Please Explain the Biblical Metaphors of Animals Used to Describe the Powers Prophesied to Fight and Destroy the Modern Tribes of Israel (Part 2)
In the last Q&A, we discussed the biblical metaphors of lions and locusts when describing the future European power bloc; its political leader called the beast, the king of the North or King Jareb of Assyria; Europe’s military might, referred to as the Chaldeans and as Babylon; and Europe’s evolving powerful army and weaponry.
In this Q&A, we will show further biblical comparisons between a future core Europe, under German leadership, and flying eagles, swift horses and fast leopards.
Revelation 13:2 pictures the ancient Roman Empire and its ten European revivals as a “beast” with seven heads and ten horns. It states that the beast was “like a leopard,” but with further animal characteristics of a lion and a bear. We will recall that the Roman Empire (the beast) had emerged from previous powers, such as Babylon (pictured as a lion), Medo-Persia (pictured as a bear), and Greece (pictured as a leopard). Daniel 7 tells us that the lion “had eagle’s wings” (verse 4), and that the beast, symbolizing Greece, was “like a leopard, Which had on its back four wings of a bird” (verse 6).
Later in the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel, another vision describes Greece, under Alexander the Great, as a male goat (verse 21), attacking the Medo-Persian Empire (pictured as a ram, verse 20) with great speed (“without touching the ground,” associating the ram with a flying animal) and with furious power and rage (Daniel 8:5-7). As the beast in Revelation 13 combined the previous three world empires, it also included the animal metaphors for these empires, such as the wings of an eagle and of an unidentified bird, which show the great speed with which the last European revival of the Roman Empire will pursue its affairs.
Focusing on the eagle as a metaphor for the European power under German leadership, we note, first of all, that Germany (and ancient Assyria) had and has a black eagle [some call it a “scary black eagle”] as a symbol for their nation.
According to Wikipedia, “From the reign of Frederick Barbarossa in 1155 the single-headed eagle became a symbol of the Holy Roman Empire. The eagle was clearly derived from the Roman eagle and continues to be important in the heraldry of those areas once within the Holy Roman Empire. Within Germany the placement of one’s arms in front of an eagle was indicative of princely rank under the Holy Roman Empire… The German Reichsadler (‘Imperial Eagle’) was… used… in modern coats of arms of Germany, including those of the Second German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the ‘Third Reich’ (Nazi Germany, 1933–1945). The same design [a black eagle with a red beak, feet and tongue] has remained in use by the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945, albeit under the name Bundesadler (‘Federal Eagle’).”
In addition, the symbol of the single-headed black eagle is also used for Austria’s “Bundesadler” (“Federal Eagle”). Black is a color which oftentimes describes spiritual darkness, and red refers many times to blood and war (Revelation 6:3-4). Both colors are sometimes associated with Satan and his demons (Revelation 12:3; Ephesians 6:12) and with sinful conduct (Isaiah 1:18; Jude 13).
We have all heard the word “blitzkrieg” or “blitz,” describing the speed with which Germany moved at times towards and attacked her enemies. Something similar is prophesied for the future, and the metaphor of an eagle is highly appropriate. Eagles are many times associated with swiftness, especially when attempting to catch their prey (Job 9:26).
In Deuteronomy 28:49-50, we read about the future European power bloc’s end-time attack on the USA, the UK, and the state of Israel: “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance…”
Hosea 8:1-3, 12, 14 sheds further light on the soon-coming nuclear attacks (Ezekiel 6:6) by the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire: “Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law. Israel [including the modern tribes of the house of Israel, as well as the house of Judah] will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’ Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him…. I have written for him the great things of My law, But they were considered a strange thing… Israel has forgotten his Maker… But I will send fire upon his cities, And it shall devour his palaces.”
After the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah contemplated in the book of Lamentations about Judah’s enemies, but this book is also and especially a prophecy for our immediate future. We read in Lamentations 4:19 about the attack through ancient Babylon, and prophetically, the attacks through the modern Chaldean/Babylonian system: “Our pursuers were swifter Than the eagles of the heavens. They pursued us on the mountains And lay in wait for us in the wilderness.”
This prophetic invasion of Judah and the Promised Land through modern Babylon under German (Assyrian) leadership is also described in Isaiah 8:7-9:
“… The Lord brings up over them… The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will … pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breath of Your land, O Immanuel.”
Immanuel, meaning “God With Us,” is one of Jesus Christ’s names (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), showing that even in these terrible times of trial for the USA, UK and the state of Israel, God will not forsake them forever. The reference to Assyria’s “stretching out of his wings” shows again the swiftness of the flying eagle.
The Bible tells us that the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Assyrian leadership, will also invade Moab (Jordan and Western Iraq) and Edom (Turkey). Even though these countries will at first escape from the hand of the “king of the North” (compare Daniel 11:41), they will later be conquered as well.
Jeremiah 48:40-44, 46-47 tells us regarding the future of Moab:
“‘Behold, one shall fly like an eagle, And spread his wings over Moab… the mighty men’s hearts in Moab on that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs. And Moab shall be destroyed as a people, Because he exalted himself against the LORD. Fear and the pit and the snare shall be given upon you, O inhabitant of Moab… For upon Moab… I will bring the year of their punishment,’ says the LORD… ‘your sons have been taken captive, And your daughters captive. Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab In the latter days,’ says the LORD.”
Jeremiah 49:22 tells us about Edom’s future in our time:
“Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, And spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.”
This translation, quoted above, is taken from the New King James Bible, which capitalizes the words “he” and “his.” This interpretation is not compelling. If we want to accept it, then it would mean that it is God who flies like an eagle and spreads His wings over Bozrah, which might indicate that He will conquer Edom through the king of Assyria. Or, the reference in Jeremiah 49:22 is directly addressing the king of Assyria, so that the words “he” and “his” should not be capitalized.
For information showing that Assyria will ultimately turn against and conquer Edom after “modifying” the “confederacy” described in Psalm 83:2-8, see our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy,” pages 37-42, discussing in detail the Scriptures in Obadiah 6-9 in conjunction with Psalm 60:8 and Psalm 108:9.
We know that God compares Himself and His loyal angels with eagles. He told Israel that He brought them out of Egypt on eagles’ wings (Exodus 19:4), signifying His supernatural protection (compare Deuteronomy 32:10-12; see also Psalm 91:4 and Psalm17:8). In the future, God will again supernaturally protect His people, pictured as a “woman,” by bringing her to a place of safety here on earth, giving her “two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place… from the presence of the serpent (Satan the Devil)” (Revelation 12:14).
God also shows the strength of an eagle in Scriptures such as Psalm 103:5 and Isaiah 40:29-31. In addition, God compares His angels with eagles (Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37), and some of them even look like eagles or have facial features of an eagle (Revelation 4:7; Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14). The same is true for the appearance of angels as lions (same Scriptures).
As eagles reflect strength and swiftness in the spiritual realm, so they do in the physical realm, except that when God uses the metaphor for the surprising swift revival of the last resurrection of the Roman Empire, He shows the utmost cruelty associated with it (compare Ezekiel 7:24; Isaiah 19:4). We read in Habakkuk 1:5-10:
“Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breath of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… Their horses are swifter than leopards, and more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers (lit., horsemen) charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; they fly as the eagle that hastens to eat. They all come for violence… they gather captives like sand…”
God’s work of raising the modern Chaldeans will happen quickly and unsuspectedly. It will be a short work—a work which will be cut short (Romans 9:28; compare also Matthew 24:22), and it will be accompanied by a final announcement of the coming establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, just prior to Christ’s return (compare Acts 13:40-41, quoting the passage from Habakkuk 1:5, but applying it to the preaching of the gospel message).
As we have seen, the passage in Habakkuk, chapter 1, includes another comparison with two animals to emphasize the swiftness of the attacks of the coming European superpower—leopards and horses, and the horses are described as even swifter than leopards. As the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great was compared with a swift leopard with wings on its back (being subsequently absorbed by the Roman Empire), the coming attacks of the modern Assyrians will be much swifter than the conquest of the ancient Greeks.
The symbolic horses of the future Babylonian army are mentioned, as we will recall, in Revelation 9:7, where terrible modern weapons are described as locusts which were shaped like horses prepared for battle. As you will also recall from the last Q&A, the book of Joel describes that powerful army as well. In Joel 2:4-5, the soldiers and their weapons are pictured in this way: “Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array…”
The swiftness and the fierceness of these symbolic “horses” are also described in Jeremiah 8:16, where a warning of a future Assyrian attack is uttered from or concerning Dan (modern Ireland and/or parts of Denmark; note also Jeremiah 4:15-16):
“The snorting of His horses was heard from Dan. The whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of His [or: his] strong ones; for they have come and devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell in it.”
We note that “his” does not have to be capitalized; in that case, it would refer directly to the modern king of Assyria. If one prefers the interpretation that the word “his” should be capitalized, then it would indicate that God, perhaps with the assistance of His angels, who are also described as horses (compare 2 Kings 2:11-12; 6:15-17; Zechariah 1:8-11; 6:1-8; Revelation 19:11, 14), will be using the modern “arrogant” and “haughty” king of Assyria to carry out His plan (note again Isaiah 10:5-6, 12; compare also Jeremiah 22:7).
The future nuclear attacks of the European army will be powerful, brutal and merciless (compare Jeremiah 6:23), with devastating results of utter destruction. The prophesied blitzkrieg will happen soon and very quickly and suddenly (compare Jeremiah 6:26). The modern Babylonian army will move swifter than an eagle flies; and much swifter than leopards and horses run. The time from the beginning of Babylon’s attacks, starting World War III, until Christ’s return will not be longer than 3 ½ years… and it could be even shorter, since those days have been shortened (Mark 13:20). But the devastating results of this relatively “short” World War will be unparalleled in the annals of man’s history.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 leaves us with this warning:
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
God has given His end-time Church a commission and a responsibility—to “stand watch” and announce these coming terrible events as a warning to all nations.
Habakkuk 2:1 says: “I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me…’”
Isaiah 21:8-9 adds: “Then he cried, ‘A lion, my Lord! I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime; I have sat at my post every night. And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!’ Then he answered and said, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen!’…”
The warning of future Babylon’s terrible conduct in war and its subsequent destruction is going out, but most people will not listen!
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link