Israel – Alone in the Middle East?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader

[The post that follows was written almost twenty months prior. Its significance today lies in the recent agreement between Iran and six significant world powers, United States, China, Russia, Germany, European Union, and France, over Iran's nuclear ambitions (purported to be for peaceful purposes only).  Israel was the lone world power adamantly opposed to the agreement. Saudi Arabia publicly opposed the agreement until shortly after its signing. It was the last of the Middle East nations to support it but with reservation. This article was originally posted under the title, "America - Abandoning Israel for Iran."]

A recent editorial (May 12, 2012) appeared in one of Iran’s news outlets, the Keyhan News (according to Reza Kahlili, the paper is reported to be directly under the supervision of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), which should be of interest to Bible prophecy students.

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Israel Aligns with Egypt’s Military – What does the Bible say?

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi

JERUSALEM (Reuters) by Jeffrey Heller, August 19, 2013 - “Israel is urging the West to stick by Egypt’s army in its confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood, quietly echoing warnings by U.S. regional ally Saudi Arabia against putting pressure on the military-backed government. Israel shares its views with the U.S. and some EU (European Union) countries, and those views are to give priority to restoring stability,” a senior Israeli official said on Monday. And like it or not, the army is the only player that can restore law and order (in Egypt).”  (Read more)

In my recent posts (Read more) (Read more) about the Biblical implications of Egypt’s present chaos and Morsi’s unseating by the Egyptian military, I have directed readers to the prophecy of Daniel 11:42-43 (NASB) wherein Egypt’s demise is prophesied. I have interpreted this demise to include the Egyptian military since it is the protector of the land of Egypt, including its “precious things.” The above Reuter’s article by Jeffrey Heller gives us the behind-closed doors position of Israel in the Egyptian crisis, as provided by an anonymous “senior Israeli official.” Heller quotes this senior official that the West should support the military, not Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters (and the democratic principles that elected him).

It is important that we take notice of who is aligning with who and then compare the alignments with our interpretations of Bible prophecy. If Israel is aligning with the Egyptian military then what does the Bible say will happen to Israel in the end-times? Because what happens to Israel will happen to Israel’s allies, i.e., in this case, Egypt.

Consider this prophecy:

Ezekiel 38:8-9, 16 (NASB) ”After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.” … 16  and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”

It is the view of this interpreter that Israel will be initially overcome by “Gog” (Russia) and his forces. (Read here for my support for this view). Here is my concluding paragraph from this previous post (July 2, 2012):

Conclusion.  The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (not Egypt as a nation) will join the Ezekiel 38:5-6 Russian-led Alliance in an end-times attack against Israel. The Brotherhood is included in the phrase “many peoples with you” of Ezekiel 38:6 and related passages. If this is the correct interpretation, we should expect to see Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood gaining more and more strength in Egypt, and the military regime of former President Mubarak losing more of what it once held. It is likely that this strength will be gained while the Brotherhood uses the subterfuge of nonviolence, tolerance, and a public distancing of itself from Islamist ideals, all the while its true agenda is the destruction of Israel.

I would say that since that post a year ago, the Muslim Brotherhood has gained significantly in strength. The resulting bloodshed ensuing from the “unseating” of Morsi by the military has been used by the Islamists to further polarize the world and will soon force world leaders to take a stand with either the military or the Muslim Brotherhood. The economic aid package of the United States will be drawn into the equation and will intensify the polarization of the nations of the world. Recent news reports (August 19, 2013) that Hosni Mubarak is about to be released from Egyptian prison where he has been held since Morsi took office. It will only be a matter of time for Russia to be drawn into the mix. Iran will follow. The line will be drawn in the sand when this occurs. The United States, the Egyptian military, Israel, the Saudis, will be on one side. The Russians, the Iranians, the Muslim Brotherhood (along with the Salifis), and HAMAS, Hezbollah, will be on the other side. Oops. Forgot about the Turks. They will align with the Muslim Brotherhood as well.  World War 3 appears to be ever more in view. It is almost as if we are looking through a key hole trying to see what is happening on the other side of the door.  Soon the door will be open and we will no longer be interpreting prophecy’s expected fulfillment, but recounting the fulfillment of prophecy.

Jesus come quickly.

Blessings.

Jack Smith

 

 

Egypt’s Military – How long at the wheel?

obama.condemns.egyptReuter’s Reports:  “CHILMARK/VINEYARD HAVEN, Massachusetts - President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that the United States is cancelling joint military exercises with Egypt next month, saying normal U.S. cooperation cannot continue in light of the armed forces’ bloody crackdown.”  (Read more)

According to Reuter’s, “Stopping military exercises in Egypt was one clear way the White House could show its displeasure. It was the first significant U.S. move to penalize Egypt’s military rulers. Previously, the U.S. government had announced a decision to halt delivery to Egypt of four U.S.-made F-16 fighters.”

Perhaps a quick review of some key historical developments might be helpful:

  1. Egypt-Israeli peace accord signed in 1979 at Camp David, a consequence of which was the beginning of significant United States military aid to Egypt (and Israel). According to the Congressional Research Study (author Jeremy Sharp) #RL33003, p. 9, United States aid to Egypt and Israel in 1979 totaled $7.3billion, each. According to the same report, “Since 1979, Egypt has been the second-largest recipient, after Israel, of U.S. bilateral foreign assistance.”
  2. The United States aid to Egypt since 1987 has been $1.3 billion, annually.1  In addition to the aid of $1.3 billion, Egypt receives a significant portion of financing for its defense budget. According to CRS #33003, it is estimated that U.S. military aid covers as much as 80% of the  Egyptian Defense Ministry’s weapons procurement costs.2
  3. On February 11, 2011, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (1981 – 2011) “waived” his presidential powers over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.3  Mubarak’s departure was in response to the developments in the Muslim world popularly known as Arab Spring. (Read more)
  4. On June 30, 2012, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad Morsi was elected president of Egypt in what has been described as the first democratic election in the history of Egypt. In November, 2012, Morsi granted himself unlimited powers to “protect” the nation from the Mubarak-era power structure which remained in place following his election. He also gave himself the power to legislate without judicial oversight. Egyptians erupted over his actions (except, of course, his supporters; members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, and other Islamist groups). On December 8, 2012, Morsi rescinded his own actions, but mass protests had already begun and would only intensify. (Read more)
  5. On December 22, 2012, a new Sharia-based constitution was signed by President Morsi after its ratification by Egyptians in a democratic vote. The constitution had been drafted by the Islamist controlled Egyptian parliamentary and recommended for approval to the Egyptian people. (Read more)
  6. On July 3, 2013, the armed forces chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced that the constitution had been “suspended provisionally” and that Muhammad Morsi had been “unseated.” (Read more)  The actions of General al-Sisi were described by many to be the result of a military coup; by others as an act to restore democracy to Egyptian people.
  7. On July 14, 2013, over 640 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Muhammad Morsi were killed by security forces in Cairo as they participated in peaceful protests. Reports estimated the wounded in the 1,000′s. (Read more) Other attacks against Christian targets occurred throughout Egypt in retaliation for the killings by the security forces:
    • Islamists staged revenge attacks on Christian targets in several areas, torching churches, homes and business after Coptic Pope Tawadros  (a member of the council that unseated Morsi) gave his blessing to the military takeover that ousted Mursi, security sources and state media said. (Read more)
  8. Military aid of $1.3billion to Egypt from the United States is in jeopardy. If a coup occurred in Egypt, United States law prohibits any further aid be given to Egypt. One report states:
    • The United States says the action does not fit the legal definition of a coup because the military acted not to take over the nation but to restore democracy. If the Obama administration labeled the action a coup, it would be forced to withhold $1.3 billion in foreign aid that the United States gives the Egyptian military annually. Egyptians who have risen up against the Muslim Brotherhood also reject the “coup” label. (Read more) To the contrary, read more.

So what does all this have to do with Bible prophecy?

Daniel 11:42-43 (NASB) 42“Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels.

The prophecy is that the land of Egypt will “not escape.” That is — Egypt will fall. The Egyptian military is Egypt’s protector regardless of the political leanings of the current president.  If the country falls, then the military has fallen. In addition, the Egyptian military is the protector of the “hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt.” Here is one article describing what is happening to the hidden treasures of Egypt during the chaos of Arab Spring and even more so the chaos ensuing at present. (Read here).

Yet, despite the value of the “hidden treasures” of Egypt, one cannot help but wonder if there is not another item far more valuable than ancient artifacts? Consider the Suez Canal, the producer of approximately $2.5billion annually, 10% of annual revenues for Egypt, which simply put is “worth it” to whomever controls the canal:

The Suez Canal (Arabic: قناة السويس‎ Qanāt al-Sūwais) is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the suez.canalMediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows transportation by water between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa. The northern terminus is Port Said and the southern terminus is Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. Ismailia lies on its west bank, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the half-way point. (Read more)

Recently, political unrest in Egypt led to chaos even along the bordering towns of the Suez Canal. General al-Sisi made this statement nearly six months before Muhammad Morsi was unseated. Read the statement in light of Daniel 11:42 just quoted:

CAIRO — As three Egyptian cities [the three critical cities bordering the Suez Canal, Port Said, Ismailia and Suez] defied President Mohamed Morsi’s attempt to quell the anarchy spreading through their streets, the nation’s top general warned Tuesday that the state itself was in danger of collapse if the feuding civilian leaders could not agree on a solution to restore order. … With the stakes rising and no solution in sight, Gen. Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, the defense minister, warned Egypt’s new Islamist leaders and their opponents that “their disagreement on running the affairs of the country may lead to the collapse of the state and threatens the future of the coming generations.”  (Emphasis supplied) (Read more)

It appears that the General took things into his own hands when he “unseated” President Morsi on July 3, 2013. His actions placed him in the “driver’s seat” so to speak; for what purpose? To save his country from self-destruction.

How might we assess modern day events in light of prophetic Scripture?

  1. The spirit of antichrist is working in the hearts of Egyptians to bring about a total collapse of Egyptian society (2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB; 1 John 2:18 NASB). The spirit of antichrist is working in the “sons of disobedience” (unbelieving humanity) to bring in the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6 NASB and Colossians 3:6 NASB).  Death, violence, destruction, disunity, anger, and unrest are the odor of his breath; such is the case for Egypt today; and such has been the case for the Muslim world in general: “To date, rulers have been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings have erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests have broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests have occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and Western Sahara.” (Read more)
  2. Egypt will fall.
    1. The military will be unable to bring reconciliation between the Islamists and secularists (which includes both Muslim and non-Muslims). The prophecy tells us of this event.
    2. The military will likely continue its assault against Islamists to the point that the United States will be forced to withhold $1.3billion in aid to Egypt for no other reason than the political pressures applied upon it by Americans in general, and by the United Nations and the European Union in particular.  No matter how you look at it, democratic free elections brought in Muhammad Mursi; the people who elected him are now being targeted by the security forces of Egypt for no other reason than they support him. If Syria’s Assad and his military murdered people to keep him in office, and the United States condemned such actions, how can we not do the same in Egypt? And how else do we evidence that condemnation than by the withholding of aid?
    3. The economy of Egypt will fail. It is already on the precipice, and the withholding of United States aid will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.”  The continuing unrest socially between supporters of Morsi and supporters of the military will escalate resulting in the closing of businesses and an eventual impact upon all revenues, including oil and gas revenues impacted by the inability to export same.
      • The Suez Canal will be closed because of the inability of the military to provide safe passage for shipping vessels. The chaos and lack of leadership in Egyptian society will either close the canal or result in the captains of sea vessels opting for the long way around the continent of Africa to insure delivery of their cargoes. Already questions are being asked about the impact on Suez traffic of rebellion along the bordering cities, particularly Port Said.
    4. The 1979 Egypt-Israeli treaty will be terminated. With the Egyptian military no longer at the wheel to maintain the treaty, and with United States aid withheld, whomever is in control will have no financial incentive to maintain the treaty. Daniel 9:27 NASB will be fulfilled in this event.  The tribulation of Ezekiel 38/39 against Israel will be brought in through the doors of Egypt.
  3. The Antichrist will fill the void in the Middle East, perhaps beginning with Iran and Shia Islam, as Iran pulls the trigger upon Israel.  Other bible prophecies warn that he will conquer the world in the process. Revelation 13:7-8 NASB.

Stretching it you think? Perhaps, but not from where I sit. Look at the events in the Muslim world over the last two years. Look at the events of the last week – the military (and/or police) killing its own by the hundreds? Who would ever have imagined that the leader of the Egyptian military would warn his own people that unless they reconciled with one another the collapse of the nation was at stake? This has an uncanny resemblance to the prophesied event of Daniel 9:42.

Jesus come quickly.

Blessings.

Jack Smith

 

  1.  Congressional Research Study (author Jeremy Sharp) #RL33003 []
  2. Ibid. []
  3. At his later trial, Mubarak claimed never to have resigned. This was key to his later prosecution because as president he supposedly had immunity for illegal actions []

Is Muhammad Morsi the Antichrist?

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi

Today (Friday, 11/23/12) I received more search engine clicks on this blog using the above question than any other search engine terms since the site has been up (year, I think??).   When I initially read the question, I almost chuckled; but then I began to put the pieces together… and, to my surprise, they fit quite differently than my initial impression.  I hope that this brief post will help prophecy students consider an option to their end-times paradigm not given much thought before (at least by this student!).

If you are reading this post then I am assuming that you know who Muhammad Morsi is. I am also assuming that you know the reason why Morsi has received an avalanche of publicity in the past week. What you may not know is why Morsi received the most recent publicity (beginning Thursday, 11/22), and why the specific search engine terms (“Antichrist”) were used that directed so many people to prophecy blogs like this one.

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Rockets hit near Tel Aviv as Gaza death toll rises – Yahoo! News

The world is watching at the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. This is just one article of many similar articles that have been reported over the last week, but the first report of rockets striking near Tel Aviv.  In case you were not aware, Israel is prevalent in almost every end-time paradigm — the Islamic Paradigm is certainly no exception.  See Revelation 11:1-2.

Rockets hit near Tel Aviv as Gaza death toll rises – Yahoo! News.

DNC Amends Platform to identify Jerusalem as Capital of Israel – Present in Bible Prophecy?

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
DNC Chairman

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. What about a movie? A YouTube movie– on the actions of the Democratic National Convention?  And what does that have to do with Israel and the end-times? 

At the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC), the initial party platform published on Monday, September 4, 2012, omitted specific language that had been a part of the 2008 Democratic platform (and, according to a Wall Street Journal report, part of the Democratic platform since 1992). The specific language dealt with the identification of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The omitted “Jerusalem language” was then added by amendment on the floor of the DNC, by voice vote, but not with unanimity. The specific wording of Amendment #2 (page 63, line 26 of the national platform) is as follows:

Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiation. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

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Egypt’s Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Bible Prophecy

President Muhammad Morsi

When Dr. Muhammad Morsi was elected President by the Egyptian people, his name filled the annals of history not only because he was elected President of the most populous Arab nation, but also because of the circumstances of his election. Muhammad Morsi was the first civilian ever to be elected president by the Egyptian people in a free and fair election. Morsi (and the Muslim Brotherhood) was the beneficiary of the popular uprising, Arab Spring, which removed President Mubarak from the presidency of Egypt after thirty years in office (1981 – 2011). Continue reading