What is Iran’s future according to Bible prophecy? Find out with guest Bill Salus and Nathan Jones of the Lamb & Lion Ministries evangelism team as they provide their Prophetic Perspectives.
Bill Salus Questions Mark Hitchcock’s Teaching on Jeremiah 49:34-39
Below the images is a letter that I emailed to Dr. Mark Hitchcock during the summer of 2020. For the most part, it expresses my objections to his partial fulfillment teaching of Jeremiah’s prophecy of Elam in Jeremiah 49:34-39.
Hitchcock’s initial reaction to this email was that a response from him was forthcoming. However his latest response expressed that he’s too busy to respond presently. Since several months have passed, and Iran is rapidly advancing toward becoming a nuclear armed nation, I felt that now was a good time too present his and my contrasting teachings on the Elam prophecy.
Image #1 (Map of Elam / Persia)
Image #2 (Summary of Elam Prophecy)
The letter of objections to Dr. Mark Hitchcock
Note: the nature of this letter is not designed to debate a brotherly scholar, rather it is intended to appropriately discern God’s prophetic Word and to uphold its integrity.
I recently viewed your YouTube teaching entitled, “Marking the Times Episode 118 Prophecy of Elam.” It prompted a few questions that I hope you can answer to support your view. Before I ask them below, let me list a few of my comments.
INTRODUCTRY COMMENTS TO HITCHCOCK
- * You are an excellent example of how to introduce a prophecy. You provide alternative views professionally and then state your view.
- * You are also clear to be non-dogmatic when it comes to difficult prophecies to interpret.
- * We are in agreement that Jeremiah 49:34-39 and Ezekiel 38 are separate prophecies, and that both have last days applications.
- * One of the first prophecy teachers to write about Jeremiah 49:34-39 as an unfulfilled Bible prophecy was Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book entitled, The Footsteps of the Messiah. A few years ago at a Pre-Trib Rapture conference, I asked our friend Arnold, if he thought this Elam prophecy could have been partially fulfilled in the past. His comment was no, and he related to the detail in Jer. 49:39 that said it was a last days event. He indicated that the details of the entire prophecy need to be viewed in light of the last days.
- * I agree with him. This is similarly the case with the Ammonite prophecies in Jeremiah 49:1-6. All of these prophetic details also appear to remain unfulfilled. The Ammonites (Jordan) get defeated and Jordanians become exiles as per Jer. 49:3-5. However, similar to the last days return of the Iranian Elamite exiles as per Jer. 49:39, the Ammonite Jordanian exiles have a similar promise.
“But afterward I will bring back The captives of the people of Ammon,” says the Lord.” (Jer. 49:6)
- * Presently, Iran is the fastest growing evangelical population in the world. It is growing at a rate just below 20%. Many Iranians are experiencing dreams, visions, healings and miracles that cause them to convert from Islam to Christianity. Many of these Iranian converts find great comfort in Jeremiah 49:34-39 as an unfulfilled prophecy. Some of these Iranian Christians find great encouragement in Jer. 49:38 that promises God will set His throne in Elam and Jer. 49:49 that speaks about a return of the Iranian exiles and restoration of their fortunes.
Below are just a few of my questions. I hope you can address them all, but if you don’t have the time please at least address the first five.
1. Why would Elam need restoration in the latter days as per Jeremiah 49:39? Presently, Elam needs no restoration. Does something happen that causes a legitimate need for restoration in this area?
“But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam, says the Lord.” (Jer. 49:39, RSV)
Some translations allude to the return of captives to Elam.
‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the Lord.” (Jer. 49:39, NKJV)
2. Who are these captives that are destined to return to the land in the last days in Jer. 49:39? Are these descendants from the exiles that were conquered during Nebuchadnezzar’s time about 2500 years ago? Are these last days Elamite descendants dwelling somewhere outside of Iran? Are they supposed to find encouragement that they will return to Elam (Iran) from a disaster experienced by their ancestors over 2 millennia ago?
3. When was Jer. 49:34-38 fulfilled historically? In my book entitled, Nuclear Showdown in Iran, Revealing the Ancient Prophecy of Elam, I point out that, “The Babylonians conquered Elam around 612 B.C.”[i] This event preceded Jeremiah’s Elam prophecy that was issued around 596 BC by about 16 years. Wouldn’t this make Jeremiah’s Elam prophecy a fact of history, rather than an unfulfilled future event.
4. This 612 BC conquest of Elam was accomplished by the Babylonian King Nabopolassar, who preceded Nebuchadnezzar. Why would Nebuchadnezzar need to conquer Elam again and in such a relatively short period of time? (See the time chart at this website: http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/persians.html). Below is a timeline quote from this site:
“612 BC: the Babylonians, led by king Nabopolassar, and their allies the Medes, led by Cyaxares, destroy the Assyrian capital of Nineveh (as well as Nimrud) and split the Assyrian empire (Mesopotamia to Babylon and Elam to Media) while Egypt recovers control of Palestine and Syria.”
As per this quote, was Elam under the sovereignty of Media when, according to you, Nebuchadnezzar supposedly conquered it again? Did this mean that Nebuchadnezzar had to defeat Media also in order to take out Elam? Please show when that happened in history. If so, how does that correlate with the following timeline events about Elam?
600 BC: Zarathustra forms a new religion in Persia.
559 BC: Cyrus Achaemenian unifies Elam, and moves the capital of the Achaemenids to Susa.
550 BC: Cyrus Achaemenian defeats Astyages, emperor of the Medes, conquers its capital Ecbatana (Hamadan), and unifies Media and Elam in the Persian empire.
5. What about these scriptures that seemingly refute the partial fulfillment argument of the exiles from the disaster, Ezra 4:9, Acts 2:9 and Isaiah 11:11? If Elam was destroyed and in need of restored fortunes and returned captives, then why does it continue to be alluded to in these above verses?
6. What nations, plural, did the Elamite exiles of Jer. 49:36 get dispersed into about 2500 years ago? Are the descendants of these exiles the ones that the Lord returns to Elam in the last days?
7. Why does Jeremiah 49:38 say, “I will set My throne in Elam,” rather than “his throne,” alluding to Nebuchadnezzar’s, as written in Jer. 43:10?
8. Why does Jeremiah speak about Nebuchadnezzar 37 times and Babylon 141 times in his 52 chapters but there is not one mention of either in Jer. 49:34-39?
9. Why was the Lord fiercely angry with Elam during Nebuchadnezzar’s time in Jeremiah 49:37?
10. Who were the other enemies, plural, beside Nebuchadnezzar at the time Elam was conquered by the Babylonians, as per Jeremiah 49:37?
11. In some of your prior teachings, you advocate that Damascus was destroyed in 732 BC by the Assyrians. With these two teachings, upon Elam and Damascus, it appears that you are not watching for a future attack on either Damascus or Elam that might provoke a Mideast conflict involving Iran’s proxies that might be related to the unfulfilled Elam prophecy. Remember, that these proxies, which include, Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, Shiite Iraqi forces and the Houthis, do not appear to be part of the Ezekiel 38 prophecy. What might happen to them in advance of Ezekiel 38 that removes them from the Ezekiel invaders?
12. Who were the Elamite kings and princes that were destroyed at that time in Jeremiah 49:38?
13. Why does Jeremiah 49:1-27, 39 speak of seemingly unfulfilled prophecies about Ammon, Edom and Damascus, and Jer. 49:28-38, in your interpretation, only covers fulfilled prophecies? Is it possible, that Jer. 49:1-27 and 34-39 discuss far prophecies and only Jer. 49:28-33 covers a near prophecy to authenticate Jeremiah’s last days prophecies in chapter 49? Is it possible that Jeremiah was issuing prophecies in the order of their territorial proximity to Israel; Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar and Hazor and then furthest away would be Elam?
[i] The timeline of the Babylonian conquest of Elam was taken from the Internet on 3/12/14 at this website: http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/persians.html. Technically speaking, the Medes participated with the Babylonians during the conquest over the Assyrian Empire at the time. As such, the Medes rather than the Babylonians exerted more sovereign control over the territory of Elam.
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