Sunday, August 28, 2016

Return of the Medes

“The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. “Lift up a banner on the high mountain, Raise your voice to them; Wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger— Those who rejoice in My exaltation.” The noise of a multitude in the mountains, Like that of many people! A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters The army for battle. They come from a far country, From the end of heaven— The LORD and His weapons of indignation, To destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man’s heart will melt, And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger. It shall be as the hunted gazelle, And as a sheep that no man takes up; Every man will turn to his own people, And everyone will flee to his own land. Everyone who is found will be thrust through, And everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; Their houses will be plundered And their wives ravished. “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be settled from generation to generation; Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches will dwell there, And wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, And jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, And her days will not be prolonged.”  Isaiah 13  NKJV

Many of you will recognize this passage from Isaiah as the prophesied destruction of Babylon which we are told about in the Book of Revelation.  Other references to it can be found in Isaiah 14, and Jeremiah 50 and 51.  When speaking on the end times, and speculating on how close we may be to the events in Revelation, a popular quote we often hear is this; “when you see the Christmas decorations going up, you know that Thanksgiving is near”.  So too, we can recognize the signs of the nearness of the rapture by the preparations going on all around us for the events we are told will occur during the tribulation.

Over time I have found that there are many things taking place that at first glance are so small that they somehow escape notice.  One of those might well be found in this passage from Isaiah, and we could do well to consider it in regards to current events.  I am speaking of the mention towards the end of the passage of the group of people called the Medes which are described as having “no pity” as God uses them to implement His judgment on Babylon.  So how can it be that Isaiah tells us that they are present during the tribulation when they no longer exist today?  Or do they?

In the region of the Middle East where the countries of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey co-join, there is a relatively small group of people known as the Kurds.  These people number approximately ten million or so, and at present find themselves in much the same position as Israel was before 1948 in that they have no country of their own and desperately desire one.  Also, much like the Jews, they have been persecuted in every country in which they have tried to live.  Yet unlike the Jews, the vast majority of Kurds are Muslim, which begs the question; why are they being persecuted in the Muslim part of the world?

In fact, it appears that the Kurds are descended from the ancient Medes, who at one time partnered with the Persians to form the Medo-Persian Empire, which was revealed by Daniel to be the second of the four great empires which were to rule that part of the world.  Cyrus the Great, whom we meet during Daniels’ time, was part Mede and part Persian.  He captured the city of Ecbatana (the modern day city of Hamadan in Iran) which was the capital of Media, and created the greatest empire to rule in the sixth century before Christ.

Eventually Alexander the Great arrived on the scene and defeated them as part of his campaign to conquer the known world at that time, and slowly the Medes disappear from the annals of history.  Yet many of today’s Kurds believe they are descended from the ancient Medes, and although there is some disagreement among scholars as to the validity of this claim, the important point is that God tells us they will exist at the time of Revelation.  The obvious conclusion then is that they are alive and well today, and considering the venom of their revenge on Babylon, they must believe they have a serious ax to grind.

As I have studied this prophecy, that is essentially the conclusion I eventually arrived at; it is revenge which motivates these people to destroy Babylon in the way that they do.  The Kurds of today wish desperately for a homeland they can call their own, but neither Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia nor Turkey will allow that to happen.  You see, in order to do so the land would have to come from one or all of these countries and none of them is willing to allow that to happen.  So the situation as it exists today is that there are ten million ethnic people descended from the ancient Medes who desperately wish to have a land they can call their own.  However, not only is that dream being denied, they are under the threat of extinction because of the hatred of the countries surrounding them, especially Turkey.

You could make the point that the total destruction of Babylon during the tribulation period is one of the most significant events to occur in those seven years.  That city will be Satan’s capitol on earth and the center of the anti-Christ’s power.  Although its destruction is at the hands of many nations, only the Medes are mentioned by name.  I believe that this is God’s way of telling us that this is personal for them.  It is a logical assumption that revenge is a very good motivation for the total lack of compassion and extent of destruction which this passage describes as not being seen on this earth since God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Kurdish army goes by the name Peshmerga, a term you will often find in the news today.  They are excellent, determined fighters as opposed to many other so called armies in that region and would fight to the death for their country.  They have a history of fighting as professional soldiers and mercenaries, and a reputation as the fiercest fighting force in that part of the world.  Are the seeds of their desire for revenge being sown right before our eyes?  Will the persecution they are receiving from the surrounding countries provoke their desire to strike out at the center of the anti-Christ’s power during the tribulation?  According to Isaiah it will, and if God said it, I believe it.

Keep watching.