Friday, May 22, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Bring Out Your Dead

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What massive efforts are taken to clean up the dead from the Gog and Magog War?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our ongoing study of the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38-39.

God Retaliates

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Bring Out Your Dead

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 39:11-16 continues explaining the aftermath of the Gog and Magog War. It's not just the weapons that were left behind by the invaders being destroyed, but a massive amount of dead people are left lying around as well. God wipes out the entire invading army, though we do read in Joel a verse that indicates that maybe a sixth of the army does escape and they go to the furthest northern regions, which would be Siberia. So, some of the invaders escape, but overall most of this massive coalition army will have died.

Israel cannot have dead bodies lying all over the place. So, we get to verse 11, "It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel." From that verse we know the leader of this invasion, Gog, dies in Israel as well.

"'The valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,' says the Lord God. 'They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land.'"

That's very descriptive of the cleanup that's going on, isn't it?

For the Jewish people to have dead bodies around them it is to be ceremonial unclean. So, for seven months Israel is considered ceremonially unclean.

All of the people, and I mean all of them, go out and start burying bodies. They bury them en mass. They set up a valley as a mass grave. The area hasn't been located because it hasn't yet been named yet, but it is a generally believed that the valley lies around the Dead Sea area. They will name it the Valley of Hamon Gog, in other words, the valley where Gog is buried. Hamon Gog can also be translated as the multitude of Gog. In that valley, there they will be buried.

There will also be search parties assigned as their job to go out and look for bones, and when found they will send the remains down to Hamon Gog for burial. Because there would be so many bones to bury, the Jews actually build a city next to the valley in order to facilitate this work. It's kind of like the old gold rush towns when everyone was running out to California. Literally a town would grow up overnight because all of a sudden all that industry would be there looking for gold. Similarly, the town of Hamonah will be set up because there will be so many people finding the dead and burying their bones and dividing up the weapons for fuel. They will have to create an entire city to handle all of the cleanup, and that will be the town of Hamonah. When verse 11 says the burial place will be by the sea, it means by the Dead Sea.

This will be a tremendous cleanup effort, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Europe spent the decades after World War I and II cleaning up the dead that were littering the battlefields. Israel will have to do the same.

Vic Batista: Ezekiel talks about the Jews employing people. So, this cleanup is going to be a huge thing, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, this will be really massive in scale, because Israel's government will have to actually hire people to cleanse the land. Once the entire population has pretty much moved the dead out, then Israel will hire people to take the piles of dead bones lying around and clean the land up in order to purify the country. It will take seven months just to do all of that.

Vic Batista: Look at World I and II and what massive cleanups had to happen to clear up the resulting mess. In our day in 2005, the United States had Hurricanes Katrina come through. There have been quite a number of hurricanes and flooding across the states as see on television. The cleanup process that it takes for just one of these catastrophes is astounding in scope. And yet, here we are in Ezekiel talking about a cleanup that will happen on even a greater scale, right?

Nathan Jones: The scenario would be like if all the northern states decided to come down and beat up on your city of Miami, Vic, and then God stepped in and He destroys those armies. All over Florida there would be weapons, there would be fuel, and there would be dead people lying around. The dead people can't move themselves, so everyone is going to have to go out and lend a hand. They are going to have to gather up the dead people. Then the state of Florida will come out and assign people to pick up the dead bones and put them in a burial place, a giant mass grave. After the Gog and Magog War, the mass gave be the Valley of Hamon Gog and they will have to set up a city to deal with the processing, and that is Hamonah.

Vic Batista: Of course, we are bringing this scenario into our era so that folks can see how this might take place. Although this prophecy was written over 2,000 years ago, we know absolutely what this scenario will look like. This will be the cleanup of the Millennia! The people will have to clean up the area so that life can continue.

Bird Food

Vic Batista: After this war, reading the following verses in Ezekiel 39:17-20, how does this continue to unfold?

Nathan Jones: Verse 17 begins a sort of poem.

"And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, 'Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field. Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you, A great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, That you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, And drink blood till you are drunk, At My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table With horses and riders, With mighty men And with all the men of war,' says the Lord God."

That poem calls the carrion birds of the area down to the battlefield. So, it's not just the Jews who are picking up the dead bodies and throwing them away, but the vultures are picking the bones clean. This scene reminds me of an old western where you see a dead cowboy and the buzzards are circling around. Here, too, the buzzards are circling around. God is saying this is a huge sacrificial meal and all the birds are invited to the feast. The birds are actually a sign of humiliation, for here this mighty Gog, ruler of Russia, who came down with all these nations by the time God is done with him has turned Gog into bird food.

Vic Batista: Notice during the time of the Tribulation other similar events with more corpses that will be laying around. Birds are going to come and feast on them as well.

Nathan Jones: When we look down to the end of the Tribulation, which is culminated by the Battle of Armageddon, there we read the same thing. When Jesus returns there will be a similar battle to the Gog and Magog War, but this time all the nations of the world will be against Israel at Armageddon. Jesus will destroy all of them and the birds will be there feasting again.

In the nineteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at the restoration of all Jews back to Israel.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Burning Weapons

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How does burning weapons point to the timing of the Gog and Magog War?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our ongoing study of the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38-39.

God Retaliates

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Burning Weapons

Vic Batista: Let's continue on with Ezekiel 39:9-10?

Nathan Jones: That verse gives us more detail about the aftermath of this war. Bear in mind that we have this giant coalition of nations that come down to plunder and destroy Israel. God steps in and He destroys these armies and their nations. Now we get into the aftermath of what happens.

"'Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years. They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them,' says the Lord God."

Vic Batista: So, as we get into this next portion of Scripture about the burning of the weapons, we know that there's going to take a certain amount of time to clean up after this invasion.

Nathan Jones: In this war, we have an army of gargantuan size that has attacked Israel. This army is greater in size than the World War II Nazis marching across Europe. This is an army that's come against Israel from all directions. It's so massive, made up of the most powerful nations in the Middle East and including Russia. They have come to plunder and destroy Israel. So, you can imagine that they are carrying a tremendous amount of armament.

Ezekiel is a guy from the BC's, so he's equating weapons from his time period like arrows, shields, javelins and spears. He doesn't understand what a tank is, a jet is, a gun is. He's listing weapons that he would understand.

When the Lord destroys those armies, all their weapons are left there sitting on Israel's mountains, because this invasion is where it happens. Ezekiel says that for seven years Israel will go out they will take those weapons. Maybe they will drain the tanks of their fuel and burn the gas. Maybe some of the weapons will be wooden and they will be burned. Some have even proposed that Russian tanks are made of lignostone which is a burnable material.

What the Israelis will be doing is using all this fuel and weaponry for what? We don't know. What we do know is that the Lord says that Israel will be plundering their enemies who had come to plunder them. It takes seven whole years to burn through all that fuel and all those weapons that had been left on the battlefield.

Burning Points to Timing

Vic Batista: Because it takes seven years to burn these weapons, that's why we believe that these events transpire before the Tribulation, correct?

Nathan Jones: I think there's a lot of good arguments for why this would happen just before or at the very beginning of the Tribulation. One of the main arguments for this timing is, like you said, the seven years it takes to burn the weapons. The Tribulation is seven years in length.

Another result of this war is that the world will see Israel becoming a prime nation in world affairs. Russia and Islam are no longer world threats, so the whole political structure of the world changes. It will be a perfect time for the Antichrist to come in and make a treaty with Israel to protect him as he goes off and conquers the rest of the world. Then mid-way through the Tribulation, we are told that he turns his attentions back on Israel.

Concerning the timing of the Gog and Magog War, there are two main trains of thought. One is that this war happens at just the beginning of the Tribulation, hence the seven years to burn the fuel.

Two is there are others who argue at the midpoint of the Tribulation the Antichrist comes in and he forces many of the Jews to flee down into Jordan and the Petra area. If you've ever seen the third Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones was coming out of a building where the knight lived. That was Petra. That is supposedly where the Lord will keep the Jews protected during the remaining 3.5 years of the Tribulation. So, some say the Jews are not going to carry all this weaponry and fuel with them, so therefore this event has to happen 3.5 years before the Tribulation begins, giving the Tribulation 3.5 years more years before the Antichrist kicks the Jews out of their country. That is one views, and that's actually the view our founder, Dr. David Reagan, holds. The Gog and Magog war therefore could happen 3.5 years before the Tribulation, but definitely after the Rapture.

Personally, I don't see why the Jews couldn't carry the weapons and fuel with them to their hideout. I could see them using the full seven years of the Tribulation to burn the fuel. Having 3.5 years between the Rapture and the Tribulation while the Lord's restraining influence has been taken off this earth allowing the people to go wild and release their passions and destroy everything, I don't know if the earth could survive 3.5 years before the Tribulation in that condition. So, I tend to think that this war happens at just the beginning or just before the Tribulation begins.

Vic Batista: There are indeed certain nuances that point to a specific timing. We're not 100% of the timing, but the main point is that we do know the Church will not be here to endure the Gog and Magog War, and that can bring us some comfort. We do our best to bring the Scriptures meaning, for you have to read it in its context. When you do that, a pre-Tribulation timing kind of makes more sense.

Nathan Jones: Exactly. Bible prophecy is like a 100 piece puzzle and the Lord has given us 75 pieces. We have to imagine what the final picture is going to look like because some pieces for now are missing. We can kind of fill in what the 25 other pieces are while we wait for them to be given to us by prophetic events happening. When they do occur, we can then plug them into our puzzle and see. For now, there are going to be some disagreements on the minor details, such as the timings of when these events take place.

What we can agree on is when Ezekiel 38 places this invasion in the Latter Days, or the Last Days. These general timing makers always revolve around the Tribulation, so we can know when it is happening — the Tribulation. We also know God will shift His focus from the Church onto Israel, and that too is Tribulation related. We can therefore be sure that this event is Tribulation related. When exactly in relation to the Tribulation, and how many years or months or days beforehand, the Bible doesn't tell us.

Vic Batista: That is why I like to encourage people to become good Bible students. Study Bible prophecy utilizing so many of the study materials out there. Get better acquainted with the whole big picture of Bible prophecy and the Bible. See how exactly events are going to line up. Sure, there are some prophecies that we are not 100% sure about, so ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Scriptures to us. One of the things we don't want to be as Christians is divided, right?

Nathan Jones: Perfectly said! You hit it dead on. Bible prophecy is secondary doctrine. There's no reason to divide the brethren over timings and whatnot. Sure, if we are talking primary doctrines, like Jesus was born of a virgin, He died and He suffered for our sins, He is both man and God, the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, the Resurrection happened, and salvation is through Christ alone — those are primary doctrines. Those are worth fighting for. But, what time the Gog and Magog War happens, well that's up for debate. I'm not going to stop talking to you if you think differently. That'd be crazy!

In the eighteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at the massive efforts Ezekiel says will be taken to clean up the dead.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Indicating the Rapture

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How does the Gog and Magog War indicate the timing of the Rapture?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our ongoing study of the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38-39.

God Retaliates

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Indicating the Rapture

Vic Batista: Nathan, you made a very good point about the focus being moved away from the Church and instead put on Israel. The reason for that change is because we don't believe that the Church is going to be here for these events.

Nathan Jones: Exactly! The Rapture of the Church, revealed in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and John 4, all talk about how the Church (those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior) will be taken off this earth before God's wrath comes. When we see such a shift from God's focus of evangelism through the Church to His direct confrontation with the enemies of Israel, and using Israel as a conduit for His testimony again, we know that the shift we're seeing today will have finally taken place. The Gog and Magog War indicates that the Rapture of the Church happens before this battle happens.

Vic Batista: Excellent point! People should pay attention to the fact that the Church, meaning believers in Jesus Christ, are not going to live through any part of the Tribulation, right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Exactly true, we are promised throughout the Bible, especially in Revelation 3:10 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and other verses, that we are not destined for the wrath of God. The wrath of God is for the Tribulation. The Tribulation is kind of like the Flood, for it's God's judgment upon Man for their sins. It also serves to get Israel to turn their hearts back to Him. And, it is also serves so that Jesus Christ can defeat evil and set up His Kingdom on earth. We know then that the Tribulation is not meant for the Church. We are promised to be taken off this world, and that is where we get the term "Rapture" — to be caught up, to be snatched up, as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says — and be removed from this earth before the horrors of the Tribulation come. I believe the Gog and Magog War qualifies for that rescue as well.

Our Hope Is Found

Vic Batista: Of course, our hope is found in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone. That's our prayer for anyone. Our prayer is that people would turn to the Lord now while there is still time. Nathan, maybe you can speak to that person who hasn't give themselves to the Lord. What would you say to that person right now?

Nathan Jones: Look at the signs of the times. We are living at the pinnacle of the end of the Church Age. We are finally getting to the climax, the end of the movie, and it's the big scene. Jesus is coming back. And so, you have to ask yourself, is your heart ready? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?

Have you prayed in your heart, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior?"

God promises to do just that. He promises to forgive you of your sins, because the sins are now placed on Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the penalty for you. He also promises to take away your guilt, give you a while new life, and rescue you from both the Tribulation that is coming and from eternal judgment in Hell.

Vic Batista: That is the Good News. That's why we call this the Good News, because Jesus Christ came and died and paid for your sins. He has made a way to escape His judgment and this wrath to come through His Son's death and resurrection.

Deluded Saints

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 39:7 again declares, "So I will make my holy Name known in the midst of My people Israel." God is also not through with Israel, right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Not at all. I watched a little bit of Gary Burge on Phil Vischer from his Veggie Tales podcast. Burge just drives me insane. He's a Christian Palestinian, meaning he believes that God has wiped His hands of the Jews and there's no need for them. Basically Burge believes the Jews need to shut down their country and leave those "poor Palestinians" alone. That's so messed up theologically.

You don't take a nation that hasn't existed for 1,900 years, bring it back, make it the center of the world's attention just like Zechariah 12-14 prophesied, and then declare it's all a historical aberration. Israel's not just some nation. Have we heard of the likes of the Hittites or the Mayans ever rebuilding again? No! But we have the Israel of the Bible becoming a nation again.

God still has a purpose for the Jews. You'd have to be absolutely blind, just like Gary Burge, to not see the fact that God still has a purpose for Israel.

Vic Batista: If only people would recognize this truth and open their eyes, they could see the miracles that have taken place in 1948 and 1967 surrounding the creation and preservation of Israel. Israel is still a miracle today, as we're seeing hundreds of thousands of Jews returning back to their land, and that's all part of what the Bible had to prophesy about the future, a future here today.

In the seventeenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how the burning of the weapons points to a timing for this war.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Setting the Stage

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How does the Gog and Magog War set the stage for the Tribulation?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our ongoing study of the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38-39.

God Retaliates

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That the World May Know

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 39:6 reads, "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. And they shall know that I am the Lord." I love that verse! This is how the Lord responds to the invasion?

Nathan Jones: As Russia takes this incredibly large army, a coalition of many nations who are all bent on plundering and destroying Israel, they finally make it to Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces are one of the best armies in the world, but even it cannot stand up against the sheer numbers and power of this huge section of the world coming against them. And so, Israel is facing pretty much its demise.

Then God steps into the scene, not physically mind you, but His power can be felt. God personally destroys the armies with the typical Old Testament hailstone and fire and brimstone. The earth opens up from earthquakes and devours the invaders. Their armies panic and turn on each other, and they actually start killing one another. All this happens on the mountains of Israel.

Not only does God destroy those armies, but He then sends fire to rain down back on those nations that have attacked. Whatever that fire is, I don't know. If it's God's fire, or a reversal of missiles, or some kind of weapon or whatnot, we're not told. What we do know is that God obliterates most of Russia, Iran, Turkey and those other nations. He almost completely destroys them.

The result of this supernatural victory, and the purpose for why God is doing all this personally, is that the whole world shall know that, "I am the Lord."

A Change in Focus

Vic Batista: That is really the whole idea behind the Bible. Sometimes people don't understand why certain events happen, but God is trying to get people's attention. It seems today that everyone is so consumed with themselves and the minor events going on around them that they are not paying much mind to God, including the Jewish people, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, it's a sad state that we spend so much time focused on ourselves. There's really a satanic purpose in this, to get us sidetracked from what is really important in life. There are certainly things to worry about, of course. We have to pay bills, we eat, we live, our kids go to school, and we worry about our local politics. These are just some of the many different things that we have to deal with.

But, we need to understand that we are all part of a bigger picture. It's a picture where we are components of God's bigger plan. As we see these alliances of nations come together already in this day and age, we can know that the Lord has something really big coming up, and we need to be prepared for that.

Setting the Stage

Vic Batista: Absolutely! Ezekiel 39:7 really sums up what you just said. Verse 7 reads, "So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." Any more thoughts on that?

Nathan Jones: That's the purpose for why God is instigating all of this. Basically God is marching out and declaring, "World, I exist! I'm in charge. Don't mess with my people Israel."

Because of God's refocus back on Israel, I believe that the Gog and Magog War is a post-Rapture event. In other words, God's focus is now off of the Church. It's been on the Church for the last 2,000 years, but now God's refocusing on Israel. That God comes back in such a dramatic fashion, the whole world will know God is real.

The Jewish people in Israel today are supposedly 85% Secular Humanists. They don't give a thought about God. But, they will, for the whole nation Ezekiel says will give their hearts and minds over to God, though not necessarily to His Son, Jesus Christ, yet. That will happen at the end of the Tribulation. So, that's the purpose, that the world will know there is a God.

The Gog and Magog Wars perfectly sets up the Tribulation scenario, because we know that the Antichrist comes on the scene and makes a peace treaty with Israel. People historically have thought that treaty was to provide Israel peace, but I think it's made to protect the world from God. The Antichrist will be asking for a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, now that Israel will have become a super-state nation. The world will know that God is protecting Israel and will be afraid to touch her.

Another result of this war is that Islam will finally have been taken out of the picture. Russia has taken out of the picture. As a result, the whole geo-political schema of the world will be changed. It also grants the European Union the opportunity to rise to power, like Daniel 9 said would happen, for the Antichrist will rise out of Europe.

We wonder why the West is quiet during this war. It could be the Rapture of the Church will have caused a lot of problems for the West and they can't get involved, and maybe too Asia by this point.

The world will change dramatically because of this war. The purpose of the war will be known to the world — that the nations may know that God is in charge.

In the sixteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how this war helps indicate the potential timing of the Rapture.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Recapping the Nations and Motivations

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Why does God restate the players of the Gog and Magog War in Ezekiel 39?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will continue our ongoing study of the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38-39.

God Retaliates

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The Gog and Magog Nations

Vic Batista: We are living in exciting times, right, Nathan? These are not really times to be fearful, for as Christians these are exciting times.

Nathan Jones: No doubt. I used to while growing up as kid think we were living in such a dull time. Wouldn't it be cool to be living back with the Medieval knights or some other time period. Now I realize we are living in one of the most exciting time periods in all of human history, because we are the generation that is living when Israel has become a nation again. The Lord said in Matthew 24 that when Israel is a nation again, when the fig tree re-blossomed, that would be the generation that would see His return. That's us!

Vic Batista: That's right. And that is why I believe that we are living in such an exciting time. What a privilege and opportunity we have to be alive, for such a time as this. We are here to encourage people to recognize the opportunities that are right before you, so that you don't let them pass by.

We have making a journey through this incredible battle called the Gog and Magog War. We have been working through this topic, taking a verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter approached, because there is just so much information in Ezekiel 38-39.

Let's pick up in Ezekiel 39:1-6. Could you read those for us and lead us through this journey?

Nathan Jones: I'll give a tiny bit of background on Ezekiel 38-39 to catch us all up. These two chapters describe a future war. Of all the battles that are portrayed in the Bible, Ezekiel 38-39 is the most descriptive of all the end time battles, even more than Armageddon.

Ezekiel 39:1 in the New King James reads:

"And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken," says the Lord God. "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.'"

Vic Batista: Incredible passage! Nathan, once again, for those who are not familiar with these terms Gog and Magog, what are we exactly talking about here?

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel wrote this some 2,700 years ago. So, when we try to understand the countries that he is listing here, obviously he's putting them into the names of his own time period. All we have to do is fast-forward to today, for history has proven what the modern versions of these nations are.

When we talk about Magog, Magog is the lands that constitute what we call the 'Stan countries today. That would be Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and possibly Afghanistan. Magog is made up of those countries.

Rosh is the ancient name for Russia. They descended from the ancient Scythian people. Gog is their ruler. Whether he's a man named Gog, we don't know, and probably not. More than likely Gog is a designation for a demon who is behind their government.

Gog is the leader of Russia, and so Russia will make an alliance with Magog, which are those 'Stan nations. Gog will also make allegiances with a number of little nations that today comprise Turkey, who in Ezekiel's time were named Meshach, Tubal, Gomer and Beth-togarmah. They are all parts of what is modern-day Turkey.

Persia is also listed, which is modern day Iran. Ethiopia is the Sudan. Put is Libya and possibly Algeria and Tunisia.

All in all, what we are talking about is a massive amount of territory. These nations comprise an outer ring of what is comprised now of all Islamic nations, except for Russia.

Russia's Motivation

Nathan Jones: These nations form a coalition that combines into a horde, a massive army, whose purpose is to come against little Israel in an attempt to plunder and destroy it.

Vic Batista: We are seeing right before our eyes what is happening in Russia with their leader, Vladimir Putin. Much of what is being said here are events that are using different country names, like you mentioned, because this was thousands of years ago. And yet, today we are starting to see what is going on in Russia with the development of alliances with all these very same countries.

Nathan Jones: It is interesting. We read in Ezekiel 38-39 about how God Himself will put hooks in the jaws of Gog. In other words, God drags him down. He makes it so that Israel is so irresistible to Gog that Gog wants to come and plunder Israel for its wealth.

It was only five years ago or so when people wondered why in the world Russia would be interested in Israel's wealth. Sure, Israel has a good economy, and they are a center for diamond trade. They are good business men. But, they really don't have a lot of wealth.

Then Israel found two tremendous natural gas finds in the Mediterranean Sea, in their territorial waters. Now Israel is poised to begin production and become a huge competitor in selling gas to the world.

Russia dominates the natural gas trade up north, for all of Europe is dependent on the natural gas that flows out of Russia and through the Ukraine, interestingly enough. We wonder why Russia is attacking the Ukraine, well it's because they want to control the gas supply lines that run through that nation. Eventually Russia will turn south, for they will want to plunder Israel and remove Israel as a competitor. All these other invading nations are simply fueled by their Islamic hatred of Israel. These Islamic nations will join with Russia and attempt to annihilate Israel.

God feels the need to reiterate in Ezekiel 39 these two aspects about the Gog and Magog War like He already had in Ezekiel 39 almost as if He's providing a double-warning against these nations and their leader, Gog.

In the fifteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how the results of this war set the stage for the socio-political landscape of the Tribulation.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Film Review of Fifty Shades of Grey

Nathan JonesPDFBy

Ah, it's that age-old love story. Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl to sign consent form. Girl agrees. Boy takes girl up to bedroom where he proceeds to remove her undies and then whip her with a...

Whoa, whoa, hold up there! That can't be right. What happened to boy gives girl flowers, fine dining, romance and respect? What about time to get to know each other? Love even? Marriage?!? Well, you won't find any of those outmoded forms of courtship in the modern-day "romance" novel that has swept the world by firestorm — Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Shades of a Sensation

Okay, I'm a guy, so even watching anything as tame as Sleepless In Seattle or reading Jane Austen (universal male groan) is quite beyond me, so I'm not about to tackle a book and movie series aimed at 30-something married women. It's just not in me. But, I did read the Wikipedia cliff notes, so consider me an expert as much as a guy can be concerning chick flicks.

What's Fifty Shades of Grey? In a nutshell, it's a story about a 21-year-old college student, Ana Steele (played by Dakota Johnson), who falls in "love" with a handsome but mysterious young billionaire named Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) after she interviews him for a newspaper. In almost no time he's pulling out a contract and a pair of handcuffs and... well, it's got nothing to do with CHiPs.

What Fifty Shades has everything to do with is what sociologists call "intimate partner violence" (IPV). That's when one partner in a relationship resorts to utilizing methods of bondage, discipline, dominance and submission (BDSM) to control the other partner in a relationship. Some think it's about kinky sex, but in reality it's all about control. It's also what therapists label as domestic abuse.

The 3-book series was written in 2011 by E. L. James, a British fan of the Twilight vampire novels. She wrote the books under the pen name, Snowqueen's Icedragon (no, seriously, I'm not making that up), as "a classic redemptive story of a very good, virginal woman taming a deeply flawed man."1 And what a deeply flawed man Christian is! (Did she really have to name him Christian?) But anyway, Christian is somewhat of a sympathetic character in that you learn he was abused as a teen by his mother's pedophiliac friend, but that's the only thing about him that will bring a tear to the eye. After all, who needs love when you're a rich stud with your own helicopter? The girls, all 15 of them, just swooned over his lavish gifts; you know, the expensive bracelets that hide all the bruise marks earned in the Red Room of Pain. Tantalized yet, Ladies?

You'd think such smut would be read in hiding, and well, distribution began that way as women in secret began downloading the e-book only version. And did it catch on! Once printed by Vintage Books, Fifty Shades sold 100 million copies and was translated into over 50 languages, making the New York Times bestseller list three months in a row. All this success despite the fact that the critics derided the book as "dull and poorly written," "depressing" and "a sad joke."

James made Time magazine's 2012 "100 Most Influential People in the World." The R-rated movie version came out just in time for Valentine's Day 2015, smashing records globally in grossing $248 million the opening weekend. There is no doubt that the book has become a mainstream cultural phenomenon.2

Shades of a Counterfeit

"But, Nathan," you say, "it's just a harmless bit of 'Mommy Porn' meant to spice up the old love life. What damage can it really do?" Well, you used the word porn right there, and that's exactly what Fifty Shades of Grey is. It is wholesale, unrepentant, in-your-face pornography, packaged and delivered mainstream through your friendly, local bookstores and movie houses. When did a "gagging dose of onscreen sex, nudity, domination, and sadomasochism," as columnist John UpChurch calls it, become okay for a Christian to meditate on?3 Whatever happened to Philippians 4:8's admonition to meditate only on what is true, just, noble, pure and lovely?

Okay, for those of you who want to justify the guilty pleasure, forget the Bible for just a second and consider the results of a recent survey. The University of Michigan did a study of Fifty Shades readers and discovered 25 percent were more likely to have an abusive partner, 34 percent were more likely to have a partner who stalked them, and 65 percent were more likely to engage in binge drinking.4 People who indulge in graphic porn novels, the study discovered, then gravitate towards abusive relationships and eating disorders. Like Mom used to say to us kids, "Garbage in, garbage out."

Men, tear your eyes away from the game for just a second and look at your wives. Why are they reading this garbage? Gentlemen, we're dropping the ball here in our marriages. And, look at your daughters. Who's the role model in their lives? Do we want our little girls aspiring to becoming mindless sex slaves because we've been neglecting our wives?

The books sell fantasy, not reality, for money. Lots of money! The devastation that lays in the wake of Fifty Shades is a tsunami of broken, dysfunctional and sexually unfulfilled people. They've traded the lie of Satan for the real thing — marriage — as it was meant to be, the 1 Corinthians 13 way. Safe. Protected. Honoring. Covenantal. Selfless. Loving. Now doesn't that sound like what Jesus Christ created for you to enjoy?


1K.S.C., "Fifty Shades of Grey: The Money Shot,"

2J. Lee Grady, "Let's Call 'Fifty Shades of Grey' What It Is: Perverted,"

3John UpChurch, "Fifty Shades of Grey—What are Christian Leaders Saying?"

4Grady. Ibid.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Willful Ignorance Concerning ISIS

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

While Muslim terrorists continue to launch assaults all over the world, President Obama continues to deny that their actions have anything to do with Islam.

At a press conference in February, Obama refused to describe the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda as groups motivated by "radical Islam" because the term grants them a religious legitimacy they don't deserve. "They are not religious leaders," he stated, "they are terrorists." He then added, "We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."

Obama on ISIS

It would certainly be a laughing matter if someone were to try to tell the ISIS fighters that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not their religious leader. You might as well tell the people of Iran that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is not their religious leader.

But the President's comments were not as laughable as those of the State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, who tried to convince Chris Matthews on his MSNBC television program that ISIS is motivated by poverty and the need for jobs. Even the super-liberal Chris Matthews was stunned, and keep in mind that he was the one who said in 2008 that every time he heard Obama speak on the campaign trail that he got goose bumps up and down his legs! Matthews responded to Harf with a barrage of blistering criticism, claiming the White House is "allowing America to be humiliated."

The stroll through Alice-in-Wonderland continued a few days later when Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before a Congressional committee and declared: "Our citizens, our world today is actually, despite ISIL, despite the visible killings that you see and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally..."

What? Is he in the same world the rest of us are in?

Thankfully, the next day, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper tried to get us back to reality by telling the committee that 2014 was "the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled."

Although willful ignorance is characteristic of liberal minds, it is not exclusive to them. Take President George W. Bush, for example. After the terrible 9/11 attacks, he hosted a White House reception during Ramadan to honor the Islam religion and its American leaders. Furthermore, he persisted throughout the rest of his Administration in calling Islam "a religion of peace." One observer said the President's behavior was equivalent to President Franklin Roosevelt giving a banquet following Pearl Harbor to honor the Shinto religion and Japanese leaders.

All of this bizarre denial of reality is, of course, an exercise in political correctness. It is an effort to avoid hurting the feelings of American Muslims.

It is a very misguided effort, as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani demonstrated recently during an interview on Fox News. He pointed out that when he became mayor in 1994, he immediately called a press conference and announced he was declaring war on the Mafia.

He said that before the day was over, the leaders of the Italian community were in his office protesting, claiming that any reference to the Mafia was an embarrassment to them and a slur against Italian-Americans. His response? He told them in no uncertain terms that he was not backing down, and if they wanted to look good, they would give him their public support. And sure enough, at his next press conference, the Italian leaders were there, standing behind him in support.

That's what President Obama needs to do. Rather than playing footsie with Islamic leaders, he needs to tell them to put up or shut up. He needs to insist that they start speaking out publicly against Islamic terror.