By Matt Leasher
When one examines the geographical scope of Bible prophecy one can’t help but easily observe the divine prominence of the nation of Israel and rightfully so as God has undoubtedly chosen Israel to be the centerpiece for fulfilling His purpose for all of history. Upon further examination of Old Testament Scriptures we also see a repeated mention of the nations that surround Israel that are her adversaries. The prophetic books of Scripture, particularly those of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel all tell of the fate of Israel’s enemy nations some of which seem to have already come to pass while some are still at hand. The fate of these enemy nations of Israel is God’s wrath. In fact to be quite precise, Ezekiel 32 mentions several nations that are consigned to the Pit …and we all know what the Pit is! What I find especially significant about the nations listed in Ezekiel 32 that are consigned to the Pit is that they are all the exact same muslim nations that are persistently threatening Israel today. They are Egypt (vs. 18), Assryia, which is today’s Syria, (vs. 22), Elam, which is today’s Iran, (vs. 24), Meshach and Tubal, which are today’s Turkey, (vs. 26), Edom, which is today’s Jordan, (vs. 29), and the Sidonians which is today’s Lebanon, (vs. 30). This is by no means a coincidence. In fact the word coincidence doesn’t even belong in Bible prophecy and isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. Lets further examine these prophetical nations that surround Israel and what the Bible has to say about them and how they relate to today’s headlines.
For starters, it is only in this day and age that we can even do an examination such as this for if it were a mere 100 years ago a map of the Middle East wouldn’t show the boundaries of the nations that are there today nor was Israel back in existence, but in the 20th century all of that has changed. We know that we are in the last days because Israel is back in the land, as of 1948 when she became a nation again, and the prophecies concerning the Lord returning to Israel can now be fulfilled but what tends to get overlooked are the enemy nations around Israel that have returned to their same approximate Biblical borders but with different names. Almost all of them have done this in the 20th century, as if the 20th century was a “stage setting” era for the end time events that are soon to take place.
There is the old saying that history repeats itself. Looking back upon history we see many examples of that. The most current one being the uncanny similarity between today’s Iranian regime and the 1930’s Nazi regime. Both were led by a maniac bent on eradicating the existence of the Jewish people while threatening the rest of the West by parading extravagant media displays of all of their latest weaponries. The only difference is that Iran is on the brink of obtaining weapons of mass destruction. One can only imagine what would have came if Hitler had possession of such weapons. You would think that the world should had learned their lesson that they should not have been sitting around twiddling their thumbs all those years watching Hitler build a military arsenal of evil. But as King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun”. It is with that notion that we can come to understand that Israel’s enemy nations have re-emerged back into history just as Israel has. With this in mind lets take a look at the nations that are listed in the prophetical books of the Bible as being Israel’s direct enemies and who they are now. I will list them by their Biblical references and where they are now. Take special note of the dates that they re-emerged into their current territories.
Egypt – has been an enemy of Israel since the days of Moses when they enslaved the Israelites and have been an adversary of Israel ever since. Although the great empires and dynasties of Egypt are long gone, today they are a prominent muslim nation with ties to many of Israel’s other enemies. Egypt became independent from the United Kingdom in 1922 and then a Republic in 1953. God’s anger and wrath against Egypt is declared in Psalm 78:43-51, Isaiah 19, Jeremiah 46 and Ezekiel 29, 30, and 31.
Lebanon – was once an ally to Israel during the days of King Solomon but quickly became an enemy after Solomon died. They remained in opposition to Israel throughout the years of the Kings of Israel and Judah. God’s anger and wrath towards Lebanon is declared in Isaiah 23 (Phoenicia being Lebanon), Ezekiel 26, 27, and 28 (specifically Tyre and Sidon which are capital cities still present in Lebanon today). Lebanon declared their independence from France in 1941 and was recognized in 1943. Today Lebanon is a major muslim nation that firmly opposes Israel and is home of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
Syria – is a remnant of the Biblical Assyria that was always a major enemy of Israel throughout the entire Old Testament. The capital city of Damascus is the oldest inhabited city in the world. Isaiah 17:1 declares a prophecy of the destruction of Damascus that is still yet to be fulfilled! “The burden against Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap”. If a nuclear exchange were to occur between Israel and Iran, Damascus is just in between those two nations. God’s anger and wrath against Syria is declared in Isaiah 10:5-19, Isaiah 14:24-27, Jeremiah 49:23-27, Zephaniah 2:13-15 and the whole book of Nahum prophecies judgment on Nineveh the ancient capital city of Assyria. Modern Syria became independent from France in1946. Syria is currently in coalition with Lebanon and Iran plotting against Israel under radical president Bashar al-Assad.
Ammon, Moab, Edom – all make up today’s nation of Jordan. All three were descents of Israel. The Ammonites and Moabites were related to Israel through Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Ammon and Moab were the two sons born out of the incestuous relation of Lot and his two daughters, (Genesis 19:29-38). Edom is another name for Jacob’s twin brother Esau. Throughout the Old Testament the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites are constantly at war with Israel and often would ally with other empires such as Babylon against Israel. God’s anger and wrath towards Ammon, Moab and Edom is declared in Isaiah 15, Isaiah 21, Jeremiah 48 and 49, Ezekiel 25 and 35 (Mount Seir being Edom). The book of Obadiah is about the judgment and destruction of Edom. The prophecy declares that Edom would be forever desolate. Even though the area where Edom once existed is currently controlled by Jordan, it still remains a barren desolate land. The boundaries that these three nations used to inhabit are together the same boundaries that today’s nation of Jordan resides. Jordan became an independent nation in 1946 and is the base of the Palestine Authority and has been in opposition and conflict with Israel for decades, particularly the West Bank section of Israel.
Philistia – was approximately in the same area as today’s Gaza Strip which has been a thorn in Israel’s side since it was organized in 1993. Ancient Philistia was an enemy of Israel since the days of Joshua and especially in the days of King David. Goliath the giant was a Philistine. The name of Palestine was derived from the word Philistine. God’s anger and wrath towards Philistia is declared in Isaiah 14:28-32, Jeremiah 47, Ezekiel 25:15-17. The Gaza Strip acquired its current boundaries after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and was organized in 1993 out of the Oslo accords. Israel gave it over to full control of the Palestinians in 2005. Today the Gaza Strip is the home of the terrorist organization of Hamas and a constant exchange of rocket missiles goes on between them and Israel to this day.
Elam – is the ancient name of the area that became Persia, which became Iran in 1935. Elam was the oldest son of Shem, the son of Noah through which the ancient country was named after. The Elamites later became the Medes and then came the Median-Persian Empire infamous for conquering the Babylon Empire. The Persians were both friend and foe to Israel. King Cyrus was the Persian king that allowed the Jewish captives to return to Israel and rebuild their temple and city after they conquered Babylon but later King Xerxes decreed to wipe out the Jewish people by the request of his adviser Haman in the book of Esther. (But of course we know that Esther saved the day). Persia remained Persia for centuries even after the Persian Empire fell to the Grecian Empire. In 1935 it became Iran and then the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. God’s anger and wrath against Elam is declared in Isaiah 11:11, Jeremiah 25:25, and Jeremiah 49:34-39 which is an apocalyptic oracle against Elam! Today Iran is undoubtedly the most ominous threat to Israel headed by its maniacal leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has openly declared his intention for the elimination of Israel as a nation echoing verse 4 from Psalm 83 whether he knows it or not. Iran’s ever increasing military strength and alliances are beyond any other threat that Israel faces today. Ezekiel 38 & 39 foretell Persia, (Iran), as being one of the coalition of nations that attempt to invade Israel in the last days provoking divine interaction from the Lord Himself.
The other nations that are listed in Ezekiel 38 & 39 are many of Israel’s current muslim enemies as well. There is Put which is today’s Libya, a muslim dominant nation led by longtime radical leader and Israel hater Muammar al-Gaddafi, then there is Cush which is today’s Ethiopia and/or Sudan. Sudan is a muslim country but Ethiopia is still a country of mixed religions. There is Meshech, Tubal and Lydia which are areas located in today’s Turkey which is the newest nation to become a muslim dominant enemy to Israel. Turkey was a long time ally of Israel and a secular nation until just recently when Abdullah Gul became the first Islamic president since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 and Turkey has recently turned their backs on Israel. Turkey also has a very large and powerful military. Then there is Rosh and Magog, areas that are determined to be in today’s Russia. Russia has recently become a vastly large muslim populace but is still an independent federal republic of its own, however, within the last 7 or so years they have become very strong allies with Iran and have assisted them greatly in their nuclear program. So looking at these nations from the Ezekiel 38 & 39 prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled we can certainly see that the prophet Ezekiel clearly was seeing into the current day that we are living in. The names of the nations may have changed but the circumstance is exactly as Ezekiel predicted it would be… in the last days!
Aside from all of the nations that I have listed above there are few short mentions from the Old Testament prophets of some other areas that are significant to today’s headlines. Such as Kedar and Hazor whose judgment is declared in Jeremiah 49:28-33. They are areas in today’s Saudi Arabia. The prophecy says that Hazor will be a desolation forever, a dwelling place for jackals and that no one will reside there, (vs. 33). Today’s Saudi Arabia is full of desert wilderness where no one dwells. There is also the mention of Teman several times which is in the area of today’s nation of Yemen. Prophecies concerning Teman are found in Jeremiah 49:7, Ezekiel 25:13, Amos 1:12 and Obadiah 1:9. Yemen is yet another muslim country that has recently been in the news headlines several times in regards to various terrorist plots.
Then there is Babylon. God used the Babylonian Empire to chastise His people in Judah by allowing them to conquer Jerusalem, destroy the first temple and take His people captive for 70 years but Babylon was then conquered themselves by the Media-Persian Empire and went out of existence. God’s anger and wrath against Babylon are declared in Isaiah 13, Jeremiah 50 & 51, and Revelation 17 & 18. The capital city of Babylon itself is located in today’s Iraq and Saddam Hussein began to reconstruct the ancient ruins of Babylon with intentions of making it a palace and headquarters for his own regime. Several prophecies in Zechariah and Revelation declare that Babylon will be the headquarters and religious fortress for the anti-christ in the last days. Currently the future of the nation of Iraq seems to be almost in limbo as the government is still in a state of repair and the US military is in the process of pulling out. If there is anywhere in the Middle East that would be up for grabs for a world dictator to use as a headquarters in the near future, it would be Iraq… which is where Babylon is. On a side note, Babylon is also the location of where the tower of Babel was constructed in Genesis 11, which was known as the land of Shinar in those times. The tower of Babel was the last time the entire world tried to come together as one entity in opposition to God and that same geographical area just may very well be the center of a coming New World Order that we see rapidly forming before our very eyes today.
So looking back at all of the nations listed above and their scenarios what does all of this mean? It means that Bible prophecy is as relevant today as it was when it was written. It means that the geographical aspect of Bible prophecy is one of the most visible and tangible evidences to the truth and accuracy of the prophetic Scriptures. You can literally hold the world news section of your newspaper and your Bible side by side and see the stunning accuracy. It means that we should take all of the yet unfulfilled prophecies literally since history shows us that the fulfilled prophecies have come true just as they were written. It means that the Lord has warned us of things to come so that we may know when His return is near and it means that the nations that go against Israel, (God’s land), are going to be subjected to His divine wrath, (see Genesis 12:2-3). We can be sure of this because we have His Word on it! Bible prophecy is not meant to scare us but to prepare us.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21).