The Imminent Invasion of Israel

Appendix 12: Who are the Merchants of TARSHISH?

The Merchants of Tarshish are not part of the invading forces for they protest against Russia when she invades Israel.Tarshish in Ezekiel's day was in the farthest western regions of the known world (Spain and/or the British Isles). It was wealthy and flourishing, exporting silver, iron, tin and lead through the seafaring Phoenicians (Jeremiah 10:9; Ezekiel 27:12,25). This hints at it being the UK. Tarshish occupied the uttermost parts of the west. It could be used by Ezekiel to represent the nations of western Europe that will join Saudi Arabia in denouncing the invasion. When God commanded Jonah to go preach to Nineveh (500 miles NE of Israel), he headed to Tarshish, which was as far in the other direction as he could go (see Jonah 1:1-3). 

Tarshish is associated in Scripture with the West. “The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute”(Psalm 72:10, NLT). 

The Merchants of Tarshish receive their name from the ancient city of Tarshish, where they once traded their goods. These merchant men could represent all of the nations of Western Europe that would one day become the Roman Empire.

Biblical Tarshish may be Tartessus, a Phoenician colony, an important outpost in a string of colonies that extended as far north as the tin islands of Britain. Tin was used in making bronze and was worth a fortune in eastern markets. The Phoenicians had virtual monopoly of the trade, and Tartessus was one of their important terminals for the shipment of the wealth of the world between east and west. Tarshish was a maritime centre of great importance, linked with Palestine and with contacts as far west as the ancients went. This gives us some clues for identifying prophetic Tarshish.

Note that Ezekiel refers not just to Tarshish, but to “the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages” (NASB) or“Tarshish, with all its young lions” (KJV). This phrase is a Hebrew idiom meaning nations that have come out of Tarshish. The young lions of Tarshish are a reference to the colonies that emerged from Britain and Europe - including the USA. Out of the Merchants of Tarshish came the colonial Empires. The most successful of these was Great Britain. The symbol of Great Britain is a lion. That symbol exists to this day and no other empire had more young lions than Great Britain. The present young lions are the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Commonwealth. These young lion nations that came out of the British Empire have generally been pro-Israel. 

Therefore, ‘the young lions of Tarshish’ describes the USA in the last days joining in with her European and Saudi allies to lodge a formal protest against the Russian-Islamic aggressors. 

Looking at the Regathering of Israel in the last days, Isaiah said: “Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far . . . And the sons of strangers shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you” (Isaiah 60:9-10). 

It is a fact of history that the Zionist movement only became a reality when the Government of the British Isles championed its cause. British kings first threw the weight of empire behind Theodore Herzl's lonely cry in Europe that the Jews be given a national home in Palestine. Although Britain's subsequent mandate over Palestine had many failings she did much to rebuild the country and prepare it for the day when the Jews, having won their Independence, could give birth to the State of Israel in 1948. Isaiah's prophecy is of interest, therefore, because it hints at the identity of prophetic Tarshish. Britain, and later the United States, first helped make the Zionist dream a reality. As historic Tarshish took in the mainland of Europe, reached to Britain and on to the new world, so prophetic Tarshish probably does the same. 

Thus “Tarshish, with its young lions” points to Europe and her former colonies, especially in the Americas. Tarshish is a prophetic reference to the western world. Therefore, the young lions who act with Tarshish to oppose verbally Gog'sinvasion are the present-day western democracies.

Whether you take these young lions of Tarshish to refer to the United States or just as a reference to the western powers of the last days, the scenario that is developed in Ezekiel 38 fits the present world political situation precisely.

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