Prophecy Article
Expanded Internet Edition - June 1, 1999 

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The Importance of
Kosovo in Prophecy

By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1999

Read the accompanying Newsletter for June 1999

 

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We have all heard of the country called Yugoslavia. It was a modern country created after the First World War out of provinces that once comprised the old Austro-Hungarian Empire that then ceased to exist. It was ruled after the Second World War by Marshal Tito who died in 1980. Since then, the name became somewhat famous to us in the United States with the introduction of the automobile called the Yugo. It attained fame (or rather infamy) as being the worst engineered automobile in the world. And then the nation becomes more in the news when civil war broke out among its various provinces. The Croates and the Slovens in the north and west segregated to form their own independent countries. Then Bosnia and Herzegovina began to revolt with ethnic cleansing between Serbs, Croates and Albanian Muslims (or other Islamic sects). That conflict was partially resolved when the Serbs (the central people of former Yugoslavia) began a campaign to drive all Islamic peoples from the southern province of Kosovo. This province was of such insignificance to most Europeans that the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary and The Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopaedia did not even have an entry in their main texts to describe the province. But, all of a sudden, that province became so important (because of the Serbs trying to eliminate all or most of the Islamic peoples from the area) that the whole of NATO (including the United States) entered a bombing campaign against the Serbs that has caused the whole world to be involved in its outcome. Even the possibility of ground troops from the NATO countries may have to be used to solve the civil war that has now involved all of the former provinces of Yugoslavia and has also brought into the conflict (by absorbing refugees) Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and even Greece. The problem has the potential of igniting world prejudices once again like those that happened at the beginning of the First World War. Indeed, it was in this very region that the first shots of World War One commenced. All politicians are well aware that the region is a powder keg of political, religious and social instability. It is important that the whole world pay attention to what is presently happening in Kosovo and the region of the Balkans.

What must be realized is the fact that in geo-political circles it is recognized that the Second World War was an outgrowth and an extension of the First World War that itself had its beginnings with key events that took place in the Balkans region of Europe. Throughout the history of Western Civilization the wars between Europe and the hordes of migrating warriors coming from the hinterland of Asia have had their connections with the Balkans. This is the easternmost peninsula of Europe between the Adriatic, Black and Mediterranean Seas (with the Danube River basin its main drainage area).

From this region Alexander conquered the Empire of Persia. Rome considered this region to be the most strategic in its defense from the wild Germanic and Asiatic throngs during the Empire. Today, we find the Balkan region back again in its normal history making role of being significant. And, prophecy shows that from this region will soon emerge a powerful new influence in political affairs that will affect all Europe, Asia and the world. It is time to focus on this volatile region of the earth.

The word "Balkans" is a geographical term of modern Turkish origin. It simply means "mountains." The Turks, when they became the possessors of this part of the earth's real estate during Ottoman times, began calling the region that of the "mountains." Significantly, it was the Turks who brought the religion of Islam into this region of Europe from the fifteenth century at the same time that Islam was being expelled in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). The Balkans (especially in the west and along the Bosporus) represent today the greatest concentration of Islamic peoples who claim as their native home the continent of Europe. And when Turkey began withdrawing from the region in a step by step way, they left behind many people who had been converted to Islam. This is one of the main problems in the area, but it will be resolved by a ruler who is soon to emerge according to prophecy.

Turkey, now, has only the extreme southeast corner of the Balkans under its rule, while Greece occupies its lower part. Islamic Albania is found in the southwest. Croats and Slovenes (mainly Roman Catholics) are in the north and there are Croats and Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (with many Moslems living in this area). The Orthodox Serbs are also in the eastern parts, with Bulgars further to the east, and Romanians in the northeastern region. Other races are scattered in the area. The Serbs are now trying to drive all Muslims (or as many as they can) out of the southern province of Kosovo, and this is what has caused NATO to intervene with its bombing phase.

It is an area with a great deal of ethnic and religious diversity, and it is potentially a powder keg of instability as far as world peace is concerned. Since this is the case, just what does the Bible have to say about the various types of peoples who live in this area of the world? What are the prophecies that relate to them and Turkey, Israel and the Arab/Persian worlds? Indeed, some prophecies are just now beginning to be understood that concern the people of the Balkans. It is looking more certain from prophetic indications that from this very region will soon develop a very powerful European influence that will wage a successful confrontation with Turkey, Iraq and Iran. This political victory will be a fundamental factor in establishing a central prophetic scenario that will introduce what the prophet Daniel called "the time of the end." Out of a part of this region, we will witness the development of a major power at this end-time that is called in prophecy the "kingdom of the north" that is mentioned in Daniel 11:6.

This end-time power will have great authority in matters dealing with the Middle East and it will particularly affect political affairs in Israel, and strangely, its focus of power will not be solely in the military sphere of influence. The Book of Revelation (chapters 17 and 18) shows its power will be mainly economic and sociological, and there will be religious changes in the people who live there.

Principles of Prophecy

As for us in America and western Europe, it will be to our advantage if we pay close attention to the prophecies about this area of the Balkans of which we are hearing so much in the news today. But before it is possible for anyone to comprehend what these prophetic indications represent and how they can be correctly understood, we must be acutely aware of some essential prophetic principles that govern biblical interpretation. Let us now rehearse briefly some of these fundamental concepts of interpretation that can help us to realize essential prophetic truths.

The chief theme of the majority of prophecies both in the Old and the New Testaments is the introduction of the Kingdom of God on earth. There is much information about the close of the present age and the beginning of the next in which full righteousness under the biblical Messiah will transpire on earth. It could be said that a full three quarters' of biblical prophecy pertain to these matters. The Book of Daniel is no exception to this. Though in his prophecies, Daniel relies on the interpretation of the image of chapter two that gives a thumbnail sketch of historical events from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the final events leading to the development of the Kingdom of God on earth, Daniel's main concern is the very last generation of human history just before that Kingdom of God is established. Other than a detailed prophecy about the arrival of the Messiah that he gave in what is called the Seventy Weeks' Prophecy (Daniel 9), the thrust of Daniel's prophetic discourses is about the final four powers to exercise rule on earth who will reign until the last seven years of human history at the very end of this age. It is important for all interpreters to understand this point if they ever hope to make any sense out of Daniel's prophetic teachings. And this applies to his major prophecies that some modern scholars feel are only to be understood in a historical sense with a view to events that occurred in the past and are not to be repeated in the future. The scholars are right in one way. The events mentioned by Daniel are not to be repeated in the future but this is because the majority of Daniel's prophecies have never yet occurred. This is one of the most important principles to recognize if anyone hopes to comprehend properly what Daniel was speaking about some 2500 years ago. It is the first principle to acknowledge. Let us see an example of it in Daniel's writings.

The final prophecy that Daniel was shown (and in great detail) was that called the "Scripture of Truth" mentioned in Daniel 10:21. That prophecy is recorded for posterity from Daniel 11:2 through Daniel 12:3. The whole of that prophecy was one that was not to be fulfilled in Daniel's time (nor would the prophecy even begin in the age of Daniel). Daniel was told that "the time appointed was long [that is, it would happen after a great deal of time had passed]" (Daniel 10:1). The angel Gabriel told Daniel that "I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days [hence]" (Daniel 10:14).

Look at this prophecy called the "Scripture of Truth" in Daniel 10:21. It would begin with four kings of Persia and followed by a mighty king from the region of Javan (that some restrict to Greece). These were the first five kings mentioned in Daniel 11:2-4. But then in verse 5, the "Scripture of Truth" introduces the first of two (or, maybe, three) kings who are called "the kings of the south." These kings of the south rule in succession to one another. Yet in verse 6 is introduced a "king of the north" who rules as a single king for several years until his death as recorded in verse 19. In verse 20 is mentioned the second "king of the north" whose reign is very short. Then is recorded the third "king of the north" who is the vile person who will have a marvelous career of success to the extent that he is only destroyed at the time the archangel Michael stands up on behalf of Daniel's people Israel (Daniel 11:45) and the resurrection of the dead takes place (Daniel 12:1-3). We know from other scriptures that the resurrection occurs at the Second Advent of Christ.

If one counts the kings in the "Scripture of Truth" successively (as one should) by enumerating the four kings of Persia, one king of Javan, and then the three "kings of the north" that culminate in the emergence of the Kingdom of God on earth, there are exactly eight kings who rule in succession (with the seventh king of verse 21 ruling only a few days). Now note this. When the apostle John was given the vision recorded in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 17:9-18), he was also shown exactly eight kings (with the seventh king of verse 10 ruling only a short space). The precision of this agreement between the two accounts from Daniel and the Book of Revelation cannot be coincidental. And since we are told by John that the Kingdom of God under Christ Jesus begins to reign on earth just after his eighth king is deposed (just like we have in Daniel's "Scripture of Truth"), there can be no doubt that John was simply giving a later commentary on what Daniel had recorded. In other words, the "Scripture of Truth" in Daniel 11:2 to Daniel 12:3 dovetails with the account given by John in Revelation 17:9-18. They are not simply intended to be similar to each other, they were intended to be identical! Those eight kings of Daniel and Revelation rule at the end-time and they are identical to each other. This should not be ignored. Indeed, this is a central key interpretation that helps make Daniel and Revelation compatible.

Let us now look at a prophetic truth that most interpreters today and of the past have not understood. Almost all people who look at this prophecy of the "Scripture of Truth" of Daniel (and without the slightest doubt entering their minds) state that the first four Persian kings mentioned by Daniel are those who lived in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. and that "the mighty king" (the fifth king) of verses 2-4 was Alexander the Great. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All the eight kings recorded in the "Scripture of Truth" (the four Persian ones, the one from Javan, and the three "kings of the north") all live in the period just preceding the Second Advent of Christ. They are the same eight kings mentioned in Revelation 17:9-18. It is time to abandon the nonsense of most prophetic interpreters that there is a historical basis to at least the first seven kings of Daniel's "Scripture of Truth," and that the eighth king is Antiochus IV Epiphanes (who is described up to verse 34).

Such interpretation is pure and utter tomfoolery of the highest order and I do not care what the rank happens to be of the scholar, theologian or preacher who says such absurdity. Why, even a superficial study of Persian history from the time of Cyrus (when Daniel received the vision of the "Scripture of Truth") shows there were not four more kings of Persia up to the arrival of Alexander the Great. Indeed, there were four kings up to Darius I the Great, and then followed six more kings to Darius III and there were three more kings in the ruling line of Artaxerxes II (Mnemnon). See the New Bible Dictionary, page 915, for a table showing these fourteen kings of Persia (not simply the four kings that the "Scripture of Truth" states). Daniel is not even referring to any of those fourteen kings of history that governed Persia! He is speaking about four future Persian kings who will reign as the first four kings in a series of eight kings who will altogether represent the last prophetic kings of importance until the Kingdom of God is established on earth. Clearly, the fifth king of the "Scripture of Truth" is NOT Alexander the Great! He is a future king of Javan who will succeed the four Persian kings of the prophecy. Just who is the King of Javan? Where is the geographical location of Javan?

Where Do the Balkans and Prophecy Fit Into All This?

Let us now look at an important point that almost everyone else in the field of prophecy is overlooking except you readers of A.S.K. material. We believe it is important for biblical commentators to recognize and take into account.

Look at the fifth king of Daniel's "Scripture of Truth" who is mentioned in Daniel 11:2-4. This is the king who is prophesied to arise from the area of Javan (that the King James translation interprets as Greece). The KJV is partially correct in using the restrictive sense of the word "Javan," but we must look at all meanings of the word "Javan" found in the biblical revelation. It may be that the term is more expansive than many people imagine. As a matter of fact, in the Table of Nations shown in Genesis 10, we find that "Javan" embraces in the greater sense an inclusion of all southern regions of Europe from Greece, the Balkans and Western Asia Minor (Elishah), over to Spain (Tarshish), Kittim (Italy), the island of Rhodes and all its adjacent regions (Dodanim or Rodanim), plus most of the islands of the Mediterranean (Genesis 10:4,5). Possibly, by the time of Daniel, the term "Javan appears to be applied more restrictively in scope and it meant Greece Proper, Macedonia, the southern Balkans and western Asia Minor. For this restricted meaning, see Joel 3:6 and perhaps Zechariah 9:13. But even here, we must be careful in our interpretation. In contrast, the restricted meaning of "Persia" also limits its location to modern "Iran," but in Daniel's time "Persia" in an unrestricted sense meant all the land east to the Indus River, and it even included Egypt. So, maybe "Javan is to be understood in the same unrestricted way. It is not the context itself that makes the word "Javan" to be restrictive. It could have the wider meaning even in Joel and Zechariah, so we should keep open minds on the interpretation of the prophecies in Daniel about a possible "Greater Javan." And what of "Kosovo?" It is located directly in this area of Danielís fifth king in the "Scripture of Truth." Will this area provide this king? Let us keep our eyes open. Prophecy will soon make it plain.

Ernest L. Martin

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