Time Magazine’s new cover features this photo, obviously their political opinion of what is happening in that troubled region of the world. They wrote, “The sudden military victories of a Sunni militant group threaten to touch off a maelstrom in the Middle East“
It is my opinion too, but not because it’s political, but because it’s prophetic.
The Atlantic published this today-
The New Map of the Middle East
Why should we fight the inevitable break-up of Iraq?
Almost seven years ago, I wrote a cover story for this magazine about the coming collapse of the post-World War I Middle East map. I conducted the reporting for the story, which we eventually called “After Iraq: What Will the Middle East Look Like,” in the fall of 2007—pre-Obama, pre-Arab Spring, pre-a lot of things—but even back then, it was fairly obvious that the age of Middle East stability (relatively speaking) was coming to an end.
In the last of the last days (days immediately prior to the rapture) and in the Tribulation, borders are going to be redrawn. Borders will be fluid, change, and disappear. We know this because of prophecy. Here are two examples:
1. In Daniel it is written that in the time of the antichrist there will be ten kingdoms. After the Antichrist takes control, the globe will be divided into ten kingdoms with ten kings (Daniel 7:7, 20-24).
2. We also know that borders are going to be redrawn because during the Tribulation, Israel acquires their covenental land, so that when the Millennium Kingdom is installed and Jesus reigns on earth, God’s promise to His people regarding their lands will be restored to them in full and His promise completed. (Read more here).
Secondly, we know that borders are going to be redrawn because of history. Borders are always being redrawn. Nations’ names even change- not just in the distant past but even in current history. (Burma—> Myanmar; Sudan into North Sudan and South Sudan, into UN-recognized separate countries).
In January 1991 the Soviet Union had the world’s longest boundary, clocked at 37,000 miles! But when the Union split and the 15 countries within it went their way, the borders changed. By December 1991, the USSR was no more. During that heady time, it seemed that new countries were emerging every day. Maps became outdated every year. It was a dizzying time, and I remember it well.
Just a few months ago the Crimea split from Ukraine and is now occupied by Russia. Abyssinia was the name of Ethiopia until the early 20th century. Namibia was born from Southwest Africa as an independent nation in 1990. The original Yugoslavia had borders much different than it does now. It’s now divided up into Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia. This occurred in the early 1990s.
So you see, new nations come and go. In addition, wars usually change borders. Austria-Hungary was a long-lasting monarchy established in 1867. It included not just Austria and Hungary, but also parts of the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Romania, and the Balkans. World War I redrew all those borders.
WWII changed a lot of borders. Prussia ceased to exist and the current Germany came to being.
So when we see an alarming national magazine cover that poses the question, “The End of Iraq?” one isn’t perturbed because it is the way of things for nations to come and go, borders ebb and flow, and names change and change again.
Mot assuredly of all, we know prophecy is simply history written before the time. God is in control of all nations.
For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:28)
Iraq is the home to the ancient land of Babylon. After the Flood, the world’s first tyrant, Nimrod, built Babylon and Nineveh and many other cities. He subdued the peoples and united them. He also led the world’s first rebellion against God (Genesis 11, Tower of Babel). The Plains of Shinar, Mesopotamia, Chaldea…they were, are, and will be “Iraq”. Let’s move from south to north in looking at this most historical and ancient of lands, Iraq.
Where you see “Babylon” on the map, just 50 miles to the north is Baghdad. Where you see “Nineveh” on the map, is Mosul now, just across the river.
Easton’s bible dictionary defines Chaldea
The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim, which is usually rendered “Chaldeans” (Jeremiah 50:10; 51:24, 35).
Somewhere between 593 and 565 B.C. during the Babylonian captivity Ezekiel wrote the following:
“You also multiplied your harlotry with the land of merchants, Chaldea, yet even with this you were not satisfied.“‘ (Ezekiel 16:29, NAS)
So, even in the beginning the region was called ‘the land of merchants’ and at the end of time it will be called so again. The last empire of man will be focused at Babylon, and it will be a religious empire and a commercial empire. In Revelation 18:11-13 we read that ‘all the world’s merchants’ mourn the loss of the great city because of its stupendous commerce.
Moving north from Chaldea a bit, we haveMesopotamia. Easton’s Bible Dictionary describes Mesopotamia:
The country between the two rivers (Hebrews Aram-naharaim; i.e., “Syria of the two rivers”), the name given by the Greeks and Romans to the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris (Genesis 24:10; Deuteronomy 23:4; Judges 3:8, 10). In the Old Testament it is mentioned also under the name “Padan-aram;” i.e., the plain of Aram, or Syria (Genesis 25:20). The northern portion of this fertile plateau was the original home of the ancestors of the Hebrews (Genesis 11; Acts 7:2). From this region Isaac obtained his wife Rebecca (Genesis 24:10, 15), and here also Jacob sojourned (28:2-7) and obtained his wives, and here most of his sons were born (35:26; 46:15). The petty, independent tribes of this region, each under its own prince, were warlike, and used chariots in battle. They maintained their independence till after the time of David, when they fell under the dominion of Assyria, and were absorbed into the empire (2 Kings 19:13).
Moving north still, here is Easton’s again, describing the Kingdom of Babylon. Remember, we’re going through this history of changing names because today’s Iraq IS this ancient land.
Called “the land of the Chaldeans” (Jeremiah 24:5; Ezek, 12:13), was an extensive province in Central Asia along the valley of the Tigris from the Persian Gulf northward for some 300 miles. It was famed for its fertility and its riches. Its capital was the city of Babylon, a great commercial centre (Ezek. 17:4; Isaiah 43:14). Babylonia was divided into the two districts of Accad in the north, and Summer (probably the Shinar of the Old Testament) in the south. Among its chief cities may be mentioned Ur (now Mugheir or Mugayyar), on the western bank of the Euphrates; Uruk, or Erech (Genesis 10:10) (now Warka), between Ur and Babylon; Larsa (now Senkereh), the Ellasar of Genesis 14:1, a little to the east of Erech; Nipur (now Niffer), south-east of Babylon; Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:24), “the two Sipparas” (now Abu-Habba), considerably to the north of Babylon; and Eridu, “the good city” (now Abu-Shahrein), which lay originally on the shore of the Persian Gulf, but is now, owing to the silting up of the sand, about 100 miles distant from it. Another city was Kulunu, or Calneh (Genesis 10:10).
In addition to being labeled the land of merchants, it is also called the land of Nimrod. (Micah 5:6, more here about Nimrod.) As you read the above description by Easton, note the cities of Babylon. Most were founded by Nimrod. (Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh in Shinar (Genesis 10:8-10). That’s why I put them in bold.
Later Nimrod extended his Babylonian Kingdom and “went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.” (Genesis 10:11-12).
In the north, Assyria began as a Babylonian colony. It eventually shook off its colonizers and became one of the largest (and most brutally vicious) kingdoms in history.
Easton’s on Assyria-
The name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the original capital of the country, was originally a colony from Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia
So when the secular media pronounces a death knell on Iraq, is it true? Yes and no. Perhaps we’re seeing the name Iraq pass into history, as Chaldea, Babylon, and Mesopotamia have. Perhaps we are seeing the borders of the Iraq as we’ve known it pass into history, once again. Kingdoms rise, live for a time, and die.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; (Daniel 2:21)
What we are seeing is the hand of God in His providential working out of His plan for the Gentile nations, and His people Israel. These lands, Assyria especially, are so evil, the LORD will strike them and judge them. (Isaiah 66:15-16)
Yet, He is merciful! He will restore them! He blesses His lands and His people!
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance. (Isaiah 19:24-25)