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During the past few weeks it has become evident that the powers south of Israel are undergoing a metamorphosis, and aligning themselves with the biblical script that is laid out in Prophets.
The Southern Confederacy as Described by the Prophets
Zechariah describes the scene as two mountains of brass, (the biblical representation of flesh,) having developed in the region surrounding Israel,
between which the cherubic chariots roar through when the March of the Rainbowed angel commences:
“And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.” (Zechariah 6:1)
Ezekiel describes these two mountains of brass in terms of the Gogian confederacy to the north and a southern conglomerate in alliance with the Merchants of Tarshish who protest Gog’s invasion of the land:
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)
Daniel describes the mountains of brass as a king of the North and a King of the South who provokes the King of the North, drawing him into the land:
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40)
Later he identifies some of the players holding out to the south when the King of the North invades the land:
“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” (Daniel 11:41)
So the southern confederacy is a mercantile alliance under the influence of the king of the south, containing Sheba, Dedan, Edom, Moab, and Ammon. We have explored at length the Merchants of Tarshish and the young lions, which equate to Britain (the mother lion) and its former colonial territories, now independent young lions, including in their ranks America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.
John Thomas, when writing Elpis Israel in 1848, during the days of the Ottoman Turkish Empire looked for developments that would see this group coming together under the influence of Britain:
But what is the lion-power of which Ezekiel speaks? To ascertain this we must direct our attention to the countries named in connection with “the young lions”. Of these, Sheba and Dedan are districts of Arabia. The men of Dedan are in the list given by Ezekiel of the traders in the Tyrian fairs. The Dedanim carried thither the ivory and ebony which they procured from “the many isles” to the eastward, and “precious clothes for chariots”. Sheba carried the “chief of all spices, precious stones, and gold”. Dedan and Sheba were those parts of Arabia which lay convenient to the ivory, gold, precious stones, and spice countries of Africa and India. The Sultan of Muscat now rules the country of Dedan; while the British have planted their standard on the soil of Sheba, at Aden, the Gibraltar of the Red Sea, and key of Egypt.… The British power is the lion-power of Sheba. (John Thomas, 1848, Elpis Israel, pp467)
John Thomas correctly predicted the demise of the Ottomon Turk Empire, and the occupation of the region by Britain, which occurred 70 years after he wrote, and 100 years ago from our time in December 1917. This gave room for the rebirth of the State of Israel, a preparatory move for the coming kingdom of God, described in the book of Revelation as the drying up of the River Euphrates:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might (sun’s rising) be prepared.” (Revelation 16:12)
Preparing for the Final Stage
However, once the nation of Israel was established in the land in 1948, Britain lost its direct influence in the region. The mantle was passed over to America who would be the protecting Lion for a period of time. Britain re-introduced herself to the region, alongside her grown up whelp when the Gulf Wars begin in 1991, and has been there along with Canada, New Zealand, Australia and others since this time to varying degrees. A conglomeration of nations rushed to the aid of Kuwait under President George Bush, and then again after 911 they invaded Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq to protect the Gulf states, and consequently Israel from the aggression of Saddam Hussein. After a vacuum was created in Iraq, a new group ISIS or DAESH was formed in the region and violence spilled over into other countries such as Syria, bringing Russia into the region during Obama’s impotent stint as president.
The whole arena has been undergoing terrific turmoil since the British departure as the protector over the region. It is worth taking a couple of minutes to consider the background of the players:
Egypt was a British protectorate until it gained independence in 1936, remaining a monarchy until 1953 when Gamal Abdul Nassar took over during a military coup. His efforts to destroy Israel were routed during the Six Day War in 1967, but remained in power until his death in 1970 when Anwar Sadat took over. Sadat tried to destroy Israel in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, but was defeated and began the peace process with under President Carter, and with Menachem Begin. He was assassinated in 1981, after which Hosni Mubarak took over and ruled until the Arab Spring protests when he was deposed in 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood under President Morsi ruled until the military overthrew it in 2013 and installed al-Sisi as President.
To the east of Israel is the nation of Jordan, which became an independent Arab state in 1946 as part of the partition of the region by the UN. Its ruler was King Abdullah, who had fought with Lawrence of Arabia to oust the Turks. He was assassinated by Palestinians terrorists in 1951. His son King Hussein took over, and ruled during the 1967 Six Day War when Jordan was defeated and lost the West Bank Territory, and during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He signed a peace with Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. He died in 1999 and his son Abdullah took the throne.
Saudi Arabia became independent from the Ottoman Empire over a period of time from 1913 through 1925 when Mecca and Medina were incorporated into the territory. It was in 1932 the areas controlled by the differetn tribal kings were unified under the name Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Abd-al-Aziz was proclaimed King. The nation is ruled by the Saud family since that time. In 1938 oil was discovered in the region making Saudi Arabia the wealthiest state in the region. Recently, in 2015 Saudi Arabia launches air attacks on the Houthi rebels in Yemen, citing Iranian interference in the region. In 2017, Saudi Arabia isolates Qatar in an attempt to have it cut ties with terror organizations. In June of 2017 King Salman names his son Mohammed bin Salman first in line to the throne, and Mohammed begins a purge of the kingdom to consolidate his power.
To the southeast of Israel is the kingdom of Kuwait which gained independence from Britain in 1961. It is rule by an Emir. In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it. The Emir and government fled to Saudi Arabia. In 1991 the Gulf war saw the Emir restored to power in Kuwait. In 2003, Kuwait was used as a base for the Second Gulf War lead by America. The Kuwaiti Emir survived the Arab Spring, during a very rocky political period. Recently, Kuwait joined Saudi Arabia in air strikes on the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
To the far south of Israel, occupying the ancient area of Sheba is Yemen. It gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1918. In 1962 the royal family was overthrown and the army sets up the Yemen Arab Republic beginning a civil war where the royalists were supported by the Saudi’s and the Republicans were supported by the Egyptians. South Yemen gained independence from the North in 1967 when the People’s Republic of Yemen was formed, but Marxists took over in 1969, putting Yemen into the influence of the Soviet bloc. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yemen reunited in 1990, although several groups have tried to establish an independent Yemen in the south. The 2011 Arab Spring dramatically affected Yemen and the president resigned. In 2014 the Houthi rebels took control of the North and a new civil war began in earnest. The Houthi’s are named after their founder and are predominantly Shia Muslims, and are backed by Iran, and are violently anti-west and anti-Israel. The Houthi’s are considered terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Australia.
These are the nations that form the “Edom, Moab Ammon, Sheba and Dedan” contingent at the time of the end. They have been created in dried out waddies of the Ottoman empire. They have been through much turmoil during their development. What is very interesting is that three of them are still ruled by kings. They are “kings of the south” under the influence of merchants of Tarshish, also united under a monarch, with the exception of its eldest son, America. Now we see them coming into the roles described by the prophets of the Bible.
Tarshish influence over the Southern Region
Writing before the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, John Thomas stated the following:
“…the lion-power of Britain has not yet attained the limit marked out for it by the finger of God. The conquest of Persia by the Autocrat will doubtless cause England to conquer Afghanistan, and to seize upon Dedan that she may command the entrance to the Persian gulf, and so prevent him from obtaining access to India either by land or sea. Possessing Persia and Mesopotamia, the apprehension of his pushing still further southward, and perhaps establishing himself on the north-eastern coast of the Red Sea, and so taking them in the rear and gaining access to India by the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, will also be a powerful motive for the merchants of Tarshish and its young lions to take possession of all the coast from the Gulf of Persia to the Straits, and thence to Suez, by which the lion-power will not only become the Sheba and Dedan, but also the Edom, Moab, and Ammon, of “the latter days”; for in speaking of the events of these days, the prophets refer not to races of men, but to powers on territories designated by the names of the people who anciently inhabited them… Thus, the prophecies concerning those countries in their latter-day developments have regard to the power to which they then belong, and which, I have no doubt, will be the British; which, together with the Autocrat’s, though henceforth always rival dominions, will endure until both powers be broken up by the Ancient of Days. (John Thomas, 1848, Elpis Israel, pp469)
This is fascinating. Although not directly ruling these areas, the Western influence has come for the exact reason as directed. Russia has gained hegemony control over Iran, Syria, and Iraq. The Western Tarshish nations have shored up their influence in the south “along the coasts of the Gulf of the Persia to the straits, and thence to Suez” – exactly the area John Thomas described.
A Pushy Saudi Arabia
During his Presidency, Barak Obama reduced American influence in the Middle East significantly. His impotence with both Syria and Iran caused great consternation amongst Western allies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who fear Iranian influence in the area. Egypt has been battling the fundamentalist Muslims in Sinai, after overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia have been engaged in a war with the Iranian backed Houthis in North-Eastern Yemen on the Saudi’s southern border.
The Christian Science Monitor ran an article under the headline, “Is this the Saudi Arabia we wanted?”
“US policymakers had long sought a more assertive Saudi Arabia. But there’s a growing concern outside the White House about the ambitious and untested Saudi crown prince, who is increasingly confronting Iran.
From the outset of his presidency, Donald Trump has signaled his intention to refashion Middle East policy in a big way – and to return Saudi Arabia, sidelined in President Obama’s regional vision, to a preeminent spot in US policy.
Mr. Trump broke decades of presidential precedent by making Saudi Arabia the first foreign destination of his presidency. He has seemed to issue, through speeches and tweets, an American carte blanche to Saudi actions: both in the region – as the Saudis have ramped up efforts to counter Iran’s rise – and domestically….
The result of Obama’s step back, and then Trump’s “blank check” are being seen:
“Trump’s unquestioning support and evident encouragement have unleashed the Saudis to do things we’ve long hoped for, namely to assert themselves in the region and to take on more of their own security,” says Aaron David Miller, vice president for new initiatives and Middle East Program director at the Wilson Center in Washington.
This is in keeping with picture painted in the scriptures where the southern host is force which offers protest, albeit without effect, when Russia invades. Saudi Arabia is leaving the lame-duck status and becoming a force in the region, countering Iran.
However, the article went on to lay out concern some lawmakers have:
“But now that the president has emboldened the prince to launch into these actions, what you’re hearing increasingly is remorse about what we’ve wished for,” he adds. “No one knows where all this is heading, but it’s pretty clear that not all the potential outcomes are in our interest.”
Clearly the White House, with the president in the lead, is delighted with the Saudis’ new assertiveness, particularly when it comes to efforts at countering Iran. But that unvarnished enthusiasm does not extend to either the State Department or the Pentagon, where support for Saudi actions is tinged with concerns about where what some see as adventurism could lead – and what any resulting instability could cost the US.
The problem? The Saudis are pushing back at Iran, Syria, Lebanon and by extension Russia. They are sliding into the mold of the king of the south conglomerate who have been pushing at the norther powers since the Ottomans ruled the Middle East.
Lebanon’s PM resigns over Iranian interference in Government.
The other area involving Saudi Arabia is Lebanon. The same Christian Science Monitor article stated:
Only days after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri appeared suddenly in Riyadh and went on Saudi television to announce his resignation, reading a statement that accused Iran of meddling in Arab politics – Tillerson included Saudi Arabia in a stark warning to regional actors not to undertake actions that could threaten the stability of Lebanon.
“The United States cautions against any party … using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country,” Tillerson said in a Nov. 10 statement. State Department officials later confirmed that the secretary indeed included Saudi Arabia in his warning.
The State Department has often been at variance with the President on policy. The State Department attempted to stop the recognition of Israel by the US Ambassador to the UN until President Truman called him directly and ordered him to do so. However, under Trump, things are changing, as the article pointed out:
“Sure, the secretary of State has made a point to communicate his differences with some of what the Saudis are doing, but the real question is, so what?” says Mr. Miller, who has served as a Middle East policy adviser in both Republican and Democratic administrations. “Does it really matter what Rex Tillerson says or does while the president and his son-in-law continue to demonstrate that they are all in with the king and MBS, both in terms of their anti-Iranian initiatives and their role in a grand peace plan?” he says.
“Maybe in the old days of US foreign policy, what the secretary of State said and did mattered,” he adds, “but this is the new days.”
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu commented on Harir’s resignation in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr on November 5th, where he spoke of Harrari:
Resigning. He said, basically, that’s because Hezbollah took over, which means Iran took over, and I think this is a wake-up call for everyone. It says what the Middle East is really experiencing. It’s experiencing the attempt of Iran to conquer the Middle East, to dominate it and subjugate it. And I think when Israelis and Arabs – and it is all the Arabs and the Israelis – agree on one thing, people should pay attention. We should stop this Iranian takeover, for your interests…
Common Arab Enemies
What has been a uniting influence for some of the key Arab states has been the actions of Iran. The same article continues:
Mr. Miller underscores the reality that Saudi Arabia… confronts an increasingly worrisome security environment outside its borders.
Among those legitimate security concerns, he adds, none surpasses the challenge of Iran’s expanding regional influence, and in particular its evident success at fashioning Hezbollah into a formidable regional proxy.
Pointing to a rocket attack this month on Riyadh’s airport that the Saudis claim was carried out by Iran- and Hezbollah-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen, Miller says the establishment of a ballistic missile capability on Saudi Arabia’s border would be an ominous destabilizing factor in the region.
“It appears the Iranians are trying to turn Yemen’s Houthis into the equivalent of what Hezbollah represents on Israel’s border,” Miller says. “Of course the Saudis want to figure out some way to prevent that from happening.”
Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia also sees Iran’s involvement in Lebanon as a declaration of war:
Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon on Monday of declaring war against it because of aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah, a dramatic escalation of a crisis threatening to destabilize the tiny Arab country.
Lebanon has been thrust to the center of regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech.
Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah.
Israel and Saudi Arabia Developing Ties
This week also saw revelations of greater military and intelligence ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, battling a common enemy, Iran, through its proxies of Hezbollah.
During his speech at the Balfour Centenary dinner in the UK where he spoke after British Prime Minister Teresa May, Netanyahu stated the following:
There is good news. Along side Egypt and Jordan, with whom we have already made peace, others in the Arab region are moving forward. They recognize that Israel is not their enemy, but their indispensable ally in fighting militant Islam. They view Israel as their partner for ensuring a peace, and a future, and security, and prosperity. It is time that the Palestinians will embrace this approach too. And if they do, they will find in Israel, and in me, an enthusiastic partner for building a peaceful and prosperous future for both our peoples. It is within our reach. I think it is getting closer. No you doubt it. Your don’t really believe what I say, but you don’t know everything that I know. And I’m not going to reveal it now.
Many others around the world already recognize the benefits of peace and security and prosperity by cooperating with Israel. They seek to benefit from our intelligence prowess in fighting terrorism, and our innovating technology in building their economies. People are always amazed at that, but you know you’d think that would be obvious, that if we liberated our economy, which we did, this is what happens. We untethered the genius and enterprise of our people to become a rising power in the world stage.
Is the growing alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel what he was hinting at? We wait to see, but there may be hints…
CNBC published an article entitled, “Growing ties between Saudis and Israelis could be an ominous sign,” where it reported:
The winds of war in the Middle East, specifically pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia, are turning into a full-blown sandstorm. And the latest evidence of this comes from a surprising source: An interview in a Saudi newspaper.
No, a relatively short interview in an Arabic-language paper in Riyadh isn’t usually a big deal. But it is when that interview is with the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot.
The interview alone is big news, as it’s the first of its kind with an Israeli military official in the Saudi press. But it’s what Eisenkot said in the interview that really made history and made it clearer than ever that Saudi Arabia and Iran are marching ever closer to a direct confrontation.
During the interview, General Gadi stated:
“With President Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat.”
“We are ready to share intelligence, (with Saudi Arabia), if necessary. There are many common interests between us.”
“Iran seeks to take control of the Middle East, creating a Shi’ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran, and then from the Gulf to the Red Sea. We must prevent this from happening.”
The article continued:
The creation of once non-existent ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel has been widely reported, but never publicly confirmed by either government, ever since the Iran nuclear deal was signed by the U.S. and other key Western nations… Neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia has yet confirmed widespread reports in the Middle Eastern media that new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman secretly visited Israel in September.
General Eisenkot’s very public interview in a government sanctioned newspaper is a relatively massive public admission of allegiance between former sworn enemies…..
In Saudi Arabia, one would expect the religious extremists to put up a fight for this new alliance, except, that while all this is going on the Crown Prince has been conducting a crackdown on extremists and a purge as the article states:
Crown Prince bin Salman apparently isn’t giving any quarter to the extremist old guard. In addition to plowing ahead in his hawkish stance against Iran, he’s also cracking down on extremist clerics in the kingdom in a way no Saudi leader has ever even tried. At the same time, the prince has been promoting clerics who speak of tolerance for Judaism and Christianity.
The article points out the connection between all these events:
There is a method and a correlation to all of this. Bin Salman clearly understands that to fight Iran effectively and earn the crucial support he needs from the U.S. and Israel, he must present the world with a clear difference in culture and intentions than Iran. If the Saudis continue to abandon the long-running race to lead the world in Islamic extremist and violent piety and show a willingness to recognize and respect Israel, that will be a stark enough difference for anyone to notice. And there’s a time element here as both Saudi Arabia and Israel are clearly seeing the current Trump administration in Washington as at least a silent partner in all this. But they also know this can change, so the time to move is now.
The priorities the Saudis are making make sense in the context of the more bitter and much longer-running Sunni-Shia war that’s been going in fits and starts since the year 632. Hatred for the U.S. and Israel may seem supreme in radical Islamist cultures, but the Sunni-Shia divide is worse and a lot older. And with the wars in Syria and Yemen showing no signs of slowing down, hostilities between the Sunni standard bearers in Riyadh and the Shia rulers in Tehran have never been more likely.
In the past, Israel has always been a potential deal breaker for any coalition of Muslim countries engaged in an alliance with the U.S. Saddam Hussein, for example, tried to destroy the coalition against him in the first Gulf War by launching Scud missiles at Tel Aviv in 1991. That effort failed, but it was one of the most serious challenges to the war. The George H.W. Bush administration fought hard to keep Israel out of the war to preserve the loose Arab coalition against Iraq.
Now, Saudi Arabia has gone many steps further than just hoping to keep Israel on the back burner. This newspaper interview is tantamount to openly flaunting a growing partnership against Iran.
The Saudis, long the biggest bank in the Middle East and the controlling force behind OPEC, are making it clearer than ever that it’s okay to partner with Israel. On its face, that’s a peaceful and modernizing move. Hopefully, it will endure and yield dividends long beyond the current political climate.
But as anyone who knows the history of the region will tell you, right now the growing ties between the Saudis and Israelis could be an ominous sign that war is coming.
Oh yes… it is! The war is described in Ezekiel 38, Daniel 11, Joel 3, Zechariah 14… otherwise known as Armageddon. We are witnessing the all the pieces coming together and alliances being formed, that although required by scripture, would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. The angels have been at work preparing the nations.
So we look with excitement at the events that herald the return of the Messiah who will come to ultimately defeat the Russian confederacy on the mountains of Israel. When this happens the nations we are discussing today will submit to the rule of Messiah as is described in the Psalms:
“The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.” (Psalm 72:10–11)
And again in the Prophecy of Isaiah:
“…the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.” (Isaiah 60:5–7)
We look forward to that day, and we are witnessing a glimpse of the preparation in of the events forming today. We long for the day, following the trials of the invasion, when the kingdom will be established, with great excitement. For the Bible in the News this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.
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