMENT OF ARABIA
Saudi Arabia has participated in every Arab-Israel War, has been one of the PLO’s largest sponsors and is the birthplace of Al Qaida . Their treatment of God’s People, as He has gathered them from the ends of the earth has been reprehensible. They are rabidly anti-Israeli, and will therefore be judged by Israel’s God.
In Isaiah 21 we have a prophecy of the Fall of Arabia. It is very difficult to determine whether this has been historically fulfilled, or whether we will yet see the fall of Saudi Arabia. The chapter begins by addressing the fall of Babylon, perhaps indicating that Arabia will fall subsequent to Gulf War II. The chapter then describes how fugitives from the fighting will flee to Arabia and must be met with water and bread. The chapter closes by saying:
“For thus the Lord said to me, “In a year, as a hired man would count it, all the splendor of Kedar [Arabia] will terminate; and the remainder of the number of bowmen, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the Lord God of Israel has spoken.”” Isaiah 21:16-17
Thus it appears that Arabia will cease to be a prosperous, mighty nation exactly a year after the influx of fugitives from Babylon’s fall. We know that it is “exactly a year” because of the expression “a year as a hired man would count it.” A hired man wants a strict accounting of his time. He does not want the term of his employment shorten, thus cutting his wages, nor does he want the terms of his employment lengthen to his disadvantage, thus adding to his labor.
The fall of Saudi Arabia could explain why they finally “sit out” of a war against Israel – – the Russo-Israeli War. The primary reason Saudi Arabia will not be involved in the Russo-Israeli War is that they do not have the means or the ability to do so.
THE FUTURE OF EGYPT AND ASSYRIA
Although Israel and Egypt have historically had their differences, Egypt is the only Moslem nation which is not formally in a state of war with Israel. As a result of the 1979 Camp David Accords, Israel and Egypt are officially at peace. As a direct result of signing this treaty, Egypt was ostracized from the Arab camp for ten years. Although this peace with Israel did not please her Moslem brothers, it is clear that it has pleased Israel’s God. It appears that Egypt’s bravery on the spiritual battleground may have earned her a special place in the Messianic Kingdom.
While we can all easily identify Egypt on a map, “Assyria” is more difficult. The Assyrians originally lived in an area which is now the much contested and mythical “Kurdistan”. Their empire eventually covered the entire “Fertile Crescent” — the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and the eastern Mediterranean coastline. While the original inhabitants near the north east Mediterranean coast were called Arameans (sons of Aram) that area soon became known as Syria from the name “Assyria.” Therefore, in determining the modern identity of “Assyria,” we can each draw our own conclusions.
In Isaiah 19 we have a prophecy about Egypt and “Assyria”. This passage has no clear “date stamp”, so again, it is difficult to determine whether this has been historically fulfilled or is yet in our future. I believe that this could be a futuristic prophecy because of the final state in which we find Egypt and Assyria. This description has a distinctive Messianic Kingdom ring to it!
Here is an outline of the events of Isaiah 19:
· Egypt is convulsed by a civil war (v.2) Could this be the result of factionalism caused by the Gulf War?
· Egypt is given into the hands of “a cruel master and a mighty king” (v.4) Could this be the Prince’s regime and his appointed “king of the South” mentioned in Daniel 11:40?
· Egypt endures economic hardship (v.5-15) The Nile dries up and there is no work.
· Egypt becomes afraid of the Lord and is terrified by Israel and God’s work there (v.16-17)
· Egypt has a spiritual awakening — five of its cities begin to speak Hebrew and worship God “with sacrifice and offering” (v.18-19,21)
· Egypt will be sent a Savior to deliver them (v.20) Could this be when Messiah returns and destroys the Prince who is to come, thus delivering not only Israel, but Egypt and the entire world?
· Egypt will be “pruned” — stricken, but with a healing blow (v.22) Could the be referring to the judgement of the nations, where Messiah Jesus will separate his followers and dispose of his enemies?
The chapter ends with these exciting words:
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.” Isaiah 19:23-25
We also know from the prophet Zechariah in chapter 14, verses 16-19, that during the Messianic Kingdom, Egypt will sojourn to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate “Succoth” — the Feast of Booths, every year. If they or any other surviving nation does not fulfill this requirement they will have no rain.
From these passages, I believe we can deduce that some of Israel’s immediate neighbors will have a believing remnant who will be not be totally destroyed, but will become subjects in good standing in the Messianic Kingdom.
A SCENARIO FOR THE ARAB/MOSLEM FUTURE
If Gulf War I and II represent the biblical Judgement of Babylon, what might we expect in the near future? To be sure, there are numerous viable scenarios, but let’s try to pull together some of these prophetic events into one such Middle Eastern scenario.
· Living under the threat of Gulf War II, Iraq pre-emptively attacks Israel by going through Jordan — “The Mother of all Suicides”. (Jeremiah 50:44?)
· A massive US-Israeli attack on Iraq ensues and Gulf War II is underway. (Jeremiah 51:19-24)
· Indirectly, the Israeli retaliatory strike precipitates and quickly ends an Israeli-Jordanian War leaving Israel in possession of Jordan (Isaiah 11:14)
· Directly, the Israeli retaliatory strike precipitates the perpetual desolation of Iraq (Jeremiah 50:62-64)
· Due to the effects of either the Rapture or the costs of Gulf War II, the US disappears from the prophetic stage
· The strength which Israel exhibits in the destruction of Babylon, strikes terror in Moslem hearts. “And the land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt…” Isaiah 19:17.
· World attention focuses on “talks” about the future of Iraq while Turkey, Iran, Kurdistan, and Syria descend on the “corpse” of Iraq and change the game while it is in play.
· Some Moslem nations, especially Egypt (Isaiah 19:2) and Turkey, are faced with civil unrest from radical factions in their populations. Radical control of the Turkish government becomes a precursor to Turkish involvement in the Russo-Israeli War.
· For a brief period, these major power shifts divert World attention from Israel, leaving them temporarily at “peace” within enlarged “secure” borders. Israel is prepared for victimization in the next steps of the scenario.
· The broad support for Saddam Hussein in Asian, African and Arab nations brings the ability of the United Nation to be a fair arbiter of international justice into question. As the EU grows in strength and membership, the U.N. wanes as the flagship international body.
· The pressure for a comprehensive Middle East Peace Covenant becomes enormous. A Conference to develop a Covenant with Israel is convened by the Europeans and the evil Prince. (Daniel 9:27) They will attempt to restore an equilibrium in the Middle East, and fix borders.
· One of the terms of the Covenant is to establish a regional, supra-national security administrator. Egypt, torn by civil war, could be put under the “protective wing” of its regional administrator. (Isaiah 19:4) – – eventually considered, the “king of the South”. (Daniel 11:40)
· Another of the terms of this Covenant is the division of the Temple Mount. The existing Moslem sites, the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa Mosque, will be protected (Revelation 11:2), and the Jews would be allowed to worship on the northern section of the platform.
· Permission is granted the ability to begin biblically ordained worship on the site of God’s ancient Temple. Free access to Jordan’s Mt Nebo precipitates the return of the original Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, and Altar of Incense to Israel, and/or construction of a Third Temple begins. In either case, Torah prescribed worship and sacrifice becomes a reality after 2000 years of prayerful longing. The discovery of the Ashes of the Red Heifer not only purifies the site of worship and the priesthood, it also is the death knell for most Moslem-Israeli hatred.
· The Russo-Israeli war coalition begins to coalesce:
· Radical Moslem nations including Libya (Put), Sudan/Ethiopia (Cush), Iran (Persia), and Turkey (Gomer, Togarmah,Meshech, Tubal) are jealous of the prosperity and peace which Israel has enjoyed as a result of the fall of Iraq and Jordan and conspire to destroy her.
· Saudi Arabia (Sheba and Dedan) falls within a year of Iraq. (Isaiah 21:16-17)
· Egypt is under the protectorship of a regional administrator.
· The Russo-Israeli War creates another power vacuum as God judges and destroys those nations. It makes the post Gulf War power vacuum pale by comparison. Russia, Iran, Turkey and Libya are taken out of play, seriously shaking world political equilibrium.
· The EU seizes the moment. They quickly move to fill the void, providing a blueprint for federalizing world government. This new plan voids prior covenants and gives authority to the Prince for forty-two months (Revelation 13:5) to get the world under control.
· All other nations sign on to the new government, except Israel.
· Israel, the constant thorn in the world’s side is dealt with – – The Prince gathers the nations to assault Israel — a battle called Armageddon.
Although this is only one viable scenario, we have seen how easily the current fighting and maneuvering in the Middle East could lead not only to a Middle East Peace Covenant, but to Moslem/Arab involvement in the Russo-Israeli War, and the eventual establishment of the European empire as a world government. As soon as the Middle East Peace Covenant is signed, the clock will begin ticking out seven years of judgement until the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The Gulf War may have set in motion the fulfillment of a wide array of end time prophetic texts.
Although we now stand in the “fuzzy middle part”, we will not be there for long. If events prove that we are witnesses to the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s and Isaiah’s prophecies, trust my friends, that there will be many more following quickly on their heels.
These are exciting times in which we live! The world is not spinning out of control as many fear. God is still in control.
“Let the name of God be blessed forever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:20-22
God is, or is about to judge the nations for their treatment of Israel. Pray for the world’s leaders that they might realize the everlasting implications of their diplomatic decision making. Write to your representatives in government and implore them to support the nation of Israel in any way that they can. Israel’s King and Messiah is coming, and the world will soon have to answer to him.
Christian, you are the salt of the earth. You must help preserve it. Remind and warn your national leaders and all those you encounter of God’s eternal promise to Israel through Abraham:
” I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. …” Genesis 12:3
Individuals and nations will rise and fall on their treatment of Israel and the Jewish people. Men and nations must carefully consider their actions and attitudes in this light, for they will soon be answering to King Jesus, himself.
1 Jewish Press, 1/25/91
2 Pfeiffer, Charles F., Old Testament History, Baker Book House, 1973, p. 473
3 New York Times, 1/20/91
4 New York Times, 5/2/91 Editorial Notebook
5 Ezekiel 37:10
6 New York Times, 3/22/91
7 The European, 3/8-10/91
8 Jeremiah 50:29
9 Isaiah 14:1,3
10 USA Today, 2/8/91
11 The Jewish Press, 3/8/91
12 New York Times, 4/28/91
13 Joel 3:2
14 Goodspeed, Edgar J., Apocrypha: An American Translation, Chicago Press, 1956, p 447-448, as quoted in The Exiting Discovery of The Ark of the Covenant by Dr. Anis A. Shorrosh, Anis Shorrosh Evangelistic Association, Spanish Fort, AL, 1984 p.17-18.
15 Lindsted, Rob, The Next Move: Current Events in Bible Prophecy, Bible Truth, 1985 p97
16 New York Times, 4/28/91
17 New York Times, 12/5/90
18 New York Times, 1/19/91
19 New York Times, 1/28/91
20 “Saddam’s son fails to buy arms from Iran”, August 05, 2002, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-374687,00.html
21 “3. Saddam Bares All to Assad”, DEBKA-Net-Weekly, Vol.2, Issue 73, August 16, 2002
22 “Saddam’s Plan to Defeat U.S.”, Aug. 9, 2002, http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/8/8/171130.shtml
23 “2. Saddam Has Nukes, Opts for Pre-emptive Strike”, DEBKA-Net-Weekly, Vol.2, Issue 73, August 16, 2002
24 ““’If attacked, Israel might nuke Iraq’” ,