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I don't know where the Bible prophesies about the Middle East, and much less do I know if they're coming true in our day. I've heard people witnessing to others by saying "look at the Middle East", but I'm at a loss about it myself, even though I am a Christian too. Can anyone shed some light?

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Genesis 17:7,8 is fulfilled by the establishment of Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948. – Rick Oct 10 '13 at 13:39
Eschatology is a very diverse area of study that is rife with very strong opinions. You'd have to start by narrowing it down to a particular branch or denomination. Actually a specific theory of eschatology would be ideal since eschatological views can vary widely even within denominations. – crownjewel82 Oct 10 '13 at 16:56
Do you mean Israel? – gideon marx Oct 10 '13 at 18:18

2 Answers 2

When I have heard people say "look at the Middle East", it is generally in regards to the formation of the Israelite state in 1948. For close to 2000 years there had been no Israelite state or temple, and for around 2500 years there had been no independent Israelite state. The establishment is seen as the beginning of the end - a necessary step before a temple can be built (which is frequently referred to in Revelation.)

There are a great many prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the re-establishment of an Israelite state, for example Isaiah 66:8. Many of these prophecies could also be interpreted as referring to the Province of Judah that was established after the Exile, or to the creation of the Church, but those who are saying to "look at the Middle East" would most likely interpret them as referring to the current Israelite state.

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Concern about Bible prophesies about the Middle East is often associated with Dispensationalists who believe in the 'Rapture', a concept that had its origins in the nineteenth century beginning, according to one critic, with a young girl's vision. In 1830, she attended a healing service where she was said to have seen a vision of a two-stage return of Jesus Christ. The story of her vision was adopted and amplified by John Nelson Darby, a British evangelical preacher and founder of the Plymouth Brethren.

Dispensationalist theology holds that God provided the nation of Israel with specific promises which will be fulfilled at a future time in the Jews. The creation of the modern nation of Israel in 1948 is seen by Dispensationalists as the first stage in the prophesied end times. Barbara R. Rossing says in The Rapture Exposed, page 47, that with their warlike end-times script, Dispensationalists have supported an all-or-nothing mentality of conquest for Israel, and they look forward to more violence in Israel as the so-called prophetic countdown to the end approaches. This site interprets Ezekiel 39:11:12 as evidence that land east of the Dead Sea will be within in Israel's borders:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.

Professor Rossing says (p 55) according to most Dispensationalists' interpretation of Ezekiel 38, Russia must invade Israel. This interpretation is based on the Hebrew word rosh, which they claim is an early name for Russia – a point that most Hebrew scholars view as ridiculous (since rosh actually means ‘head’).

Despite the fact that the Jewish temple has already twice been desecrated, Dispensationalists believe the Daniel prophecy requires that it be desecrated again. They claim that the temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem, because only if the temple is rebuilt can the Antichrist desecrate it halfway through the seven-year period of tribulation that they believe Daniel 9:27 foretells (making the assumption that one week in the text actually means one year):

(KJV): And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This seems a most unlikely prophecy of a future desecration of the temple, but there is more to come. Rossing says that according to script, after Jesus wins the battle of Armageddon he will then set up his millennial kingdom from the throne of David in Jerusalem, and will reign for one thousand years over a kingdom repopulated by converted Jews and un-Raptured people left behind on earth.

This site says that the parable of the fig tree is a prophecy of the end times and that it is not "in the future" and not "coming soon" - it is here right now. It says that for the past 6 decades, all the major players have been taking the stage and playing the parts that God said they would. It finds the tension between Israel and Iran of particular interest, and claims that Iran already has nuclear weapons capable of reaching Israel.

Rossing says (page 24) that proponents admit that the dispensationalist system is not spelled out in any single passage in the Bible. Nevertheless they insist that a comprehensive system is necessary and that Darby's dispensationalism, with its divisions of history and its two-stage future return of Christ, is "the only system" that can make sense of otherwise contradictory biblical passages. There are a great many passages in the Old Testament that might be prophecies referring to the Middle East in modern times, but I believe we need better evidence of this than has been provided so far.

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