I have come to the conclusion that the earnest Bible believer would do well to incorporate a new discipline to his study of the Word of God; Biblical Geography.
My study of end times prophecy has drawn me into this aspect of Bible prophecy, particularly in my work on the book “A Sword On The Land;The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy”. Reading the Sacred text with a map and realizing the updated names of commonly cited places and peoples such as Moab,Ammon, Persia, Edom, Kedar and Dedan *has revolutionized my understanding of the stunning relevance of familiar prophecies throughout the Bible.
We are living in an incredible time of prophecy fulfillment, every bit as astonishing as the times of the first coming of Jesus. Things are happening at breakneck speed, all over the world, and even worldly people are wondering what all of these things portend. But as in the time of Jesus’ first advent, how few believers are aware and able to identify and articulate these prophecies!
Lately I have been seeing the complete importance of the nation we now call Turkey, in the Bible. In fact the prophetic significance of Turkey is so great, I feel compelled to write these succinct articles, perhaps forming a little book for those who have ears to hear. I am no scholar, other than my role as an avid disciple of Jesus and eager anticipant for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I search the scripture.
Others have been calling attention to Turkey lately, and though I disagree with some of their conclusions I appreciate the attention they are drawing to this critical place non the light of prophecy. Chuck Missler, Joel Richardson, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum are some who have been giving much needed insight into the significance of the crucial nation.It is estimated that about 55 percent of all places mentioned in the Bible are in what we now call Turkey.
Turkey is situated in a very strategic place on the globe;she is due north of Israel, and part of Europe but she is Eastern in culture and outlook, with her own unique brand of Islam. Turkey is the gateway to the orient, and to the Middle East.Like Israel she sits near the worlds crossroads.
Turkey features prominently in the Old Testament, Noah’s Ark landed in the Ararat mountain range, thus Turkey is very near the cradle of civilization.Noah’s son Japheth comprised the nations that settled what is now known as Turkey-The nations of Gomer, Magog, Javan, Tubal, and Meschech all descended from Japheth and settled there. (Gen. 10:2).
Abraham had settled in Haran, which is in Turkey, and set out from there after his father died,
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.(Genesis 12:4-5)
Jacob lived in Haran for more than fourteen years while he worked for his uncle Laban, who substituted his daughter Leah for Rachel, Jacob’s first choice for a wife.
The Children of Israel drove out the Hittites, a Canaanitish people, in the days of the conquests of Joshua and Caleb. Those same Hittites fled to Turkey where they became an empire until they were conquered by the Thracians, Phrygians and Assyrians about 1100 BC.
The Assyrian Empire covered what is now Southern Turkey, Syria and Iraq, when they took captive the ten Northern tribes of Israel. The Assyrian capitol was Ninevah, which is presently known as Mosul, in Iraq. They would eventually fade away, being replaced by Babylon in the North and Egypt in the south, until the world altering and decisive battle of Carchemish ( which is in Turkey) in 605BC.
This battle settled the supremacy of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon over Pharaoh Necho of Egypt and the remnants of the Assyrian empire.Jeremiah 46 is a prophecy about the battle-
The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.(Jeremiah 46:2)
Israel had sided with Pharaoh, rather than listen to the prophet Jeremiah who urged co-operation with Babylon, thus ensuring the Babylonian captivity and destruction of the temple.
Daniel the prophet predicted Alexander the Great, the rise of the Grecian Empire and the division into four sections after Alexander’s sudden death. One of the sections of the divided kingdom was called the Seleucid Empire which included the southern half of Turkey.
One of the prominent Seleucid Emporers was named Antiochus the fourth, aka Antiochus Epiphanes ,which means “Antiochus the Light from above”. He is also known as the “King of the North, and his wars against the King of the South(The Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt) were predicted in great detail by Daniel.(Dan. 8:9-14; 23-25; 11:21-35).
The significance of Antiochus is that this Assyrian ruler is a type of the AntiChrist to come, having been a persecutor of God’s people, a defiler and desecrator of the Temple of God and one who boasted against the most high God himself.
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. 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.(Daniel 11:36-40)
The New Testament is even more connected to the place which we call Turkey, as you will see in our next installment.
*(Moab and Ammon are modern day Jordan, so also is Edom, which also extend into the northern Arabian Peninsula.Persia is Iran, and Kedar and Dedan are cities in present day Saudi Arabia. All of these places feature prominently in prophecy and current events).