In a few weeks or even days, we may not recognize North Africa and the Middle East. Even as America and the West struggle to deal with Iran, they potentially could be faced with more than a dozen other nations that export terrorism and eagerly pursue nuclear weapons!
If this sounds too far-fetched to be true, remember that the same unrest that swiftly toppled he Tunisian ruling family has already spread to more than 15 other nations in the region.
What are the prophetic implications of these events?
Join us on Beyond Today as we examine "Egypt in Bible Prophecy."
Sometimes it takes only one small act in a remote corner of the world to ignite a larger conflict. Such an act took place when a 26-year-old produce-stand vendor, named Mohamed Bouzizi, set himself on fire in Tunisia. His action dropped a match into the tinderbox that is the Middle East igniting protests throughout the region.
Now some have likened this to the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914. This act sparked the flames of World War I, setting in motion a chain of events that ultimately reshaped the world.
Since Mohamed Bouzizi's death, the president of Tunisia fled the country. Widespread and sometimes bloody protests have broken out in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Syria. In some cases, panicked governments shut down Internet and cell phone communications nationwide to slow the spread of anti-government demonstrations. In others, tanks, armored personnel carriers and thousands of troops patrolled city streets to maintain control.
Where will things go from here? It's anyone's guess. Things could calm down temporarily, or they could grow much, much worse. Change is coming to Egypt and the Middle East. Bible prophecy shows that a time of even greater turmoil ahead. Egypt will be a key player in a major conflict that will eventually engulf the entire world. We may now be witnessing the initial stage of this final global conflict.
I have been to Egypt and I have seen its fabled treasures. Modern Egypt seethes with an energy from its millions of inhabitants, many of whom live in poverty and yearn for a better life. Even as I sat in the comfort of a tour bus, you could see the faces and the outstretched hands begging for money. Your heart goes out to the people.
I took a picture of one boy who held a young goat in his hands seeking a handout in return for the picture I took. In that you see the contrast of ancient civilization, modern culture and human yearning for a better life. That to me made an impression that sticks with me to this day. I understand why these people are in the streets wanting change. But the danger is the change they seek can trigger events beyond their control with world changing consequence.
What we are about to tell you is vital for your understanding. God does not want you caught unaware in a trap being set for Egypt and other nations. This information on today's program is vital to your future.
For Mohamed Bouzizi, he saw little hope in his future. Frustrated at being unable to find a decent job, he could only find work manning a produce stand on a city street. His desperation is shared by millions throughout the Arab world. Angry citizens see little opportunity to improve their life while their rulers enrich themselves, their families, and friends.
Their resentment is also often directed at the West, whom they see as subjugating the Muslim world, polluting it culturally and spiritually.
All of this feeds right into the hands of Islamic radicals and fundamentalists. These groups are always ready to stir unrest if it means gaining more power. Their goal is to create a global community of Muslim believers under Islamic rule.
Now chief among such groups, is the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic group that originated in Egypt and has considerable power there. Spokesmen for the Muslim Brotherhood have already renounced Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. If this were done, it would return the two countries, Israel and Egypt, to a state of war.
It's very difficult for Westerners to grasp the religious fervor that drives events in Middle Eastern countries. One reason is because few in the West take religion seriously. It's hard for them to fathom the deep religious beliefs that motivate so many people there. It also makes it difficult to understand the huge cultural differences, much less bridge them. Those of us in advanced Western democracies would naturally sympathize with the demands of demonstrators in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen for greater rights, greater freedoms and a larger say in their governments and leaders. Most human beings rightfully yearn for such things.
But two recent U.S. Presidents, Bush and Obama, have learned that an important lesson dealing with the Middle East. Granting self-rule to people steeped in a culture of being told what to do, creates more problems than it solves. Egypt, like other Middle Eastern countries, tends to look to strong men as saviors. Instant democracy can sometimes create far more problems than it solves.
We need only consider the Gaza Strip, which, in its first democratic election back in 2006, swept the terror group Hamas into power. Its first election was also its last. We could also look at Iraq, and Afghanistan, where attempts to institute democratic institutions after the ouster of strongman rulers like Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar, have proved to be bitter disappointments.
Like the citizens of Gaza, Iraqis and Afghanis have often looked to religious figures to lead them, and that has often only fostered further problems and divisions.
Another example we would do well to heed is Iran. The parallels between what happened in Egypt and those of the 1979 Iranian Revolution are sobering. Leading up to that revolution, dissatisfaction among students and liberal-leaning members of Iranian society brought widespread protests, much like those seen in Egypt today. It wasn't long before vast public demonstrations brought the toppling of the pro-Western Shah of Iran. Abandoned by his supporters in the West, he fled the country in disgrace.
For a time, it appeared that Iran might actually have a progressive, democratic government. But barely a month after the Shah's departure, the Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers took over and a fundamentalist revolution was in full swing. Iran quickly became a radicalized religious regime.
Now, three decades later, Iran is run by Ayatollah Khomeini's ideological offspring, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose efforts to develop nuclear weapons have antagonized much of the Western world and inspired fear in many of its neighbors.
If Egypt, the largest Arab nation, were to become a religious regime, it would upset the delicate balance of power in the Middle East. It could be even more unsettling than Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
It's no coincidence that Iranian leaders have urged Egyptians to rise up and to start their own revolution. They would like nothing more than to see the Iranian Revolution spread throughout the entire Middle East. That was one of Ayatollah Khomeini's greatest goals, one wholeheartedly endorsed by his followers. Egypt would be the grand prize for Islamic revolutionaries. With 80 million people, it is the Arab world's most populous country. After Israel, it has the region's greatest military capability and it also controls one of the world's key shipping chokepoints, the Suez Canal, through which up to 2 million barrels of oil pass every day to hungry Western markets.
With its storied history and cultural legacy, Egypt holds a special place in the minds of Muslims worldwide. If Egypt were to turn from its secular government and embrace Islamic fundamentalism on a national level, it would be a huge boon to the revolutionary cause.
Make no mistake, the same methods that brought revolutionaries into power, in Iran, are very much at work in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East today. They first spread dissatisfaction, and then unrest, leading to chaos and uncertainty, causing the people to cry out for solutions and stability. After which, they step in as the solution to the very problems they themselves created--and a totalitarian state is born. The only difference is this time the authoritarian state is religious in nature.
Of course, it doesn't stop with just one country. In a matter of a few weeks, to a few days, the entire Middle East as we know it could be radically transformed.
On Beyond Today, we have long urged you to closely watch events in the Middle East. And with good reason, for the Middle East will be at the center of events that in the near future will lead to the end of the age of human misrule and the establishment of the soon-coming reign of Jesus Christ.
But it will not be pretty! From the Middle East will flow events that will create chaos and turmoil on a scale unparalleled in human history. Jesus Christ Himself said of this time: "It will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of Gods' chosen it will be cut short" (Matthew 42:21-22).
The 11th chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel, describes a ruler rising from the lands of the Middle East at the time of the end in verse 40. This individual, apparently the leader of an end-time alliance of Muslim nations, is referred to in this verse as "the king of the South." Now remember this: A primary goal of Islamic fundamentalists is to unite all Muslims under a central Islamic rule.
Daniel's prophecy spans many centuries, from the time of the Persian Empire to the time of the end and Jesus Christ's return. In this chapter, the terms "king of the South" and "king of the North" originally referred to two of the successors of Alexander the Great--two of his generals, who at Alexander's death, were given portions of his empire to the south and to the north of the Holy Land, and thus we have the terms "king of the South" and "king of the North."
But over the many centuries of this long prophecy, the kings of the South and the North, as well as the territories over which they ruled, changed. Alliances shifted. Kingdoms, empires and dynasties rose and fell.
Now, if you want to understand why there is continual conflict in the Middle East and where it's headed, you must understand the history of these peoples from the pages of your Bible. That's why we urge you to request your free copy of the booklet we're offering today entitled: The Middle East in Bible Prophecy . This booklet will fill in the details that you will not find in today's news coverage or tomorrow's news coverage. It will guide you throughout the history of the descendants of Abraham, the rise and fall of ancient Israel, the formation of Islam, and what Bible prophecy says about the future of war and peace in the Middle East, and its impact on your world. This is a vitally important booklet that will help you sort through what's taking place on your television sets today.
Call right now for your free copy at 1-888-886-8632. Or go online at Beyond Today.tv . You can download it from this site or you can call the number for a free printed copy.
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Now let's go back to Daniel's prophecy and let's notice something. It says there, "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." (Daniel 11:40)
This king of the South attacks the king of the North, which is the leader of a European centered alliance of nations, which then provokes a retaliatory invasion into the Middle East. It goes on to say that "He shall also..."--The king of the North--"...enter the Glorious Land..."--which is talking about the Holy Land, which is generally modern-day Israel--"and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon." (Daniel 11:41)
Edom, Moab and Ammon are largely the people of modern-day Jordan, so it appears that the king of the North invades Israel but it stops short of invading Jordan.
But notice what also happens in this invasion by the king of the North. It goes onto say, "He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels." (Daniel 11:42-43)
Now Libya is immediately west of Egypt; Ethiopia is to the south. The king of the North clearly invades the region and ends up controlling Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia as a result of this retaliatory offensive.
How are we to make sense of these prophesied events from the Bible?
Until the rise of militant Islam, none of this seemed remotely possible. But with the Iranian Revolution and the often-stated goal of uniting believers under the banner of Islam, we now see the increasing likelihood of some sort of an Islamic movement sweeping across the nations of the Middle East and uniting Muslims against the West.
To them, Europe remains a grave threat to Islam. Even today Islamic radicals, like Osama bin Laden, repeatedly refer to Western influence in the Middle East as a continuation of the Crusades, which they view as an attempt to exterminate Islam that is still ongoing.
Other Muslim figures openly talk of capturing Europe for Islam--preferably through peaceful immigration, but through war and jihad if necessary.
In today's current atmosphere--with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatening the West and pursuing nuclear weapons, with Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism spreading, with conflict growing between Islam and the West, and with the possibility of secularized Arab governments falling to Islamists--suddenly this clash of civilizations and another open war in the Middle East doesn't sound so far-fetched at all.
We definitely need to keep a close eye on the Middle East. It's unclear how the current turmoil will affect Egypt. Perhaps peace and calm will win out temporarily. Or things could turn very bad very quickly.
Either way, even if it doesn't happen now, these recent events show just how volatile the situation is in many of these countries and how quickly the situation could change at any given time--perhaps leading into the very events foretold by Daniel under God's inspiration.
As Jesus Christ tells us in Luke 21:36, we are to diligently "watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Let us make sure that's what we are so doing!
Remember the picture that I took of the young Egyptian boy holding his pet goat? As I have watched the recent turmoil in Egypt, I have thought about this boy, who today would be a young man. Is he in the streets protesting for a better life? Is he one of those who could have been killed in the rioting? What will happen to his Egypt and the hopes and the dreams of those like him who just want a life in peace with the ability to have a family and provide for them?
These are the people I think about. These are the ones who need the Kingdom of God. The despots and the rulers who today abuse their power and stewardship over people will be removed. History shows this through countless revolutions. Bible prophecy shows us that one day all the kingdoms of this world will be replaced by the righteous reign of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 11:15 says, "Then the seventh angel sounded; And there were loud voices in heaven saying the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."
There is an Egypt beyond the prophecies of Daniel and the end time. There is an Egypt foretold that will no longer be the enemy of God's people. There is a hope for Egypt in a better world to come beyond today--the world foretold in the prophecies--the time of the Kingdom of God.
Notice this encouraging prophecy from Isaiah. A prophecy that stretches beyond today's headlines of rioting and upheaval. It's in Isaiah chapter 19:
"In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear by the Lord of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction. In that day (the time of the kingdom of god on earth) there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border."
Now stop and think. This prophecy thus far does not apply to ancient or modern Egypt. There never was, nor is there today, such an altar to the God of Abraham in Egypt.
Going on in verse 20, it says, "And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them."
"The Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it."
"And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them."
"In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria and Assyria will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians." (Isaiah 19:20-23)
What this is saying, is that the nations to the north and to the south of what is called the Holy Land today with Jerusalem at its center, those nations will one day be at peace. Let's continue on in verse 24:
"In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria–a blessing in the midst of the land whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel my inheritance.'" (Isaiah 19:24-25)
Egypt, and all the Arab states, will forge a peace with Israel that will never end. End time adversaries will be brought together in a peace that will not be broken. We know this prophecy is for beyond today because this has never happened.
The future for the Egyptians on today's streets is better than that offered by any form of secular or religious government. The young man whose picture I took from the window of my tour bus will one day see a free Egypt worshipping the true God of Abraham.
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Now, I am here with Steve Myers, one of our hosts on Beyond Today . Steve, welcome to the program. You know, why is it that the Middle East is a continual area of turmoil in today's world?
To know where we are today in the Mid-East, you have to look back in history, and part of that history is found right in the pages of the Bible. So you go back to the promises that God gave to Abraham. He promised that land--the land of Canaan, the Palestine area today--He promised that to Abraham and his descendants. Now, that was to pass through Isaac, his son. His son was the son of promise, as it says in the Bible. And so that land was to belong to Isaac and his descendants.
Now, part of the problem is that it became a family feud because Abraham had another son, Ishmael. He is the father of the Arab people today. And so there was this constant family struggle between that area. So as you follow that through history, you can see that happening over and over and over again.
So, you see Jerusalem changing hands so many times throughout history, that you get to the 600s A.D., Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Arabs. And then it went back and forth. It went back and by the time you get to the 1500s you have the Ottoman Empire ruling over that area of the world. Of course, the West was not happy with that so, finally we get to the World War I and the feud was continuing. The British people came in and they took over the area of Palestine at that time.
Course that whole area was redrawn after World War I anyway.
And so then the problem gets continued today.
And so no wonder it's an issue because they were displaced. Someone else was determining what was happening in that area of the world. And so then we fast forward to World War II, when the UN comes in and they redraw all the lines. They establish now the nation of Israel, the Jewish nation.
And can you imagine what the Arabs must feel like that they were pushed right out of their land by others, who really according to them have no authority to do that? And so it's a constant struggle that to this day still remains, that why would the Arab people want an Israel there forced on them by the UN?
You really can't understand the present situation without knowing how we got there and the history leading up to it.
Right. And there is so much you can learn from it all because it went back and forth and back and forth. So, you see the Dome of the Rock in Israel today, that was constructed back in the 1630s or so, and it's been there this whole time, but there were times that the Jews took over and they only had part of the land. Well then they overran and took Jerusalem in 1967 and began to rule from there. And so it's just been a constant struggle back and forth.
If we look at Egypt, which has been a focus of this program and the news of recent days, why is this recent unrest in Egypt so important for our viewers to understand?
I think once again if you go back in history, you can go to your Bible and probably some would be surprised to realize that Egypt is mentioned over 600 times in the Bible. Many of those are prophecies about what's going to happen. So what's going on today is important for us, to realize that we're pushing further and further toward the fulfillment of end time prophecies that concern Egypt.
And so when you look at the difficulties today, they're pushing to fulfill those prophecies. Especially the ones you mentioned in Daniel chapter 11, where it talks about the king of the North and the king of the South and that there's a coming Arab confederacy that will involve Egypt.
And so the nationalism that we see, the difficulties between the West, the hatred of the Western lifestyle, the challenges with oil, all of these things effect all of us today, that it's going to bring the world to the point of war. And that's going to fulfill those prophecies of Europe, the king of the North, with this Arab confederacy, the king of the South. That it will bring that about and so we need to know what's going on. It's important to know today so that we can understand those prophecies.
Daniel does mention Egypt specifically, along with other countries, but that is the largest of the countries and it's been prominent throughout history and is today. So it's really important to understand their role there.
I think it's Psalms 83 that mentions this confederacy…
Of Arab states…
Of Arab states…and so when you talk about Yemen, or you talk about the other areas, Saudi Arabia. You know, how is that going to work out and how are they going to come to an agreement? Well we can kind of see the seeds being planted for that to happen.
What should we be looking for in the years ahead?
Well we talked about the war that's coming, but I think even more important as we look beyond some of those difficulties, we have to understand the only way that's going to stop, the only way this, all of this history, this family feud, the struggles between the West and the East, the only way they're going to be solved is when Jesus Christ returns and He intervenes in human affairs.
Now when that happens, it's going to stop. He's going to establish the Kingdom of God. You mentioned that highway, in…is it Isaiah 19, I think is where that's mentioned?
…From the south and to the north. And that is…what a twist of history when you think about it. That this highway, from former enemies, to a highway that's going to help in the worship of God. It's going to be an awesome future. So that's what we have to look forward to.
It is a time ahead. There's a lot to happen before then. We want you to be informed on that, that's why the booklet that we're offering today and The Good News magazine is going to help you so, remember to call. Go online for the free booklet , The Middle East in Bible Prophecy , and also to receive a subscription to The Good News magazine. They're both offered free of charge. You can call 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv.
The Middle East continues to produce events that impact our world. Energy from the region fuels the global economy. Religious fundamentalism creates tension in the region and in Europe. Bible prophecy shows us the Middle East will be the global center of world attention in the years ahead. While it is the region that has given rise to major world religions, it has also seen its share of conflict through the centuries. Bible prophecy shows very significant incidents that lie in its future. It will trigger the crisis at the close of the age.
The only good news is that shortly after these future battles, we will see God's Kingdom finally being established on the earth. Keep watching. Live a holy and godly life, as you look forward to the day of God.
For Beyond Today , I'm Darris McNeely.