How Israel’s Gas & Oil Windfall Could Trigger Daniel’s End Times Invasions
1/17/23 By Tim Buck
Discerning the Days
Jesus is coming soon! But His return at the Second Coming will not occur in a vacuum, nor should it come unexpectedly for true believers. The prophecy of Daniel makes this quite clear. Specific prophesied events will be the precursors of His arrival and when everything is aligned in accordance with God’s will, He will unleash the events of the final days.
I believe we are seeing shadows of this coming alignment taking shape today. Our responsibility as followers of Christ is to remain faithful, keep watching, be discerning, and be prepared.
Join me as I explain the ongoing battle for energy in the eastern Mediterranean and reveal how this conflict could lead to a full-scale military invasion that was prophesied by Daniel more than 2,500 years ago.
Israel first discovered natural gas off its coast more than 20 years ago using Noble Gas Company (above map). Over the past two decades, it has worked relentlessly to develop the means to deliver this valuable energy resource to the European market. The East-Med pipeline project, which had been in the works for the past eight years and had the support of both the Obama and Trump administrations, would have created the longest undersea pipeline in the world. At a length of nearly 1,200 miles, it was to run from Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar offshore natural gas fields to the islands of Cyprus and Crete, then to the Greek mainland, and on to Italy and Western Europe.
The project had robust support from the European Union (E.U.), particularly France, Italy, and Greece who stood to benefit the most from a connection to Israeli gas reserves. It was no secret that officials across Europe understood the importance of the pipeline project as it would provide a much-needed alternative to Russian gas, thereby diminishing Putin’s energy stranglehold on the continent.
Biden Undermines Israel… Again!!!
But Israel’s plan to export natural gas to Europe through the East-Med pipeline hit an unexpected roadblock in 2022 when the Biden administration withdrew its support. The State Department sent a letter to Greek officials describing the project as “a source of tension that was destabilizing the region” by pitting Israel, Greece, and Cyprus against Turkey. After an uproar from Greece our State Department changed its rhetoric citing “climate change and clean energy” as the rationale for its decision.
Yet only six months earlier Biden approved the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea which doubled the capacity of natural gas from Russia to Germany. Curiously, this same “climate change” policy didn’t seem to have an effect on the completed Nord Stream pipeline and nor has it diminished the U.S. exporting liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe over the past year when our exports have reached record-high levels.
In light of these facts, a more likely reason for the U.S. withdrawal of support for Israel’s crucial East-Med pipeline was to appease Turkish President Erdogan who has been a loud opponent of the project because it bypassed Turkey. Erdogan hailed the U.S. policy change as a Turkish victory and arrogantly proclaimed: “If Israel gas is to be brought to Europe, it can only be done through Turkey.”
Erdogan has argued that Turkey should be included in the nations of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF). But Erdogan seeks more than “inclusion.” He’s been illegally itching to claim gas deposits in the Mediterranean that aren’t located within Turkish maritime boundaries. Erdogan’s vision is for Turkey to become the region’s energy hub with him as de facto Energy Master of the Mediterranean and head of the revived Islamic Caliphate.
Despite its membership in NATO, Turkey has made aggressive moves, without legal standing, to threaten, disrupt, and block progress for Israel’s East-Med pipeline. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that Satan’s darling leader Erdogan has more influence over Biden than Israel.
With the U.S. surrendering to his strong-arm tactics, energy analysts are deeply concerned that the Turkish strongman will be emboldened to continue escalating tensions in his quest to control the flow of energy to Europe.
A New Plan Emerges
With a lack of U.S. support, the East-Med project appeared to be dead in the water in early 2022. But a secondary plan to bring gas to Europe began gaining traction. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Europe became increasingly alarmed by its energy entanglements with Russia especially since strict sanctions were being placed on Russian exports.
This time, Europe looked to Israel and Egypt for an energy solution. In June a tri-party agreement was reached between Israel, Egypt and the E.U. for Israeli natural gas to be exported via an existing pipeline to Egypt’s LNG terminal on the Mediterranean where it will be liquified and shipped by tankers to European ports.
This multi-billion-dollar agreement is not only a financial windfall for Israel but will serve to increase Egypt’s standing as an energy hub in the Mediterranean and will be a vital step toward weaning Europe off its independence on Russian gas.
For the time being, the Turkish president seems placated by the alternate agreement since it avoids the thorny issue of constructing permanent undersea pipelines. But Erdogan continues to view Egypt as a nemesis and rival. The two countries are simply not on the same page as Erdogan hosts the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey which movement has been outlawed in Egypt.
A Turn of Events
On the heels of these developments, another event shocked the continent of Europe and the world. The Nord Stream pipelines that transport Russian gas to Europe were sabotaged in September, 2022 by substantial explosions in the lines, deep at the bottom of the Sea. To date, no nation has claimed responsibility for the action and speculation runs wild. One thing is certain: with the harsh temperatures of winter, Europe is desperate for adequate supplies of energy to replace the natural gas lost from this catastrophe.
With his Baltic Sea pipelines to Europe unusable and desperate to salvage his gas monopoly over Europe, Putin wasted no time in offering a proposal to Turkish President Erdogan. “If there is interest from Turkey and agreement from buyers in Europe, we could consider the possibility of building another gas pipeline system and develop the creation of a gas hub in Turkey…”
Russian President Putin and Russia’s Gazprom head Alexei Miller met President Erdogan in Kazakhstan in October to discuss gas hub plans. Erdogan and Miller met again in November in Istanbul. Russia could divert gas that was planned for the Nord Stream pipeline through the Black Sea to Turkey, Putin told Erdogan.
These are unstable times to be negotiating with Putin and any hub would likely face political, financial and supply issues that are compounded by the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.
This is where we find ourselves at the start of 2023. Erdogan is likely salivating over Putin’s words with the prospect of realizing his vision to see Turkey become a powerful player that controls the natural gas exports to European markets.
Whether Putin’s pipeline proposal through Turkey becomes a reality is linked to whether Europe has lost its taste for Russian energy and how fast Israel and Egypt can deliver Israel’s gas to the continent.
Daniel 11 and End Time Prophecy
In light of the current dynamics taking place in the eastern Mediterranean, let’s take a closer look at what the prophet Daniel reveals (not Ezekiel) about an end-time invasion that will be led by Antichrist. Here’s a series of events with short commentary from Daniel 11:40-45 about the Jihad wars of Antichrist and his invasion of Israel in the middle of the Tribulation. More than ever, it reveals how the Middle East today is in alignment with Daniel’s prophecy. It may help to keep your Bible handy as we walk through these six verses.
40 And at the end time the king of the South will wage war with him (Antichrist), and the king of the North (Antichrist) will storm against him (Egypt) with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through. 41 He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab, and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 Then he will reach out with his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. 44 But rumors from the East and from the North will terrify him, and he will go out with great wrath to eliminate and annihilate many. 45 And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
Antichrist is referred to as the ‘King of the North’ (Daniel 11:40)
In Daniel’s prophecy, the intended meaning of the phrase, “King of the North,” is that Antichrist will bring an invasion down from the north of Israel. Note that he’s not coming from the west as he would if he was coming from Europe. Turkey and its Islamic, Turkic-speaking allies are located due north and northeast of Israel. Turkey was the former head of the Ottoman Caliphate for 500 years until being “mortally wounded by the sword” (Rev. 13:14) in WW1 by the allied forces. Turkey’s strongman Erdogan is itching to revive the Ottoman Caliphate.
Antichrist will come as a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and many ships (v. 40)
This tells us Antichrist’s path of invasion will be by land and sea. The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest military in NATO, with more than 750,000 military personnel. It is second only to the United States. In 2020, the Turkish Navy operated more than 112 military vessels and is in the process of adding 24 new ships to its fleet. According to an Israeli study in 2021, Turkey is the strongest maritime force in the region. In July 2022, Erdogan declared that Turkey would “take further steps until we make the Turkish Armed Forces Number One in the world.”
Antichrist will enter the “glorious land,” and many countries will be overthrown (v. 41)
Israel’s economy is booming, and its offshore natural gas assets will continue to make it an even wealthier target. In context, Antichrist’s invasion here is taking place near the middle of the Tribulation. The Turkey-led Caliphate is not just coming for Israel’s natural gas, it also has its eyes set on capturing the West Bank and stealing East Jerusalem for it’s capital and taking possession of the grand prize of Israel’s new Temple on the Temple Mount.
Antichrist will attack Egypt and take control of its wealth and assets (vv. 42-43)
As stated earlier, Egypt is also becoming an energy hub and is acquiring newfound wealth due to its strategic position along the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, and Red Sea. Egypt is optimistic about their many new gas discoveries in the Mediterranean. The Nile River nation is also nearing completion of a new administrative capital out near Cairo International Airport and close to the Great Pyramids, financed and built by China.
Today, Turkey and Egypt find themselves in their latter-day alignment of opposition to one another just like Daniel predicts will result in war during the Tribulation portraying them in Daniel 11 as the King of the North (Turkey) vs. the King of the South (Egypt).
Antichrist will subdue Libya (v. 43)
Libya lies due west of Egypt, along the Mediterranean coast. The North African nation also has significant offshore natural gas deposits. In October 2022 a divided Libyan government signed a controversial agreement giving Turkey the right to drill for oil and natural gas in Libya’s territorial waters. This was an attempt to create a swath across the entire Mediterranean Sea between the two countries that prompted a swift response from Greece and Egypt opposing any Turkish activity in disputed areas of the Mediterranean.
Antichrist will subdue Ethiopia (v. 43)
When the Bible speaks of Ethiopia, it’s more of a reference to the country we know today as Sudan which lies south of Egypt. Sudan and modern-day Ethiopia (which is further south) control the two sources of the Nile River that are key to Egypt’s survival. Fears are growing in Egypt over a looming water crises with both countries damming the Nile.
In the midst of his Middle East aggression, Antichrist will be troubled by reports he hears from the east and the north about an invasion coming against him (v. 44)
It’s important to note that Antichrist’s Middle East wars, as laid out for us in these six verses (Daniel 11:40-45), indicate he does not have global power as some suppose. The passage shows him trying to conquer many of the nations in the Middle East. During his successful conquering spree (Rev. 6:1) he suddenly comes under siege from possibly China (east) and Russia (north). Not only aren’t many of the nations of the Middle East not under his rule but here we see two superpowers that are not part of his empire. Antichrist’s empire will never be worldwide and will be continuously opposed. The end times is not about one man conquering the world, but about one religion (Islam) trying to rule the world!
Perhaps this is China and Russia, possibly the only two superpowers who have survived to this point of the Tribulation who orchestrate an assault on Antichrist before he brings the majority of the world’s oil and gas under his control. He is “troubled” feeling threatened by the two-pronged attack and the text says, “he shall go out with great fury and destroy and annihilate many.” Goodbye Russia and China! (SeeFOTET article, 2/9/22: “China In Bible Prophecy: The Rise of the Red Star and the Crescent.”
Antichrist will set his royal encampment “between the seas and the glorious holy mountain;” but his time will come to an end and no one will be able to help him (v. 45)
The phrase, “between the seas” is a reference to the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The “glorious holy mountain” refers to Mount Moriah in Jerusalem where Israel’s Temple Mount is located. Prior to Antichrist’s invasion, Israel’s new Temple will be constructed by devout Jews for the purpose of reinstituting the Mosaic Law and the sacrificial system.
After taking possession of Israel’s Temple and destroying Mecca and Saudi Arabia, Antichrist will put an end to the Temple sacrifices and convert Israel’s Temple into the new Grand Mosque of Islam. Muslims world wide will need to pray toward Jerusalem which will allow Satan to ratchet up their hatred for the entire Jewish State. Satan wants all the land of Israel and he wants to sit on God’s throne in Jerusalem and rule the world in place of Jesus.
Through the False Prophet, he will institute “forced conversions” to Islam requiring everyone in his empire to bow down and worship during the required times of prayer or die. A time of severe persecution will follow for those who refuse to bow the knee and take the mark. But he will come to his end when the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns to earth in power and glory to destroy him and his armies.
Could Turkish President Erdogan Be Antichrist?
Erdogan is openly calling for the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, the restoration of its Ottoman borders and the conquest of Jerusalem.
His provocations and dangerous rhetoric, along with the alignment we see forming in the Middle East leads to a crucial question: Is it possible that Turkish President Erdogan is Antichrist? Is he the one the Apostle Paul referred to as the Man of Sin (2 Thess. 2:3)? Although he has evil intentions, I do not believe he fits the biblical criteria for several reasons.
First, Scripture points to Antichrist as the “little horn” who rises AFTER the 10 kings have formed the final empire (Dan. 7:8, 24). Erdogan is a key player as the President of Turkey but he’s arrived on the world stage BEFORE the arrival of the 10-king empire. Secondly, Antichrist initially rises to power from within the 10-King empire in relative obscurity while Erdogan burst onto the Middle East scene making headlines right from the start. And thirdly, the “little horn” uproots or kills three of the ten kings before he is ever brought to power. Once he has momentum behind his rise, he leads an international coup to take over the empire by killing the rulers of three of the ten nations. Since Erdogan is already a major player on the world stage, as the president of Turkey, he simply does not meet these benchmarks to be Antichrist.
Having said all of this, Erdogan’s rhetoric in combination with Turkey’s strongarm attempts to control energy in the Mediterranean require close and careful observation. It may not be Recep Tayyip Erdogan who leads the Caliphate of Islamic nations from the north against Israel but I firmly believe Turkey will be leading the charge!