Strong Bulls of Bashan
I was writing what I thought would be this week’s post, when a scripture I was including in that post leaped off the page at me, and floored me.
This is the Easter season, and my post was originally to be about the seemingly infinite number of Bible prophecies Jesus fulfilled in his first coming. This is currency upon which Christians capitalize far too little. What I mean is that whereas other books tell their stories, the Bible foretells its stories. What makes the Bible remarkable is that it is written in advance of the historical facts it records, not after. It builds off no other book, and it references no other book.
With this in mind, my original post focused on Easter and the many astounding prophecies of the Crucifixion written in Psalm 22, 1,000 years before those events occurred. Here are some examples:
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ~ Psalm 22:1
- About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi , Eloi , lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ~ Matthew 27:46
- I am poured out like water… ~ Psalm 22:14
- …one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. ~ John 19:34-35
- …they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him.” ~ Psalm 22:7-8
- He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” ~ Matthew 27:43
- Yet you brought me out of the womb… From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. ~ Psalm 22:10
- “Do not be afraid, Mary… You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. ” ~ Luke 1:30-32
- But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me… ~ Psalm 22:7
- They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. ~ Matthew 27:29-30
You get the point. Psalm 22 is loaded with specific prophecies about the crucifixion. But here is the prophecy that stopped me dead in my tracks:
- Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. ~ Psalm 22:12
- Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus… and gathered the whole garrison around Him. ~ Matthew 27:27
Do you know how many times I have read these two verses? I’ve lost count. But I have never, EVER, seen what I saw this time. Look at those verses again. Right there, hidden in plain sight, Messiah is telling us exactly where his killers will be from!!!
Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. ~ Psalm 22:12
Why does this matter? It matters because of this verse:
The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [the Jewish Temple]. ~ Daniel 9:26
This is the verse upon which so much of the church hangs their end times prophecy hat. This verse says that the Antichrist (the ruler who will come) will come from the people who destroy Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. 700 years after this verse was written, Rome fulfilled it perfectly. The Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. Therefore, common church wisdom holds that the Antichrist will come from Rome, and be a European. Case closed, right? Wrong!
The rate at which the Roman Empire conquered new lands outgrew its ability to occupy those lands with Roman soldiers. There were not enough men in Rome to stock the wildly successful Roman Army. Therefore, the empire’s provinces were increasingly tended to by Roman Army units (legions) ethnically comprised of “provincials,” or people local to the provinces. In Psalm 22:12, Messiah foretells that the Roman legion crucifying him will be staffed by men from Bashan (Syria).
History tells us that less than forty years after the Crucifixion, Roman legions stationed in Syria (comprised of Arab provincials) destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. What is fascinating is that the Jewish Temple was a trophy of the Roman Empire, and Rome had no intention of destroying it. In fact, the Roman commander tried desperately to stop the Arab troops from burning the Temple.
At which time one of the [Arab] soldiers, without…orders [without orders from the Italians]…and being hurried on by a certain divine fury [demonic hatred of the Jews], snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house [I have heard it taught for years that this arsonist soldier was drunk. However, Josephus does not say the soldier was drunk. He says the soldier was "hurried on by a certain divine fury." This sounds more like demonic possession. This is exactly what we see in the Middle East today among the descendants of this soldier (who, by the way, do not drink!). So, an Arab soldier set fire to the Jewish Temple not on a command from the Roman Empire, but on the command of his demonic hatred of the Jewish people, God's chosen people.]…
And now a certain person came running to Titus [the Roman commander, an ethnic Italian, not an Arab], and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire [The Italian commander not only does not order the fire to be set, he tries to stop the fire! The Jewish Temple was a crown jewel of the Roman Empire. It was a trophy, and the Romans had no intention of destroying it.]; Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire [The Italian commander verbally and visually commands the Arab troops to STOP the fire], …
And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers [The Italian commander has lost control of the Arab troops], and the fire proceeded on more and more…Titus supposing… that the house [Jewish Temple] itself might yet be saved… came in haste… to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire [Again the Italian commander orders the Arab troops put the fire out]…yet were their passions [hatred of the Jews] too hard for the regards they had for Caesar [their demonic hatred of the Jews outweighed their respect for Caesar], and the dread they had of him who forbade them [their hatred of the Jews outweighed their fear of the consequences of disobeying a direct order from Caesar], as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them [demonic determination to fight the Jews]… And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation [So, an eyewitness, who just happens to be possibly the greatest historian of all time, tells us that the Temple was burnt down without Italian permission, and against the frantic orders of the Italian commander. Is this just a tad bit different than we are led to believe by most American Bible teachers?]
~ Josephus (who was actually present at this event), Wars of the Jews
The Syrian Arab troops took it upon themselves to destroy the Temple, and would not listen to the Roman commander when he told them to stop. Their hatred of the Jews was stronger than any fear they had of the Italian Caesar. Nothing has changed. The nations surrounding Israel today are comprised of the ethnic ancestors of those who destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., and we see in these nations a hatred of the Jews stronger than any fear they might have of Israeli or U.S. military might. Israel’s most zealous enemies back then are Israel’s most zealous enemies to this day.
But not in my wildest dreams did I think the Bible itself would confirm the non-European ethnicity of these enemies. In Psalm 22:12, Messiah does exactly that with his “strong bulls of Bashan” comment. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that he did not say “strong bulls of Rome.” Therefore, Daniel 9:26 dictates that we must look to Middle Eastern regions north of Israel (not European regions west of Israel) as the lands that will produce the Antichrist and his revived end times empire.
In closing, I stress that geography approximate to Turkey, not Rome, will produce the Antichrist. He will rule over a revived Islamic Ottoman Turkish Empire, not a revived Roman Empire. The Bible defines multiple prophetic criteria for the Antichrist’s host empire (beheading of Christians, extreme cruelty to women, trying to change set times and laws, denial of the trinity). Rome fulfills none of these criteria. Islamic Ottoman Turkey fulfills every single one. See for yourself:
The Bible is always proven true.