As a very young child, the very first time I recall hearing the news on TV, there was trouble in the Middle East. Every time I have accidentally seen the news since (I never watched it on purpose) there was trouble in the Middle East; bombings, peace talks, war, riots; it’s an unending source of bad news.
As I grew older and discovered an interest in history, I discovered there has ALWAYS been trouble in the Middle East. That few hundred square miles in Palestine has been the most disputed land on Earth. More blood has been spilled there, or over possession of it, than any other land in history.
All through the Middle Ages nations fought over it; practically every nation in history has staked a claim on it at one time or another. Even Genghis Khan’s empire embraced it for a while. It has changed hands on average about once every 50 or 100 years since the time of Abraham.
Why? Why all the fuss over what, let’s face it, is a dusty, barren, oil-free chunk of the Middle East? That’s...
Lesson 50: Middle East In Prophecy
After the Flood, God divided the nations and gave each tribe their inheritance (Acts 17:26, Genesis 10). In broad, Shem inherited Europe, Japeth received Asia, and Ham received Africa. The plan was delayed some by the rise and fall of Babel under Nimrod, but eventually they spread out to their appointed places.
Palestine – and by that I mean the east coast of the Mediterranean, roughly from the border of Syria to the border of Egypt, and about 200 miles inland – Palestine was given to Canaan (Genesis 10:15-19), and divided among his various sons.
Canaan, due to the events of Genesis 9, was cursed and relegated as a servant of Shem (Genesis 9:26-27). But despite that, Canaan prospered and multiplied in his land for hundreds of years. 400 years after the Flood, Abraham visited the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:5). The people there were fairly righteous and dealt honorably with Abraham (Genesis 23:3-15). In fact, Melchizedek was king and high priest there (Genesis 14:18). So God would not yet give Abraham their land (Genesis 15:16).
After the Exodus from Egypt, Abraham’s descendants returned and found the land full of wickedness. The Canaanites worshipped Asthoreth/Astarte/Ishtar/Easter – in other words, Semiramis; and Molech/Melqart/
Milcom, who of course was Nimrod. The rites to worship these gods were remarkably evil, the worst practice of Molech was described in Leviticus 20:2-7, while Astarte’s worship was mostly fertility-related (i.e., public prostitution; Jeremiah 5:7 describes, though does not say, this).
So by that time, their sins were full, and God was fully justified in wiping them out to give their land to Abraham instead. Of course, Abraham’s children quickly imitated their predecessors in the land (Judges 2:11-13). But that’s not our point today.
The point is, this was the beginning of trouble in the Middle East. Since the day God gave it to Abraham’s children, there has been nearly daily bloodshed over it. Naturally, the Canaanites resented suffering what amounted to genocide, and have periodically tried to take it back.
The Canaanite children of Heth (Tyre and Sidon) were largely spared the effects of the immigration of the Israelites, and continued to dwell beside them until long after the Israelites were exiled. Most of the other tribes of Canaan were totally wiped out, except for a few who made treaties with Israel; even though God specifically commanded Israel not to make treaties (Deuteronomy 7:1-5, Exodus 34:11-16).
ISRAEL’S HEREDITARY ENEMIES
But the surviving Canaanites are only one group that has a claim on the land of Palestine. There are many other groups who believe, with more or less justification, that they deserve to dwell there. The best claims belong to Ishmael and Esau. Both of these sons of the patriarchs, one generation apart, suffered nearly identical fates. They were both the oldest. They both had an absolute RIGHT to the inheritance; but both lost it to their younger brother.
Both were bitter (Genesis 21:9, 27:41-42), and comforted themselves with the thought of choking the last breath out of their brother. God had reasons, and good reasons, for His decisions, and both Esau and Ishmael received a handsome inheritance; but the mind of carnal man is seldom disposed to view things from God’s perspective.
They hated their luckier brethren for receiving their covenant, and envied them their inheritance, as have their descendants to this day. And according to the old maxim that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Ishmael and Esau became good friends; good enough at least, for Ishmael to give Esau his daughter (Genesis 28:9).
Much later, when God prophetically (and historically) speaks of the nations who hate Israel, Edom (Esau) and Ishmael are mentioned first (Psalms 83:2-7). Then Moab, children of Lot, nephew of Abraham, who also resented his cousin’s wealth (Genesis 13:1-11).
Next mentioned are the Hagarenes, which is possibly derived from Hagar, Ishmael’s mother (perhaps she had other sons?); Gebal, the Giblites, who were survivors of the Canaanite destruction (Joshua 13:5); Ammon, another son of Lot; Amalek, one of Esau’s grandsons who seems to have prospered above the others (Genesis 36:12, 16, Numbers 24:20), and who hated Israel (Exodus 17:8-16).
Philistines also hated Israel for taking their land (1 Samuel 13:3-5), and warred with them constantly. Also, the Philistines were nephews of the Egyptians (in Hebrew, “Egyptian” is Mizraim – see Genesis 10:13-14), and Egyptians had ample reason to hate Israel. Tyre was a Canaanite city which, while it wasn’t taken by the Israelites, lost suburbs and a lot of Canaanite brethren. All these countries have valid reasons to envy, resent, and even despise Israel.
Then we come to Asshur (Psalms 83:8), who is not listed with the others; but as a separate addition: “Asshur also is joined unto them; they have helped the children of Lot”. This tells us that unlike the others, Asshur was not motivated by resentment or anger; they had other motives. But they did fight on the side of Israel’s enemies. More on them later.
If it were just the humans themselves, genetics and folk tales would not be enough to keep racial hatreds alive. But nations are led by spirits (Daniel 10:20-11:1, etc.), and the angels DO remember these things. They remember the real or imagined injustices done by the other races to “their” people, and they react according to their own basic character.
And while Esau is so long dead that there is no noticeable fraction of his DNA in any of his descendants, his attitude towards the children of Israel can live on in his descendants because Esau’s angel still leads Esau’s children to this day. This alone enables us to piece together the identity of some of these other nations today.
ISHMAEL AND ESAU
This uncle-and-nephew who have so much in common are very important to prophecy, so to find out who they are, read the blessing their fathers gave them, Ishmael in Genesis 16:7-15, 17:18-21, 21:9-21, and Esau in Genesis 25:22-28, 27:30-40.
Notice many similarities between the blessings; both were wild, rugged, outdoorsmen. One is said to have lived by his sword, and the other was “against every man, and every man’s hand against him” – which is practically identical. And of course, both had reason to hate their brethren, the children of promise, so we would expect to find them at odds with Israel throughout history – as we do in Numbers 20:14-21 and Amos 1:11.
In Isaiah 21:11-17 God prophesies to several different names, treating them as if they were allied. If you look up each of the names, you will find each one is related to Esau or Ishmael. For example, Seir is a place in Esau’s land (Genesis 32:3). Dumah and Kedar were sons of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13-16). It also connects these groups to Arabia, which will prove to be relevant.
In Ezekiel 27:21, it again connects Kedar to Arabia. We know that Esau lived south of ancient Israel, and Ishmael lived farther south and east, basically in what is now Saudi Arabia (Genesis 25:12, 16-18). This once more connects these two to Arabia.
As an interesting anecdote, to this day much of the Arab world traces its descent to Ishmael. In Islam their version of the story in Genesis 22 has Ishmael being offered by Abraham, thus making him the important son and not Isaac. Which is precisely how Ishmael himself would have felt.
Ishmael was the son of Abraham, who was the ancestor, and thus the physical type and skin color of the western Europeans today, but Ishmael was also the son of an Egyptian woman; the skin color of Egyptians is hotly debated today, but they likely were some shade of brown.
Esau’s name means “hairy”, and he was apparently quite red-skinned (Genesis 25:25), and lost his birthright over red lentil soup (verse 30), so he was nicknamed Edom – red. Edom had three wives, two were Canaanite women (who were a light brown complexion), and one was a daughter of Ishmael.
Thus any children of Esau or Ishmael would have to tend towards being brown skinned, with Esau particularly more reddish. In addition, the Hebrew word Arab, translated as “Arabia” in the Bible, comes from a root word meaning “evening, to grow dark”.
It’s closely related to the Hebrew word for dusk, ereb. In fact, ereb is translated as “Arabia” in two places in the King James (Jeremiah 25:24 where it is translated as “mingled people”, clearly referring to the Arabs in the same verse, and 1 Kings 10:15).
The logic of that is obvious, because Arabs are dark-skinned. Partly by heredity and partly by constant exposure to the harsh elements of the desert. And as it happens, that’s precisely how we should expect Esau’s and Ishmael’s descendants to look – “dusky”.
So it is fairly easy to conclude that Ishmael and Esau collectively comprise the bulk of the Arab nations today. Of course, that does not mean all Muslim nations. Many of them are ethnically distinct, such as Iran and Afghanistan, who to this day speak Farsi and Dari, which are just variations on the word Persia.
Also Ammon and Moab, sons of Lot, certainly intermarried with the Canaanite tribes around them, and formed another group of the Middle Eastern nations today. But the Arab, Ishmaelite nations are primarily centered on the Arabian Peninsula, though they have scattered to other parts of the Middle East and North Africa as they were carried there by the spread of Islam.
As for Esau, we would expect to find his fate intertwined throughout history with Ishmael as they were united by their common resentment for the children of Promise – Isaac and Israel. It wouldn’t be a large stretch to say that most of history is just the record of all of these groups warring with the children of Israel, and each other, over Palestine and the promises God gave to His people.
NEW NAMES FOR OLD NATIONS
All of this is just the back story, to explain the reasons why people throughout history have warred over the “holy land”. They began the moment God gave it to them 3,500 years ago, and they will be doing it until the moment of His return.
In fact, He returns and catches them in the act (Revelation 19:11-19). They came there to battle each other (Revelation 16:12-16), but their common enemy – God – will unite them just before their final end.
The next lesson will explain the details of that, but to understand it you first have to know who these ancient nations are today. When God says “In the latter days, Assyria will...” – that doesn’t help you at all unless you know who Assyria is. But Assyria no longer exists as a nation. It was destroyed in 608 BC and never recovered.
Yet God spoke to Assyria in many end time prophecies. We were meant to understand those prophecies. Therefore, there has to be a way to connect Assyria to a modern nation – not a tiny group of tribesmen in northern Iraq who might be descended from Assyria, but a POWERFUL nation, a significant player in world events, who will very nearly conquer the world in our future!
THE PROBLEM WITH HISTORY
Many secular historians would not believe the Bible is true if God Himself told them so. Attempting to prove the modern identity of ancient nations by quoting classical authors, while persuasive to someone with an open mind, will do absolutely nothing to a worldly scholar. They believe only what the current mainstream theories teach, and deviating from that, no matter what ancient proof might exist, will not dissuade them from their university-instilled faith in modern viewpoints.
And the politically correct modern viewpoint is that there IS no such thing as a race. Hunter-gatherer tribes were formed and dissolved, created around a powerful chieftain, absorbed or killed by other tribes who conquered them, or diluted by tribes they conquered. So according to modern historians, not only is there no way to trace the modern nations into antiquity, but the modern nations did not come from specific tribes.
In other words, they believe the people we know as Russians cannot be traced back into history as a distinct ethnic group of people traveling across Asia; for they believe they are merely a random group of tribes who coincidentally happened to wind up as a larger tribal unit, bound together only by convenience and social habit, not by race or the genetic ties of a common origin.
If you pay attention, you can detect a strong smell of the uncertainty principle in this idea; they believe we simply can’t know which ancient nations became modern nations. This is convenient, for it makes it impossible to prove ANYTHING, for “we can’t know” which hunter-gatherer tribes grouped together, died out, created nations, or were destroyed by other nations.
And it conveniently makes it impossible to prove the Bible to them, for the Bible shows us the SOURCE of these ethnic groups, tracing them back to the original ANCESTORS and ultimately Adam himself.
BUT THERE IS PROOF...
Just because modern history says something in the Bible is wrong doesn’t mean it is. Many people don’t realize it today, but most of the places and people in the Bible were considered mythical in the 19th century and well into the 20th century by the educated people of the world. For example, they widely believed that the Hittite empire (for example, 2 Kings 7:6) was purely myth; a respected scholar said in 1853 that, if it existed at all, “no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah...”.
Then gradually they began digging up texts and evidence that the Hittite empire was massive, powerful, and that it DID in fact exist. Pontius Pilate was believed to be mythical until in 1961 they discovered his name on an inscription. Nineveh and Babylon were considered either partially or entirely fables; and their greatness as described in the Bible was considered exaggeration at best. Then both were uncovered, and everything the Bible said was confirmed.
This has happened to DOZENS of cities, cultures, and individuals – perhaps hundreds. They were believed a myth, with the ONLY witness to their existence the Bible... until one day they were discovered, and science grudgingly had to admit that “the Bible might have been right this time”. Then they choke the bile from that admission out of their throat and solemnly pronounce some other fact of the Bible mythical, simply because they haven’t found other proof yet.
To continue the Hittite story, having proved the Bible was right about the existence and scope of their empire, historians reject the idea that they are one race descended from one ancestor. Yet the Bible clearly says that the Hittites descended from Heth (Genesis 23:10). Having proved the Bible was right once, it is only logical to believe it again – yet of course, they don’t.
The point is, historians take the stance that the Bible is automatically myth, until every single word is confirmed. It is always guilty until proven innocent. If they haven’t found a tablet mentioning Pilate, well obviously, he didn’t exist. No matter how many times the Bible’s veracity is confirmed. They do the same thing to all ancient historians, but they particularly hate the Bible, for obvious reasons.
But the fact is, we have a LOT of ancient books that were written 1,000-3,000 years ago that survive today. Homer, Herodotus, Jerome, Pliny, Josephus, Ptolemy, Tacitus – the list goes on. Each of these men wrote about their own time in their own way, about subjects which were important to them. Some were eyewitnesses to the events, others just gathered hearsay. They were at least as reliable as a modern newspaper, in many cases more so.
Historians used to believe that the Celts, Scythians, Cimmerians, Goths and other races migrated across Europe and settled western Europe – which indeed they did. They based this on a tremendous number of folk tales, legends, and ancient histories, as well as markers left behind by those civilizations.
But then evolution and the upward struggle of man became popular, and they reclassified all that history as myth. Then they rewrote it to fit artifacts and cave paintings supposedly 10, 20, or 50 thousand years old in France. They reasoned that ALL the witnesses of ancient history were mere campfire stories.
They decided that simple hunter-gatherers migrated out of Africa in 50,000 BC; wound up in Europe, drew paintings, then hung around as more-or-less naked savages until Roman times. Then they learned writing and adopted, stole, or were given the names of Celts, Britons, Saxons. Then they developed fanciful legends tracing their origins to the Black Sea.
This is a rampant abuse of the witness of ancient history, solely to fit in misdated cave paintings and evolutionary out-of-Africa origin theories. But we are not tied to such a tenuous delusion. And the facts of history give us a ton of references buried in ancient, dry, boring books which connect the dots bringing Israel from the Black Sea to the North Sea, in addition to telling us the origin of most, if not all, western nations.
They are all dismissed out of hand as legend, myth, and nonsense because they are not consistent with what anthropologists are told to believe today. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t true – only that they aren’t popular.
I have dwelt on this point because if you wind up arguing with someone, Christian or not, about any of the facts you’ve learned in the last six lessons, this is the brick wall you will be arguing with. They believe the Bible is wrong until proven right; they believe evolutionary timelines instead of Biblical ones; and no historical proof, Biblical or otherwise, is going to change their mind.
I could dig up some of these proofs for the benefit of those who are interested, and perhaps one day I will. But as with the previous lessons, we are going to ignore most of that and focus on what the Bible says; something which cannot be argued and which is not subject to interpretation.
Suffice it to say there is evidence from history to support what you will study below out of your Bible; most of that evidence is not conclusive beyond argument, for God did not want history to leave no room for interpretation. If He had, it would have left man without excuse, and no one wants that.
Assyria was a nation that ruled various regions in the Middle East from the 10th-7th centuries BC, mostly centered around Nineveh, near Mosul in modern Iraq. At its largest extent, it ruled most of the known world – which at the time was roughly Greece to India, and Egypt to Armenia.. But what was striking about them was their cruelty and love of war. They were undoubtedly one of the most warlike nations in history.
They lived for war, and they were merciless and cruel even to the vanquished. Reading the gruesome details of their history, it makes much more sense of God’s threat in the book of Jonah; at that point in history, Assyria WAS a brutal and evil country. Jonah’s warning apparently mellowed them somewhat, but only for a time; then they were back and worse than ever. And then God did destroy their empire.
But God works with our weaknesses and uses our strengths, whatever those are, to accomplish His goals. And the Assyrians were used by God for a very specific purpose. What did God use Assyria for? Isaiah 7:16-20, Isaiah 8:7-8. And what did God call Assyria? Isaiah 10:5-6.
Many of our fathers spanked us when we were young, and God compares Himself to our earthly fathers in correcting us, both as individuals and as nations, in Hebrews 12:5-11. And many of our fathers didn’t just use whatever was handy to swat us. They often had a favorite paddle that was ceremoniously used on us when we erred. Well, Assyria is God’s favorite paddle.
God calls Assyrians “the rod of my anger”. He says that the switch in their hand, is His indignation. He gives them the power to punish nations that are hypocritical, nations who have provoked his wrath. God uses war to punish His children, and it only makes sense for Him to hire a nation that loves war (Isaiah 7:20) and is really good at it!
Of course, the Assyrians did not see themselves as God’s paddle. Each time God used them, they thought “our own strength and glory has accomplished this; what’s stopping us? Let’s conquer the whole world!” (Isaiah 10:7-11).
But each time, once God feels His children have suffered enough and learned their lesson, God has put Assyria back in their place (verses 12-19). There are many, many prophecies that speak of Assyria being used, still in our future, to punish Israel one last time.
As one clear example that this must yet be future, see Isaiah 27:12-13. As you learned in the previous lesson, “in that day” almost ALWAYS refers specifically to the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” which happens at His return when the nations are judged.
So in that day, God will deliver those Israelites “which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria”, AND “the outcasts in the land of Egypt”, and together they will “worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem”.
This has clearly NEVER happened. First, Israel has never been in captivity to Egypt since the Exodus. Second, once they left the Promised Land in exile, Israel has never returned to worship at the holy mount of Jerusalem, since Jerusalem is currently, in God’s eyes, not holy at all – it is like Sodom (Revelation 11:8).
We know that God will be using Assyria in our future to punish us. Therefore, Assyria is STILL the rod of God’s anger. Therefore, Assyria must still retain its warlike nature and must still be used by God to punish Israel.
Given those facts alone, casting back over the past century, ask yourself who has punished Israel? Who fought, using the cruelest, most inhumane methods of war-making the world has ever seen, against the Anglo-Saxon nations? Whose battle cry in the last great war was “Today Europe, tomorrow the world!!” (Like everything, it sounds much scarier if you scream it in German: “Heute Europa, morgen die welt!!”)
The atrocities of the Germans in both world wars – aggression, genocide, chemical warfare, abuse of prisoners of war, attacking civilians, and so on, have been rehearsed so thoroughly we need not dwell on them. They lost, and we wrote the history books, so naturally they were villianized. But suffice it to say that the Germans are, if not the physical heirs, then at the very least the spiritual heirs, of the Assyrian empire.
Germans were renowned since Roman times for their intense love of war. Writing of the German spirit in the Roman age, Edward Gibbon wrote “war and danger were the only amusements adequate to its fierce temper. The sound that summoned the German to arms was grateful to his ear”. Events of the past few centuries has given us no reason to believe this has changed significantly.
But Germany is not just one race of people. There is actually quite a variety of Germans. There were over three hundred different “countries” in the German-speaking part of Europe in 1800, most of whom eventually united in 1871 to form the German empire, dominated by Prussia.
What’s more, a great deal of the Israelite Saxons who found their way to Western Europe passed through Germany en route, and some stayed behind – which is why there is, to this day, a state in Germany called “Saxony”. Many people in the Anglo-Saxon nations, including myself, have a strong German heritage; Israel was sifted through “all nations”, and God saw to it that not one was lost. We were once strangers in their land, and God considers that worthy of our gratitude (Deuteronomy 23:7, Exodus 23:9).
Germans were used by God. Their wars were permitted, supported, and even inspired by Him, to punish His rebellious children. So while Germans, as always, took it too far (Isaiah 10:7-12), ...it is God who is to blame for the punishments we received, not the Germans. And of course, that really means it was our own fault, for “when a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
And finally, the Germans are a marvelous, industrious, and resourceful people. Most cities in Germany were all but demolished by bombing in WWII, yet only 10 years later an amazing amount had been rebuilt. Germans have a saying; “The rest of the world works to live. We Germans live to work”. That is how a nation the size of New Mexico, with poor access to the ocean, very nearly took over the world... twice.
It’s also why, only 70 years after their country was leveled, depopulated, dissected, and occupied, they are the only financially stable country in Europe. Germany is the world’s third-largest exporter, after China and the US – and despite our having a 371% larger population and a mineral-rich, temperate land area over 27 times larger than Germany, we only just barely exceeded their world exports in 2013 – which is one of the best measurements of real economic strength.
By comparison, the fourth largest exporter is the UK, with just over half of Germany’s exports. This is how far ahead of the other nations of the world Germany is, and they are poised to take the reins of government of all the other nations of Europe. Already, Berlin is considered by many to be the de facto capital of the European Union. Germany often has the deciding voice in major policies. Increasingly, in mainstream news, Germany is treated as the new head of Europe.
And that’s absolutely necessary, before God can use them to punish Israel one final time.
ARE THEY ACTUAL ASSYRIANS?
The Assyrians were a very large nation with a huge population. If all of them moved across Europe, they would have left large traces, which we don’t find in history. However, they didn’t all need to move in order for Germany to be the literal successors of the Assyrian empire – only a decent sized colony.
In verifiable history, the rulers of Assyria moved NW to Haran, in Turkey, before their final defeat in the 7th century BC. This shows a small precedent of fleeing west. Pliny the Elder wrote in the 1st century AD that the “Assyriani” were in the region NW of the Black Sea (Romania and the Ukraine) in his time.
That continues the trend farther NW, pointing a line straight to Germany, and makes it probable – though not proven – that at least some Assyrians migrated away from the Medo-Persian conquest and went west – plausibly to arrive in Germany in historic times.
We HAVE Biblical facts. We know the Assyrians were used, and will be used, by God to punish Britain and the USA. We know the Assyrians were brutal, cruel, and loved war. These fit Germany in modern times very well – their behavior in both world wars was worthy of their Assyrian forebears.
The historical facts are there, but not in abundance and not enough to convince anyone. But we have Biblical facts to convince those who “have ears to hear”. The historical facts are merely to show us how God accomplished His sure word of prophecy.
Then we have simple pictures like this that tell the story for us; at the right and left are two common insignia of the Assyrians from the 9th century BC. At center is the German SS insignia from WWII.
This particular depiction of a flat-topped, square-ish eagle with splayed tail associated with a cross inside a circle is rather rare in history, except in these two cultures where they are abundant... 3,000 years apart. This could be a coincidence, but in light of the other evidence, historical and Biblical, is that really... plausible?
KING OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH
In Isaiah 11:16, we see the future Assyrian captivity compared to the Egyptian captivity. They are contrasted against each other in Jeremiah 2:18, 36. Both Assyria and Egypt take Israel captive in the end times, and God delivers them at His return, according to Zechariah 10:10-11.
In Daniel’s great prophecy in Daniel 11:40-45, we see that a fundamental controversy “at the time of the end” is between the King of the North and the King of the South. The King of the South does something to annoy the King of the North, and the King of the North retaliates in fury, and overwhelms the King of the South.
A “king” often rules over many nations. The generic nature of the names “king of the north/south” implies that they are leading a group of nations. We see the nations the King of the North invades in this passage, which tells us which nations are allied with the king of the south; Edom (Esau), Moab, Ammon; Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia.
Some of these nations still exist, some have changed their names, but all of them are Islamic countries. They would all be classified by us as the Arab countries, even though the term is inaccurate. This is an important key, which we’ll come back to later.
The king of the north is distracted from his conquest of the Middle East by “tidings out of the north and east”, and turns to destroy with “great fury” (Daniel 11:44), presumably the army that comes from that direction – most likely the army in Revelation 16:12-16.
The GREAT battle – the one ongoing when Christ comes back – is almost certainly the one that happens just as these two armies are meeting. Compare to Revelation 14:18-20 and 19:19-21. The armies forget their quarrel to turn on their true enemy, Christ and His armies – the resurrected saints.
KING OF THE SOUTH
Egypt was a dominant nation in Biblical times that was just south of Israel; the prophecies in the first part of Daniel 11 were all fulfilled in the kings of Egypt and Syria under the Ptolemies and Seleucids in 333-168 BC (request the free article “The Longest Prophecy” for the historical proof of that). Thus, literally, the King of the South could only be Egypt.
But in a dramatic fulfillment of prophecy, since it fell to the Persians in the 4th century BC, Egypt has never once, not in 2,400 years, had a native king ruling over it (Ezekiel 29:14-15, 30:12-13). You can verify that fact anywhere. So when God prophesied to Egypt in modern times, to whom could He refer? If Egypt was not ruled by Egyptians anymore, then the prophecy could not be for literal Egyptians!
Many end-time prophecies speak of Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia; they haven’t moved, but they have shrunk to such insignificance to make it questionable if they could become such major players as the Bible portrays them to be in the end times. Today, as in most of the past 2,000 years, Egypt couldn’t start a major war that would threaten any major power if it wanted to.
But when Egypt wants to war, it turns to the Muslim world for allies! Which is why, in that prophecy, the King of the North is shown attacking Muslim states when they attack the “King of the South”!
We can reasonably assume, knowing the zealous character of the Muslim world, that when they are given a genuine cause to declare jihad, holy war – such as a European ruler invading Muslim territories in the Middle East – ALL Muslims will join in a common cause to attack the King of the North. Most people don’t realize it, but much of Malaysia and Indonesia is predominately Muslim, as well as most of Africa, all of the Middle East, and large parts of Asia.
So the King of the South is Egypt. And in prophetic symbolism, Egypt – which is mentioned hundreds of times in end-time prophecy – can only refer to the Muslim world in general. Which, if you look at a map of world religions on page 13, occupies a large portion of the “south” of the eastern hemisphere.
KING OF THE NORTH
Various prophecies, such as Jeremiah 1:13-15, Jeremiah 6:22, Isaiah 14:31 and Isaiah 41:25 speak of destruction coming upon Israel and Judah as coming from “the north”. These were literally filled by Assyria and Babylon in Biblical times, but as usual the prophecies are dual and apply still to our future.
But we need to think about the question “north” from whom? Since North America and NW Europe are Israelite, clearly nothing is NORTH of them but Eskimos. So it must mean north from somewhere else – north from Palestine. Considering how God works, it was probably a nation that was north of Palestine then AND now – both types are probably literally true.
In the period of these prophecies (800-400 BC), we can exclude most possibilities simply by where they lived. Babylon is due east of Israel. Egypt is south and slightly west, and Arabia is south and slightly east. Rome and Greece are west and slightly north. Thus none of these can bring destruction “from the north”.
There were small empires that came and went to the regions north of Israel, most of whom disappeared from history soon after – Phrygia, Lydia, Colchis, Iberia and so on; many of those were exiled Israelites on their way to their new homes. But the only one that really fits the facts and the prophecies is the rod of God’s anger – Assyria, whose empire was north and slightly east of Jerusalem.
And today, Germany in the north of Europe, far north and west of Palestine, directly north of some Israelite countries (Switzerland, France) and at a higher latitude than nearly all of them. Thus both then and now destruction can come on Israel “from the north”.
Babylon attacked WITH “all the families of the North” according to Jeremiah 25:9. Families of course means tribes, or nations. In the historical context, “families of the north” almost has to mean the Assyrian subjects of Babylon.
This verse also tells us that the King of the North has many other nations behind him, when he attacks the King of the South. In an isolated scripture that may be a relevant prophecy, Elihu said “Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north” (Job 37:9). To pursue Elihu’s metaphor, when a hot whirlwind meets a cold wind, they generate a violent storm.
In like manner, it is the conflict between these two great powers – the European King of the North against the Muslim King of the South – that will define end-time prophecy and cause the greatest war the world has ever seen – or ever will see again (Matthew 24:21-22).
ASSYRIA, EGYPT, AND ISRAEL – GOD’S PEOPLE
In Isaiah 19:23-25 the Assyrians are contrasted to the Egyptians, and given almost equal status to Israel in terms of greatness. No other Gentile nations were ever singled out for such honorable mention by God. Israel receives God’s inheritance, but these two other groups receive a blessing, and are called “My people” and “the work of My hands”.
Israel – Western Europe and the Anglo-Saxon countries – inherited, and will inherit, God’s blessings. Assyria is used by God to do the dirty work – the “work of His hands” to once again quote Isaiah 10:5-6. So that would explain two of the three references.
But Egypt is called “My people”, a term which is used exclusively for Israel hundreds of times in the Bible. In fact, Egyptians were usually specifically excluded from God’s people – for example in Exodus 5:1.
In Amos 3:2, He specifically excludes all other people on Earth from being His people, saying that He has known ONLY THEM of all nations on the Earth. So the fact that God calls Egypt and Assyria His people means something! It is little oddities in scripture like this that, when contemplated, lead to breakthroughs in understanding.
Aside from Christianity, the only religion in the world that teaches the law of God is Islam. They don’t teach it properly; they teach some laws too harshly and others not at all. But they are a people who are zealous for the law of God, as they understand it. You don’t need to worry about theft when the penalty for stealing is losing a hand. You don’t need to worry about adultery when the penalty is death. I don’t say they practice this fairly, or impartially, or consistently – but you have to acknowledge their zeal for the law.
You don’t need to worry about idolatry in Islamic countries (well, mostly anyway – they do have the bull-horns on top of all their mosques, but they’re at least opposed in principle). As a traveler in Muslim countries (outside of small areas where everyone makes their living ripping off tourists), you can expect to be treated with respect, hospitality, and courtesy – far more than in western countries.
So while Muslims have a lot wrong, and what they do have is often grossly imbalanced and mismanaged, they do hold more fiercely to basic Ten-Commandment righteousness than any other nation in the world currently does... including Israelite nations. This wasn’t true of ancient Egypt but it is true of modern Egypt!
God told Abraham regarding Ishmael “I have blessed him... and I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 17:20). The Egyptians were not God’s people – God excluded them at the time of the Exodus. So when God said “Egypt, my people”, He could not have meant the ancient Egyptians.
But Ishmael WAS “God’s people” – not like Isaac, but nonetheless he had the blessing of God. And we have shown how the Arabian states of Ishmael wound up ruling the Middle East, including Egypt – through the religion of Ishmael, Islam. If Egypt has become symbolic of the Muslim states, and by extension the only other religion that respects the laws of God on this Earth, then it would explain perfectly why God calls them “My people”.
Interestingly, it is only to these two people – Egypt and Assyria – that God has ever entrusted the exiled House of Israel, and both of them will take them captive yet again (Isaiah 27:13). And these ancient enemies will one day walk together (Isaiah 19:23-25). But a lot has to happen first.
THE CAUSE OF ARMAGEDDON
If you read the middle part of part of Daniel 11 carefully, from verse 29-39, you read about a king who thinks of himself as a God, but who is not called the King of the North. We learned in Lesson 10 this was talking about the Pope. Verse 40 begins with the statement that “the King of the South shall push against HIM”.
The context of “him” is clearly the Pope. This then would prophecy that the Islamic nations “push” against the Pope. “Push” can mean a lot of things – it might simply mean a verbal provocation, or it might mean a full military attack.
Now remember, the 7th beast, like the others before him, will be ridden by the great whore (Revelation 17:9). So if the great whore is attacked, the beast will surely defend her violently. So when the Pope is threatened the King of the North retaliates “with great fury”.
Will Egypt lose this battle? Isaiah 20:3-5. What will Ephraim think about that? Verse 6. The phrase “inhabitants of this isle”, in Biblical symbolism, can only mean Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:9-10). Was Ephraim hoping for help from Egypt/Muslims? Hosea 7:11. Can Egypt be trusted for deliverance? Isaiah 36:6. Does Ephraim try to appease Assyria? Hosea 8:9, 12:1. Does it work? Hosea 10:6, 5:13-15.
Ephraim – England – will try to appease Assyria – Germany – as it always has. In 1936-39, Britain’s official policy towards Germany was “appeasement”. In September of 1938, after meeting with Hitler and signing the Munich Agreement, British Prime minister Neville Chamberlain said he had secured “peace for our time”. Doesn’t that remind you of 1 Thessalonians 5:3?
Less than a year later, after Germany invaded Belgium, Britain had to declare war. And “sudden destruction came upon them”. Britain very, very nearly lost the war. Had it not been for American involvement, they would certainly have lost.
In the future, they will again lean on Germany/Europe – and again be betrayed. In Isaiah 28:14-15 God addresses a message to the leaders of Britain who even now “make a covenant with death” – that is, the war-making country in the EU – Germany (compare to Revelation 6:8). In Isaiah 28:16-17 He says the saints will have nothing to fear, but for the rest of them... verses 18-22.
Back to Egypt, there is a long and detailed prophecy in Ezekiel 31:1-18 about it and Assyria. Now remember, Egypt is a bankrupt, revolution-stricken, insignificant country today. Yet in verse 2 God says to Egypt “whom are you like in your greatness?” God then talks about the destruction of the Assyrian in verses 3-17, then returns to Egypt in verse 18, basically saying that if God destroyed Assyria, He can destroy Egypt.
But the point I want to make, is that Egypt has no greatness. Yet very near to Egypt, Dubai has the tallest building in the world – by a wide margin. The richest nation in the world, per capita, is Qatar. Second is Luxembourg. Third is the United Arab Emirates. The descriptions of Egypt cannot fit Egypt; but they could fit some of these other Muslim countries. It would not be unreasonable for God to ask Dubai “whom are you like in your greatness?”
You’ll notice that we are regularly referring to these countries by religious ties, not just by family or race. This is justified in Jeremiah 46:13, 20, 24-26. Notice the term “daughter of Egypt”. No extant religion has ever been born in Egypt; yet here is a daughter of Egypt. A religion that is in Egypt in the end-times, when these prophecies are to happen! That can only mean Islam.
The Bible doesn’t say much about the Asian nations because they really didn’t overlap with Israel’s sphere of contact until a few hundred years ago. So it’s harder to prove who they are in Bible prophecy, and there is less said about them in general.
For connecting Russia to the Bible, turn to Ezekiel 39:1. “Meshech and Tubal” can be tied, linguistically, to Moscow and Tobolsk. The connection is obvious, but hard to prove beyond the obvious similarity (remember, vowels change a lot – consonants tend to stay very similar).
The idea is strengthened by God’s statement in verse 2that they live in the “north parts”. In verse 6, God talks to Magog – a son of Japeth. We know Japeth inherited SE Asia and the islands, so an educated guess might connect this to the most powerful island nation in Asia – Japan.
In Ezekiel 38:2-7, God again speaks about Gog (Russia) and Magog (Japan?), and mentions they are allied at that point with Persia (Iran), Ethiopia and Libya. He also mentions Gomer and Togarmah “and all his bands”. Other translations say “hordes” or “troops” instead of bands.
Both Gomer and Togarmah are of Japeth, and this strongly implies that these two supply a large chunk of the forces to this coalition which makes us think that one of them is China and the other India – the two most populous nations on Earth. This is little more than an educated guess, but it fits the facts.
The exact context of these scriptures is about two different battles at opposite ends of the millennium; note the large break in time at verses 8-9 “after many days (years)...”, these nations come up against Israel AFTER it is gathered out of the nations, when Israel is dwelling safely in unwalled cities (verse 11) because there has been no fear of war for 1,000 years.
Why do they do this? Verses 10-12. Where did this “evil thought” come from? Revelation 20:7-9. So the bulk of Ezekiel 38 is a post-millennial prophecy of the far east rising against the nations of Israel in response to the deceptions of Satan.
But Ezekiel 38:1-7 and most, if not all, of Ezekiel 39 is about the battle before the millennium, and talks about the Asian nations joining with Islam to battle the King of the North – more about that in a moment.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
There are two great hatreds in the world today that define end-time prophecies. The first is summed up in Galatians 4:22-31. The western nations who inherited the blessings of Abraham are the children of promise; the Middle-Eastern nations of Ishmael are the sons who were “cast out” of their inheritance.
And as it was literally between Isaac and Ishmael; and as it is spiritually between the old and new covenants; so it is nationally between the sons of Isaac and Ishmael today – “he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit”.
The second great hatred is related, and it divides the world by religion – between Christianity and Islam. These two faiths are irreconcilable. The Muslim believes the Christian is an infidel, and doesn’t care whether he is a true Christian saint who follows the Bible, or a false Christian who follows the Great Whore. The false Christian believes the Muslims are terrorists and dictators who hate the Western way of life and spit upon their Savior. So the battle lines are drawn.
The King of the North is Christian; all of Europe, all of the western hemisphere. The King of the South is Muslim – all of north Africa, all of central and western Asia, most of Malaysia and Indonesia. 31.5% of the world professes Christianity, 23.2% of the world professes Islam; the next significant religion (Hinduism) only has 15%. So clearly these are the two most powerful religions in the world.
When you sweep away all the chaff of the news, this is the fundamental issue in the world – two irreconcilable religions, and two irreconcilable hatreds between the sons of promise and the sons of bondage, warring over the blessings of Abraham and the love of God/Allah.
Whether or not the specific details happen exactly as I understand them, the general conflict will come down to these facts; Christian versus Muslim, Arab against European, Ishmael opposed to Isaac. And when that conflict begins, ask yourself who will side with whom?
The Jews will side with the Christians. Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics will put aside their problems. Protestants will forget their differences with Catholics and defend their way of life together. All the schisms of Islam will quickly unify.
While Russians are nominally Russian Orthodox, in reality after 100 years of Communism they are “devoutly” atheistic and pragmatic, and are not likely to get involved in a religious war unless they have something to gain.
Study this map. The red line in the Middle East is the river Euphrates. All the blues and purples form the nations or the Christian allies of Isaac – excepting Russia, which as we said, is atheistic and has never allied itself with the West unless it was convenient (and rarely even then).
All the greens are Islam – as God said, “Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly... I will make him a great nation.” Though Isaac still has the upper hand according to the blessings of God, the world’s wealth, manpower, and armament is still pretty well divided among those two factions, if you ignore the Far East.
The yellows and oranges are mostly peaceful, non-judgmental, non-proselytizing religions who aren’t known for killing non-believers and would be very unlikely to get involved in a religious squabble. So they won’t get involved at first... but they will be involved before the end.
The Far East has a significant part to play in end-time prophecy according to Revelation 16:12. Remember how the King of the North is battling the King of the South, winning, and then “tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” (Daniel 11:44).
If the King of the North attacks the Middle East and decimates the nations there, and – while there – hears tidings “out of the east AND out of the north”... what can he be hearing about? What is east of there? India and China. What is north? Russia.
Three nations which have no religious stake in this battle, but when faced with the prospect of the King of the North ruling the world, they join together before it’s too late, bringing a 200,000,000 man army from the other side of the Euphrates – and the Euphrates quite perfectly draws a line perpendicular to Russia, China, and India!
Countries which are becoming more and more allied economically and politically all the time, as we march closer to that day. When the King of the North hears about these armies coming, he gathers together all of his armies.. why? Jeremiah 46:10.
Notice the terms in that verse like “sacrifice” and “drunken swords”, and compare to Ezekiel 39:17-21, Revelation 14:15-20, Revelation 19:14-21 – they all bridge together, along with countless other verses, such as Zephaniah 1:14-18.
The previous lesson was about the punishment of Israel. But by the time these events are happening, Israel has long since been taken into captivity, and is a captive bystander to these events. Some Israelites are captive to the Muslims and some to the Assyrians, as they have carved up the blessings of Abraham.
And it will be natural, as Israel is occupied, deported, and oppressed by these other nations, for the 10% of them that are left to fear for their lives as a result of these great nations warring; but God promises they will be protected in these other lands (Jeremiah 46:27-28).
Has God decided long ago how much He is going to punish Israel? Isaiah 10:20-23. Only the “decreed destruction” shall happen to them, nothing more; what is that “decreed” punishment they will receive? Amos 5:1-3. How long will Israel suffer? Isaiah 6:11-13. What does God compare the punishment of Israel to? Amos 3:10-12.
What does Zion represent in the Bible? Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 14:1, Isaiah 1:27, Isaiah 4:3 – God’s temple/house/government, and by extension those who belong to that government or live in that house – in short, the saints. So during all this, what will happen to those who dwell in Zion? Isaiah 10:24-27.
So as I said, the prior lessons have explained the punishment of Israel’s sins. This lesson sets the stage for the punishment of the rest of the world for their sins. The next lesson will explore the details of the rise of the beast in Europe, and tell you what to watch for.
But the punishment for your sins is today, because God is judging the church NOW (1 Peter 4:17). If you take the correction now, and learn from it, you will not need to be a part of the punishment the rest of the world has in store. If you come out from the Whore’s doctrines and leave the world’s cares and concerns in their proper place, then you won’t need to partake of her plagues (Revelation 18:4).
This judgment that is coming on the Earth will literally kill men from fear (Luke 21:26). It is called the “great and DREADFUL day of the Lord” for a reason (Malachi 4:5). It will take nothing short of a miracle to survive what’s coming – unless you like gambling your life on 1-in-10 odds.
But God has left us great promises that, if we qualify to receive them, will make it possible to live through the days that are coming; Job 5:19-24 for instance. We will likely live through every one of those things, in greater abundance than the world has ever seen. If you are grumpy when your car breaks down, how will you survive nuclear bombardment?
Jeremiah 12:5 (BBE) If running with the fighting-men [infantry] has made you tired, how will you be able to keep up with horses [cavalry]? and if in a land of peace you go in flight, what will become of you in the thick growth of Jordan [when war comes]?
Now is the time to practice your faith; not in Occupied America. Not in Iraqi concentration camps. They will remember the way we’ve meddled in their government and how our soldiers have abused them... and they will want payment from us.
So NOW is the time to practice faith. Figure it out today, learn to handle the little things with grace and poise, and you’ll be better prepared to obey God’s command in Proverbs 3:25-26. If you do that, then... Isaiah 54:14-17. And finally...
Psalms 91:7-8 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.