Tuesday, December 12

Ezekiel's War

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The prophet Ezekiel writes about a coming war that occurs after the nation of Israel is reborn. This is found in Ezekiel chapters 38-39, of which we will discuss now. Shortly after the death, burial, and rising of Christ the Jews have began to suffer terribly. They were ruled by Rome in Christ’s day but rebelled in A.D. 70 and 250,000 were killed. They rebelled again in A.D. 135 and again Rome smashed them killing even more and scattering them throughout the empire. Since then they have been bitterly persecuted. Forcibly expelled from England in 1290 and from France 1306. In 1298 more than 100,000 were killed in Europe. From 1648 to 1658 some 400,000 were massacred. From 1939-45 Hitler’s Nazis killed more than 5 million. In its history Egyptian Pharaohs, Assyrian Kings, Babylonian rulers, Persian satraps, Greek Hellenists, Roman Caesars, Holy Roman Emperors, Roman Catholic Pontiffs, Medieval monarchs, Christian Crusaders, Spanish Inquisitors, Nazi dictators, Communist commissars, Arab sheiks and United Nation delegates have all turned against the Jew yet they still survive. The Jewish people of Israel collectively declare they will never again let themselves be enslaved within regimes that want them erased from the earth. Never again will they allow the genocide they have suffered through the centuries.

The first reason God gives for the invasion in Ezekiel 38-39 is a desire by the coalition to cover the Jewish land and wipe them off from the face of the earth. Urged on by a hatred of the Jewish people they will seek to destroy them and the nation of Israel.  This is the stated goal today of almost every Islamic nation in the Middle East. The Muslim nations that are not currently in a declared state of war with Israel would certainly be glad to see Israel eliminated if presented with a willing leader, and an opportunity to rid the Middle East of Islam’s archenemy. God tells us that they also come to seize plunder and to capture great spoil. Many verses in the Quran advocated plundering for the benefit of Islam and there are several instances of this war tactic throughout the history of Muhammad’s life. In fact, it is a common theme in his teachings. This invasion of Israel and attack on the Jewish people will be a Jihad. But it will not end in a good fashion for the invaders. 

Many times throughout Old Testament history have Satanically inspired alliances sought to destroy Israel, but in vain. Psalms 83:1-16. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah. Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. So the attack that will come in the latter days is nothing new. We read that the attack is in the latter years (Ezekiel 38:8). Latter days is defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as: last, hindermost, extreme part, or end time. 

Ezekiel 38:1-3 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. We must first define five terms found in the verses above: 1. Gog 2. Magog 3. Chief Prince 4. Meshech 5. Tubal. God said to Ezekiel, “Set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog.” 1. Who is Gog?, “Gog” comes from the Hebrew phrase “nesi rosh,” or “leader.” The Brown, Driver, and Briggs lexicon of the Hebrew language states “Rosh” is also the “proper name of a people … today’s Russia.” But some scholars do not agree with that conclusion. On most of the continent, Russia’s roots are derived from Slavic and Finish ancestry. But it is different in Southern Russia. The Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have Arabic ancestry. Anciently, the entire region was called Scythia. So Scythia is Gog, the land of Magog. 2. Who is Magog? Josephus, the ancient Hebrew historian, referred to Magog, “whom the Greeks call Scythia.” Ancient Scythia was found in what is now southern Russia. Let us restate the verse, using the names of modern nations instead of Gog and Magog. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against the region of Southern Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan the “chief prince” of Meshech and Tubal. 3. Who is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal? This term “chief prince,” refers to the demon principality of that region. Paul said that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” (Ephesians 6:12). Gog, the land of Magog (Russia) is called the “chief prince” of Meshech and Tubal. 4. Who is Meshech? Who is Tubal?, “Meshech” and “Tubal” were sons of Japheth whose descendants settled near the Black Sea, which is now in modern Russia., All of my life, I have heard that “Meshech” referred to what is now the city of Moscow, and that “Tubal” referred to the Russian city of Tobolsky on the Tobal (Tubal) River, but that proved to be incorrect, and I no longer believe it. Here is why. Numerous historical sources prove that both Meshech and Tubal were parts of Scythia (Southern Russia). Meshech is associated with the Meskhiti mountain range and the Meskhi tribes. That immediate area is now Tbilisi, the Capital of Georgia. Many Georgians claim to be descendants of Meshech. (See the map below.), So what does that mean?, Gog and Magog, Meshech and Tubal are not in Russia proper. The area is now known as Georgia and Armenia. We all know that Russian military forces are presently occupying two Georgian provinces: South Ossetia and Abkhazia. South Ossetia declared it’s independence from Georgia and is allied with Russia, although Western nations do not recognize their independence. Russia and Georgia are not predominately Muslim, but Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazia does demonstrates Russia’s expansionist intentions into that region. We have also seen Russia’s diligent efforts to provide armaments to the Muslim states in this region, especially Syria and Iran. Slowly but surely, Russia is moving southward toward the Middle East, and it is coming down between the Black Ses and the Caspian Sea. In Ezekiel’s words, Magog (Russia), the “chief prince” of Meshech and Tubal (Georgia) will attack Israel. All the other countries mentioned in these verses are Muslim nations. Ancient Persia is Modern Iran. Ethiopia and Libya are still in the same place. In ancient times, Gomer was the region that is now western Turkey. Togarmah was the region that is now eastern Turkey and portions of Armenia. Ancient scholars like Josephus and Hippolytus of Rome wrote that Meshech and Tubal were in the region north of the Black Sea, from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on the east to Bulgaria and Romania in the west. Iran, Syria, Turkey, even Ethiopia, are all predominantly Muslim fundamentalists and often radical Muslim at that. Quite obviously, this invasion of Israel is going to be carried out by Communists and Muslims. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

Ezekiel 38:10-13 Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? 1. Who is Sheba and Dedan? Dedan was anciently in Northwest Arabia. Sheba and Dedan could be a reference to the entire country of Saudi Arabia, or it could refer to a coalition of those countries on the Arabian Peninsula. 2. Who is Tarshish and the young lions? I believe that Tarshish and “the young lions” thereof refers to the British Isles and the U.S.A. Here’s why: First of all, Tarshish is an ambiguous reference. No one knows exactly where ancient Tarshish was. Many scholars agree that is was a far off destination through the Mediterranean Sea. The ships of Tarshish brought gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks according to 2 Chronicles 9:21. We don’t know if Tarshish was the source or destination of those ships. It sounds as though merchant vessels were bringing back this exotic merchandise for points afar. Most Bible scholars accept the notion that Tarshish was in the direction of Cyprus and Spain. Some suspect there might have been a town on the coast of Spain from which these ships came. Another notion worth considering is that these ships came from the British Isles, since the British Isles are around the coast of Spain to the North. Psalm 72:10, “The kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents:” Lebanon’s port of Tyre (North of Israel) was a receiving port for the ships of Tarshish (Isaiah 23:1), discounting the possibility that they came from a southern destination. Several references link Tarshish with “the isles” (Psalm 72:10, Isaiah 60:9, 66:19). In addition, the distance between Israel and the British Isles could explain why no one in Bible days actually knew where it was. There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence in favor of this interpretation, and absolutely no hard evidence to prove it wrong. Secondly, the “young lions of Tarshish” adds an interesting twist. Isaiah 5:29 speaks of God bringing enemies from around the world against rebellious Israel, “Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar , and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. The young lions came from “the nations from far and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth,” (verse 26). Jeremiah 2:14-16 says, “Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.” Here Noph and Tahapanes are both cities of Egypt. Are they the young lions? In the book of Nahum, references are made to Nineveh and her young lions. Ezekiel himself even refers to Israel’s young lions (chapter 19). The overall conclusion seems to be that young lions refers to the youth or offspring of any people or nation. Who would be the offspring of the British Isles? No better answer seems available than the United States. If these arguments have any merit, (and I think they have far more merit than any other prospects), then Tarshish and her young lions is Britain and the United States. If not, then who else could Tarshish be? Who else in world politics could play this role, if not Britain? None that I can think of. Furthermore, we must not dismiss this prophecy as unknowable. Why would God give us such a crucial prophecy if there is no possible interpretation? With these keys, however, verse 13 paraphrased are the following words. “Saudi Arabia, along with Britain and the U.S. will call Russia and her allies to give account for their motives.” Now we have an extremely interesting scenario, because Saudi Arabia has already been in a coalition with Britain and the United States against its own Arab and Muslim neighbors (namely, in the Gulf War of 1990-91). Saudi Arabia is still very much in cahoots with the American military. The royals of Saudi Arabia mostly side with the West out of an interest in self preservation, and at times oppose us behind the scenes, but they would most probably put on a show of opposition to radical Islam in order to maintain the support of western governments. Saudi Arabia, along with Britain and the United States are almost certain to be the only practical voices to stand up to a Russian-Muslim aggression in the Middle East. If this is truly the case, then Ezekiel’s prophecy is amazingly pointing to a confrontation that is developing right before our own eyes. In reality, both sides of this great war are likely to involve Muslims. 

Ezekiel 38:14-23 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. God says that when this Russian coalition aggression begins, He is going to shake everything in Israel, from the seas to the heavens, creatures and mankind. Every man on earth will tremble, and the land itself will experience dramatic earthquakes. So why attack little Israel, and war with the U.S. or Saudi Arabia, along with Britain? One can only speculate about the reasons Russia might have for this historic aggression, but here is possible two reasons. 1. Russia is allied with Tehran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Iran is a client state of Russia. Many political and economic forces are at work. 2. Perhaps the Palestinian Authority will plead for Russian assistance in defending a newly formed Palestinian State against Israel, and the Russian-Muslim coalition will answer the call. Since the Arab world is rich with oil reserves, Russia has enormous incentives for siding with Arabs and not with the Jews. Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Ezekiel 39:1-5 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. We read that 80% of the Russian coalition will be destroyed.

Ezekiel 39:6-16 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog. And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land. This world war (III) between the Russian-Muslim coalition and British-American-Saudi coalition will end when God Himself intervenes. The Russian coalition casualties will be buried in Israel. God says that Israel will take a spoil of all the military equipment left behind from the defeated Russian coalition armies. Ezekiel 39:9 begins the description of the aftermath. It’s gruesome but also amazing in its detail when looked at in comparison to today. Those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up both the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. This statement is remarkable for two reasons. First is the nature of the weapons. In the time that Ezekiel wrote this, burning weapons made perfect sense because they were made of wood. What of today’s weapons however? How do you burn warplanes and other metals? Amazingly, Russia has been using Lignostone in the production of its weapons. Lignostone “is a special kind of wood used for ‘coke breakers.’ It’s stronger than steel, is very elastic… and it burns better than coal.” The second or most important part of this passage is the fact that it will take seven years to burn all the weapons. The tribulation will be seven years, so this gives us some sort of timeline with which to place this event. This event would either have to come at the very beginning of the tribulation or before to allow seven full years. While it is purely speculation on my part, I believe that this is the final straw that leaves everyone crying out for peace and the perfect setting for the Antichrist to step in and give it to the nations.

Ezekiel 39:19-29 “And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD. ” The war dead, including high ranking officers from this Russian invasion will leave behind a huge feast for the vultures and beasts of the field.

Joel 3:16,19-20. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. Israel has two major world wars on it’s horizon, and the bible refers to this as the “time of Jacob’s trouble”. Israel’s back will be pushed to the wall, and its resolve and endurance to the breaking point. But God will save His People out of this time of calamity, and He will fight for them.

Finally, a short summary of the world-wide repercussions which occur from this event or “Ezekiel’s War.”

1. Severe destruction in other places by other serious earthquakes. (Ezekiel 39:6)

2. Great shock, shame, and loss for all the nations that have been involved.

3. Total economic collapse for every nation, so that the whole world economy is affected, as the world has become more inter-dependant over recent years.

4. This will result in anarchy (killing, starvation, and looting) and so much panic and disorder that many governments will be powerless to act. This will be a critical time for the governments of the World. All nations signed their sovereignty over to the UNO in 2000 for such a time of this, ‘a world wide threat’.

5. This will open the way for the false-messiah/Antichrist (Assyrian) to step forward to offer himself as ‘the great saviour’ and needed Leader of the world. Backed by many religious supporters, he will quickly gain world supremacy. Daniel called him the “King of the North.” In Daniel’s days, it was the region of the old Assyrian Empire. Today, it includes the countries of modern Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Several Bible prophecies reveal that Jesus Christ will meet and defeat “the Assyrian” on the mountains of Jerusalem during the battle of Armageddon.

6. Christians will have a brief window of opportunity to witness to the world and especially to Israel, maybe a year. We also know from Ezekiel that God will use the War of Gog and Magog to display his glory to all nations and to pour out his Holy Spirit, particularly on the nation of Israel. As a result of the entire world seeing God defend Israel from the onslaught of the Russian-Iranian coalition, a dramatic spiritual awakening will occur around the globe. It would certainly be consistent with God’s heart for humanity that he would cause this cataclysmic moment to happen before (the possible event of the catching away of the bride – in order to shake people out of their spiritual apathy and/or rebellion, giving them at least one more chance to receive Christ as their Savior) the terrible events of the Tribulation occur.

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