Middle East Conflict Prophesied?|
Q. I heard a speaker on the History Channel say that the current Middle East conflict and nations are prophesied in the Bible. Are they? (J.M., Mt. Vernon, WA)
Roots of Tribes and Countries
Good question. Yes, they are. All of the modern nations and conflicts are prophesied. Most of their modern names are not there, of course, (some are). But, by tracing the lineage of tribes and countries historians can identify them by their root names.
An Author Outside Space/Time Continuum
I'm always amazed that friends and family look to the prophecies of Nostrodamus, psychics and horoscopes. But these "prophecies" are rarely correct. The Bible, on the other hand, has a 100% accuracy rate. It makes sense that the sacred Scriptures would be right if the Author exists outside of the space/time continuum. He would know the end from the beginning, wouldn't He?
"I am God, and there is
no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the
And from ancient times
things which have not
Psalm 83 is a great place to start. It gives a list of almost all of Israel's current enemies, and it proclaims the most famous motto currently shouted by the Islamic leaders surrounding Israel:
Goal to "Wipe Israel off the Map"
"They have said, 'Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more'" (Psalm 83:4, NASB).
Let's look at Psalm 83 more closely and identify the modern countries it represents beginning with verse 5 onward.
"For they have conspired with one mind - they form an alliance against You - the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitant of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them - they lend support to the sons of Lot" (Ps. 83:5-8, HCSB).
Esau's Tents of Edom
"The tents of Edom" is Esau's heritage. To refresh your memory, Esau was the brother of Jacob, Isaac's son. Jacob had tricked Esau out of his inheritance and his father's blessings when Esau gave up his rights as firstborn for a pot of stew. Esau's mother, Rebecca, had been told by the Lord, "The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other, and your older son will serve your younger son" (Genesis 25:23, NLT).
Edom descended from Esau and lived Southeast of Israel. The Edomites became the Idumeans during the first century. From Jacob's days through the time of Christ the Edomites were Israel's enemies. During King Herod's rule the Idumeans became cooperative with the Romans and intermarried with Roman royalty. This made them unpopular with the Jews.
The second group in Psalm 83:5 concerns the Ishmaelites. The Ishmaelites were descendants from Abraham and Hagar, Sarah's slave. They became the Bedouin tribes and the peoples of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Saudis.
Modern "Ishmaelites" proclaim that they are the true descendants of Abraham while Jews and Christians proclaim that Isaac is the true descendant chosen by God to become His nation. "But God replied, 'No - Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant" (Genesis 17:19, NLT).
Type or Model of Sacrifice
It is interesting that Arabs insist that Abraham tried to sacrifice Ishmael. However, Jews and Christians believe it was Isaac whom Abraham placed upon the altar as it states in Genesis 22:2:
"Take your son, your only son - yes, Isaac, whom you love so much - and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will show you" (NLT).
This is a clear "type" of God sacrificing His only Son on our behalf - which occurred about 1500 years later on that same mount Moriah. It is why Arabs fight true biblical history.
Moabites - Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon
The Moabites descended from Lot and were a tribal people living east of the Jordan. Lot was Abraham's nephew who lived in Sodom, a green, fertile area that was completely destroyed due to its wickedness. Today, the Moabites form southern Jordan.
The Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon comprise northern Jordan. Gebal was most likely a community south of the Dead Sea, near Petra in Edom. The peoples of Ammon also descended from Lot, Abraham's nephew. They were located east of the Jordan River.
The Amalekites were mostly nomads living southeast of the Jordan River and were descendants of Esau. Amalek forms the northern tribes of the Arabs. They became the ruling classes of the Persian Empire which encompasses Iran today. Iran's hatred of Israel, Jews, Zionists, and Christians stems from the same evil force present in Daniel's day.
Prince of Persia
To review, Daniel's angel told him that he was delayed for 3 weeks in reaching Daniel to answer his prayer due to "the prince of the kingdom of Persia." This struggle continued until the angel received help from the archangel Michael (Daniel 10:13).
Evil Forces Active Today
There is no reason to believe that the evil angel called the "prince of Persia" is not active today. Iran's leader is determined to develop nuclear weapons, and to destroy the nation of Israel and "the great Satan America."
One would suspect that there is a hotbed of demonic activity rife throughout the Islamic Middle East. In this region even toddlers are trained to wear bomb belts, hold rifles, and to hate Jews and Christians. Prisoners of Islam need our prayers and strongest spiritual-warfare fight as commanded in Ephesians 6:12.
Philistines - Palestinians
Verse 7 of Psalm 83 mentions Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre. Philistia was located southwest of Israel, and Tyre was northwest of Israel. The inhabitants of Tyre compose today's inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon. The inhabitants of Tyre had evolved into the Phoenicians who later became Lebanon. Fascinating.
The modern terrorist group, the Hezbollah, operates out of Tyre with the help of Syria. And "Philistia" refers to those who later became residents of Gaza.
Finally, we note that "Assyria (or Asshur) also has joined with them. They have helped the children of Lot" (Psalm 83:8). The descendants of Assur are from ancient Assyria. This includes the northern tip of Babylon in Iraq and moves up into the ancient land of Nineveh. This encompasses northern Iraq and eastern Iran.
It is fascinating that some biblical scholars think the Antichrist may come from Assyria. He is referred to as "the Assyrian" in several passages of scripture.
In fact, according to Dr. Ryrie "the Assyrian" is typically used as a reference to all of Israel's enemies (see Micah 5:5-6, Isa. 10:24, 31:8,&52:4 for example). Furthermore, Dr. Missler points out that there appears to be one description of the Antichrist in the Old Testament:
"Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm and on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered and his right eye will be blind" (Zechariah 11:17).
The idol shepherd's blind eye and withered arm may be behind the "mark" forced on the populations' right hands or foreheads (Revelation 13:16). The mark may be a brand of identification with the Antichrist's wounded arm and eye.
List of Hostile Nations LIST
In summary, the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre and Assyria comprise most of the Arabs surrounding Israel today.
Portals of Evil?
Missler suggests we take note of the fact that the areas Joshua and the earlier children of Israel did not destroy as God ordered - later became hotbeds of evil and seeming demonic strongholds! Could these areas be "portals" of evil or parallel worlds, entry points into other hostile dimensions?
Strikingly, the word translated "violence" in Psalm 86:14 is "hamas" - the actual name of the PLO's leading terrorist group!
"God, arrogant people have attacked me - a gang of ruthless (violent) men seeks my life. They have no regard for You" (Ps. 86:14, HCSB).
Relevant and Timely
Last, remember that other modern nations are also referenced in the Bible by tracing their roots and ancestral beginnings. These include Russia, China, Turkey, Libya, Ethiopia, the EU, and others.
In other words, never let it be said that the Bible is a "backwards" book full of ancient myths and fairy tales. It is relevant from the Creation in Genesis to the new universe containing a space-city, the New Jerusalem, described in Revelation and the book of Isaiah.
It is up-to-date and 100% accurate unlike psychics and horoscopes of today. But, then - why shouldn't it be that way? It is the only book available on planet earth authored by the One who lives in Eternity outside of our space/time dimensions (Isaiah 57:15):
"For thus says the High and
Who inhabits eternity"
Hitchcock, Mark. 2006. Iran, the coming crisis: radical Islam, oil, and the nuclear threat. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
—-The second coming of Babylon: what Bible prophecy says about Iraq in the end times. 2003. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Jeffrey, Grant. 2006. The next world war: what prophecy reveals about extreme Islam and the West. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook.
Missler, Chuck. 2002. Learn the Bible in 24 hours. (MP3). Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House.
Ryrie Study Bible, NASB (Chicago: Moody, 1995).
Walvoord, John F. and Mark Hitchcock, 2007. Armageddon, oil, and terror: what the Bible says about the future of America, the Middle East, and the end of western civilization. Carol Stream, ILL: Tyndale.
The author of this question, Jeff Mays, passed away in 2010. He was Valorie's brother. May his soul rest in peace.