As tensions between Iran and the U.S. rise and the first sparks of an actual conflict appear, ancient prophecies concerning pre-messiah politics seem suddenly relevant like never before.
Last month, the White House officially designated the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization, saying it was the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign. Iran responded by labeling the US military a terrorist group.
The White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, to counter “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.
Four oil tankers including two from Saudi Arabia and one from Norway, suffered significant damage from “sabotage attacks” on Monday. The attack took place off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) less than 100 miles from the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping channel.
At the request of the UAE government, a U.S. team of investigators official went to investigate the incident. The team reported that each ship had a 5-10-foot hole near or just below the water line, probably caused by explosive charges.
Even before the attack, eyes were on Iran for such a possibility. Last week, the U.S. Maritime Administration issued a warning to commercial shipping companies that from the beginning of May there had been, “an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf.”
The possibility that the attack on the tankers came from Iran was underscored in a speech by President Trump on Monday in which he warned that Iran would Iran would “suffer greatly” if it targeted U.S. interests.
The New York Times reported on Monday that a top U.S. defense official presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump’s senior security aides that included dispatching up to 120,000 troops to the region should Iran attack American interests or escalate work on nuclear weapons.
As political experts try to make sense of the situation, the more prophetically-minded turn to an 800-year old source that describes the conflict in no uncertain terms. The Yalkut Shimoni, a collection of Biblical teachings believed to have been arranged in the 13th century, predicted our present political reality, describing how an Iranian-Saudi conflict will lead Saudi Arabia to ally with the U.S.
Rabbi Yitzchok said: “The year that Melech HaMoshiach [Messiah the King] will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other. The King of Persia (Iran) will provoke the King of Arabia (Saudi Arabia), and the King of Arabia will go to Edom (the West) to take counsel, but the King of Persia will in turn, destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panicked. They will fall on their faces, and they will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too will be outraged and in a state of panic and ask, where do we go? But say unto them, ‘My children, do not fear, the time of your redemption has come. And in the last redemption will be different from the first which was followed by further bondage and pain. After this last redemption, you will not again experience any further pain or subjugation.’”
The Yalkut Shimoni describes a conflict that threatens to “destroy the entire world,” a scenario that would not have been possible at the time the prophecy was written. Yet this does seem to be a possibility today since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed in 2015, the Iranian nuclear program has advanced as has its ballistic missile program. In response to the JCPOA, Saudi Arabia is also aggressively pursuing a nuclear program.
“These are ancient conflicts coming full circle,” Rabbi Winston explained to Breaking Israel News, referring to the tensions between the U.S. and Iran. “People who do not believe in the Torah discount prophecy and get confused and amazed when history works out that way. But these are prophecies made for the end of days.”
“Several of the prophecies do speak about Iran, or Persia, being a major player in the end-of-days but on the wrong side of the line. Right now, we are getting occasional sightings of what will be a very big thing.”
Rabbi Winston cited a powerful aspect of prophecy that frequently goes unnoticed. He noted that describing Iran as the arch-enemy of Israel and the U.S just 40 years ago would have been unthinkable.
“Before the Iranian revolution, Persia was a staunch ally of the West,” Rabbi Winston said. “Before the 20th century and the importance of oil, the Arabs were a practically powerless part of the Ottoman empire. It is only recently that the Yalkut Shimoni’s description of Persia as an enemy of the world is relevant.”
The rabbi concluded with an enigmatic warning. He noted that the erev rav (mixed multitude) played a major, albeit destructive, role in the Exodus from Egypt. Winston suggested that as the final redemption will mirror the Exodus, this erev rav aspect would be played out as well.
“In the end-of-days, the enemy is going to have friends on the inside,” he said.
Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, notes how the complex relationships being played out in the Middle East today mirror conflicts described in prophecy.
“In end-of-days scenarios, there are two parallel tracks for Gog and Magog: the world united against Israel, and another in which Ishmael and Esav fight each other,” Spiro told Breaking Israel News. “I always wondered how it could be both and now I realize that is really what is going on today.”
“There has been a struggle between Islam and the Arab world against the West as to who will be the successor, replacing Judaism,” he explained. “They have been fighting since the inception of Islam in the 7th Century. But at the same time, they put those issues aside to passionately fight Israel.”
Rabbi Spiro cited Rabbi Mendel Kessin who comments extensively on current events from a Torah perspective. In a lecture given two years ago, Rabbi Kessin described Trump’s victory as “a revealed miracle,” saying that the new president was the “Tikkun (fixing) of Esau.”
“Trump is the Esav (West) that fights with us against Ishmael (Islam),” Rabbi Spiro said. “He is openly a staunch ally of Israel. It is even more interesting that the greatest superpower in the world is currently confronting the greatest existential threat to Israel, which is Iran.”
From both a political and prophetic perspective, Rabbi Spiro perceives the current situation as potentially explosive.
“Iran is playing brinksmanship diplomacy,” Rabbi Spiro said. “We really need to see what is going to play out in the next few days.”