“I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece”
An article appeared in the online edition of Israel Today regarding some Orthodox Jews joining the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) at the risk of being persecuted by their fellow Orthodox Jews who did not want to fight with the IDF. As I read this article it came to mind what the prophet Zechariah wrote…
“For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior’s sword.” (Zechariah 9:13)
The faithful Maccabees
I was reading 1 Maccabees the other day. It is very insightful regarding how the Maccabee patriots fought a guerrilla war with Antiochus and his forces. About a 160 years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, Antiochus Epiphanes, a Seleucid Greek General, invaded Israel and defiled the temple, stopped the sacrifices, errected an emblem to Zues in the Temple, forbade the reading of Torah and sought to change the laws and empose on Israel Greek laws and customs. His ultimte sacrilage was to slaughter a pig on the altar in the Temple. Many Jews compromised with this ‘mad-man’ as he was called but there were those patriots who resisted him. These patriots had a faith in God and looked to him to bring about their ultimate victory. These events are recorded in 1 Maccabees in the Apocrypha. After fighting a guerilla war eventually the battles became bigger and ultimately the Israelites gained the final victory over Antiochus and his forces, kicked the Seleucid Greeks out of Israel and reconsecrated the Temple and gave glory to God. Even the Lord Jesus celebrated Hanukka. He will celebrate this again in the Millennial Temple after He has come back.
Many Israelites had compromised with Antiochus and betrayed the Maccabee patriots and these apostates went along with Antiochus’ agenda and this included many of the religious leaders who cared more about their own welfare than the situation facing Israel. (Daniel 11:34) Having said this in the light of the Orthodox Jews protesting against their fellow Orthodox Jews joining the IDF today in Israel there are those Orthodox Jews it seems who do care for Israel and for the city of Jerusalem and consequently decide to join the IDF as patriots. What Antiochus did and how the Jewish patriots resisted him teaches us about what will happen when the Antichrist’s forces invade Israel. For three and a half years the Antichrist will seek to do what Antiochus did in Jerusalem and Israel. However, the antichrists forces will not only be fighting against other opposing nations but will have to fight the Israeli patriots in the character of the Maccabees. In the ranks of these faithful ‘Maccabees’ as it were, will be loyal Israelis, Orthodox Jews and even some Messianic believers as well.
Turkey and Iran
According to the Hebrew text in Zechariah 9:13; “Greece” or “Grecia” is “Ionia,” which today is Turkey which was previously part of the eastern Empire of Alexander the Great. The prophecy concerns the future. Today Erdogan of Turkey and Hassan Rouhani are planning to join forces along with other Islamic nations to attack Israel. Turkey will lead the Sunni Crescent and Iran the Shia crescent. Their ultimate goal it seems is to perpetrate a pincer attack on Israel. This will be the Ezekiel 38 Invasion force. Israel will be completely surrounded and cut off from other nations. To succeed in this manoeuvre against Israel Iran needs to conquer Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to complete the Shiite crescent. As for Mecca, Iran wants to destroy it. Turkey needs to have Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, and the southern states of Russia (which are Turkic speaking and Islamic) to become allies and Turkey, like Iran, wants Saudi Arabia out of the way. Turkey will lead the invasion force (Sunnis) accompanied by Iran (Shiites) and other Islamic nations against Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-6) As for Mecca, Turkey, like Iran, wants to destroy Mecca. Fundamentalist Islam sees Mecca in Saudi Arabia as the harlot of Islam that should be burned with fire (Nuked by Iran?). (Isaiah 34:8-10) (Revelation 17:16)
Nations will fight the Antichrist
Having said this according to this passage of scripture in Zechariah chapter 9:13 the LORD will raise up faithful patriots who will defend Israel but it will be a guerrilla war with many casualties and betrayals of Israelis at the hands of apostate Jews. (Daniel 11:31-35) At the end it will be the Messiah who will ultimately give Israel the victory over Antichrist and his forces. (Daniel 11:45) (Daniel 2:35, 44-45) (Daniel 7:18, 22, 26-27) In the very last days God will actually raise up nations to fight the Antichrist and his forces (Micah 5:5-6) (Ezekiel 28:7-10) (Daniel 11:39-44) but the final death blow of Antichrist will be given at the Command of the Lord Jesus Himself accompanied by the armies of heaven, the glorified saints and the faithful remnant of the ‘Maccabees’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8) (Zechariah12:6-9; 14:5) (Revelation 19:11-21) See also (Isaiah 63:1-6)
Turkey, the Seat of Satan?
In this text in Zechariah 9:13 we have seen that “Greece” is “Ionia” (Turkey). Ankara is directly north of Israel. Ancient Pergamum (308 miles from Ankara) was “the city where Satan lived and has his throne.” (Revelation 2:13) It was where Emperor Worship really kicked in with Augustus having himself deified. Meshech, Tubal Gomer and Beth-Togarmah from the far north were all part of modern day Turkey. (Ezekiel 38:1-6) The Seven Churches in Revelation were all situated in modern day Turkey. These Seven literal Churches in Turkey prophetically relate to the Church as a whole in every age but especially in the last days. It’s interesting that they were all located in Turkey today. Is the Holy Spirit revealing to the saints where the Antichrist will come from? The saints must know who he is before the rapture and resurrection occur. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) It would seem that the Antichrist will actually come from Turkey. It may well be Erdogan or someone waiting in the wings in obscurity in Turkey (the little horn). Time will tell of course. A time is coming when God himself will “stir up the sons of Zion (Israel) against the sons of Ionia (Turkey) but the ultimates victory will be at the hands of the Messiah (Revelation 19:19-21)
The end is still to come
Having said this the end is still to come as there are multitudes of Jewish people living comfortably in the western democracies that must go back to Israel. Through applied pressure from anti-Semitism this will happen. This has to happen because God has a pre-arranged appointment with the Jewish people to meet their Messiah at Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:10-14) Israel is to pass through the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and the LORD is regathering His people to Israel for this time (Three and a half years- “a time times and half a time.”-42 months- 1,260 days) Israel will go into this time but be saved out of it at the end! So will the saints! (Jeremiah 30:1-7) (Daniel 2:44-45; 7:22, 27) (Daniel 12:1-2) (Matthew 24:21-22, 29-31) (Revelation 7:14) The most important thing is that we are all ready for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus our Messiah, Saviour and Lord! The end is rapidly approaching but the end is not yet!