Approaching World Events of Revelation/Program 1
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2012|
|In this program, we’ll see how Ezekiel and Revelation are connected and discover the amazing accuracy God has given in his Word regarding future events. You’ll find your learning and faith strengthened as you better understand the Bible and the many ways today’s events connect.|
Today on the John Ankerberg Show, the eyes of the world are fixed on the Middle East. Every day the papers of all major countries carry lead stories about Israel, Iran Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and other Middle East nations. Further, it is evident to all that the nation of Israel is increasingly under fire both politically and militarily.
Benjamin Netanyahu: The militant Shiites in Iran are openly racing, boasting that they’re racing to develop nuclear weapons with the explicit announced goal of wiping Israel from the face of the earth.
Many believe the Middle East is about to explode and drag the world into one of the most difficult and terrifying conflicts in world history. The prophets in the Old Testament predict just such a situation will occur. 2600 years ago God revealed specific information to the prophet Ezekiel about a group of nations that would come together and attack Israel in the last days. Bible scholars refer to this attack as the Ezekiel 38 War. Do we see any evidence that the nations Ezekiel spoke about are threatening Israel today? My guest for this series is journalist and prophecy scholar, Dr. Jimmy Deyoung who has lived in Israel and covered the Middle East since 1993. Join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. My guest today is Dr. Jimmy DeYoung. He’s a journalist who’s just returned from Israel. He’s getting over his jetlag. But we want to talk about the events that are taking place in the Middle East, and especially apply this to biblical prophecy. And in the last few weeks we’ve talking about the fantastic prediction of Ezekiel 38, the prophet who lived 600 years before Jesus Christ. And God gave him revelation about a coalition of nations that would come against the Jewish state in the last days. And it specifically says in the latter days, the last days. And what we’re looking at is, are we getting close to those events today? We talked about Iran, Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Syria and Egypt. People want to know, biblically where do we get that, Jimmy?
- Jimmy DeYoung: Well, when you go to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 38, God used the Holy Spirit to breathe into this prophet a group of nations that would align themselves in the last days, forming a coalition to come against the Jewish State of Israel. In chapter 38, verse 2, we see Gog—that would be the personality—in the land of Magog; that would be modern day Russia, according to biblical scholarship, historical, geographical information that can be brought to the table at any moment we need it.
- And then we have Meshech, Tubal, and that’s in verse 2. In verse 6, Gomer and Togarmah. And when you go back and look at Asia Minor, back in biblical times, the times of Peter and Paul, when they were reaching the Gentile world, Turkey was divided into four parts—or Asia Minor; we know it as Turkey today—Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah. So that would be what we know as modern day Turkey.
- We come to verse 5, we read about Persia; and until 1935-36 this was the name of the country that we know today as Iran. They still speak the Persian language. But in addition to that, you’d have to add Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- It mentions Ethiopia, or Cush in some translations. That would be Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan. And we know that by studying the geographical locations that these sons of, for example, Cush and Ham, established these nations as they were following God’s directive. That’s found over in Genesis 10:6ff.
- Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, would be Ethiopia; and then we have Put or Libya, which is modern day Libya. That forms most of the nations.
- You go back to Daniel 11:40ff, you have the king of the north, which would be modern day Syria; the king of the south, modern day Egypt. Go over to the book of Psalms, chapter 83. In verse 6 it mentions the Ishmaelites. In verse 7 it mentions Tyre. The Ishmaelites would be Saudi Arabia today, and Tyre would be modern day Lebanon.
- Ankerberg: Alright now, we’ve already mentioned Iran and Russia, but let’s recap here. We all know that Iran has something against Israel. What are they saying? Let’s give a quick recap on Iran and why are they against Israel?
- DeYoung: Well, Ahmadinejad, who is the present president of Iran, has said for a number of years that the holocaust was a myth, that it never happened. And then he followed that with the fact that Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth and her name be forgotten forever. Actually, back in July of 2006 there was a meeting in Tehran when Ahmadinejad got up, addressed 4,000 Islamic leaders, and it was almost a direct quote from the book of Psalms, chapter 83 and verse 4, that Israel’s name be removed, or Israel itself as a nation be removed from the earth, and her name be forgotten forever. And that is a part of all the scenario, the prophetic scenario, found in these three passages dealing with this alignment of the nations at the end times. In fact, it says there in Daniel 11:40, “at the time of the end.” That’s very specific. And then we see the description which will happen at that time, and that’s what we’re talking about, and that’s what we see in our world unfolding today.
- Ankerberg: Alright, a lot of people—we’ll come back to Russia, because Russia is going to be tied into a lot of these—but let’s come to Turkey, because a lot of folks think Turkey’s part of NATO, and they’ve been trying to apply to the European Union. And, you know, they don’t see them as being anti-Semantic or anti-Israeli. But things are changing. What is changing in Turkey?
- DeYoung: Well, when you look at Turkey, you’ve got to remember, 98% of the Turks are of the Islamic faith. Now, they call it a secular Islam. I’m not sure how you define. That sounds more like an oxymoron to me, but I can tell you this, Tayyip Erdogan, who is the prime minister of Turkey, is a radical Islamist. In fact, when he was mayor of Istanbul, he was taken out by the Turkish military. The Turkish military over the years has become somewhat of the custodian of religion in Turkey itself, trying to hold down the rise of radical Islam. That was the case when they took Erdogan out of the mayorship of Istanbul.
- But then he formed a political party. They ran, and they got elected to the Parliament there in Turkey, and that then gave them a majority so they could change the constitution so Erdogan could come to power. He put in place Abdullah Gul, one of his best friends and a partner in this Islamic terroristic attitude that they have, and he is now the president of the country. Remember, Islam stopped its spread to the west in Turkey. The Ottoman Empire, 400 years, controlled the entire Middle East until General Allenby and the British troops, took down the Turkish Empire back in 1917 there in the Jezreel Valley. Since that time, they’ve wanted to come back to power. And Tayyip Erdogan is the one leading them back to this Islamic superiority, or this pedestal of power that the Islamic counties has. He would like to be the Pan-Islamic leader of the world.
- Remember, Turkey is not an Arab country. What defines an Arab country: they speak Arabic and they are of the Islamic faith. Turkey does not speak Arabic, but it is of the Islamic faith. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, these are other Islamic countries, not Arab countries. You have the 23 or 26, that’s debatable what the number is, of members of the Arab League, or the Arab countries, and they’re forming some coalitions. Ahmadinejad has been working this situation. He’s the president of Iran, of course. He has a relationship with Erdogan. He has a very close relationship with Bashar Assad in Syria. He has endeavored to make inroads into the Muslim Brotherhood, who have come to power there in Egypt. So the whole mix is these interconnecting networks that are unfolding in the Middle East.
- Ankerberg: Plus, that’s one of the very reasons the European Union has turned them down, and that’s going to be a dead deal. Number 1 is, they don’t want a huge Islamic state. If they came into the European Union, population-wise it would be the second largest state in the European Union. Second, it’s 78% agricultural. And, the fact is, the European Union gives huge benefits to agricultural countries. They don’t need a drain on the economy. But they just cannot stand having an Islamic problem added to the ones they’ve already got in the European Union, which is driving Turkey away, closer to Iran, closer to their ties with Russia because of gas—they’ve got a $20 billion gas project going on with Putin. That ties him in into Turkey, and they’re friends with Iran in a big time way. Now, tie that to, you mentioned Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve got a lot of irons in those fires right there, so tell us how those guys are turning against Israel.
- DeYoung: Well, they’re turning against everybody that is not a radical Islamist. Perfect example: a couple of months back, if you can remember, the accidental burning of the Qur’an, and it became a worldwide tragedy as far as the Islamists are concerned. They started killing people. They started doing all kinds of reactive activities that would just help the world recognize the Taliban and that radical fundamentalist element there, that Islamic element there in Afghanistan.
- Pakistan has the only nuclear weapon in the Islamic world. They are a danger, just the fact that they have this mighty power, an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon, that they could use against anybody. And it could be available to the terrorists as well. So this is of much concern. And you have these two along with Iran. Iran, you know, they’re probably the older brother there in those three countries, but they are all involved in a desire to eliminate the Jewish State of Israel. So that’s the lowest common denominator, this link between all of them and the Islamic faith. But everybody else in that coalition of Ezekiel 38 has those same low common denominator activities as well.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, let’s take a break. When we come back we’re going to talk about the spark that could really bring them all together and bring them against Israel. Stick with us. We’ll be right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking to journalist Jimmy DeYoung who’s just returned from the Middle East. And we’re talking about the coalition of nations that are outlined in Ezekiel 38. They’re going to come against the Jewish state in the last days. The Bible’s very specific that that’s going to happen. Of this group of nations, you’ve got Libya, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia. And let’s talk about Libya right now. What’s happened in Libya since we’ve seen you, and why are they going to turn against Israel?
- DeYoung: Well, the Arab Spring played a major role in coming into Libya to take down Colonel Gaddafi, who had been in power for 42 years. He came to power at a revolution himself, and he became a dictator, a merciless dictator with a desire of just killing his people, treating them totally contradictory to civilization, to civilized living. Well, ultimately, they rose up against him. The opposition continued to fight back and forth. Everybody thought there may be a civil war that would ensue. That was not the case. The opposition came out the victor. They finally captured Gaddafi, took him out in the desert and shot him pointblank right in the head and brought an end to his 42 years regime.
- Now, that was all a part of the European Union, NATO, and even the United States, forming the coalition to take this leader out. As we have watched what’s happened after the fall of Gaddafi, we’ve seen the Islamists. Again, I’ve been talking over these programs about, who is the opposition that is going to fill the void when you take out these somewhat moderate Arab leaders in the Middle East? Hosni Mubarak was a moderate Arab leader; he ruled Egypt for 32 years. Never was a major war in the Middle East. Bashar Assad is somewhat of a moderate Arab leader. Colonel Gaddafi, though he talked a lot, did not follow through with many of the things he threatened to do.
- But the element that’s replacing Gaddafi is very dangerous. They want to set up an Islamic republic. That would mean their nation would live under sharia, which is the law of the Islamic people, and thus Allah would be the Supreme Leader of this nation. They’re back and forth now between the former opposition leaders and the Libyans as to, will this come about or not. Libya is still very, very dangerous. They have a great oil supply that the Europeans would love to get their hands on. That was, I believe, the reason for NATO getting involved to the extent they did.
- But Libya was somewhat vulnerable. They didn’t have the ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile system that, say, a Syria has, or some of the other countries have, to protect themselves from an air attack into the country. And so NATO, with the help of the United States and the European Union, brought Colonel Gaddafi down, we’re watching as this develops. And this is the case in all the nations that have been affected by the Arab Spring. I think this is, from the grass roots, from the body politick of the entire Middle East, these leaders coming to power that are very much more dangerous than the leaders that were in position.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, just like when we were talking about Egypt, you have the radical Muslims coming in, the Wahhabis basically, that are talking about sharia everything, okay, the government down to the least little thing that you would do as a person. And they’re calling for the caliphate, this uniting of the Arab world under Islam. And you have the same thing in Libya. You have the same thing in Tunisia. You have the same thing happening in Turkey. You have the same thing going on in Iran. You have a difference in terms of Shiite versus Sunni, but the fact is, that seems to be bridged by their hatred against Israel.
- DeYoung: Exactly.
- Ankerberg: Now, let’s go back, before we go to the spark that’s going to unite all of these folks, let’s talk about Sudan, okay. I was just at a convention where we were talking about the Christians that are being killed, massacred, just across the board, and it seems like nobody cares. Sudan is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. What’s been happening lately?
- DeYoung: Well, Sudan, remember, was the training area for Osama bin Laden. And that’s where he took those fields that were made available to him when he had his troops there, training them to do some of the things that they’ve been doing in their terroristic activity across the Middle East and, in fact, around the world. But, Sudan, there’s a battle between the North and the South as to who’s going to take control of the country. And, as I understand it, the North are the radical Islamists who want to take control of the country. Somalia, hello, Blackhawk Down? Can we not remember? How quickly our mind forgets these things. But that was a terrible situation against the United States that brought the Somali Islamists to power as well. You’ve got to put Ethiopia a bit in that mix, because they’re now back and forth across the borders into Sudan, into Somalia. We’re watching that very closely. But all of them, the Islamic element, in fact, throughout all of Africa, Islam is the fastest growing religion and becoming a major component in the leadership of every one of the African countries. Of course, it doesn’t speak of all the African countries; it does speak of a number of them. And we’re focused, of course, on Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia right now.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, I told you I’ve done a lot of research in terms of the different papers across the world. And what I find is that the secular writers unabashedly talk about the Arab Spring turning into the winter of Islamic radicalism. And that the repercussions this has, and how scared the people of Russia are of this taking place; how scared President Obama is of Israel and Netanyahu and other leaders in Europe; of what this means economically, as well as just in terms of the peace of the world.
- Now, let’s talk about the spark. Because the spark that could unite all of these folks who seem to be independently, in one sense, taking Islamic sharia law to the nth degree, is that they have this hatred of Israel. And the oil prices, as we all know, are continuing to rise. I’ve seen stuff in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Le Monde, and in the papers in Europe, that if we had any kind of a skirmish in the Middle East, that the price of oil per barrel could go to $200 a barrel right off the bat. That means everything would double. So, whatever gas prices you’re paying right now, just double those. If you’re paying $4, you’d be up to $8. If you’re paying $8 in Europe, you’d be up to $16. If you’re at $5 in Hawaii, the fact is, you’d be at $10. And I’m just saying, think of what that means. Obviously, economically, that means a disaster.
- So, if Netanyahu fulfills his idea of not having a holocaust—because Iran is getting a nuclear bomb, and he’s not going to let that happen—if he does any kind of a strike, the fact is, the oil prices are going to double, according to Wall Street Journal and others, alright. If that takes place, even if Iran does not retaliate, which nobody thinks that’s going to happen, if they don’t retaliate, the prices are still going up. If they’ve locked the Strait of Hormuz, prices go up even more. If Israel takes up Saudi Arabia’s offer to use their air space to go in and to strike Iran, then that opens the door for Iran striking the oil fields or the pipelines in Saudi Arabia. The prices go up. Israel becomes the bad guy in this scenario almost any way that you shift it out.
- And, the fact is, it would also at that point be a spark, not only in terms of the world’s economy, but in terms of the Islamic countries, of banding together to say, we’ve got to do something about this. There is a lot of talk in newspaper reports coming out of Europe, out of Russia, out of the Middle East, that Iran could partner with Syria in terms of a retaliatory strike. They’ve even talked about a preemptive strike before Netanyahu would do this, alright. And, apparently, when President Obama and Netanyahu spoke in March, they talked about that possibility and what they would do in defense against Syria. Because Syria does have, it’s got seven times the air defense that Libya had, plus it’s got more weapons in terms of shoulder-mounted missiles to go after aircraft that come in. So this could be a spark. It could be what I call a mini-skirmish that could set the Ezekiel 38 coalition of nations in motion. What are your own thoughts?
- DeYoung: Well, let me just take the other side of that coin. You talked about, should something happen in the Middle East, oil prices would rise almost to $200 a barrel. That may cause the gasoline prices to rise here in America and around the world. But guess what? It gives monies to support every bit of what they want to do against Israel to all the oil-producing countries of the world, which are basically the members of the coalition found in Ezekiel 38. You fund their capability of attacking, and they can then move to that position to go ahead.
- And, again, you talked about the Sunnis and the Shiites. Those are the two elements of the body politick of the Islamic world. But if your enemy is my enemy, then we’re friends. And that’s what we see happening. Iran has been working very closely with Hamas there in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is Sunni; Iran, of course, is Shiite. And so there can be a working coalition even though you may have another sector of the Islamic world as your philosophy and your philosophical approach to all that’s going to happen. I believe we’re seeing it all come together. I believe the lowest common denominator is the Islamic faith. They hate the Jewish people. The Jewish people are an affront to Allah, because they’re prospering in the heart of the Islamic world. Thus the Islamic world has to take Israel out.
- Ankerberg: Give me 45 seconds. Why do we have these pillars up, and where are we at? In other words, people are saying, okay, that’s the Ezekiel 38 coalition of nations, and we can see these nations having this friction and having this motivation to go against Israel right now. So we’re not to those events. But in terms of these three pillars, Revelation, Daniel, and Ezekiel, tell us what these pillars mean and where are we at in time?
- DeYoung: The one on the right is the rapture of the church when Jesus shouts, and the Christian people go into the heavenlies to be with Him. The space between the first two pillars would be the seven year tribulation period; the second pillar, the return of Christ back to the earth when another group of nations will gather in Jerusalem. Now, this is not,… that’s the battle of Armageddon. Over here it’s the Gog/Magog battle where the rapture is. Then you have the 1,000 year kingdom with the great white throne judgment, when all lost people are cast into the lake of fire. Ezekiel 38, Daniel 11, Psalm 83, book of Revelation chapter 6, it’s talking about this group of nations coming against Israel. It’s right there, just to the left of that first pillar, right after the rapture of the church in the first six months of the tribulation period.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’ve talked about the ramifications in the Middle East and these are going to have worldwide repercussions. Interesting that the Bible also has prophecy about the worldwide repercussions, and that’s what we’re going to turn to next week. I hope that you’ll join us.