Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
March 3, 2010
Last Updated :
April 22, 2012
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan vs Turkish Military, Courting Europe, General Mustafa Kemal Ataturk And Turkish Military Guardians, Kings Of The East, Euphrates River Dries Up, Definition Of Anatolia, Abraham Heth And The Hittites, John The Revelator, Isle Of Patmos And The Aegean Sea, Seven Churches Which Are In Asia, Backslidden Churches Abandon Christian Doctrines Of The Apostle Paul, Paul's Rebuke To Galatians, False God Men Islam And The Crescent Moon, More On Anatolia And Kings Of The East, Origin Of Euphrates River, A Potential Future War Against Israel Involving Turkey And Other Nations, Potential Routes Of The Beast And His Armies, A Possible Sneak Attack, Modern Technology's Dependence On Petroleum Products, When The Oil Stops, Wild Muslims On Horseback Brandishing Swords, Beheaded For Jesus Christ, Bible Hucksters And Guillotines, Chinese Interest In The Middle East Oil Fields, Diminishing Water Resources In Middle East, Significance Of Armageddon
In March of 2010 I read a news article in the New York Times entitled "Army Ebbs, and Power Realigns in Turkey". In a nutshell, the news article described how, at the time, the Islamist-backed government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was continuing to grow in power, while at the same time, the power and influence of the Turkish military was continuing to decline. This reality was highlighted by the fact that at that time, Mr. Erdogan's government detained almost two dozen military officers -- including two retired generals -- in connection with what was believed to be a possible planned coup attempt dating back several years prior to that time. While a lot of people probably dismissed the news article as being boring, uninteresting and unimportant, and probably didn't even bother to read it, those of us who are students of God's Word should take note of its potential importance from the perspective of Endtime prophecy.
Those of you who are long-time readers of my articles will know that I discuss Turkey's potential involvement in the Endtime scenario in a number of my articles, such as in the six-part series "The Seven Heads". In reality, what the New York Times article describes is a rather profound change in the constitution of Turkey's leadership, as well as in its long-time power structure. It also highlights the change in direction that Turkey is taking in the modern world, as it strives to become more accepted by the European Union. It may very well be that P.M. Erdogan's actions against the military are an attempt to impress the Europeans with the fact that Turkey is trying to forsake its old ways; or it may simply be a very sly ruse. Time will certainly tell.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
As you may possibly know, ever since General Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded Turkey as a modern nation in 1923 -- the country is in fact named after this man -- Turkey has been ruled by a very strong, secular military establishment which has viewed itself as Turkey's guardian. In fact, the Turkish military has not hesitated to take over the country on four occasions when the government in power has not been to its liking. However, during the past decade or so, the Islamists in Turkey have slowly gained ground. This ultimately resulted in the election of Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Turkey's new Prime Minister in 2002. He took office in March of 2003.
"So, exactly how do these political events possibly fit into the Endtime scenario?", you may be asking yourself. Allow me to explain. Contrary to what is taught by some modern Bible scholars and preachers, personally, I am not fully convinced that when the Book of Revelation mentions the Euphrates River drying up in order to make a way for the "kings of the east", that it is necessarily referring to the nations of the Orient, such as communist China, Japan, Korea, etc. These events are described for us in the following verse that is found in the Book of Revelation:
"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."
Revelation 16:12, KJV
Now, the common interpretation of the previous verse that has been promoted by a number of Bible teachers is that of the Euphrates River drying up in the country of Iraq, thus allowing the armies of the Orient to easily cross over it, as they march on their way to invade Israel. Now, let me be very clear about this. There is no doubt in my mind that the Euphrates River will eventually dry up, because God's Word says it, and I most certainly believe it. In fact, as I have discussed before, it has already come close to drying up on a number of occasions; not only because of the arid climate and the extended droughts which have plagued that region of the world, but also because the nations of Turkey and Syria to the north purposely control the flow of water into Iraq by building massive dams. Water is an extremely important commodity in the lands of the Middle East, and the lack of it has resulted in serious friction between the nations of that region.
But the key point I wish to make is this: In the Scriptures, where the Book of Revelation uses the phrase "kings of the east", the Greek word from which our English word "east" is derived, is "anatolia". If you take the time to carefully read the New York Times article, you will discover that it refers to the Anatolian news agency. It may interest you to know that prior to being known as Turkey, that country was referred to as Anatolia, and long before that, it was ruled by the Hittites -- that is, the descendants of Heth -- way back in the days of the Patriarch Abraham. The Bible informs us that Heth was one of the twelve sons of Canaan, and one of the twelve Canaanite nations was named after him, just as the twelve tribes of Israel received their names from the twelve sons of Jacob several hundred years later. Consider the following verses that are found in the Book of Genesis:
"And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,"
Genesis 10:15, KJV
"And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth."
Genesis 23:1-20, KJV
If you are not yet convinced that Turkey and Anatolia are synonymous terms, and that the phrase "kings of the east" could be referring to the leaders of Turkey, and not to the leaders of the oriental nations, then permit me to provide you with another important piece of information which is taken directly from the pages of the Bible. Allow me to ask you a simple question: At the time that John the Revelator received the Book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse as it is also known, do you know where was he located? Verse nine in chapter one of the Book of Revelation tells us quite clearly:
"I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Revelation 1:9, KJV
So dear John found himself on a small island called Patmos. It is believed by some people that Patmos was a Roman penal colony at the time, and that perhaps this is why John was sent there. Of course, we Christians know that John was sent there by God in order to receive his greatest revelation yet from the Lord. Two thousand years later, millions of us are still trying to understand the Apocalypse, or Revelation of Jesus Christ.
As you can discover for yourself, the Isle of Patmos happens to be located in the Aegean Sea, which itself is a region of the Mediterranean Sea that is located between Western Turkey and Greece. In ancient times, this part of Turkey was known as Asia Minor, and it was there, during the First Century, that the Apostle Paul established most of his churches. In fact, in the opening chapter of the Book of Revelation, we are clearly told that the Seven Churches "are in Asia", as we see by the following verses:
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne . . . Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea."
Revelation 1:4, 11, KJV
According to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the "Asia" that is mentioned in the previous verses corresponds to ancient Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria; which themselves correspond closely to modern Turkey, or Anatolia, if you prefer. As you may know, in His messages to the Seven Churches in Asia, the Lord had some serious complaints regarding some of them. What I discovered upon conducting a bit more Biblical research is that one of the reasons why some of the Seven Churches were in such dismal spiritual condition appears to be because they had forsaken some of the Christian doctrines which they had been taught by their spiritual father, the Apostle Paul. This seems to be rather evident in the following verses:
"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes."
2 Timothy 1:13-15, KJV
As you can see, the Apostle Paul -- who at that time was in prison in Rome -- admonished Timothy to "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me". That seems to be what some of the Churches in Asia did not do; and that may be why the Lord instructed the Apostle John to send His messages of rebuke to those Churches. One very clear example of the backslidden condition of some of the Churches that were in Asia Minor -- or Anatolia/Turkey -- can be found in the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Galatia was located in the highlands of central Anatolia. Its capital was Ancyra, which today is known as Ankara, the capital of Turkey. It was a very strong ally of Rome. In his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul does not mince his words in his strong rebuke to them:
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain."
Galatians 3:1-4, KJV
What I also discovered while conducting my research regarding the Galatians is that similar to the Phrygians who dwelt just to the west of them in Anatolia, the Galatians probably also worshiped the false god Men. What is interesting about this is the fact that a lot of the symbolism that is associated with this false god is related to the Moon. In particular, Men is usually depicted with crescent-like open horns on his shoulders. Now, can you think of any modern religion that is also associated with a crescent Moon? Should we also view it as a coincidence that modern Turkey is currently governed by a very Islamist-leaning administration, and that the flag of Turkey is a white crescent Moon and star against a red background?
Returning to our discussion concerning Turkey and Anatolia, it is interesting to note that in describing the Aegean Sea, even the Wikipedia website refers to Turkey as Anatolia -- meaning "east" in Greek -- as we see by this excerpt:
----- Begin Quote -----
The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey respectively."
----- End Quote -----
In other words, at the time that John received his amazing revelations from the Lord, if he were to face east towards the rising sun, he would not see China or Korea or Japan -- the modern kings of the east -- rather, he would in fact see the distant shoreline of Asia Minor; that is, Anatolia; or as it is known today, Turkey.
Taking this information into consideration, and the fact that Turkey is also know as Anatolia, and that "anatolia" actually means "east", it is logical to conclude that what the beloved King James Bible interprets as "the kings of the east" could also correctly be interpreted as "the kings of Anatolia". In other words, Revelation 16:12 could very well be referring to the modern leaders of Turkey, and not to the leaders of the Orient. Furthermore, it is also interesting to note that the word "kings" is derived from the Greek word "basileus", which also means "commander". In short, the Book of Revelation may be describing a future invasion of Israel from the north -- as in the King of the North? -- by an Islamic leader and his military forces from Turkey. In short, the modern descendants of the ancient Hittites may once again become the enemies of the Israelites.
If you are not familiar with the phrase "king of the north", I encourage you to read my series "The King of the North and the King of the South". As you will come to understand, this is a very important phrase insofar as Bible prophecy is concerned.
"But wait!", you may be saying to yourself. "How in the world can the Turkish armies cross the Euphrates River when it runs through the length of Iraq?". There are actually two possible ways that this could happen. First of all, allow me to inform you that the headwaters of the Euphrates River actually begin in eastern Turkey. From there, the river flows down through eastern Syria, and then into Iraq. Eventually, it joins with the Tigris River in the southern region of Iraq to form the extremely important Shatt al-Arab waterway, which flows into the Persian Gulf. The Wikipedia website states the following in regards to the origin of the Euphrates River:
----- Begin Quote -----
The Euphrates emerges from the confluence of the Murat Su and the Kara Su. The Murat Su rises 70 km northeast of Lake Van, about midway between Lake Van and Mount Ararat, whereas the Kara Su rises about 30 km northeast of Erzurum, in the Kargapazari Mountains. The courses of the Kara Su and the Murat Nehri run fairly parallel in a westerly direction until they unite near the city of Keban. From this point on, the combined streams form the Euphrates proper.
The length of the Euphrates from the confluence of the Marat Su and the Kara Su to its mouth in the Shatt al-Arab is estimated at 2289 km. The river flows through three countries; Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The length of the Turkish Euphrates is approximately 526 km, whereas the Syrian and Iraqi parts of the river are estimated at 604 and 1159 km, respectively."
----- End Quote -----
So, depending on the route they choose to take, the Turkish military forces may possibly cross the Euphrates River in order to pass through the nation of Syria. As you may know, Syria also hates Israel; so it may very well agree to allow this vast army to pass through its territory, in order to invade Israel from the north. While I have highlighted the Turkish military, let us not forget that the Beast won't be alone. We are told that "kings" -- plural -- will be with him as they proceed to the northern plains of Israel, and to Har Megiddo, or Armageddon. Going by past wars of the Middle East, it seems quite likely that Syria will be one of these "kings".
A second plausible route is to go through northwestern Iraq. In other words, as the Turks have done several times already in their pursuit of Kurdish separatists, they could possibly cross into northern Iraq first by passing through Turkey's southeastern corner. They could then cross over the Euphrates River -- which will be dried up at that time -- on their way to Israel. While Turkey, Syria and Iraq have not always had cordial relations, if they were to arrive at an agreement regarding the destruction of Israel, the Iraqis might very well permit the Turkish troops to pass through their nation. Let us not so easily forget the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973. While the Muslim and Arab nations of the Middle East may be divided over other issues, they would love nothing more than to utterly destroy Israel, and push the Jews into the sea. As such, it is quite plausible that Iraq could also be one of the other "kings" which follows the Beast into battle.
As I studied a map of the region, it did not make sense to me why the Turks would purposely choose to take such a long, unnecessary route through their own country, then through most of the length of Syria, and then either through the Golan Heights in southwestern Syria, or possibly through an area of Jordan. After all, Ankara, the capital, is located in north central Turkey, while Syria's capital, Damascus, is located in southwestern Syria. Both are quite distant from the Euphrates River. So why would Turkish forces take such a huge detour through eastern Turkey and eastern Syria?
What occurred to me is that if at some time in the future the Islamic Beast were to assemble his forces in Ankara, it would be too obvious. On the other hand, if he wanted to spring his trap at the last moment through a possible sneak attack, then assembling his armies in the extreme eastern region of Syria, behind the Euphrates River, in the lowlands of the al-Jazira region, and then proceeding from there, might be one possible strategy. If you examine the map below, you can see that the area behind the Euphrates is shaped kind of like a distorted triangle. The Euphrates River forms the western border of the triangle, with the lowlands of al-Jazira behind it.
If you would like to see a much larger, high-quality, topographical map showing the triangular area in question, please click here
. It will open in a new window or tab in your web browser. It may take a few seconds to open due to its large size.
Admittedly, I do have some doubts about this theory. For one thing, if the Beast were to assemble his forces in this area, it would mean that they would have to pass through the Syrian Desert, as well as cross over some mountains. Not only that, but given all of the surveillance technology that is in use today, such as satellites, drones, etc., I really don't see how any nation could really engage in a sneak attack of any kind. Assuming that the United States of America and Israel are still close allies at the time when the great Battle of Armageddon finally occurs, you can be sure that the US would advise Israel of an impending attack.
However, there is a very interesting factor which might make such a sneak attack possible, and that is this. What if the Battle of Armageddon is still quite some time ahead in the future? What if by that time, the world's major suppliers of oil have run out of that "black gold"? "Wow! Really? Is that even possible?" you may be wondering. Well, yes, of course it is. At the rate that the world is using oil today, it cannot last forever. I'll be discussing this point more in a moment.
Now just imagine what a tremendous effect such a development would have on modern technology, so much of which now depends very heavily on petroleum and petroleum by-products such as gasoline, lubricants, plastics, diesel fuel, etc. Without oil and other lubricants, machines would cease to function; which means of course that weapons of war could not be produced. So many products today contain some amount of plastic, and there are many different kinds of plastics. Such items could no longer be produced either. And of course, there would be no fuel for tanks and other weapons of war.
"Well, wait a minute! How could the Battle of Armageddon even occur then?" you may be asking yourself. It would still occur, but it would not happen in the way in which so many Christians have been led to believe. In other words, what if the Battle of Armageddon isn't fought with modern weapons of war? What if what the Apostle John was shown in the Book of Revelation is meant to be understood in a very literal sense? I mention in a few articles how it is very easy to envision a vast army of angry, fanatical Muslims riding on horseback, and brandishing their swords wildly in the air as they march to the Battle of Armageddon. Let's not forget that John tells us that many people will be beheaded for Jesus. Consider the following verse:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Revelation 20:4, KJV
If you honestly don't believe that a literal interpretation of that verse is possible, then allow me to remind you of some of the extremely ghastly videos that were circulated on the Internet in recent years while fanatical elements in the nation of Iraq were fighting against the American occupation. I watched a number of them, and they were definitely modern barbarity at its finest. I have long believed that the above verse is meant to be understood in a very literal sense, and not just in a symbolic or figurative sense, and these ungodly acts which were committed by these Iraqi extremists is clear proof of it. It can happen again, and on a much larger scale.
In recent years, there has been a lot of chatter on the web regarding Christians being beheaded with guillotines. To be quite honest, I really have to shake my head in amazement when I come across this kind of misguided material. Some of these money-making Bible hucksters -- that is, commercial Christian writers who profit from God's Word -- write their Christian fiction novels in which they apply their particular interpretation to the Scriptures. The next thing you know, a movie is made that is based on the misguided contents of the novel.
The end result of this process is that a lot of Christians -- particularly American Christians -- start believing that the US Government has secretly been manufacturing guillotines, in preparation for the day when it will arrest Christians, throw them into concentration camps, and eventually send them to the guillotine if they refuse to recant their faith. I even recall seeing a movie trailer, or perhaps it was a book ad, where these Christians are being restrained to the ground with metal bands, and then beheaded. It was quite some time ago, so I honestly can't remember the details now.
Lord help us all, and deliver us all, from such nonsense! Let me remind you again that Endtime prophecy center on the Middle East, and more specifically on Israel. In the Middle East, it is common practice for capital punishment to be carried out by beheading, using a real sword. Sorry folks, but this idea of guillotines is a fabrication of greedy Christian authors, and nothing less. So again, if the Battle of Armageddon occurs as I suspect, then we can expect to see hordes of wild Muslims brandishing real swords. Forget the guillotine nonsense!
At this point in our discussion, we are going to return our attention to the identity of the kings of the east and China. While some Bible teachers, televangelists and preachers have convinced their flocks that Revelation 16:12 is describing a massive invasion of Israel by communist China, along with a number of other nations, I am convinced by the aforementioned evidence that there is a plausible alternative scenario. I do not claim to be infallible, and I readily acknowledge that my understanding of God's Word is not perfect. However, if we honestly examine the Biblical record, the historical record, the linguistic record, and even modern news reports, it is difficult in my mind to not conclude that "the kings of the east" may be referring to the military forces of Anatolia, or Turkey, and not to communist China and other nations of the East.
Of course, to add a degree of balance to my position, there is another very important fact that we need to consider; and that is that as China and other eastern nations continue to develop their economies and industries, their need to obtain more and more oil will obviously continue to grow. Thus, in the not-too-distant future, it is possible that China may very well become involved in a military struggle to control the oil fields of the Middle East. This view is shared by other people as well. However, there is another important reason why I personally am not convinced that the "kings of the east" -- who are mentioned in Revelation 16:12 -- are a reference to China, and other nations of the Orient. Allow me to share it with you.
If China were to make an attempt to control the Middle East oil fields, why in the world would they go to Israel to wage war? Obviously, they would not. In order to control the oil flow in the Middle East, they would have to go where the oil fields are actually located; that is, to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the Gulf Cooperation Council states, etc. Isn't that exactly what the American Government has done through its illegal invasion of Iraq, as well as by establishing American bases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the small Gulf Cooperation Council states? And, of course, for its part, Russia has close ties with Syria and Iran as well for similar reasons. Everyone wants to influence the politics of the Middle East, because they all depend on its oil.
Furthermore, the Scriptures seem to indicate that the Battle of Armageddon -- which will be fought in northern Israel -- will not be about oil. If anything, the Battle of Armageddon will be a war that will more than likely be centered around diminishing water resources. Water is an extremely important commodity in the nations of the Middle East, and the lack of it has already resulted in serious friction between some of the nations of that region. If you pay particular attention to Middle East news concerning Israel, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and possibly Saudi Arabia, you will see that there have been heated discussions concerning this very issue.
As I mentioned earlier, the volume of the Euphrates River has already been seriously reduced in recent years, and has come close to drying up on a number of occasions; not only because of the arid climate and the extended droughts which have plagued that region of the world, but also because by building massive dams, Turkey and Syria purposely control the flow of water into Iraq. Furthermore, diminishing water resources is in fact one reason why the Israelis adamantly refuse to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Another is due to the fact that the Golan Heights are a strategic military vantage point which overlooks northern Israel.
But more importantly, as I explain in such articles as "From Armageddon to the New Earth", the Battle of Armageddon will be a war which the foolish and rebellious inhabitants of the Earth will wage against Jesus Christ and the Heavenly Host; and I am sure that they -- Christ and His Heavenly Armies -- have absolutely no interest in or concern for the diminishing oil reserves of the Middle East.
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .