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by Steve Ashburn


In Part 9 of this series we saw how West Bank and Jordan were deceived into joining other Arab nations in invading Israel. After a vicious air and land battle, their military was defeated, and their population deported to other countries. Israel then built up her land and her cities “as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11), meaning Israel and its boundaries as in the days of King David—presumably including the third temple. We now conclude our studies of this end-times war, with a focus on Saudi Arabia and their allies.   

The Arabs are an ancient people descended from both Shem and Ham, sons of Noah. Joktan (son of Eber, who gave his name to the Hebrews) was the father of no less than thirteen southern Arabian tribes (Genesis 10:26–29). Ishmael (son of Abraham, father of the Jews) was also the father of twelve northern Arabian tribes (Genesis 25:13–16), including Tema and Kedar. The latter is the ancestor of the great tribe of Arabs who settled the northwestern Arabian Peninsula; Mohammed himself traced his descent from Kedar. Abraham also had six additional sons by Keturah who settled northern Arabia, including Midian (father of the Midianite Arabs, whose descendant Reuel, was Moses’ father-in-law; Exodus 2:18–21) and Jokshan (father of Sheba and Dedan, northwestern Arabian tribes mentioned often in Bible prophecy).  

Ham also was the progenitor of several Arabian tribes through his son Cush. Prominent among these are the Sabeans (western Arabian Peninsula), and descendants of Havilah (east coast of Arabia, facing Persian Gulf) and Sheba (present-day Yemen). Mentioned often in the Bible, together these descendants of Ham and Shem comprise the modern peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. 

Isaiah 21 is one of several chapters in the Bible containing end-times prophecies against the nations of this area. Our text passage begins with the “burden of Dumah”: 

The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come. (Isaiah 21:11–12) 

Dumah was a son of Ishmael whose descendants settled the northern Arabian Peninsula, and also in what later became Idumea (“Seir”). In context, therefore, Isaiah is referring to modern-day Jordan. The picture here is Dumah (Jordan) calling out to the witness (“Watchman”) who just observed the destruction of Iraq in verses 1–10, and asking what the fate of his country will be (“what of the night?”). The dual use of this apprehensive question to the “Watchman” over Jordan, seems to refer to the forty-year end times period, which is sandwiched in between two fearful wars: the Psalm 83 Arab war with Israel in the beginning; and the wars of the tribulation, culminating with the battle of Armageddon at the end.  

The response of the watchman is intriguing: He tells Dumah that there is hope for the future “The morning cometh” and also judgment “and also the night.” Perhaps in context this refers to the end of the Psalm 83 nuclear war, and the period of complacency which follows (“The morning”), followed by the tribulation period (“the night”). He then advises Dumah (the people of Jordan) to “return” to the God of their father Abraham, and in context, “come” to the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. This invitation will be especially apropos during the waning years of the church age. Interestingly, the prophecy is addressed to “Dumah”—a descendant of Abraham, through Ishmael—instead of directly to Edom. Perhaps this is because Edom was an inveterate enemy of Israel, and that his land, in fact, shall be “a desolation. . . . as in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah” (Jeremiah 49:13, 18) forever. In contrast, Jeremiah says that both Moab and Ammon will be restored as nations in the millennium: “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days” (Jeremiah 48:47); “And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon” (Jeremiah 49:6).  

Therefore, Dumah seems to be a substitute for Edom in offering hope to the people of Jordan, some of whom, in fact, are descended from this grandson of Abraham. Perhaps, in the millennium, Dumah may again be a nation; in fact, his ancient capital city in Arabia survives today as the modern Dumat-al-Jandal.  

Our Scripture passage then pronounces judgment on Arabia (“The burden upon Arabia”): 

The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it. (Isaiah 21:13–17) 

Again, the term, “burden” denotes an especially severe judgment, which in the context of the passage is nuclear war. Isaiah 21 first describes judgment on Iraq, then Jordan, and now finally the nations of the Arabian Peninsula. After Israel retaliates against her Arab invaders, attacking troops will retreat, and one place they will flee to is Saudi Arabia (“Dedan”). Our Scripture passage indicates that these troops (“travelling companies of Dedanim”)—Saudis and others involved in the attack against Israel—will be take shelter in Saudi Arabia. There they will be given food (“bread”) and water by the people (“the forest”).  

Often in Bible prophecy people are represented by “trees” and populations by a “forest.” Verse 15 then indicates why these troops fled: “For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.” Apparently, this invasion turned out to be more difficult than they thought, and now it’s time to high-tail it away from Israel. Typically, Arabs will try this kind of attack over and over again, hoping one day to be successful. This time, however, Israel has had it, and will put an end to her enemies for good—and this means the use of nuclear weapons and the full might of the IDF. After this, the military strength of the Saudis and their allies (“archers, the mighty men”) will be greatly weakened (“diminished”). 

The parallel passage in Jeremiah 49:8, 28-33 advises Saudis to “Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan,” because the same nuclear calamity suffered by Jordan will soon be launched on them: “for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him.” The Saudis are advised to flee away from Israel as far as they can get (“dwell deep “). Jeremiah then describes a probable nuclear attack on Damascus (“I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus”) followed by the destruction of northwestern Saudi Arabia (Kedar . . . and Hazor”) in verses 28–33.  

As stated previously in Part 6 of this series, God has quite a bone to pick with Islam, and this end-times Arab attack on his holy land of Israel is absolutely the last straw. Jeremiah says that “Hazor [northwestern Saudi Arabia] shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.” This means probable nuclear destruction of some Saudi cities in northwestern Arabia (“Kedar” and “Hazor”), most likely including Mecca. Jeremiah also indicates that this judgment will not be restricted just to Saudi Arabia, but to other nations in Arabia who participated in this attack against Israel: “I will scatter into all winds them that are in the utmost corners [of the Arabian Peninsula]”. Most likely this will not include Kuwait or other US-led coalition members.  

Jeremiah then advises refugees to “Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care,” which as we previously saw in Part 6 refers to wealthy Arabs fleeing to the United States. Finally, our text passage indicates there will be an evacuation of the populations of the affected countries in the Arabian Peninsula—including Saudi Arabia—and that this process will take a year (“Within a year, according to the years of an hireling”). This prophecy is very similar to that of Isaiah 16:14 (about Jordan), which as we saw in Part 7 probably refers to an evacuation of refugees to other countries by an agency contractor (“hireling”) such as the United Nations. 

Verses 32–33 indicate that the wealth of Arabia will be “a booty, and . . . a spoil”; furthermore, Jeremiah 50:10 says: “And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied.” This indicates that the oil fields in the Persian Gulf and Iraq largely will be spared, and that long-term, worldwide economic damage from this war will be minimal. 

God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as a perpetual inheritance forever (“all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession”; Genesis 17:8), and in addition, told Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3). Zechariah also explained to Israel that, “he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8), which in context refers to the extreme sensitivity of God toward those who attack his holy land. (Pointedly, this verse refers in context to the end times—but of course has general application to all times.)  

One would think that a normally prudent person would learn to leave Israel alone and respect the ancient covenant that God made with them, or else suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, the Saudis and their allies have to find this out the hard way! 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this series on the Psalm 83 nuclear war in the Middle East. The Bible really drives home the reality of this war in book after book, chapter after chapter, in the Old Testament. There must be as much Scripture about this war as the entire book of Revelation! Therefore, it seems that God really wants us to be aware of this event, which marks the beginning of the end times, as much as He does the events of His second coming, 40 years later.  

I have tried to mirror this point, through this lengthy series of articles, and by quoting Scripture properly and in context. It’s hard to interpret away so many passages of Scripture as being symbolic, or spiritual, or a “dream.” They obviously are reality! 

Accordingly, I have put all of this information into a coherent end-times thesis in two of my books: The Next Nuclear War and END TIMES DAWNING: Get Ready! (available from Please read them! Also if you would, please leave book reviews on Amazon! 

Yours in Christ, 

Steve Ashburn


[This article was published on October 16, 2020]


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