Turkey and Israel in Bible Prophecy
What Bible students have anticipated for hundreds of years.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
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Welcome to Bible in the News. This is Jonathan Bowen joining you. The Middle East continues to reel with the turmoil of the so called “Arab spring.” This week further turmoil in Syria has seen more protestors killed as President Bashar al-Assad has ordered a crackdown. Tony Blair has joined international calls for the removal as Assad as president.
In Egypt, The Associated Press reported that Egyptian security forces did not intervene as crowds climbed the Israeli embassy security wall, pummeled it with hammers and tore away large sections of the barrier.
Israel's Channel 10 News reported that after bringing down the wall, the protesters managed to overcome all the heavy security around the 21-storey building which houses the Israeli Embassy and were even able to climb onto the floor on which the embassy is located.
On Friday night, The Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, his family and most of the staff and their dependents some 80 people were evacuated out of the country by military aircraft. Only the deputy ambassador remains in Egypt.
However, our main focus is on Turkey, whose relationships with Israel have deteriorated rapidly since the flotilla incident this past spring.
The New York Times reported on Friday,
Israel was wrestling on Friday with growing tensions with Turkey after the Turkish prime minister threatened to use his navy to accompany aid flotillas to Gaza and to challenge Israel’s plans for gas exploration and export in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Prime Minister Erdogan, told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding a Gaza-bound ship as they did last year, killing nine passengers, and from letting Israel exploit natural gas resources at sea.
Dan Meridor, Israel’s intelligence minister, responded on Friday to Mr. Erdogan’s recent threats, saying they were “grave and serious.”
Earlier this week Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan expelled the Israeli ambassador and his staff following Israel’s refusal to apologize for the deaths of Turkish activist aboard the flotilla. He also threatened sanctions against Israel and withdrew the chief trade consultant from Israel. Erdogan also reiterated an earlier move where Turkey suspended all military deals with Israel and all joint military exercises and military cooperation.
It is very interesting to note that one of the sources of contention is the lucrative oil and gas reserves off the coast of Israel. We must remember that the Bible informs us one of the reasons for the future invasion is silver and gold and spoil. Both Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11 mention this fact.
Turkey is one of the main players in the Middle East and is highlighted in Bible Prophecy. Only 100 years ago the Ottoman Turkish Empire was sovereign over the Holy Land. Bible Students correctly predicted its “drying up” based on an understanding of Revelation 16:12 where the power sovereign over the Middle East is described as “drying up”:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.”
The kings of the East are the “kings of the suns rising” and refer to the future administration of the kingdom of God on earth. The Ottoman Turk Empire had to be dried up to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God. For hundreds of years before the event, Bible students such as John Tillinghast, who wrote in 1654 looked for the end of the Ottoman Empire:
“We are to understand the Ottoman Family, or Turkish Empire, called the Great River, because of the multitude of People and Nations therein, Rivers signifying People and Nations… And the waters thereof were dried up. The Turks power, and multitude through the pouring out of this Vial shall be wasted and destroyed” (p57-58).
The purpose of the drying up of the Euphrates was to be the preparation for the “way of the Kings of the East”. The same writer goes onto state,
“By Kings of the East, we are to understand, the Jews who upon the pouring forth of this Vial, shall return to their own land and be converted to Christ: And I take it that the pouring out of this Vial, prepares a way for both, viz. Their possession of their own land again, and their conversion to the Faith of the Gospel… the scriptures being full and clear in this, that when the Nation shall be converted they shall be in possession of their land again….” (p59)
We would see this interpretation expanded to include the saints who would be the administration of the future kingdom of Israel, ultimately ruled over by the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ.
Building on this interpretation John Thomas correctly predicted these events when he wrote in a book entitled Eureka:
“The military and political power of the Ottoman empire was to be dried up by the wrath of the Sixth Vial, that the way for a certain class of kings might be cleared of all hindrances and impediments to their enterprise in its beginning.”
He added understanding to this describing who would be involved in drying up the Ottoman Power in the book Elpis Israel written in 1848:
“I know not whether the men, who at present contrive the foreign policy of Britain, entertain the idea of assuming the sovereignty of the Holy Land, and of promoting its colonization by the Jews; their present intentions, however, are of no importance one way or the other, because they will be compelled, by events soon to happen, to do what, under existing circumstances, heaven and earth combined could not move them to attempt.” (p442)
But what of Turkey today? The scriptures reveal that they will be involved with the King of the North in the time of the end when he comes down:
“the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40)
Ezekiel 38 adds the details of who will be the king of the North:
“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.” (v4-6)
Gomer is the ancient name for Turkey and the original settling place of this son of Japheth (Gen 10:3) following the flood. This area was called Galatia and Asia in the New Testament. Josephus informs us that Gomer’s bands or tribes settled across Europe reaching as far as France and Spain, forming the Gallic peoples. So Turkey is to be confederate with the King of the North in the Time of the end.
Considering Turkey’s role at the time of Christ’s coming, Tillinghast wrote,
“…in the last war (to which preparation is made under this Vial) as well as the Turkish Power shall be engaged against the Saints, as the Power of the Beast, it therefore seems a thing very probable, that the Turk shall by the pouring out of this Vial, have some great provocation which shall induce him to join hands with the Beast in his so desperate quarrel.” (p58)
In 1847 in a publication entitled “The Herald of the Kingdom Age”, John Thomas went on to speak of the Turkey falling under Russia’s control at the time of the end and being confederated in this way:
“…for the Turk, the decree of heaven is against him, and on record in the Book of the Destiny of States, Empires, and Nations. The Autocrat of Magog is as divinely necessitated to conquer Turkey, as Pharoah was, not to let Israel go, that God through his obstinacy might get for himself a great name among all the people of the earth. This will be the ulterior object of his threatened interference with his neighbors.” (Volume 3 p246)
Based on the scriptures and the writings of those who have gone before us, the deterioration of relationships between Turkey and Israel is a foregone conclusion. The ties that bind Israel and Turkey must be completely severed leading up to the time of the end when Turkey (Gomer) will join in the invasion of Israel.
For hundreds of years Bible students have anticipated the drying up of the Ottoman Empire to make way for the Jews to return to the land. They have also anticipated a hostile relationship between Israel and the entire northern confederacy, including the EU and Russia.
These events are going on before our eyes as we continue to watch the Bible in the News.