IRAN IN BIBLE PROPHECY
The Prince of Persia
Iran is a nation that figures prominently in the news these days. Three plus years ago (Sept. 2001) after the terrorist attacks upon America, President George Bush mentioned the nation of Iran and depicted it as being one of the notorious members of the now infamous “axis of evil” nations. Still, most people in the West know very little about Iran, and the vast majority of American’s are completely unaware of the history of the US relationship with Iran, and the fact that the region of Iran actually has had a long and significant role in world affairs.
While Persia has had ties deeply rooted in world history, the direct American-Iranian relationship only commenced in the late 1930’s. Persia joined the allied forces against Germany in 1943, and thus the World War II Mid-east theatre provided the stage that began the rather brief history of the US-Iranian relationship. It is a relationship that has also undergone a complete about face since the 1970’s.
Within the scope of this remarkable turn in geo-political affairs in the international relationship between Iran (Persia) and the United States are a host of highly significant factors relative to the prophesied signs of the times, and imminent world events in these Last Days.
It was 2540 years ago that the Old Testament prophet Daniel first came into contact with the empire of the Medes and Persians. On a fateful night in 536BC, while King Belshazzar and his ruling company partied in drunken revelry, Darius, the King of the Medes diverted the Euphrates River and his armies entered into the fortress-palace of Babylon and destroyed it. Thus, as Babylon receded into ancient memory, Persia stepped to the forefront of world power.
The Ancient History of Elam (Medo-Persia, or Iran)
Iran, the land of the Aryans has a long and rich history. Some of the world's most ancient settlements have been excavated in the Caspian region and on the Iranian plateau. Village life began there around 4000 BC. (post Edenic era) The Aryans appeared here about 2000BC and split into two main groups, the Medes and the Persians. But the geographical region that we know today as the modern state of Iran has been dominated in history by five principle powers.
The first tribe to dominate this region was the ancient Elamites, or the descendants of Elam. The five contenders for preeminence in Iran for the first 4000 years of its history have included besides the Elamites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and finally the Medes and Persians. Elam was a son of Shem and a grandson of Noah.
The descendants of Elam established the nation of Elam in the southwestern portion of Iran. Elam was bounded on the north by Media and Assyria, on the east and southeast by Persia, and on the south by the Persian Gulf. The Elamites lived primarily in the area east of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. During their history, the Elamites struggled with the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and the Persians for domination of the Mesopotamian region of the ancient world.
The great Babylonian dynasty of UR (Abraham’s original home) was brought to an end about 1950 BC by the Elamites, who destroyed the city and took its king prisoner. The capital of Elam during its entire history was Shushan (Susa). Susa was always the pride and joy of the Elamites and later under the Persians. Susa was a city that stood for 5000 years until it was totally sacked and raized to the ground by the Mongols in the 13th century AD. The site is present-day Shush, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of the Persian Gulf.
The Bible also records that an ancient Elamite King named Chedorlaomer led a group of eastern kings on military raids into Palestine about 2000BC. These eastern kings defeated several cities in the Jordan River plain, one city among them being Sodom. Abraham and his allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, with their personal armies, finally defeated Chedorlaomer and his fellow kings and rescued Lot, regaining the wealth the easterners had captured.
When Cyrus the Great (reigned 550-529BC) established the Persian Empire, he made Shushan its capital. Darius the Great (ruled about 521-486BC) also built his magnificent royal palace in Sushan. This palace, later occupied by Artaxerxes II (404-359BC), figured prominently in the biblical story of Esther. It was also in the city of Shushan that the prophet Daniel had his vision of the ram and the goat (Daniel 8:2) and where Nehemiah lived in exile. According to a tradition of the Shiite Muslims, the present-day village of Shush (ancient Shushan) is the site of the tomb of the Old Testament prophet Daniel.
But from about 2000 to 1800BC, the Elamites expanded their kingdom at the expense of the Mesopotamian city-states, until Hammurabi (about 1728-1686BC) finally put an end to Elamite expansion, and Elam became a virtual province of Babylon until about 1200BC. For the next few hundred years Elam was subjugated by various Baylonian kings.
From about 740BC onward, Assyria's power created a more serious threat to the Elamites than did Babylon. Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, conquered Elam about 645 BC. It was upon the death of the ruthless Ashurbanipal, that the Medes and the Persians formed an alliance and destroyed the Assyrian stronghold on Iran.
The word “Iran” basically means the land of the Aryans, and this whole area of the Medes-Persians and Elamites had been inhabited by Indo-Europeans who had begun migrating into Iran by entering the plateau from beyond the Caucasus via routes around the Caspian Sea. Those that had settled in the northern and central areas were called the Medes, those that settled in the Fars area were called the Persians. (eastern area of modern Iran)
The Medes emerged as a regional power when they defeated the Assyrians in 610BC by destroying the Biblical Nineveh. By this time the Persians had already taken the part of Elam called Anshan. After the Assyrian Empire was destroyed, the Medes annexed almost all the rest of Elam. Then in 550BC the Persians led by Cyrus challenged the Median Astyages and captured the Median capitol. Cyrus then made peace with the Medians and consolidated what became known as the Medo-Persian Empire.
The entire Medo-Persian Empire was then divided into administrative districts, or satraps, which established regional governors under the authority of the King. It may be recalled from Daniel chapter six that after Persia and Media were combined that the King administered 120 satraps, which in turn had three ruling presidents, with Daniel being the chief among them. After the sixth century BC, Elam was never again an independent nation.
The History of the Medes and Persians (Iran)
Persia was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world. In fact, it was the Persian Empire that defeated and replaced the Babylonian Empire of Biblical fame. The Persians flourished and dominated the near-east geo-political landscape from 539-331BC. (The Bible records the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the Persians, setting the stage for the return of the Hebrew people to Jerusalem about 538-445BC, following their long period of captivity by the Babylonians that lasted seventy years from 606-536BC)
The Old Testament actually contains many references to the nation of Persia and its representatives. There are many references to the "kings of Persia," and to several of the most notable of the Persian Kings, such as Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes. The prophet Daniel (8:20) speaks of the "kings of Media and Persia, and Daniel 10:13 mentions the "prince of the kingdom of Persia." The Book of Esther also refers to the dual "powers of Persia and Media.” Daniel 5:28 prophesied that Belshazzar's kingdom would be "given to the Medes and Persians. In fact, the narrative of Daniel chapter five includes the fact that Babylon fell to the Median King Darius, on the very night that Belshazzar saw the infamous handwriting on the wall.
The Persians apparently sprang from a people from the hills of Russia known as Indo-Aryans. As early as 2000BC, they began to settle in Iran and along the coast of the Black Sea. Two of these Indo-European tribes settled on the Elamite border and to the east of the Zagros mountain range. The first known references to them are made in the inscriptions of Shalmaneser III (858-824BC). They are noted as the Parsua (Persians) and Madai (Medes).
The first mention of a Persian chieftain refers to his role as an ally aligned against Sennacherib of Assyria. His son was called "King, Great King, King of the City of Anshan." His grandson fathered Cyrus II, who is one of the most celebrated kings in world history.
Cyrus II was the literal founder of the mighty Persian Empire. Cyrus II ascended to the Parsi throne located in Anshan in 559 BC. He conquered the Median King Astyages. (the grandfather of his wife) Then he defeated Lydia (about 546BC) and Babylon (about 536 BC), finally establishing the Persian Empire. Cyrus' rule was a result of the sovereignty of God. In contrast to previous rulers, especially the Assyrians, Cyrus was humane and benevolent toward those whom he defeated. It was Cyrus, the Persian king who issued the decree restoring the Jews to their homeland, following their long period of captivity by the Babylonians. (see II Chronicles 36:22-23; and Ezra 1:1-4)
Cyrus was the founder of the central governing system under which each province, or satrapy, was governed by an official who answered to the king. However, he allowed a remarkable degree of freedom of religion and customs for the vassal states, including Palestine. He developed roads, cities, postal systems, and legal codes, and treated the subject nations kindly and humanely. Cyrus accomplished all of this because he was God's tool, just as Assyria, who conquered the northern portion of Israel, was God's rod of anger. Hence the Bible usually refers to Cyrus in favorable terms (see Isaiah 44:28; 45:3)
Cambyses II (530-522BC), the son of Cyrus, reigned after his father. During his reign, Egypt was added to the list of nations conquered by Persia. The next Persian king, Darius I (521-486BC), was not a direct descendant of Cyrus but was of the royal Achaemenid bloodline. It was Darius I that was defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon in 490BC.
This is the same King Darius who, in his second year, ordered the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt after work on it had been discontinued for 14 years. (see Ezra 4:24; and 6:1) He also gave a generous subsidy that made it possible to complete the Temple construction. The extent of the Persian Empire under Darius is reflected in the writings of Esther. (India to Ethiopia) (see Esther 1:1; and 10:1) This vast territory was nearly 4,900 kilometers (3,000 miles) long and 800-2,400 kilometers (500 to 1,500 miles) wide.
Xerxes ruled Persia from 486 to 465BC. As Xerxes was actually Ahasuerus, he is the king mentioned in the Book of Esther. Esther did not become queen until the seventh year of his reign, which would have been about 478BC. This was two years after Xerxes devastating defeat at Salamis (480BC) which ended Persia's last hope for conquering Greece, and laid the foundation for the rise of Alexander the Great.
Another Persian king, Artaxerxes Longimanus I (464-424BC), illustrates one of the ironies of history. This minor Persian king was of major importance because of his connection with the Hebrew people. Apparently two of the three returns of the Jewish people from captivity in Babylon occurred during his reign. The second return was apparently under Ezra.
This was made possible because of the generosity of Artaxerxes. The third return occurred in 445BC and is recorded in Nehemiah, and this date is notorious in the landmarks of Bible prophecy, especially as it relates to the first coming of Jesus. (Daniel 9: 24-27) The specific purpose of this return to Jerusalem allowed by Artaxerxes was to rebuild the city walls, and it also laid the foundation for the circumstances surrounding the geo-political events in Jesus lifetime.
The religion of the ancient Persians was centered around Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster believed in dualism in which Ahura Mazda (Ormazd) headed the gods of goodness (Amesha Spentas) and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) headed the gods of evil (daevas). After the decline of Persia, the region of Iran was left open to become one of the first countries to be occupied by the early Islamic empire which burst outward from Arabia in the seventh century. Persia has ever since maintained a distinct cultural identity within the Islamic world by retaining its own language and adhering to the strict Shia interpretation of Islam.
The History of Media and its Association with Persia
Media was an ancient country of Asia situated west of Parthia, north of the Persian Gulf, east of Assyria and Armenia, and south of the Caspian Sea. The old country of Media is now included in parts of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. The history of the Medes is complex, because it involves many entangling alliances and the rise and fall of several nations. The Medes, like the Persians were an Indo-European people who invaded the rough mountain terrain south of the Caspian Sea. In the ninth and eighth centuries BC, Assyrian kings conducted campaigns against the Medes, forcing them to pay tribute.
The mighty Tiglath-Pileser (745-727BC) invaded Media and added part of it to the Assyrian Empire. By 700BC and the era of the Jewish prophet Isaiah, a prosperous realm had been established between the Medes and Persians. Media is first mentioned in the Old Testament as the destination to which Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, deported the Israelites from Samaria around 721BC. The Medes are mentioned in Ezra in connection with Darius' search for the roll containing the famous decree of Cyrus that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem.
(The prophet Daniel prophesied that King Belshazzar's Babylonian kingdom would fall to "the Medes and Persians")
Around 710BC Sargon II of Assyria defeated the Medes and forced them to pay a tribute consisting of the thoroughbred horses for which Media was famous. The Medes, however, increased in strength and joined forces with Babylon. The Medes under Cyaxares and the Babylonians under Nabopolassar captured Asshur, the ancient capital of Assyria, in 614BC. In 610BC this alliance overthrew Nineveh, the proud capital of Assyria, causing the crash of the Assyrian Empire. The seventh century Hebrew prophet Nahum expressed the great relief felt by all the neighboring nations at Nineveh's fall. Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar, married Cyaxares' daughter, strengthening the bond between the two countries. During the era of Nebuchadnezzar and the time of Jeremiah (about 605-552BC), the Median kingdom reached the height of its power.
Persia was dominated by Media until the time of Cyrus II who was founder of the Persian Empire. In 549BC Cyrus moved against Media and its king Astayges, and joined the kingdoms together. Yet under the Persians, Media remained the most important province of Persia. As a consequence, the dual name, "Medes and Persians," remained for a long time. Medo-Persia, a dual nation, then progressed to become a great empire that ruled Asia until it was conquered by Alexander the Great. (330BC) After Alexander's death, Medo-Persia became part of Syria.
The Post Medo-Persian History of Iran
Darius III, the last Achaemenian (Persian royal) king was defeated in a series of battles starting at 333BC at Issus by Alexander the Great, who died shortly afterwards in 323BC. The Seleucids of Syria then took control of the Persian territory for about 100 years. At around 220BC the Parthian leader Arsaces declared Parthia's independence from Syria. Parthia included the area to the southwest of the Caspian Sea.
The Parthians ruled over the Iranian plateau the next 400 years. They were militarily formidable and even challenged the Romans on numerous occasions for the control of the Near-East.
The Parthians fought frequent wars against intruding Armenians and Scythians. Finally, a Persian princedom from Fars named Ardeshir I challenged and defeated the Parthian king Artabanus V in 224AD beginning a new dynasty in Iran known as the "Sassanian." The Sassanians considered themselves the heirs of the old Achaemenids. The Sassanian king Khosrow II came close to achieving the Sassanian dream of restoring the old Achaemenid (Persian) boundaries when Jerusalem fell to him and the Byzantine capitol of Constantinople was under his siege.
Khosrow II, or Khosrow Parviz as he was better known, over-extended his army and over-taxed the people to the point that when the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610-41AD) in a tactical move abandoned his besieged capital and sailed up the Black Sea to attack Iran from the rear, there was no resistance. Heraclius’s Byzantine army then marched through Mesopotamia and western Iran sacking Takht-i Sulayman and the Palace of Dastgerd. The Sassanians never recovered.
Internal dissension and a long brutal conflict with the Byzantines left Sassanian Persia prey for the Arabs. In 636AD the Arab Muslims swept into the Euphrates basin, and in a three day battle at Al-Qadissiyeh in present day Iraq, they defeated the last king of the Sassanians and soon the entire Iraq-Iran region fell to the Muslims. From 636AD onward, the Mesopotamian near-east has been the strict domain of the Muslims. While various leaders have come and gone, the one thing that has been constant in Iran-Iraq has been the religious subjugation of the people to either the Shia or Sunni sect of Islam. Persia went from Zoroastrianism to Islam in one fell swoop.
The Birth of the Iranian State
The Safavid dynasty founded the state of Iran in 1501. Shah Ismail established civil order in old Persia and together with the Shiite sect of Islam, which became the state religion, the Safavids and Islam made Iran into a prosperous state, reaching its height of glory during the reign (1587–1629) of Shah Abbas (Abbas the Great). Abbas drove out the Portuguese colonialists who had established colonies on the Persian Gulf early in the 16th century. Shah Abbas also utilized trade relations with Great Britain to make Iran an economic success. However, the Safavid dynasty battled in continuous wars with neighboring Afghanis who eventually overthrew the Shah Husein in 1722.
An interval of Afghan rule followed until Nadir Shah expelled them and established (1736) the Iranian Afshar dynasty. Nadir Shah, a despotic ruler, was assassinated in 1747. The Afshar dynasty was followed by the Zand dynasty (1750–94), founded by Karim Khan, who established his capital at Shiraz. His rule brought a period of peace and renewed prosperity. However, the country was soon again in turmoil, which lasted until the advent of Aga Muhammad Khan.Aga Muhammad Khan defeated the last ruler of the Zand dynasty and established the Qajar dynasty in Iran. (1794–1925)
This long period under Khan saw Iran steadily lose territory to neighboring countries and falter under the increasing political pressure of European nations, and in particular Czarist Russia. Under Fath Ali Shah (1797–1834), Persian claims in the entire Caucasian area were challenged by the Russians in a long struggle that ended with the Treaty of Gulistan (1813) and the Treaty of Turkmanchay (1828), by which Iran was forced to give up the Caucasian lands. Herat, the rich city on the Hari Rud, which had been part of the ancient Persian Empire, was taken by the Afghans. A series of campaigns to reclaim it ended with the intervention of the British on behalf of Afghanistan and resulted in the recognition of Afghan independence by Iran in 1857.
The Modern State of Iran and the 20th Century
The discovery of oil in Iran in the early 1900s intensified the rivalry between Great Britain and Russia for control over the Iranian plateau region, and helped to make Iran a major factor in the world geo-political scheme. The British-Russian rivalry continued right through to World War I and resulted in an Anglo-Russian agreement that divided Iran into spheres of influence. In 1919, Iran made a trade agreement with Great Britain in which Britain formally affirmed Iran's independence. After Iranian recognition of the USSR in a treaty of 1921, the Soviet Union renounced Czarist imperialistic policies toward Iran, canceling all debts and concessions, and withdrawing its occupation forces from Iranian territory. Iran continued to look to Great Britain as a counter-force to the threat of Bolshevik Russia’s lust for Iranian oil.
In 1921, Reza Khan, an Iranian army officer, effected a coup and established a military dictatorship. In 1925 Reza Khan was subsequently elected hereditary Shah, thus ending the Qajar dynasty and founding the new Pahlevi dynasty of Iran, and establishing the Shah as Prime Minister of Persia. He implemented policies to create a westernized parliament in Iran, and finally in 1935, the new government of Persia changed its name officially to Iran.
After the 1941 German invasion of the USSR, Iran quickly allied itself with the Allied forces, even welcoming British and American troops into Iran to handle the delivery of war supplies to the USSR to wage war against the German army.
At the Tehran Conference of 1943, the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR, guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of Iran. However, the USSR, dissatisfied with the refusal of the Iranian government to grant it oil concessions, fomented a revolt in the north which led to the 1945 establishment of the People's Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People's Republic, headed by Soviet-controlled leaders.
When Soviet troops remained in Iran following WWII, Iran appealed to America and Great Britain for protection. The Soviets finally withdrew in 1946 and in 1947 Iran and the United States began a cooperation and development program to help Iran build its oil industry. Thus began the relationship between America and Persia. (Iran)
In 1954, Iran allowed an international consortium of British, American, French, and Dutch oil companies to operate its oil facilities, with profits shared equally between Iran and the consortium. Iran established closer relations with the West, creating the Baghdad Pact and began receiving large amounts of military and economic aid from the United States until the late 1960s.Starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 1970s, the Shah undertook a broad program designed to improve economic and social conditions. Land reform was a major priority.
Although the voters of Iran overwhelmingly approved the Shah's extensive plan, it met grave resistance form the Muslim Waqf. Although the Shah held close reins on the government as absolute monarch and moved toward some democratic reforms, a feud developed between the Shah and the Islamic Shiite clerics within Iran. Iran's pro-Western policies continued into the 1970s; however, opposition to such growing Westernization and secularization was strongly denounced by the Islamic clergy, headed by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had been exiled from Iran in 1964 .
* In 1971 Iran commemorated the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great with an elaborate celebration in the desert at Persepolis.
* Ironically, this 2500year landmark in Persian history coincides with the lifetime of Daniel, and the significant prophetic detail Daniel conveyed about the last days. Daniel’s prophecy of the great image and the four Gentile beasts parallel the “times of the Gentiles” that has run concurrently throughout the last 2500 years.
The Islamic Revolution Unloosed
It was just over a quarter century ago that Iran was a good friend of America, and thus the scenario depicted by the prophet Ezekiel concerning a Last Days alliance between Persia and Russia looked to be impossible. But today, Iran is a Russian nuclear client state with close ties to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Iran and the multi-tentacled terrorist infrastructure emanating from Teheran and Damascus are dedicated to the destruction of both the United States and Israel.
It is important to remember that, until 1979, not only was Iran a close ally of the United States, it was also one of the most heavily Westernized nations in the Islamic world. Then with the Islamic revolution, Shah Pahlavi was deposed, and the fanatical Islamic Mullahs came to power, and Iran quickly became America’s worst nightmare.
Prophecy scholars should have taken note of this amazing turnabout in Iran, for it was the landmark event that laid the geo-political foundation for Persia's inclusion in Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog scenario. Prior to 1979, it didn't seem to make any sense that a western friendly Iran, could find itself part of a Russian-led invasion on the mountains of Israel?
But that is the reason that Bible prophecy is so interesting and requires ongoing circumspect. Looked at from this perspective, it is nothing short of amazing that Ezekiel could so confidently pen the exact roster of nations that will move against Israel in the last days from his vantage point in history almost 2,600 years ago! (Persia, Libya, Ethiopia, Gomer, and Togarmah)
Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini was exiled from Iran in 1964 for instigating religious and political uprisings against the Shah. From 1964 to 1978, Khomenini resided in Najaf Iraq, (the same place where American troops in Iraq face the Shiite cleric Sadr’s militia today) where he continued to export his theological diatribes into Iran to foment student unrest and instigate political insurgencies against the Shah.
The most visible sign of the popularity that Ayatollah Khomeini was gaining in Iran came when students at the Feyziyeh madreseh began holding demonstrations in the religious city of Qom, protesting the Shah’s westernization of Iran. The Shah reacted with tough police action, resulting in many violent confrontations, in response to which Ayatollah Khomeini preached Jihadic fervor styled sermons demanding the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime and the installation of an Islamic theocratic form of government.
Shah Pahlavi sought and secured the deportation of Ayatollah Khomeini from Iraq by an agreement with the Iraqi government in 1978. Khomeini was expelled from Iraq and ended up in exile in Paris, France, in the suburb of Neauphle-le-Chateau in a house that had been rented for him by Iranian exiles in France. Journalists from across the world began to parade to France, and they transformed the images and words of the Ayatollah Khomeini into a world media-cult following.
From Paris, Ayatollah Khomeini used the world media to popularize the Islamic Revolution and openly called for the abdication of the Shah. The Shah resorted to martial law under his dreaded Savak secret police, but soon governmental controls faltered, and the Shah was forced to flee Iran on January 16, 1979.
Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran and led religious revolutionaries to the final overthrow of the Shah's government on Feb. 11. In March a nationwide referendum resulted in a massive vote in favor of the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini proclaimed the next day, April 1, 1979, as the "first day of God's government."
He assumed the title of "Imam" (highest religious rank in Shia Islam). The Ayatollah banned all western influences in the Iranian culture and mandated that a new Constitution be written to conform Iran into a Shiite Islamic Republic.
On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants under the Ayatollah’s direction seized the US Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 American hostages. Khomeini refused all appeals, and instigated an environment of hostility and agitation towards the United States, calling America the Great Satan!
The Carter Administration responded with an economic boycott and broke off all diplomatic relations with Iran, The hostage crisis lasted 444 days and was finally resolved on January 20, 1981 after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the new US President. Nearly all the Khomeini conditions were met, including the unfreezing of nearly $8 billion in Iranian assets. And unfortunately, America sadly compromised with a building terrorist-sponsoring state by trading arms for its hostages.
Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989, but Iran has steadfastly continued its course of fomenting Islamic terrorism aimed at annihilating Israel (the little satan) and driving the US (the big satan) out of the Middle East.
The greatest geo-politial and diplomatic mistake of modern American history was the disastrous strategy decisions of the Jimmy Carter administration, (with Zbigniev Brezinski formulating foreign policy) when America stood by and let Ayatollah Khomeini succeed in expelling the American friendly Shah so that the radical Khomeinin could return from exile and take Iran in a headlong fundamentalist charge back to the Quran-glorified 7th-century culture of the Arabian Peninsula. This era of the Islamic Revolution is what started the modern worldwide Muslim fundamentalist revival that threatens the security of the United States today, and gave impetus to the Jihadist terrorist ideology!
Virtually all the terrorism in the world today comes from the seeds of the ayatollah's demonic inspiration. The prospect of these fanatical Muslim fundamentalist zealots possessing nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles should frighten the entire Western world. It should drive us into immediate action to prevent it at any costs. This nuclear time bomb is already ticking and the window of opportunity to intercept an Islamic terror-holocaust is quickly closing. In the interim, the US and Israel are squarely the intended targets of Islamic terrorism. It is only a matter of time until this bubble must burst.
At this writing, hundreds of young Iranian men and women(mostly women) have volunteered to act as suicide bombers against US forces in the middle east and Israel. Iran's government is trying to distance itself from these activities but still had government personnel present at organization rallies that were dedicated to soliciting volunteers for these suicidal missions.
Iraq Attacks Iran and Russia Fails in Afghanistan
On September 22, 1980 Iraq invaded Iran commencing an eight-year war primarily fought over the disputed Shatt al Arab waterway that empties into the Persian Gulf.
The boundaries of the modern states throughout the entire Middle East (including Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran) were drawn up by the British and French after WWI, and these two colonial powers cared very little for the intricate tribal differences and contentions that existed. The region had never known state sanctioned borders in their history. The oil and waterways of the Persian Gulf area have been hotly disputed ever since.
The Iraq-Iran war rapidly escalated, and led to an estimated 500,000 to one million casualties. Weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological) were used by both countries. Khomeini rejected diplomatic initiatives and called for the overthrow of Iraq's President, Saddam Hussein.
US government officials secretly visited Iran in 1986 to trade arms with the Iranians in the hopes of securing the release of American hostages being held in Lebanon. Iran was heavily involved in supporting, training and equipping the Shiite terrorists engaged against Israel (little Satan) in Lebanon. In fact, Hezbollah was the first terrorist cell to utilize the concept of suicide bombers, and with assistance from Iran, they plotted the murder of 283 American marines in a Beirut terrorist-suicide attack. In reality, the event marked the beginning of the terrorist’s declaration of war on America.
It would take America another eighteen years (9-11) to wake up to that fact. Instead of declaring war on the shadowy terrorists and their state sponsors, the United States engaged in a foreign policy of dual containment. It seemed at the time to be the path of least resistance and the most opportune method to counter the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.
The US lent its support to Iraq and Saddam Hussein in its war against Iran and also lent material support to the Afghani Mujhadeen rebels in their fight against Soviet imperialism. It was a foreign policy that would ultimately backfire, and reap a whirlwind of geo-political ramifications for America.
The Russian fiasco in Afghanistan ultimately provided the needed power vacuum for the Taliban to rise to power, and for Afghanistan to become the training ground for Al Qaeda. Eventually the Soviet Union collapsed leaving the entire Arab “anti-Israel” nexus without a super-power counter against American influence in the region. The Iraq-Iran war ended in a devastating stalemate and with both countries economically strapped. But more than anything, it solidified the Mullahs Islamic grip on power and influence in the Iranian sphere, and provided them with the geo-religious logistics and terrorist infrastructure to menace the Middle East Peace Process, and galvanize the Arab-Muslim world against the United States.
The impetus for the Islamic hatred for America was the simple fact that America continued to support Israel.
Soon after the Iran-Iraq and Afghan wars subsided, Saddam Hussein decided he needed more oil revenue to survive and rebuild his war machine, so he invaded Kuwait. Thus began the first post-Cold War world crisis, and a test-case for the New World Order. It can be described as such not only because it occurred after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in Europe and the dramatic moves toward East-West détente but also because of the characteristics of the crisis itself.
The stakes in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, for the first time in 40 years did not place Soviet and Western interests in direct conflict. Rather than falling into competition over how to handle the crisis, the United States and the Soviet Union both realized that a cutoff in oil exports from the Middle East would damage the oil market and hamper large-scale economic to Russia from the West.
President Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev openly described the Persian Gulf crisis as a test case for the "new world order" and a test of the United Nations as a genuine force for peace and justice, and thus of Soviet-Western cooperation.
Iran, as the base of the Islamic Revolution, not only survived Khomeini's death and the war with Iraq, but it has emerged to galvanize the Muslim world into forming its own block to both the eastern and western spheres of world dominance. Nevertheless, Iran is a dependent country and always has been throughout its revolution. During the Cold War, when it became independent of America, Iran was forced to become more dependent on Moscow and, more recently, on the European Union in order to oppose the United States.
And of course the Mullahs agenda and their own claim on power is rooted upon the Koran’s appeals to fight against Israel’s existence. Since America has consistently supported Israel’s right to exist, it is portrayed by the clerics of Iran as the Great Satan!
In 1997, Mohammed Khatami, a moderate liberal Muslim cleric, was elected President of Iran, which was widely seen as a reaction against the country's repressive religious and social policies and its lack of economic progress. Several European Union countries began renewing economic ties with Iran in the late 1990s. The United States, however, continued to block more normalized relations, arguing that Iran had been implicated in international terrorism and was developing a nuclear weapons capacity. Tensions between Iran and the United States have dramatically increased since the American-led invasion of Iraq in March of 2003.
Iranian government support for Shiite (Sadr) militias in Karbala and Najaf, Iraq have also further intensified the already inflamed US-Iranian relationship. The Teheran-Damascus Axis, sensing an American anti-terror thrust into the Mid-east region in its pursuit of terrorists have in return stepped up their unequivocal support for Islamic Jihadists and Shiite militant operations in the infamous Sunni triangle against the US and against the newly formed Iraqi government. It must be noted that when President Bush mentioned the Axis of Evil nations in his post 9-11 address to the US Congress, ears were wide open in Iran.
As a sponsor of terror, Iran knows full well that it is on the radar-scope of America’s drive to exterminate terrorism. And when all of these things are viewed under the microscope of Bible prophecy, you can mark it down, there will be no peace in Iraq, let alone Israel, so long as the terrorist masters rule in Damascus, Riyadh, and Teheran.
After the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the US continued its "dual containment" policy under the Clinton administration focusing on the twin threats of Iraq and Iran. However, with the weakening of Iraq following the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the United States looked to balance the regional powers by weakening Iran through various means such as trade sanctions and political isolation.
In 1989 Iran had signed a series of long-term economic and military cooperation agreements with Russia, which in subsequent years made Russia the primary supplier of combat aircraft for Iran's air force, and the supplier of diesel powered submarines for the Iranian navy.
Despite US concerns, Russia also began construction of an $800 million nuclear power reactor in southern Iran, (Bushehr) and the two countries agreed to set up joint companies to explore and produce Caspian Sea oil. It should be noted for the sake of Bible prophecy that the EU is also looking to develop the Caspian Sea oil reserves.
Iran is Pushing the Nuclear Weapons Proliferation ButtonWhile the world has been focused on Iraq and its WMD proliferation schemes, Iran has been making great strides in acquiring a nuclear bomb. Just as the UN turned out to be a miserable failure in diminishing the militant stature of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, so it is now showing itself to be equally impotent in regard to yet another state sponsor of terrorism.
The Islamic government of Iran insists that America and Israel have no legitimate rights to obstruct the Iranian nuclear development program.
The Russian official overseeing the Russian assistance program in building Iran’s nuclear facilities, a man named Youri Savilov asserts that threats to destroy the Iranian facility by the US and Israel contravene international law. The Russian official concluded that Israel's claims against Iranian nuclear weapons have no basis since Israel itself possesses a large arsenal of nuclear armaments. He has regularly accused the Bush Administration of "misleading the public and international community by falsely claiming the existence of biological and chemical weapons in other nations, and that Israel is the renegade nation of the region because of its previous preemptive actions against Iraq’s nuclear program.
Recently, Russia announced that it would have Iran’s nuclear program completed by mid 2005.
The ongoing cooperation of Russia with Iran in conjunction with nuclear capabilities is an activity of extreme significance and also points to the gathering alliance spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel, and will be included in the succeeding section of this article.
Iran's Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani recently revealed that Iran’s new Shahab-3 missile, based on the North Korean Nodong-1 and modified with Russian technology, has a range of 810 miles, which would allow it to strike anywhere in Israel. The Iranians are painfully aware that Israel will not allow them to develop a nuclear weapon. They are equally aware that the last Arab enemy to come close was Saddam Hussein, before Israeli warplanes reduced Iraq's Osiraq reactor to cinders.
Iran deployed the Shahab-3 missiles to its Revolutionary Guards in July of 2004 after preliminary field tests were successfully completed.
Six of the sand-colored missiles, which were paraded through the streets of Teheran bearing slogans which read, "We will stamp on America" and "We will wipe Israel from the face of the earth."
Defense Minister Shamkhani also said:
"I completely rule out that Israel would dare direct any military strike at any Iranian nuclear facilities. But if Israel one day commits such military folly against Iran, I can promise you that Ariel Sharon, assuming he stays alive, will appear on television screens and announce that he regrets this folly, and He will suffer and scream out in pain."
This sounds like Shamkhani is warning about either biological or even atomic weapons.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is the world’s governing board that oversees and supposedly checks the proliferation of atomic weapons. It has unanimously passed a resolution demanding that Iran freeze its nuclear program.
Yet in the face of all this international pressure, Iran maintains that it will continue to develop its nuclear program in defiance of the IAEA and the United Nations. Iran has also threatened to pull out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty that it signed and appears willing to risk international economic isolation.
Meanwhile, Israel has announced that it is planning to purchase $319 million dollars worth of weapons from the United States including 2,500 one-ton bombs, 1,000 half-ton bombs, 500 quarter-ton bombs and 500 one-ton "bunker buster" bombs. These 2,000-pound bombs can penetrate walls more than six feet thick. Mounted on satellite-guided bombs, the BLU-109s or "bunker busters" can be fired from F-15 or F-16 jets.
This year (2004) Israel received the first of a fleet of 102 long-range F-16s from the United States. Taken in the context of Iran’s recent nuclear missile procession through the streets of Tehran, and the pronouncements with anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans such as, "Israel must be wiped off the map," and "we will crush America under our feet," one can only conclude that Iran is hell-bent on a collision course with either the US (via the war on terror) or with Israel, and that course is a course that will signal the flash-point of the Armageddon scenario.
Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has urged his country's weapons developers to step up its work on making a nuclear bomb. Khamenei told his weapons scientists that Iran must have two bombs ready to go in January 2005 or they are not true Muslims. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said that,
"given that an effective deterrent policy (against the US) does not halt at a certain point, the Islamic Republic of Iran must continue upgrading its defensive capability."
Iran’s President Khatami has flatly stated that he want nukes to destroy Israel. He insists that since Israel is such a small country that it cannot sustain a nuclear exchange with a much larger country and survive! He concludes that the intense collateral damage that could be suffered by Iran in a nuclear exchange with Israel is a price that he is willing to pay to exterminate Israel once and for all.
The Islamic Republic of Iran poses a unique danger in today’s world, and it is a danger that is spelled out in prophetic scripture. The particular mind-set of the Shiite Ayatollahs should send a chill down everyone's spine. Their particular brand of fundamentalist Islam involves a heavy emphasis on the glory of martyrdom for Allah in the cause of destroying the infidels. (Israel and Christians) The following threat should be taken seriously.
Acting Iranan Revolutionary Guards Commander General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned,
"If Israel fires one missile at Iran’s Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about its own Dimona nuclear center, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move."
This infers that Iran already has at least a few deliverable atomic bombs. If that is a certainty, you can rest assured that Russia is already aware of the fact.
Israel has stated publicly before the whole world that it will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. President Bush, when asked about whether the US would stand by and allow Iran to acquire an atomic bomb responded with this remark; “not on my watch.” So, clearly then, something must give between America and the Teheran-Damascus Axis!
Russia, Iran and Ezekiel 38
It is fascinating to watch Russia being slowly, inexorably drawn into the Middle East conflict, almost against its better judgment, and forced by its economic need and its competitive drive to outflank the US and the West for global dominance, into what could easily become a showdown of the nations in the Middle East.
Russia has its own problems in the Caucasus region with Islamic terrorists, some of whom even have ties to Iran and Al Qaeda. Still Russia envisions a more sinister threat from the European theatre for control of the Mid-east oil reserves than it does from any other sphere.
The current situation mirrors the precise imagery that Ezekiel conveyed with the 'hooks in the jaws' analogy, and the even more fascinating is the statement emanating from God himself.
"I will bring thee forth".
The key to Russia’s thrust into the Middle East quagmire rests with its major client partner and western agitator in the region, Iran. Ezekiel's roster of nations for the Gog-Magog war continues to align perfectly for the first time in history.
"Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee."
The other nations on Ezekiel's Roster are all either Russian client states or old Soviet client states, with the exception of Turkey, which is rapidly being pushed back into the Islamic world by the European Union.
Ezekiel foretells that the Russian invasion against Israel will come in the latter days, and intimates that it will be timed to be a post-event to the peace-and-safety covenant that the Antichrist makes with Israel and her Arab neighbors.
"After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them."
So now, with the history of Iran completed, lets take a trip into the book of Ezekiel and review the Russian-Iranian alliance prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
Ezekiel begins by making the startling announcement that the Lord himself is against the Prince of Gog. Gog is identified as the chief prince of Meschech and Tubal. It can be debated as to whether or not this “prince” is a man, or perhaps is a fallen angel, or ruler of darkness under the authority of Satan that manipulates the affairs of the geographical region around Magog.
Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16 conveys the fact that there are indeed “principalities” that act as Satan’s evil lords and magistrates over the nations, seeking to gain control over the affairs of nations for the purpose of enacting the conspiratorial scheme of Satan to counter God’s pledge of providence to establish Jesus Christ as King of Kings in this world.
Therefore God is against these princes that incite the nations, and makes them to become insane! (see Revelation 11:18)
(Ephesians 6:12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.)
(Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:)
Gog is known to be "the prince of Rosh” (great empire of the north) as indicated by the proclamation that he is the chief over Meshech, and Tubal." Gog is further depicted as being over "of the land of Magog," or a "place out of the far north," and anytime a direction is utilized in the Bible it takes as its center point the nation of Israel.
Mesheck, like the rest of Ezekiel’s Gog invasion alliance members were descendants of Japheth. The term Mesheck is translated as Moschi or Moschoi, which translates as Moscow.
The term Tubal is also handed down from the table of nations in Genesis chapter 10, and refers to a northern city-state that traded in goods and developed military alliances with the ancient cities of Tyre and Tarshish. Although many of the names from Genesis ten have become lost in the shadows of history, Tubal is probably representative of the peoples that lived in the Cappadocian region north and east of the modern state of Turkey.
Magog is referred to by the Jewish historian Josephus who identified them as the Scythians, or the people north of the Caucasus Mountains. The Scythians were well known for barbaric destructiveness in warfare.
The term Magog is also a comprehensive term which means "the northern barbarians." The people of Magog were infamous for their technical skills in the art of warfare. The Scythians are the ancestors of modern Russia.* One of the earliest references to Magog was by Hesiod, "the father of Greek didactic poetry" who identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century BC Hesiod was a contemporary of Ezekiel. In the 5th century BC Herodotus of Harlicarnassus, known as "Father of History" wrote extensively about the Scythians, and how they terrorized the southern steepes of Russia from the 10th century BC to the 3rd Century BC.
* ("No one confronting them can escape on foot, and if they wish not to be discovered it is impossible to engage with them. The reason is that they do not build towns or fortresses, but all of them are mounted archers and carry their homes with them... How can they fail to be invincible, and immune from attack?") - Herodotus, 5th century
* Another well known source is Josephus Flavius, who records that the Magogians were called "Scythians" by the Greeks. ("Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who were by the Greeks called Scythians.") Josephus Flavius, 1st century A.D.
* Philo, is another in the 1st century who identifies Magog with southern Russia. The Great Wall of China, in an 8th century reference, was called: Sud Yagog et Magog "The Rampart of Gog and Magog." The Moslems referred to Gog and Magog as Vadjudj wa madjudj in the Koran.
* Meshech: The 6th son of Japath; identified with the ancient Mushki of the Assyrians and the Muschoi of the classical Greek writers. The Assyrian inscriptions describe them as inhabiting Phrygia in Northern Anatolia (modern Turkey). Herodotus identifies the Mushki with the mountains southeast of the Black Sea or the Northeast part of Turkey. Josephus also identifies the descendents of Meshech as dwelling in Eastern Turkey. Many also link the names with Mushkovi, the old name for Russia.
* Tubal: The 5th son of Japath and brother of Meshech. 9th century B.C. Assyrian inscriptions refer to it as Tabal, West of Meshech in Eastern Anatolia. Geographical neighbors, they became allies against the Assyrians in 713 B.C. The classical Greek writers called them the Tibareni and the Moschi. Herodotus also places them both along the Southeast shores of the Black Sea. Some associate it with Tobolsk of Russia
In any event, God forecasts that the “prince” of Magog will become ensnarled in the Last Days troublesome conflict of the Middle East concerning Israel’s burdensome reemergence as a nation. The “hooks-in-the-jaws” depiction conveys the idea that Russia, being the strongest military bloc available to counter the strategic moves of the Western Antichrist into the Middle East, will be coerced by out of its position in the north by some mysterious element of association that it has with its allies. That element is likely to be the radical component of Islam and its terrorist infrastructure that is presently being shaped and fomented by the fundamentalist Mullahs of Iran.
Verse seven of Ezekiel 38 reveals that Magog’s allies will be well-equipped, and that much of the technical provision for the weaponry that the allies of Russia (Iran) will possess will be supplied by the Russia warlords. The verse ends thusly by instructing Russia that it should be thou a “guard” unto “them”. (the allies of Magog mentioned in verses 5 and 6)
This falls right into line with the 1991 Russia-Teheran mutual defense pact and explains why Russia is currently assisting Iran in the development of nuclear weapons. At the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, Iran made a bargain with Russia to supply Russia with oil and sea-access in return for Russia’s pledge to counter US strategic moves in the Gulf region, and to assist in the defense capabilities of Iran.
The Prince of Russia is Waiting for the Opportune TimeEzekiel’s Magog-Iran led scenario looms on the horizon. The principle players are all in place, and can quickly add the subordinate allies of Libya, Gomer and Togarmah. These members of the alliance will probably include Turkey and the Muslim republics that make up the southern border of Russia.
But there remains one giant stumbling block to the Moscow led invasion upon the mountains of Israel. And Russia is nobody’s fool, not even Iran’s. The great Russian bear wants no part of Iran’s nuclear exchange philosophy. Russia is and has always been a solid proponent of the theory of mutually assured destruction. (MAD) The Soviet Union and the USA mutually avoided the threat of during the Cold War because each side maintained a sense of rationality when it came to nuclear holocaust.
Russia has also made strategic defense and support alliances with China (kings of the east) as a means for both of those nations to act as a counter to what they see as a transforming trans-Atlantic (US & EU/NATO) (and ultimately will become the empire of the Antichrist) superpower.
Ironically, Russia, China, and the EU are all lying in wait anticipating the day when the US is dislodged from its prominent perch as the world’s premier force in geo-politics, and destablized internally to such an extent that it cannot utilize its great military machine. They all fully realize that the Middle East terrorist campaign of Holy Jihad is a war to bring down the United States, (to wound Israel’s Big friend) and thus they are waiting to see how the US fares in defending itself in the war on terror.
So, Ezekiel’s scenario of chapter 38-39 must be an event that comes after a fatal blow is struck against the United States, greatly diminishing the position of the US in the world. The fall of the US is likely a sequence of events relative to Bible prophecy in conjunction with the sudden disappearance of Christians from the world stage. (Rapture)
It may well revolve around a nuclear, chemical or biological nightmare perpetrated by international terrorists. In any event, the rapture event itself would unquestionably render the US as an absolute dysfunctional state, with total chaos ensuing in the wake of its sudden demise.
This scenario paints a bad picture for America, but I think it is well within the scope of likelihood, both from a current-events perspective, and also from a perspective rooted in Bible prophecy. In any event, something of world significance must happen that removes any obstacles that would hinder Russia from making its calculated move to lead a coalition of nations, including Iran against Israel.
The Absence of Syria, Iran’s Present Axis of Evil Partner
Perhaps the most striking point when reading the listing of the Ezekiel 38 Magog invasion coalition strike-force upon Israel s the absence of Syria from the alliance membership. The Russian invasion is expressly asserted to be pinpointed towards the mountains of Israel, which probably would include the contested Golan Heights.
Syria and Israel have been locked in total disagreement about the possession of this very area ever since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Russia has traditionally supported Syria’s claims to the Golan’s mountainous region. Yet, Syria is not mentioned by Ezekiel in the Magog scenario. The absence of Syria in this coalition begs for an answer.
Damascus, the capitol city of Syria, is the international headquarters for virtually every Middle East terrorist organization. The absence of Syria from the Magog coalition indicates that the prophesied burden of Damascus event is a sequence of events that prefigures in time the Magog invasion. It is highly likely, given the present geo-political world situation and the strategies involved in the American-led war on terror that Damascus will be devastated either by Israel, the US, or become victim to an international nuclear exchange, as the war on terror proceeds. As described in: Isaiah chapter 17, Jeremiah 49:23-27 and elsewhere ...
* "The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.... And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us." Isaiah 17:1, 14
* "Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!" Jeremiah 49:24-25
Damascus, the capital of Syria, is known to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world! It has never yet been "taken away from being a city." Its destruction is therefore a future event, and is likely an event that is pre-tribulational.
Wars in the Heavens
Satan has a host of angels at his command. Among the ranks of his confederation of invisible agents are thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. The Bible is clear that there are wars continually going on in the unseen world. Most of those angelic confrontations involve the dominion and control of the nations of this world.
It should never be lost on the mind of any Christian or prophecy student that Satan commands a host of demonic armies that tend to dominate international affairs, and seeks to dominate the affairs of every nation. In some nations, he has virtual control, while in other nations his control is limited due to the blessed perpetual fertilization of God’s word.
This is just one reason that missionary endeavors around the world are so important. Most of us can recall the iron curtain that descended across the European continent. It symbolized the fact that there are barriers to freedom that can be erected anywhere.
Likewise, there is an Islamic curtain that has been erected across much of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. But there also exists barriers and buttresses in the spiritual world that work to obstruct the spirit of God’s truth, and the spreading of the seed of his Gospel.
These unseen forces of evil battle daily with the holy angels of God. They also battle to manipulate the governments and leaders of nations. In fact, the day is coming when God will withdraw his restrainer and allow the agents of Satan to gather all nations into the Valley of Decision, Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14
"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.")
The Prince of Gog?The sudden appearance of "Gog" in Ezekiel’s text, without any apparent background from any other passages, has puzzled prophecy commentators for centuries. From the context, it is clearly the title of the “leader of the people of the land of Magog.” Still, it seems inconsistent with God's established style to have such a key figure emerge in the text without a linkage of some sort.
There is, however, a provocative reference that has been widely overlooked in the Book of Amos. The traditional rendering of Amos 7:1 reads as follows:
"Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings." Amos 7:1
Our English Bible takes its translation from the Masoretic text, a 9th century source. However, an earlier translation of the Old Testament into Greek, known as the Septuagint, embodies a different rending of Amos 7:1:
"Thus the Lord showed me, and behold a swarm of locusts were coming, and behold, one of the young devastating locusts was Gog, the King."
Many eschatological writers assert that Gog is none other than the Antichrist. But the identification of Gog as the king of the locusts would have profound implications. Yet Proverbs 30:7 reveals that
"the locusts have no king,"
implying that the "locusts" of Amos 7 are not intended to be natural locusts, but an idiom for something else. We encounter this theme when we read a similar passage in Revelation chapter nine where locusts are described as having a king, indicating that they are actually demons under the authority of Lucifer.
The passage in Amos 7:1 suggests that Gog is the king of the demon locusts, and this would put an entirely new light on the Gog scenario of Ezekiel 38 and 39. Let's remember that it is not the first time we have heard about demonic forces behind kings and kingdoms.
Consider Daniel chapter ten, where Daniel has prayed and fasted for 21 days, then an Angel appears to him. The Angel comes and tells Daniel that he had been dispatched by God 21 days earlier (when he began his prayer & fast) but was "withstood" by a demonic force that he refers to as, 'The Prince of Persia'.
The prince of Persia, was the angel of darkness that represented the Persian world power, to which Israel was then subject. Daniel even goes on to say Michael (the Archangel /one of the Chief Princes) came to help him. He then gives Daniel the visions, and concluded by informing Daniel that he must continue on to contend with another “prince of the power of the air,” 'The Prince of Grecia' (Greece). The Greek empire was another world power that would rise after Persia, but it points out the reality of the fact that there are battles ensuing in the heavens over earthly events! Every nation on earth is involved in a supernatural struggle, and each nation has unseen agents from the angelic world assigned to it.
Daniel 10:10-14 says:
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
The Prince of Persia
Ephesians 6:12 says:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
A principality is a powerful ruler, or the principal ruler of someone in absolute authority. The word may refer to human rulers, demonic spirits, angels and demons in general, or any type of ruler other than God Himself.
Daniel 10:15-21 says:
And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
So, Iran, or Persia, has been in the center of an unseen warfare from ancient times. Daniel, being highly favored of God was privileged to have God pull back the curtain of history and time and briefly expose Daniel to the wars that continue in Heaven, and that affect events on the Earth. Daniel prayed for Divine insight into the meaning of some prophecies God gave him about the future of his people Israel.
Daniel’s vision reveals the fact that there are mighty fallen angels called demons that influence earthly leaders. And under God's permission, they even control them. The true "Prince of Persia" was able to hinder God’s archangel Gabriel. It was only with the help of the archangel Michael that Gabriel was able to subdue his hindrances.
Second, the archangel Michael is said to be the special guardian angel of Daniel and the Israeli people. As it is written, Daniel 12:1
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time"
I realize for some of you this may sound a little spooky. But this is the Word of God and it is true. My point is this: Even though God has allowed Israel to be disciplined, their final fate always remains in His hands. God has promised that the nation of Israel will never be destroyed once they return from the worldwide dispersion that began with the Roman holocaust in AD70. And all the powers of darkness cannot change God's promise. Israel was officially reborn May 15, 1948.
So even though the modern Persians think they will destroy Israel, God has another surprise in mind for them.
The American War on Terror Tracks a Trail to Iran and Syria
Although the US war on terror is ostensibly a global war with many allies, and in reality, it is simply an American war on terror. And that is something we’d better get used to. The United Nations is in reality nothing more than a failed humanistic effort. The United Nations that does exist is united only in its opposition to all things Israeli, which, by definition, includes all things American.
If there is a single issue over which there is almost no division at the UN, it is the shared view that world peace will never be possible as long as Israel exists. When an anti-Israeli resolution comes before General Assembly, the vote is always the same: the whole world votes in favor, with the United States, Israel, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands opposed.
Our ‘closest allies’ at the UN, according to the liberal left, include Germany, France and Russia. With allies like that, who needs enemies? They claim to stand united with America against the terrorists, provided the US doesn’t ask them to do anything except stand. None of them seem particularly interested in doing anything beyond that.
Even Russia is going after their own terrorists, but any claims of cross-cooperation are a fantasy, except in cases where it benefits Moscow.
America’s global war on terror remains America’s war, despite the very significant contributions from genuine allies like Australia, the UK, Poland and some of the former Eastern European Soviet bloc countries. Even if America survives, they are hoping that it will result in a corresponding reduction of American power and influence, ending what French President Jacques Chirac dubbed the ‘unipolar’ world of American superpower status.
If al-Qaeda can successfully cripple America to the degree it is no longer the world’s only superpower, then the task of developing a counter-balance to American global influence becomes that much easier, and fits squarely with prophetic scripture that forecasts the rise of the Antichrist in the European West.
As the Bible’s outline for the last days continues to develop, more and more of the Big Picture begins to come into focus. According to Scripture, in the very last days, Israel will face the assembled might of the world’s collective armies alone. (without the protective umbrella of the United States as it presently enjoys) Zechariah writes,
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
Consider the historical progression towards that stage thus far, especially since the 1967 reacquisition of Jerusalem by Israel. There is no political potato hotter today than Jerusalem. Every nation that has attempted her destruction was cut to pieces.
Israel won all five of her wars by utterly decimating her enemy’s war-making capability. It took years after each attempt for the Arabs to sufficiently rebuild their military capabilities so they could try again. Even with the almost unlimited military aid given the defeated Arab states by the Soviets and Europeans. Zechariah says that all that burden themselves ‘will be cut in pieces,’ allies as well as enemies.
America became a target of Islamic terror more for its support of Israel than for any other reason.
According to Zechariah, Israel is alone in this final confrontation, under siege by all the people of the earth, there is no mention of an ally standing beside her, apart from God. Zechariah says that;
“In that day shall the Lord (not America) defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
In the Big Picture, we can already see the four spheres of global power defined by Scripture assuming their final forms; the reviving Roman Empire, the Gog-Magog alliance, the Kings of the East and the Kings of the South (Islamic Saudi Arabia & North Africa).
That pretty much encompasses our erstwhile ‘allies’ in the war on terror who are sitting on the sidelines hoping for an Islamic victory over America.
Prophetic scripture makes no mention of any overarching superpowers in the world resembling the United States, but it does depict one under the authority of the Antichrist based in Europe. Most of the EU lead-states are actually plotting and scheming for the downfall of the US as a superpower, so the EU can amalgamate America under the EU umbrella, and so the EU can emerge as the West’s superpower state to compete against Russia and China for world control.
Who will be its leader? The leaders of the EU are already touting the office of the EU Presidency as a replacement for the command status of the American Presidency. We can look for the Antichrist to emerge in this arena, and perhaps very soon.
Is it any wonder that the socialist democrats in the American political sphere are so eager to align themselves with supposed allies in Europe, and insist upon the US submitting its Presidential powers for the defense of America to a UN sanctioned litmus test?
Why would any American political leader ever concede the power and prestige of the American Presidency?
Well, everything in our world today revolves around Israel. Europe is not willing to fight a World War over the security and existence of Israel. Europe and the liberal political establishment will not condone America’s traditional support for Israel, (this is what the war on terror is all about) and they are working in league to change America’s political behavior in regard to the Middle East, to make it conform to a more European worldview, a worldview that does not recognize the Divine sanctity of Israel, (appease the Muslim world) and will therefore be willing to sacrifice Israel up on the alter of Global governance and world peace.
In the midst of all these world geo-political mechanisms stands the Axis of Evil. Iran and Syria stand poised to bring the entire world to the precipice of nuclear war. The prince of Persia is assisting all the other princes of darkness in many other nations within the Luciferic conspiracy to oppose the Prince of Peace.
Even so, Come Lord Jesus!
Reproduced here in cooperation with
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry