There are a few wars coming, well apart from the “rumours” (i.e. reports) of actual wars already underway: wars of the so-called “Arab Spring,” including the nations of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen (a Sunni-Shia proxy war between the KSA and Iran in all but name), Turkey (against Kurdish insurgents); the ongoing Somali Civil War; persistent war in Afghanistan; the on-again off-again conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia; and others.
A common thread in many of these conflicts is Iran. But a heavy thread weaving through the fabric of these disputes, the tensed warp around which the Iranian weft could be said to be thread, is Turkey.
Of the major wars to come, of the more biblically relevant ones, first the antichrist (whoever he is) has to expand his influence.
War 1 – Antichrist wars – Daniel 11
In a back-and-forth battle for domination that spans antiquity unto prophetic future, The King of the North defeats the King of the South and in the process also wins over north Africa.
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
King of the North (KOTN) and King of the South (KOTS) were appellations applied by Israeli prophets of God with respect to the direction from which invading forces came through Israel to battle one another, straddling (and at times implicating) Israel. In ancient times these were predominantly Assyria (modern-day Iraq) and Egypt, respectively. Israel was the natural gateway—natural to anyone wanting to avoid the Arabian desert—between Mesopotamia and north Africa and the Assyrians and Egyptians were the heavies of the day.
It’s hard to see anything, let alone anything of force, come out of Iraq today, although the Shia crescent, which ends in Lebanon, necessarily passes through Iraq, effectively putting Iran in KOTN posture. But such a focus would historically overlook the aggressive Hittite kingdom, forebear to the Turk; a kingdom that waged many wars against Egypt (KOTS).
War 2 – Ezekiel 38 War of Gog and Magog: Non-Arab Islamic Nations of the Middle East
To my reading, it is Turkey (Meshech and Tubal, later Gomer and Togarmah also), and not Iran (Persia), that leads this battle, a battle albeit incorporating Iran and leveraging its proxy influence in the Horn of Africa. Notably, the KOTN is widely and historically generally considered the archetype of the latter days’ Antichrist.
2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
Ezekiel continues (38:8-16):
8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. 9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. 10 Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 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? 14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? 15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: 16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
Notably, Arabs are not involved in the war. Rather, they (Sheba and Dedan) watch on with knowing glances. It seems incredulous to think that the KSA would watch and do nothing as a force led by arch nemesis—a force more-or-less of equivalent potence, Iran—came with regional hegemonic intent. It is more likely that the Iranians are co-conspirators here, beholden to a stronger Turkish force, a force that naturally precludes any thought of Saudi intervention.
Finally, when all is said and done and, perhaps internecine aggression spent, all of Islam will come together.
War 3 – Revelation 16, The Sixth Vial: Battle of Armageddon
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
There is, however, one other war, an ultimate war against Gog that comes after the Lord’s 1000-year reign, when God releases Satan out of his prison, at the end of that time, for a short season. But for now, there is so little time and so much to be done, as it were—all these wars before Jesus comes—that best to postpone discussion of Revelation 20:7-10 for another time.
Until then, remember: the Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.”
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.