By Joe Southerland
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and 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: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee" ( Ezekiel 38:3-6).
In the late 1980s, and again in the late 1990s I served two, two-year tours of duty in Izmir, Turkey and Ankara, Turkey, respectively. I loved living in the Republic of Turkey. It was a unique anomaly in the world; a truly secular nation with a 95 percent Muslim population.
However, the nation I once knew...is no more, for since those times Turkey has dramatically changed to align itself into its prophetic end-time position.
The secular Turkey I loved...
It was a nation formed by the strong hand of Mustafa Kemel Ataturk in the ashes of post World War I, Ottoman Empire, as he helped save the Turkish people in a war of preservation against the nation of Greece.
After the victory, he truly became a benevolent dictator for the remainder of his life and dedicated himself to reform Turkey into a westward looking nation.
Among his many accomplishments he: completely separated the Islamic religion from the federal government; made each person take a last name; gave woman equal rights and the vote; created a written Turkish language based on western letters, and most importantly for the freedom of his people set in place a constitution which guaranteed the military would keep in check the corrosive influences of the Muslim faith.
It was within this nation that he had formed, that I traveled freely about with my family and friends, taking in all the historically rich heritage that Turkey had to offer, and in particular its lush and lengthy biblical history.
Noah's ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. Abraham sojourned in Haran. The once lost Hittite Empire of Uriah the Hittite was discovered here. Paul of Tarsus was born here and would travel amongst, and preach and write epistles to many of its citizens.
The apostle John lived in Ephesus and the ruined cities of the seven churches he wrote of Revelations are here. It was a wondrous blessing to visit this land where the hand of God had helped shaped Mankind's path towards salvation.
Weekly we went to church with missionaries who were quietly planting the seeds among the Turkish people. Most of the Turks we encountered were welcoming people who were cultural, non-practicing Muslims.
We all had hope of a slow gradual change in Turkey as one soul at a time was reached for Christ. We prayed that this secular yet Muslim nation would lead other Islamic nations to shake off the oppressive yoke of the Koran, so the Word of God could grow.
Unfortunately, I am saddened to say from a recent trip back to Turkey and what has been unfolding politically over the last decade, the nation of Turkey I once knew, and loved and prayed for is no more.
The Koranic curtain closes upon Turkey...
In short, over the last decade the cancerous growth of fundamentalist Islam has crept into the government and a building tide of events has placed the radical Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan in near dictatorial power.
And now for years Erdogan has been systematically, and slowly undoing everything Ataturk once so wisely set in place.
Even more tragically, last year's failed coup has shifted Erdogan's pro-Muslim reforms into high gear as he silences his opposition through purging tens of thousands of secular Turks from the media, military, courts, government, and education systems.
He has taken Turkey in a dramatic turn away from the West and it is now rushing head long back towards its Islamic roots.
We are now witnessing the spiritual darkness of what I call the "Koranic Curtain" closing down upon the people of Turkey in similar fashion to how the Iron Curtain fell and crushed the freedom of the peoples of Eastern Europe. But the darkness behind the Koranic Curtain is far, far worse.
The people of every nation imprisoned behind the Koranic Curtain are subject to a theocratic group of evil men guided by the writings of a flawed sinful, man whose religious tome tells them they are justified in violently controlling every aspect of people's lives.
Not a shock, but a prophetic fulfillment...
That said, as students of biblical prophecy this development should come as no shock.
Decades ago as I roamed the country of Turkey, I knew the prophecy experts of the day said the Gog/Magog War of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 foretold that the peoples of these Turkish lands would accompany the Gog/Magog alliance in a war with the intention to exterminate Israel.
Today's prominent prophecy scholars still echo the same interpretation listing Turkey among the nations which shall march upon and then be crushed against the mountains of Israel.
However, way back in the later days of the Cold War it was very hard to image how a staunchly secular Turkey could join a military alliance with one of its greatest enemies, the USSR (pre-1990 communist Russia for you young readers), and a group of backward (in the minds of the Turks I worked with at that time) Muslim nations.
But here we are and Ezekiel's 2,600 year old prophecy has come to pass. Now Turkey's greatest enemy the USSR has long since collapsed, and Turkey is now governed by a radical Muslim dictator who is aligning with the Koranic Curtain countries of the Middle East.
The Lord God will set the hook...
Turkey is now positioned ideologically and politically to fulfill its end time prophetic role.
Though a palpable tension still exists between Turkey, and Russia and its Iranian partner, it is not hard to envision that any issues can be readily set aside to execute mutually shared goals against Israel.
As we read in the opening verse it is the Lord God's mighty hand which shall set the hook in the jaws and bring forth these nations.
Be in awe as the Lord God methodically maneuvers the peoples, tongues and nations in order to bring about His divine purposes, working on a time scale and in ways we can only glimpse upon.
Keep watching the Middle East, as always it will remain the center of prophetic fulfillment.