Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Global SITREP B5-14: The Lord's Fierce Anger Upon Iran

22 January 2014 (Prologue): The prophecy of Jeremiah 49:34-39 has been discussed on this blog on numerous occasions over the past couple of years. This time however a closer look at the text might be a beneficial exercise. Even though there are only six verses to this prophecy, it also contains a substantially larger amount information for the reader to absorb than the text by itself reveals. The both the plain text and the imagery within this prophecy are astounding in my view. As always, I believe this is a prophecy that is about to commence in its fulfillment in three distinct phases: an imminent start, a middle phase during the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38/39, and the final verse during the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Verse 34: "The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah..."

This leading verse simply informs the reader that Jeremiah is the presenter to us of: 

a) the prophetic word that has been given to him by "the Lord of hosts" 
b) the subject of the prophecy, and 
c) when this prophecy was given to Jeremiah. 

The remaining 5 verses contain all of the prophetic data, and within these five verses I discern a distinct sequence of events.

Verse 35: "Behold, I will break the bow (qesheth) of Elam, the foremost of their might."

This verse informs that Elam's (Iran's) foremost military might, it's offensive military might, is suddenly and inexplicably broken. This event is singular unto itself. The plain text metaphor qesheth (battle bow or archer) given here informs us that the choice part or best of the military might of Iran that God will break is an offensive weapon system that launches projectiles at the enemy.

Even without nuclear warheads, Iran possesses an incredible number of rocket and missile platforms that as with all modern military forces provide coverage from short to long ranges and in multiple types for engaging land, sea and airborne targets. These rocket and missile systems are the qesheth that Jeremiah speaks of. There is no reason given for the breaking of these weapons systems, it's just that the Lord of hosts has declared it will happen.

As in ancient times when Persian/Median armies launched massive barrages of arrows at their enemies, so too the Iranian military of today relies very heavily on their modern day equivalent. Iranian warfighting doctrine dictates mass barrage-style launches. Iran can be seen exercising this capability every couple of months or so, and in some instances photoshopping the images to convey ridiculous numbers of rockets being launched.

 Nevertheless, the question is, how will God break such a qesheth as this? I would speculate, aside from a supernatural act by God, this will occur by the same electronic warfare means as Israel has thus far kept all enemy missile systems from firing at their F15-I Ra'am and F-16I Sufa strike aircraft for the past seven years over Lebanon, Syria and the Sudan. Israel not only can put an enemy into an electronic black hole, but the evidence is that the IDF can actually take control of an enemy's weapons systems. Israel's airborne Suter electronic warfare system, or whatever the more mature version might have as its nomenclature today,  the system really is so advanced, that I suspect it is even beyond the very real capability of the rumored non-nuclear EMP capability.

Verse 36: "Against Elam (Iran) I will bring the four winds, from the four quarters of heaven, and scatter them toward all those winds; there shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go."

Four winds from every direction of the globe scatter outcasts from Elam to every nation of the globe. These are Iranian refugees escaping the tyranny of the regime and the Basij thugs who enforce that tyranny. God provides them this escape so that they may return in the future to this ancient* people to this ancient* land as He promises in verse 39. (those 'latter days' are almost certainly during the Millennium Kingdom of Christ.) So, to recap, the major offensive weapons capability of Iran is suddenly broken or non-functional in the previous verse.

This clearly, as we shall see in the subsequent verse, causes dismay, confusion and a window of opportunity is created whereby those who desperately want to escape (such as Christians and anti-regime Iranians) do so, and the depart the country in every direction of the compass. To my tactical way of thinking, it appears as though not only are Iran's primary weapons down for the count, but is regime's ability to control its population and its borders. Few people are aware that in Iran the rapidly expanding Born Again segment of the population are fervently and devoutly praying for the Jeremiah 49:34-39 prophecy to come to a soon fulfillment irregardless of the consequences for Iran stated in those prophecies. The biggest reason they pray for this prophecy to come to fulfillment is that the scattering of many Iranian people will free them to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ elsewhere in the world!

NOTE* The very word Elam has a dual meaning. It can mean a long time, as an eternity, or it can refer to an ancient region of political power northeast, east and southeast of the lower Tigris River. This is where the ancient country and eventual empire of Elam began.  It is no accident that this region is the location of the nearly operational Arak heavy water plutonium reactor, also known as IR40 (Iran 40MegaWatt reactor), and the under-construction 360MW Darkhovin heavy water plutonium reactor, and the operational 1000MW Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Verse 37: "For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies and before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger," says the Lord; "And I will send the sword after them until I have consumed them."

The sudden and sequential over-taking events continue with verse 37. In this verse it appears as though the regime itself is being subdued by a sword, an opposing armed force, perhaps even an insurrection, which brings disaster upon them. How fitting for a Jewish holocaust denying regime to itself be subjected to a Divinely ordained holocaust from which there is no escape unless it is into the saving embrace of the Lamb of God. 

In any event, the consuming of this important region of modern-day Iran by the ravages of war would create far reaching effects, not the least of which would be the downgrading of Iranian military capability and the loss of Iran's primary industrial and oil and natural gas producing sector, the overwhelming majority of which lie within the heart of ancient Elam.

Iranian industry, oil, natgas production and reserves (top) 
in the region of ancient Elam(bottom).

Verse 38:  "I will set My throne in Elam, and will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the Lord."

Verse 38 completes the previous causation of this prophetic destruction by the sword of war.  But here there is a very important distinction in the sequence of events of this prophecy. This is the last of the sequence of events. To recap again, the foremost of Iran's military might was destroyed first, this was followed by a mass exodus of many Iranians to all points on the globe, which was followed by the continued dismay of the regime and war being thrust upon them. Then, after all of this does God set His throne in Elam. 

I was awoken this morning with the thought that the meaning of this verse is much more than meets the eye at first glance. The throne of God on the Earth, in Elam? Surely the Lord Jesus Christ will sit upon His throne in the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, and God the Father sits upon His throne in Heaven, so the meaning of this is clearly well beyond the plain text of the verse. It must be figurative.

How does the Bible describe the throne of God? The Bible has many descriptions, yet the most poignant is that as Paul noted the description of which are as "inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." The throne of God in Heaven is where perpetual and eternal worship of the Almighty takes place. Nevertheless, we might need look no further than the narrative of Ezekiel 1:4- 28 or of John of Patmos in Revelation 4:1-11 where John was taken in the Spirit to that most Holy of all places. John's visual descriptions are of brilliant emerald, jasper and carnelian, lightning flashes and peals of thunder. Ezekiel's much earlier vision was of a great cloud of fire engulfing itself, brightness and radiance the color of amber, the throne having the appearance of a sapphire. 

I am left with the very strong conviction that verse 38 is completely figurative in nature. It is illustrative of something that has the appearance of the Lord's throne, something that destroys the Iranian ayatollah and his regime of false clerics. That, I believe, is a nuclear holocaust which they had intended upon bring to the rest of the world in the pursuit of hastening their non-existent al-mahdi figure. I would include this verse as being fulfilled with the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38:18-22 when God will destroy the nations which came against Israel. This includes Iran according to Ezekiel 38:22, "And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone."

Verse 39: "‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the Lord.”

The prophecy is completed with this verse, and I believe the fulfillment for this verse occurs during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on the Earth.

Addendum: To those who would erroneously interpret that Jeremiah's prophecy was fulfilled thousands of years ago, I would recommend that they seriously reconsider some key points before blurting out their ignorance on this topic. 

1. Jeremiah lived and prophesied during a critical period of Judah's history. As noted above in Jeremiah 49:34 this prophecy was given in the beginning of the reign of Judah's king Zedekiah. Zedekiah's reign began in 597 BC. No earthly events of the type and in the place prophesied by Jeremiah have ever occurred since 597 BC and forward to the present. Therefore, and without question, Jeremiah 49:34-39 constitutes an unfulfilled prophecy regarding the modern, latter-days country of Iran.

2. In Isaiah's own latter-days prophecy (see: Isaiah 11:11-12) which mirrors the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 concerning the re-assembling of "the outcasts of Israel" gathered together with the "dispersed of Judah," the prophet Isaiah names several nations from which the Jewish people of the Roman exile of circa 66-73 AD would return to the land of Israel:

"From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea"

Clearly, the use of Elam and the other national names of antiquity for latter days prophetic fulfillments is a common theme for many of the inspired prophets of God, and should not constitute a problem in any exegesis, including this one.


Bruce McKerras said...

Note in Isaiah 21:2 and in Isaiah 22:6 another mention of Elam preparing for war. I see the fulfilment of those chapters as the same event as described in Psalm 83. Although Elam isn't listed in Psalm 83, their proxies are - armed to the teeth with Iranian weaponry. Persia [Elam/Media] will join the Gog/Magog attack that will happen later, after righteous Israel return to all of the holy Land.

Sean Osborne said...

Hi Bruce, and thanks very much for commenting.

I have always regarded Isaiah 21 as the prophet using Elam in connection with Media as synonymous with the conquest of the precisely fulfilled prophecy (Daniel and Isaiah) of the conquest of Babylon by the combined Median/Persian forces of Cyrus the Great. I also believe it may have a symbolic meaning for the destruction of the Antichrist's kingdom at the end of the 70th Week by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, the reference in Isaiah 22:6 is to the conquests of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III in the period of 745-727 BC. The fulfilled prophecy of Isaiah 22 is directly connected to II Kings chapters 15 and 16, 1 Chronicles 5 and Amos 1:5.

Bruce McKerras said...

Yes, a partial fulfilment can be construed from Isaiah 21 & 22, with the destruction of Babylon.
But Isa 21:1 mentions the Negev - Southern Israel as being the place were this finally happens.
In Chapter 22 again, I cannot see any final fulfilment as yet. Isaiah was writing after the events you quote, as an example of what must happen, still future.
I have been to Israel and can say for sure that Isaiah 22:11b applies to the current inhabitants.

Sean Osborne said...

Bruce wrote:

"But Isa 21:1 mentions the Negev - Southern Israel as being the place were this finally happens."

For reference here is Isaiah 21:1 (NKJV)

"The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea.
As* whirlwinds in the South pass through,
So it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.

NOTE *Other translations, including Young's Literal Translation, use the word "Like" instead of the word "As" to begin the sentence.


Isaiah 21:1 does not prophesy that anything "finally happens" in the Negev.

The reference to the Negev, which most Bible version correctly translate as "South" is merely as a prophetic simile, a figure of speech in other words.

The key to understanding this as a simile is the use of "As" or "Like" preceding the Hebrew word cuwphah (the more modern spelling is sufa) meaning whirlwind or storm, as in F-16I Sufa.

The prophet Isaiah used the simile of a sufa in the southern Judean desert in comparison to the coming of Achaemenid Persian conquerors into the Babylonian Empire.

The Achaemenid Persian conquerors entered into Babylon in September 539 BC (immediately after the Battle of Opis on the Tigris River north of Babylon) from the Iraqi desert in a similar manner AS or LIKE US and Coalition forces entered into Baghdad from the same desert in 2003.

If there truly are two (2) fulfillments to the phrase "Babylon is fallen, is fallen" in verse 9b, then they may well be the aforementioned Achaemenid and US/Coalition conquests of the Mesopotamian capital, the first about 140 years afters Isaiah's death, the second obviously and figuratively in our Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.