“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 38:13 NKJV
Although believers have a very good reason to be watching the unfolding events in the Middle East it seems that the world as a whole is watching and taking notice while questioning the possible future of that region. While the world might wonder exactly what the future holds, we as believers have simply to look to God’s Word for an explanation and understanding of the political moves and alliances that are forming between countries in that part of the world. This past week was no exception as the Arab nations held a summit in Amman Jordan to discuss of all things, peaceful relations between Israel and themselves.
As I read about this possibility I could not help but recall the passage from Ezekiel concerning the future attempted invasion of Israel by Gog and his allies where the nations participating are not only listed, but those not participating are listed as well. As we read about this conflict, Ezekiel tells us that there are some nations, referred to as Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish, which prefer not to participate but rather stay on the sidelines with only a token objection proffered. So who exactly are these nations, and why do they decide to sit this invasion out instead of participating as they have in the past wars of independence which Israel has had to fight?
Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east. Genesis 25:1-6 NKJV
Now the sons born to Keturah, Abraham’s concubine, were Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan were Sheba and Dedan. 1 Chronicles 1:32 NKJV
The following is an excerpt from an excellent study by Gary Stearman of prophecywatchers.com.
“Sheba and Dedan seem best described by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and a few other Arabian partners. Because of their commitments to the US over the last seventy years, they will continue to side with the West, and the merchants of Tarshish, including the US and Western Europe. Right up until the time of the great invasion from the north, Arab determination to produce and sell oil will win out over their desire to be good Islamists.”
Here too, is another description from an article by Dr. Steve Elwart for khouse.org.
“In verse 13, a second group of merchant nations are listed as protesting this invasion, for they recognize it to be an invasion for spoil and for nothing else Businessmen based in Sheba, Dedan, Tarshish, and all of its growling lions will ask you, “Are you coming for war spoils? Have you assembled your armies to carry off silver and gold, and to gather lots of war booty?”(ISV) Sheba and Dedan are countries in northern Arabia, which shows that at least some of the Arab states will not favor the Russian presence in the Middle East.”
In essence what we find today is a gathering of Arab nations discussing peace with Israel which coincidently looks to be the exact situation described by the prophet Ezekiel when he reveals the future conflict with Gog. The moderate Arab nations will choose not to participate in this coming war but instead sit on the sidelines and watch to see the outcome while only offering token objections. Russia instead, has aligned itself with Iran and taken up a position in Syria from where they will mount their futile attempt to invade Israel and take possession of the “spoil” to be found off of Israel’s coast and under the sands of the Golan Heights. Dr. Elwart goes on to say;
“The year 2009, however, brought further clarity of the passage, for it was in January of that year the Tamar gas field was discovered. The Tamar gas field was a major gas find in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel. The field is located in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, roughly 50 miles (80 km) west of Haifa in waters over one mile (1,700 meters) deep. People’s interest was really piqued the following year when in December 2010 another gas field was discovered. The Leviathan gas field is a large natural gas formation in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, 30 miles (47 km) southwest of the Tamar.
What could be the final piece of the puzzle may have been supplied in October 2014 when oil was discovered in the Golan Heights.
Because of these three discoveries Israel has become a much more attractive target for supplying the spoils of war. Together, the Tamar and Leviathan fields are estimated to contain 1 trillion (1,000 billion) cubic feet of natural gas, enough to supply Israel’s energy needs for the next 50 years. (Though those of us who take the Bible seriously doubt it will need natural gas for that long.)
The oil field in the Golan Heights is also looking to be a major energy find. Israeli business website Globes quotes Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas as saying:
We are talking about a strata [sic] which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity. On average in the world strata are 20–30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.”
The estimated size of the field, if found to be true, would make Israel a world player in the oil market."
Magog and Persia are poised in Syria, awaiting the time they attempt to invade Israel for spoil. Sheba and Dedan along with the merchants of Tarshish are talking peace. As we see these things happening in that part of the world is it any wonder so many watchers believe the time of the Church’s deliverance is imminent?
If you have never taken the step of asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart and save you from eternity without Him, I encourage you to do that right now. Simply tell Him you are sorry for your sin, ask Him to forgive you and accept the sacrifice He made to die for your sin, and He has promised not only to forgive you but to make you one of His own and come into your life and provide all the help you need to begin to live for Him.
Gary Stearman concludes with this statement; “A war is coming. Call it World War III or Armageddon. It will begin in the Middle East, but will extend to "the isles." This is the biblical way of expressing the idea of other continents, dominated by Tarshish. One of them may well be North America. Currently, we are the head of the nations, situated in the Western Hemisphere, far from the center of the action. But our alliance with Sheba and Dedan (and Israel) makes us as much a target as if we were located in the Middle East.”
“So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Mark 13:29 NKJV