Libya has been in the news for quite some time, and nobody seems to know what the future holds for that biblical country. God’s Holy Scriptures do give us a glimpse, however, as to what we can expect to occur in or pertaining to Libya.
It is commonly accepted that Libya is designated as “Put” or “Phut” in the Hebrew Scriptures. Put was the son of Ham, a son of Noah (Genesis 10:6; 1 Chronicles 1:8). The word “Put” or “Phut” means “bow” or “warrior.” According to Josephus, Put settled in the land of Libya. Depending on what translation one might use, the word “Phut” is sometimes mentioned in addition to Libya. As the Ryrie Study Bible explains, the word “Put” can also refer—depending on the context—to just a part of the country of Libya.
As we pointed out in our Q&A on Egypt’s future, Ezekiel 30 gives us a prophecy dealing with the day of the LORD (verse 3)—describing a time just preceding the return of Jesus Christ. We read in Ezekiel 30 that Egypt and her allies will fall at that time. Verses 5 and 6 designate Egypt’s allies in that way:
“Ethiopia, LIBYA, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword—those who uphold Egypt shall fall…”
“Chub” might not describe a particular people, but could be translated as “all,” saying that “all” the men of the lands who are allied will fall. Regarding “Lydia,” not much is known, but it has been contended that it designates an African nation in Western Asia Minor, descended from Egypt.
We can take from this passage that in the very end time, Libya will be allied with Egypt and Ethiopia, and that they will fall together. A similar alliance occurred in the past, with equally devastating consequences. Jeremiah 46 describes the judgment on Egypt and Pharaoh Necho through King Nebuchadnezzar (verse 2), but it is clearly a dual prophecy, as in verse 10, reference is made particularly to the day of the LORD.
We read in verses 9 and 10:
“Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots! And let the mighty men come forth; The Ethiopians and the LIBYANS who handle the shield, And the Lydians who handle and bend the bow. For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, A day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself on His adversaries. The sword shall devour; It shall be satisfied and made drunk with their blood; for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice In the north country by the river Euphrates.”
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains that historically, all these nations were allies and part of the Egyptian army. He states:
“Go up, advance, ye horses; and drive furiously, ye chariots; and let the mighty men go forth. They march out of Egypt, arranged in three divisions, cavalry, chariots, and infantry, to begin the campaign. The armies of Egypt were composed chiefly of mercenaries. Cush [Ethiopia] and Phut, the Libyans of Mauritania, supplied the heavy-armed soldiers… and Ludim, the Hamite Lydians of North Africa… a weaker race, served as light-armed troops. They march forth in haughty confidence, but that day, the day to which they are looking forward in proud hope of victory, is Yahweh’s day, a day on which they will be the victims sacrificed in His honor.”
That this prophecy clearly relates (as well) to end-time events, has also been recognized by The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament. It states:
“This formidable army shall perish; for the day of the battle is the day of the Lord of hosts, on which He will take vengeance upon His enemies. Among these enemies are the Egyptians [but also the Libyans, see above], who have grievously sinned against Israel, the people of the Lord, not merely of late…”
In ancient times, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought against and conquered Egypt and her allies, including Libya. Since this prophecy is dual and refers particularly to the day of the Lord, it is reasonable to conclude that a modern king of a modern Babylon will be fighting against Egypt and her allies. As we will see, it is indeed the beast or the king of the North–the leader over a modern Babylonian system–who will fulfill that future role.
The mercenary nature of some Libyans can also be seen in a passage in the book of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 27, mystical Tyre is described. This passage does not deal mainly with the ancient city of Tyre, but with the modern Babylonian system, which is also spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18, and the parallels in these two passages between “Tyre” and “Babylon” are unmistakable.
Ezekiel 27:10 tells us that “Persia (modern Iran), Lydia and Libya Were in your army [the military apparatus of modern Babylon] as men of war; they hung shield and helmet in you; they gave splendor to you.”
Libyan mercenaries are also mentioned in the third chapter of the book of Nahum, which relates to the destruction of ancient Nineveh. The book of Nahum might have dual application as well, and refer to the destruction of the capitol of modern Assyria.
In Nahum 3:18-19 we read that the shepherds of the king of Assyria slumber; that his nobles rest in peace; that the people are scattered on the mountains; that no one gathers them; and that the people will rejoice when they hear of the continuing demise of the king of Assyria—who is, in modern terminology, the future leader of Germany, or the beast of the book of Revelation.
In Nahum 3:9, we read that mercenaries from Libya had at one time supported Nineveh: “Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength; And it was boundless; Put (Libya) and Lubim (perhaps a part of Libya) were your helpers. Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity.”
As we explained in our Q&A on Egypt, the modern king of Assyria will turn against Egypt and the nations allied with her, including Libya, and enslave them. However, the Bible shows that after ten European nations under modern Assyria (“the Babylonian system”) will have subdued and conquered many nations, they themselves will be defeated in war by the modern Medes (Compare Isaiah 13:17, describing the destruction of modern “Babylon” through the hand of the modern “Medes” or Russians and Ukrainians. Verses 6, 9 and 13 designate the timing as occurring during the “day of the LORD.” Compare also Isaiah 21:2 and Jeremiah 51:11, 27-29).
A future “alliance” or hostile confrontation between Europe (“Babylon” under Assyrian leadership) and LIBYA is also indicated in Daniel 11:43, stating that when the king of the North (verse 40—the beast or the modern King Jareb of Assyria) will enter the Glorious Land and overthrow many countries, including Egypt, “the LIBYANS and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.” It is not entirely clear what this passage means.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes:
“The proper sense of the Hebrew would be, that they accompanied him; that they marched with him or followed him; and the phrase would be applicable either to those who were allies, or who were led captive…”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible agrees, saying:
“And the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps; at his command and pleasure; shall follow him, being taken captive, or go where he orders them; that is, in all things shall be obedient to him.”
Since Libya will be allied with Egypt—and at that time apparently against Assyria (see our Q&A on Egypt)–and since Egypt will be overthrown by Assyria, it appears likely that Libyans will also be overthrown and become captives of the Assyrians. This conclusion would also be supported by the fact that anciently, King Nebuchadnezzar fought against Egypt and Libya, and that this historic event might have prophetic application. In any event, the Libyans will be subject to modern Assyria, either because of volition or of compulsion.
But it appears that this situation will have changed when the modern Medes or Russians invade Europe, just BEFORE Christ’s return. And shortly AFTER Christ’s return, we read that a mighty Far Eastern army (under Russian and Chinese leadership) will try to invade the modern houses of Judah (the modern Jews) and of Israel (being situated today mainly in the USA and Great Britain, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand). By that time, all the Israelites and Jews, who will have survived the Great Tribulation, will have been brought back to live in the Promised Land.
In regard to the future attempt by that great Far Eastern army to invade and conquer the Promised Land, Ezekiel 38:5 states expressly that “Persia, Ethiopia and LIBYA are with them.” (For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
In conclusion, a somewhat friendly relationship between Libya and Germany (when Libyan mercenaries serve in a European army under German leadership) will gradually deteriorate, while an alliance between Libya and other Middle Eastern nations, including Egypt and Ethiopia, against Germany and Europe will develop. Europe will invade the Middle East militarily and conquer Egypt, and Libyans and Ethiopians will be at Europe’s step. But then, Europe and Germany will be invaded by the modern Medes, and Libya will develop a very close relationship with Russia and China, which will be hostile towards the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link