Jeremiah’s Prophecy About Elam

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The passage it so beautifully illuminates is Jeremiah 49:34-39 which describes the fate of the ancient nations of Elam. It reads as follows:

34)That which came as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying:

35) Thus says the LORD of hosts,
‘Behold, I am going to break the bow of Elam,
The finest of their might.

36) ‘I will bring upon Elam the four winds
From the four ends of heaven,
And will scatter them to all these winds;
And there will be no nation
To which the outcasts of Elam will not go.

37) ‘So I will shatter Elam before their enemies
And before those who seek their lives;
And I will bring calamity upon them,
Even My fierce anger,’ declares the LORD,
‘And I will send out the sword after them
Until I have consumed them.

38) ‘Then I will set My throne in Elam
And destroy out of it kings and princes,’
Declares the LORD.

39 ‘But it will come about in the last days
That I will restore the fortunes of Elam,’”
Declares the LORD.

This rather obscure passage says that “in the last days” Elam’s military might will be broken and that the nation’s population will be widely scattered. The passage further states that this disaster will happen because of the Lord’s “fierce anger” against them. But the passage ends with good news. It says that one day the Lord will bring back the captives of Elam and reestablish them in their land. It also promises that at that time, the Lord will set His throne in Elam.

Interpreting the Prophecy

The first thing Bill does is to clearly delineate the geographical area of Elam. He identifies it as one-tenth of modern day Iran, being located between the Persian Gulf and the Zagros Mountains, as indicated in the adjacent map. He then points out that the Iranian nuclear reactor is located today in the southern portion of this precise area at Bushehr, on the coast of the Persian Gulf.


Bill spends considerable time proving rather conclusively that no part of Jeremiah’s prophecy about Elam has been fulfilled at anytime in past history. He then postulates that its most likely fulfillment will occur when the nuclear reactor is destroyed, either by the Israelis or by an earthquake, releasing radiation that will force the evacuation of the whole area.

Bill then speculates that at the end of the Tribulation when the Lord returns to conduct His Millennial Reign, He will regather the Elamites to their land and establish His throne among them.

This latter point about the throne is the most mysterious part of the entire prophecy. That’s because the Bible makes it clear in many places that Jesus will reign from Jerusalem (see, for example, Isaiah 2:1-4 and Zechariah 8:1-3). So, what does it mean when the passage says, “I will set my throne in Elam”?

Bill says it could refer to the establishment of a government that will be yielded to God. Or, it could be referring to a secondary capital where Jesus might go from time to time to relax.

Bill says the Lord’s “fierce anger” will be focused on the area of Elam because Iran is using that area to develop a nuclear weapon which it has declared that it will use to destroy the Jewish state. Bill concludes that the destruction of Elam is imminent and is most likely to occur before the war described in Psalm 83. One scenario he considers is the possibility that Israel might militarily strike the Bushehr reactor, which, in turn, would trigger the Psalm 83 war in which all the nations with a common border with Israel will unite and attack Israel with the purpose of annihilating the Jewish state.

A Needless Error

One mistake that Bill makes in his book, for which he will be heavily criticized, is that he presents a chronological listing of end time events as follows:

  1. Jeremiah 49:34-39: The destruction of Elam
  2. Psalm 83: The War of annihilation against Israel
  3. The Rapture
  4. Ezekiel 38 & 39: The War of Gog & Magog
  5. The Pre-Tribulation Period

Such a list destroys the imminence of the Rapture. Bill tries to cover himself by stating that the list is only an “estimation,” and that “the Rapture could occur before any of these events.” But I suspect that his critics will ignore this caveat.


When Bill refers to me in his writings, he always calls me an “Eschatologist.” I hate that term. It sounds so academic and stuffy. To me, such a term is appropriate only for a person devoted to the academic study of prophecy. I am a prophecy teacher and preacher, not a prophecy academician.

Bill is a true Eschatologist — together with such people as Tommy Ice and Arnold Fruchtenbaum. And, as such, I expect Bill to continue to supply us with insightful discoveries he is likely to make from his ardent study of God’s Prophetic Word.

1 Comment

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Such a list destroys the imminence of the Rapture and tries to cover up by stating that the list is only an “estimation,” and that “the Rapture could occur before any of these events.”

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