It is a Time for War Against the Four Kingdoms
The reported death toll of the Hamas terrorist invasion is more than 1,400 Israelis. The Americans who died on 11 September 2001, at the World Trade Center were less than 3,000. The death of the Israelis is proportional to about 48,300 Americans. In this war of revenge against the sadistic Hamas (Chamas, Hebrew for “violence”), Israel has the goal of a total annihilation of the terrorism in Gaza and the liberation of the hundreds of hostages held by the terrorist: women, children, elderly, and captured IDF soldiers. Much has been and will be written about this genocide of killing of people on the basis of ethnicity and religion. But in this study, we would like to posit another way to look at this war, specifically in reference to Avraham’s war to rescue his nephew who was held hostage, for as the wiseman has said it very well to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,
A time to love, and a time to hate, a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecc 3:8)
The present study thus will deal with the subject of the war the patriarch Avraham waged against four kingdoms. At the core of this study is the principle that war is acceptable, justifiable, and even mandatory, when fought defensively against evil. It is the object of this work therefore to explain the controversial aspect of war, as we will address it in due course and offer the conclusion for the reader’s consideration. It all began with the war in Genesis 14 to which we now turn.
The rescue war the patriarch waged
Reading is an experience that takes place in time. The Hebrew Scripture delineates stories and events as having layered background, in which it must be read not only in the immediate context, but also in the context of what will happen after the narrative. For the purpose of this study, we will rewind the time to its very beginning in order to merge in its proper context. And the reckoning of time from Creation to Avraham’s entry in the land is as follows:
- It was 1056 years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Noach (Gen 5:3-29).
- It was 602 years from the birth of Noach to the birth of Arphaxad (Gen 5:32; Gen 7:6; Gen 11:10).
- It was 220 years from the birth of Arphaxad to the birth of Terah (Gen 11:12-24).
- It was 70 years from the birth of Terah to the birth of Avram (Gen 11:26, Gen 11:32; Gen 12:1-5). Thus, it was 1,948 years from Adam to Avraham.
- It was 75 years from Avraham’s birth to his entry in the land of Kana’an and the Covenant (Gen 12:4). This was the year 2023 from Creation of Adam.
We will now forward the time to Genesis 14, where we read about the war four kingdoms of the North (Shin’ar, Ellasar, Elam, and Goyim) waged against the five kingdoms of the South (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Tsevoyim, and Tso’ar).
“Is humanity acting any better after the Flood? Then, another flood is coming, this time flood of fire”. Navah
The phrase in Genesis 14:1, “And it came to be” denotes some time has elapsed between Genesis 13 (the parting with Lot) and Genesis 14. We are also told that these kingdoms were previously in war resulting in the five kings becoming servants to the four kingdoms. From that time on, the five kings of the South served Kedorla’omer king of Elam, paying him taxes for twelve years, after which they rebelled. And now the Torah tells of the battle between them was in the valley of Siddim, which later would be known as the Salt Sea or the Dead Sea region. We are told all this in order to set the scene for Avram’s involvement in the war.
Note: The Valley of Siddim (Gen 14:3) used to be a fertile valley before those cities were overturned by the messengers of Elohim. Later, that region would become part of the eastern boundary of the land of Israel as defined in the Torah. We now return to the text.
Scripture goes on to say here, that these four kingdoms of the North are:
- Shin’ar: That is Babylon (Gen 10:10, Gen 11:2; Isa 11:11; Zec 5:11). The first king Amraphel would correspond to the King of Babylon, Nevuchadnetsar, seeing that he was the King of Shinar (see Dan 1:2). It was Nevuchadnetsar, the founder of the first world-power, who first saw in a dream the whole future development of the world-powers (Dan 2:31). Concerning Shin’ar, we shall pause here for a moment to return to it later.
- Elam: That is Persia (Gen 10:22; Isa 21:2, Isa 22:6; Jer 25:25, Jer 49:34-39; Eze 32:24) King Kedorla’omer was a prototype of the Kingdom of the Medes and Persians who supplanted the Babylonians as the ruling Empire in Mesopotamia and Persia. Elam is the ram which Daniel saw, having two horns, the kings of Media and Persia (Dan 8:20); one higher than the other, the higher that came up last was Persia. Kedorla’omer appears to be the chief among the four kings as he summoned them for war.
- Ellasar: That is the Seleucid Empire. The Targum identifies the Ellasar of Gen 14:1 with (Thalasar) Telassar in Isa 37:12. This is the male goat, the king of Greece, Daniel saw, whose the great horn between its eyes is the first king: Alexander (Dan 8:21). For six years the Greeks ruled in Elam (Persia), and after that their kingdom spread over the entire known world under Alexander the Great (the great horn). The goat rose very great, and when it became strong, the great horn was broken suddenly dying in Babylon. After the death of Alexander his great kingdom was divided into four kingdoms between his four generals but not with his power (Dan 8:22). The one of the four horns from which the little horn grew up is the Syrian monarchy, and the horn growing up out of it is the king Antiochus Epiphanes. King Aryoch of Ellasar thus could be a prototype of the king of the Greek empire that ruled in Asia after Alexander’s death. This king and his kingdom therefore can be likened to Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his Seleucid Empire, also known as the Greek kingdom of Syria.
- Goyim: That is Nations (multiple ethnic groups, nations). It cannot be determined with certainty what and where Goyim was. Goyim (Hebrew for “nations”) might have not been used here as a name of one particular nation, but as a collective term comprising many nations or ethnic groups, hence, the designation goyim, “nations”. Tidal was the king of these nations, whose names Scripture does not state. The plain meaning of the wording here is that Tidal was a king over nations other than Shinar, Ellasar and Elam, which had their own kings. The king of Goyim may thus be an allusion to the king of Rome which indeed comprised many peoples and ethnic groups under one king: the emperor of Rome. In Daniel’s vision, this is the king of fierce countenance, and understanding stratagems whose power was mighty (Dan 8:23-25).
What exactly is being described here? Understand this according to what King Nevuchadnetsar saw in a vision.
King Nevachadnetsar’s vision of the four kingdoms
It was King Nevuchadnetsar, the founder of the first world power, who first saw the four world empires in a dream that greatly moved him (Dan 2:31). Daniel the prophet interpreted the dream regarded as a revelation of the future development of world affairs and rises and falls of the world empires. He is speaking of a future state but in images drawn from his present world. In this vision the four empires: (1) Babylon, (2) Medo-Persia, (3) Macedo-Greece, (4) and Rome and Byzantium, were shown in one image to the king. Then, Daniel saw in a dream the development of that same image Nevuchadnetsar saw this time represented as four beasts: the same future empires, one following the other in chronological order and always destroying each other.
“When you see many great nations fighting each other, look toward the footsteps of Mashiach”. (Bereishit Rabba 42:4)
The account of the four empires in Dan 2:31-45, embodied in a great image King Nevuchadnetsar saw, reveals two layers of prophecy. These are the two layers of prophecy:
The first layer:
- Babylon under King Nevuchadnetsar; “head of gold”.
- Persia under various kings; “chest and arms of silver”.
- Greece under Alexander the Great; “belly and thighs of bronze”.
- Rome; the “legs of iron.” Rome was divided into Eastern and Western Roman empires (the two legs of King Nevuchadnetsar’s image). After the fall of the Roman empire when the Germanic warlord Odoacer “wounded” it in 476 A.D. (Rome fell, but it did not die; it was “wounded”), the title of Emperor, was resurrected on Christmas Day in 800 A.D. when Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish/German ruler Charlemagne emperor of the western leg of the Roman empire, thus Rome was “healed”. Two days earlier, Charlemagne had Leo restored to the papacy, after Leo had been deposed for adultery, perjury and simony, among other things. The Germanic Charlemagne brought about the temporary revival of the title of emperor in 800. Then in 962, Pope John XII crowned the German king Otto I. Rome has thus never been conquered and destroyed. It transformed itself from inside out into the Holy Roman Empire and then metamorphosed into consequent empires or Reichs.
Despite the fact that the four different metals in the statue of a man King Nevuchadnetsar saw represent four different kingdoms, the statue as a whole represents the kingdom of humanity. With this we are coming to the next revelation of Daniel’s prophecy.
The second layer:
- “First Reich, “Holy Roman Empire” or the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.”
- “Second Reich”: Germany of Otto von Bismarck
- “Third Reich”: Germany of Adolf Hitler.
- “Fourth Reich”: the World Governance (already in place).
According to the prophecy, this physical manifestation of human rule represented in the image King Nevuchadnetsar saw will be eventually crushed, and the human dominion will be obliterated and replaced by the kingdom of Elohim, which will never be destroyed (See Dan 2:44-45). We must therefore view the prophecy as telling us that it is becoming more and more relevant to the current geopolitical events that are transpiring before us than ever before.
No hesitation before evil
Let us now approach Genesis 14 to return to our main subject. The reason the Torah introduces these four kingdoms in Genesis is to show that they were the super-powers during that period. The story also shows Avram’s victory in the rescue war in its proper perspective for the future events. Another reason, in addition to these two, is to demonstrate the righteousness, courage, and sense of responsibility the patriarch Avram had. When Avram knew what he needed to do, he mobilized the 318 men and waged war against the existing military powers at that time knowing that his Elohim would be on his side in the war, and the victory would come.
Note: When the Genesis stories speak of “kings” and “kingdoms”, these terms are not equal in greatness to the “kings” and “kingdoms” in the Tanach, i.e., Babylon, Persia, etc. After the Flood and dispersions of the nations, the clan leaders established their own cities, which very often bore their names. In the language of Genesis, these clan leaders became “kings” and cities they established became “kingdoms”. We are told that Avram had 318 trained men for war. Proportionally, this could imply that there were about 1,000 people (men, women, children) under his authority. We now return to the text.
At any rate, the war of the four kings (of what one day would become the Assyrian Empire) was against the five kings of the South (of what one day would become the Salt Sea region or the Dead Sea): Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Tsevoyim, and Tso’ar. These four kingdoms, which represent the evil of mankind, made war against the five kingdoms, which represent the wickedness of mankind. Later, they would be known collectively as “Sodom and Gomorrah”: the epitome of moral corruption. Avram, who had no reason to be involved in this war between two evils, entered the war for the solely reason to rescue his nephew, as well as the women and the people taken as hostages by the enemies (Gen 14:14-16).
The Torah also testifies to Avram’s selfless love for his nephew, when he endangered himself and his 318 trained men for battle to such a degree in order to free him and the other people from captivity. But once Lot had chosen to dwell with the Sodomites he was no longer considered as part of Avram’s family, and legally he was not entitled to protection by him. This also explains why Avram did not try to secure Lot’s release by negotiations, for perhaps he was aware of the fact that the four kings knew very well whom they had taken prisoner: Lot, Avram’s nephew. But instead, he went straight against them to free him. We may thus assume that Lot’s capture was a hostile act against Avram whom they might have known while he was in the land of his father. By having taken Lot as a hostage, they were expecting that Avram would pay a heavy ransom for his release, since they were neither in the state of war, nor in the state of peace with him.
With all that being said, this war may be viewed as a precursor of events in which the forefathers were involved and of what would happen in the lives of their descendants afterwards. And indeed, four kingdoms emerged in human history, each one of whom would enslave Avram’s descendants. These four kingdoms, in order of their appearance on the world stage, were: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and the most vicious of them, Rome. But the story in Genesis 14 also teaches that in the end, Avram’s descendants would prevail over all of them, as it indeed happened. But until then, just as Avram’s grief began with these four kingdoms, so will it end for his descendants with other four kingdoms. Because four kingdoms emerged again in human history, but this time they are in coalition to harm Avram’s descendants. These four kingdoms, which are more or less identifiable, are: (1) Gog of the land of Magog, the chief leader of Meshech and Tuval (Eze 38:2), (2) Persia, Kush, and Put (Eze 38:5), (3) Gomer, and (4) Togarmah (Eze 38:6), as explained in the series The War of Gog of Magog.
One final thought. Although the war Avraham waged to free the hostages refers to its proper historical context, it is as relevant today as never before. The argument we want to present to the reader is best understood by way of comparison. We have already pointed out Avraham did not even try to negotiate Lot’s release, for he was aware of the fact that the four kings knew whom they had taken prisoner. What did he do? He started war to free the prisoners of war, for Lot’s capture was a hostile act against him and his family. No negotiations, no ransom for his release, since the four kings had already been in a state of war with Avraham, not in peace. That was the choice they had made, not Avraham’s. Avraham was a man of peace. He reasoned with the Mighty Elohim to spare the innocents who might have dwelled in Sodom and Gomorrah. But when the time for war came, he waged it to the fullest extent and available resources, taking nothing for himself.
Should Avraham’s descendants today go and unleash the full scale of “Swords of Iron” with a ground invasion to avenge the murder of 1,400 women, children, babies, and elderly, and free the hostages? Because the history of the State of Israel teaches that when kindness is shown to the undeserving, it corrupts them even more. When hesitation is shown to evil, it makes it even more evil. Now is a time to hate and a time for war!
Knowledge known to only a few will die out. If you feel blessed by these teachings of Time of Reckoning Ministry, help spread the word!
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days!
This page contains sacred literature and the Name of the Creator. Please, do not deface, discard, or use the Name in a casual manner.