The world is addicted to fossil fuels. Oil drives our western economy: it spins the turbines, heats homes and powers our vehicles. In short, it defines western civilization. It, therefore, has the power to shape future events very dramatically. Recent events in the Middle East have had a lot to do with securing the world’s oil supply. Perhaps, the results begin to throw some light on Bible prophecies.

Old Politics & Old Prophecies

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait together account for at least 50% of the world’s proven oil reserves. That’s significant because in the 21st century, the world – and Europe especially – has a dependence on Middle East oil – oil which sits under the sands of the most politically unstable region of the world.

In 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, he doubled overnight the amount of oil under his control to 25% of the world’s proven reserves. Reports then hinted he might have been planning to send his forces into Saudi Arabia too, raising the spectre of one man controlling half the world’s oil supply. Doubtless, this influenced the decision to launch Operation Desert Shield.

But what if the political climate changed and one man really could achieve a monopoly over much of the world’s oil? It’s no longer far-fetched to see how control could be achieved in this way over the heavily oil-dependent European block of countries.

While a second war against Iraq was still looming, Guardian Unlimited, New York Times and CBC News features painted the graphic picture of just how miserable life was in and around Babylon (situated 50 miles south of Baghdad) – but not for the then self-styled new Nebuchadnezzar whose magnificent palace overlooked the ancient site of the biblical Babylon. The latter has undergone something of a rebuilding program in recent times.

Compare this with the world-wide influence and ostentatious affluence the Bible may be interpreted as predicting for an actual rebuilt Babylon in its end-time scenario. It’s hard to match the circumstances of a present-day Babylon near Baghdad with its description in the Book of Revelation. Wasn’t Iraq bombed out of the 20th century? Was it not left crippled beyond hope of recovery?

Iraq was helped on its way in the mid-80s by the very western powers which have in recent times opposed it. At that time it was cultivated as a defensive shield against Khomeini in order to hold Iranian revolutionary forces in check. Anti-western religious extremists in Iran similarly had to be prevented from controlling the world’s oil supply.

The fact that Saddam Hussein survived for as long as he did, according to one Palestinian political columnist, was bound up with his success in articulating an Arab-Islamic hostility against

  • U.N. double standards in applying Security Council resolutions;
  • U.S. insistence that Israel remain stronger than all her Arab neighbours;
  • and a failed politico-economic order maintained by western powers to suit their own commercial and strategic interests in the region.

Survival was one thing; a rise to supremacy is another. But with 50% of the earth’s proven oil reserves ringing the shores of the Persian Gulf, the potential for Iraq’s rapid rise to fabulous wealth and international influence still exists. For the doubters, it need only be remembered how the discovery of oil in 1935 in Saudi Arabia transformed a group of bedouins into billionaires and changed the face of the Middle East.

The Book of Revelation pictures a woman (identified as Babylon) sitting astride a fearsome beast. This beast possibly indicates an empire with affinity to that of ancient Rome.

” … a woman sitting on a scarlet beast”
(Rev 17:3 NAS)

Might that predict control being wielded from a literal rebuilt city of Babylon (described at length in ch.18) over a European block of countries from the same general geographical area as the old Roman Empire? It’s not difficult to imagine an individual controlling the oil wealth of the Middle East and using his billions to complete the reconstruction of Babylon.

“… the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”(Rev 17:18 NAS)

A dominant military power in the world would be handicapped by a dependence on oil – even the world’s strongest fighting machine grinds to a halt without oil. Any world leader emerging from a unified Europe would need the cooperation of a Middle Eastern ruler who had control of the world’s oil reserves. We would wish to acknowledge there are different views on detailed prophetic matters. But does this scenario not appear to satisfy the grotesque combination depicted in Revelation 17; before leading to a final showdown between European forces and this Middle Eastern despot like that graphically described there:

“… and the beast …will burn her up with fire.” (Rev 17:16 NAS)

Europe has changed a great deal in the past decade (its combined population & GNP already eclipses even that of the U.S.). One thing this prophetic picture lacks still is the emergence of a dominant personality. A leader who’ll galvanize the various factions on the continent of Europe and unify them into the economic and military powerhouse of the world – but for a while held hostage by whoever then controls the Middle East’s oil reserves.

There is a plan for this world. It prominently features Babylon, Israel and Europe. Sometime – very soon, perhaps – the pieces will move smoothly into place like the parts of a well-oiled machine!