As we continue our examination of Jeremiah 49:34-39, we focus initially on how God will “break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might…”
Before I continue, I do want to give credit to author Bill Salus whose research work I’ve turned to for a number of years. Although my views differ in just a few areas, his research and commentary has been a great foundation for my own work, particularly his excellent books, Psalm 83, the forgotten prophecy, and Nuclear Showdown in Iran.
An intelligence expert, referred to by Bill and whose blog-site I have visited since 2014 from time to time is, Sean Osborne. This is what he had to say in 2014 about Iran and the prophecy concerning Elam:
“This verse informs that Elam’s (Iran’s) foremost military might, its offensive military might, is suddenly and inexplicably broken. This event is singular unto itself. The plain text metaphor “qesheth” (battle bow or archer) given here informs us that the choice part of best of the military might of Iran that God will break is an offensive weapon system that launches projectiles at the enemy.”
Even if Iran does not manage to mount nuclear warheads on their missiles, the Iranian military still has an enormous number of rocket and missile platforms that can hit short range to longer range targets. As history records, part of the strength of the Elamites was the ability to launch massive barrages of arrows at their enemies. The Iranian military today depends on the same strategy, as does the Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorist military on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Experts estimate that Hezbollah is capable of shooting 1,200 missiles into Israel every single day for about five months straight!
Sean Osborne goes on to say:
Nevertheless, the question is, how will God break such a “qesheth” (bow) as this? I would speculate, aside from a supernatural act by God, this will occur by the same electronic warfare means as Israel has thus far kept all enemy missile systems from firing at their F15-I Ra’am and F-161 Sufa strike aircraft for the past seven years over Lebanon, Syria and the Sudan. Israel not only can put an enemy into an electronic black hole, but the evidence is that the IDF can actually take control of an enemy’s weapons systems. Israel’s airborne Suter electronic warfare system, or whatever the more mature version might have as its nomenclature today, the system really is so advanced, that I suspect it is even beyond the very real capability of the rumored non-nuclear EMP capability.“
Keep in mind that the quote above is from four years ago. Israel’s military ability has advanced exponentially since then. One way or another, God will see to it that Iran’s, or ancient Elam’s ability to launch against Israel will be broken at the pinnacle of its power, and also likely specifically at its most forward positions in respect to the location of its launchers to Israel.
There is one other item to add to the mix when describing the “foremost of its might.” The Bushehr nuclear plant is located right on the Persian Gulf coastline. The construction on this project was originally begun in 1975 by German companies, but stopped in 1979 with the Islamic revolution in Iran. After the plant had been bombed repeatedly during the Iran-Iraq war, an agreement was made between Iran and Russia to reconstruct damaged areas and complete the project. Due to the mixture of German, Russian, and Iranian parts, the fact that the construction took so long, and the fact that it was not very well monitored, there has been great concern about the safety of the facility.
Not only is there a huge safety concern due to the details of its construction listed above, but also because this nuclear facility was built near tectonic plates. Some studies have revealed that there could be a massive water contamination issue if anything happened to the plant. As we can see, this could happen a variety of ways. What is it that the prophet Jeremiah was trying to describe from a worldview 2,600 years ago?
The next “I will” we find in Jeremiah’s warning to Elam says,
“Against Elam I will bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and scatter them toward all those winds. There will be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.”
Many prophecies in the Scriptures are fulfilled in layers; in other words, more than once, at different locations, and at different times in history. I believe this is very likely the case with this passage. One Scripture that is worded much like what Jeremiah had to say concerning Elam is found in Zechariah, and says:
“Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north,” saith Jehovah, “for I have spread you (Jews) abroad as the four winds of the heavens,” saith Jehovah. Zechariah 2:6
Just as God is describing the scattering of the Jews from out of the land of Israel, in fact, all around the world, so is He describing the scattering of the Elamites. The four winds is an idiom used on several occasions by the prophets to describe significant sovereign acts of God. The four winds coming from every direction gives the idea of something on an international scale, ordained by God, and thereby unstoppable.
As we review Elam’s history, at least since Nebuchadnezzar overran the Elamites, we see that over 2,000 years they were attacked by one military power after another. They, just like the Jews, ended up being scattered all over the world…just as God had said.
I do however believe that Elam will once again be hit, and it will be hit very hard. Jeremiah’s prophecy specifically designates the fulfillment of this prophecy being connected to last day’s events. This means there will likely be an enormous event, a disaster of some kind–possibly a nuclear disaster, that once again causes the “Elamites” to be scattered. This will in fact be a “layered” prophecy; a prophecy that is fulfilled in a dual fashion and, in this case, at separate times in history.
Jeremiah specifies that there is no nation where the Elamites will not be scattered. History shows that there are over 50 nations within which the Kurds / Elamites were scattered throughout the last 2,000 years. The prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled in that there was not one place on earth where these people were allowed to self-rule. In light of last day’s events, Jeremiah specifically says that there will not be a nation on earth to which the Elamites will not be scattered…a second time. It is now just a matter of time.
In verse 37, we find the next “I will.” God says,
“For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies and before those who seek their life.”
We notice that Elam has multiplied enemies, not just one. One of those enemies is the LORD. It isn’t often that we find the Scriptures describing God as becoming infuriated, but this is one of those times. Elam has already done something, or is contemplating doing something so egregious, that God reacts with a great fury. Often in Scripture, a passage may not give the reason for the Lord having become upset until later in the passage. For example, we find this in Isaiah 19 where the nation of Egypt comes apart at the seams in the first 15 verses. The reason is not made clear until verses 16-18. These verses tell us that Egypt confronts Israel and is defeated by Israel’s powerful military:
In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which He waves over it. And the land of Judah (Israel) will be a terror to Egypt; everyone (Egyptian) who makes mention of it (the Jewish State) will be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts which He has determined against it. In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan (Hebrew, the official language of Israel) and swear by the LORD of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction.” (My emphasis added).
As in the Isaiah prophecy, we do not know right away what it is that angers the Lord to this degree, but the description of His reaction is clear. Another quote by Sean Osborne stated this:
“Israel might be responsible for breaking the bow of Elam. This may be the case, but it is difficult to ascertain the specific cause and perpetrator of Elam’s judgment in Jeremiah 49:34-39. The judgment is clearly called for by the Lord, but by whom it is executed is unspecified. It is highly possible that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) plays a critical role, but they may not go it alone.”
Who are Iran’s other enemies? There are many. Israel is of course very concerned because Iran repeatedly threatens to wipe the nation off the map and turn it into another Islamic State. The “Gulf Cooperation Council of Arab States” is another enemy of Iran. These nations are very concerned about the rogue regime that Iran has become. This group of nations also has a great concern with Iran due to its nuclear ambitions, as well as the very real dangers from possible catastrophic damages to the Bushehr nuclear plant. Water is a very important commodity and fresh water is hard to come by in the desert kingdoms.
The international community is also not thrilled with Iran and its aggressive actions, both in its sponsorship of terrorist entities and its disruption of other sovereign nations. Iran funds terror all around the world, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as others.
Will Iran succeed in eliminating the nation of Israel? Absolutely not! It cannot be done. Not because of the great power of Israel’s military, although it is a power to be reckoned with. It is because God promised that He will keep it from happening. Anyone who tries to damage or annihilate Israel will be dealing directly with Israel’s God, and He is none other than the Almighty Creator of the entire universe. He is all powerful!
The world will stand in awe of what happens to Elam. When the Scriptures say Elam will be “dismayed”, the word means “to be beaten down, shattered, frightened, and/or terrified.” Elam will be shattered before her enemies. The magnitude of the disaster will be something far beyond “embarrassment.”
The phrase “before those who seek their life” is describing nothing less than a scenario of war. Israel knows that there is no negotiating with Iran’s rogue leadership. War is the only solution at this point. The Times of Israel clear back in 2014 was warning that 170,000 rockets were aimed at Israel’s cities from Iran’s ally, Hezbollah. In 2014, Breitbart News quoted an Israeli Defense Force Official saying, “We are entering an ‘Era of Fire.”
In a recent blog article found in ESCHATOLOGY TODAY, the writer had this to say:
“Eschatology Today assesses as obvious that the Iranian military command in Syria have convinced themselves that the recent large-scale Russian deployment of S-300PMU2 SAM batteries into Syria has checkmated the Israeli Air Force into total inaction against them in Syria, thus leaving them free to direct their proxies in Gaza to launch massive rocket barrages into southern Israeli communities. Obviously the Iranians also fervently believe that Netanyahu has no stomach for a total ground invasion of Gaza to eradicate the enemy there once and for all.
“However, the bottom line is that it is not about Netanyahu, or the Russians, or the Iranians, Syrians or you-name-them. It’s about the Lord’s prophetic word, as has been discussed here for the past decade, which unambiguously informs of a completely different outcome than Israel’s enemies – or allies – currently imagine. This prophetic outcome has been for almost 3,000 years indelibly written upon the Lord’s appointment calendar. It’s a ‘last days’ schedule of key or critical events; all of which are centered upon the present-day State of Israel, and the enemies which surround her.
“The Eschatology Today assessment is that it will be some unheralded critical event, possibly, or probably, a mass-casualty event in Israel, that alters the current dynamic. That event will occur on the day of an indelible appointment resulting in a chain-reaction fulfillment of Isaiah 17, Isaiah 11:14, and Psalm 83.”
This leads us directly into the Lord’s next “I will in verse 37:
“I will bring disaster upon them; ‘My fierce anger,’ says the LORD…”
Iran has been pretty open with its threats, especially in light of the sanctions being re-imposed by the United States. They have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz; they have threatened to rain thousands of missiles into Israel; they have threatened to level Israeli cities; and they have threatened to give the “go-ahead” to attack America from within through their sleeper cells.
It is not hard to imagine Israel alone, or Israel in conjunction with other nations, deciding that they will not tolerate anymore threats. It is very likely for Iran to strike first. But it is just as likely that there may be a preemptive attack on Iran, or what was ancient Elam, as Jeremiah describes. The “shattering” and the “scattering” will be huge. We don’t know all of the reasons God speaks this judgment but we know that it is extremely severe. Elam’s epic “disaster” will be listed as one of Iran’s worst events in history. It will be driven by the Lord’s fierce anger. Because I see no time in past history that this has happened in full, I believe Iran will do something in the very near future that enrages the Lord and His judgment will be swift and very harsh.
It is important to remember that God is not haphazard in His judgment of nations. There are many examples of God’s indignation expressed in Scripture, and there always proves to be good reason. Examples of these are Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain, Ninevah, the Canaanites, ancient Egypt, and the coming judgment of the nations of the world during the Day of the Lord. With Iran, the most likely reason will be it’s hellish drive to exterminate the Jewish people. God’s covenant in Genesis 12:3 will be upheld. The nation of Iran, in this case, the portion of ancient Elam, will be held accountable. This is God’s foreign policy for the Gentile nations; those who bless Abraham will likewise be blessed, but those cursing him, will be cursed!
God’s next “I will” says,
“And I will send the sword after them until I have consumed them.”
This statement makes it quite clear that the means of Elam’s destruction will be through the means of war. This rules out a natural disaster being the cause, although a natural disaster should not be ruled out as part and parcel of what God may use for His purposes. We do after all live in a time of greatly increased seismic activity around the globe. A crucial intersection of major fault lines moving unexpectedly is always a threat.
God’s declaration also makes it clear that the victory over Elam will be decisive. It will be nothing like Israel’s last war with Hezbollah or America’s Vietnam War. There will be no question who the victor is and who the loser is. This won’t be like a chess match between two masters who play to a draw.
God also promises to send the sword after them until they are consumed. In this case, He chooses to commission others to complete the judgment. Many times in Biblical history God sovereignly defeated Israel’s enemies with His own mighty hand. This is in fact what He will do when the Gog-Magog war breaks out. He Himself will step in just like in Old Testament days. It seems clear that the God of Israel has allowed the IDF to become a world-class power as part of His dealings with nations that cross His boundaries, at least in their mistreatment of Israel. Ezekiel 37 prophesied that Israel would become an exceedingly great army, and it has! Israel’s military is listed today as the eighth most powerful in the world.
We will look at the last two “I wills” together. God says,
“I will set My throne in Elam, and will destroy from there the king and the princes,” says the LORD. “But it shall come to pass in the latter days; I will bring back the captives of Elam,” says the LORD.
God is the One who is ultimately in charge of who is king, who is president, or prime-minister of any nation on this planet. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ paid the price for sin, defeated death, and canceled the curse put upon the earth at Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. It also defeated the fallen Lucifer and all of his fallen angels and demonic minions. Although the kingdoms of this world were temporarily put into the hands of Satan, the earth is in process of being repossessed by its Creator and rightful owner.
This means that He will remove the evil rulership of ancient Elam, and eventually all of the nations of the world. Jesus Christ will rule this world as GOD-KING. He will set His throne up in Elam in the same sense that His throne will be over the entire planet, although the physical location of the Messiah’s throne will be located in Jerusalem. Daniel 4:17 says, “The most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” God will ultimately take charge of all the descendants of men, including the Elamites of old. Maybe this is when God performs a miracle in the last days in which He brings the Kurds back from their world-wide exile, as He is doing with the Jews.
Some commentators say that this was fulfilled in times past, specifically when the Elamites recovered their freedom in the 3rd century BC. Others note that Elamites were present at Pentecost (Acts 2:9). Other commentators say that this refers to modern times and so they point to a prophecy like Jeremiah 25:25, which refers to “all the kings of Zimri, Elam and Media.” This is a prophecy, however, that refers to the end of days at Christ’s campaign against the nations at the end of the Great Tribulation. It is clear that Elam will exist in the last days. Isaiah 11:11 reads:
It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left. From Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.
Just the mention of Elam in this passage proves that Elam will exist in the last days. This prophecy is speaking of the regathering of the Jews to their land by Jesus Christ but it may point to a Kurdish restoration as well. The Kurds have a good relationship with the Jewish people even today.
In conclusion, Elam was destroyed gradually over 2,000 years at the hands of the Greeks, Parthians, Sassanians, Muslims, Mongols, Timurids, and Ottomans. These invasions led to the loss of self rule and led to diaspora for the Kurdish people into most nations of the world. Yet, there is still a heavy judgment coming to the land of ancient Elam due to the feverish drive to destroy the Jewish nation and its people…another attempt at genocide. This will severely cripple Iran’s military and cause catastrophic destruction to the land of ancient Elam. Iran will not be totally destroyed but will find itself having to rely on its treaty with Russia and Turkey in their attempt to wipe the nation of Israel out in the Gog-Magog war described in Ezekiel 38-39.
In Part Eight we will begin an examination of Ezekiel’s War of Gog and Magog, found in Ezekiel 38-39.