The Medes in Bible Prophecy


John Hoole – August 10, 2014




Several months ago, an organization known as ISIS began to makes it presence felt.  ISIS stands for Islamic State or Iraq and Syria.  Late July, 2014, this terror group established a Islamic Caliphate headed by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.  They are no longer ISIS but Islamic State.  They have shown themselves to be extremely brutal to those who disagree with them.


At the end of July, the Islamic State commanded all Christians to leave Mosul, Iraq’s largest northern city.  Either Christians would leave or they would be assessed a large tax or be killed with the sword.  In 2003, more than one million Christians lived in Iraq – 60,000 in the city of Mosul.  Earlier this year there were 35,000 Christians still living in Mosul.  Most have fled to neighboring Christian cities.  But ISIS rebels have continued their march and have taken the largest Christian city or Qaraqosh.  In the end, most Christians are fleeing to the somewhat autonomous region of Kurdistan.  More than 500,000 refugees have flooded into Kurdistan – larger percent are Christian.


The reason I have taken you through this very brief discussion of what is happening in northern Iraq, is because I am wondering if these recent developments might have prophetic implications.  But, before continuing along the prophetic line, I want to ask you a question.


Who was the king who had the prophet Daniel thrown into the Den of Lions?


You can read about it in Daniel 6.  The king was Darius.  Do you remember what nationality King Darius was?  He was a Mede (see last verse of Daniel 5).


King Darius was tricked by many of his appointed leaders into signing a decree forbidding the worship of any god other than Him.  Any who did would be cast into a den of lions.  When it was made known to the King that Daniel disobeyed the decree, Darius knew he had been set up but could not annul the edict.  Therefore, Daniel was cast into the den of lions, which saddened the king greatly.  But notice what the king said to Daniel when he was tossed to the lions.


Daniel 6:16 NKJV


16     So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you."


Verse 18 tells us the king did not eat that evening and could not sleep during the night.  Early in the morning, the king went in haste to the lions’ den.


Daniel 6:20-28 NKJV


20     And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?"

21     Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever!

22     My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you."

23     Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

24     And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions — them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

25     Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.

26     I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end.

27     He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 

28     So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.


                   I wonder, will we see King Darius in heaven?


I have taken this side route into the book of Daniel to ask you, “Who are the Medes?”  In our lesson on the coming invasion of Israel mentioned in Ezekiel 38 & 39 we look at the role Russia, Iran and others will have in the end times.  In that study, I showed you this chart of the descendants of Noah.  The names you see in color are those spoken by Ezekiel in those two chapters.


The lineage for this chart is taken from Genesis 10 & 11, which is often referred to as the “Table of Nations.”  It identifies, in chapters 10 & 11, 70 original tribal groups that eventually became nations.


There is one Tribal leader that I did not discuss during that previous lesson.  That name is MADAI, the third son of Japheth, and the grandson of Noah.  Of the 21 times Madai is found in the Hebrew text it is left untranslated when listing the descendants of Japheth.  The other 19 times it is translated as those who descended from Madai – the Medes.


What does this have to do with the Kurds in northern Iraq?  The Kurds are the modern descendants of the Medes.  I have read through more than a dozen commentaries, and all state it is a fact, the modern Kurds are the descendants of the ancient Medes.  I have also searched a number of non-biblical history books saying the same thing.


The Kurds are not Arabic.  In fact they dislike Arabs very much – and the intense feeling is mutual.  For most of them, they dwell in mountains of northern Iraq and Iran, southeastern Turkey and parts of northeast Syria.  There is actually a fairly large group of Kurds in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.  And there are also Jews still living in Kurdistan.


In the book of Isaiah, starting with chapter 13, we have God pronouncing judgment on a number of nations, one after another.


                   •  Babylon (13:1 – 14:27)

                   •  Philistia (14:28 – 32)

                   •  Moab (15:1 – 15:14)

                   •  Syria – Damascus (17:1 – 14)

                   •  Sudan (18:1 – 7)

                   •  Egypt (19:1 – 25)

                   •  Egypt & Ethiopia) (20:1 – 6)

                   •  Babylon again (21:1 – 10)

                   •  Edom (21:11 – 12)

                   •  Arabia (21:13 – 17)

                   •  Phoenicia (Tyre and Sidon) (23:1 – 16)


Jeremiah, similar to Isaiah, lists judgments to come on a number of nations in the end time.  He begins in chapter 47.

                   •  Philistia

                   •  Tyre and Sidon

                   •  Caphtor (Crete)

                   •  Moab (chapter 48)

                   •  Ammon (chapter 49)

                   •  Babylon (chapters 50 & 51)


God has prophesied that most nations surrounding Israel in the Middle East will be judged harshly.  The nation of the ancient Medes (the Kurds) is not so mentioned for judgment.  Rather, God is going to use the Medes to be His instrument to inflict judgment.  What specifically has God planned for these people.


I have been keeping my eye on the Kurds for some time because of what God says concerning them in the last days.  I have watched them more closely since the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS).  ISIS was coming down from the north towards Baghdad.  About three weeks ago, the Kurds took control of the northern city of Kirkuk.  This city is rich in oil, but is on the very border of ISIS claimed land.  And you can guess that the ISIS will make a push towards Kurdistan.


One thing that surprised me was a statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 6/29/14.  He openly expressed support for Kurdish independence and statehood.          After the demise of Saddam Hussein, the Kurds have some autonomy without statehood.  They do have leaders, both political and military, but they are still part of Iraq.  The military is called the Peshmerga.  They even have an elite arm of the military made up of females only.


Yet, biblically, it seems that God has a plan for the Kurdish people.  The book of Jeremiah explains that the Kurds will be God’s agent in the future destruction of Babylon.  If you hold to a more literal approach to interpreting the Scriptures, as I do, a real city called Babylon will arise in Mesopotamia once more.  I will admit that it is difficult to imagine a Middle Eastern economic superpower in today’s world.  It was also difficult to believe a Jewish state was possible in 1948.


A moment ago, I mentioned God’s future judgment on a number of nations which each prophet lists.  Both of them spoke about the future destruction of Babylon – Isaiah 13 & 14 and Jeremiah 50 & 51.  We know that in the sixth century before Christ, Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persians.  Why would I not consider these prophecies against Babylon already fulfilled?


The Medes and Persians led an attack on Babylon in 539 BC.  However, this was more of a coup with very little bloodshed.  The Medes and, later, the Persians continued to use Babylon as a regional capital.  There was no burning, no pillaging, or complete destruction.


Jeremiah 51:11 NASU


11     Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, Because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it; For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for His temple.


Jeremiah 51:28-29 NASU


28     Consecrate the nations against her, The kings of the Medes, Their governors and all their prefects, And every land of their dominion.

29     So the land quakes and writhes, For the purposes of the Lord against Babylon stand, To make the land of Babylon A desolation without inhabitants.


Notice the result of this judgment upon Babylon.  It is led by the Medes – no mention of Persians, Romans, Arabs or Turks.  Babylon is to be destroyed.  It will become a desolate land without anyone living there.  This has never been accomplished to this date.


Let’s also notice how the prophet Isaiah describes this battle.


Isaiah 13:9 NKJV


9       Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.


First, notice the timing – this happens when “the day of the Lord comes.”  The Day of the Lord is a phrase that always indicates the endtimes.  Second, it corroborates what was said by the prophet Jeremiah.  The land will become desolate.


Isaiah 13:15 NKJV


15     Everyone who is found will be thrust through, And everyone who is captured will fall by the sword.


                   This did not happen in 539 BC.


Isaiah 13:17 NKJV     


17     Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it.


                   Again, the Medes are mentioned but nobody else.


Isaiah 13:19-22 NKJV


19     And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

20     It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be settled from generation to generation; Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.

21     But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches will dwell there, And wild goats will caper there.

22     The hyenas will howl in their citadels, And jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, And her days will not be prolonged."


Babylon has never been destroyed in this manner.  It has never been uninhabited – there are today several small towns located where ancient Babylon was.  Not only will it not be inhabited, but it will never be settled again after it is uninhabited.  She has never been destroyed by fire – nothing like what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Babylon continued as a major city for many centuries.  In 331 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Babylon and the surrounding area.  Alexander stayed there and died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar in 323 B.C.


In the first century after Christ, Peter mentions them in 1 Peter 5:13.  \


         3       The church that is in Babylon, elect together with you, salute you, and so does my son Mark.


Either Peter was in Babylon when he writes his first epistle, or he had received a letter from the Christians who lived there.  Also, at that time we know there were many Jews still living in Babylon.  We find that fact on the Day of Pentecost, in Act 2, Where it list the different countries that had travelled to Israel for this holy day.  They heard the message of Peter after the Holy Spirit fell on those in the Upper Room.


Acts 2:8-11 NKJV


8       And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

9       Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10     Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11     Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."


Notice specifically verse 9, which mentions those living near the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and those dwelling in Mesopotamia.


It appears that God has a plan for the Medes in the end times.  And it is not a plan for judgment as is the case for other neighbors in the Middle East.  Is it because King Darius blessed Jehovah and His prophet, Daniel?  Did he at that moment recognize there was really only one true God – Daniel’s Jehovah.


Even before the terror that is going on in the Middle East, and before more Christians were fleeing to Kurdistan, the Kurds have been experiencing a Christian revival.  Today they are considered a Sunni Moslem country, but they were the last to be taken in, holding out more than 1,100 years and they would consider themselves very loose Moslems.  10% of the Kurds claim to be Christian today – and that was before the current migration.


I believe the Kurds are going to be blessed by God in the end times.  God is going to call out “the spirit of the Kings of the Medes,” to come from the mountains, and cause Babylon to become a desolate land, never to be inhabited again.