In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria–a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)
This region quoted by the prophet Isaiah includes the primary terrain where most of the recorded Biblical stories occurred. Not only was it the region where Abraham lived – in Ur of Chaldea, Israel and even Egypt – God’s people “the seed of Abraham” also after him dwelt in Israel, Egypt and Babylon. The Bible tells us also that it was in this whole region God planted man in the Garden of Eden bordered, as it was, by the four rivers.
The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:8-15)
This place therefore, which Isaiah in his prophecy calls “the midst of the earth,” has always been very close to the heart of God and to His eternal plan with mankind – the Biblical lands where by far most the events and acts of God took place, and which today remains mainly the home of Abrahams direct descendants via Isaac and Ishmael, the Jews and Arabs.
Strangely enough, and rather significantly, we read in Revelation that when the heavenly city Jerusalem COMES DOWN from heaven, it will cover all this region where Paradise was, all of this Biblically significant area.
The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. (Revelation 21:16)
Twelve thousand furlongs being about 1200 miles!
Is it not strange and contradictory, therefore, that just as with Jerusalem – whose ultimate destiny is to be a gateway of peace, righteousness and truth to the whole earth (but which instead has until now been the very opposite – a city of endless wars and destructions) – that we also see this same phenomenon in regard to the Middle East? Today this whole region is a hotbed of Islamic terror, war and jihad. Sunnis are fighting, in the most barbaric way, their Shi’ite fellow Muslims and other minorities, and vice versa. Shi’ites, under the ever spreading hegemony of Iran, are fighting other fellow Muslims all over the Middle East and killing Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and others, all being brutally decapitated, buried alive or even crucified. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and massacred in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, resulting in millions of new refugees being driven from their homes and lands, suffering cold, hunger and unimaginable tragedies of rape, plunder and the loss of everything.
Is this the “midst of the earth’ that is destined to become a blessing again, a paradise of peace where there will be a highway connecting these very people and nations, Egypt, Assyria and Israel: “a blessing in the midst of the earth”?
The night is never so dark and intense as just before the dawn, And so I believe it is and will be in regard to the Middle East. The Devil, or Evil One, who knows what God’s plans are for these former Biblical lands, is doing everything possible today to ravish and upset these plans by a reign of terror and jihad, so much so that it has now caught the attention of the whole world, but hopefully also the attention of God’s people, Jews and Christians.
This is also, I believe, the reason why God wants me to write this! For whatever the international community of nations believes its responsibility to be in somehow alleviating this sea of human suffering and disaster, the children of God – and it is them I write these lines – knowing that their God and heavenly Father has destined this Middle East for something entirely different, should in concern and outreach stand with God to see His will prevail in spite of all the present cruel activities of demonic inspired men and women calling themselves Muslims.
We, through fervent and continuous prayer, should ask God to deliver the Middle East from this scourge of terror and war, and to liberate fit for the great revival and blessing God has intended for this very region. We should so this by binding this spirit of Islamic Jihad which the Evil One is using to keep this Revival from coming to the Middle East. Only after it is bound shall all see the blessing prophesied by Isaiah, when Egypt, Assyria and Israel – the physical descendants of Abraham – will be set free from this spirit of hatred and jihad, and be reconciled together as ‘a blessing in the midst of the earth.’
Amazing, in this light, is the realization that during the future attack on Israel from the North by the forces of Gog and Magog – these areas of today’s Arab nations, Egypt and Assyria, are not mentioned as participants. What’s more, the Bible clearly spells out that when this future invasion of nations takes place, Israel will be dwelling in peace with its direct neighbors, without walls or defense structures. The indication is that this revival that is to come to the direct descendants of Abraham in the Middle East – Jews and Arabs – will happen BEFORE the onslaught of Gog and Magog.
You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’ (Ezekiel 38:11)
Thirdly, there is in the Biblical narrative of this coming attack no clear political reason similar to today’s issue of Palestine mentioned as the reason behind it, as can be seen from the question posed by the nations in Ezekiel 38:13:
Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’
Apparently, that part of the Middle East problem – the question of Palestine – will have been resolved BEFORE the Gog and Magog war.
There will then be – and I believe it will come soon – a Revival and reconciliation for these nations representing the direct descendants of Isaac and Ishmael, already in a way symbolized in the reconciliation between Jacob and Esau written about in Genesis 33:4:
But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
May we all pray – I shall do so every day – that instead of all the destructive spirits of hatred there will soon, also through our prayers and intercession, be an outpouring of God’s Spirit on these very peoples “in the midst of the earth”.
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center