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For years, it was assumed that the nation of Saudi Arabia, with its vast oil reserves, would long reign the wealthiest oil-producing nation in the Middle East. According to present estimates, Saudi Arabia sits atop approximately 266 billion barrels of oil. The Muslim dominated OPEC countries together claim roughly 1,112 billion barrels.
But due to a new technology called “fracking,” this is all about to change. Fracking, hydrofracking, or hydraulic fracking, what some are calling a “miraculous new technology,” has made it possible to access what were previously inaccessible – and absolutely massive – deposits of shale oil and natural gas. This new technology, it is claimed, will allow formerly inferior energy-producing nations to emerge overnight as the new titans of global energy. And the Muslim world is not at all likely to be pleased about which nations fracking will allow to emerge as the world’s most powerful energy producers.
You guessed it. Because of fracking, the nation of Israel, along with the United States, could soon emerge as the world’s largest oil-producing nations. Some say this will happen as soon as 2020. According to estimates, Israel’s oil-shale reserves could amount to as much as 250 billion barrels, placing it neck and neck with Saudi Arabia. When one combines this with the massive amounts of natural gas ( approximately 100 trillion cubic feet) found in recent years just off Israel’s shore, the Jewish state could quickly move beyond mere energy independence and become a major global exporter.
In the ongoing geopolitical chess game for wealth creation, power and even survival, the dawn of fracking technology literally changes everything. And it has the minds of analysts churning out a thick froth of speculation. This is true concerning political analysts as well as analysts of Bible prophecy.
Let’s indulge in a bit of geopolitical speculation first. How will a potentially emerging energy-dominant nation of Israel change the Middle East? Will Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan tone down his rhetoric demanding an apology for the Mavi Marmara flotilla fiasco? Perhaps the Iranian regime will consider toning down its predictions that Israel is a rotting corpse soon to disappear. How would the Muslim-dominated OPEC change if Israel emerged as a top-dog energy producer? Is it possible that oil-poor Muslim nations such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan could be forced to come crawling to the Jewish nation for assistance in meeting their own energy needs? The Russians are already ahead of the game, actually. Putin has already entered into a partnership with Israel through Russia’s state-run energy company, Gazprom, all for the purpose of prying open Israel’s vast offshore natural-gas reserves. Even now, in the early stages of the transition, the potentials for total game changing possibilities are endless.
But what does fracking mean to analysts of Bible prophecy? For years, many students of Bible prophecy have long seen a coming energy wealth in Israel’s future. This prediction derives from the fact that when one examines several of the biblical passages that speak of the coming antichristic, multi-national, eschatological invasion of Israel, it appears as though the pursuit of wealth, plunder and spoil are among the invaders’ greatest motivators. Let’s consider a few of the prophecies that repeatedly highlight this issue.
In the eightth century B.C., the Judean prophet Isaiah frequently made reference to the various Assyrian kings as prophetic prototypes of the coming last-days antagonist of God’s people. Thus the theme of the coming Messiah figure found throughout Isaiah’s prophecy is frequently portrayed as being in conflict with “the Assyrian.” In one example, in chapter 10 of Isaiah’s prophecy, it is the Assyrian, as a type of the Antichrist, who is portrayed as being dispatched by God into the land of Israel with the goal of seizing Israel’s great wealth:
“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath. … I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.” — Isaiah 10:5-7
A little over a hundred years later, the prophet Ezekiel also prophesied of a massive invasion of the land of Israel in the last days. And once again, it was the issue of taking plunder and booty that were among the invaders’ primary driving motivations:
“On that day … you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages … to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.'” — Ezekiel 38:10-13
The prophet Daniel would also speak of the Antichrist’s stealth attack against Israel at a time of peace, as he seeks to acquire their great wealth:
“When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses – but only for a time.” — Daniel 11:24
And finally, even after the Jewish people had returned from the Babylonian exile, the prophet Zechariah would speak of the day when, as a result of a massive end-time invasion of the land, Israel’s great wealth would be divided among the invaders:
“A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured. …” — Zechariah 14:1-2
Of course, as somber as Zechariah’s words may be, it is in the verses that immediately follow that we take comfort in knowing that it is at this time that Jesus the Messiah will arrive from heaven and deliver Israel at the time of her greatest need:
“Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.” — Zechariah 14:3-4