Saturday, June 14, 2014:
Has the Assyrian Empire just revived? ISIS, Baghdad, and the Middle East in prophecy part 1 (Updated)
How Isis have rampaged towards the capital: A blow by blow account of how Islamist militants outnumbered 20-to-1 by the army cut through huge swathes of Iraq
Update 2 how & why maps shoft, and conditions that lead to global war: (The New World Disorder)
“The map of Middle East drawn up after the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 is uncoiling, dissolving into a region-wide Sunni-Shia civil war. The Western response, driven by understandable war-weariness, has largely been to stand and watch. Even pictures of gassed children heaving and choking in Syria’s makeshift hospitals, was not enough re-awaken a sense of the old responsibility that America and the West took upon itself after 1945 to underwrite the institutions and ideals of global democracy.”
There is currently so much going on now in the Middle East it staggers the mind. I wrote this earlier on Twitter,
So hard to concentrate today, with all that God is doing in the world & in the Middle East. I’m in awe of Him & want to just worship all day
and this next one isn’t a scripture verse but is instead a conceptual paraphrase-
The Lord stretcheth out His arm and He smites nations. The Lord stretcheth His arm and He gathers His bride. The Lord stretcheth out His arm
I was following the news of the ISIS-led takeover of northern Iraq, part of Syria and Southern Turkey. I was reading about the brutalities the ISIS group is perpetrating. I read of the battle for Baghdad. It seemed biblically prophetic to me, this great and dramatic and sudden movement of peoples in the exact prophetic center of God’s plan for future history. But how?
I read Daniel 11, which I believe has some bearing. I re-read Ezekiel 38-39, Jeremiah 49 and Psalm 83, familiar territory for me, as well as Isaiah 17 and 19. But it was when I saw the UK Daily Mail map of ISIS-controlled territory that it hit me.
The territory ISIS is alleged to control is in the same territory as the heart of ancient Assyria.
The Man from Assyria (Antichrist).
Assyria the brutal, dominating, hateful regime- then and now.
So I went back and read prophecies relating to Assyria, Isaiah 10 and Micah 5. I listened to several good men preach on the relevant passages. I prayed.
I do not know if the events happening this week in the ME are directly related to unfulfilled biblical prophecy or not. Only the LORD knows that. And I say “directly” related because at the root level, all history is related to prophecy. God is the author of history and His pronouncements, prophetic and otherwise, will come to pass. Jesus is working and the Father is always working. (John 5:17).
Studying prophecies related to Assyria are also very difficult because they are spread between and among many of the prophets, not just Isaiah and Micah but also Nahum and others. Some of the passages have a near future fulfillment at the time it was written, and did indeed come to pass. Other passages have a far-fulfillment and have not yet come to pass. Rightly dividing the two is beyond me, at least, unless I studied them for 5 years or so. And rightly dividing the passages means I won’t do injustice to them by making claims.
However it’s important to study the history of the Middle East so that when I make my conclusion you will see the main point: there has been trouble there since 2500 BC when Assyria was founded, the King of Iran (not Iraq) Chedorlaomer, was involved in one of the first wars recorded in bible history, the one which captures Abram’s nephew Lot. Genesis 14 records the kings involved in this lengthy war, including the King of Shinar and the King of Ellasar (in Iraq) the area where we are discussing today. When God is obviously working in the world, it is right and good to read and ponder His magnificent works from scripture- what He has done in the region and what He says He will do.
So anyone who says they have a solution in bringing peace and security to the region (future antichrist included) is dead wrong. The enmity that began in Genesis 3 between God and the serpent against God’s people is ancient. God and God alone will bring peace, when His Son returns.
This week in Iraq, summed up by the UK Guardian:
Iraq faces the abyss after its military melts away
Redrawing of regional map looms large as violence and sectarian confrontation return to Iraq
“This week has seen Sunni insurgents once more face off with Shia militias, a major city looted as an army stands by, and the two shrines whose destruction sparked the sectarian war again endangered. This, though, is a crisis like no other for Iraq, eclipsing even the blood-soaked and hopeless war years that pitched sects against each other and whittled out towns and cities. There is no occupying army to hold the country together this time. After the stunning capitulation at the hands of Sunni insurgents this week, there is barely a military left at all.
Remember the line “redrawing of regional map.” Now to the history-
Iraq is the ancient biblical land of Shinar, Mesopotamia, the Chaldeans. The Tigris and the Euphrates run through it. Baghdad is the home to former Babylon (50 miles to its south). Mosul is home to the former Nineveh which is across the river banks. Nineveh was the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire lasted from 934 BC and ended in 609 BC. During this period, Assyria assumed a position as the most powerful state on earth, successfully eclipsing Babylonia, Egypt, Urartu/Armenia and Elam (Iran) for dominance of the Near East, Asia Minor, Caucasus, North Africa and east Mediterranean, though not until the reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III in the 8th century BC did it become a vast empire. Wikipedia
In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria. (2 Kings 15:29)
“At the height of its power, the Assyrian Empire stretched from Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea to Persia (Iran), and from the Caucasus Mountains (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan) to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.” (Wikipedia)
Indeed, some call the bible ‘a tale of two cities’, Jerusalem and Babylon (Baghdad). As ISIS moves closer to Baghdad, many are on the edge of their seats wondering of the Iraqi army will melt away and hand over the city, or if they will dig in for a siege. In the Tribulation, Babylon is prophesied to be revived, (Revelation 18:10) so one wonders with raised eyebrows when heavy fighting erupts suddenly around this ancient biblical and prophetic city. Wonders and watches.
m putting this information up so you can see how ancient these strife is and how long there has been conflict in the area of Iraq. In looking at a map today, the borders are actually fairly new. In the ancient times I mentioned above, Assyria simply was the main empire and covered most of the Middle East. Borders were not necessary- they had the whole thing.
The heart of the Assyrian Empire eerily mimics the ground the ISIS coalition has grabbed today: northern Iraq, northeast Syria and southeastern Turkey. Like this:
ASSYRIA’S CRUELTY AND ARROGANCE:
“The Assyrians were noted for their brutality, and their kings were often depicted as gloating over the gruesome punishments inflicted on conquered peoples. They conducted their wars with shocking ferocity, uprooting whole populations and deporting them to other parts of the empire.”
“When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely; then bind the prisoners tightly,” Sura Chapter 47.
The world today is indeed shocked at reports of ISIS’ gruesome sweep into northern Iraq.
UK Daily Mail reads, “‘They lined the streets with the decapitated heads of police and soldiers’ Iraqi refugee reveals the horrors of the jihadi takeover as Baghdad vows to fight back.”
A precursor to the beheadings of the saints in the Tribulation? (Revelation 20:4)
The Washington Post reports today:
Death was everywhere in the sacked the city of Mosul, a strategically vital oil hub and Iraq’s largest northern city. One reporter said an Iraqi woman in Mosul claimed to have seen a “row of decapitated soldiers and policemen” on the street. Other reports spoke of “mass beheadings,” though The Washington Post was not able to confirm the tales. But the United Nations Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, said the summary executions “may run into the hundreds” and that she was “extremely alarmed.” The stories, the videos, the acts of unfathomable brutality have become a defining aspect of ISIS, which controls a nation-size tract of land and has now pushed Iraq to the precipice of dissolution. Its adherents kill with such abandon that even the leader of al-Qaeda has disavowed them.
The Guardian reports of the ISIS determination to re-write the borders. First, this is important because the end of the end times includes a re-written globe containing a ten-nation federation. Therefore, it stands to reason that ancient borders re-emerge as we head toward the last times.
Isis has made no bones about its intent to rewrite them. It already controls much of the border between Iraq and Syria and aims for the same control between Syria and Lebanon. And as great cities fell this week with little more than a gentle push, the jihadists seem on their way to their goal.
Oh soldiers of Truth, let’s go.
Repeat the tune of endurance.
A light has illuminated Shaam [the Levant],
so rally all the soldiers.
The Islamic state has been established,
so wipe out all the borders.
Break the crosses and destroy the lineage of the grandsons of monkeys.
The state of monotheism will remain in spite of the lies of the hateful people.
Here is the link to the clip itself if you’d like to hear it sung in Arabic.
ISIS Video Calls to “Break the Crosses and Destroy the Lineage of the Grandsons of Monkeys”
The part of Isaiah where it points to future prophecy is here, Isaiah 10:24,
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did.
And again, this part of Micah seems to be pointing to future prophecy (MacArthur, S. Lewis Johnson)
And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. 5This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men. 6They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, The land of Nimrod at its entrances; And He will deliver us from the Assyrian When he attacks our land And when he tramples our territory. (Micah 5:4-6)
Both Micah and the Isaiah lived during the time when Assyria was a great threat to Israel and all the peoples around. As usual though, their prophecies seem to speak on two levels of fulfillment. First, as a warning to Israel at that time but, more importantly for us, these prophecies also look forward in time to the final coming of The Assyrian (Asshur) as Israel’s deceitful enemy and false Messiah. It is predicted that The Assyrian will invade and occupy Israel. He will finally be destroyed in the end by the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, at the Second Coming.
I’d said at the beginning of this blog essay, God stretcheth out His arm… today and the future, in judgment. He stretches out His arm in blessing, too! He has a plan for the Assyrians:
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:24-25)