Iraq, the King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy

By COGwriter

What will happen in Iraq? How will the current unrest in Iraq end? How is Iraq related to Armageddon?

Will Iraq support the King of the South? How is Iraq mentioned in the Bible? Are there other prophecies that might affect Iraq? This article will attempt to answer some of those questions. Here is a link to a related video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.

What will biblically happen to Iraq?  

Its location and history help us to understand what the Bible teaches about it.

History of Iraq

Iraq occupies an area that has had strategic value. Here is some of its history.

Iraq has been known by the Greek toponym 'Mesopotamia' (Land between the rivers) and has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is often referred to as the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of writing. At different periods in its history, Iraq was the center of the indigenous Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires. It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid, and Ottoman empires, and under British control as a League of Nations mandate. Iraq is home to two of the world's holiest places among Shias: Najaf and Karbala.

Iraq's modern borders were mostly demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations when the Ottoman Empire was divided by the Treaty of Sèvres. Iraq was placed under the authority of the United Kingdom as the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. A monarchy was established in 1921 and the Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from Britain in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of Iraq was created. (Iraq. Wikipedia, viewed 06/14/2014)

In 2003, the USA militarily invaded Iraq and toppled its then leader, Saddam Hussein. The USA maintained troops there until 2011. Here is some of its Islamic history:

The Arab Islamic conquest in the mid 7th century AD established Islam in Iraq, and saw a large influx of Arabs and also Kurds. Under the Rashidun Caliphate, the prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali moved his capital to Kufa when he became the fourth caliph. The Umayyad Caliphate ruled the province of Iraq from Damascus in the 7th century. (However, eventually there was a separate, independent Caliphate of Córdoba.)

The Abbasid Caliphate built the city of Baghdad in the 8th century as their capital, and it became the leading metropolis of the Arab and Muslim world for five centuries. Baghdad was the largest multicultural city of the Middle Ages, peaking at a population of more than a million,[19] and was the centre of learning during the Islamic Golden Age. The Mongols destroyed the city during the siege of Baghdad in the 13th century...

According to the Central Intelligence Agency, Arabs form 75%–80% of the population. 15% of Iraq's population are Kurds. Turkmen, Assyrians and other minorities make up the remainder 2%–4% of the population.

Iraq is a Muslim-majority country; Islam accounts for an estimated 97% of the population, while non-Muslims account for just 3%. It has a mixed Shia and Sunni population. Most sources estimate that around 65% of Muslims in Iraq are Shia, and around 35% are Sunni. (Iraq. Wikipedia, viewed 06/14/2014)

As far as the Kurds go, "They are an Iranian people and speak the Kurdish languages, which are members of the Iranian branch of Indo-European languages" (Ibid). The Kurds tend to be Sunni and Shia Muslim.

The majority of Iraqis are ethnically Arabic, which means that they descended from Abraham's wife's maid servant Hagar's son Ishmael (see also The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy). The old WCG had given a several different identifications for Iraq. In one place it said Iraq's biblical name(s) was Aram & Ishmael (see Countries and Their Biblical Names). In a Plain Truth article it referred to those in Western Iraq as the "children of Lot" mentioned in Psalm 83 (Stump K. The Arab World in Prophecy. Plain Truth, December 1979), whereas others have suggested that Hagarenes mentioned in that Psalm is more appropriate.

Of course, the old WCG and the Bible also told of the territory of Iraq when it was part of the old Babylonian Empire. Here are a couple of WCG references to it:

When we think of the places where the events of the Bible took place, we usually picture Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, maybe Egypt, and of course Jerusalem. But much of the Bible took place in a land hundreds of miles away from these places. It is known as Mesopotamia. "the land between the rivers." It is also known as the — "cradle of civilization."

Today. much of ancient Mesopotamia lies within the borders of the Republic of Iraq. Baghdad is the capital, a bustling modern city with more than 4.5 million inhabitants. Most would consider it an old city, since it was established in A.D. 762 by the Caliph al-Mansur. But Baghdad is a relative newcomer to the Mesopotamian plain. To the north and south are scores of other cities, whose history stretches back long before the birth of Jesus, long before Moses. and some even before the wonders of ancient Egypt. They go back to the very beginning of recorded time. They include cities like Nineveh and Nimrud to the north and, to the south, Ur and Eridu. And the most famous of them all, Babylon.

Babylon means "gate of god" and it was once one of the most elaborate and influential cities in the world. Inside its great defensive walls, which enclosed the largest city of its time. Were palaces, temples and the Hanging Gardens that were listed among the wonders of the ancient world.

They are gone now. Babylon is in ruins. (Babylon: Past, Present ...and Future. Ambassador College Production)

It should be added that one of the projects of Saddam Hussein was to somewhat rebuild ancient Babylon. Some Protestants believed that this would rise up and be the final Babylon of biblical prophecy.

What Will Happen to Iraq

Iraq has been in the news for decades because of the Iran-Iraq war, the Kuwait war, and the USA's war against it.

In late 2011, US President Obama declared an end to the USA’s combat mission in Iraq. Around that time I wrote:

The US and its allies attempted to do the best that they humanly can, but overall, things will change in the Middle East and will NOT be as the US, etc. hopes.

Civil unrest is likely for Iraq, and it may break out with civil war. Ultimately, I expect much of Iraq to align with the soon coming Islamic King of the South, and that may somewhat minimize Iraq’s disintegration–but such disintegration may happen prior to this leader being accepted.

The above is happening. Notice the headlines from a June 24, 2014 report (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10923597/Iraq-crisis-the-country-is-facing-imminent-break-up-say-Western-diplomats.html):

Iraq crisis: the country is facing imminent break up say Western diplomats

Western officials say the crisis is 'the real thing' and are concerned that politicians cannot deal with its sheer scale

Eventually Iraq, and others in the Middle East and North Africa, will plot to eliminate the USA based upon the 83rd Psalm. Iraq will also be involved in supporting a confederation known as the final King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).

Notice what CNN says may form:

ISIS: The first terror group to build an Islamic state?

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has thrived and mutated during the ongoing civil war in Syria and in the security vacuum that followed the departure of the last American forces from Iraq.

The aim of ISIS is to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and in Syria…

What are its origins?

In 2006, al Qaeda in Iraq — under the ruthless leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — embarked on seemingly arbitrary and brutal treatment of civilians as it tried to ignite a sectarian war against the majority Shia community…

The new al Qaeda was rebranded in 2006 as the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). It would add “and Syria” to its name later…

What is ISIS trying to accomplish?

It wants to establish an Islamic caliphate, or state, stretching across the region.  http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/12/world/meast/who-is-the-isis/

An Islamic caliphate is consistent with prophecies in the Bible of a coming King of the South in Daniel 11:40-43. Groups like ISIS, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, and Ennahda all are working towards putting together that type of confederation.

It is the objective of Al-Qaeda as well as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to establish an Islamic caliphate, or state, in Iraq and Syria.  ISIS has claimed to already have done that and they named their region the Islamic State.

While that Islamic State would have to change to fulfil biblical prophecies, some type of an Islamic caliphate is consistent with prophecies in the Bible of a coming King of the South in Daniel 11:40-43.

The Islamic State is upset that the USA provided some military intervention against them (see After Pope Francis calls for action, Barack Obama bombs Iraq) and has indicated that they will hit the USA (probably with acts of terrorism):

August 8, 2014

As the Islamic State tears through minority communities in northern Iraq, the extremist terror group, that owes its ascendance to funding from US allies in the Middle East, sent a message to the White House: We’re coming for you.

US allies cultivated Islamic State. Now IS plans to 'raise flag of Allah in White House' https://plus.google.com/+RT/posts/jcmyjuomZDn

With all that is going on in Iraq and Syria, the following Islamic prophecy seems interesting:

IRAQ and SYRIA

 Abu Nadhrah says: "We were sitting in the company of Jabir bin Abdullah (R.A.) when he said: 'Soon the people of IRAQ will neither receive any food (grain) nor any money.'" We asked, "Why would such a thing happen?" He replied, "Because of the non-Arabs." (i.e they will prevent food from going into Iraq, in the form of "sanctions" to this day.) He then said: "Soon the people of Shaam (SYRIA) will neither receive any money nor grain." We asked as to why this would happen. He replied: "Because of the Romans (christians)." (From "Signs of Qiyamah" (excerpts) by Mohammed Ali Ibn Zubair Ali. The Minor Signs of the Last Day. http://www.islam.tc/prophecies/qiyaam2.html viewed 07/03/14)

So, according to Islamic prophecy, the Europeans are going to have sanctions of some type against Iraq and Syria. There are already sanctions against Syria. Because of partial fulfillments of such Islamic prophecies, many in Islam will rely on them to their peril when they disagree with biblical prophecy.

But despite complaints about the ISIS/ISIL groups, some type of 'caliphate' will form. And I do NOT believe that the current head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,will be that leader. He and his group, however, seem to be encouraging the rise of a coalition of Arab and other Muslim states to form in opposition--and a group like that will become the final King of the South of biblical prophecy per Daniel 11:40-43.

What Does the Bible Teach?

What will biblically happen to Iraq?

The Bible shows that a confederation of Arab and Turkish peoples, possibly also involving the Kurds will form.

Notice the following:

3 They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
4 They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more."

5 For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. (Psalms 83:3-8, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted or contained in citations)

It is my view that many of the nations in Psalm 83 will conspire to use terrorism.  Psalm 83 is talking about a confederation of Arabic, Turkish (Edom), and European (Assyria) peoples. This includes Iraq. The USA is encouraging this to its ultimate detriment (watch Obama Administration Pushing for an Islamic Empire?).

Notice something that the old WCG reported decades ago:

Terrorists have become the means by which some powerful nations, desiring to avoid unwanted escalation or public outcry, can punish their enemies at a relatively small cost.

These modern-day guns-for-hire also provide the same service for smaller nations that may fear a direct confrontation with a major power.

Many nations make no bones about their connections to terrorist groups. Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen all see no objection in directly aiding terrorism. (Taylor D. TERRORISM the Worst Is Yet to Come! Plain Truth, May 1984)

Worse terrorism happened since that came out.

As far as Iraq goes, Iraq is likely to be more heavily involved in the future. In addition to ground troops, Al-Qaeda is known for terrorism and it has made major gains in Iraq.  Al-Qaeda also believes it has a ‘score to settle’ with the USA and UK (NBC News, 06/12/2014, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/militants-vow-march-baghdad-after-taking-mosul-tikrit-n129271).

The Bible shows that terrorism is prophesied:

14 ‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. (Leviticus 26:14-17)

25 The sword shall destroy outside; There shall be terror within (Deuteronomy 32:25)

12 “Cry and wail, son of man; For it will be against My people, Against all the princes of Israel. Terrors including the sword will be against My people; Therefore strike your thigh. (Ezekiel 21:12)

12 Behold, these are the ungodly,Who are always at ease; They increase in riches…19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. (Psalms 73:12,19)

25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. (Proverbs 1:25-27)

5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way (Ecclesiastes 12:5).

Jihadist gains in various parts of the world are a prelude to more terrorism and change.  A confederation against the USA, its Anglo-Saxon allies, and Israel involving Arab and European forces is coming.  And I have long believed that terrorism will have to be part of this. The USA, its Anglo-Saxon allies, and Israel will end up being hit by massive terrorism combined with destruction (Deuteronomy 32:25) from the King of the North (Daniel 11:39).

ISIS wants more than to be a terroristic group. Notice the following:

What ISIS Really Wants

The Atlantic, MARCH 2015

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy... In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse. ...

The Islamic State has its share of worldly concerns (including, in the places it controls, collecting garbage and keeping the water running), but the End of Days is a leitmotif of its propaganda. Bin Laden rarely mentioned the apocalypse, and when he did, he seemed to presume that he would be long dead when the glorious moment of divine comeuppance finally arrived. “Bin Laden and Zawahiri are from elite Sunni families who look down on this kind of speculation and think it’s something the masses engage in,” says Will McCants of the Brookings Institution, who is writing a book about the Islamic State’s apocalyptic thought.

During the last years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Islamic State’s immediate founding fathers, by contrast, saw signs of the end times everywhere. They were anticipating, within a year, the arrival of the Mahdi—a messianic figure destined to lead the Muslims to victory before the end of the world. ...

The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.

“Dabiq is basically all farmland,” one Islamic State supporter recently tweeted. “You could imagine large battles taking place there.” The Islamic State’s propagandists drool with anticipation of this event, and constantly imply that it will come soon. The state’s magazine quotes Zarqawi as saying, “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify … until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.” A recent propaganda video shows clips from Hollywood war movies set in medieval times—perhaps because many of the prophecies specify that the armies will be on horseback or carrying ancient weapons.

Now that it has taken Dabiq, the Islamic State awaits the arrival of an enemy army there, whose defeat will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse. ...

The Prophetic narration that foretells the Dabiq battle refers to the enemy as Rome. Who “Rome” is, now that the pope has no army, remains a matter of debate. ...

After its battle in Dabiq, Cerantonio said, the caliphate will expand and sack Istanbul. Some believe it will then cover the entire Earth, but Cerantonio suggested its tide may never reach beyond the Bosporus. An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory.

While the above article focused on the Islamic State, the prophecies alluded to come from Islamic sources centuries older than that group. Yet, those who rely on the above Islamic understanding to fight against Europe in the end, as foretold in Daniel 11:40, will find they are in error. The Bible shows that the European power (called the Romans above) will win.  

Voice of America (VOA) reported the following:

May 21, 2016

BAGHDAD—

Baghdad woke Saturday to the early morning sounds of helicopters flying overhead, most of them heading in and out of the fortified International Zone after protesters defied bullets and tear gas to storm the area.

As they fled the gunfire and tear gas Friday afternoon, some carrying their injured friends across the bridge away from the IZ, the anti-government protesters vowed they would return – but with weapons.

Many are followers of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who, like many of the political leaders in Iraq, has his own armed militia known as the Peace Brigades.

Sadr has come out in support of what he describes as the people’s “revolt” against the government. ...

Squeezed by years of violence and a deepening economic crisis, Iraqis are fed up with government corruption and the leadership’s inability to protect them from repeated rounds of violence. http://www.voanews.com/content/baghdad-wakes-to-helicopters-talk-of-a-peoples-revolt/3340087.html

Iraq is a dangerous place.

The rise of the so-called "Islamic State" was greatly assisted by USA actions and inactions in the region.

Back in 2010, when US President Obama declared an end to the USA's combat mission in Iraq, I wrote:

Civil unrest is likely for Iraq, and it may break out with civil war. Ultimately, I expect much of Iraq to align with the soon coming Islamic King of the South, and that may somewhat minimize Iraq’s disintegration–but such disintegration may happen prior to this leader being accepted. (Thiel B. Obama Declares End to Combat Mission. COGwriter, September 1, 2010)

The next year, on December 26, 2011, I wrote:

The US and its allies attempted to do the best that they humanly can, but overall, things will change in the Middle East and will NOT be as the US, etc. hopes.

Civil unrest is likely for Iraq, and it may break out with civil war. Ultimately, I expect much of Iraq to align with the soon coming Islamic King of the South, and that may somewhat minimize Iraq’s disintegration–but such disintegration may happen prior to this leader being accepted. (Thiel B. Iraq (Political) Attack. COGwriter, December 26, 2011)

Despite USA interventions, and possibly because of it, eventually Iraq, and others in the Middle East and North Africa, will plot to eliminate the USA based upon the 83rd Psalm.

The Bible shows that Iraq will end up in some type of end type confederation with other Arab nations and the Turks (biblical Edom; also watch What Should You Know About Turkey in Prophecy):

40 At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. (Daniel 11:40-42).

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“‘Wail and say, “Alas for that day!” 3 For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near- a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down.

5 Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.

6 “‘This is what the LORD says:

“‘The allies of Egypt will fall and her proud strength will fail. From Migdol to Aswan they will fall by the sword within her, declares the Sovereign LORD. 7 “‘They will be desolate among desolate lands, and their cities will lie among ruined cities. 8 Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I set fire to Egypt and all her helpers are crushed.

9 “‘On that day messengers will go out from me in ships to frighten Cush out of her complacency. Anguish will take hold of them on the day of Egypt’s doom, for it is sure to come (Ezekiel 30:1-9, NIV).

So a confederation will form, Iraq will be part of it, and many of the nations that enter into a confederation with Egypt will suffer. This includes Iraqi peoples and possibly the Kurds. Why the Kurds? The word translated above as Libya, Puwt, may be referring to some of the peoples of Iran as Puwt was a Persian tribe and the Kurds are an Iranian people with mixed heritage.

Iraq will have involvement with the biblical King of the South. Watch also the video War is Coming Between Europeans and Arabs. This will not end well for Iraq or other close confederates to the coming King of the South.

Notice also something that the onetime COG writers taught:

Daniel 11 also mentions some of the Mideast peoples who will be involved in that struggle among the nations at the close of this age. The belligerents will include the “King of the North,” the leader of the European Union (or its final outgrowth, called the “Beast”). The “King of the South” (an Islamic leader—apparently from Egypt {or} some other Muslim state) is also referred to. The following lands/peoples are specifically mentioned: Egypt, the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine), the Ethiopians (modern Cushites, south of Egypt), Libya, Edom, Moab and Ammon. Many descendants of the ancient peoples known as Edomites or Idumeans now live in the West Bank, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Arabia, Yemen, the Persian Gulf states, etc. (McNair R. Solving the Arab-Israeli Impasse! Copyright Raymond F. McNair 2005, Church of God—21st Century).

But who is the “king of the south”?…in verse 40 we skip to “the time of the end”…The verse undoubtedly found partial fulfillment in the offensive of 1896…But Mussolini did not finish the prophecy…Just as there is yet to be a final “king of the north”…there may very well emerge in the same manner a final “king of the south”–an overall leader of an Arab-Moslem confederation, possibly bearing the very title Mahdi…a prophetic psalm (Psalm 83) provides additional insight into the Mideast picture. Germany (Assyria in Bible prophecy) and perhaps the rest of Europe will be in league in the future with a union of Arab nations…

"They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom [Esau or modern-day Turkey, a non-Arab but Islamic nation], and the Ishmaelites [Saudi Arabia]; of Moab [part of Jordan], and the Hagarenes [anciently these peoples dwelt in the area known as Syria today]; Gebal [Lebanon], and Ammon [modern Jordan], and Amalek [part of the Turks]; the Philistines [the modern Palestinians] with the inhabitants of Tyre [Lebanon]; Assur [whose descendants, the Assyrians, migrated to Germany] also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot [Jordan and Western Iraq]" (Psalm 83:4-8)...

But in the end, this European-Arab alliance will prove short-lived…And the king of the north shall come against him [the king of the south]…Daniel 11:40-41…The Arab-Moslem Confederation will, of course, be thrown into chaotic disarray in the fact of invasion. (Stump K. The Arab World in Prophecy. Plain Truth, December 1979, pp. 11-12).

Some consider that the Hagarenes are better identified with Iraq--yet since Ishmael's mother was Hagar--Genesis 16:15--they would all tend to be related.  Whether they are identified better as Hagarenes or Ishmaelites, Iraq and other Arabic peoples are prophesied (along with others) to be part of a confederation that will decide to eliminate Israel.

Why the Islamic State Claims it Kills and Terrorizes

Voice of America reported the following:

The Islamic State (IS) is inciting supporters to mount more attacks on Christians just days after two of the terror group’s sympathizers slit the throat of an 85-year-old French priest as he was celebrating Mass — a killing French officials fear was a deliberate tactic to provoke a Christian backlash in France against Muslims.

The latest issue of IS’s online magazine Dabiq, widely read by supporters and sympathizers, focuses on the theme of “Break the Cross.” In a series of interviews, foreign fighters who have converted from Christianity are used as mouthpieces to urge supporters in the West to destroy “arrogant Christian disbelievers.” They exhort Muslims to “pray for Allah’s curse to be upon the liars.” …

Pope singled out as target

Pope Francis, as well as Orthodox and Coptic church leaders, is among those singled as targets in the 15th issue of Dabiq, released Sunday. IS propagandists mock the Pope, saying the Pontiff only condemned the mass shooting at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando “because he comes from long line of boy rapists.” …

Fighter Abu Sa’d al-Trinidadi, a former Christian from Trinidad and Tobago, references recent terror attacks in the West and urges supporters in a Dabiq interview to “follow the example of the lions in France and Belgium, the example of the blessed couple in California, and the examples of the knights in Orlando and Nice.”

He tells IS supporters in the West that they have the “ability to terrify the disbelievers in their own homes and make their streets run with their blood.” He adds Christians are legitimate targets “due to their mere disbelief,” adding, “for this reason, amongst others, the Islamic State leadership emphasized the importance not to differentiate between disbelieving soldiers and their so-called ‘civilians.’” http://www.voanews.com/content/islamic-state-tries-to-trigger-war-of-religions-in-west/3444092.html

Here is another report:

In the 15th issue of the digital Islamic State magazine “Dabiq,” ISIS explains its ideology in recent terror attacks and promises more attacks against Westerners before the 16th issue is released. There appears to be no timetable for the magazine’s publication, however. http://heavy.com/news/2016/07/isis-islamic-state-dabiq-1437-shawwal-15-issue-edition-orlando-nice-ansbach-france-germany-pdf/

Having never read Dabiq before, I decided to read over the current issue (Dabiq, issue 15, Shawal 1437, 31 July 2016).

Here is how its Forward article starts out on page 4:

“Do they not see that they are tried once or twice every year? Yet they turn not in repentance, and they take no heed?” (At-Tawbah 126).

After the attacks in Orlando (USA), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Magnanville, Nice, and Normandy (France), and Würzburg and Ansbach (Germany) led to the martyrdom of twelve soldiers of the Caliphate and the deaths and injuries of more than six hundred Crusaders, one would expect the cross-worshipers and democratic pagans of the West to pause and contemplate the reasons behind the animosity and enmity held by Muslims for Westerners and even take heed and consider repentance by abandoning their infidelity and accepting Islam. But the fever and delusion caused by sin, superstition, and secularism have numbed what is left of their minds and senses. Their hedonic addictions and heathenish doctrines have enslaved them to false gods including their clergy, their legislatures, and their lusts.

Muslims call Greco-Roman ‘Christians’ “Crusaders” as this was a term for the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic soldiers who fought against them in the so-called “Crusades.” “Crusader” means “cross bearer.” The Catholic soldiers were called this because they had crosses painted on their shields. While the old Crusades are past, many in Islam still call the Greco-Roman Catholics as well as the Protestants “Crusaders” and pagans because of their use/veneration of crosses as well as the idols and icons found in Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic church buildings.

The Forward article also warned:

Between the release of this issue of Dabiq and the next slaughter to be executed against them by the hidden soldiers of the Caliphate – who are ordered to attack without delay – the Crusaders can read into why Muslims hate and fight them, why pagan Christians should break their crosses, why liberalist secularists should return to the fitrah (natural human disposition), and why skeptical atheists should recognize their Creator and submit to Him.

Before getting to more about why the Islamic State says it hates pagan ‘Christians,’ let me state that early Christians did NOT use nor venerate crosses (for proof see What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?), neither did they have the type of idols or icons that are found in the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic church buildings (for details see What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?).

On page 7, the Forward article has the following:

Where is your servitude to Him? Where is your respect of what He loves? Where is the residue of sound intellect, which would immediately reject the superstitious beliefs of Trinity and atonement through the crucifixion of Jesus? Where is your humility before the Almighty? Do you insist upon abandoning the fitrah and succumbing to the misguidance of your forefathers, as Allah c described the infidels of the past, saying, “And similarly, We did not send before you any warner into a city except that its affluent said, ‘Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and indeed we will follow in their footsteps’” (Az-Zukhruf 23)?

We call you to reflect on these questions as the bloodthirsty knights of the Caliphate continue to wage their war of just terror against you. And have no doubt that the war will only end with the black flag of Tawhid (Islamic monotheism) fluttering over Constantinople and Rome, and that is not difficult for Allah…

It may be of interest to note that early Christians did NOT believe in the trinity–this was something that was not even formally accepted by the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics until the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.

That being said, having “bloodthirsty knights of the Caliphate” to wage their war of terror is certainly wrong. Instead it is an indictment against the so-called Islamic State itself. Consider what Jesus said:

31 If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31)

34 Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Now, Satan, like the Islamic State, mixes truth with error–that can deceive people (e.g. 1 Timothy 2:4).  And that is what the Islamic State is also doing. If people would repent and properly accept the truth it would set them free–they would not even want to be considered as ‘bloodthirsty.’ But because they deny the truth they become slaves to sin and Satan’s influence.

On pages 20 and 25, in a different article titled The Fitrah of Mankind, Dabiq states:

The pagan Christians for ages had adopted a religion of contradictions at war with the fitrah …

Morality and society for them now were purely relative concepts having no foundation or basis except in what is dictated by financial interest and sexual instinct. Criminals were looked upon as being helpless, misunderstood individuals. The role of man and woman was mixed up, as was the responsibility father and mother had towards daughter and son. Woman need not be a mother, a wife, or a maiden, but rather, she should work like man, rule like man, and have intercourse like an animal, without being conscious of her Lord watching both her and her heinous partner in crime.

The deviance carried on until the so-called “Brave New World” of America and Western Europe began legalizing marijuana, bestiality, transgenderism, sodomy, pornography, feminism, and other evils, allowing the Christian pagans of Europe, America, and Australia to break the crime record of every disbelieving nation to precede them in history, including that of Sodom and Gomorrah. …

Thereafter, the pagan Christians contradict themselves and the fitrah once more. They claim that Jesus’ mother is the “Mother of God,” while portraying her in a humble manner, both in her demeanor and garments. However, they encourage the Western woman to be everything opposite to Mary. The Western woman is encouraged to compete with men in the workplace, to display of her body what no man ever displays, and to be more promiscuous than any prostitute has ever been. There is no resemblance in the Western woman to what is found in Mary, just as there is no resemblance in the Western man to what is found in Jesus the Messiah of humility, religiosity, and chastity.

“Fitrah” basically means common sense/natural law. Basically, the Islamic State is pointing out that the Greco-Roman-Protestants tend to have a view about Mary being modest, yet encourage women to be the opposite. The West certainly does have a massive problem with sexual immorality including pornography (see Pornography: A scourge on society). Pointing out hypocrisy is one of the Islamic States’ recruiting methods.

On page 30, begins an article titled Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You. Here are some quotes from it:

Shortly following the blessed attack on a sodomite, Crusader nightclub by the mujahid Omar Mateen  , American politicians were quick to jump into the spotlight and denounce the shooting, declaring it a hate crime, an act of terrorism, and an act of sense – less violence. A hate crime? Yes. Muslims undoubted – ly hate liberalist sodomites, as does anyone else with any shred of their fitrah (inborn human nature) still intact. An act of terrorism? Most definitely. Muslims have been commanded to terrorize the disbelieving enemies of Allah.

There are Islamic writings that encourage terrorism. Notice something from the Qur’an:

003.151
YUSUFALI: Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!
PICKTHAL: We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they ascribe unto Allah partners, for which no warrant hath been revealed. Their habitation is the Fire, and hapless the abode of the wrong-doers.
SHAKIR: We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust. (The Qur’an Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 3: AL-E-IMRAN (THE FAMILY OF ‘IMRAN, THE HOUSE OF ‘IMRAN). Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/003-qmt.php#003.151 12/04/15)

More items about Islam, war, terror, and deceit, can be found in the article Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God. That being said, I do not believe that the group calling itself the Islamic State will end up controlling the Middle East and North Africa–this will be a different coalition–one led by the final King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).

Despite this, Pope Francis claims that Islam is not a religion of war:

08/01/16

“I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence,” said Pope Francis. “This is not right, and it is not true. I don’t like to speak about Islamic violence. There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.”

Bizarre.

Of course there are violent Catholics. But when a bomb goes off in a café in Israel or a terrorist shoots up a café in Paris, we don’t think for one minute that the perpetrator is a Catholic.

That’s because Islamic terrorist acts are not only a reality, they have become the norm throughout the entire world.

Denying it’s true doesn’t change reality. http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/are-pope-khan-right-about-islam/#ZFC1sLkrvz5Du1XO.99

Here is something from a different article in Dabiq titled In the Words of Our Enemy on pp. 75-76:

Francis continues to hide behind a deceptive veil of “good will,” covering his actual intentions of pacifying the Muslim nation. This is exemplified in Francis’ statement that “our respect for true follow – ers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence” (The Joy of the Gospel). Part of this approach to subdue Muslims through appeasement involves coordinating with the infamous Ash’ari Sufi institute, al-Azhar University, false – ly attributed to being representative of Sunni Muslims worldwide. This method is an attempt to justify deviating claims that the Muslim nation has no central authority – as in a caliphate – but is rather “managed” in some way by scholars at universities. …

While previous popes spoke against Islam due to the actual reality they faced, based on mutual enmity between the pagan Christians and monotheistic Muslims, recent popes – and especially Pope Francis – have attempted to paint a picture of heartwarming friend – ship, seeking to steer Muslim masses away from the obligation of waging jihad against disbelief. …

This is all part of a plan to demilitarize Islam or, to put it more correctly, to remove the clearly Quran- and Sunnah-based duty of waging jihad against pagans until all the world is ruled by the Shari’ah.

Pope Francis has an interfaith agenda (see Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction?). The Islamic State is opposed to this, but Islam will, for a time, accept a version of it.

Because of prophecies such as 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 and Revelation 13:4,8, I believe that the Muslims will, for a short time only, enter into an agreement with the Europeans (Daniel 9:27; 11:17; Psalm 83:4-8), temporarily worship the Beast (Revelation 13:8), then rebel against the Beast power (Daniel 11:40) and be eliminated as a force (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-8).(cf. Revelation 13:4,8; Daniel 11:40).

Getting back to the article titled Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You, it give six reasons why. Here is the first in it on page 31:

1. We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices.

But the prophets DID teach that God would have a son. Notice what the prophet Isaiah was inspired to write:

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Notice what the Psalmist prophesied:

6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

7 “I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You. (Psalms 2:6-7)

Jesus was begotten to be the Christ:

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-12)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Muslims supposedly believe the Old and New Testaments–though they claim that they were altered. Yet, there would be no reason that the Jews would have altered a prophecy in Isaiah to point to a Son being born who is called the ‘Mighty God’ as that would support views of Christians. Nor would they have altered the Psalms for the same reason.

It is NOT a lie to point to Jesus as the Son of God, and His arrival was prophesied (see also Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour).

The Islamic State should not hate Christians for believing what the Bible teaches about Jesus. But that is part of its wrong reasoning.

Getting back to the list in Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You, here is the second reason from it on pages 31-32:

2. We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted, a matter that doesn’t concern you because you Christian disbelief and paganism separate between religion and state, thereby granting supreme authority to your whims and desires via the legislators you vote into power. In doing so, you desire to rob Allah of His right to be obeyed and you wish to usurp that right for yourselves. “Legislation is not but for Allah” (Yusuf 40). Your secular liberalism has led you to tolerate and even support “gay rights,” to allow alcohol, drugs, fornication, gambling, and usury to become widespread, and to encourage the people to mock those who denounce these filthy sins and vices. As such, we wage war against you to stop you from spreading your disbelief and debauchery – your secularism and nationalism, your perverted liberal values, your Christianity and atheism – and all the depravity and corruption they entail.

The Islamic State is correct that Western societies should not promote pornography, fornication, “gay rights,” and other vices.

Yet, instead of engaging in a terroristic war, those in the Islamic State should heed the words of Jesus:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

If those in the Islamic State think that Allah is the God of Abraham, which they claim, then they should heed Jesus’ words.

Getting back to the list in Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You, here is the third reason from it on page 32:

3. In the case of the atheist fringe, we hate you and wage war against you because you disbelieve in the existence of your Lord and Creator. You witness the extraordinarily complex makeup of created beings, and the astonishing and inexplicably precise physical laws that govern the entire universe, but insist that they all came about through randomness and that one should be faulted, mocked, and ostracized for recognizing that the astonishing signs we witness day after day are the creation of the Wise, All-Knowing Creator and not the result of accidental occurrence.

The writer is correct that atheists should be able to tell that there was a Creator.   This is confirmed in the New Testament:

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:20-23)

The atheists view of how life got here is in severe scientific error (see Is God’s Existence Logical? and Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II).

Getting back to the list in Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You, here is the fourth reason from it on page 32:

4. We hate you for your crimes against Islam and wage war against you to punish you for your transgressions against our religion. As long as your subjects continue to mock our faith, insult the prophets of Allah – including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad  – burn the Quran, and openly vilify the laws of the Shari’ah, we will continue to retaliate, not with slogans and placards, but with bullets and knives.

We in the Continuing Church of God do not mock Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Jesus.  And while we do not accept Muhammad as God’s prophet, we do not go around publicly mocking him.

Yet, the Islamic State vilifies faith in Jesus and takes violent actions against those who claim to accept biblical teachings about Him.

Getting back to the list in Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You, here are the fifth and sixth reasons from it on page 32, and something from page 33 (bolding mine):

5. We hate you for your crimes against the Muslims; your drones and fighter jets bomb, kill, and maim our people around the world, and your puppets in the usurped lands of the Muslims oppress, torture, and wage war against anyone who calls to the truth. As such, we fight you to stop you from killing our men, women, and children, to liberate those of them whom you imprison and torture, and to take revenge for the countless Muslims who’ve suffered as a result of your deeds.

6. We hate you for invading our lands and fight you to repel you and drive you out. As long as there is an inch of territory left for us to reclaim, jihad will continue to be a personal obligation on every single Muslim. …

we will never stop hating you until you embrace Islam

The Islamic State considers that Islam is a religion of war.

But Christians know that Jesus came to be the “Prince of Peace.” Twice the Bible uses the expression “gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15).

While the Islamic State, and other Muslims, believe that “Christians” are a warring people, the biblical reality is that Christians were never supposed to be.  Nor, have real Christians been so throughout history (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?).

Furthermore, the Bible says:

8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:8-11)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

True Christianity is based on love (see The Philadelphia Remnant: It’s All About Love). Hate is not the way.  All who embrace selfish hate need to repent.

Overall, the 15th edition of Dabiq is a slick and hate-filled publication. It is slick in that it looks fancy and is written (or at least edited) by someone who understands the English language.

While it does sometimes properly identify some of the problems with the West and its wrong approaches to religion, it turns to hate and terror, instead of prayer, love, and the Kingdom of God as the solutions to humanities’ ills.

It is sad that the Islamic State has influenced many to go the way of murder and hate, instead of the way of love and peace.

A video of related interest is titled: Why does the Islamic State kill and terrorize?

Babylon: Past and Future

Ancient Babylon was located in the land of Mesopotamia, which is now part of Iraq.

Some well known proponents of this pre-tribulation rapture view also believe that the physical city of ancient Babylon is destined to become the Babylon the great of the Book of Revelation (LaHaye T, Jenkins J. Are We Living in the End Times?  Tyndale House, Wheaton (IL), 1999,  pp. 133-135 ; Walvoord J. The Prophecy Handbook.  Victor Books, Wheaton (IL), 1990, pp. 608-611). This would seem to be impossible. The ancient city of Babylon has not had any religious prominence for millennia.

Geography would also seem to eliminate ancient Babylon.  Ancient Babylon was built on a plain.  Yet, the “Babylon the great” of Revelation is related to the city of seven mountains/hills (Revelation 17:9).  It is also shown to have a history of persecuting true Christians, which simply has not been the case (in any major way) from ancient Babylon.    

All should understand that the Book of Revelation specifically does refer to cities with titles other than the original ones (e.g. Revelation 11:8) and that it often adds a descriptive word (like Mystery) before the term Babylon (e.g. 17:5), that none should insist that ancient Babylon is the logical location.  Furthermore, the Old Testament refers to a northern power as “the daughter of Babylon” (cf. Jeremiah 50:41-43; Zechariah 2:6-7) that resembles the Babylon of Revelation—thus a different type of Babylon is prophesied to exist in the end times.

It needs to be understood that since the people of God are specifically warned to flee from “the daughter of Babylon” in the North (Zechariah 2:6-7) as well as the Babylon of Revelation (18:2-4), it makes sense that it is not necessary for Babylon in Revelation it to be the ancient Babylon location (ancient Babylon is also almost directly due east, and only to the slightest degree north, of Jerusalem).  Thus, any Protestants who teach that the ancient city of Babylon must be the Babylon of the Beast of Revelation appear to be in error.

The end time 'daughter of Babylon' is also called Mystery Babylon the Great:

17:4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

7 But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. (Revelation 17:4-10)

18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18)

18:1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day — death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Revelation 18:1-8)

This is a place that Christians should avoid and will be based in Europe, not Iraq. Rome is the famous city of seven hills, and since Babylon in Iraq is on a plain, it is not possibly Iraq. But as most will not understand the truth about Babylon in the end, it is called Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17.

Notice something from the old Worldwide Church of God:

Aside from some passing historical references in the books of Matthew and Acts, the name "Babylon" is mentioned in two other books of the New Testament — I Peter and Revelation. These passages have been the source of much discussion since the earliest days of Christianity.

A few biblical commentators have considered the "Babylon" of I Peter 5:13 to be a reference to the literal city on the Euphrates. The majority of modern scholars have held it to be a symbolic or figurative reference to Rome. Jewish and Christian communities did exist in Babylon in the middle half of the first century A.D. when merchants from Palmyra founded a trading colony there in A.D. 24. Babylon was abandoned a half century later when the colony was transferred to a new settlement across the Euphrates River.

The "Babylon" passages in Revelation, however, are a wholly different matter. Those passages (Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21) are widely recognized today as being in a prophetic end-time context, referring to a great world power yet to emerge on the scene.

To early Christians, Babylon in those passages symbolized Rome — the "city on seven hills" (compare Revelation 17:9). The Jews had once been carried captive to Babylon. Thus, that ancient name came to stand for any power hostile to God's people. Prophetic" Babylon" clearly denoted the world-ruling empire of the Caesars — with its false gods, its manifold sins, its persecution of Christians. To Christians, Rome's name had become a synonym for moral corruption and political tyranny — and must surely be intended in a figurative sense in the prophetic passages about "Babylon." (Babylon: Past, Present ...and Future. Ambassador College Production)

Those who believe that ancient Babylon must be rebuilt for biblical prophecies to be fulfilled will be waiting for something that is not biblically required.

Notice the following prophecy:

2 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him:
'You are like a young lion among the nations, And you are like a monster in the seas, Bursting forth in your rivers, Troubling the waters with your feet, And fouling their rivers.'
3 "Thus says the Lord God:
'I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people, And they will draw you up in My net. 4 Then I will leave you on the land; I will cast you out on the open fields,And cause to settle on you all the birds of the heavens. And with you I will fill the beasts of the whole earth. 5 I will lay your flesh on the mountains, And fill the valleys with your carcass.
6 'I will also water the land with the flow of your blood, Even to the mountains;And the riverbeds will be full of you. 7 When I put out your light,I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, And the moon shall not give her light. 8 All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you, And bring darkness upon your land,'Says the Lord God.
9 'I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries which you have not known. 10 Yes, I will make many peoples astonished at you, and their kings shall be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they shall tremble every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of your fall.'
11 "For thus says the Lord God: 'The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you. 12 By the swords of the mighty warriors, all of them the most terrible of the nations, I will cause your multitude to fall.
'They shall plunder the pomp of Egypt, And all its multitude shall be destroyed. (Ezekiel 32:2-12)

The above is NOT a prophecy of Iraq attacking Egypt. This is an end time prophecy where the end time Babylon, the European King of the North, eliminates forces aligned with Egypt.

Notice also the next few verses:

13 Also I will destroy all its animals
From beside its great waters;
The foot of man shall muddy them no more,
Nor shall the hooves of animals muddy them.
14 Then I will make their waters clear,
And make their rivers run like oil,'
Says the Lord God.

15 'When I make the land of Egypt desolate,
And the country is destitute of all that once filled it,
When I strike all who dwell in it,
Then they shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 32:13-15)

Consider also that it may be that verse begins with the final Day of the Lord and that verse has never happened and thus these passages in the Book of Ezekiel may be related to Egypt and its coming allies in the 21st century.

Armageddon

While many have heard the term "Armageddon" it is only used once in the Bible:

12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

15 "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."

16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

What does that have to do with Iraq?

Well, the Euphrates river runs through it. Troops coming from the east that will end up in Armageddon will go through Iraq.

How many troops? A huge army of 200 million:

13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed — by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. (Revelation 9:13-19)

Iraqi territory is part of end time biblical prophecy, but just not the way that many seem to think. Iraq is not ancient Babylon, but will be affected when the Euphrates river dries up and the armies from the east will cross over its land.

Notice also something from the old WCG:

Armageddon is described in the Bible as a place, not an event. It is a place where armies gather. But notice that there is no mention of Armageddon being a battlefield, an actual scene of fighting.

Where is this place called Armageddon?

The word Armageddon is a Greek form of the Hebrew name Har Megiddon. It means "hill (or mountain) of Megiddo." Megiddo is an ancient town of Palestine. It is in the modern state of Israel on the southern rim of the large flat expanse of the plain of Esdraelon (also called the valley of Jezreel).

Megiddo lies about 55 miles north of Jerusalem, and about 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea.

From the huge mound of Megiddo that today marks the site of the ancient city, one enjoys a commanding view of the valley of Jezreel stretching out to the northwest far into the distance (see photo). Jezreel is Israel's largest and most fertile valley and is often referred to simply as Ha'emek, "The Valley."

Ancient Battlefield

In ancient times, Megiddo was a city of great importance. It lay at the strategic crossing of important military and caravan routes. The Via Maris, the old coastal route linking Egypt with Damascus and the east, traversed the Jezreel Valley by Megiddo.

I have visited Megiddo and saw the view of the valley of Jezreel. I also filmed a video there which you can view online: Armageddon.

Megiddo itself was mentioned in the Old Testament:

Megiddo is first mentioned in the Bible in Joshua 12:12. It was one of the cities of the Canaanite kings defeated by Joshua and the Israelites at the end of the 15th century B.C.

Some two centuries later the plain by Megiddo was the site of a major engagement between the Canaanite captain Sisera and Israelite forces under Deborah and Barak (Judges 4 and 5). This ancient confrontation, which might accurately be called a "battle of Armageddon," ended with a total rout of the Canaanites.

King Solomon fortified the city in the 10th century B.C. as a military center and chariot town (I Kings 9:15). An estimated 450 horses could be stabled there. Three centuries later, King Josiah of ancient Judah was slain in the valley of Megiddo, unintentionally, at the hands of the Egyptians (II Kings 23:29).

These battles and others mentioned both in the Bible and in secular sources gave the valley of Megiddo an infamous reputation. It became a very symbol of war itself.

Even in post-biblical times — including this century — the strategic expanse has been the scene for large-scale confrontations.

Near the end of World War I, the British general Viscount Allenby won a crucial victory over the Turks at the Battle of Megiddo on September 19, 1918. Journalist Lowell Thomas, in his book With Allenby in the Holy Land, refers to the engagement as the "Battle of Armageddon," while implying no biblical fulfillment of prophecy. "Allenby was a master-strategist," Lowell Thomas quotes a participant in the fighting, in reference to Megiddo's strategic location.

Seven Last Plagues

Now see what prophecy has in store for this ancient battlefield...

Among these events is the sounding of seven prophetic trumpets (Rev. 8-10), symbolizing God's direct intervention in human affairs.

The seventh and last of these trumpets will announce the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish his rule on earth (Rev. 11:15; I Cor. 15:52; I Thess. 4:16). This trumpet will also initiate on a rebellious world a series of divine punishments known as the "seven last plagues" (Rev. 15 and 16).

These seven last plagues, designed to bring humanity to repentance, are pictured symbolically as seven vials, or small vessels holding liquids. These vials are "poured out" upon a corrupted earth by seven angels. Tragically, mankind as a whole will still refuse to repent of sin!

The sixth of these vials or plagues is described in Revelation 16:12 and introduces us to Armageddon:

"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 be prepared."

It is important to understand the geography involved here. The Euphrates River rises in Turkey and flows southeastward for some 1,700 miles through Syria and Iraq, ultimately emptying into the Arabian or Persian Gulf.

Across this river bed will come the "kings of the east" and their armies — a prophesied communist-dominated Eurasian confederacy.

This confederacy will have certain geopolitical goals motivating their military offensive. But an unperceived, behind-the-scenes influence will be the ultimate motivation underlying their actions. Notice:

Revelation 16:14 reveals that it will be demonic spirits that will influence "the kings of the earth and of the whole world" to gather for battle. These spirits are fallen angels who followed Lucifer (Satan) in his rebellion against God (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12-17; Rev. 12:4).

They will stir up this world's leaders to prepare for war. The world's armies will unknowingly become their pawns.

The God of heaven will allow these seducing demons to marshal the armies of the kings of the east and the whole world (the United Nations, too!) at Armageddon, as we earlier saw in Revelation 16:16.

But the battle will not be fought at Armageddon!

In the meantime, another great military power and its allies will be in force in the Middle East to oppose the oncoming "kings of the east."

This power is referred to in the Bible as the "beast" — a powerful union of 10 European nations or groups of nations to arise in the closing days of this world's civilizations (Rev. 17:12-14). This European power — led by a military super-dictator also referred to in prophecy as the "beast" — will be the final, end-time revival of the medieval Holy Roman Empire...

Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty!

But no battle will be fought at Armageddon!

The seventh trumpet that set the stage for the confrontation at Megiddo also announces the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! He — Jesus Christ — will descend from heaven to the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:11-12).

Notice Revelation 11:15: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever."

This world's two great military powers — ready to fight each other for world domination — will be suddenly confronted by what they conceive to be, in their deceived minds, a common "enemy" — the returning Jesus Christ! Jesus, in Jerusalem, will proclaim his dominion over the world!

How will the assembled forces at Megiddo react?

"And the nations were angry..." declares Revelation 11:18. Men will not want to submit to God's rule! Instead, they will seek to destroy Jesus Christ — whom they will regard, falsely, as the Antichrist — and his angelic armies from heaven who accompany him to Jerusalem.

Instead of fighting each other, the Beast and the kings of the east will join forces — to "make war with the Lamb" (Rev. 17:14).

From the staging ground or mustering area of Armageddon the world's armies will move to confront Jesus Christ himself.

Where will that climactic battle be fought? The prophet Joel provides the answer. Read it in Joel 3:1-2, 9-14.

The battle, involving "all nations," will take place in the valley of Jehoshaphat! This deep valley or ravine borders Jerusalem on the east, between the city and the Mount of Olives (see photo). Today it is more commonly known as the Kidron Valley.

Jehoshaphat means "judgment of the Eternal." The rebellious and unrepentant nations of this world will be judged there by God for their disobedience!

The world's armies will converge on Jerusalem to fight Jesus Christ. He will not go north to Armageddon to fight them; they will march south to engage him!

The ensuing confrontation is called in the Bible "the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14). It is not the "battle of Armageddon" simply because it will not take place at Armageddon!

Zechariah 14:12-13 graphically describes this supernatural confrontation at Jerusalem with the world's armies. They will turn against each other in mistrust and fear as their very flesh decomposes and their eyes cease to see! "And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth."

Read Revelation 19:11-21 for a further description of the climactic events to occur on that day.

The rebellious armies of this world will be utterly vanquished! (Stump K. Just What Do You Mean... ARMAGEDDON? Plain Truth, March 1982)

A massive army will gather in Megiddo--and this happens three years or so after the start of the Great Tribulation. But this massive army will be destroyed when it goes against Jerusalem.

But There is Good News for Iraq

Despite its prophesied defeat and involvement with the final King of the South and Armageddon, I should add that not all is lost for the Iraqis. They too will ultimately be offered salvation, and the Bible shows that many there will take it.

Defeat is not the ultimate destiny for most Iraqis. Deification is.

But how?

The mainstream "Christian" view correctly teaches that there is salvation in no other than Jesus (Acts 4:10-12), as "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (vs.12).

But what happens to the multitudes in Iraq and elsewhere who have not even heard the true name of Christ? What about those who do not respond per Deuteronomy 4:29-31? And what happens to those born before Christ's earthly ministry? Recall that the Bible teaches that after Adam sinned, humankind was blocked from the tree of life as God had it guarded so that humans would not be able to access it on their own (Genesis 3:22-24).

Even the basic Protestant view is that unless one professes belief in Jesus prior to the first death, then salvation will be unavailable. It is perhaps because of the difference between this view and that of the genuine Church of God, that Protestants tend to label Church of God groups as cults.

The Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, as represented by the Continuing Church of God, teaches that God is only calling a relatively few during this age with the Day of Pentecost (also called the Day of Firstfruits, Numbers 28:26) partially explaining this. "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).

Jesus and the real Church of God teach, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). And that will be few at this time, "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14), "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14).

Protestants and Catholics tend to feel, correctly, that God uses ministers to preach (Romans 10:14). Yet, the message is not always clear. In Isaiah 6:9-11 God teaches,

9 "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' 10 Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." 11 Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate".

In other words, the bulk of the people are not to understand until after a time of great desolation.

Unless Iraqis have committed the unpardonable sin (and relatively few could have) they will be judged as other uncalled people are.

The Bible clearly teaches that salvation will be offered to all. And that includes the Iraqis. Notice the following scripture:

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6).

Those who were uncalled in this age (including most people and nearly all of the Iraqis, including those that have long been dead) will be offered an opportunity for salvation (two related articles of interest may include Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants).

And nearly all of them will accept it. The Continuing Church of God teaches that God will ultimately give every individual an opportunity for salvation--and that nearly every individual will accept that opportunity. The vast majority of human beings will ultimately be in God's family.

This means that ultimately that nearly all Iraqis will be in the permanent kingdom of God. Notice some of the descriptions from the Book of Revelation:

2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:2-4).

So, despite the bad news, there ultimately will be good news for the Iraqis, along with the rest of humanity, in the coming Kingdom of God. All should heed Jesus’ words and pray, “Your Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

Here is a link to a related YouTube video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.

Thiel B. Iraq, th King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy. http://www.cogwriter.com/iraq-in-prophecy.htm COGwriter (c) 2014/2015/2016 0829

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