Before the Redemption, will Christianity and Islam come to fight against Israel, or only one of them, or maybe neither of them?
The prophet Ovadia lived during the period of King Ahab and Queen Isabel, as is mentioned in Kings I, Chapter 18. He prophesied during the First Temple period, when the Edomites were a negligent and unimportant minority, and the city of Rome had not yet been built and populated by them. Certainly no one expected to see the Edomites – Romans as a superpower, or Rome serving as the center of Christian nations worldwide.
Yet, Ovadia not only prophesied about their ascendancy, he also:
– hinted to their national symbol that lasted overmany generations until this very day among a number of their descendants
– foresaw their relationship to the Jewish people during the period of the Redemption, in which they would stand aside while the (Islamic) enemy would organize to fight the Jews.
– seals their fate for not helping the Jews
– and reports that during the period when the Jews will return to the Land of Israel, one main group will come from the lands of Germany and France (French and German Jews were the progenitors of all Ashkenazi Jewry), and the other main group will come from Spain (Sephardic) lands.
Let us emphasize again that he prophesied all this during the period when the First Temple was still standing, King Ahab was sitting on his throne, and the Jewish people had never been exiled from their land.
Let us listen to Ovadiah’s words (Chapter 1):
The vision of Ovadiah; So said the L-rd G-d … Behold I have made you [Edom] small among the nations; you are very despised (currently). The wickedness of your heart enticed you, who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high, who says… “Who will bring me down to the earth?” If you go up high like an eagle, and if you place your nest among the stars, (This is a rare expression in the Bible. It apparently hints to the pride of the Christian world after reaching the stars, as if saying that before I will bring you down, you, the Christian world, will reach unparalleled heights in the world. And then) from there I will bring you down, says the L-rd…
Because of the violence towards your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. On that day you stood from afar, (you didn’t come to help) on the day strangers captured his possessions, and foreigners came into his cities, and on Jerusalem they cast lots; (therefore) you, too, (will be considered) like one of them… And the house of Jacob shall be fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble, and they shall ignite them and consume them, and the house of Esau shall have no survivors, for the L-rd has spoken…
And the exiled host of the children of Israel who are with the Canaanites as far as Zarephat and the exile of Jerusalem which is in Sepharad (Ibn Ezra explains: “Zarephat is France and the Targum Yonotan ben Uziel interprets Sepharad as Spain. This refers to the exiles which the Roman Titus exiled at the Destruction of the Second Temple. This is a prophecy about the future.”)
…shall inherit the cities of the southland. And saviors shall ascend to Mt. Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the L-rd shall have the kingdom.” (The Jewish people was scattered among many countries as the Torah promised, so why did he refer specifically to these two countries? The prophecy mentions the two main groups into which the Jewish people were divided during the exile, and prophesied that they would return to the Land of Israel until their full unification in the Final Redemption.)
The Christian Edomites will stand from afar and will not help. And who will come to fight the Jewish people?
From the vision of the idol in the Book of Daniel brought above, we learn that in the period of the “toes”, the leadership of the world will be in the hands of ten Christian and Muslim countries, with the Christians stronger than the Muslim countries. If the Christians will stand from afar, as Ovadia explains, the ones coming to make war will be the Muslim countries. It turns out that Chapter 38 in the Book of Ezekiel describes the situation in detail:
“Then the word of the L-rd came to me, saying: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, [toward] the land of Magog, the prince, the head of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him. And you shall say; So said the L-rd G-d : Behold, I am against you, Gog, the prince, the head of Meshech and Tubal. And I shall unbridle you, and I shall put hooks into your jaws (“I will put in your heart to act with mischief and rebel. Then I will put hooks into your jaws to pull you in the same way as they pull animals [Metzudat David]. “I will put thoughts and a desire in your heart to pull you away from your land and come to the Land of Israel” [Rashi]) and shall bring you forth and all your army… Persia, Cush, and Put are with them … Gomer and all its wings, the house of Togarmah, the utmost parts of the north and all its wings, many peoples with you.
(Besides the many nations mentioned here without specifying their names, the list of the above-mentioned countries includes: Iran, Iraq, Libya, India, Turkey, and African countries. See the sources mentioned in note 20.)
From many days you will be remembered; at the end of the years you will come to a land afflicted by the sword, gathered in from many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which had been continually laid waste, but it was taken away from the nations, and they all dwelt securely.
And you will ascend; like mist you will come; like a cloud to cover the earth you will be; you and all your divisions and many peoples with you…
So said the L-rd G-d: Are you he about whom I spoke in ancient days through My servants, the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days many years ago, to bring you upon them. It will come to pass on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, declares the L-rd G-d, that My blazing indignation will flame in My nostrils. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken; Surely there shall be a great noise on that day in the land of Israel. And at My presence, the fishes of the sea and the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the field and all the creeping things that creep upon the earth and all the men who are upon the surface of the earth shall quake, and all the mountains shall be thrown down, and the tower staircases shall collapse, and all walls shall fall to the ground. And I shall call the sword against him upon all My mountains, says the L-rd G-d: every man's sword shall be against his brother. (This means they will be destroyed by their own weapons.) And I will deliver judgment against him with pestilence (the plague. And see Zechariah’s prophecy below which speaks in more detail about the plague) and with blood, and rain bringing floods, and great hailstones. I will rain down fire and brimstone upon him and upon his hordes and upon the many peoples that are with him.
And I will reveal Myself in My greatness and in My holiness, and will be recognized in the eyes of many nations, and they will know that I am the L-rd.
Notes and Sources
. See the prophecy of Ezekiel Chapter 38-39 below.
As is well known, the eagle was the symbol of the Roman legions in the faraway past, but for Ovadiah, it was far in the future. When the Torah prophesied the Destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans, it says, “The L-rd will bring upon you a nation from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down” (Deut. 28:49). In Ezekiel’s prophecy about the chariot (See Ezekiel 1:10), he sees the ministering angel of Rome having the face of an eagle (see the Malbim there). The 300 Holy Roman Empire duchies which united and called themselves Germany, also took the eagle as their national symbol.
. It should have said against Gog, the prince of the Land of Magog. Furthermore, according to the cantillation marks in the verse, the word nasi (prince, or as the word is translated today, president) is separate from the words before it and from the words after it. It appears that the intention of the verse is to conceal who is Gog and where is his country. However, we know where the Land of Magog is (see note 2124??). And it appears from verse 17 “So said the L-rd G-d: Are you he about whom I spoke…” that He intentionally concealed who he was until the prophecy would take place and then everyone would know that he was the one referred to in the many prophecies. Therefore, it is possible that the verse intended to say “Set your face toward Gog, [and toward] the land of Magog” — which is a different country. The word nasi has a shva under the letter nun, but the text doesn’t reveal which country he is prince/president of. It only notifies us that he is a prince/president and not a king. It also reveals to us that besides ruling his country, he also rules Meshech and Tuval.
. We find mentioned here Persia, Cush (Ethiopia) Put, Gomer and Togarma, who will come to fight against the Jews of the Land of Israel, together with a president or prince called Gog leading them who also heads the countries of areMeshech and Tuval, which are strongly affiliated to the country of Magog. (Perhaps Gog is the chairman of a coalition of these countries?)
After Noah’s Flood, the Torah lists the names of those who survived — Noah and his family, who founded all the nations and states that came about with the course of years, some of which were called after the names of their founders. Let us try to study them and understand who are the groups which are mentioned here.
The verse in the Torah starts off: “These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japhet. They had children after the Flood. The sons of Japhet were Gomer and Magog and Medai and Yavan and Tuval and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Rifat and Togarma. The sons of Yavan, Elisha and Tarshish, Kitim and Dodanim. These separated into the islands of the nations, each one to his language, according to their families in their nations. And the sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. And the sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabta and Raamah and Sabtecha, and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. And Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty man in the land… And the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon. (Gen. 10:1-10)
The Targum of Yonotan ben Uziel (which was written 2000 years ago!) translates the second verse as follows: “The sons of Japhet, were Gomer and Magog and Medai and Yavan and Tuval and Meshech and Tiras. And the names of their countries are Afrikai, Germania, Tamadai, Macedonia, Yatinia, Ossia and Tarkey.” Let us now coordinate the countries with the names of Japhet’s sons according to the correct order of the verse. Africa (Gomer’s country), Germany (Magog’s country), Tamadai (Medai’s country), Macedonia (the country of Yavan), Yatinia (Tuval’s country), Ossia (= Russia, Meshech’s country), and Tarkey (country of Tiras).
The text goes on to explain that the names of the countries of Chavila and Ra’ama, the sons of Cush, are Handaki (= Hodu, the Hebrew name for India) and Lubay ( = Libya). To these two one should add Babylonia (Iraq) whose king was Nimrod ben Cush, as the Torah says openly. It turns out that Gog the president / prince will have huge influence on Russia and Germany, and the countries that will join it to wage war against Israel will be: Iran, Iraq, Libya, India, Put, Tograma, African countries, and more. We will only note that the verses indicate that Magog (⁓ Germany)’s assistance will be behind the lines but it will not participate in the front. In the end it is to be smitten with fire as is prophesied in Ezekiel 39:6.
It is amazing to discover that all those warring countries mentioned here were in the past idol worshippers like the other nations of the world, but over the generations they changed, and they today belong to the Islamic nations. They will have behind the scene assistance of one specific Christian state — which is Germany. In our days, in which Iran, Persia, Iraq, Libya and others are trying to achieve nuclear capacity and biological warfare, and some of them (India and Pakistan) already have it with the help of Germany — it is astonishing to see that their collaboration and other pertinent details were predicted in a document written thousands of years ago. We are still in the midst of this prophecy coming true.
. On the verses in Psalms (124:1-3): “A song of ascents. Of David. Had it not been for the L-rd Who was with us, let Israel declare now. Had it not been for the L-rd Who was with us when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive when their anger was kindled against us.” Rabbi Chaim Vital, the famous leading disciple of the holy ARI, writes in his book Etz ha-Daat Tov:
“We already know that there will only be four exiles. Babylonia, Medes, Greece and Edom. But in the future, at the End of Days, Israel will be in a Ishmaelic exile as was mentioned in Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer and the Midrash. In the Book of Zohar at the end of the section of Lech Lecha, it says that Ishmael, the son of Abraham, was circumcised, but he is called a pereh odom — a wild man and not a full man, because his circumcision was only partial. But the other four exiles ( = kingdoms) are compared to the animals mentioned in the Book of Daniel. King David prophesied in this psalm everything that will happen to Israel in this exile.
“While Israel is in the four exiles, they will say ‘Were it not that G-d was with us…’ But there will be a fifth exile, the last of them all, and the most fearful of them all, and this is the exile of Ishmael who is called a wild man and cannot be compared to animals. Israel will then say instead: ‘Were it not that G-d was with us, when a man came upon us.’ He is called a man because he was the son of Abraham and he has our forefather’s merits; we find that Abraham prayed ‘Would that Ishmael live before You.’
“Another reason he is called a man is because he also accepted upon himself circumcision. Therefore, his kingdom will be more savage than the other four kingdoms. As our sages say, he was called Ishmael, because in the future Israel will cry out terrible outcries during their exile under him, and then G-d will listen to them and answer them, etc.
“They would have swallowed us alive” — they wanted to swallow us up alive, just as the sheaves in Yosef’s dream swallowed up the other sheathes and it was unnoticeable that they had swallowed them. Because, G-d forbid, “when their anger is kindled against us” — their desire is to wipe out the name of Israel from under the heaven, just as something that was swallowed up disappears and is as if it never existed.
We won’t know what to do. We will be helpless besides trusting in G-d’s great Name to save us from their hands. And that is why the psalm ends “Our help is in the Name of the L-rd…”
Adapted from “Journey to the Truth” by Rabbi Zamir Cohen