The Rise or Fall of American Empire
A “prophetic map” - as shown above – would have military planners viewing it going out of their minds. It is wholly designed, however, to interpret eschatological warfare ostensibly centered in the Middle East – yet, as in ever-expanding concentric circles ultimately enveloping the whole earth (i.e., The Oracle of Damascus commences with Israel vs. Lebanon (Hezbollah), Syria and Gaza (Hamas)/the West Bank; then, after the commencement of the Seventieth Week of Daniel the Gog-Magog War envelopes both the King of the South (Egypt, Libya and Sudan) and the King of the North (Gog-Magog – or principally the peoples of modern-day Turkey and Iran) juxtaposed to Israel and her “commercial allies” – i.e., the “Merchants of Tarshish” (the West—led by the USA, currently pre-positioned in the Middle East) and the modern states on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula (ancient Sheba and Dedan); and, finally, the Willful King (Antichrist—the overt leader of the West) attacks the far East and North to commence the final conflict known as the Armageddon Campaign which ultimately brings all the nations of the earth into the “prophetic black hole” of Jerusalem itself.
No, this is not the vain imagination of a disturbed mind – a sort of geographical nightmarish psychosis…it is, we affirm, the precise intent of the Almighty to declare His foreknowledge and wisdom in the unveiling of His plan and purpose for humankind.
A TIME-LINE SCHEMATIC OF THE THREE PROPHETIC WARS
A time-line in relationship to the Seventieth Week of Daniel is not a vain attempt at date-setting, but it is one of “prophetic sequence.” There will be three major prophetic wars in the latter days. The onset of Antichrist, his ultimate revelation and subsequent metamorphosis into the Beast of Revelation 11 and 13, his final “strife in the sanctuary” – as well as Israel and the Church’s final overcoming victory (i.e., the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11) - all demand a distinct presentation to our readership. Today’s constellation of nations and ongoing conflict are as prophetically relevant as ever.
Most of you by now are aware of our writings on these topics (Antichrist and the Gog-Magog War, The Road to Damascus, and excerpts from The Prophetic Sequence (viz., Part VI, Three Wars and One Peace Treaty). The purpose of this tome is to clarify the sequence of these three prophetic wars in light of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (especially its “Progressive Dispensational” segment) and the events which lead up to its commencement. Allow me to highlight the somewhat complicated graphic/diagram done by our own Rob Frei and then I’ll follow it with a graphical schematic …however, the three prophetic wars are herein elucidated within the context of Daniel’s 70th Week (Please notice the large numerals in circles – 1, 2, 3)
Now, allow me to highlight these Prophetic Wars in a graphical schematic…
Or simply put:
My apologies for the expanse of these graphics; however, it behooves us to present the most biblical graphic possible with what little technology this author possesses.
“ARMAGEDDON THEOLOGY” DOES NOT MAKE ME A FIRE-BOMBER
Having foreknowledge of man’s inhumanity to man and/or of Satan’s orchestrations against the purposes of the Almighty (i.e., embracing “Armageddon Theology”) does not constitute a fiendish acceleration of the same (i.e., aggressive support for the military-industrial complex). Knowing the prophetic schematic of these pending, even on-going, conflicts does in no way plow up the killing fields in anticipation for the inevitable – and even forecasting the criminality of Hitler, Mao or Stalin (for “reasonable people” could easily have wrought such forecasts) does not make them an “accomplice to the crime” in any way, shape or form. Churchill knew full-well the naivety of Chamberlain’s announcement – as well as the cataclysmic consequences of Hitler’s subterfuge!
Knowing the Eternal’s rendition of End Time’s conflicts neither implicates God Almighty – Who knows our frame and, therefore, knows evil’s final demise – nor insinuates that they who possess such foreknowledge embellish self-fulfilling “gloom and doom” by the very fact of this divine-originated understanding. Personally, I’m up to here with the Sam Harris philosophical bombasts who trumpet their “new atheism” (along with the likes of Phil Zuckerman’s Society Without God—as if the Swedes who commercially compromised with the Nazis had any claim to “reasonable atheism”) – denying any mention of “divine origin” and ipso facto excluding God from the public square, along with delimiting all those who adhere to faith under the banner of illogical and unreasonable hogwash and, even worse, they who ascribe to belief (especially “prophetic belief”) are therefore exceedingly dangerous to the point of banishment by lethal annihilation (especially eliminated are “moderates” whose predilection for allowing these “absolutists” any legitimate platform merits their own suffocation – i.e., criminal tolerance of absolutists makes moderates the more dangerous of the two).
Zuckerman (Strife in the Sanctuary) and Harris (The End of Faith) are both Jewish – agonizing over “chosenness” amongst Jewish liberals is not a new phenomenon – nor is their despite toward Orthodox Jewish absolutism (especially its “Messianic” longings). At least their honesty finds “prophetic fulfillment” with “logical friends” amongst the Richard Dawkins evolutionists of our day and their utter hatred toward all things relative to “creationism” and the likes of Ben Stein (a self-loving Jew who in the scheme of Harris’ brain should be given short shrift so that the world can survive without religion of any sort (i.e., Project 2061 anyone and a total banishment of God from the public square under the guise of “amoral enlightenment” along with science and technology at their finest?)). What a relief to get rid of religion and its God of Destruction! Now, if we can just convince “irrational Maoists” and “Stalinists” to temper their hatred toward the divine and those who embrace the same. Let’s at least next time around convince these socialists that the trappings of religion should be once and for all banished from their ideology (whoops, about 150,000,000 deaths too late)!
I had meant to delve into the new “Tyranny of Tolerance” (espoused by Harris and Zuckerman) – as the dominant, emerging philosophy of American Empire (i.e., the “new religion” of the Empire or seizing the “aggressive middle” and replacing absolutist religions with god-inspired meditation, couple with drugs to open our inner-creative-self) – but, alas, events have once again overtaken us with Israel’s “war to the bitter end” against Hamas!
THE PRESENT DISTRESS
Each day (January, 2009) the attacks accelerate – the killings get exceedingly personal with top Hamas leaders being targeted for liquidation. Charges of indiscriminate bombing by Israelis are common; while Hamas spews rockets into nearby Israeli towns and villages. We’re not here to analyze who started what, when, how and where—we most certainly know why! Things just don’t happen all at once…there’s a lead up to the climax of “the war” – the current Arab-Israeli Conflict. It will be brutal and it will be determinant. The Burden of Damascus leaves that city in utter ruins (i.e., “a ruinous heap” – Isaiah 17:1).
I have been excoriated by Christian and Moslem (even Jews) for extrapolating the texts in Isaiah 17 regarding the destruction of Syria’s beautiful capital – but when it proclaims “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city” (yet today advertises its persistence as the world’s oldest inhabited city) one could logically conclude that either Isaiah was under one of his grand delusions or his literary license is about to be proven...either he is or isn’t a prophet…I think we’re about to find out.
Syria’s matrix of terrorist headquarters is renown—to be duly noted as the world’s foremost haven for such nefarious pursuits. Although there are numerous splinter cells unaffiliated, there are roughly 44 high profile organizations that our State Department considers “foreign terrorist organizations.” Nigh 70% of these terrorist organizations are Islamic in nature.
Foreign Terrorist Organizations – Syria at the Helm
Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in the fight against terrorism and are acclaimed an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.
Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (April, 2008, US State Department)
1. Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
2. Abu Sayyaf Group
3. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
5. Ansar al-Islam
6. Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
7. Asbat al-Ansar
8. Aum Shinrikyo
9. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
10. Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA)
11. Continuity Irish Republican Army
12. Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
13. HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
14. Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
15. Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
16. Hizballah (Party of God)
17. Islamic Jihad Group
18. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
19. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed)
20. Jemaah Islamiya organization (JI)
21. al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
22. Kahane Chai (Kach)
23. Kongra-Gel (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, KADEK)
24. Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous)
25. Lashkar i Jhangvi
26. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
27. Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
28. Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)
29. Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
30. National Liberation Army (ELN)
31. Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
32. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
33. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLF)
34. PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)
35. Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (QJBR) (al-Qaida in Iraq) (formerly Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'al-Jihad, JTJ, al-Zarqawi Network)
37. al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (formerly GSPC)
38. Real IRA
39. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
40. Revolutionary Nuclei (formerly ELA)
41. Revolutionary Organization 17 November
42. Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
43. Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
44. United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
Precisely, according to the US State Department, Syria is one of the most vociferous supporters of State-sponsored terrorism:
What groups has Syria supported which Washington regards as terrorists?
Syria gives the Lebanese militia Hezbollah political, diplomatic, and organizational aid, according to the State Department. Iranian arms bound for Hezbollah regularly pass through Syria, experts say. Syria, which effectively occupied and controlled neighboring Lebanon from 1990 to 2005, also let Hezbollah operate in Lebanon and attack Israel, often ratcheting up regional tensions.
In late 2006, Syria and Iraq ended a twenty-five-year long break in diplomatic relations, entering into a five-year agreement to cooperate on increasing border control and combating terrorism. Previously, the United States had accused Syria of letting militants supporting the Iraqi insurgency to easily pass through its border. Since the agreement, some have accused Syria of not applying stringent border control.
Syria has also provided training, weapons, safe haven, and logistical support to both leftist and Islamist Palestinian hard-liners. Syria allows several regional terrorist organizations—such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command—to have external headquarters in Damascus, according to the State Department. The Syrian government contends that these headquarters are for political and informational mobility only and that these groups “represent legitimate resistance activity as distinguished from terrorism” according to a 2007 Congressional Research Service report (PDF). (CFR, Feb. 2008)
Forever on the table in that Syria is still in a declared “state of war” with Israel, is, of course, “taking out Syria first.” These are not some weirdo-style armchair Zionists talking here…not with the likes of author Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies (and Senior Fellow for CFR), calling for more aggressive policies toward Syria. Though written in 2006 – I’m quite confident that the Council on Foreign Relation’s Boot is still prepared (without a lot more ammunition) to give Syria the “boot” at a moments notice – I think you need to read what the “Neo-con psychosis” on a hot war with Syria is all about…
August 23, 2006
“We are walking with open eyes into our next war.”
The pessimism of a senior Israeli official who made that comment on Aug. 13 (2006) was striking because he had just finished telling a group of security analysts brought to Israel by the American Jewish Committee that the United Nations-brokered cease-fire had achieved many of Israel’s goals. But he had no illusions that this would represent anything more than a temporary halt in the fight between Israel and the Quartet of Evil seeking to dominate the Middle East—Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.
The war (the 2006 war with Hezbollah/Lebanon – (the “sixth major conflict” of “the war” - Daniel 9:26) - wasn’t a total loss for Israel. But it was far from a victory. Hezbollah lost more than 500 fighters as well as most of its medium- and long-range missiles and its bunker network in southern Lebanon, while inflicting scant damage on Israel. Israeli intelligence analysts are convinced that Tehran isn’t happy about this turn of events because it was holding Hezbollah’s rockets in reserve for a possible retaliatory strike if Israel or the U.S. hit Iran’s nuclear weapons complex.
But rockets are easily replaced (Editor’s Note: Hezbollah now has 30,000 to 33,000 such rockets of which 10,000 can now penetrate deep into Israeli territory—taking “out” Tel Aviv!), and Iran and Syria will now undertake a massive effort to make good Hezbollah’s losses, and then some.
From the perspective of the Quartet of Evil, this conflict demonstrated the power of their rockets to blunt Israel’s military superiority. Antitank missiles inflicted substantial losses on Israeli armor and infantry. A cruise missile badly damaged an Israeli warship that didn’t have its defensive systems turned on. And Hezbollah was able to keep firing hundreds of Katyusha rockets a day into northern Israeli right up until the cease-fire.
Israel had managed to defeat the terrorists’ previous wonder-weapon, the suicide bomber, by walling off the Gaza Strip and West Bank. But a fence won’t stop missiles. Israel will now be loath to retreat any further from the West Bank. Hamas, for its part, will have strong incentive to stockpile rockets in its Gaza redoubt and launch a “third intifada,” as suggested by a columnist in the Hamas newspaper Al Risala.
Israel had hoped that this conflict would reestablish its deterrence, but, if anything, the unsatisfactory outcome will only embolden its enemies. The problem is that wars of attrition against fanatical jihadists who do not fear death and who hide among civilians negate to some extent the Israeli Defense Forces’ superior firepower. Additionally, Iran, the ultimate source of terrorist money and arms, is too far away for effective Israeli retaliation.
Syria, however, is a weak link in the quartet.
Syria’s importance as an advance base for Iran—the two countries concluded a formal alliance on June 16—cannot be exaggerated. It (Syria) is the go-between for most of the munitions flowing to Hezbollah. It is the sanctuary of Hamas honcho Khaled Meshaal. It is also, according to Israeli intelligence sources, the home of a new Iranian-Syrian intelligence center that tracks Israeli military movements and relays that information to terrorist proxies.
State Department optimists dream that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad can be weaned from Iran through concessions from the United States and Israel, such as the return of the Golan Heights. But since the early 1990s, the United States has tried repeatedly to strike a deal with Syria and never gotten anywhere. More economic pressure, especially from Europe, would be helpful, but it could probably be offset by increased subsidies from Iran.
History suggests that only force, or the threat of force, can win substantial concessions from Syria. In 1998, Turkey threatened military action unless Syria stopped supporting Kurdish terrorists. Damascus promptly complied. Israel may have no choice but to follow the Turkish example.
Indeed, Shlomo Avineri, a former director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, argues that his country fought the wrong war: Instead of targeting Lebanon, it should have gone after Syria. The Syrian armed forces are less motivated than Hezbollah, and they offer many more targets for Israeli airpower.
It is, of course, hard for a liberal democracy such as Israel to contemplate war if it hasn’t been attacked directly—and Syria has been careful to avoid direct attacks on Israel. (It prefers to fight to the last Lebanese.) Israelis naturally prefer peace. But the choice they face isn’t between war and peace. It is between war sooner and on their own terms, or war later and on the enemy’s terms. Ignoring the threat and hoping that it goes away isn’t a serious option. That’s the mistake Israel made with Hezbollah over the last six years.
HEZBOLLAH’S FORMIDABLE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTACK ISRAEL
Under Syria’s watchful and supportive eye, Hezbollah’s rocket capabilities are a major concern for Israel—far more formidable than the Hamas peashooters flying in from Gaza. Her “warriors” have dug their holes and caves like an ant hill akin to what the Japanese did on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima—that cost the USA nearly 7,000 dead and 20,000 wounded. Considering the Japanese lost some 20,000 with a force of 22,000 and the USA had a force of 110,000, I’d say attacking ant hills needs further consideration. Numbers meant little when it came to fighting to the death—and that’s when Americans could and would fight!
Syria is fully collaborating in these fortification efforts of Hezbollah…As Israeli Defense Minister Barak declares:
“Barak says that Hezbollah is also setting up positions in 150 villages deep inside southern Lebanon.
“The terrorist organization is not acting alone. Even as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert works toward giving Syria the Golan Heights, Syria is supplying Hezbollah with arms. ‘The Syrians are working in intimate cooperation with Hezbollah, and they are in large part responsible for the transfer of weapons and supplies to Hezbollah,’ said Barak. ‘The ultimate responsibility, as far as we’re concerned, lies with Hezbollah on the one hand, and with the Iranians and the Syrians on the other.’” (Barak: Hezbollah Establishing Fortifications in Southern Lebanon – June 4, 2008, from TheTrumpet.com)
The Israelis are more than aware of the frightful prospect of sending their citizenry to the shelters…
“In total, Hezbollah rockets
have killed 55 Israelis, 43 of whom were civilians. More than 250 Israeli
citizens were left severely wounded and thousands more were injured. The
injuries were often caused by rockets packed with shrapnel
and metal ball bearings, a tactic used to ensure as many
civilian casualties as possible. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis were
forced to flee for their lives and approximately one million Israelis were
confined to bomb shelters.
“Hezbollah's upgraded arsenal since the 2006 war currently includes:
Iranian-made Sayyad Misagh 2 and Shahab Tagheb surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles.
“Long-range Fatah-110 rockets, which have a 201 kilometer (125 mi.) range and can be equipped with a 227 kilogram (500 lb.) warhead.
“Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can be used for aerial surveillance or remotely piloted terrorist attacks.
“A new air defense wing was formed in spring 2007. Selected Hezbollah militants are trained in Tehran to use air defense missiles in combat.
“Rebuilt bunkers as deep as 70 feet, the width of a football field. The underground bunkers are equipped with sophisticated communications equipment and connected by tunnels, which limit Israel's ability to destroy the bunkers by air.
“Hezbollah is rebuilding its fortifications and new missile sites north of the Litani River.
is known to possess both the long-range, Iranian-made Fajr and Zilzal missiles.
Hezbollah's Iranian stockpile includes about 100 Fajr missiles and several
dozen Zilzal missiles.
mm Fajr-3, with a range of 43 km (27 mi.)
with a range of 75 km (47 mi.).
With literally thousands of long and short-range rockets bearing down on Israel in the same-style war Israel faced in 2006 (no matter how prepared for such a conflict Israel may boast) – the SAMSON OPTION would be in full furry…
On occasion – and this is what we at the Tribnet foresee as a realistic and tragic conclusion to the Arab-Israeli Conflict:
THE ULTIMATE OPTION – THE END OF THE THIRD TEMPLE
This gripping tale of how close Israel came in the 1973 War with Egypt and Syria is something everyone should read…now, with rockets on the ready to bomb Israeli civilian centers and the Iranians close to producing “the bomb” – well, read this and know…THE ORACLE OF DAMASCUS is a reality, right here and now!
“The Samson Option states that Moshe Dayan gave the go-ahead for starting weapon production in early 1968, putting the plutonium separation plant into full operation. Israel began producing three to five bombs a year. The book Critical Mass asserts that Israel had two bombs in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol ordered them armed in Israel's first nuclear alert during the Six-Day War. Avner Cohen in his recent book, Israel and the Bomb, agrees that Israel had a deliverable nuclear capability in the 1967 war. He quotes Munya Mardor, leader of Rafael, the Armament Development Authority, and other unnamed sources, that Israel “cobbled together” two deliverable devices.
“Having the bomb meant articulating, even if secretly, a use doctrine. In addition to the ‘Samson Option’ of last resort, other triggers for nuclear use may have included successful Arab penetration of populated areas, destruction of the Israeli Air Force, massive air strikes or chemical/biological strikes on Israeli cities, and Arab use of nuclear weapons.
“In 1971, Israel began purchasing krytrons, ultra high-speed electronic switching tubes that are ‘dual-use,’ having both industrial and nuclear weapons applications as detonators. In the 1980s, the United States charged an American, Richard Smith (or Smyth), with smuggling 810 krytrons to Israel. He vanished before trial and reportedly lives outside Tel Aviv. The Israelis apologized for the action saying that the krytrons were for medical research. Israel returned 469 of the krytrons but the rest, they declared, had been destroyed in testing conventional weapons. Some believe they went to South Africa. Smyth has also been reported to have been involved in a 1972 smuggling operation to obtain solid rocket fuel binder compounds for the Jericho II missile and guidance component hardware. Observers point to the Jericho missile itself as proof of a nuclear capability as it is not suited to the delivery of conventional munitions.
“On the afternoon of 6 October 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in a coordinated surprise attack, beginning the Yom Kippur War. Caught with only regular forces on duty, augmented by reservists with a low readiness level, Israeli front lines crumbled. By early afternoon on 7 October, no effective forces were in the southern Golan Heights and Syrian forces had reached the edge of the plateau, overlooking the Jordan River. This crisis brought Israel to its second nuclear alert.
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, obviously not at his best at a press briefing, was, according to Time magazine, rattled enough to later tell the prime minister that “this is the end of the third temple,” referring to an impending collapse of the state of Israel. “Temple” was also the code word for nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Golda Meir and her “kitchen cabinet” made the decision on the night of 8 October. The Israelis assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs. The number and in fact the entire story was later leaked by the Israelis as a great psychological warfare tool. Although most probably plutonium devices, one source reports they were enriched uranium bombs. The Jericho missiles at Hirbat Zachariah and the nuclear strike F-4s at Tel Nof were armed and prepared for action against Syrian and Egyptian targets. They also targeted Damascus with nuclear capable long-range artillery although it is not certain they had nuclear artillery shells.
“U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was notified of the alert several hours later on the morning of 9 October. The U.S. decided to open an aerial re-supply pipeline to Israel, and Israeli aircraft began picking up supplies that day. Although stockpile depletion remained a concern, the military situation stabilized on October 8th and 9th as Israeli reserves poured into the battle and averted disaster. Well before significant American re-supply had reached Israeli forces, the Israelis counterattacked and turned the tide on both fronts.
“On 11 October, a counterattack on the Golan broke the back of Syria's offensive and on 15 and 16 October, Israel launched a surprise crossing of the Suez Canal into Africa. Soon the Israelis encircled the Egyptian Third Army and it was faced with annihilation on the east bank of the Suez Canal, with no protective forces remaining between the Israeli Army and Cairo. The first U.S. flights arrived on 14 October. Israeli commandos flew to Fort Benning, Georgia to train with the new American TOW anti-tank missiles and return with a C-130 Hercules aircraft full of them in time for the decisive Golan battle. American commanders in Germany depleted their stocks of missiles, at that time only shared with the British and West Germans, and sent them forward to Israel.
“Thus started the subtle, opaque use of the Israeli bomb to ensure that the United States kept its pledge to maintain Israel's conventional weapons edge over its foes. There is significant anecdotal evidence that Henry Kissinger told President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear.”
(Please see all footnotes, if interested here…THE THIRD TEMPLE’S HOLY OF HOLIES: ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS, Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army, The Counterproliferation Papers, future Warfare Series No. 2, USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, September, 1999)
Oh, don’t think that Israel hasn’t targeted DAMASCUS with nuclear weaponry before – and that was 35+ years ago – imagine what’s happening today? “Nuclear capable long-range artillery?” Come on now – after 235 rockets rained down on Israelis, the war of 2006 suddenly ended - amazing what “options” could have been placed on the table by the Israelis? Friends, this scenario is not as vulgar as it appears. There’s not a whole lot of time to preserve the “Third Temple” when 10,000 long-range rockets bear down on your cities. And, what if Tijuana drug lords decided it was time to rocket San Diego – bizarre, I know – but when eight to ten are dying daily in this southern exposure…who knows what idiot could pull a trigger in some form of retaliation. Now think of Israel getting plastered by indiscriminate rockets going off all over the “Third Temple” – well, if this were happening to San Diego, I can assure you that a huge hole several hundred feet deep and perhaps a mile wide would be all that’s left of our beloved Tijuana (With, of course, appropriate notification that we had decided to blow her to smithereens so the innocents could vamoose.).
No – the seventh and final conflict of the Arab-Israeli Struggle will not be house-to-house fighting by the IDF amongst the ruins of Gaza (although there most surely will be some of this)– nor blow torching Hezbollah in her bunkers…it will be Samson in all his “option” that will go to the heart of the problem: SYRIA! Iran is simply not a viable option – besides, an attack on Iran would trigger an assault by Syria in any event and visa versa. It’s just that those missiles pointed at Israel by Hezbollah are what infuriate . . . and there’s little time to decide. It will be mandatory to take “life into our own hands” and dispense with diplomatic maneuvering, delaying tactics (truces, public opinion polls and marches, US restraints, and, most definitely, EU, French, Russia meddling in “our affairs” – you name it) – interference to the wind! At this stage Egypt will be cowering and the Saudis imploding (diplomatically). Talk about short, sweet and to the point!
WHERE’S CHURCHILL WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
Interjecting Sir Winston Churchill into this quagmire seems only too appropriate—given Israel’s pending exhaustion and will to fight on amidst a world whose opinions of her daily diminish and as peaceniks within abound. Churchill’s frame of mind, after Chamberlain’s inane declarations of “peace in our time,” is a prime example of the prophetic spirit whose birthplace should reside among the Hebrews at this critical season of uncertainty:
“Churchill made this prophetic pronouncement in a House of Commons speech in 1938, just after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich agreement with Hitler. Chamberlain returned from Germany with the signed agreement in hand, proclaiming that ‘peace in our time’ had been achieved. Churchill attacked Chamberlain's ‘politics of appeasement’ in this and many other speeches.” (Masters of Chiasmus: Winston Churchill (Part 2))
Churchill knew full-well that Britain could have stood up to Hitler in his early program of intimidation. Unbelievable – after the war we discovered that leading military commanders in Germany had a complete coup in place to overthrow Hitler the very day he met with Chamberlain in Munich! Yes, they concurred with Germany’s aggression…but Hitler was moving too fast before she could adequately rearm. Then, this Chamberlain rolled over – while the Generals stood down at the Fuhrer’s tactical brilliance.
Churchill arose on Parliament’s floor in a prophetic outburst that would resound throughout WW II…if only England would have listened. It does us good to ponder the import of the prophet of Britain:
“One pound was demanded at the pistol’s point. When it was given, two pounds were demanded at the pistol’s point. Finally the Dictator consented to take 1 pound, 17 shillings and sixpence and the rest in promises of good will for the future.
“No one has been a more resolute and uncompromising struggler for peace than the Prime Minister.... Nevertheless, I am not quite clear on why there was so much danger of Great Britain or France being involved in a war with Germany at this juncture if, in fact, they were ready all along to sacrifice Czechoslovakia. The terms which the Prime Minister brought back with him could easily have been agreed [at any time]. And I will say this, that I believe the Czechs, left to themselves and told they were going to get no help from the Western Powers, would have been able to make better terms than they have got after all this tremendous perturbation. They could hardly have had worse.
“All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness....
“I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week, the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defenses; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western Democracies: `Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.' And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless, by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” (Winston Churchill)
Mussolini’s Foreign Minister gloated over Chamberlain’s appeasement in his secret diary, found shortly after the war:
“These men are not made of the same stuff as Francis Drake and the other magnificent adventurers who created the Empire. They are after all the tired sons of a long line of rich men.” (The Secret Diary of Mussolini’s Foreign Minister)
Churchill’s rail on appeasement included such literary prose as these:
“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
Even so – Churchill’s uncompromised foresight should awaken Israel to her vigilant need – or what Chamberlain-style pressure from her peaceniks shall await her ultimate demise? Will she be forced to exercise the Samson Option and stave off the final denial of the Third Temple? Perhaps a “prophetess of Israel” has inherited the Churchillian spirit in the midst of “peace at any price”….We’re close – oh so close…
“Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation….utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality [all these things] constituted a picture of … fatuity and fecklessness which, though devoid of guile, was not devoid of guilt, and though free from wickedness and evil design, played a definite part in the unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries which, even so far as they have unfolded, are beyond comparison in human experience.” (Peace in Our Time, From Naomi Ragan, October 6, 2000 – Quoting from Winston Churchill’s “The Gathering Storm”)
Since this tome’s design depicts “The Rise or Fall of American Empire?” – Then, where, pray tell, does the “land shadowed with buzzing wings” abide in all this?
Frankly, the USA-Israeli Strategic Alliance is very much alive and well (Please see: US-Israel Strategic Alliance). Notwithstanding this complicated relationship between the USA and Israel – they, nevertheless, find themselves facing similar enemies. Regardless of the depth of the current alignment of interests (military, commercial, religious and social), there has never been a full-blown formalization of a “Defense Pact” wherein if Israel is attacked, the USA considers it an attack against herself…but that day is fast approaching (i.e., the formalization of such a “defense pact”).
The Bible’s clarity of another nation’s security over Israel’s protection is the fire that will light the final chapter of human history as we now know it. America’s role seems one of both collaboration and interference—at this stage of things. However, AFTER the Oracle of Damascus, according to Isaiah 18, there will be a nation and people who are wholly engaged in a major diplomatic effort…a land “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia (Cush)” (Isaiah 18:1).
Every British Israelite and his brother have imbibed in these interpretations to substantiate the Anglo connection to Judah. This is not my emphasis—to the contrary, and although I concur that the description of those who offer such aggressive diplomacy can be none other than the United States of America, they are by no means linked to the so-called “lost tribes of Israel.”
Their ambassadors travel by sea in vessels beyond “the rivers of Ethiopia” – and “beyond” connotes a land in ancient times beyond the immediate prophetic environs of the known world (however, below—some disagree, but their arguments are bewildering, confused)…
“Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide” (Isa. 18:2).
RAY STEDMAN’S ON THE RIGHT TRACK BUT IS CONFUSED ON WHO MAKES THE COVENANT
The notion that Americans are tall and clean shaven MAY merit feasible description; however, there is unquestioned veracity to the remarks of the prophet that “from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down” could possibly allude to the USA. (I find it farfetched to say this describes Israel herself.) Furthermore, the phrase “whose land the rivers divide” compounds the evidence as to whom this “mystery land” speaks. I am persuaded by the likes of Ray Stedman’s commentary on these passages that he was on to something more profound (and this goes without saying that I am not altogether put off that the ultimate Gentile World Power alluded to here in Isaiah 18 is the USA)…but let Stedman’s commentary shed further light on this “mystery nation.”
“Some say the ‘land of overshadowing wings’ is a reference to the American eagle, the symbol of the United States. It is described as ‘a nation tall and smooth [they do not have beards] ... whose land the rivers divide.’ These interpreters say that, since Isaiah did not know of the western world, he could only describe it as ‘beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,’ i.e. to the west of Ethiopia and is a reference to the new world, probably to the United States. This illustrates the ease with which such prophecies can be misused and misapplied.
“Actually, as I have pointed out before, Hebrew is a difficult language to translate because many Hebrew words can be taken in various ways. A careful comparison of the words used here as they are used elsewhere in the Old Testament, results in an almost entirely different translation.
“In the first place, the word that is translated ‘Ethiopia’ is the word ‘Cush.’ The ancient name of Ethiopia was Cush, but the problem is, there are two Cushes in the Bible. One is in Africa, which we identify as Ethiopia, with the Nile River as its great river. There was another Cush, however, in Asia, north of Palestine, around the headwaters of the Euphrates. That Cush would be identified with Assyria, and the great river running out of it was the Euphrates. So that this ‘land of overshadowing wings,’ which is ‘beyond the rivers of Cush’ (the Nile on one side, the Euphrates on the other) would be a land that protects or in some way influences another nation.
“Adopting that translation, the area of the globe referred to would be the Gentile powers of earth. They will ‘overshadow’ by a covenant, a treaty of protection, with a nation which is described as ‘a nation tall and smooth.’ ‘A people feared from its beginning’ is a better translation. It is also ‘a nation under the line’ literally, under the judgment of God, a disciplined nation, a nation chastised by God, ‘whose land the rivers [the Nile and the Euphrates] divide’ among themselves.
Historically this describes the nation of Israel. Caught between the great superpowers of the day, their armies crisscrossing it often, this nation has been divided between these great powers. But in the end times there will be a covenant made with it (we read of this in the book of Daniel), and that covenant will be with the great Gentile nations of the world of that day. The result will be an invasion (which Ezekiel describes) from the north that will eventuate in the destruction of the great world powers (called by Ezekiel Gog and Magog) on the mountains of Israel. There is a reference to that in Verse 6 of Isaiah 18:
They shall all of them be left
“But the last word is that there will be a final restoration.
At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord of
“Again, this is a picture of the restoration of Israel to its land and the tribute of the Gentile nations.” (Why Do the Nations Rage?, Pastor Ray C. Stedman, pbc Library)
Stedman’s interpretation is a bit skewed, even confusing. How is it that the ancient Israelites are “a nation tall and smooth…feared from its beginning?” Also, if this be a “land the rivers (both the Nile and Euphrates – as rivers would depict nation states – Egypt, the Nile and Assyria, the Euphrates), then they could, under Stedman’s analysis, be those peoples who “divide” the land of Israel between them (i.e., between these great powers). Then he jumps to those latter-day nations (or “nation”): “But in the end times there will be a covenant made with it (we read of this in the book of Daniel) (Note: Stedman is perhaps referring to Daniel 9:27 and the “covenant with the many for one week”), and that covenant will be with the great Gentile nations of the world of that day.”
He then concludes that “The result will be an invasion (which Ezekiel describes) from the north that will eventuate in the destruction of the great world powers (called by Ezekiel Gog and Magog) on the mountains of Israel.” I do not deny that the conclusion of Isaiah 17:12-14 appears to allude to the aftermath of the Oracle of Damascus wherein “the nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; but God will rebuke them and they will flee far away” – this, most definitely fits the Gog-Magog War which follows in the train of the Burden of Damascus.
However, that said, it appears that Brother Stedman is fuzzy about this “mystery nation.” I concur that we are dealing with a Gentile World Power (not “powers”), but Stedman’s analysis of locating this prophetic mystery is a bit out there. Stedman has confused the “Oracle of Damascus” with the Gog-Magog War and has somehow mixed in “great Gentile nations of the world of that day” (i.e., Egypt/Nile and Assyria/Euphrates) who apparently participate in this “covenant” with Israel…whereas, Daniel 9:27 is strictly an agreement imposed upon Israel in the form of a defense pact orchestrated by “the coming prince” (i.e., the Antichrist). It is Antichrist who shall effect such an imposition; thence, Isaiah confirms this to be “A covenant with death, and with Sheol” (Isaiah 28:15, 18). This “covenant” is between “the coming prince” (Antichrist) and “the many” (Israel’s majority)…it is not a “covenant” between a group of Gentile World Powers and Israel (i.e., between Gog-Magog and Israel), but the imposition of a virtual unilateral defense pact between Antichrist and Israel, which inadvertently or purposefully protects Israel from Gog-Magog.
Needless to say, we concur with Stedman’s pronouncement that Israel shall be involved in such a subterfuge (i.e., defense pact or “covenant”) at the end of days—but with whom? The consequences of Isaiah 18 are a direct result of the previous war mentioned in Isaiah 17: The Oracle of Damascus. It is that war which generates the feverish diplomatic activity – which in vain seeks to avoid Gog-Magog or assure Israel that if attacked, it will equal an attack on Antichrist. Stedman is correct, however, Gog-Magog is present in the texts he cites; notwithstanding, his “mystery nation” is not Israel sandwiched between Egypt and Assyria (his two rivers) but it most definitely is a Gentile World Power separate and apart from Israel who shall seize the opportunity for full-scale diplomacy following the Oracle of Damascus, leading to the infamous defense pact or “covenant” mentioned in both Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:15 and 18.
Where Stedman’s analysis becomes blurred is not in the timing of the Gog-Magog War (i.e., after the “covenant” is made with the many or after the commencement of the Seventieth Week of Daniel) but the participants involved in the “covenant.” Stedman says “that covenant will be with the great Gentile nations of the world of that day. The result will be an invasion (which Ezekiel describes) from the north that will eventuate in the destruction of the great world powers (called by Ezekiel Gog and Magog) on the mountains of Israel.” It appears that Stedman’s covenant is made not between Antichrist and Israel but between “great Gentile nations” who in turn will invade Israel (i.e., “break the covenant”?) from the north (Gog and Magog). No, the “defense pact” is not made with Stedman’s “great Gentile nations” (e.g., Egypt/Nile/King of the South and Assyria/Euphrates/King of the North) and Israel but between Antichrist who is allied with Israel against these “great Gentile nations” – which protection is formalized by Antichrist’s “Treaty with Death and Hell.”
Gog-Magog – King of the North and King of the South – attack Israel in Ezekiel and Antichrist in Daniel 11:40-43; therefore, it is illogical to think that Gog-Magog et al affirm such a covenant with Israel and then turn on her—nothing of the sort is mentioned in Scripture. Whereas such a defense pact made between Antichrist and Israel would generate antagonism from the constellation of nations and principalities represented in both Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog-Magog—attacking Israel) and Daniel 11:40-43 (King of the North – King of the South—attacking Antichrist).
Stedman is correct in that “this is a picture of the restoration of Israel to its land and the tribute of the Gentile nations.” But how can such a tribute (Isaiah 18:7) come from the same people who are “tall and smooth of skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide” (i.e., Israel is the “mystery nation” who attempts major diplomatic maneuvers and eventually submits to the divine order, according to Stedman…she sends out her emissaries and sues for a collective peace with the “river nations” of the Nile and Euphrates, only to have them turn on her as Gog-Magog)? The problem in all this is Stedman’s total omission of just who is orchestrating the covenant—it’s not Egypt and Assyria or “Gentile World Powers” but Antichrist who enforces his treaty upon Israel. “The land the rivers divide” is not Israel but the Gentile nation whose very land is divided by those very rivers—rivers divide that Gentile Nation, terrible from their beginning.
Carefully note we’re speaking of that same Gentile World Power which shall bring such a gift “to the LORD of hosts” at the final Millenarian restoration. This GENTILE nation is described as “a people tall and smooth, etc.” On the other hand, Stedman argues that ultimately the “land (i.e., Israel) the rivers (Gentile nations) divide” is Israel herself; therefore, all the other descriptions fit Israel, not a Gentile nation. Stedman states that the “land shadowed with buzzing wings” are “Gentile nations” who allegedly “overshadow by a covenant, a treaty of protection, with a nation (Israel) which is described as ‘a nation tall and smooth’.” Stedman’s interpretation is convoluted. The “land shadowed with buzzing wings” is the land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia (Cush). It is this land (Israel) which “sends (‘Israeli’) ambassadors by sea” to these “buzzing winged Gentile nations” (according to Stedman) – they in turn make a covenant with Israel and later break it; turns out these Gentile nations are none other than Gog-Magog who are in Stedman’s estimation mentioned in Daniel as making a covenant with Israel. The “truth is out there” – but not in Stedman’s interpretation – and I believe I’m being fair in this analysis.
THE MYSTERY NATION…
At this point a review of my previous efforts to excise the true “mystery nation” from these obscurities (taken from the Road to Damascus, by Doug Krieger) would be appropriate:
After Isaiah elucidates Cush’s involvement, he describes an UNNAMED PEOPLE or NATION . . . almost like a riddle, designed to help one discover who that nation might be:
“Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers” (Isaiah 18:2 NIV)
or . . . let us consider the NKJV:
“Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide.”
Here we discover that Cush is prepared to settle, as one of the members of the Southern Confederated nations aligned with Gog, directly with this mystery nation—no doubt some form of peace.
The Masoretic Text gives even a more detailed analysis of this mystery nation/people; to wit:
“. . . a nation led along according to someone else’s will, smooth (or hairless), a people feared from himself and beyond, a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated, whose land the rivers plundered.” (Isaiah 18:2) (Hebrew Masoretic Text accessed via: Bushell, Michael S., Bible Works for Windows. Big Fork, Montana: Hermeneutica Software, 1996.) (Also, special appreciation for the wonderful work of Paul Robertson of Portland, Oregon)
Thusly, this unnamed, mystery nation is known and described as follows:
1. A nation whose will has been usurped.
This strange and unusual description goes beyond normal bounds of human description. First, they are a nation . . . clearly a nation that has caused Cush to be concerned for its own sovereignty.
She is a nation, who by the time of this description, has lost her freedoms and are somehow “led along according to someone else’s will” –we affirm that “will” to be none other than that of Antichrist; to wit:
“23When these rulers have become as evil as possible, their power will end, and then a king who is dangerous and cannot be trusted will appear. 24He will gain strength, but not on his own, and he will cause terrible destruction. He will wipe out powerful leaders and God's people as well.” (Daniel 8:23-24)
The sheer force of his will shall lead many astray: “Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:25a).
How readily are we reminded of the WILFUL ONE found in Isaiah 14:12-14:
you are fallen from heaven,
Surely, the WILL of this nation has been usurped by this despicable one whose frame we are well aware! Finally, we confer this verse to his charge;
“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).
2. A “smooth-skinned” (or clean shaven) people.
This phrase/word (i.e., “smooth-skinned”) is derived from the Hebrew word “morat” and connotes “smooth” or “hairless.” Therefore, we conclude that they have purposefully removed their facial hair and/or body hair. The history of a people who has done this is most fascinating. The art of barbering dates way back; however, in the modern era, it is the USA that laid claim to the earth’s first schools of Barbering (1893) and to this day prides itself as a nation of the clean shaven! How odd to describe this mystery nation as CLEAN SHAVEN! Of course, this custom is highly prized by the US military and is, almost across the board, REQUIRED BY THE MILITARY. The Egyptians were clean shaven, but certainly not the ancient Israelites. From “Aaron’s beard to Samson’s Hair” – the Israelites are hardly Stedman’s hairless mystery nation.
3. The third “clue” as to this nation’s identity lies in the phrase: “feared from himself and beyond.”
Although it appears from the Hebrew that this nation’s people could be “afraid of its own government,” it is far more likely that she is a nation feared throughout the world and obviously, therefore, she is a WORLD POWER of the foremost order! No doubt, those “within her” are fearful, on the one hand, but on the other hand, everyone “outside her” is also full of terror at this nation’s leadership and people.
These verses of Antichrist’s power come to mind:
“A king shall arise, having fierce features . . . he (i.e., Antichrist) shall destroy fearfully . . . so they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Daniel 8:23, 24; Revelation 13:4).
4. “A nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated”
Rarely has there ever in the history of humankind been an emerging nation state that measured its conquered lands and then, subjugated its native peoples like that of this nation! In point of fact, the very art of surveying on a massive scale was literally founded by this nation! And, what of its subjugated peoples . . . the tragic history is unparalleled in the annals of human history!
5. “Whose land the rivers have plundered”
This phrase comes from the Hebrew word “bazu” and is singularly found only in this passage of the Bible. However, the word is similar to that of its noun form: “baz” (to “loot” or “plunder”). Therefore, the verb “bazu” means “looted” or “plundered.” Apparently, this land which is divided by rivers is literally FLOODED by these same rivers and that flooding is extensive!
The legendary dividing of the USA by its formidable currents is known throughout the world. Furthermore, the incessant flooding of those same streams is without precedence; especially, because of the many cities which line their banks and are exposed to the ravages of their floods!
DO WE HAVE A VERDICT!
Is the mystery nation Stedman’s Israel or the final days’ Gentile World Power? I believe it is the conglomeration of evidence that convinces this author, and many others, that Isaiah’s description of this end-times’ nation and people, can be none other than these United States of America—not Israel, nor ancient Assyria or Egypt, and certainly not Ethiopia (Cush), nor Assyria (Cush).
Purposefully it is UNNAMED! Why? Because it wasn’t even in existence at the time of Isaiah’s writings—so its peculiar and convincing description is given.
One nation, and one nation alone, can command the fear of all the other nations of the globe! This people’s will is being usurped as we speak. Blindly do they follow their leadership until all will is subservient to their commander. They are a militant people whose clean-shaven character fits their military motif. They are today’s SOLE SUPER POWER. Their land was surveyed and their native populations were subjugated. Indeed, their rivers may have wrought massive flooding but by dent of their imaginative will have they overcome their adversities.
Listen now, listen and see who is this nation:
“All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When HE (this nation) lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; and when HE blows a trumpet you hear it” (Isaiah 18:3).
The transition in Isaiah 17 is now completed. Damascus is destroyed. Gog and Magog gather together against “him” at the close of Isaiah 17. But this fearful and terrible nation, and its awesome and fearsome leader, shall defeat mighty Gog and his allies, Magog (those inhabiting the “Land of Magog”).
And, how shall HE defeat his foes who have mounted such a massive assault against HIM? Daniel 11:40-45 spells out his tactics and strategies. At this stage, Israel’s foes are vanquished AND “In that time a present will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide—to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, to Mount Zion” (Isaiah 18:7).
This finale, this conclusion of Isaiah 17 through 18 is most remarkable . . . or is it? Imbedded within these mysterious and strange descriptions is a final depiction which amplifies the Almighty’s sovereignty over all things earthly and heavenly. Could we be witnessing the Lord’s USE OF HIS FOE FOR HIS OWN ENDS? Absolutely!
This “nation powerful and treading down,” this one “which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, treading it down and breaking it in pieces” (Daniel 7:23) shall yet be used by the Almighty for His Own designs!
THREE WARS FOUND IN ISAIAH 17-18
Thus, America’s role – the world’s leading Gentile World Power – seems unequivocal, relentless. She will be thrust into a major diplomatic effort at the conclusion of the Oracle of Damascus. Antichrist is seen in Revelation 6 as riding upon a white horse, with a bow, but no arrow, signifying his abilities to “conquer through peace.”
But Isaiah 17-18 goes beyond the Oracle of Damascus; beyond Gog-Magog; and reaches into the Armageddon Campaign. Indeed the conclusion of Isaiah 18 can be compared to that of Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 19 in relationship to Armageddon – leaving little doubt that neither the Oracle of Damascus, nor Gog-Magog, are now in view – the FINAL CONFLICT is, but so is what Ray Stedman says: This is a picture of the restoration of Israel to its land and the tribute of the Gentile nations
They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey and for the beasts of the earth; the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them (Armageddon). In that time a present will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin (Note: Imagine – that “terrible nation” must now come to Jerusalem in millenarian submission.), and from a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide—to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, to Mount Zion.
And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: Assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams and lambs, of goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, and drink blood till you are drunk, at My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table with horses and riders, with mighty men and with all the men of war,’ (i.e., Armageddon) says the Lord GOD. (Note: Ezekiel 39:21-29 reveals Israel in full millenarian bliss.)
‘Come and gather together for the supper (i.e., Great supper or God) of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Note: Immediately following this Revelation 20:1-6
These parallel passages confirm Armageddon’s appearance at the end of Isaiah 18 (in perfect sequence are found The Oracle of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1-11); the Gog-Magog War (Isaiah 17:12-14 and Isaiah 18:1-2); and the Armageddon Campaign (Isaiah 18:3-6); and, finally the Millennium and the Rule and Reign of the Son of David (Isaiah 18:7).
WHO’S IN WHAT PROPHETIC WAR?
Perhaps the most convincing differentiation of the three wars can be found in the constellation of nations found in Scripture – i.e., those involved in each of the wars (particularly the first two – the Oracle of Damascus and the Gog-Magog War).
The chart below will assist:
FURTHER PROPHETIC WAR CONSIDERATIONS
Now, as of this writing, the Israeli ground assault has begun (January 3-4, 2009). Is this the lighted fuse to the seventh and final stage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Oracle of Damascus? No, in sum and substance the current Gaza infraction is not the Oracle of Damascus—but most certainly it can light the fuse. It is when Hezbollah begins its identification or a “loose cannon” fired by Palestinians from Southern Lebanon…frankly, any number of events can set this “thing” off!
The commencement and ending of the Oracle of Damascus will result in a major “peace initiative” as well as “spiritual revival” among peoples surrounding Eretz Israel. The “peace initiative” will be “exploited” by the leadership of the “mystery nation” of Isaiah 18 (whom we affirm is the undisputed Gentile World Powerbroker of the West – i.e., the Willful King of Daniel 7:7-8, 11, 24-25; 8:9-12, 23-25; 9:26-27; 11:22-45). Secular Zionism as a viable ideology ostensibly will be bankrupt (Isaiah 17:4). This vacuum will give rise to a fervent desire on the part of religious Jews to initiate the rebuilding of the literal Third Temple—now that her immediate neighbors have been silenced.
This in turn will enflame the passions of heretofore out-of-reach belligerent peoples and nations—including Egypt, Libya (ancient Put) and Sudan (ancient Ethiopia or southern Cush—not the northern “Euphrates Cush of ancient Assyria” as some claim) or the King of the South; along with the King of the North under the banner of Gog and his allies (in the land of Magog). The King of the North is constituted not only by spiritual principalities (Gog, the chief (Rosh) prince of Meshech and Tubal) but of peoples and nations, most notably Persia (Iran); along with “Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops” (both domiciled in modern-day Turkey—Ezekiel 38:6). As in a monstrous pincer – from the north and south of Israel – shall Gog descend and ascend upon Israel.
In Ezekiel’s account of the Gog-Magog War the attack is upon Israel—Israel is the subject of the antagonists; although “commercial interests of both the West and the Saudi Arabian Peninsula states view the conflict as an imposition to their interests and wealth. In Daniel’s accounting of the Gog-Magog War (i.e., King of the North and King of the South coming against HIM) the obvious center of the antagonists is the Antichrist himself. Hence, it appears that Israel and the Antichrist are in some “league” or “covenant.” This is understandable in that Israel occupies the thinking of the prophet Ezekiel in the Gog-Magog War, whereas Daniel is dealing in the main with Gentile World Powers and most assuredly highlights throughout his latter text the role of the Willfull King: Antichrist. It is more “spiritually logical” in that Daniel alludes to this covenant’s inception and ultimate termination in several places (Daniel 9:27; 8:12-14; 11:22-24, 31-32)—Antichrist is central to Daniel’s thinking.
Daniel 11:40-43 makes it abundantly clear that nations and peoples mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 are herein mentioned as well, with the notable addition of Egypt found in Daniel 11:42-43 (Note: “Libyans and Ethiopians” are mentioned in Daniel 11:43 and also in Ezekiel 38:5 – they are key in linking the two passages in Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38 together as the same conflict, the Gog-Magog War; furthermore, all other belligerents mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39:1-16 are embraced within the context of the King of the North and the King of the South found in Daniel 11:40). The veiled allusions to the Western Mercantile nations (the Merchants or Ships of Tarshish “and all their young lions” whose concerns are wholly commercial in nature insofar as the invasion of Gog’s King of the North and King of the South upon the Beautiful Land, Israel) will take umbrage, along with the peoples of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula (Sheba and Dedan – Ezekiel 38:13), against the forces under Gog’s banner. Hence, the “house divided” will contest its own efforts to destroy.
Likewise, connecting the Merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions, who find themselves in an adversarial role with Gog, et al, is not a quantum associated leap to affirm that their contestations with Gog are most similar to Antichrist’s (the Willful King—Daniel 11:16, 36) pre-positioned resistance to the same (i.e., “at the time of the end the King of the South shall attack HIM; and the King of the North shall come against HIM like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and HE shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through…HE shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow at HIS heels” Daniel 11:40-45, excerpts). We affirm that all these pronouns (capitalized for emphasis—HE, HIM, HIS) all refer to the aforementioned Willful King, the Antichrist, who finds himself and his pre-positioned forces, as a result (no doubt) of the infamous “Treaty with Death and Agreement with Hell” so defined in Daniel 9:27; 11:22-24 and alluded to in Isaiah 28:15, 18), at the center of these antagonists.
Antichrist’s usurpation, through intrigue, deceit, payoffs and cunning (Daniel 11:21-24, the Vile or Despicable Person), has placed him into the “religious equation” of the Third Temple in the latter days, and as Antiochus IV Epiphanes (prototype of the Antichrist) installed his High Priest (Jason and then Menelaus, who outbid Jason for the position), assassinating the legitimate High Priest (Onias III) during the Maccabean Era (thereby claiming title to “prince of the covenant” – Daniel 11:22) – even so, Antichrist, the false messiah, shall calculate the same by politicizing the Third Temple to the extent that it appears his approval and “inspiration” for the erection of the Third Temple will ultimately find him declaring himself “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:4).
Whereupon, he shall fulfill not only the desecration of the future, literal Sanctuary (for he is destined to “break the defense pact/treaty” in the midst of the Seventieth Week of Daniel some 1260 days into the final week—Daniel 9:27), but his apparent assassination by Jewish militants (“the wound in his head” – Rev. 13:3-4, 12) shall result in the parody of the resurrection of the true Messiah, Jesus, and the desecration of the human spirit. This vile act – BOTH the desecration of the literal Sanctuary, and the defilement of the human spirit (for as Satan entered into Judas to commit the despicable act of betrayal, earning the infamous entitlement as the “son of perdition” – Luke 22:3; John 17:12) – shall also reveal the “Man of Sin, the Lawless One” (II Thess. 2:3, 8-9). Furthermore, through this duo-desecration he shall earn the title as the SON OF PERDITION (i.e., Son of Destruction) (II Thess. 2:3) for he will have entered into the “sanctuary of the Antichrist” and turned him into the BEAST (Rev. 11:7; 13:1-10; 17:3, 7-13; 19:19-20; Daniel 7:11, 21-22, 25; 8:11-14, 23-26; 9:27; 12:7-12) – a “being” without redemption, without any hope or design to fellowship with the Almighty. (Note: We affirm this entire desecration as the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION or the “Transgression of Desolation” spoken of in Daniel 8:11-14; 9:27; 11:16, 32, 36-37; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; II Thess. 2:3-10.) (Note: Jesus clearly gives Daniel’s “Abomination of Desolation” credibility and futuristic implications…this is NOT something fulfilled in the Maccabean time frame.)
Also, it is our understanding that 210 days (7 months or 30x7 = 210 days of “cleansing the land”—Ezekiel 39:12—of the Gog-Magog aftermath) shall bring us to the 250th day (40 days of the Gog-Magog War at the commencement of the 70th Week of Daniel added to these 210 days of cleansing of the land or 40 + 210 = 250). We have every reason to affirm that the commencement of the Seventieth Week of Daniel shall ensue on Passover. If so, one simply adds the 250 days bringing us on the Jewish calendar to Hanukah/Feast of Lights/Feast of Dedication (started under the redemption of the Maccabees and their consecration of the cleansed temple). Then we add 1010 days to arrive at the mid-point of the Seventieth Week (1260 total days or 250+1010=1260 days). These are the 1010 days of “sacrifice” (Daniel 8:13-14).
Then at mid-point will be the Abomination of Desolation (or, precisely on the Jewish calendar, the Feast of Tabernacles/Ingathering). Remember, the Armageddon Campaign shall have commenced from the 41st day of Daniel’s Seventieth Week until the final day of desolations or 1220 days + 1290 days = 2510 days). Now, counting an additional 1290 days (or 30 days beyond the final half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, we will arrive at the final day of desolations (Daniel 12:12). This in turn completes the “math word problem” wherein there are to be 2300 days of BOTH “sacrifice and desolations” (Daniel 8:13-14) or 1010 days of sacrifice + 1290 days of desolation = 2300 days of both sacrifice and desolation. It will also be on Passover (the end of the second set of 1260 days) when the Two Witnesses are “raised from the dead” (Rev. 11 – the close of Daniel’s Seventieth Week) – the final 30 days (or the 1290th day) will be the intense climax of the Third Prophetic War, the so-called “Battle of Armageddon,” or the period known as the Wrath of the Lamb, Wrath of God, resulting in the return of Messiah or the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 19:11-21)
“REVIVAL” IS ALWAYS A RESULT OF THESE CONFLICTS
It must be kept in mind that God’s mercy and grace; His call to repentance through the Two Witnesses; and a host of reconciling appeals are made throughout these conflicts. We have termed these as “revival” – preparing the way of the Lord. We find these appeals for repentance and reconciliation – of salvation and deliverance, as follows:
May the Lord open our eyes to see His plan and purpose for the ages. In all three conflicts there is the preparation of Israel to meet her Messiah – there is the mercy upon the nations to know the Lord – and there is the purification of His people. To Him, the Son of God and Son of Man may there be glory forevermore – He is altogether righteous to judge the nations – to rule and to reign upon the throne of David – to reward His servants – and to claim His full inheritance among the saints!
“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated, and the books were opened…
I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.”
(Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14)
“But the court shall be seated,
And they shall take away his (Antichrist’s) dominion,
To consume and destroy it forever.
Then the kingdom and dominion,
And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,
Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”