And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 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: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. (Ezekiel 38:1-6)
There are two prominent nations involved in the final invasion and Siege of Israel, which take prominent leadership roles among the coalition. Turkey and Iran.
Both of these nations have undergone tremendous, ominous transformations in this, and the previous century, right before the world’s eyes., and to the terror of many in the world who understand the implications of these changes.
We will discuss in brief the recent history of Turkey first, then Iran in the next session.
For five centuries, after the fall of Constantinople , until relatively recently, Turkey was the seat of the Ottoman Empire, the world’s Muslim superstate which rules the Middle East, Much of eastern Europe, North Africa, as an expansionistic Empire.
Not that long ago the Ottoman Empire presented a constant and potent threat to Europe and the West in General, seeking access to invade Europe, exact tribute in the Mediterranean, enslaving Christians in the Balkans, raiding coastal towns for white slaves along the coasts of France, Italy, even England and Ireland, and into eastern Europe.
Eventually the Empire began to crumble, in bits and pieces at first, when Revolutions succeeded in the Balkans, Greece, and Cyprus, throwing off the Turkish yoke. But the Ottomans held the Middle East, including the Holy Land, and much of North Africa, until She took the German side in the First World War, and lost.
The Victorious French and British carved up the former Ottoman Empire, creating the modern Middle East, dividing up the land once held by Turkey, and creating new nations such as Jordan, Iraq, and Algeria.
There would be no more Ottoman Empire, only Turkey , a defeated Empire, humiliated, backwards, and reduced to her present borders.
Two huge developments ensued in the wake of the death of the Ottoman Empire, one was somewhat positive the other, extremely negative.
The negative development was the postwar purge of the Turkish borders of Christians.
Three million Armenians, lived in Turkey, it was the first “Christian Kingdom” , the Armenian king having been converted to Christ in the first century AD. The Armenian community had persevered in spite of centuries of imposed Dhimmi status, deprivation,various programs and impoverishment.
The genocide took place in two distinct phases. All of the able-bodied Armenian men were rounded up, either massacred outright, or conscripted into slave labor camps where many died. The second phase was a forced deportation march of the remaining Armenian population, women children, elderly, weak and sick, through the Syrian desert. a million Armenians died, countless others were raped, tortured and dispersed across the globe.
To this day the Turkish government denies the atrocity, and the lack of international indignation, literally encouraged Hitler in his genocidal quest to destroy Jews. When asked if he ever thought about history’s condemnation, Hitler replied, “No one said anything about the Armenians did they?”.
The Positive development in the modern world, was the near miraculous modernization of Turkey by Attaturk.
The Ottoman government collapsed and there was a brief Turkish War of Independence between a newly formed Turkish National Movement, and Armenian and Greek proxy forces of the victorious allies. Eventually a reasonable agreement was settled upon and the new Turkish Nationalist movement came to power, under the leadership of “young Turks” led by Mustafa Kemal who came to be known as Ataturk-“Father of the Turks”.
Kemal concluded that Turkey needed to be modernized, and brought into the twentieth century. Thus he undertook a series of radical reforms which would transform Turkey into a modern European style state. Turkey would have a constitution, it would become a Republic, sovereignty would be invested in the State and not in any single ruler.
He changed the day of rest to Sunday, changed the calendar,
Perhaps the most astonishing reform was Kemal’s banishment of Islam from any role in shaping public policy, a kind of “Separation of Mosque and state”. Sheriot(Shariah) was revoked, religious schools were closed, public education was secularized, and perhaps most shockingly to Sunnis across the former Empire, the Caliphate was abolished and the Government was moved to Ankara.
The Caliphate is the central governing authority of the World’s Sunni Muslims, (which comprise 3/4s of the 1.7 billion Muslims of the World. It is more than a government however, it is the central juridicial, Religious and military authority of the Sunni world as well.
It was shortly after the banishment of the Caliphate occurred, a profound calamity to the Sunni world, an Egyptian group formed called the Muslim Brotherhood, which made the restoration of the Caliphate it’s priority. A tall order considering the weakness and disarray of the Muslim world and the seeming invincible strength of the Christian West.
Other reforms included clothing changes, women were no longer required to wear a veil, men were encouraged to dress in modern western clothing. The Fez was outlawed, and the veil was strongly discouraged, so great was the break from the past which the movement attempted.
Ataturk under-took national language reform replacing the former Persian,TurkishArabic language with a purer form of Turkic speech. Even the national script was changed under his direction. Turkey adopted Latin script, which actually drastically improved national literacy.
The Turkish military became a secularized national army in the western sense, and to it was vouchsafed by constitution the preservation of Turkey’s secular status.
Turkey emerged as a modern secular European State, a member of Nato, an Ally of the West throughout the cold war, a close friend of Israel, and has been considered for inclusion into the European Union. Turkey has the world’s sixth largest military and the largest military in Europe.
She has maintained her secular status for almost a hundred years, the military stepping in when necessary to preserve Turkey’s republic from Islamists ,in 1960,1971, 1980, and 1997.
But recent events in Turkey portend a radical shift away from the successful secular hiatus Turkey and the world have enjoyed, and back into the heavily Islamic and Imperialistic past which Turkey has only recently emerged from.
The world has been living in an anomaly; for the past century a huge menace to Western peace and stability has been vanquished. The menace which long threatened Europe and all of Christendom and which had a long string of uncontested victories has lately been put to rest, and forgotten. But the Beast , as we will see, is awakening and Turkey has a prime role to play in the last days.