Politics & Prophecy: A Lawyer’s View of the End Times
Part 1 – The Big Picture
by Gerald R. Thompson
Gen. 10 (summary) – This chapter contains the genealogy of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth born to them after the flood. This chapter is commonly called the Table of Nations. Depending on how you count them, there are either 70 or 72 nations. They are the nations into which the world was separated after the Tower of Babel in Gen. 11.
The Table of Nations is the key to identifying historic (ancient) people and places that are named in prophecy. Some place names in prophecy (mostly cities) haven’t changed – they are the same now as they were 3,000 years ago. But a significant portion of them have changed over the years, and others have simply disappeared. Still, it’s amazing how many city names remain unchanged.
The main problem is that most regional and country names have changed over time, so they can be difficult to identify. Except for Israel and Egypt, the Bible doesn’t use modern country names. Instead, places tend to be called by the name of the primary ancestor whose descendants live(d) in that area. Ancestors who are more often than not listed in the Table of Nations.
For example, many prophecies relate to Edom. What/where is Edom? Well, Edom is another name for Esau, the son of Isaac and brother of Jacob. Gen. 36:1, 8. It is used in the Bible to indicate where the descendants of Esau live. Edom is located east of the Jordan river next to the southern part of Israel, or what is now the southern part of the nation of Jordan. So to help identify names and places (and relationships), I provide two aids: one an abbreviated genealogy, the other a list of locations (in the next section – Who Is Where?).
Noah had three sons, Japheth, Shem and Ham. These are their principal descendants:
- Japheth [Japhethites populated most of the western world, i.e., Europe & America]
. Gomer [Scythians] – AZERBAIJAN & N. TURKEY
. . 3 sons – Ashkenaz, Riphath & Togarmah
. Magog [Scythians] – AZERBAIJAN
. Madai [Medes] – IRAN
. Javan [Greeks] – GREECE & W. TURKEY
. . 4 sons – Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim & Dodanim
. Tubal [Tibereni] – TURKEY
. Meshech [Cappadocia] – TURKEY
. Tiras [Thrace] – BULGARIA
Shem [The Semites dominate the Mideast, but also populated parts of Asia]
. Elam [Elamites]
. Asshur [Assyria] – SYRIA
. Arphaxad (Arpachsad)
. . Shelah
. . . Eber [Hebrews]
. . . . Peleg
. . . . . Reu
. . . . . . Serug
. . . . . . . Nahor
. . . . . . . . Terah
. . . . . . . . . Abram (Abraham) – [8 sons]
. . . . . . . . . . Ishmael [ARABS]
. . . . . . . . . . . [12 sons]
. . . . . . . . . . Isaac
. . . . . . . . . . . Esau [Edom] – JORDAN
. . . . . . . . . . . Jacob [Israel] – ISRAEL
. . . . . . . . . . Midian (Midianites, or Iraqis) – IRAQ
. . . . . . . . . . [5 other sons – Jokshan, Zimran, Medan, Ishbak & Shuah]
. . . . . . . . . Nahor
. . . . . . . . . Haran
. . . . . . . . . . Lot
. . . . . . . . . . . Moab (Moabites) – JORDAN
. . . . . . . . . . . Ben-Ammi (Ammonites) – JORDAN
. . . . Joktan [Arabia] – SAUDI ARABIA
. Lud [Lydians] – EAST TURKEY
. Aram [Syria] – SYRIA
Ham [The Hamites populated most of Africa]
. Cush [“Ethiopia”] – N. SUDAN & SOMALIA
. . . Nimrod – founded Babylon, Akkadia & Nineveh
. Mizraim [Egypt] – EGYPT
. . Casluhites [Philistines] – PALESTINIANS
. . Caphtorites – CRETE
. . [5 other sons] . Put – LIBYA
. Canaan [Canaanites] -Sodom, Gomorrah, GAZA
. . Sidon – LEBANON
. . Heth [Hittites] – TURKEY
. . [9 other sons]
Obviously the above genealogy, derived mainly from Gen. 10, shows where the various nations first settled after the Tower of Babel. They all spread out from there as time went by and populated the rest of the world. But you may be surprised to realize that: 1) those areas of the world relevant to prophecy are still populated primarily by the descendants of those who first lived there; and 2) many of the really intense rivalries among nations are essentially intra-family disputes.
For example, the rivalry between Jews and Arabs started as a dispute between the descendants of two brothers, Isaac and Ishmael, over who was actually the child of promise of their father, Abraham. Similarly, the rivalry between Israel and Edom (south Jordan) started as a dispute between the descendants of two brothers, Jacob and Esau, over who was actually entitled to the blessing of their father, Isaac. The Ammonites and Moabites (historic enemies of Israel) are the descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and make up northern and central Jordan.
When you factor in that Israel was enslaved by Egypt, part of Israel was deported and held captive by Assyria (Syria), the rest deported and held captive by Babylon (Iraq), and all of them conquered by the Medes and Persians (Iran), you begin to see what is going on even now. There are ancient animosities that continue to the present – unabated by time. Furthermore, I have just explained the roots of the entire Mideast conflict in a nutshell. Not coincidentally, those same roots of conflict play an important role in end-times prophecy.
This is for two reasons. First, all of these nations have very long collective memories. The ancient disputes have not been forgotten, rather, they burn like embers waiting to burst into flame. None of the old offenses have been forgiven, either. Second, I am absolutely convinced God wanted things to be this way, and in fact brought about these conflicts Himself so they would bring about certain results that suit His purposes.
For example, when Abraham had Ishmael via Hagar the Egyptian: 1) it was an answer to prayer; 2) Hagar was informed of her pregnancy by the angel of the Lord; 3) Ishmael was sent away from Abraham with God’s blessing; 4) God promised to make Ishmael a great nation; and 5) Ishmael had twelve sons, just like Jacob (Israel). Gen. 16:11; 17:20. Can it reasonably be maintained that these things happened randomly, or that God was caught off guard by any of them?
To me, the evidence is overwhelming. God was under no obligation to do things the way He did. And none of these things happened by accident – God arranged them this way intentionally. The circumstances are such that lingering national conflict would unavoidably result. I therefore conclude that God wanted to generate conflict, because He certainly knew what would follow as a result of His manipulation of the circumstances.
Similarly, Jacob and Esau were born as twins, with Esau being born first. But with the aid of some clever deceit, Jacob swindled the birthright away from Esau, and then God blessed the swindle. Gen. 25:25, 34; Gen. 27. He didn’t have to do that – God could have had Jacob be born first. So tell me – why did God have Esau be born first and yet have the firstborn’s birthright go to Jacob, unless conflict was the goal?
Similarly, the enslavement of Israel by Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia was all God’s judgment, i.e., God’s idea. These things were certainly not Israel’s idea for itself, and the actions of the other nations is far too orchestrated to be the idea of any other group of men. We’re not talking about conspiracy theories here – we’re talking about divine intervention. Was God so ignorant that He did not know perpetual international conflict would result from this chain of ancient enslavements? Of course He knew. He had to have planned it that way.
So when you see in the news about some latest peace talks in the Mideast, please realize all such efforts are ultimately a farce and a waste. These are divinely appointed conflicts that will only be resolved when one side is virtually eliminated and the survivors are ruled by a common king whom they will all obey. In other words, an all out war to the death, the utter humiliation and conquest of the losers, followed by their permanent subjugation. To think that anything less than this will bring real peace to the Mideast is a delusion.
Biblical prophecy tells us who will win, and who will lose. If you want to find out who, read on.
One thing I should explain, before jumping into the list of locations, is that the whole point of reference biblically is that Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, is the center of the earth. We call Israel the Mideast, but God calls it the center of the world. Why does God do this? Because the land of Israel, and in particular Jerusalem, is His most favorite place in the world. Don’t ask me why – it just is. Consider the evidence:
Deut. 32:8 – When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God [i.e., the sons of Israel].
Ezek. 5:5 – Thus says the Lord God: “This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.”
Ezek. 38:10-12 – “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people . . . who were gathered from the nations, . . . who dwell at the center of the earth.”
Acts 17:26 – “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”
In other words, God selected where He wanted Israel to settle, marked off the boundaries of that land (see Ezek. 47:13-23), called that the center of the earth, and then arranged where all the other nations of the world should go around Israel to suit God’s convenience. And you probably thought it was all by accident, or merely random.
Accordingly, all directions given in prophecy (unless the context indicates otherwise) are relative to Israel and Jerusalem. The North generally means Turkey, and the extreme North means Azerbaijan, Georgia and the “Stans,” (i.e., Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.). The East means Persia (Iran) and sometimes Iraq. The South means Egypt, principally.
Thus, when Ezek. 38:6 (speaking of Armageddon) refers to many peoples from “the uttermost parts of the north,” it is most likely not a reference to Russia. (Sorry, but both Meshech and Tubal are in Turkey, and “Rosh” means “chief,” not Russia. Ezek. 38:2. More on that under Gog and Magog.)
The East most likely does not mean China, even though it is east of Israel, because no biblical prophecies are ever directed towards China, and China doesn’t show up anywhere in the Table of Nations. In fact, China is never mentioned even once in the Bible.
The South generally does not mean Saudi Arabia, which is usually instead referred to as “the desert,” “the desert by the sea,” or “the wilderness by the sea.” However, the nation of Israel has a long history with the nation of Egypt, and this would be the most likely focus of prophecies regarding the South.
Which brings us to the list of prophetic locations:
Turkey [Ottoman]• Historic Regions – Hittites, Cappadocia, Lud, Cilicia, Galatia, Lycia, Meshech, Tubal
• Significant Cities – Tarsus, Haran, Antioch, all seven cities of the churches of Rev. chap. 2-4
• Key Prophecies – Ezek. 30:5; 38:2-3; 39:1
Lebanon [Hezbollah]• Historic Regions – Phoenicia, Geshur, Gebal
• Significant Cities – Tyre, Sidon
• Key Prophecies – Ezek. 26; 28:21-22, Joel 3:4-8; Isa. 23
• Historic Regions – Canaan, Negev, Amalek
• Significant Cities – Jerusalem, Nazareth, Megiddo, Ashkelon
• Key Prophecies – Isa 10:20; 19:24-25; Jer. 6:8; 31:31-34
Gaza Strip [Hamas]• Historic Regions – Philistia (Philistines)
• Significant Cities – Gaza
• Key Prophecies – Jer. 47:1-7, Amos 1:6-8, Zeph. 2:4, Zech. 9:5, Ezek. 25:15-16
West Bank [Fatah (formerly PLO)]• Historic Regions – Judah (Judea), Samaria
• Significant Cities – Shechem, Shiloh, Bethel, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho
• Key Prophecies – Mat. 24:16; Isa. 1:1; 2:1; Joel 3:1; Zech. 2:12
• Historic Regions – Western Assyria, W. Mesopotamia, Aram
• Significant Cities – Damascus, Aleppo
• Key Prophecies – Amos 1:3; Zech. 9:1
• Historic Regions – Ammon, Moab, Edom, Hagrites
• Significant Cities – Amman, Petra, Sodom & Gomorrah
• Key Prophecies – Isa. 11:14; 34:8-10; Jer. 49:17; Ezek. 25:1-14
• Historic Regions – Babylonia, Asshur, E. Assyria, Chaldea, E. Mesopotamia
• Significant Cities – Babylon, Nineveh, Nimrod, Ur
• Key Prophecies – Nahum; Zeph. 2:13; Isa. 13:1-19
• Historic Regions – Persia, Medes (Media), Elam
• Significant Cities – Tehran, Esfahan, Tabriz
• Key Prophecies – Dan. 8:20; 11:2; Jer. 25:25; 49:34-39; Ezek. 38:5
• Historic Regions – Desert by the sea, Midian, Dedan
• Significant Cities – Medina, Mecca
• Key Prophecies – Isa. 21; Ezek. 30:5; Jer. 25:24
• Historic Regions – Sheba
• Significant Cities – Sanaa
• Key Prophecies – Ezek. 38:13
• Historic Regions – Mizraim, Sinai, Memphis
• Significant Cities – Cairo, Alexandria, Thebes
• Key Prophecies – Isa. 19:1-24; Jer. 9:25; Ezek. 29-30
Sudan & Somalia
• Historic Regions – Cush
• Significant Cities – Khartoum
• Key Prophecies – Ezek. 30:5; 38:5
• Historic Regions – Put (or Phut)
• Significant Cities – Tripoli, Benghazi
• Key Prophecies – Ezek. 30:5; 38:5
Key Prophecy Examples
Ex. 1) Ezek. 30 speaks of God’s judgment when the day of the Lord comes – “a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.” Ezek. 30:3. “Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.” Ezek. 30:5. Who are these nations?
This scripture refers to, in order, Sudan (& Somalia), Libya, Turkey, Saudi Arabia (w/ Yemen and others in the Arabian Peninsula), Libya (again), and most likely the Palestinians (Gaza and/or Lebanon – literally, the sons of the land of covenant). Egypt is also included because the whole context of Ezek. 30 is a pronouncement of a judgment against Egypt. Verse 5 simply lists the other nations that will be caught up in the judgment.
Ex. 2) The nations who are said to be judged at the battle of Armageddon are Meshech and Tubal, along with Persia, Cush, Put, “Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes; many peoples are with you.” Ezek. 38:2-6. Who are these nations? The answer: Turkey, Iran, Sudan (& Somalia), Libya, Azerbaijan & N. Turkey and unspecified others most likely including the “Stans.”
Ex. 3) Jer. 25:17-26 lists a wide variety of nations upon whom God will pour out His judgment. They are: Jerusalem and Judah [central Israel], Egypt [Egypt], Uz [southern Israel], Philistia (Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod) [Gaza and coastal Israel], Edom, Moab and the sons of Ammon [Jordan]; Tyre and Sidon [Lebanon], “the coastland across the sea” [probably Turkey], Dedan, Tema, Buz, “and all who cut the corners of their hair” [coastal Arabian peninsula], Arabia and “the mixed tribes who dwell in the desert” [Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabian peninsula], Zimri [probably western Iran], Elam and Media [Iran], “all the kings of the north, far and near” [Turkey and the “Stans” and possibly Syria], “all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth” [unnamed others], and Babylon [Iraq]. In other words, pretty much the entire Middle East, but not likely Europe, North or South America, southern Africa or the orient.
Once you know the modern equivalents for biblical designations of nations, it’s not hard to figure out who various prophecies are directed towards. Geographically, biblical prophecy is essentially all about propping up and restoring the land of Israel, and tearing down and judging the surrounding nations. As far as God is concerned, Israel really is the Promised Land, and Jerusalem (you might say) is the apple of God’s eye. The evidence strongly suggests that everything significant in prophecy will occur in the Mideast, with Jerusalem as the epicenter.
Aside: As a Westerner, a Gentile and (as far as I know) a Japhethite, I admit to being less than enthusiastic when I was first exposed to the idea that God has some special place in the world He considers to be His favorite, a place more special and holy than any other on earth, which is very far away, I have never been to, doesn’t seem to affect my daily life in any way, is a place of constant turmoil, and (to my eyes) isn’t that pretty. A bunch of barren rocks and parched ground. I can think of plenty of places which are far more important or desirable to me personally.
But the evidence is overwhelming. I cannot escape the inevitable conclusion. For reasons that are His own, God has simply set things up this way and I have to roll with it. The Christian hope is pinned to very Jewish prophecies. And if I want to find the truth, I have to come to grips with it.