Zechariah 13 – Israel Chastened & The Tatars after Joseph Stalin

I want to close this study on the Mongols with a very intelligent and ruthless fan of Genghis Khan…

Zechariah 13
Israel Chastened

1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

A 3,000-year-old defensive wall possibly built by King Solomon has been unearthed in Jerusalem, according to the Israeli archaeologist who led the excavation. The discovery appears to validate a Bible passage, she says.

The tenth-century B.C. wall is 230 feet (70 meters) long and about 6 meters (20 feet) tall. It stands along what was then the edge of Jerusalem—between the Temple Mount, still Jerusalem’s paramount landmark, and the ancient City of David, today a modern-day Arab neighborhood called Silwan.

2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:

13:4-6 – because of the stern measures just mentioned, a false prophet will be reluctant to identify himself as such and will be evasive in his responses to interrogation.  To help conceal his true identity, he will not wear a “rough garment’, such as Elijah wore. 

Instead, to avoid the death penalty he’ll deny being a prophet and will claim to have been a farmer since his youth.  And if a suspicious person notices marks on his body and inquires about them he’ll claim he received them in a scuffle with friends (or perhaps as discipline from his parents during childhood).

Apparently the accuser suspects that the false prophet’s wounds were self-inflicted to arouse his prophetic ecstasy in idolatrous rites.

This photograph shows the ruins from ancient Jerusalem. The foundation of a wall from these ruins dates back to ca 1800 B.C. Jerusalem has likely been occupied for over 4,000 years, and these ruins attest to the antiquity of Zion. David captured the city, which would have included these ruins, around 1000 B.C.

5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

The Tatars after Joseph Stalin

In 1944, on the orders of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the entire population of Tatars on the Crimean Peninsula was rounded up and sent to the deserts of Soviet Central Asia. Nearly 70 years after that wartime atrocity, the Tatar population is still working to reassert itself in its homeland.

In the extreme southern part of Ukraine the Crimean peninsula juts into the Black Sea. It is almost surrounded by water because the Perekop Isthmus that joins it to the mainland is only 5 miles (8 kilometers) wide. From the main peninsula the narrow Kerch’ peninsula stretches eastward.

Eighty-two-year-old Mullah Ziyatdin was just 12 when he and his family were rousted in the middle of the night, ordered to gather a few belongings and shoved into freight cars for a nightmarish three-week journey. The freight-car doors were opened every few days.

“When we’d get to a station, they would dump the bodies of people who had died along the way, he recalls.

The conditions were equally brutal when the train journey ended.

“When we got there, there wasn’t enough food. Many people died — of heat, cold, hunger, disease,” Ziyatdin recalls. “Of 20 families with us, only four survived.

Today, the mullah prays at a new two-story mosque in the farming village of Chistopolye, near the eastern end of Crimea.

Accused Of Collaboration

The Crimean Peninsula is an area about the size of Massachusetts, jutting into the Black Sea. It’s almost an island, only thinly connected to the mainland. 

Over the centuries, it’s been part of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and now Ukraine, but before that, it belonged to the Crimean Tatars, descendants of the golden horde of Genghis Khan.

Mullah Ziyatdin, 82, was 12 when his family was forced to board freight cars that took them to the deserts of Uzbekistan.

Stalin accused the Tatars of collaborating with the Nazis who occupied the Crimean Peninsula for nearly three years. This, despite the fact that tens of thousands of Tatar men served in the Soviet Army, fighting the Germans.

When Stalin’s secret-police troops rounded up Tatars in 1944, their population consisted of nearly 200,000 women, children and old people.

Najiye Batalova was 6 when her family was deported. She has worked most of her life as a journalist and historian of the event. In all, she says, about 46 percent of the exiles died from the harsh conditions. Many survivors suffered what amounted to slave labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.

The Crimean Tatars weren’t the only people subject to mass deportations under Stalin’s rule. Other nationalities, including Chechens, Ingush and others from the Black Sea and North Caucasus region were also deported.

Return To Crimea

It wasn’t until after Stalin’s death in 1953 that the Soviet government withdrew the charge of treason against the Tatar people, freeing them from the labor camps.

Some nationalities, such as the Chechens, were allowed to return to their regions in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the Crimean Tatars were finally able to start coming home.

Batalova’s family settled in the Crimean port city of Kerch. Now 74, she leads the way through a Tatar settlement, a jumble of small lots and partly finished houses on the outskirts of the city.

Residents say the city gave them land on which to build houses, but in more than 20 years, has never provided basic services, such as roads or running water. Still, an estimated 250,000 Tatars have now returned to Crimea, and they’re organizing to claim what they see as their rights.

Kerch is a city on the Kerch Peninsula of eastern Crimea, an important industrial, transport and tourist centre of Ukraine. Kerch was founded 2600 years ago, is considered one of the most ancient cities in Ukraine.

At the World Congress of Crimean Tatars in the regional capital, Simferopol, hundreds of delegates gather to talk about a political agenda. It’s indicative of the Tatars’ new status that the session begins with the playing of the Ukrainian national anthem, followed by the Tatar anthem.

Asan Egizov, a 26-year-old political activist, says the Tatars’ loyalty is firmly with Ukraine, of which Crimea is now a part, but they want changes on the local level.

Egizov, a first-time delegate to the Congress, says the main problem is that the Ukrainian government considers the Tatars to be a national minority “but we are not a national minority. We are the indigenous people from here. We are the owners of the Crimean Peninsula.”

The idea is common among young Tatars like Egizov, who was a child when his parents returned. He wants nothing less than a full restoration of Tatar culture in Crimea, including use of Tatar as the language of official business.

Given that Tatars only make up about 15 percent of a population that is overwhelmingly composed of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, that could take a long time.

But Egizov points out that the Tatars have a significantly higher birthrate than that of most other Ukrainians, and says that in another generation, they could have both demographic and political clout. 

…Timur the Lame.