"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
The Great Middle East War - Israel turns back to God
Judgment on Israel
These passages show that Israel will greatly suffer in the "Great Middle East War" along with their neighbors. As discussed at the beginning of this study, the prophecies in the first few chapters of Amos found fulfillment in the Assyrian conquest. Parallel wording in other passages suggest the first few chapters of Amos have a dual fulfillment in the "Great Middle East War."
The passage in Amos shows that punishment is coming because Israel has "despised the Law." Interestingly, Daniel speaks of a future punishment on Israel for transgressing the Law:
Daniel 9:11-14 - Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. "As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.
Daniel 9:20-24 - Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy."
God said He would punish Israel under the yoke of Gentile rule for "70 weeks," or 490 years because they transgressed the Law. 483 of those years had passed when Jesus died on the cross. The 490-year time-clock stopped when the Messiah was "cut off," as prophesied by Daniel. The last seven years left on the clock will start when Israel confirms a covenant brokered by the antichrist. I cover this prophecy in Daniel in more detail in the "Olivet Discourse."
As history has shown, most peace covenants come in the aftermath of war or significant conflict. Because the scriptures are clear that God will mete out judgment on both Israel and their neighbors, it is possible that the "Great Middle East War" is the event that leads to the ushering in of that last period of punishment for transgressing of the Law. So while the war will punish Israel like at the time of the Assyrian conquest millennia ago, the "Great Middle East War" could be the event that directly leads to Daniel's 70th week and the final punishment for transgressing of the Law. In other words, the "Great Middle East War" is not part of "Daniel's 70th week," but may lead to the "confirming of the covenant" in Daniel 9:27, restarting the 490-year time-clock.
There are more allegories to the harvest in the passages of Isaiah 17 and Joel 1 above, which describe massive destruction in the war. As discussed in "The Olivet Discourse," Israel could be represented as follows: the fig tree (nation), the vine (spiritual), and the olive tree (salvation). Israel became a nation in 1948, but as mentioned a few sections ago, Ezekiel 37 shows us that Israel as a nation is spiritually dead. Therefore, corporate Israel is not saved, nor do they have the Holy Spirit. To be clear, personal salvation only comes through accepting Jesus as Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile, as Jesus fulfilled the Law and nailed it to the cross:
John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Colossians 2:11-14 - In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
The Jews, as a nation, have rejected their Messiah. However, when they corporately accept Jesus as Messiah at the end of the Tribulation, as described in the passages below, they will all be saved and receive the Holy Spirit:
Zechariah 12:10 - "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."
Romans 11:25-27 - I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
All of Israel being saved will fulfill the prophecy of the "dry bones," when they become spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit breathing into them in Ezekiel 37. As we will see in the next few sections, the "Great Middle East War" is likely the event that initiates the spiritual awakening of Israel.
Israel as a nation will spiritually come together before the Lord during the "Great Middle East War." Restoration of Israel as one nation, like before the days the kingdom was split into Judah and Ephraim, will lead to a complete physical re-gathering of the people:
Ezekiel 37:15-17 - Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.' Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand."
Ezekiel 37:18-19 - "And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, 'Will you not show us what you mean by these?' - say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand."'
Ezekiel 37:20-22 - And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again."'
I mention this prophecy in Ezekiel 37 in this section, because of the context in the previous section about the "dry bones" coming to life, and the spiritual revival that begins to spark after the "Great Middle East War." The Joel and Zephaniah passages above show a gathering of the people of Israel together on a national scale, calling out to God in desperation. A spiritual revival will begin to take place after this devastating war.
The covenant that Israel confirms at the beginning of the Tribulation is later broken by the defiling of a Jewish temple in the "abomination of desolation." Therefore, the covenant should include provisions to build the temple. This would make sense, because Israel begins a spiritual revival in the aftermath of the "Great Middle East War." This supports the notion that this war will lead to the confirming of the covenant and the beginning of "Daniel's 70th week."
One reason there hasn't been a push to build a temple since Israel took control of the Temple Mount back in the Six-Day War of 1967, is because the Jewish people are largely secular and as a nation do not want to build a temple. That desire may change after the "Great Middle East War." The war is a "wake-up" call from God because Israel will look to God to deliver them. In addition, we see in the Old Testament that God turns back to His people after they reach out to Him:
Zechariah 1:3 - Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts.'
A study on dispensations shows that God will return to Israel during "Daniel's 70th week." God may use the "Great Middle East War" as an instrument to turn Israel back to Him, before He turns back to them at the beginning of the Tribulation.
As a point of interest, the chapter before the prophecy of the "dry bones" in Ezekiel 36 describes the condition the land would be when the Jewish people return from global exile. As shown below, Israel would return to a desolate land, but then make it bloom like the Garden of Eden:
Ezekiel 36:8-11 - "But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD."
Ezekiel 36:12-15 - "Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children." 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because they say to you, 'You devour men and bereave your nation of children,' therefore you shall devour men no more, nor bereave your nation anymore," says the Lord GOD. "Nor will I let you hear the taunts of the nations anymore, nor bear the reproach of the peoples anymore, nor shall you cause your nation to stumble anymore," says the Lord GOD.'"
Ezekiel 36:16-21 - Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity. Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name - when they said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.' But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went."
Ezekiel 36:22-27 - "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."'
Ezekiel 36:28-32 - "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. Not for your sake do I do this," says the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!"
Ezekiel 36:33-38 - 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it." 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the LORD."'"
Today the desert is blooming after being desolate for centuries. These prophecies about the land have seen fulfillment during our generation. Since this all happened in the span of one generation, it is not out of the question that the prophecies surrounding this passage will also be fulfilled within that same generation.
God to the rescue!
The "day of the Lord" against all nations, will be "at hand," and it will be "near" at the time of the "Great Middle East War." In other words, the time this war occurs will be close to the "day of the Lord," or near the beginning of the Tribulation, but that "day" will not have officially started yet. While we don't know what year the Tribulation will start or the "Great Middle East War" will occur, the wording about the harvest in the parallel passages mentioned a few sections back may suggest that the war will occur during the time that the crops are ready to harvest; late summer to fall.
The following passage in Jeremiah shows that God will turn back to Israel during a period of judgment. Judgment on both Israel and their neighbors in the "Great Middle East War" might be the pivotal event that leads to "the day of the Lord":
Jeremiah 30:18-20 - "Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; the city shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall remain according to its own plan. Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as before, and their congregation shall be established before Me; and I will punish all who oppress them.'"
Jeremiah 30:21-24 - "Their nobles shall be from among them, and their governor shall come from their midst; then I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach Me; for who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?' says the LORD. 'You shall be My people, and I will be your God.'" Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.
As we continue on, take note of the highlighted wording here in Jeremiah and how it parallels the passages in the next section.
The passage in Jeremiah 30 from the previous section describes God's fury as a whirlwind. Nearly every parallel passage in this section shows that God is going to come against Israel's enemies "like chaff before the wind," or a "whirlwind," in anger and fury. Zechariah says that "God will save them [Israel] in that day." Jeremiah says that God will make the enemy "run away from her [Israel]." Isaiah says that the enemy "will flee far away."
A destructive form of a whirlwind is a tornado. A tornado destroys everything in its path and blows the debris far away, which is the picture that Jeremiah and Isaiah give here. The blast of nuclear weapons also destroys everything its path like that of a tornado. Israel may suffer horribly in the "Great Middle East War," but they will miraculously survive yet another war because God will help destroy and push out their enemies with a whirlwind, which might show the use of nuclear weapons.
When God rescues Israel, Isaiah says that the nations will "rush like the rushing of many waters," and "make a noise like the roar of the seas." In other words, Israel's neighbors will come "rushing" against her to annihilate her. But God will bring victory to Israel, which causes uproar from the nations. Think for a moment, how the already hostile world toward Israel would react when they defeat their neighbors, in what many presume will be a nuclear exchange. I believe Isaiah appropriately describes the inevitable; that the nations' reaction will be like the "roar of the seas."
In addition to the likelihood that the "Great Middle East War" will lead to the beginning of "Daniel's 70th week," there are parallels in other scriptures that may suggest that the rapture of the Church occurs in close-proximity to the war:
Psalm 83:1-5 (King James Version) - Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.
In Psalm 83, "thy people" is Israel. The following passages support the Church being the "hidden ones," as they describe God's people being "hidden" during the indignation, which is the Tribulation:
Psalm 27:5 - For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
Isaiah 26:19-21 - Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.
Zephaniah 2:3 - Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. it may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD's anger.
Interestingly, Psalm 83:3 suggests that Israel's neighbors will come against God, that is, they will make a "crafty counsel" against His people and His "hidden ones." It appears that the "Great Middle East War" starts because the opportunity to attack arises for Israel's enemies in the aftermath of the resurrection and rapture of the Church. Click here to read more parallels that support the rapture occurring near the "Great Middle East War."
In fact, the rapture could be the catalyst that gives the "crafty counsel" of Arabs the motive and freedom to come against Israel. These Muslim nations may see this supernatural event as a sign from Allah. After the rapture of the Church, the rest of the world will be in chaos after millions of people disappear from the face of the earth. In other words, many nations, namely Israel's allies, will likely be wrapped up in internal affairs after the rapture of the Church, which would prevent them from coming to Israel's aid. I discuss in detail the possible progression of these events in the study: "Putting the Prophetic Puzzle Pieces Together."
The curse-for-curse clause in Genesis 12:3 seems to fit with these passages: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you." Israel's surrounding neighbors constantly spout off arrogant threats to annihilate them and take the land for themselves. Instead, God will come to the rescue and put these nations to shame by giving much of their land to Israel, to whom it rightfully belongs anyway.
Hamath and Arpad, mentioned here in Jeremiah, were gods worshiped by people in and around Damascus centuries ago, as discussed earlier. As we will see in a few sections, God will put to shame all other gods by "reducing them to nothing," as the prophet Zephaniah puts it. Some of this plunder will be land that the enemy occupies today; Israel's borders will expand to engulf much of the real estate of their current neighbors.
The passage above in Isaiah 17 shows us how long the war will last. The war will begin in the evening hours and end before morning. As discussed in the next section, the possible use of nuclear weapons could be the reason the war is short-lived.
The use of fire is a theme found throughout the "Great Middle East War." I have not included the Amos passages here again, though the prophet said that every nation would be judged with fire. The devastation described is reminiscent of the destruction on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II.
As mentioned several times, the scale of devastation in this war has led many to believe that Israel will use nuclear weapons. The massive loss of life on Israel's side in the war supports the idea that the threat to Israel's existence will come to the point that they will have no choice but to unleash what is known as the "Samson Option," where Israel would take down their enemies with massive retaliation in the form of nuclear warfare.
Because Israel's enemies listed in this war do not have known nuclear weapons, it is likely that the massive loss of life on Israel's part may come in the form of chemical weapons. That being said, there is some structural damage mentioned in Amos 2 to Jerusalem's "palaces," which could be targeted government buildings or official's residences with the use of conventional weapons.
God is judges Israel's neighbors in the "Great Middle East War," but as the Obadiah passage shows, Israel will be God's weapon. As a recap, Israel's immediate neighbors will form a confederacy against her. Because Israel has despised God and His Law, God will initially use their neighbors to judge them. This will result in Israel crying out to God. God will hear their prayer and then use Israel to judge the nations that hate them.
The passage above in Jeremiah shows that after the war Israel will take possession of their inheritance promised to Abraham, only ever realized under the rule of David and Solomon. We will discuss Israel's land expansion more in a moment.
I believe that the "Gog and Magog War" will take place shortly after the "Great Middle East War." Incidentally, we see that Israel will use nuclear decontamination methods to clean up after the "Gog and Magog War":
Ezekiel 39:12-16 - "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified," says the Lord GOD. "They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land."
Will Israel follow decontamination methods because of the fire and brimstone poured out by God in the "Gog and Magog War?" Or will Israel use this method of cleanup because a nuclear war had just taken place in the region previous to the "Gog and Magog" invasion? It is possible that Israel will not have time to clean up after the "Great Middle East War" before Gog and company come in for the kill.
These passages show that God uses Israel as His weapon to judge their neighbors. In Zechariah 10, God turns back to Israel again and re-gathers them to the promised land. As mentioned earlier, our generation has been a witness to this re-gathering since Israel became a nation. The passage in Zechariah shows that the Jews will return en mass back to the Holy Land after the "Great Middle East War."
The world's reaction after the war is like the "roar of the seas." This may suggest an increase in anti-Semitism after the "Great Middle East War," which could play a part in sending the Jews back to their homeland. The return of the Jews from global exile is so great that God said it is greater than the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea:
Isaiah 51:10-11 - Are You not the One who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over? So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Recall from the prophecy of the "dry bones" in Ezekiel 37, that God has resurrected the nation Israel. They will begin a spiritual revival in the "Great Middle East War." However, Israel will not receive the Spirit of the Lord until the end of the Tribulation, when they corporately accept Jesus as Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).
The prophecy about the "dry bones" shows Israel will be known for their "exceedingly great army." Israel's military today could be described in these terms. As shown earlier, God will use this great army to judge Israel's neighbors. The prophecies in Ezekiel 25-28 against Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, and Tyre were all fulfilled in history during the Babylonian conquest. However, at the end of these fulfilled prophecies there is a future prophecy that reaches out to a time when God will judge all of Israel's neighboring enemies:
Ezekiel 28:25-26 - Thus says the Lord GOD: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God."
After the "Great Middle East War," when God judges Israel's neighbors, the Jewish people will feel secure for the first time since their return from exile, as shown in the passage above. Incidentally, Israel "dwelling securely" is a prerequisite condition before the "Gog and Magog War" (Ezekiel 38-39). The Hebrew word "betach," translated as "dwelling securely," is found in both passages of Ezekiel. "Betach" literally means to have confidence and trust. In other words, Israel may feel secure, but may not actually be secure after God judges their neighbors.
Israel's confidence and sense of security could stem from a confirmed peace covenant that follows the "Great Middle East War," which leaves most of Israel's enemies defeated. The following passages support this notion:
Isaiah 28:14 - ...hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves."
Isaiah 28:18,22 - Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overflowing scourge passes through, then you will be trampled down by it.... Now therefore, do not be mockers, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts, a destruction determined even upon the whole earth.
Isaiah 26-29 are about God judging Israel and the "whole earth," which places these chapters in the Tribulation period. It appears that Israel makes the "covenant with death" because they mistakenly believe it will make them secure by becoming a refuge for them. The problem is that Israel will not seek security in God, even though God will come to their rescue when they cry out to Him during the "Great Middle East War." Therefore, the covenant Israel confirms with the antichrist will lead to death.
The confirming of the covenant will mark the beginning of the Tribulation, or more precisely, "Daniel's 70th week" (Daniel 9:27), as discussed in the "Gog and Magog War" and "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" studies.
These passages show how much land Israel will gain after the "Great Middle East War."
Jeremiah tells us that Israel will take the area of Gad, which lies in current day Jordan. Obadiah shows us that the land expansion will extend to the mountains of Esau (in Edom, or southern Jordan), Philistia (the Gaza Strip), Ephraim and Samaria (the West Bank), Gilead (mountains east of the Jordan River), Zarephath (a city between Tyre and Sidon in Lebanon), and the cities of the South (the Negev). Zephaniah shows that the Mediterranean coast (from the Gaza Strip north and including Lebanon to the Euphrates River) will belong to Judah. Zechariah shows that Israel will take the land of Gilead (mountains east of the Jordan) and Lebanon.
As an interesting side note, Obadiah shows that the Jewish exiles from Sepharad will possess the cities of the South, which is in the Negev. Sepharad is another name for Spain. In other words, after the "Great Middle East War," it seems that circumstances will encourage Spanish Jews to immigrate to Israel, and live in cities in the Negev.
A few important points to make here:
The land that Israel gains in the "Great Middle East War" is the same area of land that God promised to Abraham. Though God promised the area of Lebanon to Abraham, it was not taken by Israel in the Old Testament conquests. Lebanon was among the nations God used in the Old Testament to test Israel (Judges 3:1-4). Later Lebanon was an ally during the reigns of David and Solomon.
Other than the area of Lebanon, the rest of the land that Israel takes in the "Great Middle East War" was part of Israel's kingdom under the reign of David and Solomon:
Genesis 15:18-21 - "On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates - the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."
Deuteronomy 11:24 - Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.
Israel will take Lebanon as spoil in the "Great Middle East War" (Obadiah 19-21); though it is already rightfully theirs, as promised to Abraham and his descendants:
Ezekiel 47:13-17 - Thus says the Lord GOD: "These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions. You shall inherit it equally with one another; for I raised My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance. This shall be the border of the land on the north: from the Great Sea, by the road to Hethlon, as one goes to Zedad, Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim (which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath), to Hazar Hatticon (which is on the border of Hauran). Thus the boundary shall be from the Sea to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus; and as for the north, northward, it is the border of Hamath. This is the north side."
Ezekiel 47:18-21 - "On the east side you shall mark out the border from between Hauran and Damascus, and between Gilead and the land of Israel, along the Jordan, and along the eastern side of the sea. This is the east side. The south side, toward the South, shall be from Tamar to the waters of Meribah by Kadesh, along the brook to the Great Sea. This is the south side, toward the South. The west side shall be the Great Sea, from the southern boundary until one comes to a point opposite Hamath. This is the west side.Thus you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel."
Based on land expansion described after the war, the Abrahamic land covenant could be the covenant in Daniel 9. This supports the notion that the "Great Middle East War" is the event that will lead to the beginning of "Daniel's 70th week."
The land east of the Jordan River will be part of Israel before the "Gog and Magog War." As shown in the passage below, the burial site for Gog and his defeated armies is in Israel, but east of the Dead Sea:
Ezekiel 39:11 - "It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea [Dead Sea]; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog."
The map pictured to the left shows possible borders of Israel after the "Great Middle East War," based on the passages in this section. If you compare this map to those of the millennial land grant and the greatest extend of the kingdom under David and Solomon, you will notice that it is slightly larger. While the eastern extent of the millennial land grant is not really known, the area of Jordan will become a "perpetual waste" (Ezekiel 35, Zephaniah 2:9). Therefore, even though Jordan will be under Israeli sovereignty during the Tribulation, no one will live there during the Millennium, hence the difference in borders in the suggested maps.
Sovereignty over the captives
The passages above describe the people left from the nations that come against Israel in the "Great Middle East War." These captives will live in Kir in Moab, or western Jordan, and to the west in cities in Gaza. They will be under Israel's sovereignty because of the land expansion described in the previous section.
There is encouraging news in the Zechariah passage, as we find that the captives accept the God of Israel after the "Great Middle East War." Since the captives will serve God, it is likely that they will live under Israel's sovereignty willingly and peacefully in the designated areas listed in these passages.
In Psalm 83, the coalition against Israel is fairly clear-cut. The members of the confederacy are Jordan, the West Bank, Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria. However, in the parallel passages above, we find a few countries that are not listed as aggressors in the war.
Ethiopians, or the Cushites, are largely in present day Sudan, but may include present day Ethiopia too. They are not listed in the Psalm 83 coalition, but in the "Gog and Magog" coalition. It is possible that even though they are not aggressors in the war, there could be collateral damage that extends as far as Sudan or Ethiopia. This might explain their presence in the Gog and Magog coalition; Sudan might be out for revenge.
While it is true that the Assyrians ruled over Babylon before the Babylonian empire rose, the heart of the Assyrian empire covered northern Syria and western Iraq. This is important to note, because Assyria is in the Psalm 83 confederacy. I do not believe Iraq as a nation will be an aggressor in that conflict. Iraq is better represented by the heart of the ancient area of Babylon, which is not in view in the parallel passages to Psalm 83. However, the area of Mosul is in western Iraq and is the same area of ancient Nineveh which gets destroyed according to Zephaniah.
In recent history, the Kurds have occupied the ancient area of Nineveh. The Kurds have continuously struggled with both Turkey and the rest of Iraq. There have even been proposals made to allow the Kurds to break away and be their own country. If this occurs before the "Great Middle East War," I wouldn't rule out their direct involvement in the Psalm 83 coalition, as politically they could be considered the heart of ancient Assyria along with northern Syria.
Another possibility is that rebels aligned with the other Psalm 83 aggressors take over the western part of Iraq before the "Great Middle East War." Interestingly, the terrorist group ISIS has laid claim to most of the territory of ancient Assyria as a result of the civil war in Syria that started in 2011, and the insurgency of western Iraq in the summer of 2014. Note that Babylon is not mentioned in the Psalm 83 confederacy. So if the Iraq insurgency is prophetic, the rebels will not take eastern Iraq. In fact, the goal of ISIS is not to take southern Iraq, but extend their territory south through Lebanon and Israel to form the "Levant." Incidentally, this is roughly the same real estate Israel conquers in the "Great Middle East War." The apparent reshaping of the Middle East suggests that God might be using these conflicts to return the boundaries to their ancient lines before the next prophetic war. If this is the case, Nineveh's destruction is not collateral damage, but a target of war.
While Egypt is not listed as an aggressor in Psalm 83, the passage above in Zechariah shows that God will judge the leadership of Egypt at the same time as Assyria. While this passage reaches out to the Millennium, when both countries follow the God of Israel, it is possible that Egypt gets drawn into the Psalm 83 conflict due to collateral damage extending to their region.
At some point before the "Gog and Magog War," Israel will need to neutralize their enemies in order for them to "feel safe," as discussed a few sections back. The following passage suggests that Israel will "feel safe" when God executes judgment on all of their neighbors. If Egypt gets drawn into the conflict, then this prophecy about all of Israel's bordering nations could be fulfilled in the "Great Middle East War":
Isaiah 28:25-26 - "'Thus says the Lord GOD: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God."'"
Judgment on Egypt involves the Nile River. Here is another unfulfilled passage about the Nile:
Isaiah 11:11-12 - It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isaiah 11:13-15 - Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; together they shall plunder the people of the East; they shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab; and the people of Ammon shall obey them. The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; with His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, and strike it in the seven streams, and make men cross over dryshod.
We see that Ephraim and Judah would be reconciled again as one nation, when the people of Israel return a second time from exile, as prophesied in Ezekiel 37, being fulfilled in our generation. The Isaiah passage also includes an unfulfilled prophecy, where Israel will defeat the people in Philistia (the Gaza Strip), Edom (southern Jordan), Moab (central Jordan), and Ammon (northern Jordan); all members of the "Great Middle East War."
The passage in Isaiah goes on to describe a battle toward the south. As Israel is coming against the people in the west (Palestinians in Gaza?), God will destroy the tongue of the Nile Delta with His mighty wind, or whirlwind. But God said that He will use Israel to judge the nations around them. Perhaps the mighty wind will be a nuclear blast set off close to the Nile Delta, as discussed a few sections back. (For more on Egypt in light of current events, click here).
If there is an existential threat to Israel, there is no doubt that they will unload all they have on their enemies. This strategy is known as the "Samson Option," named after the biblical account in the book of Judges, where Samson knocked down the pillars in a Philistine pagan temple, killing himself and all his enemies. You can imagine in a dire situation like this, that in the chaos it would be difficult to figure out who exactly the aggressors are and who to target. Israel may unleash on everyone they consider an enemy. This could be why Egypt and Sudan suffer collateral damage, even though they are not listed as aggressors in the war.
The graphic below shows the possible borders after the "Great Middle East War." It shows the three kingdoms mentioned in Daniel 11 that are present during the Tribulation and the land acquired by Israel in the "Great Middle East War":
Man will look to his Maker
In conclusion, we will end on a sobering but positive note. The "Great Middle East War" will be a spiritual turning point for not only Israel, but for humanity. In Zephaniah, we see that God "will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth." Many people will come to worship the God of Israel after the war.
Israel will defeat all of their immediate Muslim neighbors. God will put the rest of the Muslim nations to shame, as described in Psalm 83. Though many will come to accept the God of Israel, the remaining Muslim nations in the Middle East appear to try to save-face and come against Israel, being lead by Russia in the "Gog and Magog War." Israel will be left defenseless after the "Great Middle East War," especially if they end up using most of their weaponry, or surrender it in a peace treaty. God will come to Israel's rescue again and supernaturally defeat Gog's massive army, making Himself known to all the nations:
Ezekiel 39:7 - So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
There will be no more Allah, or any god left standing after the war in Ezekiel. Neither will there be atheism after this supernatural war. Still, many will reject God and follow after the revived Babylonian religion, and later the antichrist. They will die in the Tribulation judgments and be lost eternally. The good news, however, is that a multitude will accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, after the Lord shows Himself to the world in the "Great Middle East" and "Gog and Magog" wars:
Revelation 7:9-10 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
To read all the passages in the "Great Middle East War" in context, continue to the next page.
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