Changes in leadership in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen have spawned all sorts of wacky ideas.
The news is out about Yemen’s Obama-backed government falling. The biggest surprise is that the US administration is surprised. There are several commentators acknowledging the “slow coupe” that has been going on. Protests by the Houthi have been going on since at least 2010, and there were several predictions of the fall of the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi at least as far back as September last year.
I mean, how can you not see this coming? Apparently, when your ideology does not match reality, that is what you get. This was supposed to be the one prime example of the success of President Barak Obama’s foreign policy, which means it might now become his largest black eye yet. Now, several are speculating that we are going to have to put “boots on the ground” once again in the Middle East.
There are several Protestant commentators making some reckless prophetic statements about events. In typical fashion, they are plucking evens out of context and re-imagining them in accordance with their own distorted prophetic views.
Some are fancifully interpreting Isaiah 21:1-2 so that “desert of the sea” is alluding to Saudi Arabia and “spoiler” as Russia. By doing so, they hearken to Ezekiel 38’s prophecy where Gog and Magog come against Jerusalem. The problem is, though, that the prophecy in Isaiah 21 is about the fall of Babylon, and it has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia.
In fact, all of these wayward prognosticators want to point to Ezekiel 38. Apparently, they believe Yemen is Sheba in the OT. Last I checked, no one knew for sure who Sheba was or exactly where it was located. So, simply making such a claim makes the whole theory suspicious. At any rate, the scenario of Ezekiel 38 cannot possibly occur before Christ’s return, something I’ve written about often in reference to Gog and Magog.
Control of Yemen is over religion. It is the centuries-old story of the fight between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites. Iran is predominantly Shia, and in particular, “religion in Iran is dominated by the Twelver Shia branch of Islam” (Wikipedia) that believes it has a responsibility to cause the appearance of the “Twelfth Imam”, aka Madhi. The Yemen Houthis are also Shia. The previous president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, is a Sunni.
Much of the Muslim world is Sunni, including Saudi Arabia. As I previously stated in “Who Is Saudi Arabia in Bible Prophecy?“, it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia will be part of the King of the South confederation, and it will likely, wisely, try to play the Kings of the North and South against one another. Yemen by disposition might make a good hotspot from which the King of the South would spring, but there is a large buffer between them and Europe.
So, if Saudi Arabia is “unlikely” to become the base for the King of the South, I’d say it is “very unlikely” that Yemen would. There is too much division in ideology, and their reach would be limited with Saudi Arabia in the way.
In addition, there is the economy. Prior to the Persian Gulf War (the original), many Yememis worked in Saudi Arabia, but they were expelled during the war because of Yemen’s support of Iraq. Civil war has further drained their economy, and they have a negative GDP. Such conditions are known to boost recruitment into radical groups that come together due to disenfranchisement.
Which brings us to ISIS/ISIL. The “Islamic State”, a name some have rejected, “is a Wahhabi extremist group” (Wikipedia). Wahhabism was born in Saudi Arabia, a mostly Sunni country. Various pundits, mostly outside of COG circles, have claimed they will make up the force under the King of the South, and some anti-COG critics have accused some in the COG community of believing this as well. Yet, in the past, the King of the South was the continuation of the Ptolemies of Egypt. Egypt is Sunni. Much of Northern Africa is Sunni.
So, given all of this, where do you think the King of the South would likely arise? I think it is a safe bet that he would come from the area once occupied by the Ptolemies: Northern Africa near Egypt. Like the confederation making up the Beast power of the north, it will also likely have confederates of similarly minded nations, such as Sudan (mostly Sunni with heavy Sufi influence), Eritrea (48% Muslim) and perhaps even Ethiopia (about 34% Muslim).
Don’t get me wrong. Yemen is a threat because it is a hotbed of radical ideology which seeks to spread as far as possible, in particular the US. However, given everything else, it is not the threat in any manner of speaking.
Physically, the Kings of the North and South will be the threat, but we have to ask why God would allow them to come on the scene in the first place. Simply put, they will represent the ultimate in competition of extreme ideologies. Satan thrives on competition and squelches cooperation whenever and wherever possible. Even the Theory of Evolution raises survival of the fittest as an ideal.
God will allow it because human beings have an amazing capacity for not listening. They did not listen to their Creator in the Garden of Eden, they did not listen prior to the Flood, and ancient Israel did not listen to God through Moses. Mainstream Christianity does not listen to the words of Christ, in spite of claiming to follow Him!
Enough people repented when Jonah went to Nineveh to avoid its immediate downfall. I believe the same would be possible for any nation that today wholesale repented before God. However, I’m not holding my breath.
Each of us individually must look after our own behavior, actions, words, deeds and even thoughts, and repent before God so that we can achieve the ultimate salvation and help to build a much better world tomorrow.