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Red Sea Chaos: Is The Aggression Of Yemen’s Houthis Rebels Prophetically Significant?

Mark Hitchcock

Ever since the Hamas invasion of Israel, the Houthis in Yemen have been firing daily ballistic missiles and suicide drones at Israel, in addition to attacking ships in the Red Sea. The Houthis stand in solidarity with Hamas. They insist that when Israel withdraws from Gaza, they will stop these attacks. 

While there are isolated Iran proxies In Iraq and Syria, the three main groups doing the bidding of Iran are Hamas in Gaza, which Israel is attacking now, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the southern portion of Syria, and the Houthi rebels located in Yemen.

Who Are The Houthis? 

An article published in late December by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) states“The Houthi movement’s ideology is deeply rooted in antisemitic, Islamic fundamentalist, anti-American sentiment, as reflected in the slogan on its flag…”

The slogan on the Houthi flag reads: “Allah is great, death to the USA, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam.” That pretty well summarizes what they’re all about.

AJC further noted that “the Houthis are an extremist Shia-Islamist movement and terrorist army.”

Only about 15% of Muslims in the world are Shiites, and about 85% are Sunnis. There are only three nations in the world that have a majority of Shiite Muslims—Iraq, Iran, and Bahrain. The Houthis are part of this Shiite wing of Islam.

“Backed by Iran, this organization controls approximately one-third of Yemen’s territory and more than two-thirds of the country’s population,” the article continues, “It has emerged as a prominent player in the Israel-Hamas war.”

“In recent weeks, Houthi terrorists have fired near daily ballistic missiles and suicide drones at Israel and ships in the Red Sea – most of them intercepted by Israel’s multi-layered air defense system or U.S. warships in the Red Sea,” the AJC described.

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There have been about 20 attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. If you look at the map, you will see the Suez Canal at the top of the Red Sea, and down at the very bottom, there is a very narrow strait called “the Gate of Grief” or “the Gate of Tears.” The Houthis are firing on the ships in that area and disrupting global maritime travel and trade.

Just Wednesday, the BBC reported that the Navies of the U.S. and the U.K. “repelled the largest attack yet on Red Sea shipping.” NPR similarly stated that the Houthis’ latest action was the “largest-ever barrage of drones and missiles targeting shipping in the Red Sea.”

All of this is stoking fear of a wider conflict.

NBC News on Tuesday quoted two diplomats from NATO countries, who said that “strike plans against Houthi bases, boats, and weapons in Yemen have already been drawn up.”

NATO already has plans regarding the bases and the different places they’re going to hit in Yemen if these attacks are not stopped. Approximately 10% of the world’s shipping goes through this hotspot. These attacks are very disruptive to commerce and, it is believed, can create inflation.

All of these Houthi actions are directed against Israel. Any ships that are related in any tangential way to Israel are the primary targets.

Is Yemen Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?

It’s interesting that Yemen, where the Houthis are located, is likely the area referred to in the Bible as “Sheba.” That probably rings a bell with many who have heard of the Queen of Sheba, who came and visited King Solomon. Some believe that Sheba may be in Saudi Arabia, but most commentators, scholars, historians, and geographers believe that Yemen is the region in which ancient Sheba was located.

There are nine books and twenty-three verses in the Old Testament that mention Sheba. The area was also referenced in the New Testament, when Jesus mentions the Queen of Sheba, and other places in the Gospels.

The first time that Sheba is addressed in the Bible is back in Genesis chapter 10, with the table of the nations that were scattered from Babel. The last time she was mentioned in the Old Testament is in Ezekiel 38:13, as part of this Gog Magog war.

Ezekiel 38 says that when these Gog Magog nations—Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, and Sudan—invade Israel in the end times, there are some nations that are going to sit on the sidelines and issue a kind of lame protest to what’s happening. Those nations are identified as Sheba, Dedan, and the young lions of Tarshish.

Dedan is likely Saudi Arabia and the other more moderate Arab and Gulf states. The young lions of Tarshish are presumably the nations of Western Europe. Sheba could be part of Saudi Arabia, but it’s probably Yemen.

If that’s true, then something is going to have to happen in Yemen to neutralize these Houthi rebels. As mentioned earlier, if the Houthis keep making these attacks in the Red Sea, NATO has stated that they are prepared to take them out. There may be a lot of twists and turns before we get to the end, but Yemen is going to be a much different nation in the end times than they are today, becoming neutral or even on the Israeli side in the Ezekiel 38 war against the Jewish State.

Any discussion of Sheba or modern Yemen is not complete unless we look at a couple of passages in the Old Testament. King Solomon wrote two Psalms, one of which is Psalm 72, which looks at the great and glorious golden age of Israel when Solomon reigned. Writing this Psalm, he goes beyond himself, looking at the ultimate “King’s son,” who will be the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, who is going to rule the world. He writes, “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.” This is a foreshadowing of the coming millennial reign of Christ.

Isaiah 60:1-6 says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.”

You know, when they came to worship the baby Jesus, they brought gold, which speaks of His deity, frankincense, Which speaks of His perfect life, and myrrh, which is used for embalming bodies, speaking of His death. You’ll notice here in the millennial reign of Christ when they come, it says they bring gold and incense. There’s no myrrh. Jesus died once, never to die again.

We look forward to that day when the nations will stream to the land of Israel to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Sheba today in Yemen are firing ballistic missiles and drones into Israel, but the day is going to come when they’re going to bring gifts to the land of Israel to worship the Messiah. What a reversal that is going to be, and we pray that it will come soon.

The first event that will trigger all of these is the rapture of the church. We have every reason to believe it could happen very soon. I pray that we’re ready for that event.


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