As I have taught on the subject of prophecy and the current state of affairs in the Middle East, one point I have always chosen to make is that as close as we might feel we are, there has always been one major stumbling block. You see, in Ezekiel we are given a list of countries that join together in an attempt to invade Israel, a response I believe, to the destruction of Damascus by Israel told to us in the prophecy of Isaiah 17. In this list of countries, one has always seemed out of place because of it's friendly relationship with Israel. Which country is that? As you might have already guessed, that nation is Turkey. Lately the world press has chronicled the deteriorating relationship between Israel and Turkey, and some in Israel have already begun to describe Turkey as the "enemy". So what are we to make of the "removal" of this stumbling block? The internet is full of speculation that the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is imminent, and could happen any day now that the sides are aligned.
Yet before that can happen, I believe there must exist a reason for these countries to attempt an invasion. This is where the prophecy of the destruction of Damascus given to us in Isaiah 17 comes into play. I have often been asked if I believe the prophecy of Isaiah 17 is somehow related to the situation described in Psalm 83. I believe it may well be, with the Psalm account describing the participants and the Isaiah account describing the conflict. If our chronology is correct, the events of Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 must occur before those of Ezekiel 38 and 39 in order to produce the necessary justification for the attempted invasion. If the final antagonist, Turkey, has aligned itself with Israel's enemies, does this mean these events are about to take place? I believe the answer is yes, and I believe it may occur much sooner than you think. We are one month away from the Fast of Tisha Be-Av, a fast of mourning in Israel which over time has produced many of the greatest disasters in the history of that tiny nation. Are we about to see another?
One of the main points made to support the position that the prophecies of Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 take place prior to the events of Ezekiel is the notable absence of the countries mentioned in Psalm 83 when examining the Ezekiel conflict. Another point I believe important is a comparison of the account of the aftermath of Isaiah 17 with the account in Ezekiel 38.
"Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us."
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, [that] at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places [that are now] inhabited, and upon the people [that are] gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
Now to people like me who were raised close to the ocean, or have
had an opportunity to spend any amount of time on seashore, this
is an awesome illustration. I spent a lot of time at the beach when I
was younger, and in fact, found it to be a great place to do
homework when I was in college. The sound of waves breaking
on the shore is something one never forgets. There is a constant
roar of noise as you listen to waves breaking on the beach all along
the particular coast where you might be. It's exactly as the Bible
describes it here; a "rushing". You hear two sounds as you listen
to the waves; you hear the rushing sound as they approach, and
then the crash as they break on the shore. God describes the
reaction of the nations to what Israel does as making "a noise like
the noise of the seas", and "rushing like the rushing of mighty
So if you are like me, my first thought is this is definitely
not good news for Israel. The words "multitude", "many people",
and "nations" certainly give the impression that just about
everybody joins in to condemn Israel for its response. It's not hard
to picture the United Nations meeting to universally condemn the
use of nuclear weapons, and the nations of the world demanding
some sort of response to what has occurred. In reading this
passage, however, it would seem that response becomes more
serious than just verbal condemnation. When God tells us that "the
nations shall rush", the picture obviously is that all the nations
band together to make an aggressive move on Israel in the form of
an invasion of its territory with the intention of taking "spoil" and
The similarities in both accounts describing an attempt to invade in order to rob and take spoil certainly makes it appear God is talking about the same conflict. Yet it's the Isaiah account which explains the reason for it, and the absence of Syria as a combatant seems to confirm that it occurs before the Ezekiel account. Is the positioning of Turkey the last piece of the puzzle we need before these prophecies are fulfilled? Are the rumors of a Middle East war and the approach of the Fast of Av just a coincidence? Of even greater interest should be the question "are we going to be around to see it?" This is why we watch. After all, would God have told us to watch if there were nothing to see?
If Isaiah's account is the same one that Ezekiel describes, it would be fair to say that what we are being shown here by these two prophets can best be described as the beginning of the world's walk down the road to Armaggeddon.
6/21/10: FYI Great article at; http://www.prophecynews.co.uk/content/view/1497/1/