Turkey, forgotten and ignored in much of world news today, is destined to become important in world affairs! Bible prophecy shows a strange and bizarre future for this important nation at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Read here what your Bible says about Turkey's future!
Istanbul, Turkey HERE in Istanbul, bustling European economic capital of modern Turkey, I am writing from one of the most important crossroads on earth today. In front of me ships sail slowly by, headed up toward the Black Sea and the Crimea, or down toward the Dardanelles and the Mediterranean.
This small enclave of Turkey in the European littoral is in many ways the most important part of Turkey. Bounded to my west by Bulgaria and Greece, European Turkey represents a substantial grip by this nation on one of the world's most important sea gates, the Bosporus and Dardanelles. Grecian claims on this area, plus disputes over possession of the island of Cyprus, have meant strained relationships and near war between the two neighbors in the past. Because of its strategic location, Turkey has been of prime importance to the big powers in recent cold war history. You may remember it was from a Strategic Air Command base in this nation that the ill-fated Powers U-2 flight was made. Embarrassing admissions by the U.S. Department of State followed, when the U.S. Government revealed constant U-2 spy flights were being made over Russia from bases in Turkey. Finally, to lessen tensions in the modern furor of the cold war, the U.S. dismantled and removed some of its important military installations in Turkey. Turkey is, however, a member of NATO — and signed a mutual defense pact with the U.S. in 1959. But in our modern jet-hydrogen-space age, how could a nation be of such strategic importance merely because of its geographical location? Simply because no matter how advanced our technology is, no matter how fast our airplanes fly, or how many orbital satellites we boost into outer space around this earth, mankind in all of his nations must still subsist on raw materials and minerals out of the soil. And in many ways, Turkey lays claim to two of the most important of these considerations. First, she stands athwart the Bosporus-Dardanelles, thereby effectively controlling one of the most important sea gates on earth. Constantly, huge vessels go sailing through this narrow Bosporus. Tankers from all over the world; freighters, passenger vessels, the famous Russian trawlers, and, now and then, Russian submarines on their way into the Aegean and Mediterranean for patrol there and on out into the broad Atlantic. Turkey, of course, does not desire any blockade of the mammoth amount of Russian shipping passing through these tortuous channels — since Russia's reaction could well be disastrous to the Turkish economy and future security as a nation. However, because of Turkey's relationship with the United States and NATO, and her refusal to allow Soviet Russia to participate in the control and defense of these strategic sea gates, you can be sure the Communists are quite concerned about Turkey's course in modern geopolitics. Secondly, Turkey is of vital importance to the big powers because of her vast, and largely untapped, natural resources. In some ways Turkey is a "younger" nation than the United States. She has large, relatively undeveloped deposits of coal, iron, copper, petroleum and chrome. Turkey is the world's largest producer of chrome. Many other minerals are found here, such as lead, antimony, sulphur, mercury, molybdenum, magnetite, silver, manganese, zinc, and asbestos. It is believed Turkey possesses rich oil deposits, and extensive exploration to develop oil production is under way. Obviously, looking at any map would tell you that should Turkey become more oriented toward the Soviet bloc of nations and less oriented toward the West, it would bring about a climactic and possibly disastrous shift in the balance of power in the Middle East. To illustrate the point — remember that in 1946 a Civil War was quelled in Greece with the assistance of British military forces. A hasty amphibious landing of British tanks successfully staved off a Communist attempt to bypass Turkey and reach warm-water Mediterranean ports via a Communist take-over of the Government of Greece. Presently, all seems quiet in Turkey. The people here are friendly enough to Americans — many American businesses and enterprises flourish — and visitors do not sense as much a feeling of tension in the air such as is evident in Egypt, Jordan and many other nations in the strife-torn Middle East. However, deceptively peaceful though it seems now, this part of the world is destined to become the scene of one of the bloodiest of battles in future years. Turkey's history tells why. First, what of the recent history of Turkey? What were her loyalties during World Wars I and II?
Turkey of the Modern Era
Turkey, or the Ottoman Empire, stretched all the way from Yemen on the south of the Arabian Peninsula to European Turkey bounded by Bulgaria and Greece. The Ottoman Empire held full sway over all of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, the islands in the Aegean Sea, the Anatolian Peninsula and European Turkey. Siding with Kaiser Wilhelm II in World War I, the Ottoman Empire crumbled in defeat and was partitioned after the signing of the armistice between the Western allies and the Central powers in 1918. Many of the areas of the former Ottoman Empire became British or French mandates after World War I; notably, and perhaps most easily remembered is Palestine, captured from the Turks by General Allenby. Then came the revolution led by Mustafa Kemal Atatiirk. He became the first President of Turkey after the revolutionary republic's birth in 1923. After the caliphate (spiritual leadership of Islam) was renounced in 1924, Turkey gradually achieved complete separation of Church and State, and began economic and industrial reforms which have steadily improved Turkey's economic climate. Presently, Turkey is ruled by a civilian parliamentary government, with a President elected to a seven-year term, unable to succeed himself. But what of Turkey in prophecy? Does Bible prophecy have anything to say about this nation so strategically placed between the Middle Eastern countries of potential violence and the emerging towering colossus of Central Europe?
The Brother of Jacob
Believe it or not, the Turkish people are directly related to Americans and Britons through Abraham and Isaac. Turkey can be identified by research in encyclopedias, or history books dealing with the subject, as the descendants of Esau! Esau was the brother of Jacob and first son of Isaac. You will read of how the Turks lost their precious birthright in chapter 27 of the book of Genesis. As shocking as it sounds, these people here were the original birthright peoples, destined by right of birth to become the holders of the richest and most desirable portions of the entirety of this earth! If you have not read our free booklet, The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy, then be sure to write for it immediately — it explains and makes clear in Bible history how it came that six percent of the population of the world enjoys fifty percent of its fabulous wealth! Actually, the entire story climaxes in subterfuge on the part of Rebekah and Jacob who convince the aging and almost totally blind Isaac that the younger brother Jacob was Esau. After the trickery of the savory meal they made pass for venison, and the skin of a goat on the forearms of Jacob, Isaac said, "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be everyone that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee!" (Gen. 27:28-29) Actually, this was nothing more than the fulfillment of a prophecy revealed to Rebekah prior to the birth of the two children. Almighty God allowed human nature, with its innate selfishness, to effect this subterfuge — but it was of His doing and intent all along. God had said, in answer to Rebekah's earlier question concerning the nearing birth of twins, "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people [two totally different kinds of people, two different nations or distinct national types!) shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23). At the end of that chapter is the account of how Jacob gave Esau bread and a pottage of lentils and how Esau despised his birthright — treated it as of no account or value. Jacob was born with a certain tenacity, a certain ingenuity and inventiveness. Jacob was an individual who would put down roots in the land, develop it, search out its wealth and resources. Not so with Esau. He became a hunter. He was by nature, a man who would walk over the land, not seeing the tremendous wealth and value of it beneath his feet! Instead of developing and using the natural resources of the land, he left it as he found it. God Almighty had a direct hand in the choosing and selecting of certain national characteristics which He wanted in the called and chosen people through whom He was to fulfill His purpose. God did not call or choose a "favorite" people — but a special people to whom He gave a GREAT COMMISSION. Those peoples have never fulfilled that commission — but have rejected God and His laws. Nevertheless, because of the tremendous promises God made to Abraham, God has made good His promises repeated there to Jacob. Later, in the thirty-sixth chapter of the book of Genesis, you will read of the various dukes and leaders of Esau. In the first verse of that chapter, you will ready "Esau, who is Edom." The same statement is repeated in verse 8. Now notice the names of the sons of Esau, beginning in verses 9 and 10 of Chapter 36. One of the grandsons of Esau was Teman (verse 11). Teman became a great leader among the peoples who followed in that area to the south and east of the Dead Sea. As the Edomites began to expand, inhabiting all the rocky clefts and the high mountainous peaks to the east of the River Jordan, portions of the land began to bear. the name of Teman, being called the "Land of Temani." And this is no different from our modern world. In almost every nation,cities, villages, towns, counties, states, or shires bear the name of developers, discoverers, outstanding leaders in government or the military. Much of the area, later including the rocky Anatolian, Persian and Turkestan plateaus became known as "the Land of Temani." You will see this proved by turning to Genesis 36:34. "And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead." Is it any wonder, then, that the indelible stamp of Teman, one of the leading dukes of ancient Edom, was carried down into modern history in the form of the "Ottoman" Empire? Now notice some of the prophecies concerning modern Turkey.
Turkey in Prophecy
Turn to the thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah. In the first few verses, God says His indignation is upon ALL the armies of the earth, and that ALL earthly armies shall be utterly destroyed! And then, He says in verse 5, "For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea [Edom), and upon the people of my curse [or the people of my ban, margin), to judgment." And this prophecy is dated. In verse 8, God says, "For it is the day of the Eternal's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion!" Now notice Ezekiel 25. God says, "Thus saith the Lord Eternal; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; therefore thus saith the Lord Eternal; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword!" (Ezek. 25:12-13) But WHY does God pronounce such disastrous calamities for the peoples of Turkey? Irby should Turkey, with.its empire gone, its former holdings carved up and distributed among its conquerors, Turkey who remained neutral in World War II, be the recipient of some of the direst of Biblical indictments? Turn to the book of Obadiah for the answer! The book of Obadiah is utterly unique among the many prophecies of the Bible. It is a one-page prediction of the entire future history of the nation of Turkey! Keeping in mind the geographically and geopolitically strategic location of modern Turkey, the most recent history of the Ottoman Empire and twentieth century Turkey, read the book of Obadiah in its true context in this modern time. "The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord Eternal concerning Edom; we have heard a rumor from the Eternal, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen. Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle." Who is this "ambassador sent among the heathen"? None other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Remember that major sections of the Bible plainly predict the second coming of Jesus Christ. Though laughable to so many skeptics today, there is nothing more clearly stated in the Bible, time and again, and in the very teaching of Christ Himself, than His imminent return to this sin-sick world to bring peace at last and to RULE this earth with a rod of iron! (Rev. 2:26; 3:21; Micah 4; Isa. 2) Before proceeding with this vitally important prophecy of the book of Obadiah, turn for a moment to the sixty-third chapter of the book of Isaiah and notice again the time setting of this prophecy. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is GLORIOUS IN HIS APPAREL, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness," comes the answer, "mighty to SAVE." Plainly this is a prophecy that could refer to NO ONE, except Jesus Christ Himself! Notice again the setting. First, the question comes from peoples as if with one voice, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?" And the answer is given — One who is glorious in apparel, who travels in the greatness of His strength, who speaks in righteousness, and who is mighty to save! Now let's continue with verse 2 of the sixty-third chapter of Isaiah. "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat?" And again the answer comes, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. "For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of MY REDEEMED is come." Reading this important prophecy in context, beginning from the sixty-second chapter and verse 10, you will see the prophecy concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ: "behold, his reward is with him, and his WORK before him" (Isa. 62:11). What this predicts for Edom, or modern-day Turkey, then, is just AFTER the return of Jesus Christ. Now, back to the book of Obadiah. Who then is this "ambassador who is sent among the heathen"? The "ambassador who is sent among the heathen" is Jesus Christ Himself! Listen, now, to the prophecies concerning modern Turkey. God says, "Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised" (verse 2). And truly, among the huge Gentile nations of today, Turkey is relatively small and insignificant, though occupying one of the strategic land areas of the earth. Turkey's present population is smaller than that of tiny Britain, though occupying a land area several times greater. Then follows a series of verses concerning Edom's great pride and arrogance — descriptions of their ancient habitual dwelling places of clefts in the rocks and high habitations. A striking part of this prophecy is found in verse 6. "How are the things of Esau searched out? how are his hidden things sought up!" And, true to this verse in the book of Obadiah, there is great exploration for oil and natural resources in the nation of Turkey today. Then follows the specific part of the prophecy for this moment. God says, "All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him." And who is "at peace" with Turkey today? Remember, Turkey is a heavy contributor to NATO. Since being here, I have seen numerous army and naval installations, including the fortifications along the mouth of the Bosporus and the Black Sea which were built from 1936 on. While driving up toward the mouth of the Bosporus, we passed a large number of U.S. made Patton tanks. During the Korean War, Turkey supplied a considerable number of soldiers for that effort, and a large number of Turkish soldiers and military equipment have been committed to NATO forces. But what will happen when NATO collapses? If the present course of French President Charles de Gaulle continues, it will force West Germany to pursue a similar course — demanding German control over atomic and hydrogen weapons. This could result not only in a complete shake-up of NATO, but the complete collapse of NATO, and the reverting to power struggles such as shook the earth in the middle 1930's. Briefly, then, according to Bible prophecy, here's what WILL happen. First, as you've been reading in the pages of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine these many years, and hearing over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast for more than three decades, the United States and Great Britain WILL continue to find themselves burdened with increasing problems. The internal problems of the United States and Great Britain — the drought, famine, mounting disease epidemics; increasing crime, mounting divorce, social and political debauchery — will increase until some of the most calamitous national disasters in our collective histories will occur! These prophecies are SURE, they WILL come to pass, unless our peoples repent first! Soon to emerge on the world scene will be a United States of Europe! As preposterous as it sounded to listeners and readers in the middle 1940's, Germany has risen again! Germany Is the strongest economic, political and military power in Europe today! Back in the middle 1940's, even prior to the close of World War II, when my father was faithfully proclaiming that very Biblical truth, many scoffed and doubted. Still, the prophecies came to pass! Already, six nations are bound together in several important ways. Collective scientific endeavor toward a space effort, "Euratom," the "Common Market," all of these increasingly take on the shape of an emerging new super-government to ultimately encompass ten major nations, and very likely to be named, "the United States of Europe." With Britain on the wane and losing out almost everywhere, in deepening and worsening sociological and economic problems at home; with the United States embarked on a course which seems only to more deeply enmesh her in the problems of other tiny nations around the world, losing power, economic strength and prestige, the really sic power to shock the world in future years will be a United States of Europe. Through two world wars, Turkey has recognized that her natural trading areas, and her natural mutual defense and mutual aid pacts should have been with the European nations — and particularly those that also share the Mediterranean. Hence, Turkey's trading with the fascist powers during World War II. But still another important factor enters into the picture. That of the ancient hatred borne by Esau against his brother Jacob! Not one Turk out of millions would even remotely believe or understand such a statement today! Yet, mysteriously, such antagonism does exist. Just as God says in the prophecy of the book of Obadiah, Esau, or Turkey, will REJOICE at the national calamities of the British and American people! But still another important aspect of future news needs to be understood in order to completely grasp the course of Turkey.
What Jesus Warned
Turn to the focal point of all Bible prophecy, Matthew 24. Notice how Jesus warned of impending calamity in the area of Jerusalem in the Middle East! He said, concerning the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, "Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains... for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. "And except those days should be shortened, there should NO FLESH BE SAVED: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Mat. 24:15-22). Christ described this "abomination of desolation" as a DUAL OCCUPATION of Palestine! First, He described an abomination standing in the HOLY place where it ought not! Jesus plainly spoke of a great super-religious figure emerging on the world scene, becoming the great "arbiter" in an attempt to bring peace between the squabbling big powers of the world! Christ said this great religious figure would so play the part of the "Savior" of the world, that he would literally proclaim himself GOD! (II Thess. 2) The second major event Jesus included in the "abomination of desolation" was the huge build-up of armed forces in the area surrounding Jerusalem! (Luke 21:20) The military occupation and complete desolation of Israel (Palestine) for yet another time in the future is an absolute certainty! And the prophecies of your Bible say it is THEN at THAT precise time, when perhaps thousands of British, and perhaps some American troops are in and around the area of Palestine, that a bizarre and deceptive move on the part of modern Turkey is going to occur! Again, turn to the book of Obadiah and read with your own eyes one of the most remarkably detailed prophecies in all the Bible. God says, "For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. "In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive His [Jacob's! those of the United States and Great Britain!) forces, and foreigners entered into his gates [the United States, Great Britain AND Palestine), and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast AS one of them!" (Obadiah 10, 11) Notice! Were even "as" one of them! Not literally tied in with the emerging power bloc in Central Europe, not an actual MEMBER nation, but in an agreement or pact with those nations! "Even as" one of them, not actually one of them. Now see what Turkey will do to unleash the wrath of God upon her in future years! "But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress!" (Obadiah 12) It is not only French President Charles de Gaulle who still has dreams of empire! Modern-day Turkey also has its designs and dreams of recapturing some of its past glories. But with the incredible rebuilding of Israel — the reclamation of land, the reforestation projects, the discovery of minerals and raw materials, and the wealth which is beginning to be amassed there, it will be only logical for Turkey once again to try to obtain a major portion of the land of Palestine as she once DID obtain it. And Jesus Christ of Nazareth plainly said such carving up of Israel WILL once more take place! As unbelievable and incredible as this sounds, Jesus Christ of Nazareth said plainly yet a FUTURE destruction of Jerusalem is to occur! What a saddening and shocking thing it will be for much of the world to see that what is being done in Israel today is to be destroyed again! And in that impending destruction thousands of British, and Israelis, and possibly even some Americans will attempt to escape the iron encirclement coming, as Jesus PLAINLY said it would, in Palestine! Now go on with the dramatically detailed prophecy of the book of Obadiah. "Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; NEITHER SHOULDEST THOU HAVE STOOD IN THE CROSSWAY, TO CUT OFF THOSE OF HIS THAT DID ESCAPE...." (Obadiah 13, 14) Even looking at travel folders of this land, it is described as the very "cross-way" or "crossroads" of the world. The natural area into which people would flee in escaping any great confrontation between the East and West in the area of the Middle East, to be specific, Jerusalem, Palestine — would be up through the Cilician Gap into the Taurus mountains of the Anatolian Peninsula. God says, "Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his [those of Great Britain and the United States, including "Israel," or the Jews) that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress!" Yes, as staggering and unbelievable as it sounds, one of the major events God points out that will bring His wrath down upon Turkey will be the delivering of thousands of British, American and possibly Israeli refugees into the hands of the "beast" power in Central Europe when the military take-over of Palestine occurs. Read the rest of that remarkably detailed prophecy. In verse 17 you find the second coming of Jesus Christ occurring, and the house of Jacob once more restored to the Promised Land. Destruction of Esau, or Turkey, is again proclaimed in verse 18. And then notice verse 21. "And SAVIORS shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Eternal's" (Obadiah 21). Yes, SAVIORS, in the plural. Remember, Jesus Christ promised any Christian, any person, anywhere, anytime, who will sincerely repent and turn to God, and who will overcome to enter into His Kingdom (Rev. 3:21), CO-RULERSHIP with Him! This prophecy speaks of more than one Savior standing on Mount Zion, and administering JUDGMENT! Now turn to Revelation 20 and verse 4. Notice how the apostle John saw "thrones" and they sat upon them, and "judgment was given unto THEM." Yes, Saviors — more than one! The impending destruction of modern-day Turkey is immediately after the second coming of Jesus Christ. That's why the book of Isaiah foretells Jesus Christ leading a van of His returning people right through the land of Turkey! That's why it describes how His garments are to be dyed red with the blood of thousands of Turks who treacherously turned upon their brother Jacob in his attempt to escape in the day of his calamity. (Isa. 63:1-4) Not one government leader in any nation existing today even remotely suspects such a fantastic and bizarre chain of circumstances. And yet Bible prophecies are SURE! They will happen, just as God has said. Jesus said, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). You need to be watching and praying as never before! May God give you the courage to ACT upon the knowledge you have received.