Are ISIS the ‘Hooks in the Jaws’ spoken of by Ezekiel?

Ezekiel 38 is a latter day prophecy that speaks of a time when a confederacy of nations led by Russia, will invade Israel.

Many other prophets speak of this time including Isaiah, Micah & Daniel, however only Ezekiel seems to touch on the reason why God brings Russia down into the Middle East.

‘Hooks in jaws’ – a motivation distinct from ‘taking a spoil’?

Ezekiel 38 seems to recount two different motivations which kick off two different events.

  1. In verse 4-7, the hooks in jaws drive the “bringing forth” and creation of this confederacy.
  2. In verse 8-21, the taking of a spoil motivates the confederacy to “come against” Israel.

That the ‘hooks in the jaws’ are distinct from the ‘taking of a spoil’ and the ‘bringing forth’ distinct from the ‘coming against’ seems to be further confirmed when considering that the idea of taking a spoil enters the mind of the confederacy, only ‘many days’ after the confederacy itself is created. It is not a confederacy that formed on the basis of taking a spoil, but rather formed as a result of the hooks in the jaws.

Even on a fundamental level, the two motivations seem unrelated: the analogy of ‘hooks in jaws’ speaks of forced, painful, unwilling movement, whereas the motivation of ‘taking a spoil’, speaks of willing and intended robbery.

I will put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet.

So if the hooks in the jaws are distinct from the taking of spoil, what might these hooks be?

What motivation would God use to forcibly and painfully, bring Russia South to build and guard a confederacy?

Why did God choose to use such a violent analogy?

To understand why God chose to use this phrase we need to find out where it came from, and many sources show that the placing of ‘hooks in jaws’ was a brutal tradition conceived by the ancient neo-Assyrian empire.

The Assyrian’s typically put hooks in the jaws of defeated enemies, either for the purposes of humiliation or to deport them to other lands. This practices is often described in their annuls, and graphically depicted in their wall relief’s.

~ The IVP Bible Background Commentary

Why does God choose to use an ancient Assyrian practice to explain how he will drag Russia south to build a confederacy?

Would it be reasonable to suggest that an Assyrian like power could provoke Russia to move South, and establish and guard a confederacy of nations? If so, does such a power exist today?

The answer is yes, many consider ISIS to be the resurrected Assyrian power – ISIS has, and continues to provoke Russia.

Here is an article that deals briefly with some of the similarities:

If you don’t have time to read the article, here are some notable similarities:

  • Both powers are known for executing absolute and excessive barbarity, and subsequently advertising it to their enemies. For example, enemies of the ancient Assyrian regime were beheaded in public, and the walls of their cities were lined with impaled men, women and children in order to send a message to their enemies. In the 21st century, ISIS use social media and other technologies to project their gruesome decapitations to the world.
  • The capital of the ancient Assyrian empire was located in Nineveh. Today, The Islamic States biggest city – Mosul – surrounds the ruins of Nineveh, and is the hometown of ISIS.
  • The Assyrian’s wiped out virtual all culture prior to them as do ISIS today.
  • Women were forced into slavery by the ancient Assyrian’s as they are today, under ISIS

Below, two territories are seen below. Firstly the Ancient Assyrian (Dark Green) and secondly the territory held by ISIS. Both regions of control are very similar. The heartland of both empires existed between the Euphrates and Tigris but also extended beyond that at different points in time.

Ancient Neo-Assyrian Empire – 824 BC – Dark Green


ISIS area of Control – 2015

ISIS Sanctuary 20 may hi res-01

So there are many indicators which show that ISIS bears many of the hallmarks of the ancient neo-Assyrian empire.

So when God uses an Assyrian practice to describe how he will drag Russia down South, is God saying that ISIS will provoke Russia and bring her down?

Perhaps this question has already been answered. In September, we saw Russia move South into Syria, to fight none other than… ISIS.

Persia (Iran) joined them, a month later, sending in 2000 troops.

Last week, a Russian airliner crashed in the Egyptian Sinai where Egypt is at war with Islamic militants. ISIS claimed responsibility for the death of 224 people on board – most of whom were Russian. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined by investigators, however it seems that a trend is emerging. ISIS is beginning to become, not just an inconvenience, but a security problem for Russia, and Putin wont have it.

It is also interesting to note that ISIS has declared its intention to take control over Turkey, Egypt, Libya, and Sudan – all nations which become amalgamated within this Russian confederacy. It wont be an Israeli spoil which continues to bring this confederacy together, but rather, the hooks in their jaws, and this could be happening now through ISIS.

Russia is already moving south, building its confederacy, and guarding those of its confederacy. Its reason for doing so, according to Putin, is to fight ISIS.

Even if it is true that ISIS represent the hooks in the jaws (something worth watching over the next few years if Christ hasn’t returned God Willing), Ezekiel shows that ultimately, the objective of this confederacy will become consumed in the destruction and spoiling of Israel.

Note: This article does not suggest that ISIS are the latter day invader of Israel.

Other relevant posts:

BREAKING: Russian plane carrying over 220 civilians has crashed in Egypt

Updates as of 11pm ACST (see Sky stream below for latest):

  • The Russian Airbus has crashed into central Sinai.
  • 224 people onboard – mostly Russian civilians
  • The Egyptian Sinai is currently in a state of emergency due to the Egyptian war on Islamic militants.
  • PM & cabinet are meeting for an emergency session
  • According to analysts, this model of aircraft has an extremely good safety record.
  • Air crash investigators commenting on the radio have said it is safe to rule out the weather as a factor.

Daniel 11 shows that the King of the North will “stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.”

If the airliner has been shot down, one wonders if Russia’s war on ISIS will be extended to the Sinai.

Sky news is covering the news now as it breaks here:

As of 2:06 pm (IST) there are no indications that Russian airplane was shot down, say Egyptian security sources, however air crash investigators (who haven’t yet reached the site) are surprised that the Egyptians have rapidly dismissed this option.

However, East Grindstead (flight crash investigator) has said on Sky News:

We cant rule out the possibility of it being shot down and its not surprising that the Egyptians have discounted this option because of the tourism industry in the South Sinai.


Financial Crisis Deferred?

A few weeks back, we posted an article summarizing the very real fears of the World Bank and IMF about the upcoming Federal Reserve interest rate rise.

Since then we have been tracking updates as it happened on this page

It seems that two of these potential flash-points have been deferred till December.

1. Interest rate hike – deferred till December

Why is the world so worried about an interest rate hike?

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, many central banks have pumped money into the economy to create economic stimulus. That economic stimulus has failed unlike past occasions, but in the process it has also created a great deal of “cheap debt” – lots of high risk loans that are dependent on a low interest rate.

The IMF is concerned that once the rate goes up, that defaults will begin to occur around the world, and particularly in emerging markets.

But the problems don’t stop there. The Telegraph explains more:

2. US Government Shutdown – deferred till November

Congress may have averted a government shutdown until December 11, but lawmakers will be under the gun to raise or suspend the debt ceiling long before then.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Thursday he now estimates that “on or about” November 5, Treasury is likely to exhaust special accounting measures that are keeping the country’s debt below its legal limit.

At that point, the Treasury Department would only be able to pay the country’s bills with the cash it has on hand — which Lew expects to be roughly $30 billion.

And that would not be enough to cover the bills on some days, which can amount to $60 billion.

“We anticipate that our remaining cash would be depleted quickly,” Lew wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

Lew stressed if that happens, it would be the first time in the country’s history that the United States could not meet all of its obligations.

“There is no way to predict the catastrophic damage that default would have on our economy and global financial markets,” he added.


World Bank Warns that the Fed is about to cause “Panic and Turmoil”

The US Federal Reserve is likely to lift interest rates for the first time next week in almost 10 years.

However, both the IMF and the World Bank have been consistently warning the US Federal reserve against such a decision.

“the World Bank and IMF are urging the Fed not to raise rates until 2016 because the U.S. economy isn’t strong enough yet”

CNN money

Today, the World Bank stepped up its rhetoric:

The Federal Reserve will cause “panic and turmoil” if it raises interest rates in the next few weeks, the World Bank’s chief economist has warned.

~ The Telegraph

It was during this time that the Central Bank of Central Banks (The BIS) had also warned that the world is defenseless against the next Financial Crisis:

Further to this, the leading financial markets news site in the US (Wall Street Journal) reported the following as the Greece crisis began to unfold a few months back:

“Talk to almost any banker, investor or hedge-fund manager today and one topic is likely to dominate the conversation: It isn’t Greece.

The fear is that a Fed rate increase could unleash such disruptions on a grand scale.”

~ Wall Street Journal

The picture couldn’t be clearer; this is an event that has had many people worried for many months.

Will there be turmoil and panic next week? We dont know.

Many US evangelical pastors have been warning of a Shemitah collapse. Whether a financial crisis does or doesn’t happen, we have little reason to believe that there is any scriptural precedent for applying the Shemitah cycle to the US instead of Israel as it was originally intended.

One thing is for sure, this month wont be lacking in financial crisis flash points. Here are at least two coming up in the next few weeks:

  • The Greek Prime Minister is up for re-election on the 20th of September. Polls suggest that he wont be voted in as originally expected which will put the latest round of bailouts under significant risk. This could also be a flash-point for significant change in the geopolitics of the Eurozone.
  • Remember the Government Shutdown of 2013? Well the US House of Representatives passed a bill a few years back to end the crisis temporarily until the 30th of September 2015. Once again, republicans are gearing up to see if they use a shutdown as political blackmail.

Other posts about a Financial Crisis:

Isaiah speaks of a financial crisis which will end all monetary systems.

As I write, Asian financial markets are easing from a night of financial turmoil in the US, although the Shanghai is still taking a beating.

The Dow Jones dropped 1000 points last night and closed down 588 which is the 8th biggest daily drop in the history of the Dow. It was also the first time that the Dow has ever fallen by more than 500 points on two consecutive days.

The Shanghai index had its biggest drop since the Financial Crisis, the Australian markets lost $70 billion yesterday and Europe also dropped at a record speed not seen since the GFC in 2008.

A big question hangs over the heads of world governments and experts alike – How bad can this correction get?  No doubt the next few days will tell.

However, what we have seen over the last few days, is a mere sneeze in global financial markets compared to the financial cataclysm which will hit around or after the return of Christ.

Isaiah gives us some insight;

The buyer will be like the seller,
the lender like the borrower,
the creditor like the debtor.

~Isa 24

This quote is one of many verses in Isaiah 24 which describes the state of the world after the return of Christ, and before He is enthroned in Zion. Its a state of affairs where the value of currency has become worthless, where the global economy and financial system have been destroyed.

Think of what that entails;

  • Collapse of equities, bonds & FX markets
  • Collapse of commercial and central banks
  • Collapse of government
  • Collapse of local & national economies
  • Collapse of small and large business

The message of Isa 24 is that that time will come. When, we ask?

There seems to be a precursor, a preface if you like to Isa 24, and that preface can be found in the Olivet prophecy.

There are at least four parallels between the Olivet prophecy and Isa 24 which begs the question, did Christ have Isa 24 in mind when he spoke to his disciples?

Luke 21 Mat 24 Isa 24
The Shaking of the Earth v11 – earthquakes in various places v7 – earthquakes in various places v19 – The earth is exceedingly shaken, violently broken, split open, reels to and fro.
Signs in the Moon and Sun v11 – signs from heaven v29 – the Sun will be darkened and the Moon will not give its light v23 – The Moon is disgraced, and the Sun ashamed.
The Gleaning of Fruit v30 – when they are already budding v32 – Parable of the fig tree – when the branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves v13 – It shall be like the shaking of an olive tree, the gleaning of the grapes.
Mirth & Drunkenness v3 – Take care that your heart be not weighed down by carousing, drunkenness, cares of this life v38 – Eating and drinking and giving in marriage – until the coming of the son of man v7-9 – Merry hearted sigh, the mirth of the tambourine ceases. The noise of the jubilant ends, the joy of the heart ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song, strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.

Note that Christ alludes to aspects of Isa 24 in the future tense, whereas Isaiah speaks of these parallels in the present tense because Isaiah was speaking as he envisioned it.

But its not until we come back to Luke 17 that we find Christ expanding more on what the world would be like prior to its destruction. We find that the world will be generally prosperous;

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

If we compare these phrases with Isa 24 they are a remarkable contrast;

Prosperity in Luke 17
Destruction in Isaiah 24
v28 – “Eating and Drinking” v9 – “Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it”
v28 – “Buying and Selling” v2 – “As with the buyer so with the seller”
v28 – “Planting and Building” v7 – “The vine languisheth”

Luke 17 warns of general prosperity in the last days before His return. Isaiah 24 describes the devastation that has been brought upon the global economy after the return of Christ.

Lets not forget our Lords message to those living in prosperity in the last days:

Take care that your heart be not weighed down by carousing, drunkenness, cares of this life.