In the Part Five we got up to chapter eleven and verses 7-8 as we examined the final prophecy contained within the book of Daniel. And we shall continue that study in a moment, but firstly, I would encourage you to start to take a decent interest in what is going on in the Middle East region.
I say this because, this week, God has spoken to me through a dear friend regarding the role of the Watchman as detailed in Ezekiel chapter 33. Now, I am not a self-proclaimed Watchman – that role I will always leave to others. But it struck me as I contemplated what my friend spoke of, that God calls all of us who ‘have ears to hear’ to stand in that role. The actual role of the Watchman in Ezekiel’s day was to stand on the ramparts of the city or in a watchtower and look out for trouble. At the first sight of trouble, or even something that looked like it might turn into trouble, the Watchman would sound the shofar, or trumpet, thus warning the people of the city of the coming danger.
As always with God, the things of the physical and earthly realm have their own counterparts in the spiritual realm. Ezekiel’s role was to be the spiritual Watchman to the House of Isra’el, to warn them when they were straying from what God had prescribed and to interpret the signs around them. Of course, as I have already said, I am not a self-proclaimed Watchman. There are plenty out there who are, but I urge caution with anyone who self-proclaims any office of God. Let God do the proclaiming is my policy. I am, however, currently not only interpreting what is written regarding the last days in the book of Daniel, but I have recently found myself taking a very keen interest in the events taking place in the Middle East.
Let me be clear about both these things and what is written here on this blog – primarily, what I write is for the church which, I believe, is on the whole deceived by worldly thinking and has lost sight of the true gospel. The problem with such a thankless task as this is that, just like the House of Isra’el in Ezekiel’s days, the church often reject what I am saying.
When God speaks (however He chooses to speak) He always gives us an opportunity to put into practice what He has told us to do. This week, with Ezekiel 33, He spoke and provided a opportunity for me to warn someone about something that will harm their walk with Him. It took me a few days of procrastinating to action what He had said, but I did. So far, I have got the same reaction as Ezekiel often got when He went to the House of Isra’el with what God had said – they ignored him.
But, that doesn’t matter to me (those of you familiar with Ezekiel 33 will know why). I just have to act upon what I believe God has said to me. What is interesting is that I have no real problem about doing it, here in Internetland, but when it came to speaking to an individual, I procrastinated. As you can see, I have things that I will need to work through with God.
But, as always with God, it wasn’t just what He had said to start with from which He teaches me; He also teaches me from the process of actually doing it too. For example, I got to realise that whilst I had believed for some time that the message I have is entirely for the church, this week I saw also that the things I am currently writing about are for unbelievers too.
The events which are about to take place in the Middle East are going to scare everyone. The pieces are currently being placed upon the board for the showdown of all showdowns. What I am currently writing about from the final chapters of Daniel is almost happening in real time – these things are very difficult to interpret accurately, but we can see enough to know that what we see now will take place soon.
In the last couple of weeks I have taken to reading the Middle East news on Reuters and Al Jazeera’s websites. It made me realise that just how much of the news items posted on the BBC website are censored – we are only seeing half the story. Here’s some things you might have missed this week which are all directly connected to the events detailed in Daniel chapter eleven:
The Iranian presidential elections will take place on May 19th this year. The current president is Hassan Rouhani, who is seen as a moderate who wants to continue reforming Iran. However, Iran is actually run by a hard-line Islamist Supreme Leader called the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, who simply doesn’t want any reforms but, instead, wants to deepen Sharia (Islamic) Law in Iran and extend Iran’s boarders into land that Persia once controlled. The Grand Ayatollah supports presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi, who is his protégé. If Raisi is elected, I believe, you will see him and the Grand Ayatollah revealed as the two horns of the ram in Daniel chapter 8.
In Turkey, President Erdogan has been extending his self-given new powers to round up anyone who doesn’t agree with him and imprison them. He has stopped all access to the likes of Wikipedia, and this week, at a meeting which promotes Middle Eastern cooperation between Arab nations and Muslims, he has encouraged all Muslim to start visiting Jerusalem because it belongs to Muslims and not to the Jews.
Donald Trump is heading to Jerusalem (not on Erdogan’s advice) to take part in Jerusalem Day in which Isra’el celebrates the 50th anniversary of them taking back Jerusalem from Arab control in 1967’s Six Day War. That takes place on the 22nd May. In preparation for this visit the Prime Minister of Isra’el has said that all nations who have embassies in Tel Aviv should follow America’s example and plan to move them to Jerusalem. This is a problem for any Arab or Muslim nation, none of whom recognise Jerusalem as Isra’el’s capital city. Even the United Nations will only recognise Tel Aviv as the capital city.
Interestingly enough, other nations also hold what is called Jerusalem Day, when they celebrate that in the future full control of the city will be back in the hands of the Muslim world.
In other news, Kurdish Rebels have declared that they will start their final attack upon the stronghold and headquarters of ISIL in the city of Raqqa, as soon as the USA delivers the promised weapons. This has angered Turkey, who want the Kurds wiped out. It is likely, in order to counter this move by the US, that Turkey will continue to arm ISIL.
These stories are all true. This is not fake news. Ask yourself why the likes of the BBC don’t publish them. Very soon the eyes of the world will be focussed firmly upon the Middle East. The entire Arab and Muslim worlds are waiting for a new Caliph to rise up and unite them. Just as every Muslim swears an oath of allegiance to Allah and his prophet, Muhammad, when this Caliph, this new ruler rises up and unites them all, they will all swear allegiance to him, just as they have done so throughout history.
It is pertinent then, that what I am writing about, concerns these things which appear to be unfolding before our very eyes. All of biblical prophecy is set to unfold in the Middle East. Before a united Muslim world signs a peace treaty with Isra’el, there will be wars and rumours of wars. Iran is flexing its muscles right now and Turkey will flex right back. The countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria are likely to get swallowed up as God allows the nations to be shaken up in order for the final showdown to begin.
For Christians, we need not worry. Providing of course we are prepared to listen to God’s advice. However, for those who don’t listen, and for the entire non-believing world, the future looks pretty grim.
I sense that I need to say this – Muslims aren’t the problem. They are simply people who have been deceived. They are not our enemies, even if they see us as enemies. Just because Satan has chosen to use Islam as the false and counterfeit religion by which he tries to deceive the entire world doesn’t make Muslims our enemies. Paul reminds us that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. This is a spiritual battle. As true believers in the One True God, Yehovah, we must be prepared to witness to Muslims about God’s great mercy. Ask God to prepare you for such a witness. Pray for any Muslims you know that you might get the opportunity to share the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God with them. God will open the doors for you, if your hearts are willing.
Now, back to the text.
I’m not going to over-think the rest of the verses in Daniel chapter eleven. They are so arbitrary at the moment, which suggests that God has chosen not to reveal their meaning completely, as of yet. He will do soon however, because He always warns His people of what is to come. That is why He had Watchmen in the first place.
What I am going to do is provide an overview of the rest of the chapter, and give some pointers of the sort of events to look out for. Until the two horns of the ram are clearly identified and Iran starts to extend its borders to ‘the west, the north, and to the south‘ (Daniel 8), it is most difficult to accurately speak to what will follow. The end of Daniel provides us, for now, a dim outline, which will become increasingly clear as events unfold. I recommend that you keep your eyes on news websites like Reuters and Al Jezeera. It will also be worth checking in on Joel Richardson from time to time as well.
Verses 9 – 20 are basically an account of the countless power struggles between the forthcoming Kingdom of the North and the Kingdom of the South. It is important too remember that whilst conventional understanding of these kingdoms suggest that modern day Turkey is the North and either Egypt or Saudi Arabia is the South, it could be different. The frame of reference we use is what we see today. But it might not end up like that and can all change very quickly. Those of you old enough to remember the war in the Balkans of the late 1980s and early 1990s will remember that where Yugoslavia once stood, today there are four or five nations. Be open to changes happening rather than fixing your mind on what you think might happen.
The basic premise of all of this is that Isra’el will be squeezed in the middle of this war and will probably involve itself at times. Verse 14 suggests that Isra’el will raise up an army but shall be on the losing side. There will be a series of mini-wars which the western world is unlikely to involve itself in. What is happening in Syria right now is an example of what I mean. It will continue like this until the rise of the anti-Christ.
In this particularly prophecy we first see his rise in verse 21. The sequence will probably be something like this:
The two-horned ram (Iran) will invade several nations around it in a land-grab move which is designed to consolidate its position, and to facilitate its long-term plan of a land-bridge between Tehran and the Mediterranean Sea. The large horned goat (a leader of Turkey) will fight back and win. Iran as we understand it today will be wiped out. The large horn will die and the entire land mass of both Turkey and Iran (and any other nations they grabbed during the war) will be divided into four, probably along ancient nation boundaries. The two strongest parts of this four way divide (the North and the South) will engage in a series of wars and political manoeuvres. Power will change hands many times. Out of the North, a king will arise who will unite not only the Arab / Muslim nations, but he will also be able to bring peace to the entire region. This is the little horn – the anti-Christ. In order to consolidate his power and to play out the final events before the return of Yeshua, he will require the help of what we call the False Prophet, and the Muslims call the Madhi. As well as bringing peace to the entire Middle East, his False Prophet will show both Jews and Christians that they have both been deceived all along and that Allah is the one true god. The signs and wonders which the False Prophet will perform will be so convincing that the world will believe him and renounce their own faiths. After three and a half years of peace and signs and wonders, the true identity of the anti-Christ will be revealed and he will launch the worst persecution of Jews and Christians ever known. Worse than Nero and Titus. Worse than Antiochus Epiphanes. Worse than even Hitler.
By this time, all communications with the outside world will have been cut off and we in the west will not even see what is happening there in Isra’el. The Hebrew people will either be beheaded or taken captive and sold to other Muslim nations as slaves. This has all happened before. The events of the past are all foreshadowing what is to come. That is why the book of Daniel is so very important – Daniel was suffering in an event that foreshadows this one. That is why we must learn the lessons from Daniel. That is why God gave the visions of the end days to Daniel, so that we could learn to read the signs.
Now, I must say that whilst biblical prophecy focuses entirely upon the Middle East, things in the rest of the world will be bad also. We just have no visibility of them from a prophetic viewpoint. In fact, if you look at history as foreshadowing the events of the future, it is easy to see that at the times when Isra’el has been in trouble in the past, so too has the rest of the world, often being already conquered or dominated by the very same kingdoms which attack Isra’el.
The spread of Islam is happening very quietly but ever so successfully. Once a Caliph is accepted by both Sunni and Shia Muslims, they will all respond to him. If he says kill infidels, they will kill infidels wherever they are in the world, and by any means they can. Their sacred writings – both the Quran and Hadith, promote such acts. The Caliph will just order them to do what is written already.
Life in the Middle East is about to take on a more Medieval outlook. Sharia Law will spread like the wildfire it truly is until it covers all but Isra’el in that entire region. Isra’el will be surrounded on all sides. Only later, during the Great Tribulation, will any other nations come to their aid. Right now, those other nations not mentioned in these prophecies are all supplying arms to the enemies of Isra’el. They are fighting proxy wars in Yemen and Syria. They are seeking to overthrow the leaders of nations whom disagree with them. They have been doing it for years. Just look at the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan caused by western intervention in the name of democracy. God is about to shake the nations of old back into existence. The western world will have to make a decision about where it will stand when that happens. The east, right round as far as Pakistan, already know where it stands – their religion governs that. Once a Caliph arises to unite the Muslims, the Caliphate (the beast which was wounded but came back to life from Revelation 17) will rule over all Muslims. It is estimated that there are currently 2.5 billion Muslims in the world. That figure will only rise.
The role of the church is now to get ready. The watchmen are blowing shofars across the world but the church is sitting there, asleep, waiting for Rome to re-emerge as a world power. That’s not what the Bible tells us to watch out for. We need to focus upon the Middle East. The rise of the two-horned ram is happening now and it won’t be long before the large-horned goat is clearly seen. Here is the wake-up call; the first shofar.
In the next part we shall look at the events described as the anti-Christ rises to power and convinces the entire world that he is a man of peace.
Do not be afraid. Those who put their trust in Yehovah will never be put to shame.
Shalom (which means peace), shalom to you all.