Uprisings and Turmoil Grip the Middle East
Will this be an Arab Autumn?
Sunday, November 03, 2019
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Lebanon and Iraq, nations that escaped the Arab Spring are now experiencing significant uprisings. Turkey, the national remnant of the Ottoman Empire has flooded over its border into Syria engaging in warfare against the Kurds. The UK Guardian posted an article today with the headline, "Frustration and anger fuel wave of youth unrest in Arab world”. The article focuses on discontent in the Kingdom of Jordan. It’s eight years since the Arab Spring. Will this be an Arab Autumn?
Each of these situations could have a significant effect on the nation of Israel. They could lead to momentous prophetic milestones and are therefore definitely worth watching! Before discussing the current situation in the Middle East, I would like to draw your attention to the prophecy of the drying up of the Euphrates in Revelation.
The Ottoman Empire evaporated and disappeared after World War 1, leaving behind the national puddles of the Arab world. These nations provided major resistance to the development of the Jewish state of Israel. However, over the last decades that power is evaporating.
"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.” (Revelation 16:12)
Protestors in Iraq.
About 50 years before the Ottoman Empire evaporated, John Thomas considered Revelation 16:12 and saw that the Ottoman power, which he identified with the River Euphrates in Revelation 16:12 had to dry up. Eureka, Volume 5, pg. 178.
“Hence, the water of the Great River Euphrates, in like manner, represents the military power of the Ottoman empire; which is dissipated by a process of evaporation, or drying up; a gradual exhaustion, so as at last to leave the channel of the river in the heart of the Great City, empty; and devoid of all power to impede, or interfere with operations developing in the south eastern recesses of the empire.”
There is a very important point brought out here, that we must take into consideration. To fully understand the drying up of the Euphrates, we must understand the reason for the drying up of the Euphratean power in this passage. The Euphrates power is dried up so that, “the way of the kings of the east might be prepared”. John Thomas saw the kings of the east or “sun’s risings” as the Lord Jesus Christ and his saints. John Thomas saw two points of preparing this way of the kings of the east.
Protests in Lebanon.
1. To leave the channel of the river in the heart of the Great City empty.
2. To remove power to impede or interfere with operations developing in the south.
The purpose then, of the drying up of the river Euphrates is to:
1. Make way for the return of the Jewish people back to their ancient homeland, as a nucleus or basis for the complete restoration of the kingdom of God in Israel.
2. To remove any military power that would impede or interfere with his purpose of restoring the Jewish nation and making them his goodly horse in the battle (Zechariah 10:3).
3. To leave a way open for the Lord Jesus Christ to unexpectedly deliver Israel, subdue the nations and smash the latter day image empire.
This brings to light an important point, which makes events in the Middle East today and especially in regards to those people that reside in the region of the Euphrates. The purpose of the drying up of the Euphrates power does not stop with the evaporation of the Ottoman Empire. It continues until the Lord Jesus Christ is ready to enter the scene — as this drying up is to prepare for and make way for his coming.
With this in mind, lets take a look at events in a few nations in the Middle East now.
Lebanon sits on Israel’s northern border in the region of Tyre and Sidon. Lebanon is a very diverse country. The country is over half Muslim, however that number is split between Sunni and Shite, around 40 percent Christian, comprising various Catholic sects, Greek Orthodox and others, Druze and a number of other small sects. Events in Lebanon can have huge repercussions on the Jewish state. In the 1970’s having being thrown out of Jordan, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), set up in Lebanon, which at that time was a relatively peaceful and prosperous country. This led to the Lebanon civil war and eventually Israel invading Lebanon, in response to PLO attacks into Israel. Arafat and the PLO were eventually driven out of Lebanon and ended up in Tunis. Currently the Iranian backed Hezbollah has considerable power in Lebanon, with tens of thousands of rockets pointed at Israel. While Hezbollah is not an existential threat to Israel, it is a serious threat that could inflict major damage. Recently Israel has being going to great lengths to destroy precision guided missiles, which Hezbollah is obtaining and pose a great threat to Israel. Other than Iran itself, Hezbollah remains as one of the few great threats in the Arab world which Israel has to contend with. A change in Lebanon would therefore be of great significance to Israel.
The makeup of the country makes it unlikely that Hezbollah could take over Lebanon. The country relies on economic aid to stay afloat. The United States and Saudi Arabia have cut aid to Lebanon because of Hezbollah. The Lebanese people are continuing to protest, and if the political paralysis continues Lebanon could face financial collapse, according to Israel’ Ynet news site.
If the Hezbollah threat against Israel from Lebanon were neutralized, it would be a very significant step in creating the situation of peace, safety and security as described in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 verses 8 and 11.
"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. … And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates”
Iraq is a sectarian country with a government backed by the Western powers, but with a strong influence from Iran. Iraq is in a very unstable situation, it has an unstable northern border with Syria, Iran has and is seeking influence in the country and it is now gripped by protests. This battle between the Iranian Shiite sphere of influence and the Saudi sphere of influence will be behind events in Iraq. These events could define this divide in the Arab world in even more stark lines.
While at one time moving closer and closer to the European Union, and a significant member of NATO, events have now changed that and Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria against the Kurds has created international outrage. Turkey is not considered a reliable partner in NATO and has been rejected as a member state of the European Union. Lately the nation has been moving closer to Russia. Back in July Turkey received delivery of S-400 missiles from Russia, which are incompatible with NATO systems and the United States has said that Turkey will not receive the new F-35 fighter jet.
Leaning on Russia will be a broken reed for Turkey. Russia has been aggressively extending its influence around Turkey for years. Moving into Georgia on Turkey’s east and taking over the pro-Russian regions. Tensions between Russia and Georgia mounted this summer. On Turkey’s northwest, Russia has been devouring parts of Ukraine including Crimea on the Black Sea. Russia’s sea port in Crimea relies on the Bosphorus for strategic access to the Mediterranean sea. This has been an area of tension between Russia and Turkey not so long ago. Now Russia and Turkey are doing joint patrols in Syria near Turkey’s border.
Stratfor had an interesting article on October 25, with the heading: "Turkey May Have Stepped Into Its Own 'Endless War' in Syria” Three highlight summary points from the article state the following.
"Since its emergence as a republic after World War I, Turkey has largely considered it futile to intervene in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's involvement in Syria reverses that outlook.
"Erdogan's decision to expand Turkey's military occupation in Syria has prompted international outrage, but the action is widely popular in Turkey.
"Turkey has much to gain if its incursion into Syria succeeds, but it also has much to lose. Turkish history provides a warning: Offensives that start well can end badly.”
A car bomb exploded today in a Syrian town captured by Turkey from the Kurds — underlining the fact that peace will not be coming to Turkey’s southern border anytime soon.
Turkey is strategic not only to Russia but in Bible Prophecy. Not just because of its proximity to Israel at the head waters of the Euphrates river, but a portion of modern Turkey was part of all of the four empires that ruled or conquered Israel. Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. It is a significant piece of territory for the latter-day image of Daniel 2 and the king of the north. Constantinople was the capital of the eastern Roman Empire. It was there that the Byzantine emperor Justinian built the Hagia Sophia church. The historical significance of this building and its meaning to the Greek Orthodox church is absolutely major. As the St. Peter’s is to the Catholic Church, so would the Hagia Sophia be to the Orthodox church. It was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church for almost a thousand years.
There is no question that Russia has devised evil thoughts regarding conquering Constantinople, controlling the Bosphorus and restoring the Hagia Sophia as the jewel of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Watch that space.
In the 1977 Milestones, Graham Pearce considered the king of the north and the king of the south development. Concerning the king of the north he wrote: “Thus we may see the elements of a later-day king of the North — a super power giving aid and direction to the peoples situated north of Israel.” Concerning the king of the South he wrote: “The total of all these factors is the quite dramatic emergence of an overall South Power, hostile to the North Power. And the pivot of this is Saudi Arabia supported by the U.S.A. and Britain. So under angelic control, preparations continue in harmony with the prophetic record set out so long ago.”
At that time Persia was very much in the influence of the United States. Graham commented: “We have so far made no comment on Persia, although she has become a considerable influence in the Middle East. Persia has received vast military and economic aid from the U.S. in the past ten years; she has a finely equipped army of 300,000 men, an airforce with the latest U.S. planes, and the largest navy in the Persian Gulf. How Persia will come into the Russian orbit we do not know."
Obviously today, Persia/Iran has come into the Russian orbit! If Graham Pearce could see these developments starting to come about in 1977, how much clearer do we see them today!
In summary here are some trends to look for from a prophecy standpoint as events continue toward the return of Christ.
1. A stark division between a northern Shite grouping of nations backed by Russia and a southern grouping of Arab nations backed by the western powers.
2. The power of the Arab nations to continue to be diminished so that they are unable to stop the Jewish, Israeli development in the land of Israel.
3. Russia to continue to gain power and influence in the region. Turkey is in for a rough ride.
The Arab nations continue to decline in power and dry up as Israel continues to rise.
Thanks for joining us this week to consider the sure word of prophecy at www.bibleinthenews.com — this has been David Billington.
Printed: Sunday, November 03, 2019
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