A wave of political uprising, unprecedented in the lifetimes of most people alive today, is sweeping across the Middle East. So far, although there seems to be no direct link between events in different nations, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and Zimbabwe have so far been affected. Potentially, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Libya, to name a few, are also in danger of similar anti-government protests. There are, of course, natural, human explanations for this developing political “earthquake” which could leave in its wake an Arab world utterly unlike what has existed since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Nonetheless, those familiar with the prophecies of the Bible aimed specifically at the regions of North Africa and the Middle East, will recognize that God is ultimately behind what, though explainable by natural causes, is a dramatic shift in the world’s geo-political landscape.
So what’s going on? What natural causes can be blamed for these uprisings in diverse places? I call it “E-mageddon”—a potentially pre-Armageddon situation in the Middle East precipitated by widespread access to and use of electronic social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The fact is that the vast majority of the riots seen in Tunisia and Egypt to date have been youth-movements—people in their twenties and younger. And around the world, this demographic is no stranger to social networking.
James Rosen, reporting for FoxNews, writes:
Compounding the problem for Mideast despots — both those directly affected by the current wave of protests, and those eyeing it nervously from within their gilded palaces — are the raw numbers, the demographics, underlying the phenomenon. The tyrants’ antagonists are not conventional armies or coup plotters but literate and disaffected young people, more of them than ever before, armed with access to instant, global communications in the form of social networking media like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and the Internet.
Of 12 selected Arab-Muslim states in the Middle East, six of them — Egypt, Jordan, Morrocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen — house populations where more than 50 percent of the citizenry are under the age of 25. For the other six — Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates — the “under 25s” make up between 35 to 47 percent of the population.
The Bible predicts a disturbing wave of events to unfold in the “last days” involving many of these Arab Muslim nations and an occupying force from the North, usually identified as Russia. The scenes being played out on CNN and FoxNews during the last few weeks move me to wonder if “E-mageddon” might in fact precipitate Armageddon?
For some background and discussion of some of the key Bible passages, I’ve pasted below the content of an article I wrote and last updated in 2006 (Bible quotations are updated from the original to the English Standard Version).
Ancient Prophecies of Armageddon:
In the Last Days the Nations Turn Against Israel
The map [below] shows the nations described in the prophecy of Armageddon found in Ezekiel 38. The red dots are the enemies described as gathering together against Jerusalem (Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Put, Gomer and Beth-Togarmah). The blue dots seem to be nominal allies who, in the prophecy, raise a feeble protest against the agression of Israel’s enemies, but are either unwilling or unable to intervene on her behalf. Tarshish is of particular interest to many scholars and is often interpreted as loosely referring to the Atlantic powers of our time: Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S.. This stems from a plausible translation of the Hebrew text in Exekiel 38:13 as, “…Tarshish and the young lions thereof…”. The purple dot is, of course, Israel. [Note: Biblical names of nations are often taken from the names of ancestors, e.g. the “table of nations” in Genesis 10.]
The final conflict of nations against Israel is also predicted in Daniel 11. In order to decipher the prophecies in Daniel 11 concerning the “final conflict” spoken of elsewhere as “Armageddon,” it is necessary first to identify the character who is the subject of 11:36-39. Protestant, Historicist scholars over the past 4 centuries are divided on this passage: some identifying this “king” as the dynasty of Popes, called the Papacy, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and symbolic head of the the 10 prophetic nations of Western Europe; others identifying him as “Islam” under its various rulers. My grandfather, A. J. L. Haynes agreed with the former school of thought, that the Papacy is intended in this passage. And he may have been right. He discusses the implications of this view in his chapter “Other Prophecies of Daniel” in Tomorrow: What do the Prophets Say?. But what if they are correct who believe this passage concerns the rise of Islam? I believe that the implications of this passage and the following verses (Daniel 11:40 – 12:2) become very urgent if in fact Islam is the subject of verses 36-39. Let me make a couple of observations about what this passage seems to predict before returning to the subject of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 regarding the attack against Israel by Gog and his allies.
“Armageddon” Prophecy in the Book of Daniel
” 40 “At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41 He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train. 44 But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. 45 And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him. 12:1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Dan 11:40-2 ESV)
Verse 40 begins this prophetic drama of the final conflict in the Middle East by mentioning an attack by the “King of the South”. I agree with my grandfather’s conclusion (in the above mentioned chapter of his book) that the “King of the South” is a designation for whichever world-power is the polar opposite to the “King of the North.” At present (in 2006), the most likely candidate for the title “King of the North” is still Russia and therefore, the most likely candidate for the title, “King of the South” is the United States of America. But in verse 40, who does the U.S.A. attack? The word “him” in the above quoted passage, I believe, refers to Islam. It is hard for modern readers to grasp “Islam” as a single entity, but the fact is that radical, militant Islam, from Al Qaeda to Hezbollah, has as its goal to restore the rule of Islam to at least the extent of it’s borders under the last great empire of the caliphs. That is why the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel is essential to the mission of both terrorist organizations and their state supporters, whether Shiite or Sunni. Radical Islam is in fact a trans-national religious and military movement. It is this “movement” that I strongly suggest may be intended as the “king” who is attacked by the King of the South (U.S.A.) in verse 40 of Daniel 11. When did this attack take place? I wrote a short article just two days after “September 11” in which I cautioned readers to watch for just such an attack against an Islamic state or states by the United States. Since I wrote that article, the U.S.A. and her allies invaded Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power and subsequently attacked and invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power. These events of the last half-decade may constitute the fulfillment of the first portion of verse 40 of Daniel 11. If I am on the right track in the interpretation of this passage that I am suggesting, then we should be looking for the fulfillment of the next part of Daniel 11:40–the attack by the “King of the North”. I am suggesting that Russia is the “King of the North” intended in verses 40-45. I am also suggesting that if I am correct in this interpretation so far, then we should be alert to a massive movement of Russian troops and equipment into Islamic states in the coming years. These events would then parallel the prophecy concerning Gog in Ezekiel 38.
“Armageddon” Prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel
“The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes–many peoples are with you. 7 “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. 9 You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. 10 “Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’ 14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? 15 You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. 16 You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 17 “Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? 18 But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused in my anger. 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord GOD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. 23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD. ESV Ezekiel 39:1 “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2 And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. 4 You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the LORD. 7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken. 9 “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, 10 so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord GOD. 11 “On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord GOD. 14 They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. 15 And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. 16 (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land. 17 “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth–of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord GOD. 21 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward. 23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. 25 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and thr
ough them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”” (Eze 38:1-29 ESV)
As we can see in Ezekiel’s prophecy about Gog, that is if Gog is in fact Russia, Russia appears to invade Israel, a land of people who had returned from being scattered among the nations for nearly 2000 years (Ezekiel 38:8). Russia appears to be the leader of a multi-national military force including, first, Iran (Persia), Ethiopia (or possibly Sudan), and either Egypt or Libya. The list of Russia’s allies in Ezekiel 38:5 seems to parallel the list of nations in Daniel 11:43. The one notable difference between the two verses is that whereas in Ezekiel 38:5 “Egypt” (or “Libya” in most translations) is an ally, in Daniel 11:43 events are seen to have unfolded that result in Russia’s forces conquering Egypt (ancient “Libya” mentioned by Ezekiel is not identical with the modern state of Libya, and so since ancient usage sometimes referred to north Africa and even all of Africa by the name, “Libya” [See Wikipedia article], it is at least possible that Ezekiel may be referring to either modern Libya or modern Egypt or both). The second group of allies that follow Russia’s leadership in this future multi-national force is, according to Ezekiel 38:6, Gomer and Beth-togarmah. Again I agree with my grandfather that Gomer indicates a group of ethnically related peoples including Cymrians, Celts, Galatians and most notably Gauls. For this reason, I suspect that Russia’s allies will include a prominent number of French and Turkish troops. The rest of the prophecy in Ezekiel 38 seems to run very closely parallel to that of Daniel 11:40 to 12:2. Ezekiel 38:13 predicts that certain nations will raise a protest, most likely diplomatically, challenging Gog’s motives for invading Israel and the other neighboring nations. This seems to imply that Gog’s motives up until the challenge of verse 13 will be thought by the International community to be noble: perhaps for peace-keeping or establishing a cease-fire and end of hostilities between Israel and one of her neighbors. But Ezekiel 38:11-13 is in harmony with Daniel 11:43 in which it appears that Gog’s / The King of the North’s / Russia’s motive will be to control “treasures” of the land: probably oil reserves. Following this opposition, such as it is, Daniel 12:44 foresees a time when Gog will hear news about events in the North and East (probably relative to Israel) that will alarm him. He then will act with the purpose to cause great destruction. The purpose, at least one of the purposes, of these prophecies is to lead Israel to put their trust in God who will protect the Jewish nation and destroy her enemies. The end result of these events will be the return of Christ Jesus to establish His Kingdom, and the realization of all peoples and all nations that Jesus Christ is Yahweh God.
A final word of advice: do not use scriptural prophecy to try and predict the future, but rather as a guide to be alert to world events as they develop. The purpose of Scripture in keeping Christians alert is to motivate Christ’s followers to authentic discipleship, holy living and evangelism. As Jesus commanded in His “great commission,”
“Going therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”
For more information on this interesting subject, we recommend the short book by A.J.L. Haynes, Tomorrow: What do the Prophets Say? In particular we suggest the chapters on Ezekiel and “Other Prophecies of Daniel.”
This page [SOURCE] was updated on: July 28, 2006.