Friday, April 30, 2010

Why a Conference on the Basic Truths of Christianity?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Why hold a conference on the basic truths of Christianity?

The answer is simple. It's because ignorance of the Scriptures is epidemic in the Church today, even among those who call themselves Evangelicals. As a result, the average Christian does not have the slightest idea how to defend the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Even worse, many could not even define the fundamentals of the faith!

Poll after poll has shown that the most widely known Bible verse among both adult and teen believers is "God helps those who help themselves." The problem is that this is not a Bible verse, and even worse, it expresses an idea that is completely unbiblical!


Teens in a Spiritual Fog

Gary Burge, a professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Illinois, has been testing the biblical literacy of incoming freshmen students for years. These are students who have been raised in Evangelical families and churches. He has discovered that one-third of the students could not put the following in historical order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost. Half could not sequence the following: Moses in Egypt, Isaac's birth, Saul's death, and Judah's exile. One-third could not identify Matthew as an apostle from a list of New Testament names. One-third could not find Paul's travels (the book of Acts), and half did not know where to find the Passover story (Exodus).


Bible Prophecy Conference

This incredible biblical ignorance among Evangelical teens makes you wonder what is going on in youth ministries. Are they doing anything other than playing games and conducting wiener roasts?


Ignorance Among Adults

The situation among adults is not much better. Recent polls by the Barna organization (http://www.barna.org/) have revealed a shocking lack of biblical literacy among both the general public and those who considered themselves to be "born-again Christians." For example, only 9% of American adults have a biblical worldview, and only 19% of born-again adults have such a viewpoint. That means that 80% of those who claim to be born again do not have a biblical worldview!


The Significance of One's Worldview

Why is this important? As Barna puts it, "A worldview serves as a person's decision-making filter." It is what determines how the person will interpret and deal with the complexities of life. Barna's research has discovered that there are large differences in behavior related to matters such as media use, profanity, gambling, alcohol use, honesty, civility, and sexual choices — all depending upon one's worldview. And Barna's research has revealed that the worldview of the average person is firmly in place by the age of 13.

To get specific, Barna's research has discovered that those without a biblical worldview are:

  • 100 times more likely to endorse abortion.
  • 80 times more likely to say that exposure to pornography is morally acceptable.
  • 31 times more likely to believe that living together before marriage is morally acceptable.
  • 15 times more likely to believe homosexuality is morally acceptable.
  • 18 times more likely to endorse drunkenness.
  • 12 times more likely to accept profanity.
  • 11 times more likely to say adultery is okay.
  • 9 times more likely to gamble by purchasing lottery tickets.


Where Do You Stand?

Let's take a look at how the Barna organization determines whether or not a person has a biblical worldview. Here are Barna's eight determining questions:

  1. Do you believe that absolute moral truths exist?
  2. Do you believe the Bible defines those truths?
  3. Do you believe Jesus Christ lived a sinless life?
  4. Do you believe God created the universe?
  5. Do you believe Satan is a real living entity?
  6. Do you believe that salvation is a gift of God that cannot be earned?
  7. Do you believe that Christians have an obligation to share the Gospel with the unsaved?
  8. Do you believe the Bible is accurate in all its teachings?

Look over the above list carefully and ponder it in your heart. The fact that only 9% of those who claim to be born-again agree with all eight statements is mind-boggling. George Barna has concluded that "the primary reason Christians do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus."


A Famine of the Word

Billy Graham once said that "the Bible is the least read best seller of all times." That statement is more true today than ever before. The Old Testament prophet Amos predicted that one of the reasons the nation of Israel would be destroyed was because there was a "famine" of "hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). Jeremiah predicted that Jerusalem would be destroyed because "the word of the Lord has become a reproach to the people; they have no delight in it" (Jeremiah 6:10-11).

We need to get back to the Word. Back to the fundamentals of the Faith. And we need to learn how to defend what we believe. That's what our conference for 2010 will be all about.


Register for the Conference!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why a Defending the Faith Conference?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

We are living in a time when the Christian faith is being attacked as never before in the history of this nation. It seems like there is a new assault every month in the form of blasphemous portrayals of Jesus or mockeries of the Bible.

Even worse than the pagan attacks are the ones coming from within Christianity as apostasy in the Church continues to grow exponentially.

Who would even have dreamed 20 years ago that churches today would be ordaining homosexuals and performing same-sex marriages? Or that Christian leaders would be challenging the fundamentals of the faith such as the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, His resurrection, and His promise to return?

I can understand the pagan attacks. I can even understand their increasing frequency and intensity. After all, Satan knows Bible prophecy (Revelation 12:12), and he realizes that Jesus is about to return any moment.

What is really sickening to me are the attacks from within Christianity. I'm not surprised by them because the Bible prophesies over and over that a great apostasy will occur in the Church in the end times (2 Thessalonians 2:3). But still, I find them disheartening.

Eric Barger, one of Christendom's leading defenders of the faith, told me recently about a worship service in the Seattle area that featured Brian McLaren, the leader of the apostate Emergent Church Movement. McLaren challenged the Church's traditional interpretation of John 3:16 as applying to personal salvation. Instead, he applied it to the earth, arguing that when it says, "God so loved the world," that it was talking about the cosmos and the environment! His altar call consisted of inviting people to come forward and stick their hands in barrels of dirt and make a commitment to save the planet.

Yet this man, who denies the existence of absolute truth, claims to be an Evangelical and has been invited to speak at places like Dallas Theological Seminary and Abilene Christian University. It appears that discernment is dead.

This is the reason I decided to focus our annual Bible conference this year not on prophecy but on apologetics — the defense of the faith.


Bible Prophecy Conference

Public opinion polls conducted by the Barna Group reveal that professing Christians in America today do not know the fundamental doctrines of Christianity nor do they know how to defend them. Even worse, those who think they know what they believe confess that they believe things directly contrary to Scripture.

Much of this ignorance is due to the fact that the Word of God is not being proclaimed from the pulpits of American churches. It has been replaced by psychological ditties about the principles of self-improvement.

Our conference this year is going to focus on the fundamentals of the faith and how to defend them. I urge you to attend and to invite members of your church to come with you. It is free of charge, but you do need to register.


Register for the Conference!

Following the conclusion of the conference on Saturday afternoon, we are going to host a banquet to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this ministry. The featured speaker will be Ed Hindson, and he will speak on a topic related to Bible prophecy. The banquet will cost $35 per person.

Please plan to be with us for these events. Work them into your summer vacation time. I hope to see you in June!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Twelve Attributes of God

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

We can learn a lot about God through the Gog-Magog story. Listed are twelve attributes of God that my study of Ezekiel 38-39 has yielded.

1) God knows what is in the minds of men (Ezek. 38:10).
If you think that you are having private thoughts, you're not. God knows what you are thinking. He knows what you are planning. He knows who you are looking at. He knows what you are saying under your breath. While God almost sounds like Santa Claus, He is not. He is God and He knows what is going on in your mind.

2) God knows ahead of time what will happen (Ezek. 38:11-16,18-23; 39:2-6).
Can you surprise God? In Ezekiel God is laying out this whole battle 2,600 plus years before it is ever going to happen. He knows what is going to happen. He also knows what is going to happen to you tomorrow. When you pray to God, "Oh, God, I have lost my job." Or, "I don't know where my next meal will come from." Or, "I am having this terrible relationship with this person and it is only going to end in disaster." Well, God knows how every situation you're in will turn out, so take comfort that He's in control and will provide what you need.

3) God let's us know before He acts (Ezek. 38:1,17; 39:1).
Isn't it interesting that God tells us before He does something big? He warns us ahead of time. Nothing just springs up on us when we read the Bible. When we study the Bible, we know what is going to happen next. No surprises!

4) God is mad at the nations (Ezek. 38:3-5,18-22; 39:1-6).
Some believe the God of the Old Testament was just an angry, cranky, old person who sat up there in Heaven with His long flowing beard, and that Jesus is the God of the New Testament who comes for hugs and everything is just yippity-do-dah-day. This just isn't the case — they are the same God! And, He is mad at the nations because they have rebelled against Him. We continue to rebel against Him, and so He is understandably mad about our misbehavior.

5) It is God Himself who entices the Gog-Magog coalition to war and their own destruction (Ezek. 38:4,16; 39:2).
Truthfully, doesn't that sound kind of nuts? All of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's screaming and yelling about destroying Israel, could it be that God is fueling something in him to act this way so that he can one day be destroyed? The text is crystal clear that God is behind this anti-Semitic rage.

This can be a difficult concept, that God can be goading the destruction of the evil and the sin people have who have long turned away from Him in rebellion. Not that God is causing this rage, as it's certainly satanic in nature, but that God is allowing a superheating of their own twisted desires to the point where they end up bringing judgment upon themselves. God theatrically loves the ironic.

6) God can be provoked to acting on His anger (Ezek. 38:18-19; 39:7,23-24).
I'm asked this all the time, "Why isn't God back yet? Why is He talking so long?" It comes to a point in time where God has like this cup and as He fills it up with His anger it finally reaches the top, and that is when He is ready to tip it over and pour out His wrath. That is the time when His anger will finally be released. God isn't going to always forgive all the wrongs of this world. At some point He will act.

Now, if you're a believer in Christ and know God's wrath no longer lies on you (Jn. 3:36), then you are like, "Yes, finally!" But, if not then you are the one who is still subject to His wrath, which is pretty scary. Remember, God will act one day. Are you under His wrath, or under His grace?

7) God will reveal His glory in no uncertain terms (Ezek. 38:23; 39:6-7,21-24,27-28).
As believers, when Jesus comes back for us in the Rapture, we will know God's glory. The world will also know, but unfortunately only because of the judgments He pours out on them during the Tribulation. At the Second Coming, everyone left alive who survived will see Jesus as He truly is. No matter if one is for or against Jesus, they will know of God's glory and power.

8) God will defeat His enemies (Ezek. 39:12-20).
Now, I get e-mails from atheists now and then and one of them was really honest with me when he said that he wanted a third option. He almost pleaded, "I just want to have God leave me alone, don't judge me, don't bring me to Heaven, just leave me alone." But, the old adage is true, that if you are not for God you are against Him. And so, God will surely bless his children as well as judge His enemies one day. There is no third alternative.

9) God promises to restore Israel to the land and the land from desolation to bounty (Ezek. 36:34-35; 38:8; 39:25-29).
Isn't this neat? I've got to tell you I've been to Israel twice now, and I'm a guy who likes flowers. I know, not very manly, but I like gardening. And so, when I drove down those Israeli highways and saw along the embankments solid walls of flowers, well it was absolutely brilliant to behold.

Crops of all kinds are everywhere throughout Israel. In March one can already pull fruit from the trees. Food is just all over the place.

Who would have imagined that just a century ago Israel's countryside was a desolate, barren wasteland. Settlers could even count the total number of trees that were there because so few trees were alive. Now there are 7,587,000 Jews back in Israel according to the Central Bureau of Statistics reporting in a Sunday April 18th report. God is fulfilling prophecy this very day, and as we read in Ezekiel, God will continue to bring every one of them back to their promised land.

10) God provides for His covenant people (Ezek. 39:9-10,25).
God provides for His covenant people. If God has made you a promise, if He has made an agreement with you, He will keep it absolutely and totally 100% of the time. Guaranteed!

11) God will again pour out His Spirit on Israel (Ezek. 39:29).
This characteristic is very important in relation to timing the Gog-Magog Battle. If God's Holy Spirit is on the Church right now, how can it be on Israel? God has to take the Holy Spirit from the Church to move it to Israel, so that is why the Rapture will happen before the Gog-Magog Battle. The restraining work of the Holy Spirit through the Church will be gone, and the Holy Spirit can then focus on Israel.

12) God fulfills His promises (Ezek. 39:8,23-25).
What promises has God made to you? He promised that He loves you and that He will always take care of you (Jn. 10:28-29). He says he will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). He promised if you asked Him to save you from your sins and to be your Savior that He will do just that (Rom. 10:9-10). Have you grabbed hold of these promises?


Overcomers

How do we overcome then? Who is it that overcomes the world? Only He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:5). And so, I ask you, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that He has made promises to save you from your sins, to bring you to Heaven, and to save you from all that terribleness that is coming up ahead? Have you accepted that?

Now is the time if you haven't yet accepted. You need to ask Jesus to be your Savior. He loves you. He wants you to ask for the forgiveness of your sins, and to be your Savior. That is all you have to do. It is quite simple. You just have to in your heart change from an attitude of rebellion to an attitude of love. Say, "Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins, be my Savior." Do that today, because we don't know exactly when all these world shattering events are going to happen, do we. But, we read about them and know they are going to happen pretty soon, and you don't want to live in the Tribulation. You don't want to wait for the proof of the Rapture and so miss it. And, most of all, you don't want to be against God and have to spend eternity separated from Him in Hell.

Today, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Tell someone today, so they know that you have been saved.

And, if you are a believer, when Jesus comes back, what is He going to find you doing? How are you spending your time? If you know we only have days, months, weeks — what are you doing with your time? Are you living it holy? Is he going to see you reading or watching something you shouldn't, or wasting your time. Now is the time to get out there and tell other people about Jesus Christ. Do that today — right now!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Unfolding

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

In an attempt to pinpoint the exact timeframe for the occurrence of Ezekiel's prophecy in chapters 38 and 39 concerning the Gog-Magog invasion of Israel, we looked at the pros and cons of arguments made in relation to before the 7-year Tribulation, during the Tribulation, and during the Millennium. Each argument has its valid points and certain weaknesses, though some have more weaknesses than others.

After studying the prophetic texts, the various timing arguments, and looking at the overall big picture of Bible prophecy, I'll lay out when I think the Gog-Magog Battle will occur in relation to the order of upcoming prophetic events.

  1. Rapture of the Church (Jn. 14:1-14; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18)
  2. Israel subjugates their surrounding neighbors (Ps. 83/Isa. 17)
  3. The Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38-39)
  4. Tribulation, ending with Armageddon (Rev. 6-19)
  5. Sheep/Goat Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46)
  6. Millennial Kingdom, ending with the 2nd Gog-Magog Battle (Rev. 20:1-10)
  7. Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15)
  8. Eternity (Rev. 21-22)

I believe that the first thing we will witness (and participate in) is the Rapture of the Church. The signs of the time point to the fact that Jesus is returning very, very soon. In the above timing list, this could be number two or three (and some would argue four), but due to the direct supernatural and wrathful nature of the Gog-Magog Battle and Tribulation, they do not fit within the behavior of the Church Age.

The second event would be Israel subjugating their surrounding hostile neighbors in a Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 scenario. The surrounding nations — Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria — are not players in attacking Israel during the Gog-Magog invasion, and so must be dealt with beforehand. Israel this very day must do something about all those missiles pointing at them from Lebanon and Syria, and so the prophetic fulfillment of this scenario could very well be fulfilled even by the next war that Israel wages.

Next, when Israel is feeling secure over their hostile neighbors and holds the world at bay with their wealth and trade, the Gog-Magog Battle will happen. Russia, Iran, Turkey and its allies will attack Israel in great hordes to plunder Israel, but will be supernaturally defeated by God Himself. In reacting personally like this, God shows the world in no uncertain terms that He is intimately involved in human affairs and is defending Israel.

The Antichrist will make a peace covenant as Daniel 9:27 foretells, and the horrific Tribulation will begin, ending with the battle to end all battles — Armageddon.

Jesus will then use 75 days after His Second Coming and victory at Armageddon to judge those that survived the Tribulation, called the Sheep-Goat Judgment. Satan will be cast into a pit, the Antichrist and False Prophet and most likely the demons will be sent to Hell, and the unbelievers to Torments in Hades. Surviving believers will be the sheep, living on in their earthly bodies.

Next, saved humanity will enter into a thousand years of Jesus ruling and reigning in peace and righteousness right here on Earth. The Millennial Kingdom will end with Satan being released and leading those born who never accepted Jesus against Him. Jesus easily wipes the Second Gog-Magog Battle invaders out.

After the Millennial Kingdom, God orders the final Great White Throne Judgment. The unbelieving dead are resurrected, and finding their works are not good enough to get them into Heaven, they will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire.

Believers move on into the eternal state and a rejuvenated Earth with its capital city — the New Jerusalem. What life is like during the eternal state and if there are any new ages, God has yet to reveal. An eternity is a long time, and God loves to create, so it won't be a life of dull and never-ending repetition.

And, that is the order in which it will all come down, as I see it.


We can learn a lot about God through the Gog-Magog story. In the last part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series I'll list twelve attributes of God that my study of Ezekiel 38-39 has yielded.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - During the Millennium?

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

We'll continue in our attempts to identify when the Gog-Magog Battle will take place, next by looking at three views that place the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to Jesus Christ's 1,000 year reign on earth called the Millennium Kingdom. Each view will list pros and cons, gleaning some help from what I believe is the best written book on the subject — Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes.


Between the Tribulation and the Millennium

Supporters of this view place the events of Ezekiel 38-39 in an interlude time period between the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.

Pros:

1) An interlude time period between the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom is given in the Bible. Daniel 12:12 reads, "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days." Revelation 11:2-3 reads, "But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." The difference between the two references is 75 days.

2) The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38:11) could easily be attained by Christ's victorious return.

Cons:

1) With Jesus having defeated all the armies of the world at Armageddon (Rev. 19:19), no army would be left to invade Israel so soon.

2) With Jesus' return at the Second Coming, no Gog-Magog invasion would be needed to get Israel to again acknowledge God (Ezek. 39:22,29).

3) With Jesus present to provide everyone's needs and the curse partially lifted (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel into the Millennium.

4) The interlude time limited to 75 days does not give Israel the seven months they need to bury the dead invaders' bodies from the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 39:12).

5) The interlude time period between the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom of 75 days will most likely be used by Jesus to judge the world in the Sheep/Goat Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46) and rebuild the planet.


At the Beginning of the Millennium

Supporters of this view, such as Arno Gaebelein, place the Gog-Magog Battle at the beginning of the 1,000 year reign of Christ.

Pros:

1) The fifth general timing clue (Ezek. 38:11) that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained under Christ's Kingdom.

Cons:

1) With Jesus' return at the Second Coming, no Gog-Magog invasion would be needed to get Israel to again acknowledge God (Ezek. 39:22,29).

2) With Jesus having defeated all the armies of the world at Armageddon (Rev. 19:19), no army would be left to invade Israel so soon.

3) No wicked people will have survived the Sheep/Goat Judgment to enter into the Millennial Kingdom to start a war (Jer. 25:32-33; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 19:15-18). Only believers who survived the Tribulation enter the Millennium and they have no reason to declare war on Christ.

4) No weapons would be available to the invaders of the Gog-Magog Battle, nor be left to burn for seven years, for as Isaiah 2:4b states, "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks."

5) No war exists until the end of the Millennium. Isaiah 2:4b describes the Millennium being a time of world peace. "Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." Revelation 20:7-9 describes the only war that will happen during the Millennium, and that is at the end of the thousand years when Satan is let loose from the pit to rally unbelievers in that age against Jesus Christ.

6) With Jesus present to partially lift the curse (Isa. 11:8) and reformat the Earth from the ravages of the Tribulation (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), the Millennial Kingdom will begin in an almost holy state. Ezekiel 39:12 describes the land after the Gog-Magog Battle needing cleansing from the defilement of the dead invaders' bodies. Defilement contradicts the pristine condition the Millennial Kingdom will begin with.

7) Islam will not exist during the Millennial Kingdom. The unifying theme today among the coalition of nations that attack Israel in the Gog-Magog Battle is their satanically inspired Islamic hatred of Israel and desire of its wealth. Since Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:1-3) while Jesus will be reigning directly over the Kingdom, no opposing satanic religion like Islam will exist to unite those nations during the Millennium.

8) With Jesus' newly returned to rule from Jerusalem with "a rod of iron" (Ps. 2:9), no invader would dare invade Israel.


At the End of the Millennium

According to Dr. Rhodes, the majority of supporters for this view tend to come from a non-evangelical background (p.189).

Pros:

1) Revelation 20:7-8 places a Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. "When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore."

2) Similar terminology exists between Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20 concerning the great number of invaders involved.

3) The prosperity described in Ezekiel 38-39 that Israel possesses would be fulfilled by God's blessings on Israel during the Millennial Kingdom.

4) God uses supernatural weather in both accounts to destroy the invaders.

Cons:

1) Ezekiel's chapters would be out of order with this view. Ezekiel 33-39 covers the restoration of Israel and is followed by chapters 40-48 which describe Israel during the Millennial Kingdom.

2) Revelation 20's chronology doesn't harmonize with Ezekiel's chronology. Revelation 20 describes the Millennial Kingdom, which is immediately followed by chapter 21 concerning the eternal state.

3) Revelation 20:9's account records the Gog-Magog invaders being incinerated by fire from out of the heavens. The invaders would no longer have bodies that require Israel to bury them for seven months (Ezek. 39:12).

4) Israel would have no reason to use seven months to bury the dead invaders (Ezek. 39:12) when God is just going to resurrect them at the end of the Millennium, judge them at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then throw them into the Lake of Fire.

5) Israel would have no reason to burn the invaders' weapons into the eternal state.

6) Ezekiel's and Revelation's descriptions of the invading armies do not match. Ezekiel describes a coalition of Russia and Muslim nations attacking Israel. Revelation 20:8 describes a much larger scope, with the invaders coming from the "nations in the four corners of the earth."

7) Ezekiel's and Revelation's descriptions of the battlefields do not match. Ezekiel describes the Gog-Magog Battle taking place on the "mountains of Israel," while the Revelation 20:9 account (NAS) states the battle takes place "on the broad plain of the earth."

8) Ezekiel's and Revelation's descriptions of Israel's rulers do not match. Ezekiel 38-39 follow chapters 36-37 which describe the rebirth of Israel, a nation not yet in belief in God nor has accepted Jesus as Messiah. The Revelation 20 account has Jesus already ruling from Jerusalem for 1,000 years.

8) Ezekiel's and Revelation's descriptions of the invader's rulers do not match. "Gog" is in control of the coalition against Israel in Ezekiel's account, whereas Satan is in control of the coalition against Jesus in Revelation's account. While Satan is clearly mentioned in Revelation's account, it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan or is a man possessed by Satan.

9) Ezekiel's and Revelation's descriptions of Israel's faith do not match. In Ezekiel 38-39, God uses the Gog-Magog Battle to make Himself known to Israel and the world. In Revelation 20, Israel has acknowledged Jesus as God and King for 1,000 years.

10) The unbelieving children of the Tribulation saints who have survived to live into the Millennial Kingdom will be the ones who wage war against God at the end of the Millennium, as opposed to the children from the age of the "time of the Gentiles" who wage war in Ezekiel and Jesus' accounts (Luke 21:24).

11) John's use of "Gog" and "Magog" in Revelation 20 is really only used to draw a comparison between Ezekiel's Gog-Magog Battle and the one John is describing at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.


So, just when does the Gog-Magog Battle happen? Before or during the Tribulation, or during the Millennial Kingdom? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series I'll draw my own timing conclusions, as well as explore God's nature which this battle gloriously reveals.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - During the Tribulation?

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

In an attempt to pinpoint the exact timeframe for the occurrence of Ezekiel's prophecy, we looked at two arguments that placed the Gog-Magog Battle before the 7-year Tribulation. Next, we'll look at the possibility of it occurring during the Tribulation.

I'll glean some ideas from what I believe is the best written book on the subject — Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes.


In the First Half or Middle of the Tribulation

Supporters of this view are John F. Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Herman Hoyt and Mark Hitchcock.

Pros:

1) The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38:11) could easily be attained by the peace covenant the Antichrist makes with Israel that starts the seven year countdown of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27). Israel would feel at peace backed by the Antichrist. Gog in response would then raise an alliance so massive that they believe even the Antichrist's might couldn't stop them from destroying Israel.

2) With the more Christianized nations in tatters due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Islamic world in ruins from the Gog-Magog Battle, the remaining European world power could fill the vacuum in the Middle East and fully revive the Roman Empire. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence (though under the control of the Antichrist) until the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 16:12). Russia and its defeated allies would be ripe pickings for the Antichrist, who would plunge the world into the first four Seal Judgments.

3) The Rapture would remove the strength of Christianity, and the Muslim defeat in the Gog-Magog Battle would destroy the strength of Islam. These occurring at the very beginning of the Tribulation would take the remaining polytheistic and pantheistic religions and integrate them easier into the apostate one-world religion that the False Prophet promotes (Rev. 13:11-15). The only monotheistic religions left to reject the Antichrist would be Judaism and the newly growing Jesus movement, both of which are known to be greatly persecuted by the Antichrist during the second half of the Tribulation (Rev. 6:11).

Cons:

1) Ezekiel 39:9 describes Israel burning the invading enemies' weapons for seven years. Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at any time other than the exact beginning of the Tribulation would push the burning timeline right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone's needs and the curse partially lifted (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel. Only an attack simultaneous with the beginning of the Tribulation would allow for the proper amount of time, precluding any other intra-Tribulational date.

2) The tremendous persecution of the Jews during the second half of the Tribulation would not grant them the freedom to bury the invaders dead bodies for seven months unless the Gog-Magog Battle occurred more than seven months earlier than the mid-point (Ezek. 39:12).

3) If the Gog-Magog Battle happened closer to the mid-point, the question is raised as to why God would rescue Israel so dramatically from the Gog-Magog nations only to hand Israel immediately over to the intense persecution by the Antichrist.


At the End of the Tribulation (Armageddon)

Supporters of this view tend to be Post-Tribulation Rapture supporters and believe the Gog-Magog Battle and the final battle of Armageddon are one and the same.

Pros:

1) Both the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38-39) and the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:19) are described as taking place during the first general timing clue "latter years" (Ezek. 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16) of the Tribulation.

2) Ezekiel 39:4,17-20 and Revelation 19:17-18 both describe dead invaders being eaten by birds and wild animals.

3) Ezekiel 39:22,29 declares at the defeat of the Gog-Magog invasion Israel will again acknowledge God. These references if coupled with Zechariah 12:10 explaining an acknowledgment by Israel of their true Messiah at the end of the Tribulation would make the Gog-Magog Battle and Armageddon one and the same, if the acknowledgment of God the Father and Jesus the Messiah are also one and the same.

Cons:

1) The peaceful precondition of Ezekiel 38:11 in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38:11) cannot exist under the Great Tribulation by the Antichrist.

2) Ezekiel 39:9 describes Israel burning the invading enemies' weapons for seven years. Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone's needs and the curse partially lifted (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel.

3) The players in the two battles do not match. The Gog-Magog Battle involves the specific nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and possibly Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Algeria and Tunisia against Israel (Ezek. 38:1-6). The references to Armageddon include all the nations from the entire earth against Israel (Joel 3:2; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:3; 14:2).

4) The leaders of the invasions are not the same. Gog is the prince and ruler of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal (Ezek. 38:3). The invading leader at Armageddon is the Beast who controls the whole earth. While it is known that Satan the Dragon possesses the Antichrist (Rev. 13:2), it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan.

5) The armies find themselves fighting two different opponents. The Gog-Magog invaders look to conquer a peacefully unsuspecting Israel (Ezek. 38:11). The Armageddon invaders gather to make war against the returned King — Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:19).

6) Ezekiel 38:13 describes some nations questioning the Gog-Magog invasion. At Armageddon, all the nations are involved in the invasion so none protest (Joel 3:2; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:3; 14:2).

7) The locations described for the two battles do not match. Ezekiel 38:8 describes the Gog-Magog Battle taking place on the mountains — the "mountains of Israel." Armageddon takes place in a valley — the Valley of Jezreel by the plain of Megiddo (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chron. 35:22; Zech. 12:11).

8) The account of the defeat of the invaders does not match. The Gog-Magog invaders are defeated by God who uses "torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur" as well as in-fighting (Ezek. 38:22). The invading nations at Armageddon are defeated by Jesus who uses "a sharp sword" from His mouth, meaning mere words (Rev. 19:15).


In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll analyze the possibility that the Gog-Magog Battle could happen during the Millennial Kingdom.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Before the Tribulation?

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

We have deciphered the general timing clues given by Ezekiel and concluded that the Gog-Magog Battle has to be future.

The first clue is the use of the terms "latter years" (Ezek. 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16). The second clue is the historical record that shows no such battle in Israel's history has fit the description. The third is that Israel is a nation once more. The fourth is that the nations that comprise the invading coalition are finally united today by their hatred of the Jews. And, the fifth clue from Ezekiel 38:11 is that Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace.

In an attempt to pinpoint the exact timeframe for the occurrence of Ezekiel's prophecy, the following arguments will weigh the pros and cons of different future scenarios, beginning with the time period before the 7-year Tribulation. The following two views lie heavily on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture viewpoint.

I'll seek some ideas from what I believe is the best written book on the subject — Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes.


Before Both the Rapture and the Tribulation

Supporters of this view are Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of the Left Behind series, and Joel Rosenberg who wrote the popular Ezekiel 38-39 themed book Epicenter.

Pros:

1) Israel taking seven years to burn the weapons for fuel (Ezek. 39:9) matches the seven year timeframe given in Daniel 9:27 that the Tribulation will last. Since both take seven years, Gog-Magog would have to happen before the Tribulation.

2) A supernatural defeat by God would leave the Muslim world in ruins and their faith in Allah shattered. Islam would no longer be a threat that holds the Jews back from rebuilding the prophesied Third Temple which the Antichrist will later desecrate at the midpoint of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27 and 2 Thess. 2:3-4). The Jews must build their new Temple before the half-way point, and certainly could before the Tribulation if there was no Muslim opposition.

3) God declaring Himself to the world is in character with His willingness to warn the world before impending judgment. A great multitude could come to God before the Rapture due to God revealing Himself more fully by His victory in the Gog-Magog Battle, and so more people would be included in the Rapture and avoid the wrath of the Tribulation.

4) The Jews having to flee into the desert 3.5 years into the Tribulation due to the Antichrist's abomination in the newly built Temple may cut them off from being able to burn the Gog-Magog invader's weapons (Matt. 24:15-16). If they couldn't get to the weapons to burn them in the prophesied amount of time, at least 3.5 years would be needed before the Tribulation, placing the Gog-Magog Battle well before the Tribulation begins.

Cons:

1) Placing the invasion before the Rapture would contradict the first general time clue of the terms "latter years" (Ezek. 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16). Old Testament prophets like Ezekiel used these terms to indicate a specific "time of Jacob's trouble" for Israel, which is the Tribulation.

2) Placing the invasion before the Rapture would contradict the fifth general time clue which says Israel will be living in unsuspecting peace before the attack. Unless the peace is derived from a Psalm 83 scenario where Israel has subjugated its surrounding neighbors, true peace may only come to Israel by the peace covenant made between the Antichrist and Israel (Dan. 9:27). That covenant starts the seven year countdown of the Tribulation.

3) The New Testament teaches that no prophetic event has to occur before the Rapture, called "imminency." Imminency precludes such prophetic events like the Gog-Magog Battle from happening before the Rapture.

4) The removal of the "Restrainer" allows the Antichrist to rise to power (2 Thes. 2:6-8). Because the Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16), the removal by the Rapture of the Holy Spirit's work through the Church must then take place before the Antichrist can arise and create the peaceful precondition for Israel.


After the Rapture But Before the Tribulation

A popular supporter of this view is Dr. Tommy Ice of the Pre-Trib Research Center.

Pros:

1) Certainly the world will be in chaos due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, which Russia and its Muslim coalition could use to seize the opportunity to attack a friendless Israel.

2) Having the Muslim nations shattered before the Tribulation gives the Antichrist an easier time of making good on a peace covenant with Israel.

3) With the more christianized nations in tatters due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Islamic world in ruins from the Gog-Magog Battle, the remaining European world power could fill the vacuum in the Middle East. By making a peace treaty with Israel and easily conquering the lands of the once Middle-Eastern Muslim countries, the Roman Empire could truly be revived once more. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence (though under the control of the Antichrist) until the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 16:12).

4) With the Muslim world in tatters, Israel would have no resistance to their rebuilding the Temple at the onset of the Tribulation.

5) The Rapture does not start the Tribulation, but rather the signing of the peace covenant between the Antichrist and Israel does (Dan. 9:27). This fact would allow a 3.5 year or more time delay between the Rapture and the Tribulation, giving Israel the full seven years to burn the weapons from the Gog-Magog Battle before being forced to flee into the desert (Matt. 24:15-16).

Cons:

1) Placing the invasion before the Tribulation would contradict the first general time clue of the terms "latter years" (Ezek. 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16). Old Testament prophets like Ezekiel used these terms to indicate the specific "time of Jacob's trouble" for Israel, which is the Tribulation.

2) The peaceful precondition of Ezekiel 38:11 in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle may depend on the peace covenant with the Antichrist. Since the Antichrist can't be revealed until the Tribulation begins, Israel would not attain the conditional requirement for the Gog-Magog invasion to occur.


In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll analyze the possibility that the Gog-Magog Battle could happen during the 7-year Tribulation.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Search For Timing

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

The million dollar question for you and me is, "Are we going to live through the events of Ezekiel 38-39?" Will we suffer from the fallout of a world turned upside down, or is this event not meant for the Church?

Let us go to the Bible in search for the answers. Five general timing clues the Bible gives us when taken together will reveal a clearer picture of when this world-altering battle will occur.


Clue 1) "Latter Years" and "Last Days"

The first general timing clue is Ezekiel's use of the terms "latter years" (Ezek 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16). The key verse to understanding what these terms mean is Deuteronomy 4:30 which reads, "When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him." "Distress" is also translated as "Tribulation." It is the Tribulation of Daniel's 70th week that brings the Jewish people as a nation back into the belief in God, and later to accept Yeshua as their Messiah. The Tribulation leading up to the Millennial reign of Christ is what the Old Testament prophets consistently and repeatedly taught about.

Conclusion: We now know based on these key phrases that the Gog-Magog Battle has to happen somewhere around or in the Tribulation and in relation to the Millennial Kingdom — the 1,000 year reign of Christ. Neither of these have occurred, so we know that Ezekiel 38-39 is future.


Clue 2) Historical Absence

The second general timing clue is that history has never recorded the Gog-Magog Battle as ever having happened. Never in the history of the Middle East have the nations described in the Gog-Magog coalition been united in an attack against Israel. In no time has such a specific group of nations been destroyed by inclement weather. And, in no time in history has Israel named a valley Hamon Gog (Ezek. 39:11). No adjoining town called Hamonah has existed where the Jews buried invaders.

Conclusion: History just does not show that the Gog-Magog Battle has ever happened, which only leaves a future timing for it to occur.


Clue 3) Israel a Nation Once More

The third general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 36 and 37 — the regathering of the Jewish people back into their homeland "from all the countries" of the world (Ezek. 36:24). Like the vision of dry bones reanimated into a living person that Ezekiel witnessed, Israel did indeed become a nation once again on May 14, 1948, after nearly 1900 years since the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D and scattered the Jewish people across the globe. After all these centuries, this prophecy has been fulfilled in our modern generation.

Conclusion: Because this prophecy has been fulfilled and Israel is a nation once more, that vital piece is in place allowing for the prophecy concerning the Gog-Magog Battle to commence.


Clue 4) — Uniting the Nations

The fourth general timing clue involves the developments nationally that have to occur to make the nations of the coalition unite in an effort to invade Israel. Two factors have made this coalition possible today. The first is the religion of Islam uniting these nations in satanic hatred of the Jewish people. The second is the economic bounty that Israel now has with its revitalized land and newly discovered gas and oil deposits. Today, the nations of the coalition are united in the single purpose of destroying Israel and plundering its wealth.

Conclusion: The daily news is resplendent with stories in support that this general timing clue has been fulfilled in just the last few years, allowing for the prophecy concerning the Gog-Magog Battle to commence.


Clue 5) Israel Peaceful and Unsuspecting

The fifth general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 38:11 which reads, "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.'"

This verse requires that Israel must be living without walls, peacefully and unsuspecting of an attack. Israel today lives in constant fear of attack and is always prepared for an invasion by the 60-plus million hostile Muslims surrounding their borders.

Conclusion: Because of this most unfriendly climate and the constant tension on the borders, this part of the prophecy cannot have yet been fulfilled and so is future.


Final Analysis:
The Gog-Magog Battle is certainly future, but not the next invasion of Israel. Something has to cause the violent bordering nations of Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon to not become members of the Gog-Magog coalition. For them to sit out acting on their hatred of Israel and to pass up on seizing such an opportunity as Gog presents is an utter improbability.

Another prophecy has to happen first for Israel to become a "peaceful and unsuspecting people." The most likely prophecy that would lie before the Gog-Magog invasion is a Psalm 83 scenario where Israel has subjugated their bordering neighbors, or a nuclear deterrent like Isaiah 17 describes with the one-day destruction of Damascus, or a combination of the two.


Can we clear up the picture even more and know just when during the "latter years" Ezekiel's prophecy in chapters 38 and 39 will occur? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll analyze the possibility that the Gog-Magog Battle could happen before the 7-year Tribulation.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Ezekiel 39:21-29

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

Ezekiel 39:9-20 unearths the gory funeral purification ritual needed to cleanse the land from almost a billion dead invaders' bodies. It will be up to this point the biggest cleanup job in all of human history.

While the cleanup process is under way, a new process will be in the making. The largest national reawakening to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob since King Josiah commences (2 Kings 23:25). Ezekiel 39:21-29 describes this beautiful reuniting of God with his wayward Israel.


Ezekiel 39:21-29 — The Reunion

"21I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. 22From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. 23And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them."

"25Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."

The prophetic regathering of the Jews back to Israel that we see this very day will finally be completed because of God's miraculous victory over the Gog-Magog armies. Every Jew in the Diaspora after having been exiled since the fall of the Northern 10 tribes some 2,700 years ago will be compelled (whether willingly or by force) to immigrate to Israel, for as the Sovereign LORD says in verse 28, "not leaving any behind."


Israel Reunited

Today Israel lives primarily under secular humanist belief, though there is a small minority who are of the orthodox group. After witnessing the supernatural victory of God in the Gog-Magog Battle and having been saved from certain annihilation, the Jews as a people will again truly believe in Jehovah God and will worship Him again as one entity. They will worship God (though not yet His Son) in their newly built Third Temple, which the lack of pressure from the now dead invaders and with their newfound faith should bring about.

The Gentile world as well will have no choice but to admit that God exists, for that, too, is the outcome of God's victory. What the peoples of the world do with that newfound realization is a different matter altogether, for some will acknowledge God but not turn to Him.

God's return and reunification with His lost branch of children will reshape the world spiritually. It will usher in a new day of personal accountability for all of mankind. And, it will set the stage fully for what comes next.

To God be the glory!


The million dollar question is — "When will this battle happen?" Will this happen in our lifetime? Are Christians going to see this battle? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll analyze the clues given in the text to discern as to just when this incredible transformation of the world will take place.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Ezekiel 39:9-20

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

Ezekiel 39:1-8 describes the tremendous aftermath of the foiled Gog-Magog invasion. Before the massive coalition army can fire a single shot from their launching point on the mountains of Israel, God steps in and supernaturally devastates not only the invaders but also their homelands as well. Russia, Iran, Turkey, the 'Stans, Sudan, Lybia and other Muslim nations are reduced to a wasteland, and only one-sixth of their combined army remains, exiled to Siberia (Joel 2:20).

For the nearly three-quarter million to a billion corpses left by God's hand to rot in the land of Israel, the biggest cleanup process in all of history is ready to begin. Ezekiel 39:9-20 unearths the gory funeral purification ritual.


Ezekiel 39:9-10 — Plunder Those Who Plunder

"9'Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. 10They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.'"

Burning Weapons

There will be so much armament left over by the dead Gog-Magog armies that Israel will be able to use the very same weapons meant to destroy them as fuel.

Now, it's left to wonder in a modern day scenario how one burns a machine gun. What good are burning bullets? Who would be crazy enough to throw RPGs into a fire?!

Some have pointed out that Russian tanks are made out of something called lignastone, a composite that burns so hot that one can actually burn a tank as fuel. Can you just picture two Jewish men sitting by a roaring fire and one asks the other, "Moshe, go throw another tank on the fire," that kind of scenario? That's hard to picture, but what is very reasonable is that the fuel could be taken out of the tanks and other warcraft and be used as fuel.

Another source of fuel from weapons could be nuclear in nature. Wouldn't it be ironic and so typical of God that Israel could end up using the nuclear material Iran is so hot to develop right now into a bomb?

Ezekiel is writing 2,600 years ago and so may not have understood the details of what exactly is being burned. And, indeed, there could be many wooden weapons to go along with all the metal-based weapons. But, what we do know for sure is that the people of Israel will make fuel out of the hordes weaponry and consume it for seven whole years.

In essence, the plunderers — Gog and his forces — will provide their own armaments to be plundered by the Israelis. Bitter irony!


Ezekiel 39:11-16 — The Buried Hordes

"11'On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east toward the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog. 12For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 13All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD. 14Men will be regularly employed to cleanse the land. Some will go throughout the land and, in addition to them, others will bury those that remain on the ground. At the end of the seven months they will begin their search. 15As they go through the land and one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it until the gravediggers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. 16(Also a town called Hamonah will be there.) And so they will cleanse the land.'"

Skulls

Can we calculate how many invaders there are from the time indicators in this section of verses? These passages state that it will take Israel seven months to bury all the dead invaders. Statistically, today there are between five to six million Israelis living in Israel. Let's say just a million of them go out and start burying bodies. Take one million burying for seven months, subtracting the Sabbath days, and we can estimate that if they each buried just one body per day — 180,000,000 bodies would be buried! If each buries two a day, the invaders would number 360,000,000 bodies. But, verse 13 tells us that "all the people of the land" will go out to bury the dead, so 360 million is highly conservative. We can conclude then that the hordes of Gog are truly massive, and yet God leaves alive only one-sixth of that impressive number.

While the Israelis cleanse the land from the defilement of dead bodies, they'll create a new mass grave in the Valley of Hamon Gog ("the hordes of Gog"), a new name given to an existing valley most likely down by the Dead Sea. Also, like the mining towns of early American history that went up almost overnight in their search for gold, a town will quickly be built called Hamonah to manage the burying process.

The Israelis act as a sort of priesthood, going out and cleansing the land. Throughout the Bible God demonstrates that He likes ceremonial cleanliness and holiness. With the newfound faith in God, the Jews will seek to follow the cleanliness laws and rituals once more.


Ezekiel 39:17-20 — The Great Sacrifice

"17Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: 'Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. 18You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls—all of them fattened animals from Bashan. 19At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. 20At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,' declares the Sovereign LORD."

Carrion Bird

God calls together every kind of animals to participate in what is significantly called a "great sacrifice." While Israeli clean-up crews work tirelessly to bury the dead, the birds and animals will feast on the sacrifice of the Gog-Magog armies. These animals will gorge themselves on princes and mighty men, the best of the best of their soldiers, from the highest official to the lowliest of conscript — they become nothing. The hordes of Gog that were wiped out instantly by God have become nothing more then bird food, fulfilling their decimation and abject humiliation.


For the nearly three-quarter million to a billion corpses left by God's hand to rot in the land of Israel, the cleanup process is under way. But, a new process is in the making. A national reawakening to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob commences. In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll study Ezekiel 39:21-29 and witness the greatest Jewish revival since King Josiah (2 Kings 23:25).

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Ezekiel 39:1-8

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

Ezekiel 38:18-23 is God's unveiling of Himself to the world in a most dramatic fashion. Hopelessly outnumbered by the combined armies of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Lybia and other Muslim nations and led by a demonically driven leader named Gog, Israel has no possible hope of surviving on their own. Then, God steps in. He smashes the armies with supernatural devastations of biblical proportions. The whole world then knows "that I am the LORD."

What will be the fallout for Gog and what are God's purposes for such a public display of His power? Ezekiel 39:1-8 describes the tremendous aftermath.


Ezekiel 39:1-6 — Raining Fire

"1Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. 3Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. 6I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.'"

Chapters 38 and 39 combined are unique to the whole Bible because they give the most lengthy and detailed description of any prophetic battle, way moreso even than the Battle of Armageddon.

Ezekiel 39 begins by adding more details to the Gog-Magog Battle and the armies' subsequent destruction.

How will God drag Gog and his armies down to invade Israel? When God says "drag you along" we refer back to the hooks mentioned in Ezekiel 38:4. The ancient Assyrians used to like to humiliate the peoples they conquered. The Assyrians would put hooks into those they'd conquered's mouths or through the skin between their shoulder blades on their back. The "hooked" would then in humiliating defeat pull the Assyrian chariots all the way back to their homeland. And so, God is saying here that He is going to humiliate the Gog-Magog coalition.

If you've ever seen the Indiana Jones movie where he was being dragged behind a truck or a tank or a plane (Indiana Jones was always being dragged around behind something), it is just like that. God is dragging the armies down so He can decimate them. He drags them down to the "mountains of Israel," indicating where the battle field will be — on the mountains of Israel.

The Gog-Magog coalition comes with an incredible amount of weapons. But, even though they come bearing a lot of weaponry, those weapons will become useless. Before the armaments are even drawn, before an arrow can be place on a bowstring, before a turret can be aimed, God knocks the weapons from their hands in verse 3.

In verse 4 and 5, God kills the invading armies, leaving their bodies lying in the fields to be eaten by carrion birds and wild animals. They are soldiers who receive no honorable burial, having their bones picked at by animals and spread across the battle field.


Carrion Bird

In verse 6, God promises to "send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands." And so, not only does God decimate this international army when it reaches Israel, but He goes back and starts decimating by fire their home countries as well. God starts blowing up Russia and Iran and Turkey and all those nations involved. Joel 2:20 even alludes to the aftermath of God's victory in the Gog-Magog Battle, resulting in one sixth of the invaders being driven into Siberia, "a land barren and desolate with his face toward the east sea."


Raining Fire

One-sixth of the invaders is all that will survive Gog's foiled invasion. The Gog-Magog Battle is a very thorough and complete victory for God Almighty!


Ezekiel 39:7-8 — That the Nations Know

"7'I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. 8It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of."

God's entire purpose for causing the Gog-Magog Battle is summed up in this key textual passage. The purpose is three-fold:

  1. Israel will leave its secular humanism and return to God the Father (though not yet to His Son).
  2. God will no longer tolerate His name being misused as the Third Commandment instructs (Ex. 20:7).
  3. The world will know that God protects Israel. The end result of God defeating Israel's enemies is so that He will be glorified, honored and praised.

In all things, to God be the glory!


What will it take to clean up after nearly three-quarter million to a billion people die by God's hand on the mountains of Israel? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll study Ezekiel 39:9-20 to unearth the gory funeral purification rituals.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Ezekiel 38:18-23

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

Ezekiel 38:7-17 gives the motives for Gog's evil scheme — to plunder and loot an unsuspecting nation. Gog will use his massive coalition of nations to invade Israel's wealth. What will God's reaction be to Gog attacking the people who are the apple of His eye, and for what purposes does God intend to use this invasion? Ezekiel 38:18-23 gives us the answers.


Ezekiel 38:18-22 — The Sword of God

"18This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him."

Warfare

God's "hot anger," "zeal" and "fiery wrath" unleashes the very elements against the Gog-Magog coalition of armies. God not only plans on just destroying the armies, but He embarrasses them by having the various factions turning on and killing each other. Whoever is left alive, God then cracks the land out from under their feet, swallowing them with a mountain-shattering earthquake.

God also pummels the armies from above with torrents of rain, hail and sulfur falling from the sky. It could be that the falling debris is a result of the earthquake producing volcanic activity. Maybe but less likely Israel releases its nuclear missiles.

Whatever the fallout, in the end there can be only one conclusion about how Gog's armies were destroyed. "Torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur" all are very biblical in proportion. The wrath of the Old Testament judgments released into a modern age which thinks God has ceased judging in such a dramatic way will terrorize a world in religious confusion.


Ezekiel 38:23 — God Revealed

"23'And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'"

The whole planet will suffer a terrible earthquake. Also, the whole world will witness the Gog-Magog Battle and see the destruction of Gog. And, because of the supernatural elements used to destroy this massive international invasion force, God uses His victory to show the entire world that Jehovah God exists. Everybody will know in no uncertain terms that God is real and He defends the tiny nation of Israel. There will not be a single atheist left at that point.


What will be the fallout for Gog and benefits for Israel from God's victory? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll look into Ezekiel 39 for the grisly details.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Gog-Magog Battle - Ezekiel 38:7-17

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy Nathan Jones

Ezekiel 38:1-6 foretells of a time when a great demonic leader from Russia will lead a coalition of nations such as Turkey, Iran, Lybia and the Sudan against Israel. Identified as "Gog," he will gather a great horde of invading armies together. What then will that horde be planning on doing? Ezekiel 38:7-17 gives us the chilling answer.


Ezekiel 38:7-9 — An Advancing Storm

"7'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land."

It is interesting to note that in verse 8 Israel has recovered from a war. Which war will Israel supposed to be recovering from? Israel has waged many wars since its inception in May of 1948, and continues today to be in an extreme defensive position.

Looking at the map below, isn't it interesting that the Gog-Magog alliance that Ezekiel describes is missing all the border countries around Israel — Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza? It's no secret that these countries hate Israel with a passion. They've got thousands of missiles pointed at Israel right now, their fingers itching in anticipation to push the firing buttons. So, the war Israel is recovering from could be a war in which Israel has to subjugate the neighboring countries around them, such as Psalm 83 describes. Otherwise, these bordering nations would have to be members of the Gog-Magog alliance, but the text clearly leaves them out.


Gog-Magog Countries

Israel as a nation exists today, just as verse 8 foretold, for the "people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate." For over 100 years now the Jews have been brought out of the nations, back to their native land. The world in 1948 witnessed those regathered Jews form a nation where one hadn't existed in almost 1,900 years. Many Jews still are spread throughout the world, but they in great numbers continue to return to Israel.

Verse 8 also tells us that the Jews will be brought out from the nations to live in safety. Now "safety" is an interesting word because it could mean a number of things. "Safety" could mean that they live confidently in the land, secure in their military might. It could also mean they are engrained in the land as a nation once more, safe among their own people. Or, it could mean that there are finally no outside threats against Israel.

The storm in verse 9 — those hordes of Gog — when they come will be so massive in numbers that they'll appear to be as a cloud covering the land. I come from areas where there are hills and mountains, and when I moved to Texas I never saw so much sky. When a Texas storm approaches you can see this black cloud filling the entire sky with a little gray line underneath along the horizon. It's approach can be intimidating at times. This is what it will feel like for Israel as this invading storm approaches.


Ezekiel 38:10-13 — An Evil Scheme

"10'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11You 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. 12I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.' 13Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, 'Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?'"

Invading Army

Notice Israel's condition — they are living in safety and they have no walls. In Ezekiel's time, cities had protective walls surrounding their buildings to keep invading armies at bay. It could be that as Ezekiel is given a glimpse into the future he's dismayed that the modern cities of Israel such as Tel Aviv, Haifa and even the sprawling Jerusalem have no protective walls. Israel does have a long running wall to keep the Palestinian terrorists at bay. Whether it's the total absence of any protective walls, or just the absence of walls around cities that is the prerequisite for Gog's conclusion that Israel is defenseless is open to debate.

What is Gog's motive for this battle? Simple, he wants money. Israel has become very rich. In its short existence Israel quickly became a first world nation. They have been rated the fourth largest army on the entire planet. They revitalized an abused and barren land, making it fertile once more. They have the wealth of the Dead Sea minerals and recently they have discovered a huge off-shore bounty of natural gas and oil. This is all very enticing to the countries in the Middle East, and Gog especially wants to come and plunder them.

Verse 13 cites some interesting nations. Listed there are Sheba and Dedan, which are the old names for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Ezekiel is telling us that those players are just going to sit out Gog's invasion.

We also know who the merchants of Tarshish are as Tarshish was considered anything past the Rock of Gibraltar in Spain. Spain was considered in Ezekiel's time as far as the known world reached. Actual archeological evidence exists that shows that the ancient Middle East actually traded with Great Britain.

Some Bible versions might have the interpretation of "her villages" as "young lions." Should this be the lion of Great Britain, then the young lions would be any British former colony such as America, Australia and Canada. They as well will sit out Gog's invasion, merely content to mildly protest and watch what the outcome will be.


Ezekiel 38:14-16 — Attack From the North

"14Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.'"

Looking at the map above, what is the farthest northern city from Jerusalem? It is Moscow. Moscow is identified on the map by an "M" in the red pinpoint.

Some people think that the Lord is saying the "far north" is Turkey, but to really get to the farthest north Moscow can be the only logical city as it is the northern most city directly above Jerusalem. This fact also substantiates that Rosh and therefore Gog are definitely from Russia. They both come from the far north.

Verse 16 is another verse where God reiterates over and over again that He is going to show Himself holy through this invasion. God will have His own purposes come out of what man plans for evil.


Ezekiel 38:17 — — Invasion Foretold

"17'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them.'"

In verse 17, it appears that God in His righteous anger pushes past Ezekiel and just jumps right in to address Gog himself. Have you ever seen one of those yo-mama or in-your-face competitions? Just like that, God gets all in Gog's face, stands chest to chest and eye to eye, and threatens with what He already told the prophets of old.

When did God denounce Gog before Ezekiel, though? Where in the Old Testament are the other times that the prophets talked about Gog? Well, we have to look at this from God's perspective and Gog's present time. God skips over time here, because time is pretty irrelevant to God, and talks to Gog face to face in the time he will dwell in. God is reading Gog the riot act saying, "Read Ezekiel, read Joel, they were talking about this coming battle, and look Gog you are in so much trouble, and this is what I am going to do to you!"


What is God going to do to Gog and his invading armies? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll look at the rest of Ezekiel 38 which tells not only the reader but Gog himself exactly what God is going to do to the invading forces.