In Ezekiel 38, an alliance is seen opposing the northern alliance of nations that invade Israel. They are described in this way:
Ezekiel 38:13 “13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”
Tarshish is understood to be Britain and her young lions as the English speaking peoples that have grown from her empire, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, etc. The location of the Biblical Tarshish is discussed at length in The Bible Magazine volume 20, Issue 3.
There are nations with these Tarshish nations and they are here called Sheba and Dedan. These powers are fairly universally defined as nations of the Arabian Peninsula. Today we would be talking primarily about Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
In Daniel chapter 11, this same power is called “the king of the south”. The name alludes to southern section of the Grecian empire that after the death of Alexander was divided between his four generals. The dominant area of the southern kingdom was Egypt. Daniel 11 focuses on two areas of this division in their relation to the nation of Israel, calling them the “king of the north” and the “king of the south.”
The Tarshish “king of the South” power is then seen to comprise of Egypt and the nations of the Arabian Peninsula. As well as the English speaking trading nations.
In the group of aggressors spoken of in Ezekiel 38 we have a selection of Muslim nations also. Persia, Ethiopia and Libya. This tells us that there will be, as we are seeing today, a bitter division in the Muslim world. We have a coalition of nations that include Muslims that are attacking the Jewish state and many others also, and we have Muslim nations that are standing with Israel.
For the decades following the establishment of the State of Israel, all Arab and Muslim countries stood firmly opposed to a Jewish state in their Biblical homeland. They all vowed to drive Israel into the sea and attempted to do so in successive wars. As the conflict has ground on and their ability to rouse the troops of their Arab neighbours to fight their battle worn thin, the tool of choice for the Palestinian Arabs has become the terror attack. In fact, it really is the terror organizations pushing for Palestine to replace Israel that have popularized terrorism in the modern Muslim world.
The title of The Father of Modern Terrorism could be given to Yasser Arafat. The first large suicide bombing campaign since WW2 was in Lebanon and carried out by what would become Hizbollah. Israel’s enemies have bestowed upon the world the phenomenon of the terror attack.
Yasser Arafat’s smuggling of Iranian provided arms on board the Karin A ship was a critical piece of intelligence that convinced the Americans that Arafat was the problem and not the solution to the conflict in Israel. Today, Muslim countries who suffer from Iranian sponsored terrorism share a common enemy with Israel. Israel is seen as powerful, with valuable expertise in combatting terrorism. As mere onlookers we often don’t understand the depth of of such covert operations and alliances, but what we do know is the fruit that they are bearing today as alliances start to surface.
Egypt, which was the heart of the Grecian king of the south, is fighting the very same terrorists as Israel is most notably in the Sinai peninsula. Israel has been assisting them and relations between the two countries are reaching a new height. There have been Egyptian relations with Israel for some time, as it is now about 40 years since Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel. However, when the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power in Egypt, this treaty seemed possibly doomed, or at least strained. Today the situation has changed under Egypt’s Sisi, who has replaced that extremist power.
The relations with Israel, remarkably, are now stronger than ever before. Egypt’s Sisi had a very friendly meeting with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly earlier this month. A remarkably notable event, as it was the first public meeting between them, despite significant communication through back channels. After the meeting he interrupted his otherwise rather status quo speech to "tell the Palestinian people, it is important to unite ... to overcome the differences and to be ready to accept co-existence with the other, with Israelis, in safety and security."
Sisi Urges Palestinians ... to Coexist With Israelis
Sisi's UN Address Video
Such a tremendous contrast to Egypt’s position historically to Israel. Consider the words of Gamal Abdel Nasser who led Egypt from 1954-70.
“Our path to Palestine will not be covered with a red carpet or with yellow sand. Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood… In order that we may liberate Palestine, the Arab nation must unite, the Arab armies must unite, and a unified plan of action must be established.” In a re-election speech (1965), as quoted in Islamic Imperialism : A History (2007) by Efraim Karsh, p. 162
Reports are that there has been a covert visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Israel. The Middle East Monitor reports that the plan is to eventually accept Israel as a “brotherly state”. Bin Salman is known to strongly oppose groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran that have backed or conducted terrorist activities and have been a destabilizing influence in the region. This brings his interests into line with those of the United States and Israel.
Former US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro has said that “This development could lead to the formation of an axis that includes the United States, the Sunni Arab states and Israel since they share common strategic interests and are prepared to confront extremist forces in the region.”
The Times of Israel reports that:
Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara welcomed on Wednesday Saudi Arabia’s naming of Mohammed Bin Salman as its new crown prince, saying he hoped the change would accelerate the kingdom’s rapprochement with Israel.
“Salman’s appointment means more economic cooperation in the Middle East, and not just regarding oil,” Kara said in a statement. “The strengthening of relations with the Trump administration is the beginning of a new and optimistic time between Saudi Arabia and regional states, including Israel and the Jewish people.”
Bahrain & UAE:
It is also emerging that Bahrain, an island kingdom on the edge of Saudi Arabia, has significant interest in softening ties between Arab states and Israel. This is perhaps best understood by the historically tense relations they have with Iran. A few hundred years ago, Bahrain was subject to direct Iranian rule. As lately as 1927 the Shah of Iran demanded sovereignty over the area from the League of Nations and in 1971 the Shah still claimed historical sovereignty. The Iranians accepted a referendum of the UN and Bahrain declared independence. Iran is also alleged to have had a hand in arming the opposition there during the Arab Spring protests. The administration of George W. Bush designated Bahrain as a “major non-NATO ally. "
Israel Bahrain Could Announce Normalized Ties by Next Year, Report
Bahrain King Denounces Arab Boycott of Israel...
The article “Bahrain king ’tired of Arab boycott of Israel’” highlights how Bahrain is not the only nation on the Arabian peninsula leaning towards Israel while living a mere skip across the Persian Gulf from Iran.
“In June, leaked emails of the UAE's (United Arab Emirates) ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba's revealed that Abu Dhabi had established secret links with Israel.
The emails showed a "growing link" between the UAE and pro-Israel think-tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).”
Bahrain King Tired of Arab Boycott of Israel
We see all these changes as evidence of the work of the angels ever working to bring the world powers into line with God’s prophesied future for them. The changing alignments show the greatest day of conflict, and the glorious future to follow, to be ever closer. May we all take time everyday to prepare ourselves to stand in His mercy, in the great day of God Almighty. Thanks for listening, and be sure to join us again next week, Lord willing for more of the Bible in the News.
~ Tim Billington
Further Reading on this topic: The Developing Northern and Southern Alliances