Article of the Month

December 2006

War in Iraq

 

Biblical Commentary 

Because the war in Iraq is in the Middle East and has consequences inseparable from the future of that Biblically-important region, we should be particularly interested in how this war might contribute to the prophetic alignment of the nations as delineated in the great prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39.

GEOGRAPHICAL ALIGNMENTS IN EZEKIELíS PROPHECY

As we read Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 with care, we see it outlines the final battle which will mark the transition into the new world of which Peter spoke. Israel will be miraculously delivered, and all the nations of earth will know Who is truly God, and of His beneficent and total power.

In Ezekielís account we have two blocs of nations, the invading bloc and the opposing bloc. Israel, of course, will be the third entity for whom God Himself will fight.

The invaders are named by their ancient name derivations; but it is not too difficult to trace these names to find their modern equivalents. They are (New American Standard) "the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal" (Ezekiel 38:2). [It is interesting to note the traditional title of Russian Czars was the prince or emperor of Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk. The correspondency seems not to be co-incidental.] Along with him we have (verses 5, 6) Persia (now Iran), Ethiopia, Put (Libya), Gomer and Togarmah (modern Turkey). Togarmah (Armenia) is the eastern region of Turkey and the north of Iraqópeopled by the Kurds who are clearly in the news as a major factor in the Turkey-Iraq disputes.

The opposers, those nations who in the prophecy are not part of the invasion, but who seem only to be vocal, not active, in the conflict, are (verse 13) Sheba and Dedan (modern Saudi Arabia) and the "merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof." (King James Version) Tarshish represents the western trading nations. Young lions perhaps represents the more modern (young) trading nations (like the U.S.) that have sprung from them.

Thus we might summarize the two ideological blocs of nations involved as

AGGRESSORS
Russia; Iran; Libya; Ethiopia; Turkey.

OPPOSERS:
Saudi Arabia; United States; England; Allied Western Europe.

These alignments now are close to reality. BUT, and this perhaps is part of the reason for the current war, Turkey is currently allied with the West. Is it possible that one of the main PROPHETIC reasons for this war is to shove Turkey (and perhaps the Kurds) away from their Western alignment? "Watch and Pray."

The Lordís plans and purposes march forward and the schemes or best-laid plans of men cannot thwart them. If manís passions will injure the Lordís intentions, He will restrain them. The rest of manís devices will eventually result in the praise of God.

Psalm 76:10
"Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: The remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain."

It is important to note that disciples of Jesus are required to learn to think in spiritual and Scriptural waysónot in ways that the general population thinks, whose ways are determined by politics, emotions, and even by good human intentions.

Now, most particularly, since we live in prophetic times when the old world is ready to give place to the new (II Peter 3:1-14), we must interpret events to the best of our abilities to see how those events represent prophetic utterances.

IT IS NOT OUR PLACE TO PROMOTE OR TO CENSURE the actions of any government. True, we can see moral positives or negatives in the actions of governments, and we can even feel good or repulsed by what they are doing. But our place as Christians is to watch what is happening and to compare what we see with what is written in prophecy. (Matthew 26:41; Mark 13:37; I Corinthians 16:13; Colossians 4:2; I Peter 4:7) Thus, for instance, we might feel that a governmentís actions are good or evil, but what is truly important is to see if these actions are fulfilling what the prophets wrote, and thus are carrying history forward to its fore-ordained conclusion and the prophetic wonderful future for mankind. If we support or condemn the direction of current events, we just might be standing in the way of the Lord and His prophetic designs to further the world toward His promised peaceable kingdom.

How we all must be longing for the fulfillment of Godís sure promises of peace on earth, good will toward men! We will soon see no more sickness, pain, or fear for anyone on earth. We will soon see the death of hunger, thirst, poverty, hatred, and war. And mankind shall live forevermore!

"Revealing what SHALL BE counteracts the influence of what now is."

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