As we ended Part 12 of this “Suddenly” series, we pointed out several Scriptures detailing what will happen to Damascus. The coming destruction of Damascus has been the topic of many studies, debates, and much question concerning the timing. Between the Old Testament prophecies penned by Isaiah and Jeremiah and other prophets, we have many details, one of them being that this terrible destruction of Damascus will in some way be tied to the Psalms 83 war. This crucial conflict could erupt at any time now.
In Jeremiah 49 we find a number of prophecies speaking to different peoples, kingdoms, and cities. One of these is ancient Elam. While some might tend to read right on past a passage concerning Elam, for the person who studies prophecy, this short passage contains some crucial information, not only for the peoples of this ancient land, but also the rest of the world. Let’s take a look at Jeremiah 49:34-39 in the NIV version of the Scriptures:
This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah: “See, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam’s exiles do not go. I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who seek their lives; I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger,” declares the Lord. “I will pursue them with my sword until I have made an end of them. I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,” declares the Lord. “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come,” declares the Lord.
Ancient Elam is located in the western portion of modern day Iran. Elam lay adjacent the Persian Gulf, sometimes known the Arabian Gulf. As a note of interest, I have a large map of the Middle East on my office wall and this same crucial body of water is just called “The Gulf”. I suspect it has to do with tensions in the Middle East and the company producing the map did not want to “offend” anyone in the region.
From looking at ancient maps of Elam, it appears to have extended north to about the 34th parallel which, interestingly enough, is about where Arak, Iran is located today. Many may be familiar with the fact that Iran is building a heavy water production plant near Arak for producing plutonium. The eastern border of Elam appears to have extended diagonally from about the 46th to 52nd longitude lines (rough estimate). Ancient Elam was about 1/6th the size of modern day Iran. Elam would encompass Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and possibly extend to very near the Arak plutonium plant site, as well as many other crucial military sites.
Something that I will reiterate here because of its importance, is the fact that the deeper a person pursues the study of God’s Word, the more he realizes the astonishing detail foretold in the Bible and available to the seeker of genuine truth. Is this by coincidence, or was it sovereignly planned and provided by the God and Creator of the universe? I believe this is no coincidence, and God intends us to know the Truth, because it sets us free. Not only does God’s Truth set us free from sin and death, but it also sets us free of having to guess to what end history is leading mankind. In all actuality, it is not history that is leading mankind to some mystical, unknown future, but rather Almighty God bringing mankind to the destiny He has designed for him. Unfortunately for those who, in their own arrogance and pride, refuse to acknowledge the sovereignty of God, they will forfeit this destiny because they choose rather to believe the lies of the fallen one, and in doing so, suffer the consequence of having to share the same fate as the father of lies whom they have chosen to believe.
In the foretold fate of ancient Elam by the Old Testament prophets, we find once again, that God prefers us to have some understanding of future events. We are not told everything in advance, but it is by divine purpose that God gives us some of the information in advance so that when it comes to pass, it will be confirmed to us again that He really is in total sovereign control—of everything! There is no other book like ‘The Book’—the Bible! It has proven to be 100% accurate, and will continue being so until the fulfillment of all things.
Back to Elam. Ancient Elam is prophetically set apart from other significant entities. Elam is identified in such a way that its demise as described in prophecy need not be confused with other important similar events in God’s prophetic timeline. Just as I believe that the Psalm 83 / Obadiah war is identifiably distinctive from the Gog / Magog war, so is the destruction of Elam identifiable as an event of its own. The confederated nations in each of these conflicts are all listed in Scripture and with some research, these can be identified. The list of participating nations in the Gog and Magog war are conspicuously missing the nations listed as involved in the Psalms 83 / Obadiah war, and visa-versa. The destruction of Damascus is also singled out as an event that has enough importance that it is given a place of its own in prophecy. We find that this is also the case with Elam. Elam is conspicuously missing among the members of the confederation of nations attacking Israel in the Gog / Magog war. I might mention here that the destruction of Damascus could very well become part of the Psalm 83 war. This could also be the case with the destruction of Elam. It is also possible that the destruction of one or the other could turn out to be the catalyst for the Psalm 83 war. Time is now very short and these events could erupt without warning, and some of them could even overlap.
I find it interesting that Jeremiah and Ezekiel were contemporaries and wrote their prophecies about 2,600 years ago. This also happened to be a time when Elam and Persia were located in two adjoining territories, with separate civilizations and distinct ethnicities. Of the two prophets, Ezekiel was much more familiar with Elam than Jeremiah was. Here is what Ezekiel said about Elam in Ezekiel 32:24-25:
Elam is there, with all her hordes around her grave. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword. All who had spread terror in the land of the living went down uncircumcised to the earth below. They bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. A bed is made for her among the slain, with all her hordes around her grave. All of them are uncircumcised, killed by the sword. Because their terror had spread in the land of the living, they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are laid among the slain. (NIV)
There are numerous ways to interpret what both prophets said is to befall Elam, but it is common to find the Bible describing a military destruction or capitulation coming about by means of the sword. Persia, or modern day Iran, will not likely see much of the battle–if any, on its own territory during the Gog / Magog war because it mainly happens on the mountains of Israel, but it will see a horrendous destruction before the Ezekiel 38-39 war ever happens, in this earlier conflict which centers in and around ancient Elam. This destruction of Elam also explains how it is that Iran would be involved in two wars in such a short space of time, with approximately 1/6th of modern day Iran being so devastated that most of the population is forced to flee, and yet Iran (or Persia) is able to be a major part of the Gog / Magog war, which is a much greater conflict. The destruction of Elam obviously does not devastate the entire nation, leaving it in a position to become a member nation in the greater war involving Russia and Israel.
When we look at the first portion of the prophecy Jeremiah gave concerning Elam, we find this statement: …thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might.” I find this interesting in light of the fact that Iran’s “Bushehr” nuclear plant, which was built for them by Russia, is located directly within what was considered ancient Elam. Also, even though I was not able to determine for certain, as mentioned earlier in this article, it appears that Iran’s plutonium plant in Arak is at least near the territory of ancient Elam. There are of course also other crucial military and support facilities in the west-central part of today’s Iran. According to prophecy expert Bill Salus, who wrote “Nuclear Showdown In Iran”, nearly half of Iran’s main military facilities are located within the broader vicinity of ancient Elam. I would highly recommend Bill Salus’ book to anyone who would like to read a well researched and documented work on the subject of ancient Elam and how Old Testament prophecies outline this major event which are about to unfold in the Mideast. In this article I am only pointing out a few things Scripture has to say about this event and its ramifications. Author Bill Salus goes into extraordinary detail and thoroughly backs his eschatological views.
Iran is known world-over as a rogue terrorist State that supports terrorism all over the world. A factor that serves to aggravate the problem even more is that the present leadership in Iran subscribes to a particularly extreme system of belief that maintains that the more chaos and destruction that can be brought down upon the world, especially against the West, the sooner the Muslim messiah, Mohammed Mahdi, will arrive to bring the world under his subjection and usher in world peace through subjection to world-wide Islam and Shariah law. Iran’s main targets are, of course, the United States, which they consider “The Great Satan”, and Israel, “The Little Satan”.
The Scripture passage has several notable “I will’s” within its verses. One of these had to do with God’s intention to break Elam’s bow. In Jeremiah 50 verse 9 we find a reference to the bow that may give us a clue as to what was meant in Jeremiah’s reference about Elam. This is how Jeremiah 50:9-10 reads:
For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed. So Babylonia will be plundered; all who plunder her will have their fill…
A considerable number of Bible scholars believe that the passage in Jeremiah 50 is referring to the United States. I will save my personal comments on the subject for another article, but if this passage has any connection to the United States and its end-time position in the world as many have concluded, then this powerful destructive enemy of America comes primarily from the north. This attack from the “north” would of course come from over the north pole and include nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. With today’s advanced computer controlled guidance systems, the “arrows” would certainly qualify as “skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed.” Could the prophet Jeremiah be referring to the same type of “arrows” (missles) to be used with the “bow” (launching systems) that Israel’s defender, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, determines to destroy? I believe so.
It is a well known fact that the Iranian leadership wants to obliterate the nation of Israel. It has been said in speeches at the United Nations, before television cameras from multiple locations in the world, and of course, it is ingrained in the apocalyptic end-time belief system of the “Twelvers”— those who ascribe to a genocidal form of Islam which requires as much war and chaos in the world as possible in order to convince the Islamic messiah that it is time to come and save the world by bringing the entire planet under subjection to Islam.
Israel has been walking a tightrope for years now, trying to balance the increasing tide of anti-semitism in today’s world with the desperate need to protect its own people, while at the same time trying to cooperate as much as possible with the leadership of the 192 nation membership of the United Nations; leaders who have widely differing opinions on how to deal with Iran—none of them of course, facing the threat of total annihilation by their enemy as the nation of Israel is.
Israel’s peril is growing daily. Several unsubstantiated reports have come out in the last few days saying that Iran already has three nuclear bombs and more being assembled. There might still be a lack of delivery system, but that could prove not to be a serious problem. There are ways of smuggling such bombs into position. Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, or any number of other terrorist organizations would happily get it done, even if it turns out they must be suicide missions.
One fact that is an “absolute” throughout the Bible that most of the world does not accept yet will be spelled out loud and clear soon. This “absolute” is that God’s foreign policy starts in Jerusalem and works outward! It starts with the Jews, God’s chosen people, and then spreads out toward the rest of the world. God’s covenant with Abraham for his descendants has never been rescinded, and woe to those that challenge God on this issue. Regardless of the fact that the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world for nearly 1900 years, God never broke His covenant with them. Genesis 12:1-3 says this:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and i will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
The horrific judgment on Elam here at the time of the end of the age is due to a determination God has already made before the foundations of the earth were ever laid. God will not allow Iran (or ancient Elam) to obliterate Israel. Iran is challenging much more than the tiny nation of Israel. God in His sovereignty determined to punish Israel by His own measured discipline for their wickedness and rebellion, but He has not rejected Israel, nor will He ever. Contrary to some “doctrines of demons”, as the Apostle Paul warned Timothy of in 1 Timothy 4:1, God is not through with His chosen people! God has great plans for the Jewish people and what God has determined for them cannot be stolen from them. God has used ungodly evil kings, dictators and the nations they ruled to discipline His chosen people but He will not let them be disciplined beyond the measure He has predetermined. As history unfolds in the months and handful of years ahead, all of Israel’s enemies will be humbled or outright destroyed. This includes Iran. It is possible that God uses the Israeli military to do this, as He will with Damascus, or it could be more than one nation. Iran has other enemies that have great concerns with Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s insatiable appetite to rule the entire Middle East.
Jeremiah 49:37 tells us that Iran will be “dismayed before their enemies.” The New International Bible says that God would “shatter” Elam before their enemies. The New Revised Standard Version says that God would “terrify” Elam before their enemies. This event is coming as sure as the earth is still orbiting the sun today! Israel’s future is in God’s hand and no one can take Israel out of God’s hand. Is Israel a more righteous nation than other nations on earth? No, especially modern day Israel. Are Jews better than other nationalities? No, they are not. Yet, God had a purpose in “choosing” them as His people. His choice had to do with bringing the Messiah into the world. The nation of Israel was the chosen vehicle. When Almighty God chose Abraham as the patriarch of the nation of Israel, He also promised to this great patriarch that He would provide an everlasting blessing to follow the Jewish nation…for eternity. This is why no nation will be allowed to destroy Israel. NONE! They are back in the land God gave them and it will never be taken from them again.
The so called “Two State Solution” is not a solution God will allow to stand. The West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights are part of the inheritance God gave to Israel. In fact, Israel only has control over a very small percentage of the land that is their true inheritance. Israel’s land will extend all the way from the Euphrates river to the Nile in Egypt. Israel will incorporate most of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and a large portion of Saudi Arabia. The land under their sovereignty from this time forward will only expand! God gave it to them and it is theirs! Jerusalem is GOD’S city! Islam will never get it. Rome will never get it. Those whom it does not belong to cannot lay claim to what is not theirs. Zechariah, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, put it well:
This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding people reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’
On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
The LORD will save the dwelling of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.”
So we see that Damascus will be destroyed. Elam will be destroyed. Every border enemy of Israel will be devastated in a war with Israel. All these conflicts are about to erupt right before our eyes! Yet, there is a much bigger war which is on the very near horizon, and it is called the “Ezekiel” war, or “The Gog / Magog War”, or in my opinion, WORLD WAR III. We will discuss this in Part 14 of this series.