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The Pre-Ezekiel 38 Battle - Part One:
Who Is Mentioned In the
Ezekiel 38 Invasion of Israel?
The Pre-Ezekiel 38 Battle - Part Two:
Who Is Not Mentioned In the
Ezekiel 38 Invasion of Israel?

The Pre-Ezekiel 38 Battle Part Three: Why Those Not Mentioned are Not Mentioned and the Coming Middle Eastern War,
Posted: 14 September 2012

     Part one of this series looked at the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38. By comparing the ancient nations of Ezekiel's day with the modern nations of today, we saw two great alliances. The first alliance, which invades Israel, appears to be led by Russia and includes the Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Germany, Armenia, and some of the Baltic countries. The second alliance, which opposes the invasion but apparently does not take action to prevent it, appears to be made up of Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and possibly India and the countries of South and Central America.

     In part two of this series we looked at several nations of Ezekiel's day who are not mentioned in Ezekiel 38. These nations, for the most part immediately adjacent to Israel, do not appear to be involved in the events of Ezekiel 38, either by invading or opposing. They correspond to the modern countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and, in the case of Philistia, the Gaza Strip. Also not mentioned is Babylon, which corresponds to Iraq today.

     As pointed out in part two, the countries not mentioned in Ezekiel 38 were not overlooked, nor should we just assume that they are included with those that are mentioned. There is a reason why they are not mentioned. That reason, I believe, helps set the stage for the prophesied invasion of Israel in Ezekiel 38. And that reason is what I plan to explore in the third part of this series.

     A clue to the reason why these countries are not mentioned in Ezekiel 38 is found in verses 10-12:

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 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, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land."

     Now, these verses have puzzled me for years. Israel is described in verse 11 as a "land of unwalled villages...that are at rest, that dwell safely...dwelling without walls...having neither bars nor gates..." Since Israel declared its independence in 1948, they have been involved in a constant series of wars, border skirmishes, armed conflicts, and confrontations. They have been subject to suicide bombings, missile attacks, insurgencies, sniper attacks, and countless other terrorist attacks day in and day out. Vigilant military, police and security forces, fortified border checkpoints, and reinforced concrete walls with bars, gates, and sentry points, protect Israelis at home, at work, and at play. Israelis dwell in apartments and houses with safe rooms, bullet proof windows, and blackout curtains. Hardly a "land of unwalled villages...that are at rest, that dwell safely...dwelling without walls...having neither bars nor gates..."!

     Obviously, major changes need to occur in the Middle East if the Israel of today is to become the Israel of Ezekiel 38. These changes, I believe, will be the reason why a number of countries that should have been mentioned in Ezekiel 38 are not. And these changes will, I believe, be the result of a major regional war involving nuclear weapons that will wreak havoc on those nations adjacent to Israel.


     Consider what the Bible has to say about Egypt in Ezekiel 29:9-14. God says:

"And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years. And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom."

     Notice three things that God says about Egypt in this passage. First, God says He will make Egypt "utterly waste and desolate". Second, "No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years." And, third, God says of the surviving Egyptians that He will "scatter [them] among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries" for those 40 years.

     Now, I know that attempts have been made to explain how this prophecy has already been fulfilled in the past. However, those explanations all seem to depend on spiritualizing, allegorizing, or even ignoring parts of the text. Most commonly the prophecy seems to be attributed to Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Egypt, with the forty years referring to the time until Egypt's deliverance by Cyrus. Unfortunately, such explanations are a little lacking in their fidelity to the text and run afoul of an important principle to keep in mind when studying Bible prophecy: If the prophesied event has not been fulfilled completely in the past, it must be yet future. It also violates the rule of Bible interpretation that says, "If the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense." Consequently, since the explanations tendered do not fit a literal reading of the prophecy and there is no known time in history when Egypt has been completely uninhabited and the Egyptians scattered for 40 years, this Bible-believer is forced to conclude that Ezekiel 29:9-14 is yet future and will be fulfilled as written.

     So, what could devastate Egypt, render it uninhabitable for 40 years, and cause it to be avoided by both man and beast? One all too real possibility comes to mind: nuclear weapons. A series of well place nuclear strikes could annihilate the capital city of Cairo, destroy the major industrial centers and ports, and decimate the Egyptian military forces. Or, one could more simply use a nuclear strike to breach the Aswan High Dam, one of the largest dams in the world, and flood the Nile Valley, home to 95% or more of the Egyptian population.

     Keep in mind, the Aswan High Dam is not a concrete dam like the Hoover Dam in America. Built from rock and clay, it is one of the largest embankment dams in the world, impounding nearly six trillion cubic feet of water in one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, Lake Nasser. The dam itself is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base, and 364 feet tall. Consequently, a surface explosion would not be enough to rupture the dam as most of the explosive force would be deflected up and away from its surface. An internal explosion, on the other hand, possibly caused by the detonation of one or more ground penetrating nuclear warheads in the 10 to 100 kiloton range targeting strategic locations along the front of the dam, just might.

     Such a catastrophic event would send an immense wall of water, mud, and boulders racing down the Nile valley, home to 95% of Egypt's population, overwhelming and devastating everything in its path for hundreds of miles. And, since radioactive particles have an affinity for clay, the devastation would not end with the flood itself. Highly radioactive mud and clay blown from the dam would be carried by the flood waters and deposited throughout the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta. Egypt would be effectively destroyed as both the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta would be rendered virtually uninhabitable due to radioactive contamination and a toxic mix of dead bodies, chemicals, and pollutants. The surviving Egyptians would become refuges, living in other countries, and unable to return to their homeland for decades, just like Ezekiel 29 says.

     Another intriguing aspect of this scenario is that the ancient name for Aswan is Syene. Since there was no notable tower of Syene in Ezekiel's day, most commentators claim that the King James Bible mistranslates Ezekiel 29:10 as "...from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia" when it should read "...from the Migdol to Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia". Migdol, which means tower in Hebrew, is the name of a town in the north of Egypt near the Red Sea. However, there is a world renowned tower in Syene today; the 364 foot tall Aswan Dam. Even more intriguing is that Lake Nasser backs up into Sudan, which was known as Ethiopia in Ezekiel's day. Consequently, the destruction of this modern day tower of Syene, the Aswan Dam, would certainly wreck destruction "from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia" exactly as Ezekiel 29: 10 foretells, in addition to the overall destruction of Egypt discussed in verses 8-12.

     The destruction and desolation of Egypt is also indicated by the Old Testament prophet Joel. In Joel 3:18-19 we read:

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land."
In this passage, Egypt is pictured as being "a desolation" at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, the thousand year period following the Tribulation during which Jesus Christ rules and reigns over the whole Earth from Jerusalem. Egypt is depicted as desolate due to their treatment of the Jews.

     Assuming the destruction of Egypt occurs just prior to the Tribulation, the forty years of desolation prophesied by Ezekiel would last throughout the 7 years of the Tribulation and into the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, as indicated in Joel 3:18-19. However, the desolation eventually gives way to healing and blessing:

"And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. (Isaiah 19:21-25)"

     Now, having seen the future destruction and restoration of Egypt depicted through the prophecies of Ezekiel, Joel, and Isaiah, the question arises, who might possibly nuke the "tower of Syene" and render Egypt uninhabitable? Well, the answer just might be in Isaiah 19:17:

"And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it."

     Prior to the recent change of government in Egypt, the thought of Israel attacking Egypt with nuclear weapons seemed so remote as to be impossible. However, the overthrow of Mubarak's regime in the spring of 2012 has changed things considerably. President Hosni Mubarak came to power in Egypt following the assassination of President Anwar Al-Sadat in 1981. Sadat was killed by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a fundamentalist Islamic group that is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, because he signed the Camp David Accords. The Accords was a peace treaty with Israel that had been worked out by Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and United States President Jimmy Carter in 1977. The Accords effectively demilitarized the Sinai Peninsula and have enabled Israel and Egypt to peacefully coexist for over 30 years.

     The ouster of President Mubarak, however, has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim fundamentalist groups to gain power and influence in Egypt. The election of Mohammad Morsi as president has enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to come to the forefront where it is even now consolidating its grip on Egypt, rewriting the Constitution, incorporating sharia law, and cracking down on opposition and non-Muslims. They are purging the military of secular, pro-western officers and replacing them with pro-jihadist fundamentalists, re-militarizing the Sinai Peninsula, and consorting with Israel's enemies. Additionally, Morsi and the Brotherhood leaders have openly called for an end to both the Camp David Accords and the Jewish state.

     Any number of trigger events, ranging from an attack on Iran's nuclear sites, a spillover of the Syrian civil war into Israel, or a series of terrorist attacks in southern Israel out of the Sinai Peninsula could throw the whole region into a major armed conflict. Faced with mounting losses of people and territory, chemical or biological attacks, and feeling that its very existence is threatened, Israel would likely unleash its nuclear arsenal in a last ditch effort against its enemies. And that could very well lead to an attack upon Egypt and the Aswan Dam, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Ezekiel 29, "And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste…"

     Now that we've looked at the Biblical prophecy of a future destruction of Egypt and the present day potential for its fulfillment, let's consider similar prophecies regarding some of the other countries left out of Ezekiel 38 and 39. These prophecies could be potentially fulfilled through a regional nuclear war in the Middle East as well.


     Jordan, as we have seen previously, encompasses the ancient countries of Edom, Moab, and Ammon. Each of these was well known to Ezekiel and should have been mentioned in his prophecy. However, each of these is also prophesied to be utterly destroyed; prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled.

     For instance, God says in Zephaniah 2:8-9:

"I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them."

     Likewise, in Jeremiah 49:17-18:

"Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof. As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it."

     As in the case of Egypt, these predictions of utter destruction and desolation have never been fully fulfilled. Consequently, how might they be fulfilled in the future? Again, the answer is: Israel.

     Notice what Psalm 83:5-15 says about the destruction of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, as well as a few other countries:

"For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah. Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm."

     The key to understanding how God might use Israel to destroy these countries is found in verse 14-15 where the Psalmist says, "As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm." Obadiah 1:18 also talks about Edom (Esau) being destroyed by fire: "And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it." Only in the case of Obadiah's prophecy, Israel is described as the source of the fire or flame that God uses to destroy Edom. Again, as in the case of Egypt, an Israeli nuclear strike on Jordan in the midst of a regional war could make the prophecies of Psalm 83 and Obadiah 1 come to pass.


     Residents of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights refer to themselves as Palestinians and their lands as the Palestinian Territories. They are also calling for a Palestinian state. This is misleading because they are really not ethnic Palestinians. They are Arabs. The real Palestinians were an ancient Hamitic people, the Philistines of the Bible. The Arabs, on the other hand, are Semitic. They, like the Jews, are descendants of Shem, not Ham. In fact, the Bible uses the word Palestine in Joel 3:4 and Palestinia in Exodus 15:14 and Isaiah 14:29, 31 to describe the Philistines and Philistia. Both words come from the Hebrew word pelesheth which occurs eight times in the Old Testament. The same word is also translated as Philistia in Psalms 60:8; 87:4; 108:9 and Philistines in Psalms 83:7. Furthermore, a related word, pelishtiy, occurs 243 times and is translated as Philistim, Philistine, and Philistines.

     The real Palestinians, the Philistines, disappeared around the time that Babylon conquered Judah in 586 BC and the Jews went into captivity. The name, however, was resurrected centuries later by the Romans. Following the failed Bar-Kokhba revolt in 135 AD, Emperor Hadrian moved to eliminate the Jewish state completely by forcibly removing the Jews from Judea, Samaria, and Galilee and renaming the whole area Palestine, after the Jews ancient enemies, as an insult to the Jews. Over time, the name stuck and eventually all the residents of Palestine, both Jew and Gentile, came to be called Palestinians, much like all the residents of America are called Americans and all the residents of Canada are called Canadians.

     Following the establishment of the new Jewish state of Israel in 1948, however, residents began calling themselves Israelites instead of Palestinian. They began removing Palestine and replacing it with more Jewish friendly name. The Palestine Post, for instance, was renamed the Jerusalem Post in 1950 and the Palestine Symphony Orchestra became the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948. But, after Israel recaptured the West Bank from Jordan during the Six-Day War of 1967, Arab residents of Israel began calling themselves Palestinians and referring to the disputed territories of the West Bank, Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian Territories.

     Now, people and organizations around the world, including some in Israel, are calling for Israel to give up land for the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem. The two-state solution, they say, will bring peace to the region. Unfortunately, there are two problems with this solution. First, it has already been tried. In 1922, bowing to Arab pressure and in an effort to bring peace to the region, Great Britain carved off about three-quarters of Palestine to form the Emirate of Transjordan, the present country of Jordan. (You can see how successful that was!) And, second, the so called Palestinians, as well as Muslims throughout the Middle East, believe that the Jewish state must be eliminated and that an Arab-Muslim state of Palestine should rightfully take its place.

     It is not hard to imagine, then, that in the case of a major war in the Middle East, that the Arab Palestinians would rise up against Israel throughout the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. Faced with attacks from both within and without and its back against the wall, Israel could well lash out against the Palestinian Territories with incredible force.

     The coming destruction of the Gaza Strip, for instance, seems to be foretold in Zephaniah 2:4-7:

"For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity."

     In fact, the next two verses deal with the destruction of Moab and Ammon, which, as we saw previously, foretells the destruction of Jordan. Interestingly, the destruction of the Gaza Strip is linked with the destruction of Jordan again in Obadiah 1:17-19. It is also linked with the destruction of Israel's enemies in Jordan and the West Bank:

"But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead."

     In this passage, Mount Zion, the house of Jacob, and the house of Joseph all refer to Israel. The house of Esau refers to southern Jordan, the fields of Ephraim and Samaria refer to the West Bank, and Gilead refers to northern Jordan.

     So, what about the Golan Heights? Can we find the destruction of the Golan Heights in the Bible as well and link it to the destruction of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jordan? I think so.

     The Bible says in Isaiah 2:12-13,

"For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,"
and in Zechariah 11:1-3,
"Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down. There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled."

     Both passages speak of coming judgment and destruction on both Lebanon, which we will deal with later, and Bashan. Bashan was an Amorite kingdom, occupying the area of the present day Golan Heights and the southwestern tip of Syria, which was conquered by Moses and the Israelites in Numbers 21:33-35. Moses later, in Numbers 32:33, gave the land of Bashan as a possession to the half tribe of Manasseh. Syria and Israel battled over Bashan and control of it changed hands a number of times prior to the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians. Likewise in modern times, Syria and Israel have battled over the area again with Israel capturing the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967. The Golan Heights remains heavily fortified on both sides of the border today and would likely see a great deal of devastation in the event of a major conflict involving Syria and Israel.


     Next we turn our attention to Syria. One would expect Syria to be mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecies due to its prominence in Ezekiel's day and its present day alliances with Russia and Iran. Why it is not mentioned may be revealed by studying the prophecy of Isaiah 17:1-4:

"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts. And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean."

     Despite the fact that scholars and commentators claim that this prophecy was fulfilled when the Assyrians conquered Syria, Damascus has never been "taken away from being a city" and become "a ruinous heap." It did not happen when the Babylonians captured Damascus and defeated Syria either. Neither did it happen when the Medes and Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, or anyone else attacked Syria. In fact, Damascus is recognized as one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world. The Assyrians may have partially fulfilled this prophecy but they did not completely fulfill it. To claim they did is to ignore history and violate a basic principle of Bible interpretation that if a prophesied event has not been fulfilled completely in the past, it must yet be a future event.

     So, if the destruction of Damascus and Syria is yet future, then the part of Isaiah's prophecy declaring that "[t]he fortress also shall cease from Ephraim" and "the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean" cannot refer to the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians either. It must also be future. Furthermore, it may be that Isaiah is not telling us that Syria and Israel suffer at the hands of a common enemy as is commonly taught. Instead, it may be actually saying that Syria and Israel suffer at the hands of each other in a future military conflict. Consequently, in the event of regional war where Israel is forced to go nuclear it is easy to see how Damascus could be "taken away from being a city, a ruinous heap" and the "kingdom" cease "from Damascus" and "[t]he cities of Aroer are forsaken" while Israel suffers tremendous military and civilian losses, just as Isaiah predicts.

     The rest of Isaiah 17 brings out some more details of this future conflict. The severity of Israel's losses is strikingly indicated in Isaiah 17:4-6 & 9-11:

"And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.

"In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation. Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips: In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow."

     And, the suddenness of the destruction of Damascus, literally in one night, is shown in Isaiah 17:14: "And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us."

     Similar observations regarding the sudden, complete destruction of Damascus and Syria can be gleaned from Jeremiah 49:23-27 as well: "Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad."


     Any conflict between Syria and Israel is sure to involve Lebanon, which is essentially a puppet state of Syria. It is also a stronghold of the Iranian terrorist organization Hezbollah (literally: "Party of Allah") that was formed in 1982 by Iran to fight against America, the "Great Satan," and Israel, the "Little Satan." Today, Hezbollah is a powerful military, political, and social force in Lebanon. It controls much of Lebanon's borders with Israel and possesses tens of thousands of missiles capable of reaching deep into the heart of Israel. It is well entrenched in Lebanon, well-funded and supplied by Syria and Iran, and totally dedicated to the elimination of what they view as the illegitimate Jewish occupation of Palestine.

     As we saw earlier, the Bible says in Isaiah 2:12-13:

"For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,"
as well as in Zechariah 11:1-3:
"Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down. There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled."
These passages appear to link the destruction of the Lebanon with destruction of the Golan Heights and Jordan.

     Furthermore, Obadiah 1:20 indicates that Israel not only attacks Lebanon but also captures and occupies Lebanon:

"And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south."
The phrase "that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath," refers to what is today part of Lebanon.

     Israel will apparently attack Lebanon because Lebanon is complicit with a future alliance of Israel's enemies in Psalms 83:3-8:

"They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah."

     In this passage, Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, and the children of Lot indicate today's Jordan. The Hagarenes and the children of Lot could possibly indicate Saudi Arabia as well. Amalek indicates Egypt, Philistines identifies the Gaza Strip, and Assur points to Iraq (more on Assur/Iraq below). Tyre, of course, is in Lebanon. Also, the phrase, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance," could almost be lifted word for word from the statements of Hezbollah's leaders and spokesmen in Lebanon.


     We have just seen from Psalm 83:3-8 a list of Israel's enemies; a list that could be taken from today's headlines. In that list was Assur, which is another name for Assyria. Assur is derived from the name of Assyria's principle god, Asshur.

     According to Smith's Bible Dictionary:

"The civilization of the Assyrians was derived originally from the Babylonians. They were a Shemitic race originally resident in Babylonia… who ascended the valley of the Tigris and established in the tract immediately below the Armenian mountains a separate and distinct nationality."

     Consequently, although Assyria occupied an area that includes some of northwestern Syria, it is best identified with the country of Iraq.

     Iraq is also identified with ancient Babylon. In fact, Sadaam Hussein, the late dictator of Iraq, fancied himself as the embodiment of the great Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. He even issued coins featuring likenesses of both himself and Nebuchadnezzar designed to make him look like the august king. He also dedicated himself to rebuilding of the city of Babylon on the banks of the Euphrates River, about 55 miles south from, Baghdad, the present day capital of Iraq, which is located along the Tigris River.

     Isaiah prophesied the destruction of Babylon is Isaiah 13:1-10:

"The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

"Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."

     We can tell that Isaiah's prophesy is yet future because verses 19-22 continue:

"And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged."

     Yes, Babylon been overrun, captured, and destroyed in the past. However, it has never been made "as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah." Also, while the city of Babylon has been uninhabited from time to time, people have sought shelter among its ruins on occasion and there are people living there today. And, there has never been a time when even the Arabs would not pitch a tent there. Therefore, Isaiah's prophecy must be yet future.

     A future fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy actually makes Isaiah 13 more understandable. A series of nuclear strikes against Iraq, for instance, certainly explains why Babylon "shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there," while at the same time wild animals, with no understanding of radioactive contamination, would live there. It would also explain how someone coming from "a far country, from the end of heaven" could destroy not only the city of Babylon, but the "whole land" as well, while darkening the sun, moon, and stars.

     It is also interesting to note that the "weapons of [God's] indignation" come from "a far country, from the end of heaven." That would seem to rule out Israel, which is not "a far country" from Iraq. America, on the other hand, is certainly "a far country." What's more, a nuclear strike on Iraq by America, which is on the other side of the globe, would seem much more as if it came "from the end of heaven" than if it merely came from across Syria or Jordan. Such a strike would also ignite Iraq's vast oil fields, blotting out the sun, moon, and stars to a greater degree than when Saddam set fire to them during the Persian Gulf War of 1991.

     A future fulfillment of Isaiah also explains the brutal actions of the Medes in Isaiah 13:15-18:

"Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children."

     When you realize that the Medes of the Bible are the Kurds of today, this makes sense. The Kurds living in the northern part of Iraq have been horribly abused and persecuted by the Arabic Iraqis. Saddam Hussein, in particular, launched a seven-month military campaign against Kurdish strongholds in 1988 during which he used chemical weapons on them. Some 3800 villages were affected. Many were gassed resulting in the loss of entire populations; men, women, children, and animals. It is no wonder that they will be "stir[ed] up" against the Iraqi survivors of the nuclear strikes and so set on vengeance that they will not regard or desire silver or gold.

How Could This Happen?

     The Middle East today is a region ready to explode. The "Arab Spring" is turning out to be an Islamic Tsunami that threatens to wash Israel off the map and into the sea. A variety of fundamentalist Islamic jihadist terror groups are growing in power and influence in the nations surrounding Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood, for instance, has taken control of Egypt. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip whereas Fatah and other Palestine Liberation Organization affiliated groups control the West Bank. The Muslim Brotherhood is maneuvering to gain power in Jordan while the Hashemite monarchy that rules Jordan is increasing its ties with Hamas. Hezbollah continues to bolster its military presence and capabilities in Lebanon. Syria is in the midst of a nasty civil war with the pro-government secular and Shiite Islamic forces, including Hezbollah, on the one side and a rebel coalition of Sunni Islamic forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, and others, on the other side. And, finally, Iraq is a hotbed of unrest.

     As dire a threat as the "Arab Spring" is proving to be to Israel, the more immediate flashpoint may well be Iran and its nuclear program. Despite diplomatic efforts, sanctions, threats, and bluster, it is widely believed that Iran will be able to produce a nuclear bomb in late 2012, possibly as soon as early October. In fact, the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, reported in mid-August that, based on recent intelligence, Iran may be able to produce several nuclear warheads by the end of the year. Nuclear warheads that could be placed on Iran's medium range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3 and Shahab-4, which are able to reach all of Israel. Furthermore, senior Iranian military, governmental, and religious leaders have expressed their willingness to use such weapons against Israel because they believe it is their religious duty to rid Palestine of the evil Zionist occupiers.

     Consequently, most analysts and Middle East experts say that it is not a question of "if" but "when" Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, with or without America's help. They will have to strike because a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel's very existence. And, when Israel strikes, it may quite possibly trigger a much wider, regional war.

     With that in mind, here's a brief scenario that could radically alter the present face of the Middle East and set the stage for both the rise of the Antichrist and the fulfillment of the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39…

     One day in the not too distant future, Israel's Prime Minister and Defense Minister conclude an intense meeting with key members of the military and the Knesset. Following the meeting, orders go out and preparations begin for an air born strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Civil defense measures are quietly activated and key officials prepare to move into secure facilities. Military leaves are cancelled and reservists begin to be called up. Police, fire, and other emergency responders have their vacations cancelled and hospitals throughout the country are put on alert. At the same time, reports are leaked to the media about Israel's commitment to the diplomatic process yet firm resolve to do whatever it takes to maintain its existence, including use of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) strikes and nuclear retaliation.

     Intelligence agencies around the world notice the unusual activity in Israel and begin issuing alerts to their respective governments. Inquiries are met with Israeli denials of strike plans, explanations of training exercises, recommitments to the efforts of the United States and the UN to seek diplomatic solutions with Iran. The American president pressures Israel to stand down and threatens that "Israel is on its own" if it attacks Iran. Meanwhile, Iran becomes more and more suspicious of Israel's true intentions and threatens massive retaliation against both Israel and America if attacked and increases their military alert level while loading chemical warheads on missiles targeting Israeli cities. Additionally, Hezbollah and other Islamist groups threaten terrorist attacks in Israel and America. Unrest begins to build in the Palestinian Territories.

     As the Israeli strike draws near, the Prime Minister makes a last minute change to Israel's strike plans. Instead of bombing targets, he orders a pre-emptive EMP strike to avoid as many casualties as possible on both sides. A low yield nuclear warhead is loaded onto a Jericho III rocket and launched. It detonates high over north central Iran and an intense electromagnetic pulse instantly fries unprotected electronic components and computer chips, overloads power lines, and disrupts Iranian communications networks. The power grid collapses, military command and control is debilitated, and their nuclear weapons program is crippled.

     The world community, shocked, universally condemns the attack. Stock markets plunge, oil prices soar. The UN moves to formally condemn Israel while the United States further distances itself from Israel. Terrorist attacks are launched against Israeli, Jewish, and American targets worldwide. Israel keeps its military and security forces on high alert as it hunkers down to ride out the storm of criticism.

     Meanwhile, members of the Arab League and a variety of Islamic terror groups gather to discuss how to respond. Representatives of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian groups eerily echo the words of Psalm 83:4 saying, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance."

     While the world wrings its hands over the Israelis sending Iran back to the seventh century, a sudden massive attack against Israel is launched by her neighbors. Egypt, who has been building up its military forces in the Sinai Peninsula in violation of the Camp David Accords, surges across Israel's southern border, bolstered by Hamas and the Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Jordan, bowing to internal pressure from fundamentalist Islamic groups threatening the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy, attacks from the east. Syria, Lebanon, and Hezbollah, along with the surviving Iranian forces in Iraq, strike from the north. Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem stage violent riots and uprisings. Meanwhile, other Palestinians living throughout Israel unleash their fury against their Jewish neighbors and coworkers. Others serving in the Israeli military and security forces turn on their Jewish comrades.

     Faced with overwhelming odds and feeling abandoned by the United States, Israel rallies to meet the threats. However, as Arab forces overwhelm the Golan Heights in the north and the Negev in the south and the Palestinian Territories plunge into chaos and violence, the Prime Minister and his Defense Minister argue over whether or not to authorize the use of nuclear weapons. The sudden confirmation of chemical weapons attacks against Israeli cities quickly brings the argument to a close. Breathing a silent prayer, the Prime Minister quietly gives the order to invoke the Sampson Option. Moments later, waves of Israeli missiles loaded with nuclear warheads blast into the night sky, streaking toward their targets. Within minutes, mushroom clouds blossom over major cities, military bases, and industrial centers across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gaza Strip. The Aswan Dam explodes into a turbulent maelstrom of radioactive mud, water, and debris that scours the Nile Valley for hundreds of miles. Damascus becomes a ruinous heap. Whole areas of Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Jordan become radioactive wastelands.

     Meanwhile, as the world watches the Middle East explode in a nuclear fireball, Islamic terrorists carry out several extremely brutal and ruthless attacks across the United States, targeting public schools and shopping malls. In addition, terrorists successfully explode a suitcase nuke in one or more American cities. As the country reels in shock and unbelief, intelligence agencies quickly identify the instigators as Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces operating out of Iraq. Backed into a corner, the American President is pressured by his military advisors to retaliate with a nuclear response. Fearful of drawing Russia into the fray, however, the President only authorizes a response against the Iranian forces in Iraq but not against Iran itself.

     The effects of this war will be profound. Oil prices will sky-rocket and markets nose-dive, plunging the world into a recession, if not a depression, and causing already fragile economies around the world to collapse, bringing about massive social and political unrest. Also, the brutality of terror attacks in America and Europe, coupled with sheer horror of nuclear war in the Middle East, will generate an overwhelming effort to ban nuclear weapons and disarm Israel in particular.

     Now, consider what might happen if the rapture, the catching away of the born-again believers to heaven, should occur during the war. It would help explain why much many do not seem to notice or even believe that it occurred. After all, numerous people will be missing and unaccounted for due to war and terrorist attacks. Besides, there will be more than enough Christians-in-name-only left behind to assure people that the rapture didn't happen because it's a made up doctrine promoted by all those crazy fundamentalists that, come to think of it, must have gone into hiding because nobody's seen them around lately...

     Another effect of the rapture may be why the United States in not mentioned prominently in Bible prophecy. The loss of key people throughout all levels of American society, government, industry, and military, coupled with the economic and political effects of the war in the Middle East and the terrorist attacks at home, could reduce America's power and influence in the world substantially. Mix in God's promises in the Old Testament to bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse Israel (Genesis 12:3; 27:29; Numbers 24:9; & Obadiah 1:15) and you have the perfect recipe for America's fall.

     Yet another effect of the rapture is given in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10:

"And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

     This event refers to when the present ministry of the Holy Spirit ("he who now letteth") comes to an end ("be taken out of the way"). The Greek word, katecho, is translated as "letteth" in verse 7 is same word translated as "withholdeth" in verse 6. That tells us that "letteth," in this case, does not mean to permit or allow. Instead, it is used in the sense of to retard, hinder, or delay, as in the case of a legal document that says, "without let or hindrance." Consequently, when the Holy Spirit's present ministry, which began after the ascension of Jesus Christ (John 14:16-19), comes to an end when the present day believers, who are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:20), are caught up to heaven at the rapture, Satan will be able to bring the Antichrist onto the scene.

     Suddenly, in the midst of the chaos and confusion, a charismatic individual bursts upon the world scene. He seems to have all the answers and is able to bring warring factions together, uniting the world behind one grand purpose of ending war and the threat of another nuclear holocaust once and for all. Israel, exhausted with war and the tremendous losses she endured, soon agrees to his brilliant seven year plan to protect and defend them. Laying down her arms and renouncing war, in accordance with the treaty, Israel soon becomes a "land of unwalled villages...that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates," just as Ezekiel 38:11 prophesied thousands of years ago.

     Meanwhile dark clouds gather to the north. Russia casts her eye toward the Promised Land and makes a few calculations. Quietly, surreptitiously, Russia approaches friends across the Middle East and North Africa, minus, of course, those destroyed in the recent war.

Pastor Al Davis
Bible Baptist Church, Richfield, Ohio

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The Pre-Ezekiel 38 Battle - Part One:
Who Is Mentioned In the
Ezekiel 38 Invasion of Israel?
The Pre-Ezekiel 38 Battle - Part Two:
Who Is Not Mentioned In the
Ezekiel 38 Invasion of Israel?