Monday, March 14, 2011

Are the Uprisings in the Middle East Prophetic?

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Are the uprisings in the Middle East prophetic?

The Middle East is tearing itself apart politically as nation after nation topples its own government. In just three short months the world has watched in awe as street protestors have sent their oppressive dictators fleeing for their lives.

The match that lit the inferno was literal, as Tunisian vegetable cart vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze over his inability to be allowed to make a living. The riots that followed forced Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali just 28 days later to run for Saudi Arabia after 23 years of absolute power.

From there the fire spread to Egypt as emboldened rioters took to the streets, forcing a military coup to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from 30 years of crushing rule. Other nations followed like Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, and Yemen, all experiencing major protests. Lebanon's terrorist party Hezbollah had already dissolved their government. And now, Libya is in the middle of a blood bath as their rebels attempt to end madman Muammar Gaddafi's entrenched 42-year rule.

The world is watching this chaotic phenomenon in both fear of the future and in rejoicing over oppressive regimes falling. Hope is in the air that democracy and freedom will replace the old order. Fear is also tangible, as the specter of Islamic Sharia Law rises to choke the Middle East into submission to Allah.

Delving below the politics, students of Bible prophecy are pondering if these strange events can be found within Bible prophecy. With some trepidation, they also wonder how this could affect the timing of the Rapture.


Focus on Egypt

The biggest discussion right now among many students of Bible prophecy is over whether Egypt in particular is presently entering into some kind of prophetic fulfillment.

A February 2011 "Christ in Prophecy Journal" blog poll of 354 people looked to see where people believed Egypt stood in the prophetic light. As expected, 170 respondents (48%) wisely chose that it was too early to tell. Still, 71 respondents (20%) believe Egypt is experiencing Isaiah 19, 63 respondents (17%) believe we are witnessing the beginning of the Psalm 83 prophecy, and to a lesser degree some believe Ezekiel 38-39 or Daniel 11:40-45 are in order. Some even, after the close of the poll, suggested Ezekiel 29:12 is beginning.

Egypt Poll

What do each of those prophecies mean, and are they truly being fulfilled today? Let's take a look.


Isaiah 19

"I [God] will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian... I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord..." - Isaiah 19:2a,4

While Isaiah's oracle against Egypt certainly sounds relevant for today with Egyptian rising up against Egyptian for or against Mubarak or the interim government, it is still up in the air whether they will be given a new tyrant to rule over them. It is indeed possible that the Muslim Brotherhood will gain power among the turmoil and place the people under strict Islamic law. Or, this could ultimately be talking about the coming Antichrist.

Clearly other parts of this oracle haven't occurred yet. Verse 5 tells of the Nile drying up and the canals (Suez?) stinking. Verse 18 tells of five of Egypt's cities being taken over so they "will speak the language of Canaan." Even more amazingly, the people will turn from their idols and "swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty" and "he will respond to their pleas and heal them" (verse 21-22). God will even go as far as building a road from Assyria (modern day Iraq) through Israel to Egypt and proclaim "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance" (verses 23-25).

Prophetically, it could be that Egypt has started on the path of Isaiah 19's prophecy which starts with Egypt's fall, but without a shadow of a doubt Isaiah 19 describes Egypt's final future in Christ's Millennial Kingdom. Along with Jeremiah 12:14-17, it is revealed that Egypt will make it into Jesus' Millennial Kingdom, populated by believers, and not living under any judgment.

So, is Isaiah 19 happening today? No, most likely not. This prophecy has all the markings of a yet future fulfillment happening during the Tribulation with its blessings ending up in Christ's Millennial Kingdom.


Ezekiel 29:12

"I [God] will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries." - Ezekiel 29:12

Are the Egyptians facing a desolation and scattering of its people for 40 long years? One would think so until they read on to Ezekiel 29:19 and 30:10 which shows that the Lord promised that He would "put an end to the hordes of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon." Historically then, although there's no archaeological record of this happening, we can take the Bible at its word that this event happened over 2500 years ago.

A slim possibility exists that there may be a future fulfillment of Ezekiel 29 as well. During the coming Millennial Kingdom, if any nation doesn't send representatives to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, they will then suffer drought (Zech. 12:16-19). The Egyptians are singled out in this warning, which suggests they could also see a 40-year exile during that period if they persist in their stubbornness, making Ezekiel 29:12 also yet future. I give this only a very slight nod of the head, though, because God's praise for Egypt during the Millennium recorded in Isaiah 19:23-25 would seem to rule out the harshness of exile.

That this prophecy isn't for today should be a huge comfort to those who have begun unnecessarily fearing an Egyptian 40-year exile possibly putting off the Rapture for another 40 years.


Psalm 83/Ezekiel 38-39

"With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you... the Hagrites [Egyptians]." - Psalm 83:5-6

Psalm 83 is a prayer calling down judgment and justice upon Israel's neighboring enemies. In Psalm 83, all the nations that are listed have modern equivalents to the nations that today surround Israel: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Gaza and Egypt. Israel has never fully subjugated those lands as the prayer calls, especially since they became a nation once again in 1948.

Ezekiel 38-39, called the Gog-Magog prophecy, foretells a coalition of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, the Sudan and a number of other Islamic nations uniting together to try to destroy Israel and carry off her wealth. God stepping in to defeat this overwhelming army is nothing short of miraculous and would change the face of world politics as we know it. The Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog Battle creates three main results: 1) The world knows God exists and protects Israel, 2) all of Israel's hostile Muslim enemy countries are defeated, and 3) Israel leaves its secular humanism to accept God (though not His Son until the end of the Tribulation).

Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 are bundled together here because noticeably absent from the Gog-Magog coalition are the countries that directly border Israel. It would appear Israel would have to deal with their hostile neighbors, possibly subjugating them, for the requirements of Ezekiel 38-39 to fall into place.

If anything happening in the Middle East today is fulfilling Bible prophecy, it is that we are witnessing this very day the formation of these coalitions. Iran has set up proxy states through Hamas and Hezbollah and whomever will come to power in Egypt and Jordan that are seething to wipe Israel off the map. Israel has the world's fourth largest army which could easily subjugate those neighbors. Israel could not defeat Russia along with Iran and Turkey coming from multiple fronts, and so God will have to step in just as He told Ezekiel He would.

The fall of these Middle Eastern governments today is removing any peace treaties made with Israel and solidifying the relationships between these Islamic nations against Israel. The danger level towards Israel is being kicked up to maximum and it's possible that any day soon could see a Psalm 83 scenario unfold.


Daniel 11:40-45

"He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt." - Daniel 11:42-43a

Earlier in Daniel 11 we get a stunning play-by-play of the ongoing battle between the dynasties of Alexander the Great's generals. These kings are consecutively labeled the "King of the North" (Syrian Seleucids) and the "King of the South" (Egyptian Ptolemies). This portion of prophecy was fulfilled in such jaw dropping accuracy in the decades following Alexander the Great that it's lead some to claim that Daniel was written after the fulfillments.

Starting with Daniel 11:36, the picture clearly becomes a prophecy about the future and describes the military campaign of the Antichrist in the Middle East that occurs at the end of the Tribulation. The Antichrist's preoccupation with persecuting the Jews and Tribulation Saints emboldens some of the nations under his control to rebel, and he's forced to deal with the King of the North (possibly Syria or one of the regions controlled by one of his 10 Kings) and the King of the South (possibly Egypt or another of his 10 Kings).

Egypt is certainly wrapped up in this prophecy, but it is very much a Tribulation-centric prophecy and not something we are seeing in today's headlines.


Summary

While it's still too early to fully tell what the outcomes of the riots in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries will produce, all prophetic indications pave the way for radical Islamic regimes to take over and end any peace treaties these nations have had with Israel. Unbounded by treaties, armed by Iran, and united by Islamic hatred of all things Jewish, all prophetic indications reveal that the nations surrounding Israel will attack in a Psalm 83 scenario, followed some time soon after by an outer ring of Muslim nations which will attempt to destroy Israel based on Ezekiel 38-39's Gog-Magog Battle.

Most importantly to believers in Christ, the historic upheaval going on in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations has no prophetic significance preventing or delaying Jesus Christ returning to Rapture the Church (Isa. 26:19-21; Mal. 3:17; Lk. 21:36; Jn. 14:1-14; I Cor. 15:51-58). Nothing has to occur for Jesus' imminent return for those He loves. Believers in Christ may see Psalm 83 come to pass, but if so we can praise God that according to the Bible we are not destined to be here to witness the escalating world conflicts (1 Thes. 1:10 & 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3:10).

Are you under God's salvation, secure in the knowledge that though the world seems to be spinning out of control that God is still sovereign and is returning for you? Or, are you still rejecting God's love for you through His Son Jesus' gift of salvation, awaiting the horrors of these prophetic world events to unfold before your eyes (Jn. 3:36)? If the latter, then don't live in fear. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today!

23 comments:

Billy said...

Please, Nathan, try to get your facts straight. You said "From there the fire spread to Egypt as emboldened rioters took to the streets, forcing a military coupe to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from 30 years of crushing rule."

I know for a FACT it was a military SEDAN, not a coupe!

:)

Nathan Jones said...

Billy, didn't you see Egypt's military driving their Solstices, Spiders and Fiats towards the capital building to take it over?

Good typo catch! It passed three proofers unnoticed.

Cynthia said...

Nathan,
Thank you for putting this together - all in one place. I comprehend it all better now. What would we do without you? :)

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time believing that people in Israel are the true people of the bible,for it said that Abraham is the father of all nations,which has been proven that the people in the Israel are not the 1st people to populate the earth, so considering that fact could you have all the prophecies wrong, may be you should look at the real decents of Israel?

Moshe Sharon said...

An Arab from Gaza and a self-confessed member of Hamas once asked me, “How can we have peace?” I though it was a strange question coming from a terrorist. When I asked him if he was ready to recognize Israel's right to exist, he answered, “There is no such country as 'Israel'; there is only Palestine, my country.” That's why negotiating peace with Hamas or any other Arab faction is a fool's errand. In this man’s mind, Israel’s right to exist is not an issue because there is no Israel; there is just a large, well-armed group of space-occupying Jewish squatters, who deserve death. Furthermore, every U.S. president keeps saying the same mantra, “They [Palestinian Authority] must recognize Israel’s right to exist.” Correction; they must first recognize that Israel exists. Actually, somebody forgot to tell all of the politicians that we Jews don’t need their permission to exist as a nation; G-d gave that to us at Mount Sinai. Http://soulfulthought.blogspot.com

DrNofog said...

Amen, Moshe!
Amen!

Billy said...

Moshe,

Just as the Palestinians will never have peace over their refusal to recognize Isreal, sadly, Israel will never have peace over their refusal to recognize Jesus.

Expected Imminently said...

Amen Moshe!

Double Amen Billy!

Anonymous
ALL the earth is the Lords and ALL that is in it. From the nations He selected a particular man, his son, his grandson and twelve great-grandsons to begin a new nation on a particular plot of land he had His eye on. He decided the name of that nation and that plot of land would be the same - ISRAEL. From the womb of Israel He birthed Himself a body and called Himself Yeshua to become the salvation of the WHOLE world. That people; that land, that GODMAN is His chosen method to eventually bring salvation from sin, and everlasting peace to whosoever will, believe in the name of Yeshua Ha Meshiach as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world to take away the sin of the whole world.

That gutsy little nation has been bearing the brunt of Satan’s wrath from that day to this while recording and safeguarding the words of the Prophets for the benefit of us all. The whole world owes Israel a debt of gratitude. Not long now, and that debt WILL be paid.

Maranatha!
Sue

Henry said...

Perhaps we should also remember that by our faith in the atoning work of Yeshua we all become part of Israel. the people of GOD, not the country.Paul mentioned that by our faith(trust)in Yeshua we are in grafted into the root. We as believers then become part of all that is prophesied for the people of GOD>

Billy said...

Henry said "We as believers then become part of all that is prophesied for the people of GOD"

Not quite. We as Christians will not have to go throught the tribulation prophecies as the Jews will.

Expected Imminently said...

Israel is a physical nation with the promise of a physical land that will be fulfilled during the 1000 yr Messianic rule. Israel are earth dwellers and are the wife of Jehovah.

The Church is made up of believing Jews and Gentiles both BRANCHES of the same tree. The Church does not have a land and is not a nation. She is the Bride/Body of Christ and is her promises are spiritual while seated in heavenly places IN Christ and will rule with Him during the 1000 yrs.

Israel and the Church are from the same 'stock' but separate entities.
As Billy said she will be removed before the Time of Jacob's Trouble; the 70th Week of Daniels people the Jews the trial that is coming upon earthdwellers (unsaved).

Edward said...

Thank you Nathan for your work at getting out the Word of God.

Praise be to our great God and Father, who through Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is calling the whole world to Himself.

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." Isa 9:6

Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy! His day is fast approaching!

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen." Rev 22:20-21

There is still time for many more to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26.

Please carefully consider Jesus Christ and decide whether He is your Lord and Savior. The time is short...

Expected Imminently said...

PS
Sorry that wasn't clear about the branches. The context of the Olive Tree concerns the Jews and the Gentiles.

The Olive Tree is not a symbol of salvation, but of the spiritual life of Israel. Some natural branches were broken off through unbelief and a wild olive (Gentiles) was grafted in through faith.

When the fulness of the Gentiles is complete (at the Rapture) The hardening of Israel will end and so all Israel will be saved. During the 1000 yrs all the physical promises made to Israel will be fulfilled. :)

Anonymous said...

Please be advised: There is no rapture. When Jesus comes he will stand on the Mount Of Olives. The "Saints" 144,000 will be resurrected from their graves or changed, if alive,and will join him there. Read Rev.14 ..If you go to heaven when you die there is no need for a resurection or judgement day, Rev.20:4-6, oh and a "second" death. Please don't be misled into believing the false "rapture" theory (rapture is nowhere in the Bible).John 3:13, Acts 2:34 Not even David is in heaven.

Anonymous said...

you dispensensationalists make me puke !!

All I know is that Jesus is in control and no matter what happens .those believers who endure to the end shall be saved --Come Lord Jesus !

Expected Imminently said...

No Rapture?

The word Rapture/ Rapere is in the LATIN translation of the Bible.

In Greek it is the verb HARPAZO. Both mean the same ‘to snatch away’.

The KJV translates it as ‘CAUGHT UP’. Some call it ‘translation’; whatever English word is used, they all have the same meaning.

1) to seize, carry off by force
2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly
3) to snatch out or away.

1Thess.4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

i.e. Call a rose a daffodil or a daisy, it is still a rose.

Sue :)

Expected Imminently said...

Why is it that all the odd balls bounce onto this blog at the weekend?

Here we go again CONTEXT! CONTEXT! CONTEXT!

144,000-JEWISH – MALE – VIRGINS. The FIRSTFRUITS of ISRAEL the Jewish nation.

Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand OF ALL THE TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. (12,000 from each Tribe named after the sons of Jacob. No Gentiles and ALL are living.

Rev.7:3 “…the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

Rev.14:4These are they which were NOT DEFILED WITH WOMEN; for they are VIRGINS. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among MEN, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (NO women)

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his (12) sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in THE LAST DAYS.

Daniel9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon THY PEOPLE and upon thy HOLY CITY, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Known as Daniels 70th Week FOR Daniels people THE JEWS. Also known as the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’.

Jeremiah30:Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of JACOB’S TROUBLE; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jacob is Israel)

The Church is a mixture of both Jews AND Gentiles who are seated IN Christ as citizens of heaven, who will be ‘snatched’(harpatzo) from earth BEFORE the final seven years of trial upon unsaved EARTHDWELLERS including Israel resulting in her salvation.

Sue :)

Expected Imminently said...

Anonymous said “…those believers who endure to the end shall be SAVED…”

Absolutely!

The Greek word sōzō (saved)has a few meanings, the context reveals which one.

‘SOZO’
1) to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction
a) one (from injury or peril)
1) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health
1) to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue
b) to save in the technical biblical sense
1) negatively
a) to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment
b) to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance

All those who accept the Gospel of the Kingdom during the Tribulation become SPIRITUALLY SAVED. The new believers that escape martyrdom, and physically survive until the 2nd Coming of Jesus – will be PHYSICALLY SAVED from any more suffering. They will go into the 1000 year rule on earth by Jesus, and will repopulate the earth.

Sue :)

Anonymous said...

"you dispensensationalists make me puke !!"

You sure the problem isn't too much bias in your diet making you gag?

You have more patience than I do, Sue.

rg

Expected Imminently said...

rg!!!!

Big hug :D
X

DrNofog said...

There's just something about 144,000 "Saints", [not] go[ing] to heaven when you die, and [no]"second" death that smacks all over of Jay Hovah's Witlesses...

That might explain why "you dispensensationalists make me puke !!" was lacking just a little bit of "Christian" love 'cause, obviously, we couldn't be the "Christians", only JWs are...
;)

Anonymous said...

Excellent spot, Doc!

Hugs to you, Sue!

rg

JM said...

These "scoffers" and naysayers are led by the sprit of anti-christ to cause confusion and dout in the body of Christ. The rapture or "catching away" of the church is clearly stated in 1 thes 4:17 for all who want to believe. Unfortunately for them we should heed Jesus' instruction to the disciples to "shake off the dust of your feet"(mat 10:14)and pray for their eyes to be opened.