Church of God, New World Ministries

Watch The Middle East

The agonizing possibility of another Middle East war frightens world leaders. Are Mideast events leading to the long prophesied “Armageddon”? What will happen to Egypt, Syria, Israel and other countries in that area? And how will the Mideast affect Europe? Can we know what is about to happen in the very near future?

The nations of the world will literally be dumbfounded when they see what will really happen in the explosive Middle East. Few realize what the outcome will be of the long-protracted and intense struggle between Israelis and Arabs.

Why do world leaders repeatedly say that the Mideast is the most explosive spot on this earth? Why are famous diplomats continually negotiating with heads of government in this unsettled area? It must, they claim, be watched very carefully if it is not to ignite World War III.

Since the dawn of history, man has fought thousands of wars. But until recently; mankind had not invented weapons of mass destruction which could erase all life from this planet. In 1945 thousands of lives were vaporized in the instantaneous destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then the world was jolted into the realization that science had ushered mankind into the age of potential human annihilation.

Since 1945 the nations have been working feverishly to develop more devastating weapons, weapons which can erase vast populations in a matter of seconds. The word “overkill” has earned its place in our modern vocabulary. The nations have already spent many millions of dollars developing brands of super laser weapons. Besides the United States and Russia, France, Britain, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel (and who knows how many other nations) also have nuclear weapons in their arsenals.

Ancient Rome had in place a law similar to America’s posse-comitatus law that prohibits U.S. military forces from being used inside U.S. borders. To prevent the Roman republic from the threat posed by its own military, Roman legions were prohibited from crossing into Roman territory past the boundary line marked by the Rubicon River. In 49 B.C., when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon on his way to Rome, his action made armed conflict inevitable. Crossing the Rubicon became an idiom for passing a point of no return. Once one has crossed the Rubicon, there is no turning back.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has now amassed 630 kg of low-enriched uranium, enough, say the New York Times, to produce a single atom bomb. The debate in the media began almost immediately: “Oh yeah? How much is enough?” or “That’s not enough for a big bomb,” or the inevitable “They’re still one (you name the years) year away.” Lost in the media din is the fact all the headlines contain estimates of how far Iran is away from having an atomic bomb. They are not about how far Iran is from having cheap, abundant nuclear power for all Iran’s citizens. The dance is all around the subject, but stopping the music for a second, the question is, does Iran  possess sufficient nuclear material for a nuclear weapon? Iran has crossed the Rubicon with Israel.

Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ foretold this terrible era of potential mass destruction, this end time when man would possess the capability to annihilate all life on this planet. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved (alive)” (Matt. 24:21-22).

There is a Creator God who knows the past and can fathom the future. He has given us in His Word, the Holy Bible, many hundreds of prophecies which foretell the future events. The Creator says: “For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa. 46:9-10).

    The Prophet Daniel prophesied that four great world-ruling empires would arise, one after the other (Daniel 2 and 7). These empires would dominate this earth up until the end time when the “stone” (the Messiah or Christ – Daniel 2:45 and Eph. 2:20) would demolish and supplant all human governments.

The longest prophecy of the Bible, the eleventh chapter of Daniel, specially concerns the Middle East. Most of this lengthy prophecy has already been fulfilled. The first four verses of this chapter prophesied that “a mighty king” (Alexander the Great) would rise up and defeat the Persians. He would die without “posterity” to rule on his throne. His kingdom would be “divided toward the four winds” (by his four generals).

History shows how accurately the detailed prophecies of vs. 5-39 were fulfilled. But vs. 40-45 are yet to be fulfilled. They reveal that startling events are yet to take place in the Mideast.

As foretold, after the death of Alexander the Great, his four generals divided up his kingdom. Cassander ruled Greece and Macedonia. Lysimachus was given Asia Minor. Seleucus (Nicator) ruled Syria and Babylonia as far as India. Ptolemy (Soter) ruled Egypt, part of Ethiopia (including the modern Sudan), Judea and part of Syria.

    The kings of the north and south referred to in this chapter were the Greek rulers of Egypt and Syria who for centuries struggled over control of Palestine. The Bible always speaks from the focal point of the Holy Land. Syria was north of Palestine, Egypt was south.

The “king of the north” continued to be Syria up until 65 B.C. {The king of the north was Syria under the Seleucid dynasty. In 65 B.C. Pompey reduced Syria to the status of a Roman province, despite the pleadings of Antiochus XIII. The line of Seleucus continued in the kings of Commagene who continued to rule until 72 A.D. when it too was extinguished by Rome. The son of the last king, Caius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappus, served as a Roman consul in the year 100 A.D. Thus Rome swallowed up the western Seleucid Empire, utterly abolishing it. The eastern area broke up into independent kingdoms under local ruler. Rome also took Macedonia and Greece, renaming it Achaia. In the celebrated story of Cleopatra we note that Egypt too fell into the Roman sphere, but Ethiopia remained an independent area continuing the traditions of the “king of the south}.” From that time on the “king of the north” represents the Roman  Empire.

Rome is the 4th and last of the world-ruling empires which Daniel prophesied would dominate this world (Dan. 2 and 7). The Roman Empire would meet catastrophe and be revived again and again. It would continue to reappear until the Messiah appears on the scene and destroys all human kingdoms and governments, and establishes the Kingdom of God.

 The ancient Roman Empire fell to the Heruli and their allies in 476 A.D. Then Justinian revived the Roman Empire in the West in 554 A.D. It was, in our time, revived by Benito Mussolini, he was the leader that ruled the sixth major revival of the Roman Empire.

According to the prophecies of your Bible, there were to be seven major “heads” (leaders) or seven revivals of the Roman Empire, beginning in 554 A.D. when the “deadly wound” was healed by Justinian (Rev. 13:3-5). The other “resurrections” of the Roman Empire included those of Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Charles the Great (of the Hapsburgs), Napoleon and Mussolini-Hitler.

Students of biblical prophecy generally understand that the 4th kingdom mentioned by Daniel (depicted by the legs of iron, and the feet part of iron and part of clay) is the Roman Empire (Dan. 2:32-45). “And in the days of these kings (ten kings represented by the “ten toes”) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces (smite the image on its feet and toes of iron and clay) and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44).

The 7th chapter of Daniel lists four beasts: lion, bear, leopard and a “fourth beast, dreadful and terrible,” unlike any beast known to mankind. Daniel was inspired to foretell the destruction of this fourth beast (the Roman Empire): “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (Dan. 7:11).

Then follows the coming of the Messiah to this earth in power and glory: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (vs. 13-14).

Very few understand that the Roman Empire is to exist, quite literally, at the coming of the Messiah, and once again will wreak great havoc in the name of “peace” just before the establishment of the prophesied Kingdom of God on this earth.

Immediately after World War II, Winston Churchill, in a speech at Zurich, urged the creation of a “United States of Europe.” Since that time, many steps have been taken toward achieving this goal. A New Europe is coming as certainly as the sun will continue to rise and set.

Many Europeans realize they will forever remain impotent as individual nations unless they can bind themselves together in a strong union. Only then can they speak with a strong, united voice and exercise their political and military power to utmost advantage.

Europeans now are demanding a bigger say in what goes on in the world, including the Middle East, where their umbilical oil line could be severed without either their knowledge or consent. In order to have more freedom to maneuver in future crises, Europeans are continuing to consider steps to bring about their own political and military independence from United States control and influence.

Daniel prophesied over 2500 years ago that Europe will sooner or later end up with a strong central government (like that of the ancient Roman Empire). This strong United Europe is foretold in the 17th chapter of Revelation: “And the beast (the final manifestation of the Roman Empire) that was, and is not, even he is the eighth (head), and is of the seven (of the seven heads of Daniel 7:4-7), and goeth into perdition” (Rev. 17:11).

Now notice that “the beast” (the leader of this final revival Roman Empire) will have under his control and direction the full power of “ten kings” or ten rulers who will give him full allegiance: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beat. These (the beast and the ten kings) shall make war with the Lamb (Christ at His coming), and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings” (vs. 12-14).

 This battle, to occur near Jerusalem (see Zech. 14:1-4), is described in chapter 16 of the book of Revelation:  “The kings of the earth and of the whole world (are marshaled by the demon world) into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (vs. 12-16).

For thousands of years, Megiddo has been a most strategic place, the very crossroads of the Middle East. These kings and their armies meet at Megiddo, and then move south to the valley of Jehoshaphat (near Jerusalem) where the climactic battle actually takes place. “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him (the returning Christ) that sat on the horse, against his army. And the beast was taken and with him the false prophet. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:19-21).

As we read earlier, this same annihilation of the beast is described in Daniel: “I beheld even till the beast (the human head of the coming ten-nation combine) was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” (Dan. 7:11).

In the Bible a king often represents the kingdom (see Dan. 2:38-39).So these “beasts” are human government or kingdoms which have plundered and destroyed the nations down through the centuries. They have acted like wild beasts. That appears to be why God compares them to ravening animals.

Now return to the 11th chapter of Daniel. We have seen that the king of the north was Syria, until that nation was swallowed up by Rome and became a part of the Roman Empire. From that time forth, the successive kings of the north were the successive leaders of the Roman Empire. We have also seen that the Roman Empire would have seven heads, or revivals, beginning with Justinian in 554 A.D. The 7th (last) head of this Roman Empire is yet to arise, maybe sooner than we think!

The Mussolini-Hitler kingdom was the 6th head of the beast! The next leader to unite the peoples of Europe will constitute the “beast” mentioned in Daniel and Revelation. He will also be the “king of the north”, mentioned in Daniel 11:40-45).

Why will this “king of the north” become involved in the Middle East? Because the Mideast is of great importance strategically. It is at the very geographical center of the earth, the vital crossroads between three continents. Also, it is very important because it boasts over 50% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Which countries is the coming “king of the north” prophesied to enter? Which nations will he conquer? Verse 41 shows that he will move into what has been called Palestine: “He shall enter also into the glorious land (the Holy Land), and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.”

What about Egypt? Will it be subject to the coming “king of the north”? “And the land of Egypt shall not escape (v. 42).

Events now shaping up will affect every living person on earth. Read tomorrow’s headlines today! Discover what prophecy says about modern nations. Request Mr. John Shelton’s “The Blessings of Abraham” series to understand where Britain and the United States are mentioned in Biblical prophecy and what lies ahead for us in the near future.  Also send for our FREE DVD, “The Great Tribulation, When?” 

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