Friday, April 24, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: An Evil Plan

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What is Russia's evil plan?

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

Gog & Magog

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An Evil Plan

Vic Batista: Let's pick up with Ezekiel 38:10. "Thus says the Lord God: 'On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan.'"

Nathan Jones: That's verse is talking about a leader titled Gog from Russia. People today wonder if Gog could be Vladimir Putin, the current president of Russia. Or, maybe he's a demon who has possessed someone. It could be. All we know is that God designates this leader as Gog.

Gog forms an evil plan. He wants to lead Russia in a coalition of nations against Israel to plunder it of its wealth. Israel has tremendous natural gas reserves, a good economy, and the diamond trade goes through Israel. So, Gog wants to get this plunder. Like you read, it's an evil plan.

Gog's plan in verse 11 goes, "You will say, 'I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.'" Then verse 12 continues, "to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land."

Now this is Gog's plan — He's coming to loot Israel. It's fascinating in those verses that we just read how it talks about Israel being a peaceful people. The people of Israel are back in the land and they are living unsuspected. They have rehabilitated a desolate land back to being fruitful again.

As we talked about in a previous segment, after the Romans destroyed Israel in 70 AD, they left the land desolate. It became a desert and parts were swamps, but overall it was just unlivable. Some talk about Palestinian people living there, but in truth there were actually very few people living there over the centuries since. It just wasn't worth living there. When the Jews came back in the early part of the 20th Century, they began the long, hard process of rebuilding Israel. The Jews drained the swamps. They took back the desert by using drip irrigation to bring it back to fruition. The land is very fruitful today. Israel is actually considered the breadbasket of the Middle East.

Vic Batista: Think about how incredible these prophecies are! Here in Florida we have Lake Okeechobee, which is the second or third largest lake in the US. It was created by the Marine Corp from what I understand. The years and the time that it took for the Marines to complete such a project. Likewise, here the whole nation of Israel is now a garden once more, just as God had prophesied was going to happen.

Nathan Jones: The same here in Texas. We only have one lake that's natural. All the other lakes are man-made. It takes a tremendous amount of work to make a lake, as you can imagine. With Israel, the Jewish people started showing up, and they starting building their kibbutzs and they looked around and the land was like a desert while in other parts there were swamps. So many of the early Jewish resettlers died from malaria and other diseases and the back-breaking work. But, they did it, though it took decades. Just go to Israel today and you can see that it's like a garden. This is a direct fulfillment of this prophecy in Ezekiel 38. It just blows my mind every time I read this!

Vic Batista: That is awesome, and very exciting! That's why we get so excited as we read these verses, because we see all these things happening right before our eyes.

The Young Lions

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38:13 tells us, "Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, 'Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?'"'

When one reads this verse, they're like to ask, "What is he talking about?" The prophet Ezekiel lived some 2,600 years ago, so he used the country names that existed during his time period. So, let's fast-forward to today.

The translation of Sheba and Dedan are the Arab Peninsula nations, such as Yemen and those other nations along the coastline. Basically the verse is saying that Sheba and Dedan are those Arab nations that are distantly across from Israel.

Considering the merchants of Tarshish reference, at that time period Tarshish was considered the end of the world. Some translate Tarshish to be Spain. Others say it is England. But, basically for the Jewish people of Ezekiel's time, Tarshish was the end of the world. Tarshish also has young lions, in other words, their colonies. That might be a reference the New World colonies found in North America and South America. They might be the young lions. These would be the countries that were created out of the Spanish merchants, or the British merchants, or both. They would then include the North American countries such as the United States and Canada and Mexico, and the South American countries, as well as Australia. Those nations are likely the young lions, though the passage is ambiguous.

This verse is also saying that the rest of the world sees Russia leading this coalition against Israel, but does it say, "Stop!" or "You can't do this or we will fight you!" No, they say to the effect, "Oh, are you coming to take away all their money?" And that is all they say. They don't do anything to help Israel. They don't get involved. Basically, the world sits it out and lets Russia attack in an attempt to destroy Israel.

Vic Batista: That scenario reminds me of Revelation 11. Moving forward in time, we read about God's Two Witnesses and they are going to be killed and left dead on the streets for three days. People are just going to look at their dead bodies, but they won't get involved.

Nathan Jones: Yes, the nations won't get involved. It's a satanic thing that the world hates the Jewish people. They hate them with a passion. They hate them because they are God's people. They hate them because they gave us the Bible. They hate them because the Messiah came from their bloodline. They hate them because God still has a purpose for Israel in His coming kingdom as a priestly people once they have given their hearts to Him. Satan is trying to thwart God's plan.

We live in the world system that burns with a tremendous hatred of the Jewish people. The United Nations is obsessed with Israel. You could have dictators slaughtering their own people, and yet the United Nations remains totally bent out of shape if Israel merely wants to build a house on their own land. It shows how satanic this hatred is.

The world hates Israel, but they don't really want to mess with Israel. So, when these nations see Russia and this coalition coming against Israel, the nations just say, "Well, alright, we're not going to get involved. Good luck with that." The reason for the malaise? Basically these nations want Russia to destroy Israel. It shows that Israel will have no nations to turn to soon for help, not even the United States.

Role of the United States

Vic Batista: People always ask where America is in Bible prophecy? You hinted there it is in verse 13. What are your thoughts regarding that?

Nathan Jones: I think you are correct that the United States isn't in Bible prophecy. The whole new world system wasn't in Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 38:13 may be the closest we get to the U.S. when it talks about the young lions, these descendants of the merchants of Tarshish from the end of the world, and that's about it.

When the Tribulation does come, the Antichrist creates a one-world system. So, wherever the United States is in Bible prophecy, we know that it will be part of the one-world system. We know that it will be a nation that supports the Antichrist. And, we know that it will be a nation that will hate Israel and turn against it and try to destroy it with all the other nations of the world at the end of the Tribulation. That's about it for the United States being in Bible prophecy.

Vic Batista: We stick to the Bible. If the Bible doesn't say something, then we don't say it. If the Bible is silent, we stay silent, right?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. There are so many people out there trying to fit the United States into prophecy. They come up with some crazy ideas. They look at the 21 judgments during the Tribulation and they say those must apply only to America because America has done this or that. Or, the Harlot of Babylon from Revelation 17-18, that must be New York City. They come up with these guesses. But, we've got to let the Bible speak for itself. Where it is clear, then say, "Yes." Where it is unclear, say, "I don't know."

Vic Batista: Absolutely. That is a good point, because so many people are being misled because there is so much confusing information about eschatology. I always say to people to remember YouTube is not always right.

Nathan Jones: Really? You can't believe everything on the Internet? I didn't know that.

Vic Batista: We use it as a resource. I get calls during the week from people telling me what they read about Bible prophecy from so-and-so on YouTube; what this guy is teaching and what that guy is teaching. I say, "You've got to go back to the Bible. You've got to understand the whole picture, otherwise you are going to be all confused."

Nathan Jones: Great advice, Pastor Vic!

In the ninth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I look at some scenarios as to why Israel will be dwelling in safety unsuspecting.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: The Latter Years

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What time indicator is given in Ezekiel 38-39 that tells when the Gog and Magog War will happen?

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

Gog & Magog

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The Latter Years

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38-39 is an amazing passage. We are talking about two chapters in the Bible where God explains to us about a future war. There's an incredible amount of detail given. This war will totally change the geo-political structure of the world. And, the Bible gives us lots of clues that it is coming pretty soon.

Vic Batista: That's right, and that's why I'm excited about this wonderful portion of Scripture. As we make our way through the Word, I want to encourage everyone to get your Bible and turn to Ezekiel 38 and 39. Maybe you have an app that you can get the Bible on or your computer, whatever method you want to use, but join us as we make our way through these incredible passages.

We talked a little bit in previous segments about the timing of the Gog and Magog War. Nathan, can you recap for us very briefly concerning the timing of all of this?

Nathan Jones: Sure. If folks need an online Bible, our Lamb & Lion App also has a Bible on it. People can follow along that way as well.

Timing-wise we are basically talking about a war that involves a leader from Russia forming a coalition with Turkey, Iran, all those 'Stan countries such as Kyrgyzstan, and it also involves Libya, the Sudan, and others in northern Africa. Those nations are going to come against Israel for they want to destroy Israel.

The Bible in Ezekiel 38 says that this war will happen in the Last Days, or the Latter Years, which is a time indicator throughout the Bible that talks about the end of the Church Age and into the Tribulation time period. The Tribulation is a seven-year time period where God's judgments will be poured out onto the world. Therefore, we know that this will take place somewhere in or around this Tribulation time period.

To attack the nation of Israel you would have to have a nation of Israel, and that was fulfilled as of May of 1948. Now there is a nation of Israel again.

Ezekiel tells us that Israel needs to be living in a time of peace. It's a time where they are feeling relatively safe, so when they are attacked by Russia and her allies Israel will not be expecting it. Israel doesn't live in safety and peace right now. Some could say that the Jews feel safe behind their defense forces, and that is a possible interpretation. Others say that they are constantly under attack and there are 66 million hostile Islamic Arabs always breathing down Israel's neck, and that is certainly the case, too. This prerequisite for Israel to be at peace may not have yet come. That this peaceful condition hasn't happened yet means we are not quite set up for the Ezekiel 38-39 war yet, but we know that we are getting very close because the alliance of nations that the Bible talks about now exists.

Vic Batista: Absolutely. That is exactly what we pray for, that people would understand that this war could be coming very quickly. We believe that alliances are all lining up perfectly according to what the Bible says. We are living in exciting times!

Nathan, you also pointed out the phrase "the latter years" is about when Israel is going to be at peace. You mentioned that Israel of course had to be put together first as a nation in order for them to be at peace, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes. You can't attack a nation if it doesn't exist, and for 1,900 years Israel didn't exist, but it exists today. The people who say that the modern-day nation of Israel is an aberration or an accident and that it's not important to God, well they need to go back and read Ezekiel 38. It's crystal clear that Ezekiel revealed God still has a plan for Israel. What nation has come back to life after 2,000 years? Really, what nation?

Vic Batista: Exactly! People can actually research the history and realize there hasn't been another one.

Nathan Jones: No, the Hittites haven't reformed as a nation. There is no Incan nation. There is no United States of Maya. They don't exist anymore. They are all gone, and they didn't come back. But Israel — God's people — the foundational people of the Bible, are back in their land again. That means something. That's important. God uses the Jewish people still to this day for His purposes and for what will happen when Israel is back in their land.

Vic Batista: The Bible prophesied that the whole world will be against Israel. Like World War II, we see that happening again today because not many people are friendly to the Jewish people anymore. We see in the news more and more hatred towards them. We see so many nations wanting to come against and destroy Israel. So, all of what's now going on lines up, right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Exactly, and you bring up a tremendously important point, too, because you said all the nations of the world will be coming against Israel someday. We read about that in the end of this latter days, the end of the Tribulation, the end of the seven year period when all the nations of the world line up against Israel at a battle called Armageddon. But, what we are reading here in Ezekiel 38-39 is only Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, Sudan and maybe some of the surrounding nations coming against Israel. So, we are not talking about all the nations of the world. We are not talking in this passage about Armageddon. We are talking about a different war — the War of Gog and Magog.

Vic Batista: Excellent point, and that's something to take note of, because that's why we believe that this war could actually transpire before the Tribulation.

Nathan Jones: It's possible. We can go through all the timing scenarios, but I think sometimes it is just easier to go verse-by-verse and the timing will become apparent to us.

Vic Batista: Yes, let's continue verse-by-verse. I think that method of studying the Bible is especially important for someone who is not familiar with the Bible. It is a great way for them to also see what's going on here in this passage.

In the eighth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I look at Gog's evil plan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Jacob's Return

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What has God done so far to prepare Israel for the Gog-Magog War?

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

Gog & Magog

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The Spectators

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38:11 reveals, so I'm going to skip a little ahead here, "You will say, 'I will invade a land of unwalled villages, I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people, all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.'" In Ezekiel's time, the nations were more nation-states or even city-states, so the people had to protect their cities, and they did that by putting giant walls around them. Jerusalem had a tremendous wall around it.

Ezekiel is being given this prophecy by God and he's looking and he's seeing these cities in Israel and he's like, "They all have no walls! What's up with that?" He likely doesn't understand. With no walls then the people must be peaceful and so they are unsuspecting. When is Israel ever at peace or unsuspecting? They are constantly under attack due to war after war after war. Nearly 60 million Arabs want them dead. But, at some point, Israel has to be at peace. They're unsuspecting of a major attack and they are living without walls, gates and bars.

Right now Israel has this tremendous wall that runs through it to keep the Palestinian terrorists out. So, when it comes to Israel feeling they're at peace, I don't believe that when we look at the end time timing that has happened yet. That means that there are still some more events that have to happen before this Gog-Magog War.

We are almost ready for the Gog-Magog War, but there are a few things missing. One, why are the nations surrounding Israel that are hostile towards it remain subdued and sit out this battle? Two, how can Israel be living in a time of peace and unsuspecting of a major attack against it? Those two things have to happen first before this war happens.

Vic Batista: Good point! That was a reference to Ezekiel 38:14, "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord God: On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?'"

Jacob's Return

Vic Batista: Nathan, you said that the word distress referred to the Tribulation, what about the phrase "Jacob's trouble"?

Nathan Jones: Jeremiah 30:7 refers to the "time of Jacob's trouble," which is the Tribulation. This is also called the Day of the Lord. The book of Joel has two tremendous chapters about the Day of the Lord. It talks about this time of distress that Israel will have to endure. But, at the end, the Jews will return to God.

I'm going to give you the ending to the Gog-Magog War here. When we get to the end of Ezekiel 39, Israel will turn back to God, but they will not have yet turned to Jesus Christ as their Messiah. So, the Tribulation is in part a catalyst to bringing Israel to their knees and finally accepting Jesus as Savior. God had to do that at times. He has to slap us up side of the head and say, "Hey, I'm working in your life. I'm glad you have accepted me, but you have not fully accepted Yeshua as Messiah, and that's got to happen."

Vic Batista: People have to understand that God is not through with the nation of Israel. God still has a plan for them. In our community here in Miami we have thousands of Jewish people in the Aventura-Hallandale area. We are praying for them more and more all of the time because we know that God is not through with Israel.

Nathan Jones: Not at all. As a matter of fact, when we get to the end of this Gog-Magog War, you're Jewish people living in Aventura area, they will be directly affected by the outcome. We will get to that later in the text, but know the Jewish people of the world after this war will want to return of Israel, in fact, they will feel compelled to. They will empty out of the different countries. I'm afraid that by then Aventura will be emptied of all the Jews. They will all want to go to Israel. I'm not making this up! This full return of the Jewish people is what we will be reading about in Ezekiel by the end of the war.

Turning Israel Into Florida

Nathan Jones: Let's read Ezekiel 38:8, "After many days you will be visited. In the latter years," the end times, "you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely."

This is a direct prophecy to the Jewish people about being taken out of all the countries of the world and returning back to Israel. They will take a land that had been desolate and make it fruitful again. We have been seeing that very thing occur since Israel became a nation again. Their people have been moving back to the land of Israel and they have been taking the land that was left desolate for hundreds of years and making it fruitful today. Wow!

Vic Batista: You've pointed out something very important regarding how many millions of Jews have come to know the Lord and have come back into the land from the establishment in 1948 and again in 1967. Like millions?

Nathan Jones: Yes, the return of the Jews all started in the late 1800's with the First Zionist Congress. Theodore Herzl wrote a pamphlet called Judenstaat, or in English The Jewish State. It was about how the Jews were never accepted in any country. Anti-Semitism reigned, though people tolerated the Jews up to some point, but mostly hated them. Herzl believed it was time for the Jewish people to get their own country. It took all the way to 1948 for that dream to be realized.

The United Nations gave the Jewish people only a third of the land that the UN promised them. The rest went to Trans-Jordan, or Jordan as it's called today. When people say that the Palestinians need their own state, well, the UN gave them Jordan. Jordan is the Palestinian State. That the so-called Palestinians need yet another state is just nonsense.

Ezekiel's prophecy is absolutely amazing because it requires the Jews to all come back to the land of Israel. Right now about half of the world's Jews have relocated to Israel, so about 6 million.

The prophecy also required that the Jewish people restore a land that was left desolate, which happened due to the Romans. Again, Ezekiel prophesied this almost 700 years before the Romans desolated the land. And, the Jews did it! They restored the land of Israel back to fruitfulness. You can go to Israel today and see that the Jews have made it a garden once more.

Vic Batista: That is so cool! I haven't been able to go to Israel yet, but I'm hoping by next year we can go. I've seen photos, and you've been there a number of times to corroborate the fact of the fulfilled prophecy, which is just amazing.

Nathan Jones: I've been to Israel three times, and when you go throughout the land of Israel you just can't believe it was ever a wasteland for centuries. You would have to read up on the history to understand just what a tremendous amount of work and suffering the Jews had to put into that land to restore it. What was just left originally was a wilderness in some places and swamps in other areas. The Jews used their know-how and their technology and they restored that land. Everywhere you go throughout Israel there are flowers, fruit, and palm trees. It's just like Miami; it's wonderful!

Vic Batista: So, Israel is a little Florida, but with the blessing of the Lord?

Nathan Jones: It is. I used to live up in the Orlando area when I was real little. I do try to remember parts of Florida, and it was a blessing to go down to Miami to see you this past year. You are right I think, Israel is a lot like Miami, because they are both tropical and on the ocean, and they are both beautiful. So, for you folks living in Miami area, it's like living in Israel.

Vic Batista: It's a nice place, except for August.

Nathan Jones: Yes, well, Israel does have its hot months as well.

Back to it, the prophecy there in Ezekiel 38:8 is just amazing. Ezekiel is passing along God's message to this leader Gog, this warrior who will lead this war against Israel. Then verse 9 reads, "You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you." So, we know that when Russia leads a coalition of nations against Israel, they will be an overwhelming force. This coalition will be like a storm. It will be like when you look out on the horizon and you see the black clouds heading towards you. That's what it will be like for Israel. Israel will see an army, actually a combination of armies, descending upon them overwhelmingly with Israel having absolutely having no way to defend themselves against such an onslaught.

Israel will face its most dire attack since the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.

In the seventh segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I look at where this battle fits into the "latter years."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Hook in Russia's Mouth

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What hook will drag Russia to attack Israel in the Gog-Magog War?

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

Gog & Magog

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Hook in Russia's Mouth

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 38:1-7 talks about the later days. We need to pay attention to those timing "road signs" along the way in our study, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, because if you look at this war that is to come against Israel, and you look at the political alliances that are happening in the Middle East with Russia in particular, these are alliances that have never existed ever in history. It's like, "Wow! This war is starting to coalesce. This is starting to become a reality." And, it will happen soon because we are given some clues in the passages that talk about timing. To me it's pretty evident that we are getting closer to the time when the Gog and Magog War will be happening.

Vic Batista: Let's go a little further into Ezekiel 38. Recap a few of the verses we've already covered and then move on from verse 8.

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38:1-7 starts with God telling the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy against a personage called Gog. Whether Gog's a person, or it is a demoniacally controlled person, or an actual demon, there is this Gog who is leader of the land of Magog. He is also a prince from Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.

In previous segments we went over Ezekiel's list of countries and we learned the modern-day equivalents of these names. For instance, Magog is all the 'Stan countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and others. Rosh is the ancient name for the Russian people, so Russia. That means this leader, Gog, will be from Russia. He will lead Russia and a coalition of Magog, or 'Stan countries. He'll also lead a number of countries that today comprise Turkey, Persia which is Iran, Ethiopia which is Sudan, and Put which is now Libya.

Ezekiel 38-39 Nations

Russia and these major Islamic countries including Iran will join together and they will according to Ezekiel 38 devise a plan to go down to plunder and destroy Israel. Plundering is what Gog specifically wants to do. He wants to take its wealth and he wants to destroy the Jewish people. That sets us up for the following verses.

Vic Batista: I love how today with modern technology people can simply look at Google Earth and they can actually zoom into the Middle East and see all these countries.

Nathan Jones: Of course, when Ezekiel wrote this 2,600 years ago, he was using the names of the countries in his time period. But, in our time period, we have to look at the equivalents. We then can easily see that Russia leads a coalition of nations against Israel.

What's also interesting is that the nations directly surrounding Israel such as Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, Syria and Egypt are not mentioned in the list of attacking nations. Some of the Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia are not in that list either, though they are later mentioned, and we'll get to that in later passages. The Saudi Arabian Peninsula nations sit out the attack. Therefore, we know something has to happen before this Gog-Magog War for the nations directly surrounding Israel and who hate Israel with such a passion and certainly would be ready to jump into any war against Israel, they are not ready to jump in. You have to wonder why. There must be another event that happens before the Gog-Magog War.

So, at some point Russia will covet the wealth of Israel. What wealth? Well, Israel in the last few years discovered a tremendous gas find in the Mediterranean Sea. Within ten years Israel believes they will be one of the major gas producers of the world. They'll be in direct competition with Russia who is the major gas producer for all of Europe and parts of Asia. Russia has always had it sights on the Middle East because it wants to control the oil fields and dominate the energy markets. Now we can see why they covet Israel's wealth, because they are coveting Israel's tremendous gas find.

Vic Batista: These are clues that these end time events are lining up perfectly. If we weren't not paying attention, we might miss these incredible signs.

Nathan Jones: Exactly, for as events play out they start giving us the prophetic puzzle pieces that are missing. Just five years ago a lot of people were wondering why Russia would want to attack Israel. Israel at the time had a pretty good economy, but nothing worth going to war over. Prophecy scholars were speculating that maybe Israel would find oil as Zion Oil was looking for oil in country. But then Israel found one of the biggest natural gas finds within their territorial waters in this century, and then all of a sudden the world is looking at Israel becoming a super power. Russia economically cannot stand against a major competitor, especially with Israel in the Middle East. This gas find helps fit the puzzle piece missing as to why Russia would want to take Israel out of the picture.

Vic Batista: Isn't it amazing how everything starts to fit into place?

Timing the War

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 38:8 says, "After many days you will be visited in the latter years." Again we see how God is talking about the timing, so this war wasn't something that was going to happen in Ezekiel's time, but it would be for the latter years, meaning the end times.

Nathan Jones: You bring up a great point, Pastor Vic. When the Bible talks about latter years, or last days, it is pointing back to Deuteronomy 4:30 where it says, "When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you," talking about Israel, "then in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and obey Him."

The term distress is also translated as tribulation, and that is where we get the name Tribulation. The Tribulation will be a seven-year time period, and we know it is seven years because of the book of Daniel. For seven years Israel will suffer under the worst attacks in all of its history from a one-world leader called the Antichrist. The rest of the world will also continue to suffer under the judgments of God.

This Tribulation time period is coming in the last days, so we know when we talk about the timing of end time events, these later years or last days, that this Gog-Magog War will happen to Israel sometime related to the Tribulation. The horrible attacks by Gog correspond somewhere related to this horrible Tribulation time period.

For Gog to attack Israel, a country of Israel is necessary, correct? Gog couldn't have attacked the nation of Israel before there even was a nation made in May of 1948. Israel hadn't been reborn before 1948, so up to 1948 there was nobody that could come and attack because there was no Israel. For all of these end time events to be fulfilled, Israel had to be back in the land again. Israel fulfills the prerequisite for this Ezekiel prophecy to happen.

We also know that the alliances within the Gog-Magog War have never historically occurred before. Russia has never been united with Turkey and Iran and all these other nations. Since we are starting to see these alliances today, we know that this war will be happening in the near future.

In the sixth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will stop to marvel at what God's done so far to prepare Israel for the Gog-Magog War.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Miracle Nation

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What miracle sets the stage for the Gog-Magog War?

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

Gog & Magog

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Prophecy Provides Hope

Vic Batista: Today's subject of study will be a continuation of Ezekiel 38 & 39 concerning the Gog and Magog War. I just want to encourage people to get into the topic of eschatology and Bible prophecy, because there are many out there who are scared of studying Bible prophecy, even pastors.

Nathan Jones: Yes, a lot of pastors even are scared about talking about Bible prophecy. Since they don't understand it, they don't bother with it, and their congregations suffer the loss. And yet, 31% of the Bible is God's prophetic Word. God wants us to know what the future holds. He tells us what will happen to give us hope. When we don't share that hope, our people despair.

I like to encourage pastors to dig into what God has to say through Bible prophecy. We here at Lamb & Lion Ministries can help you in your studies. We have plenty of materials that will give you and your congregations have that hope.

Vic Batista: I find it encouraging to be able to study the Word of God and know what is coming. Why wouldn't people want to know what is up ahead, especially when the Bible talks about it, right?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. People waste their time going to palm readers and soothsayers and all those crazy people who are not legit. Instead, go to the Bible, God's Word, where Bible prophecy always is fulfilled. Since Bible prophecy has a 100% track record of fulfilled prophecies, we solidly know what the Bible says about the future will come true.

Vic Batista: I don't know everything there is to know about Bible prophecy, but as we go through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit teaches us, right?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. You are never going to learn unless you actually get into the Word and pray for the Holy Spirit so He can help you better understand what you're reading. Read and watch other materials because sometimes we misunderstand the Holy Spirit and we come up with some of our own very interesting interpretations. Therefore, it is important to see what the experts think and weigh their conclusions against the Bible.

We are always learning. I get to meet some of the biggest names in the study of Bible prophecy and these experts tell me even in their advance years that they are still learning every day. So, there is always something new to learn.

Vic Batista: Exactly, and that is why we are called to be students, for the Holy Spirit is always revealing the Scriptures to us.

Nathan Jones: Yes, indeed. The Bible I believe when it comes to study is endless. I think we are going to be studying God's Word even in Heaven. We will finally understand things better when we can run over to Moses and ask him what he meant by this or that. Or, you can go to Jesus Himself and say, "Jesus, I just didn't understand that parable. Would you explain it to me?" We will always be learning and growing and understanding, but we've got take that first step and actually open our Bible and start reading God's Word.

Miracle of a Nation Reborn

Vic Batista: That is exactly what we are going to do regarding this very important topic, and a very exciting one, found in Ezekiel 38 & 39 concerning the Gog and Magog War. Can you refresh our memories of what we're up to so far? Then we'll jump into Ezekiel 38:8 and on in the upcoming segments.

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 36 & 37 beforehand gives a prophecy called the Valley of Dry Bones. It's about Israel coming alive as a nation once more. What is amazing about that is back in 70 AD the Romans kicked the Jews out of their country and they spread the Jews to the four corners of the world. For the last 1,900 years the Jewish people have lived as vagrants or vagabonds, depends on how each country looked at them, constantly moving the Jews along and shuffling them along throughout the world. They have been a people without a home. But then in May of 1948, following a UN resolution in 1947 brought about by the fallout of World War II with the Holocaust, the world wanted to give Israel back their nationhood.

Over the decades before Israel as a nation was reborn, the Jews had already traveled to Palestine, as it was called, and they bought land in the hopes of reviving it. The Romans left the land desolate. For hundreds of years the land of Israel was desolate. Now you can go to Israel today and you can see it is bountiful once more. The Jews restored the land. Today about half of the Jews of the world, around 6 million or so, live in Israel. We are alive to witness a fulfillment of the prophecy that Israel would become a nation once again.

The rebirth of Israel sets the stage for the prophecies that we read about in Ezekiel 38 & 39. It's about an incredible war called the Gog and Magog War that will be waged against the newly reformed nation of Israel. Afterwards, we move right into Ezekiel 40-48 which is all about the Millennial Kingdom, starting with the return of Jesus Christ and then Him ruling and reigning on this earth.

Ezekiel 38-39 are an amazing two chapters. They give us more details about this war than any other prophetic war, including Armageddon, in all of the Bible.

Vic Batista: I want to encourage readers to get their Bibles and follow along, so this way they too can have a glimpse of what the Bible has to say about what is going to take place in the near future. It's an incredible journey. Very exciting!

In the fifth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will try to discern just what the hook is that will incite Russia to attack Israel.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Russia Attacks Israel

Nathan JonesMP3By

Will Russia surprise attack Israel?

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

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3(first half)

Ezekiel 38:7-9 — The Horde

Nathan Jones: The main player in the Gog & Magog War is a leader named Gog from the country called Rosh. Rosh is an ancient term for the Scythians. The Scythians were the forerunners of what is today Russia. The name every sounds kind of similar: Rosh and Russia.

So, this Gog who is supposed to be the leader of Russia, he puts together a coalition of nations which includes the 'Stan nations, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and others. He puts all these nations together and he comes to go to war against Israel. This is the dramatic way chapter 38 begins.

Vic Batista: People who are familiar with the situation in Russia, and people who are familiar with these modern countries' names, have already been seeing this alliance lining up right before our eyes, correct?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. These nations literally go all the way from Russia all the way down to the Sudan. That's a massive amount of territory! Ezekiel covers nations that historically have had no political alliance whatsoever. But, when this Gog & Magog War comes about as Ezekiel is going to tell us, this alliance of nations that has never existed before will form.

It's very interesting today as we watch the news and follow current events how Russia can't go west into the European Union and it can't drive east into China and Japan. Russia is forced to keep its eyes and armies heading south. Russia has been making all sorts of alliances with Iran, Turkey, and Syria. We see that Russia has its eyes on the Middle Eastern oil. So, it is interesting to see these nations that have never had any allegiance before now starting to have allegiances between themselves.

Vic Batista: There's a lot of wealth in the Middle East with oil and natural gas, which may be the reason Russia has an interest there.

Nathan Jones: Yes, Russia produces a tremendous amount of natural gas. Europe is pretty much tied to Russia because of its need for a natural gas supply. The gas all flows out of Russia by pipeline through the Ukraine. So, if anyone has to guess, Russia will more than likely take the Ukraine without really Europe doing much about it because they are dependent on Russia for their natural gas.

Power has never been enough for Russia. It seems like the need for an empire is built in their DNA. They want to conquer the world. Russia has been driven by it and they have tried a number of times to achieve it.

As we read about this future war, Russia will look down upon the natural wealth of the Middle East and they will covet it. We learn about their desire particularly in the next verse. Israel will have something that Russia wants. God says that Russia will have "hooks" put in their mouth so that they're dragged down south. The reason is that they want something from Israel.

Verse 7-9 reads, "Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited. In the latter years," in other words the end times, "you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword." The Jewish people were brought back from the world and into their land again. "...And gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you."

Here's the scene now. We've got Russia leading a coalition of nations, which interestingly happen to all be tied together by Islamic roots, and now they want to destroy a people who have been regathered back into the land that was desolate. After 70 AD, when the Romans attacked Israel, it took Rome three years of sieging Jerusalem before they finally destroyed the city. The Romans decimated the land in the process. They cleaned out all the trees and they left Israel a total wasteland.

Israel remained a wasteland until the late 1800's when the Jews started going back to resettle the Holy Land. The Jews took that destroyed and desolate land and they started turning it into a garden again. I've been to Israel three times and you can't believe what a garden that place is now compared to what it was just 100 years ago.

Vic Batista: I haven't made it myself there yet, but I've seen the pictures and the wonderful materials that Lamb & Lion Ministries has published and they show an absolutely amazing transformation of the land.

Nathan Jones: It is amazing. The Jews have taken a desert wasteland and turned it into a tropical paradise. There are flowers and fruit everywhere you go across Israel. They have taken that desolate land and brought it back to life again, just as Ezekiel prophesied.

Dwelling in Safety

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel also prophesied that the Jewish people would be regathered back into their homeland again to live in safety. We are seeing the Jewish people coming back into Israel again and dwelling relatively safely, which is a prerequisite for the Gog & Magog invasion. Israel has to feel they are dwelling safely enough.

Whether the Israelis are dwelling safely behind their military, which they have one of the most powerful militaries in the world, or they are dwelling safely because they won a victory over their hostile neighbors, we don't know for sure. Some assume this safety is earned due to a Psalm 83 War, which is a war some believe has Israel conquering their neighbors and finally having peace from them. We are not sure of that component. But, Ezekiel tells us that Israel has to be in a state of peace and safety before this invasion comes.

Vic Batista: That point about Israel dwelling in safety is where we find some individuals have different views. Some time this war during the middle of the Tribulation or sometime thereafter, but we know that Israel has to be in a place of peace.

Nathan Jones: It's interesting when we read about these nations, and I'm going to call them the Outer Ring, because there is an Inner Ring of nations missing from Ezekiel's war scenario. This Inner Ring are nations that directly border Israel like Egypt, Gaza, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. All these nations are directly boarding Israel, but for some reason they are not listed in this major prophecy.

Many Bible prophecy scholars now believe that Psalm 83 solves that predicament. Israel at some point will according to this Psalm have to subjugate the countries that surround them so that they can stop being attacked from every single direction. Afterwards then, this Outer Ring of Islamic nations comes down and attacks Israel.

I believe a Psalm 83 War occurring before the Gog & Magog War makes sense. We are very close to actually seeing Israel finally having to do something about their hostile neighbors. If this scenario is true, then Israel will at some point go into Gaza and Lebanon and put down some more attacks by these and the other bordering nations. I think the hostility of these nations will get so bad as Psalm 83 says that Israel will finally have to subjugate those nations. Then they will finally obtain a temporary time of peace. But, that is when Russia will decide to go down into the Middle East and claim their natural gas reserves. Israel has found a number of natural gas reserves in the Sea, so Russia will come down to steal the wealth of Israel as well.

Vic Batista: It is like dealing with a bully. After a while you have to say, "Enough is enough!" All these nations which border Israel have always been bullying Israel since she became a nation once more. It's always the case when it comes to being the little kid dealing with the big bully in class. Finally that little kid says they're going to fight back. That is what will happen with Israel.

Nathan Jones: Israel is a tiny country. It's only the size of New Jersey. Can you imagine the entire might of North America attacking New Jersey? That is what it is like to be in Israel. It is a tiny little country against the might of the Arab world constantly threatening to wipe it off the map. That's what life is like for the Israeli.

The Time for Salvation

Vic Batista: I hope that this study of the Gog & Magog War will give people a better understanding of Ezekiel 38-39. I want to encourage people to be good students of the Word of God. We know the Lord is coming soon. He can come at any moment and all of what we are talking about can start coming true. We already can start seeing the stage being set right before our very eyes.

So, I encourage people to keep your eyes on Jesus. Have that saving relationship with Him. If Jesus were to come today, would you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would be going to Heaven with Him?

Nathan Jones: Pastor Vic, you so wonderfully stated it so well. You are wanting to give us hope about the future. We are seeing prophecies being fulfilled in our day, and that means Jesus Christ is coming back soon. People need to understand that in order to get their hearts and minds right and ready for Him.

Vic Batista: The most important thing in life is that you know Jesus Christ personally. That's why Nathan and I are here doing these studies. We're not just learning Bible prophecy, but about evangelism so the lost will be saved.

In the fourth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will continue to study chapter 38.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Timing and Players

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What timing clues are there to the Gog & Magog War? Who are the players?

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

The Truth Will Set You Free

Play MP3(first half)

Timing the War

Vic Batista: Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins wrote a great series of books and movies called the Left Behind series. They portrayed these incredible pictures of a tremendous war that is going to be taking place. Now Tim LaHaye and also Mark Hitchcock and some other prophecy teachers when it comes to the Gog & Magog War see the timing of when this war will happen a little differently than how we see it.

Nathan Jones: It is hard to get into the timing of the Gog & Magog War without first understanding what the war is exactly. But, yes, there are different views on the timing of this war. I have an article titled Timing Gog and Magog where I give all the details about what the war is about, who the players are, and the possible scenarios for timing it. Sure, a lot of people are trying to figure out when this Gog & Magog War will happen, but there are timing clues provided in the Scriptures.

When we read Ezekiel 36-37, we know that this section fits in chronologically to Ezekiel's portrayal of end time events. Therefore, the Gog & Magog War has to occur after Israel has become a nation again because you can't have all these nations attacking Israel if the nation didn't exist. Israel had not existed as a nation for 1,900 years until 1948, so the fulfillment of the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones had to come first.

Then we read after Ezekiel 38-39 to chapters 40-48. In this section Ezekiel talks about the Millennial Kingdom with Jesus ruling and reigning over this earth. Christ has defeated Satan and it's a time of utopia on this planet. We therefore know then that the timing of this war has to occur after Israel is reborn but before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom on this earth.

There are all sorts of timing clues involved in the last days as there are a lot of other prophecies that talk about this end of the world. We have to look at Ezekiel 38-39 in relation to the seven-year Tribulation that is coming on the earth soon after the Rapture of the Church. A lot of Bible scholars are trying to figure out then if the Gog & Magog War is going to happen before the Tribulation. Will it happen at the beginning of the Tribulation? The middle? How about the end of the Tribulation? Is that possible? So, there are different timing scenarios that we can disagree on, but we know definitely the war has to happen according to Ezekiel after Israel has become a nation but before Jesus returns.

Vic Batista: Absolutely! The Bible gives us wordings such as "latter days" and "last days" to help us discern the timing of specific prophecies. People need to also pay attention to those because they give us the hints and clues we've been looking for.

Nathan Jones: Exactly. Whenever the Bible says "latter days," or "last days," or "end times" it is talking about the end of the Church Age, which is the end of the age right before Jesus comes back. Our age will end with Jesus returning to rapture, or take up, those who believe in Him as Savior up to Heaven, to spare them from His wrath which will be poured out on the earth for seven years.

At the end of those seven years, Jesus will return to this earth and we who have been raptured will follow Him. We will witness Jesus defeat the one-world leader called the Antichrist and his False Prophet and Satan. Jesus will restore the earth back to a pristine condition. Jesus will then rule and reign from Jerusalem for a thousand years.

Timing wise this all happens after the Tribulation. So, when this great battle of Gog & Magog happens, two chapters worth of information about this battle that is coming, we know that it has to happen sometime just before or at the very beginning of the Tribulation and the end of the Tribulation.

Vic Batista: Excellent point, Nathan! That's why I encourage everyone to actually look at those passages in Ezekiel 38-39 so they can familiarize themselves with this important prophecy. As you find the timing clues, this incredible event described here in the book of Ezekiel will become clearer.

Ezekiel 38:1-6 — The Players

Nathan Jones: Vic, you're a pastor of a Calvary Chapel. I used to attend a Calvary Chapel myself for a while because I too like to go verse-by-verse through the Scriptures. Lets look at Ezekiel 38-39 that way as well.

We are not going to get our study of the Gog & Magog War all done in one day because there's a lot of meat to this topic, but we can begin somewhere. Let's do the set-up. Let's take us to chapter 38 and begin with verse one. This is what the Lord began saying to Ezekiel.

"Now the word of the Lord came to me [Ezekiel], son of man, set your face against Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, 'Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops — many people are with you."

We begin the story with God calling out this guy named Gog. We don't know who this Gog is. It could be a title for a leader. It could be the name of a person. It could also be the name of a ruling demon.

Regardless of the identity of Gog, God is calling this Gog out to lead a group of nations to war. These nations are Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, and Ethiopia. What in the world is God talking about here? Those are of course the names of different areas in relation to Israel back in Ezekiel's time some 2,600 years ago. Let me give you the modern translations of these names because these nations do exist today.

Ezekiel 38-39 Nations

When God talks about Magog, those are the ancient lands which we get the 'Stan countries today. That is Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and others. Those are all the 'Stan countries. What was then called Magog today are those different nations.

God references Meschech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth-togarmah. Those nations today actually comprise what is moder-day Turkey. It might also cover Azerbaijan and Armenia. But, basically, those are the nations today that are combined under the banner of Turkey.

God talks about Persia, which most people probably recognize as Iran. Iran is modern-day Persia.

Ethiopia includes modern-day Ethiopia and the Sudan. Put is what is today called Libya, and possibly also covering Algeria and Tunisia.

In the third segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at Russia's role and Israel's prerequisite of safety in Ezekiel 38:7-9.