Revenge of the Kurds: Kurdistan's Future
in Bible Prophecy
By Jeremy Stevens —
The Christian Post
January 22, 2013
The Kurds have often been overlooked throughout
history. As close relatives to Iranians, they often
live in the shadow of their neighboring cousins.
Every sibling with brothers or sisters experiences
the irksome episode of being outshined by a smarter
or more athletic sibling. On a national scale the
Kurds have experienced this at the hands of their
Middle Eastern neighbors almost as much as George
Obama and Larry Jordan. Who? Exactly.
The Kurds’ ancient ancestors (known as the Medes)
were eclipsed by the neighboring Persian Empire.
During the conquests of Islam the Kurds were
overpowered by more numerous Arab and Turkish
dynasties. The Kurds experienced a golden age during
the Middle Ages but their glory was dashed by a
Mongol invasion followed by centuries of Turkish and
There was a glimmer of hope after WWI that the Kurds
might gain a homeland out of the wreck of the
Ottoman Empire. These hopes were dashed as most of
Kurdistan was grouped in with the independent Arab
state of Iraq in the 1920’s.
Their oppression reached new levels under the Iraqi
Arabs, most notably Saddam Hussein. Uprisings and
persecutions, including mass killings of Kurds,
marked the Kurdish experience under the Iraqi
Baathist Party. After the intervention of the United
States in 2003, the Kurds have experienced a
stronger semblance of self-rule in the mountainous
region of northern Iraq. It’s far from official.
Today, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group
without a homeland with a population nearing 27
million.1 Their population spreads across a vast
stretch of land known as Kurdistan, which consists
of portions of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. The
Turkish and Iranian governments block any
international efforts at Kurdish autonomy for fear
of losing territory to a new state. The Iraqi state
allows the Kurds their autonomy but also fears
losing one-third of their territory.
With Iranian nuclear intrigue, Palestinian cries for
independence, and the chaos of the Arab Spring,
calls for Kurdish independence fall on deaf ears.
Yet biblically it seems that God has a plan for the
God loves an underdog. Throughout scripture, stories
of weaker, smaller opponents triumphing are told
time and again. From David vs. Goliath to the
Israelite conquest of Canaan, God allowed His people
to triumph over far greater opponents.
God rescued the Jews from slavery in Egypt. He
raised Joseph from a slave to the second most
powerful ruler in Egypt. He even used a young Jewish
girl to rescue His people in the book of Esther.
In the future, God will have yet another underdog –
the Kurds. The book of Jeremiah explains that the
Kurds are an integral part of the future destruction
Just as the Kurds have been overlooked in history,
the destruction passages of Babylon have been
overlooked as well. Some assume that Babylon was
already destroyed, while others believe the Babylon
described in Revelation must refer to another future
super-power. In my previous article on Babylon, I
explained why neither of these could be true.
According to the literal interpretation of
scripture, a real city called Babylon will arise in
Mesopotamia once more. It is difficult to imagine a
Middle Eastern economic superpower in today’s
geopolitical world. It was also difficult to believe
a Jewish state was possible in 1948.
Revival and destruction of
Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50/51 both describe the city
of Babylon’s total demise at some point in the
future. John in Revelation also adds a great amount
of detail. The city is burned to the ground, the
inhabitants slain, and the land of Babylon along the
Euphrates River becomes a desolate wasteland, never
to be inhabited again. For some reason this tale is
usually left out of children’s story Bibles.
The ancient city of Babylon never experienced such a
calamity. People continue to live in and near the
lands of Babylon today (Iraq). Therefore, this
prophecy has not yet occurred and must be fulfilled
in the future. A Middle Eastern superpower will fill
the vacuum of power in the future war-torn region.
Another topic not often discussed is the identity of
Babylon’s attackers. Isaiah explains below,
Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against
them, Who will not value silver or take pleasure in
gold. And their bows will mow down the young men,
They will not even have compassion on the fruit of
the womb, Nor will their eye pity children (Isaiah
Isaiah gives the name of the future attackers in
verse 17! The Medes were an ancient empire hailing
from the western Iran and portions of northern Iraq
(modern day Kurdistan). They made a name for
themselves by bringing down the mighty Assyrian
Empire. Eventually they partnered with the Persians,
but were conquered and incorporated into the Empire.
The Persians led an attack on Babylon in 539 BC.
However, this was more of a coup as there was very
little bloodshed. The Persians continued to use
Babylon as a regional capital as well. No burning,
pillaging, or complete destruction. Only one people
group will have that task – the Medes.
Jeremiah also describes the Medes as leading a
coalition of nations against future Babylon in
Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The Lord
has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes,
Because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy
it; For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance
for His temple (Jeremiah 51:11).
Jeremiah continues in verse 21,
Consecrate the nations against her, The kings of
the Medes, Their governors and all their prefects,
And every land of their dominion. So the land quakes
and writhes, For the purposes of the Lord against
Babylon stand, To make the land of Babylon A
desolation without inhabitants (Jeremiah 51:28-29).
No mention of Persians, Romans, Arabs, or Turks
leading the attack, but rather, the Medes. It is a
miracle that the ancient Medes have survived as a
people in the same ancient location for over 2,000
years. Only one explanation can be given – God has
plans for the Medes.
But are the modern-day Kurds really the descendants
of the ancient Medes?
The Kurdish connection
The Kurds are a unique cultural-ethnic group in the
Middle East. They are not Semitic as the Arabs, nor
do they have Asiatic roots as the Turks. They are
most closely related to the Iranians as they both
speak Indo-European languages. They are a largely
self-sufficient mountain people who have survived
harsh conditions and persecutions by retreating deep
into the highlands of Kurdistan.
Historians traced the ancestry of the ancient Medes
to the modern day Kurds of the Middle East. The
Kurds even live in the old Median lands of the
Middle East. This is important because whenever God
gives a prophecy about a people group, ie, Israel,
Babylon, Persia, the prophecy pertains to the land
Israel is the most common example of geographic
fulfillment. God could have blessed the Jews by
giving them a homeland in South America or Europe,
but He chose to return them to their own biblical
lands in the Middle East.
In the future, God will curse the land of Babylon
(in the Middle East). Sorry to burst more bubbles,
but the United States is not part of the Middle East
and therefore cannot house the future superpower
known as Babylon.
Historically the Kurds have a strong argument for
their claims of Median ancestry. Greek historian and
adventurer Xenophon referred to the Kurds as the
Karduchi, or the Karduhki.2 According to Kurdish
historian Dr. Jemal Rashid Ahmad, the beginnings of
Kurdish history can be traced to the ancient Median
king Kyaxer.3 British scholar Dr. G. R. Driver also
placed Kurdish ancestry squarely with the ancient
The Kurds are experiencing a Christian revival.
This no doubt adds to their present persecutions.
Ten percent of Kurdish people claim to be Christian,
a much higher percentage than Arabs, Turks, or
Persians can claim. It is important to remember that
by the time of Babylon’s destruction, Islam will be
a largely forgotten religion. At the end of the
Tribulation there will only be two religious options
– Christianity or Satan worship.
The Kurds, along with countless other peoples and
nations, will experience a great revival during the
Tribulation -- one that will cost many of them their
Revenge of the Kurds
Once thing is for certain – when God’s appointed
time for Babylon’s destruction has come he will
unleash an underdog from the lands “north” of
Babylon (Jeremiah 50:3). The Kurds will play an
instrumental role in Babylon’s future destruction.
Although an independent Kurdistan looks bleak in the
near future, it could become a real possibility in
the distant one. Both Jeremiah and Isaiah describe
the Kurds as a mighty host leading a coalition of
nations. Other prophetic passages indicate that the
Middle East is heading for some momentous changes.
Nations such as Turkey and Iran may fall apart after
their attempted invasion of Israel (found in Ezekiel
38/39), while other nations such as Babylon will
become prominent once again. Amidst all the
shuffling Kurdistan could become a real nation-state
1 Mahir A. Aziz, The Kurds of Iraq: Ethnonationalism
and National Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan, (London:
Tauris Academic Studies, 2011), 46.
2 Aziz, The Kurds of Iraq, 47.
3 Ibid., 48.
4 Ibid., 49
Jeremy Stevens is a historian, author, and
teacher. His latest book, "So What Happens Next?
Exploring Biblical Prophecies to Make Sense of
Today's Chaos" is available at all participating
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