Prophecy Regarding Nations
With prophecy you have to ask the who, what, when and where questions. Over hundreds or thousands of years the names of cities and nations changed. An example of this is Jerusalem.
In Genesis 14:18 Jerusalem is called Salem. Genesis 14:18 KJV “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”
And Psalm 76:2 tells us Psalm 76:2 KJV
” In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.”
So we know (who) Abraham (what) brought tithes to Melchizedek God’s high priest (where) in Jerusalem. So who was on the land at that time? Who owned and occupied Jerusalem? God and Abraham and God’s people. (When) After the flood.
Later, the Jebusites occupied the land, when Joseph and Israel were in Egypt, Jebusites moved onto Israel’s land given to Abraham from God. Jebusites are also known as Canaanites and after Moses led Israel out of Egypt, when Joshua spied out the land, these were the people in the land and God’s word says they were into idolatry. Not only were Jebusites there, but all the ites brothers; Hivites, Jebusites, Canaanites, Perizzites and Hitities. So when Israel went into the promised land, the land God gave Abraham, God laid out the divisions of the land to the tribes of Israel, see Numbers 1. And who did King David kick out of Jerusalem? Jebusites, see 2 Samuel 5.
Israel was taken into captivity and lost their land. Remember when God told Abraham, Israel was going to be in captivity 400 years (Genesis 15:13,14)? Abraham’s offspring would go into captivity 400 years. Today, we know this is when Joseph was in Egypt and Israel came into Egypt during a famine and Israel dwelt in Goshen.
66 people were in Jacob’s family coming into Egypt and Joseph and his family were already there so 70 people total made up Israel, see Genesis 46:27,28. The 66 dwelt in Goshen and they grew in number and prosperity, see Exodus 1:7. Egypt begins to fear the growth and prosperity of Israel so they set taskmasters over them. Israel is then taken into bondage.
According to Exodus 12:40, 41, Israel is in bondage 430 years. But God told Abraham 400 years, did God get it wrong? No. Don’t forget, when Israel first came into Egypt you had generations around before the bondage.
We know God raised up Moses to deliver Israel from the bondage in Egypt. Remember, Israel had been in Goshen 430 years so when God used Moses to deliver Israel, they had no idea which way to travel out of Egypt. It would be like someone dropping you in the middle of a desert and you not knowing what direction to go.
We know God led Israel by day in a pillar of a cloud and by night with a pillar of fire, Exodus 13:20-22. Neighboring nations were afraid of Israel because they knew God was leading them as Exodus 15:14-27 explains. And notice the names of these other nations? Nations like Edom, Moab, Canaan? Other nations had taken over the land God gave Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in Genesis 15:18-21.
A study of the promised land is a great study. It is also a study of God’s relationship with Abraham and Israel. It is a great study in geography and history of the people and the land. It is also a study of who owns what land in the Middle East.
All this I have said to point out, those who lived in the days of Moses, who knew the Scriptures, knew God told Abraham Israel would be in captivity 400 years as Genesis 15:13-15 states. That’s why Israel knew God was going to send a deliverer. The scribes were keeping records and when Israel reached their 400 years in captivity, they knew time in captivity was up. Look for the deliverer.
Today, we have the scriptures completely and we can trace out prophecies of old and now prophecies and future prophecies. In understanding the names in the scriptures (the who) we can determine by looking at old maps. Old maps show the names of cities and geography. And even though countries change their name, old maps identify the players in the scriptures.
An example of this is Iran. Iran was always identified as Persia. Remember the Medes and Persians from the scriptures? Persia is identified with Elam in scripture. And remember Esther was living in the time of the Medes and Persians, see Esther 1:1-3.
In recent past times, the Ottoman Empire was carved up. And it is said it was a Nazi economics minister that said Persians / Iranians were “Aryans”. So in 1935 the Iranian government wanted countries to no longer call them Persians, but call them Iran. And when the Ottoman Empire was carved up is when Iraq and other countries came into their own.
Why bring this up? Because when you read scripture and see names like Persia and Syria or Damascus or Elam, by looking at an old map you can discover what nations God is speaking about. Prophecy names the countries by their old names. There are many old time maps and look at several to help you understand prophecy.
We read in Isaiah 17 that Damascus is going to be destroyed and where is Damascus? Modern day Syria. We also read there will be an alarm of war in Jordan.
Zephaniah 2:8-13 KJV “I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
 Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the Lord of hosts.
 The Lord will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.
 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.
 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.”
As people today try to figure things out in the Middle East and as some try to bully Israel in to giving up the land God gave them, all one has to do is look to God’s word for the truth, for answers and the solution to the Middle East.
Until next time.