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. [↩]