As is the case with Bible prophecy in the last days, things are starting to get stacked on top of each other with some rapidity. I was hoping that I could unpack some of this and maybe put my thoughts to paper and help clarify it as much to myself, as I could for you.
The Fig Tree has come to represent a symbol of national Israel. Enough of the Old Testament can be used as text proof to validate this belief (Judges, 1 Kings, and Jeremiah). So when the Jewish people used a phrase like that, they meant it as a symbol of the state of their kingdom…much like American’s today associate the “stars and stripes” or the “bald-eagle” as national symbols of the United States. It was common knowledge then, and it is today to most Jews.
The Parable of the Fig Tree in Luke 21 is curious in that it also includes “all the trees”, which we know from Judges, as a euphemism to refer to their national status.
For the better part of 500 years, the entire Middle East fell under the sway of the Ottoman Turks. There were no individual nations, only provinces of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of World War I, the Ottoman lay defeated and their empire carved up into political entities by the victors in Europe. Therefore, it is with this in mind that I returned to some familiar verses and sought to maybe look at this perplexing parable in light of more recent events…
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. (Matthew 24:32)
Then He spoke to them a parable:
“Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.” (Luke 21:29-30)
All three parable examples cite the when, of when one would see the branch budding, or becoming tender and putting forth leaves. Well, I got to thinking…what season comes before summer?
There has not been a time either this century or last when a period was labeled as such in any part of the world. The closest we come to it was in the Prague Spring, which was coined back in 1968.
There were also the Revolutions of 1848 that had been referred to as Springtime of the People, but nothing had the ring-like of our recent Arab Spring. Initially, the Arab Spring had the flavor of a “people’s revolution” that jumped borders and overthrew the establishments. However, those Egyptians seeking western-style democracy were greatly disheartened and disillusioned when the Islamic ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ took advantage of the ensuing chaos and quickly organized into the most powerful group, wrenching the revolution out of the hands of those who were truly seeking change.
Isaiah 19:2 states;
“I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; Everyone will fight against his brother, And everyone against his neighbor, City against city, kingdom against kingdom.”
Allegedly, the United States, under the administration of President Barak Hussein Obama, facilitated the launching of the Arab Spring back when he spoke at the University of Cairo in June 4th, 2009.
They believe that he (or someone in his administration) gave the Muslim Brotherhood the green light to initiate the revolution against Hosni Mubarak (Egypt’s former President for Life). What we are not sure of is, whether they foresaw the self-immolation event in Tunisia that got the ball rolling. Either way, once things got rolling, it looked as if it would sweep across all of the Middle East in just a matter of months.
The Arab Spring turned three years old this year, and although events have quieted in North Africa relatively speaking, they have moved with a vengeance into both Syria and the Arabian Peninsula. Iran has proven to be the major provocateur in both arenas.
Iran is supporting the establishment in Syria, and attacking the establishment in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Spring movement has also moved into Turkey and is threatening to bring instability to Tayyip Erdogan’s quasi-Islamic government. Either that will firmly ensconce Erdogan’s grip on the nation, or it too will slip from his hands into a more radical regime. The US has an airbase there and has invested a lot of effort into making them a valuable partner in NATO. If their regime looks like it will collapse, most likely a military coup would ensue.
“The waters will fail from the sea, And the river will be wasted and dried up. The rivers will turn foul; The brooks of defense will be emptied and dried up; The reeds and rushes will wither. The papyrus reeds by the River, by the mouth of the River, And everything sown by the River, Will wither, be driven away, and be no more.” (Isaiah 19:5-7)
Egypt is not mentioned in the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 which lists the godless coalition that comes against a newly revived Israel in the last days. Neither is she mentioned in the coalition that surrounds Israel in Psalm 83. Therefore, it is very interesting to me that Ethiopia and Egypt have entered into a war of words over the building of a dam.
Egypt’s leadership is under the impression, that the dam is a secret project funded by the Israelis and the Americans. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam would be built inside the national borders of Ethiopia, but those same waters serve as the source to the Nile River, which provides the very livelihood to Egypt.
The Burden of Damascus
The burden against Damascus.
“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap… (vs. 12) Woe to the multitude of many people Who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. Then behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.” (Isaiah 17:1, 12-14)
As of late, King Abdullah II of Jordan (Sunni) has been hosting multi-national war games aimed at, if nothing else, the prevention of Syrian civil war spillage into sovereign Jordanian territory.
What is interesting, is that you have the prominent members of the Gog-Magog Alliance (Russia and Iran) actively lined up on one side with the Syrian President Basher Assad (Alawite-Shia), against the rebel groups, which consist primarily of varying factions of different Sunni Muslim terrorist organizations backed by the US, EU, and Saudi Arabian affiliates. Even more interesting, is that the war game hosted by Jordan was called Operation Eager Lion.
‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?” (Ezekiel 38:10-13)
Another interesting bit comes from Michael Rubin in the same CS Monitor article:
“In Washington, we can convince ourselves we withdrew [from Iraq] per political agreements, but a lot of the propaganda in the region, especially the Iranian-backed propaganda, suggests we fled in defeat,” Rubin says. “One of the perceptions we’re trying to reverse is the perception among many of the Gulf monarchs, and the king of Jordan, that we dumped Hosni Mubarak way too quickly.”
Although not fulfilled yet, it does seem very coincidental that all of these current events are seemingly stacking up, one atop the other with such rapidity as we have seen as of late.
In keeping with the idea that the most Christian nation in the world is aggressively turning its back on God, September 11, 2001, would be a great point of demarcation. Prior to 9/11, most American’s preferred to be comfortably numb to the goings-on outside the borders of our nation. The previous military adventures outside our borders (Gulf War, Bosnia, and Haiti) were relatively inconsequential to most of the population of the US.
9/11 really forced us to once again pursue our enemies in a “War on Terror” which would cause us to be firmly planted back in the middle of the Middle East. There was no getting around this.
What if Al Gore had won the 2000 election? Would he have put ‘boots on the ground’ in the Middle East? Or would he have pursued the policies of his former boss and mentor, Bill Clinton, whose preferred method of battle almost exclusively involved air strikes? (Anyone remember Mogadishu?)
It is no accident that President Bush pulled out the win in 2000. Just as it is no accident, President Obama is now the Commander in Chief. He, like most democrats, loathe the mechanisms and the responsibilities of actually having to wage a war, so it is no surprise that we have thus far, steered clear of Syria.
The speed at which we pulled out of Iraq, which had some structure prior to our war there, left a power vacuum that the different sects are eagerly exploiting today. The speed at which we are removing ourselves from Afghanistan (very little structure…ever), will likely leave an even more devastating vacuum in that part of the world, which will quickly get filled by chaos and bloodshed. (Nature hates a vacuum!)
I understand that President Obama ‘inherited’ these wars from his predecessor, so I am not faulting him for being there. There is, however, much to fault him for in the subsequent managing of these wars since he took office…but even this is not accidental.
God appoints kings and sets up rulers. This not only serves as a punishment and a reward for those nations who either reject or accept God’s sovereignty over said nation, but they line up with the events God has on His calendar.
Coming is the day when the forces arrayed around Damascus will flee like the ‘rolling things before the whirlwind’.
Coming is the day, when Sheba, Dedan (Saudi Arabia), the merchants of Tarshish (Europe), and all of her young lions (Europe and US) will ask ‘from afar’…”Have you come (against Israel) to take plunder?”
The Bible predicts that in the last days, Israel will be reborn as a nation in unbelief (or not in covenant with God), and will increasingly be left to her own devices.(Zech 12:2-3) The world will grow in resentment of her existence, because it reminds Satan (who is the god of this age), that his time is just about over, and he is not happy.
For my fellow ‘watchmen on the wall’, all I can say is, buckle up folks, it’s about to get interesting!
Even So, Come Lord Jesus!