I find myself frequently stating that we are either on the precipice of the end-time’s tribulation period (the 7-year period preceding the return of Christ) or we have already taken our first steps into it. A recent article (November 7, 2012) by Middle East Forum entitled, “The Huge Impact of Israel’s Energy Reserves,” made me ever more certain of this. In a telephone conference with Lawrence Solomon, Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute, Energy Probe Research Foundation in Toronto, the Forum reports:
Mr. Solomon projected that within the next one to two decades, the Muslim nations will lose their oil weapon and diplomatic clout due to a new emerging energy order. Recent discoveries of plentiful global resources of shale oil and shale gas reserves, in combination with technological advances in “fracking,” the hydraulic fracturing technique used to obtain the oil and gas from shale’s permeable geologic formations, will enable many countries to be less dependent on energy imports.1 (Emphasis supplied).
The point of the article is summarized in the quote, but the background the article provides is equally enlightening. According to the article, until the Arab nations employed “oil as a sword” in 1973 following the Yom Kippur War, their influence in the world was miniscule (in spite of the Saudis being the world’s #1 owner of proven oil and gas reserves), and all but ignored, as the stuff of brutal dictatorships. Mr Solomon is quoted:
The first oil crisis initiated by OPEC after the 1973 Yom Kippur War [Ocotober, 1973] led to Israel’s international isolation when the Saudi “oil weapon” was used to punish any country supporting the Jewish state. Before the oil embargo, Israel had been admired in the West, oil was cheap, and the Arab countries were recognized as belligerent military dictatorships. Once the Arabs threatened the West with their oil weapon, the western media and the left turned against Israel. Within a year, the PLO’s Yasser Arafat was invited to speak at the UN. The following year the UN General Assembly branded Zionism as racism. (Emphasis supplied)
According to Solomon, this was an abrupt change in Israel’s status, particularly as it related to many African countries. The Arabs were apparently able to place a wedge between Israel and Africa, even to the point of the formation of an anti-Isral African-Arab-non-aligned voting bloc at the UN (presently at 54 members!).
If we consider the loss in non-Muslim world-favor that Israel experienced between 1973 and the present day there is at least one bible passage that prophecy students need consider:
Revelation 17:1-2 (NASB) 1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” (Emphasis supplied)
I am aware that the prevailing interpretation among bible prophecy students is that “immorality” in Revelation 17/18 is a reference to spiritual prostitution among all levels of society to a false god(s).2 In fact, my initial interpretation of this passage held to this view. However, the more I studied the passage, the more I became aware of how many times the text used financial and related terms/factors (Revelation 18:3, 15, 19, 23) to describe the seducing power of the harlot as well as the reason for her destruction by her own allies. I am now of the view that this is the key factor in both identifying the harlot and the basis upon which she has committed immorality with the kings of the earth, as well as caused all levels of society to be “drunk with the wine of her immorality” (Revelation 17:2, 15). (For further discussion, see Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, Chapter 11, Rebuilding Babel’s Towers).
The question we are presently addressing is whether the “acts of immorality” in Revelation 17/18 were fulfilled, at least partly, when the non-Muslim nations of the world exchanged their favor towards Israel with that of the oil-rich Arab nations because of the potential for long-term economic benefits? To put it in “spiritual language,” did the non-Muslim nations become the harlot’s “lovers” because she induced their fancy through her petroleum resources (see Jeremiah 4:30, 22:20, 30:14, for similar uses of the term “lovers” in a spiritual context)? Revelation 18:3 NASB seems to have this financial inducement in mind when it states, “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” The merchants have not become rich by selling to the harlot; rather, they have become rich by the “wealth” of the harlot. That is, the merchants have become rich from some valuable asset of the harlot which has allowed the merchants to profit. Revelation 18:15 NASB is even clearer when it states, “The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment.” Revelation 18:19 NASB states a similar outcome for those who “make their living at sea”: “…all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth…” Further, it is significant that the kings of the earth have committed acts of fornication, not the merchants or seamen of the earth. The merchants and seamen have only profited from the harlot’s wealth, they have not likewise committed immorality with her. Although the line I am drawing may seem very fine to some, it is no less significant to me. The same point can be made from the peoples of the nations: they do not commit acts of immorality with the harlot; rather, they have “drunk of the wine” of the harlot. The immorality that occurs is between the harlot and the kings of the earth only. The drunkenness is by the people, and the wealth that has accrued has only accrued to the merchants and seamen of the earth.
As many of you know, I interpret the harlot of Revelation 17/18 to be Saudi Arabia and the destruction of the harlot to occur at the hands of a ten-member Muslim alliance led by the Antichrist (Al-Mahdi, Twelver Shiite version, i.e., Iran localized). However, the attached article states that “within the next one to two decades” the Muslim nations will lose their oil weapon and diplomatic clout because of the new emerging energy order, i.e., shale oil and shale gas. What does this have to do with the tribulation and end-times bible prophecy? Let us suppose that the correct interpretation of Revelation 17/18 is that Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is the harlot. Let us suppose further that oil is the product that has caused the kings of the earth to become “lovers” of the harlot, and oil is the product that the peoples of the world have become addicted to, as well as the merchants and seamen of the world to become rich from (if for no other reason than petroleum products allow sales to occur internationally rather than locally). Now assume that Solomon is correct, i.e, in the next ten to twenty years, the petroleum owning Muslim nations will slowly but certainly lose their monopoly over the most precious commodity in the world today — and they do so through technological advances in shale oil and shale gas. What do you think one or more of these petroleum owning countries will do about that? Do you think that they will sit on the sidelines and just watch it happen? Also, if we conclude that they will do something about it, to whom will they do it? If history serves as the answer to that question, they will turn against themselves. The bible supports that conclusion as well (Daniel 2:41, 7:24; 11:40-45; Revelation 17:12-17).
To answer that question, we return to Revelation 18. Tell me if the destructive event poured out upon the harlot and described in Revelation 18 does not resemble what we might characterize in the modern-day as a nuclear holocaust:
1. It will be quick—in one hour — Revelation 18:10, 17, 19;
2. No one will come near her for fear of being impacted by what torments her — Revelation 18:10, 15, 17;
3. Her destruction will be accompanied by “pestilence”– Revelation 18:8;
4. Her destruction will include a “fiery annihilation” — Revelation 18:8, 9, 15, 18;
5. Her destruction will be accompanied by great amounts of smoke — Revelation 18:9, 18; 19:3;
6. Her kingdom will suffer a complete destruction — Revelation 18:6, 7, 14, 19-21.
So then if Solomon is correct, do you think it likely that the Muslim countries of the world will stand by and watch their wealth evaporate or will they do something to stop its erosion, e.g., destroying the world’s #1 owner of proven oil and gas reserves, Saudi Arabia? What does that achieve, you say? Whether or not shale oil and gas technologies are able to offer significant amounts of petroleum products remains to be seen, but regardless, the removal of 25% of proven oil and gas reserves (the amount currently estimated as being owned by Saudi Arabia alone) from the world markets will impact the price of a barrel of oil simply because of the law of supply and demand. That law is important because the citizens of the world’s nations are addicted to the harlot’s wine (Revelation 17:2, 15), and the merchants of the earth have been made wealthy from the harlot’s wine, and the kings of the earth want to remain in office so they must provide the people and the merchants what they want or they will not be in office; and, so the day that all this happens will be just like the days of Noah. They will be eating and drinking …. Matthew 24:38-41. And then it will happen.
Just one more closing thought. Solomon states this about Israel:
Israel is among the beneficiaries of this energy bonanza. The discovery of large shale oil resources on its land and natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean’s Levant Basin near Cyprus, will enable it to become a major natural gas exporter to Europe. In addition to creating the potential for wooing back former allies in Western Europe, these discoveries are already enabling Israel to form commercial and military alliances with Cyprus and Greece to coordinate gas exploration and extraction and thwart Turkey’s belligerence.
How long do you think Iran will be able to endure the thought of Israel being a beneficiary of the coming energy bonanza? One decade, two at most — at least that is the thought of Solomon in the Forum article. The timing is critical actually because it defines the time wherein something will most likely occur before Islam will be forced to take action or lose its influence in the world. Before that occurs, Iran will take action. At least that is where I am putting my money. Yes, Iran, I think, will be the nation that pulls the trigger on the nuclear event. For them, it is not about money — its spiritual! I think it is also biblical; and that is actually why I am putting my money on Iran.
I know a good book that will explain why Iran (Shiah Islam) will be the one who pulls the trigger– Islam the Cloak of Antichrist . Yes, I know, I am selling my book! Only 2000 more copies and I might break even!
- http://www.meforum.org/3388/israel-energy-reserves [↩]
- Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8 – 22, An Exegetical Commentary, p. 284 – 285. [↩]
Wow, Jack! You’ve outdone yourself with this post! You never cease to amaze me. In light of a story I read today on another blog, that the king of Saudi Arabia is clinically dead, and Iran using it to usher in Al-Mahdi, I think we are on the precipice all right! Been watching and studying prophecy fervently in the past few months. Each new day I have to pick my bottom lip up off the floor!
Another thought-provoking post, with references to a most outstanding book that I wish had been better marketed.
Regarding the post….Since Muslim countries need Saudi Arabian oil. It would seem rather counter-productive for the antichrist to threaten the economies of nations that would presumably be his followers. There must be some greater reason for the antichrist to want to destroy Saudi Arabia. What more than economic co-operation with the west would really get the antichrist into a religious warring frenzy?
How about something like a renunciation of Islam? Or a relaxing of personal and religious freedoms for non-Muslims? Or a treaty of sorts with some Shiites, while other Shiites who hold a more fanatical faith in the al-Mahdi object (Iran?). This would fulfill the spiritual aspect of it, with financial and military implications following.
Jack you have asked if the present world events are heralding in the Tribulation, spoken about in the Bible, that the world will endure just before the Second Coming of Christ, and it seems to me that you are unsure of the prophesied timeline for all of the events leading up to the time of the final judgement of the Sheep and the Goats and the saints receiving their inheritance of the earth.
Now, since there is a 1,000 year gap between when the four beasts of Daniel 7:1-12 are dealt with and the Four sided beast of Daniel 7:19-27 rising up out of the abyss, it is reasonable to state that the Second coming of Christ is a distant future event and not a near future event as you are suggesting in this article. We should remember that the Daniel 9:27 prophecy is about an insolent person entering into a solemn covenant with the people of the earth, particularly the nations a great distant from Jerusalem; those who are at the four corners of the world map where Jerusalem is in the centre of the map representation of the countries of the earth.
Now every oil and gas well has a finite life span dependent on the rate of production of the well which is what Mr Solomon is alluding to in his article that you have pointed to. Solomon has suggested that the well reserves in the Middle East will begin to run out within the next 20 years but previous models of supply and demand would push this out further since dependency on both oil and gas is diminishing which will naturally extend the life of the existing oil and gas reserves.
I would like to suggest to you that around 96 years after the fig tree came back to life and started to bud, that the end of the Daniel 2 prophecy will be completed with the establishment of the every lasting Messianic Kingdom occurring. We have seen the fifth kingdom/empire that has had control over the land of the Chaldeans and this empire inhabits the domain of the Third beast of Dan 7:1-12. With the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, Christ will have dominion over all of the earth but he will remain in the heavenly Temple ministering until the time of the Great Tribulation and He will then set His feet on the earth for the Final Judgement of all the people of the earth. Satan as well as the four sided beast will have been dealt with at this time.
Thanks Jack, for another thoughtful post I most enjoy reading. Like some comments too, I see you are working on clearing up the right timeline of the start of what many say are the seven years of the Great Tribulation period.
But there’s issues with this seven year period which most simply assume should be there in Revelations, only problem is, there simply are no seven year period seen in Revelations anywhere.
There are only 3 & 1/2 years given, in months, days, and weeks. but only amounting to 3 & 1/2 total.
Okay, this missing 3 & 1/2 years seems to be only one of the great eschatological “bottlenecks” in (especially American) Christian theology, the other being the true prophetic identity of Great Babylon, in their serious concerns about the fate of believes, and rightly so.
So, I do realize this may sound like a radically view, but could those of this Church age be missing something important which can give them a much better, fuller perspective, when all they seem to see, is the Church, the Church, the Church everywhere they look in Scripture? I would estimate that nearly half of what God’s prophets had to say was concerning physical Israel’s fate and destiny in the last days.
And I would argue that the Great Tribulation is for the trying, testing and ultimate purifying of Israel, which of course, would point us back to Revelations, which would make the start of John’s prophecy in this book, begin only with those 3 & 1/2 years.
There is abundant clear evidence that John’s book is cast as an old testament prophecy, and prophecy is “special instructions” for an earthly people going to a physical land, thus the Church could not be the subject of the Book of Revelations, but the preparation and return of (the 144,000) 12 tribes of Israel in a 2nd Exodus, is its proper subject.
By this point, the whole of Christendom would be apostate, and she has become the whore, so is only seem as joining with the Beast in the persecution of the true faithful of Jesus Christ.
And Christendom have very good reasons for doing so.
And This motive of hers then leaves us with several pointed questions which may be quite painful for especially American Christians to address in the light of the present national religious drive of Evangelicals who have used political power in order to advance a quasi-secular (read, physical) Kingdom on this earth.
This would inevitably put the whole of Christendom, led by American Evangelicals, in direct conflict with Israel and the one thing they possess: The throne of David, upon which the 144,000 as the firstfruit will rule a 1000 year theocratic kingdom of God over the whole earth.
It seems unlikely then, that American Christians would be looking any too hard at the prophetic question of Babylon’s true identity, even when little still backward Saudi Arabia hardly fits all of, or any of a precious few of the many details of Babylon profiled in Scripture.
Just want to say, for the purpose of full disclosure, that I am myself an expat American, and one who loves his country America, in case any should even go there, that I am any American basher. I am what America has made me, and for this I am proud to say I am an American through and through!
I think mr. Solamon is so very close to calling the way iys going to happen!!!!!
As you know, some of us disagree with your speculation that “Mystery Babylon” is the Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia.
And in this post I read today, you pointed out the very obvious fact of there being but a single great asset of the Muslim countries, which is a single product: Petroleum.
But how could this one product could be called “the abundance of her delicacies” which the merchants of the earth grew rich from, when it seems to me John went to great lengths of listing a veritable catalogue of 32 types of imported durable goods and products, most of which are sold throughout the United States today.
You also wrote that “The merchants have not become rich by selling to the harlot.”
But this flatly contradicts Rev. 18: 11 which plainly says, “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her (Babylon); for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.”
The Babylon in Revelation is called “The Great one”, so it seem darn right silly to call Little backwater Saudi Arabia “The Great one”. I mean really, have you been to the Middle East Jack? Well, if you’ve seen Qatar, then you know Saudi Arabia utterly pales in comparison to outrageously modernize Qatar, without question.
And, not to mention that its a logical fallacy for you to describe the seducing power of the oil possessed by the harlot, on the one hand, and to then point out that the Arab nations employed “oil as a sword”, on the other hand.
So, which is it: the “wine” or the “Sword” the Muslim countries are currently employing against the West, and to which the citizens of the world’s nations are addicted to: the wine or the Sword?
Because, you can certainly seduce a fairly loose woman with a bottle of wine-or two, but you can hardly use a Sword to force her to become your “lover”: cause that sounds a whole lot more like a case of rape to me, with the rapist holding his victim by the throat with her neck bared to his Sword, IMO.
It seems to me that’s exactly what the oil- rich Muslim countries have been doing to the West with their petroleum reserves: using them as a Sword!
Another thing is with you characterizing this as symbolizing some form of “Addiction”. so following your example and using your logic, then its as if this “wine” make the citizens alcoholics.
We were taught the two hard and fast rules of determining any symbol by our pastor.
1) if anyone conforms symbols, they ought to prove them, as literality needs no such prove, though it admits of it.
2) But absurdity, as the result of literal interpretation, is sufficient proof of symbol.
It is therefore, not absurd for me to point out that drinking too much wine can indeed lead to Alcoholism, or in the case of us taking “wine” symbolically as the intoxicating allurement of spiritual immorality, then it can lead to (whorish) religious Idolatry!
But I don’t think you can prove your characterization by the Scriptures,or show where there is any verse that remotely intimates that petroleum makes people Addicts! There’s not so much even a hint anywhere in those texts that the “wine” does anything more than seduces them!
Living here in Sweden fast-plunging into an unprecedented American-lead cultural decadence of especially homosexual and other shameful and gross forms of deviant immorality, its not hard to see that America is the world’s greatest seducer of the modern nations in every single category you care to name.
Especially to straight-laced Saudi Arabia which is a shining beacon of moral purity by comparison.
Rev 18:3 “nations of the earth” having “drunk the wine” of the passion of her immorality” is showing that on a national level, entire nations share in the judgment that of God’s full winepress of wrath. “kings of the earth” and “merchants of the earth” is simply referring to carnal, worldly people of all classes, from rich to poor. This is describing people who are influenced by Islam and as a result of that influence, sin against God.
(Rev 18:3) “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”
Satan has a counterfeit for much of what God has, including wine. The winepress of God filled with His wrath, while the enemy of God is filled with the wine of spiritual fornication.
The ‘wine’ is a reference to that which fills the ‘cup of intoxicating wrath’. It was not uncommon verbiage in the Old Testament to refer to idolatry and spiritual adultery as wine, as evidenced by (Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, 21–22; 63:6, Jeremiah 25:15, 49:12; Ezek 23:31, Habukuk 2:16, Zechariah 12:2) which results in God’s judgment of wrath. This phrase is repeated in (Rev 18:3) with greater detail.
Just as Babylon intoxicated the surrounding region with its idolatry and spiritual adultery, so Mecca has done likewise. Since its corrupt inception, Islam spread by deception and threat of murder from Mecca to the surrounding regions. No nation in the vicinity of Mecca has been untouched by its unholy venom that literally makes men mad, insane, causing those who drink of it to depart from all reason for the cause of Islam, which is a service to none other than satan himself.
Though there is rampant sexual immorality in Islamic communities (like child marriage and muta marriage…which is nothing more than legalized prostitution), that the ‘woman’ is referred to as a ‘whore’ (harlot, prostitute) and commits ‘adulteries’ is not necessarily referring actual, sexual practices, but instead refers to spiritual adultery and the practice of idolatry.
Other scriptures in the Revelation that pertain to Islam’s ‘wine’ of spiritual adulteries are…
(Rev 17:2), “With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”
(Rev 17:4), “The woman [harlot] was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.”
(Rev 19:2), “for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
“…all the nations….”
Similar to the “all the nations” in Rev 14:8, “all the nations” here is synecdoche, not literally every nation on the entire globe, but a term using the whole to represent a part. Its referring to all the nations in a particular region.
“…the kings of the earth….” The leaders of surrounding nations.
“…have committed adultery WITH her…” (caps emphasis mine). All the nations that surround Mecca have been influenced by Islam, dhimmis of Islam or converted to Islam. Islam’s influence today is worldwide, in that even in non-Muslim countries, laws are being changed to accommodate Islam (Dan 7:25), and political correctness makes it happen without a whisper of dissent. There is no national leader in the vicinity of Mecca that has come out and openly declared that Islam is evil.
“….merchants of the earth….” Those who have benefited from the riches of Arabia and other oil-producing Muslim nations.
…excessive luxuries…” Oil-rich Muslim countries are so rich that many of their citizens do not work at all, yet they have mansions, gold plated cars. The excess is phenomenal and unmatched in places like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and others.
Rev 18:11 is referring to those who once engaged in the trade, which is figurative language for engaging in the same immorality, They are weeping not because they cannot buy and sell physical items, but because judgment has come upon babylon the great, Islam, the great spiritual whore of the ages, the city that is the spiritual antithesis of the city coming out of heaven (the Christian community). Men of all the surrounding nations weep and mourn because as judgment is destroying Islam, the realization of their own soon coming judgment affects their conscience, and they weep. The bible clearly indicates that though they mourn, they do not repent.
(Rev 18:16) saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls;
This is describing the destruction of Islam (the great city), likely through a nuclear attack on Mecca. Japan’s imperial cult of emperor worship and the motivation for conquering the western hemisphere was destroyed after two atomic bombs were dropped, on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I predict nuclear weapons destroying Mecca would easily have the same effect.