Art Thou Come to Take a Spoil?
In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 we have pictured a great northern invasion of Israel and the Jewish people by many nations detailed in verses 1-6. Later in the chapter we read that it is during this invasion of the land of Israel that God acts to defend His people. When we compare the language and the context of the prophecy with other latter day prophecies such as Joel 3, Zechariah 12-14 and Revelation 16 we realise that the way God will act is through his son, The Lord Jesus Christ who will return to the earth. He, bearing God’s name, will orchestrate the destruction of the armies of the nations, save Israel and establish God’s Kingdom from Jerusalem – bringing in the dawn of a new age.
In the chapter though there is another set of nations mentioned in verse 13 “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish”. This set are not part of the invading force. As the invasion takes place they a prophesied to say “Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”.
It is interesting to consider that this phraseology seems to imply that these nations are operating in the region where the invasion is occurring because they ask if the invader has “come” (and not if the invader had “gone”) to take a spoil.
It is likely we can therefore expect Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish to be operating in the region in or around Jerusalem, Israel and the Middle East just before the prophesied events unfold.
We can therefore expect Saudi Arabia to be working in and around the region of Israel and the middle east when the great Northern Invasion takes place.
Despite the recent peace treaties Israel has brokered with some of its Arab Neighbours in the Abraham Accords, Saudi Arabia is still one nation who has not signed up. However, by all accounts, the Saudi’s are warming to friendly relations to Israel – especially because both countries see their common enemy, Iran, growing in influence – “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” as the saying goes. Incidentally Iran is mentioned as one of the invading nations in verse 5 of Ezekiel 38 by its ancient name of Persia.
The Wall Street Journal reported on March 9th of this year that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are in peace and trade talks being chaired by the Americans – and so we watch developments with interest. The news outlet ran another article on the 9th of August entitled “Saudis Agree With U.S. on Path to Normalize Kingdom’s Ties With Israel”. In it they state: “Officials are negotiating details of agreement they hope to cement within nine-to-12 months, though obstacles remain”.
In some ways, even without a “deal” we can see Israeli-Saudi relations are already warm.
For example both nations have been performing joint military exercises since 2022. There is also a project afoot to connect Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE with a highway.
It’s also inconceivable to think that the UAE and Bahrain would have signed their peace deals with Israel in the Abraham accords without Saudi Arabia’s approval. Saudi Arabia lets Israel fly over its airspace to get to the Gulf states.
So things are moving in a way we would expect from looking at Bible prophecy. Saudi Arabia is becoming a reluctant friend to Israel and will be becoming more and more active in the region in the coming months and years.
In recent weeks some interesting news was published in relation to their relationship and these discussions.
On 14th August 2023, Jewish Press published an article entitled “Saudis Seek to Reboot Temple Mount’s Status Quo With Peace Deal”. Part of the article reads as follows:
“The timing was not accidental when Saudi Arabia announced over the weekend that its ambassador to Jordan will also take on the roles of ambassador to the Palestinian Authority and consul general in eastern Jerusalem.
The announcement came days after the Wall St. Journal reported that the US and Saudi officials have agreed on the general outlines of an agreement to normalize relations with Israel.
Although the idea of a Saudi consulate for the Palestinian Authority in eastern Jerusalem was quickly shot down by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Sunday, Saudi and Palestinian Authority officials who spoke to the Tazpit Press Service said, “The Saudi move is an indication of the possibility of an agreement to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia soon and is a signal to the entire region.”
But Saudi and Palestinian Authority officials also told TPS, “Saudi Arabia wishes to signal to Jordan that it considers itself entitled to set foot in the Al Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem, which would make the crown prince and the Al Saud dynasty responsible for the 3 holy places of Islam: Mecca, Medina and Al Aqsa.”
Saudi sources stressed to TPS that the religious issue is critical in the eyes of the Saudi royal palace, which must deal with a large group of Saudi princes and dignitaries who do not look favorably on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s pivot towards the West.
For several years, Saudi Arabia has been signaling to Jordan that it intends to replace Amman as custodian of the Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Since the Six-Day War of 1967, day-to-day administration of the Temple Mount has been overseen by the Islamic Waqf, a religious trust, while Israel is responsible for security. However, the Israel-Jordan peace treaty of 1994 placed the Waqf under the purview of the Jordanian monarchy. As custodian of the Temple Mount, the Jordanian monarchy funds the Waqf and appoints its leadership.”
On 22nd August, Haaretz published a report entitled “Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Is Waiting for Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman”. In it this article stated “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hasn’t hidden his desire to be the guardian of all of Islam’s holy places — including the Al-Aqsa Mosque — which is causing tension with Jordanian King Abdullah”
If this all occurs it would indeed place Dedan right in the middle of the area the prophets have stated would be invaded. They would indeed be in a position to say “Art thou come to take a spoil?”.
Of course know from the prophecies of the Bible that the ultimate control of Jerusalem will fall into the hands of the son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will sit on the throne of his father David and rule the whole world from Jerusalem in peace and righteousness.
So we watch and we wait as we see the nations begin to conform to the picture that God has set out in His word. We do not know all the twists and turns but when we step back we see that the scene is being set for the return of Christ as prophesied in God’s word of truth – and so we can be encouraged by these things as we wait patiently for God’s Kingdom to be reestablished on the earth.
And we echo the words that Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
This has been Matt Davies joining you. Tune in again next week for another Bible in the News, God willing.