Friday, May 25, 2012

Advancing the Gospel Through Social Media: Rumors of War

Nathan JonesMP3 PDFBy

Will the Church be here to witness any of the prophetic Middle East wars firsthand?

On the April 16th edition of the radio program Prophecy Update, I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing how social media has made a huge shift in how we do online evangelism. We also touched on the subject of the coming wars in the Middle East.


Bill Salus


Wars Forming

Bill Salus: Ezekiel 38 and 39 foretells of a Russian-Iranian-Turkey-Libyan coalition, actually nine populations groups listed by Ezekiel, that are going to come together to invade Israel one day. Joel Rosenberg and Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel are very concerned that this war could happen very soon, and rightfully so, because we looking at Iran marching ahead to get a nuclear weapon. Also, Russia and Iran have never been closer as far as their nations have been in their relationships with one another. Turkey is also upset with Israel and severed all political ties. There's a lot for students of Bible prophecy to watch there.

Another war we are watching out for is an Arab and Israel war, probably foretold in Psalm 83. The destruction of Syria's capital of Damascus described in Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 say Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a ruinous heap.

Nathan, do you believe that the world could wake up one morning and we could see the Psalm 83 and/or the Gog-Magog Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 start to happen soon, and if so, how sequentially?

Nathan Jones: I believe from following geopolitical events that the players involved in both of these Middle Eastern wars that Bible prophecy predicts are coming right along. The players are falling into their prophetically foretold places.

For instance, in just the last two years we've seen Turkey which has been almost totally secular politically in their views switch to becoming more of a fundamentalist Islamic regime. They've gotten rid of their ties to Israel and instead made ties with Israel's sworn enemies Iran and Syria. The Bible in Ezekiel 38-39 says that Turkey will become one of the nations that comprise the Gog-Magog coalition that will attempt to attack Israel.

We are also seeing Russia pulling the puppet strings behind Iran and stopping all of our embargoes that we as Western nations have been trying to impose on Iran in an attempt to stop them from developing a nuclear weapon. Both Russia and China keep on thwarting our efforts on achieving that end goal. The reason for the interference is that Russia has a vested interest in the Middle East. They have been sending warships down to Syria, basically challenging us to stay out of Syria and to let them handle their own internal problems. Russia sells arms to Syria and so has a vested interest in Assad remaining in power.

We've witnessed in this age Russia and Iran and Turkey all becoming united, along with those 'Stans nations that are just filled with Al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. So, the Gog-Magog coalition politically and religiously under Islam has already formed.

I a long time I've wondered when reading Ezekiel 38-39's coalition of nations, what's the deal with Egypt and Libya which now seem to be at peace with Israel? The answer came when the Arab Spring ended that peace, and now Egypt is totally in the grasp of Sharia parties running for election. Egypt has become a very tumultuous place politically right now. A lot of talk coming out of the Egyptian government is that they are going to get rid of their Oslo Accords peace treaty with Israel. We can be sure Egypt will follow in Lybia's footsteps, for when Kaddafi fell the more Sharia-loving Muslim Brotherhood took over power in Libya.

So, the final two nations that God predicted through Ezekiel are starting to join with the Russian-Iranian-Turkish coalition that has already formed.


Missing Peace

Nathan Jones: Interestingly, when we read Ezekiel 38 and 39, there is a noted absence of the adjoining nations to Israel. They just aren't listed in the Gog-Magog coalition. We then have to assume that there must be another prophecy that happens before Ezekiel 38-39.

Bill, I think you've brought that absence up very well and shed the limelight on Psalm 83 as a potential solution. With the absence of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and Egypt, we could assume that Israel at some point will have to subdue these hostile Arab neighbors. Terrorists like Hamas run Gaza. Terrorists like Hezbollah run Lebanon. Assad may be falling in Syria and the terrorist-backed rebels may take over, but both are openly hostile to Israel. Israel is going to have to deal with these violently hostile bordering nations because they are always a trigger-pull away from engaging them in all-out war.

So, I'd have to put a Psalm 83 war before an Ezekiel 38-39 invasion takes place.


Damascus Falls

Nathan Jones: Before the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 wars, or possibly as a component of one of them, Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 tell us that Damascus will be destroyed in one day by Israel. We're talking about the utter annihilation of an entire city in just one night.

Damascus is the oldest city in the world with 1.67 million people living there. It's so old in fact it hails all the way back to Noah's son Shem's time. It's that old! One day, though, the Bible says Damascus for all its long age will cease to be a city and become a heap of ruins.

Why would Israel have to destroy Damascus? I think we are seeing the reason come clearer as a whole lot of the arms trade resulting in disastrous weapons pointed at Israel is channeled through Damascus. If Israel feels that its back is against the wall, it would attack Damascus to end that threat. A matter of fact, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated that point back in August of 2008. He said that Israel would not hold back its full strength in the face of renewed attacks if Northern Israel was massively attacked. Israel would use their ultimate weapon against them to keep the remaining hostilities at bay. Israel knows that every city in their country could be attacked now that their enemies' missiles can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The enemies of Israel now have rockets with ranges capable of hitting Israel's major cities.


Church Witness

Nathan Jones: People ask if the Church will be here to witness Damascus being destroyed, or the Gog-Magog coalition attacking Israel. I don't think the Church will be here for Ezekiel 38-39 as there's a fundamental shift in focus from the Church to Israel. The result of the Gog-Magog Battle is that God will be made known to the world and right now He's known through the Church. To me, that war seems to take place after the Rapture of the Church. It's a post-Rapture event.

Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17, well, we might very well be here to watch Israel subdue its Arab neighbors and stare in shock at Damascus falling to a nuclear weapon.

Bill Salus: I concur with you on everything you said in respect to even the thought of the Church not being here to experience Ezekiel 38-39 coming into fulfillment. First of all, every one of those prophetic events you just talked about like Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39, they will adversely affect the world at large. At a time when economies are on the verge of collapsing, the very last thing we need is to see is these types of game-changing events happen in the Middle East, at least from a secular perspective.

Of course, as Christians we realize knowing these prophetic wars are coming that in the urgency of this final hour we need to get the message out that God is in control. He foretold these events and they point to the fact of Jesus' return must be coming soon.

As a supporter of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture, I see these end times wars timing as pre-Tribulational Isaiah 17, a pre-Tribulation Psalm 83, and a pre-Tribulation Ezekiel 38. The Tribulation of course will be that seven year period called "Daniel's Seventieth Week" where the judgments of God are executed. The wrath of God will be poured out on sinful humanity because they have rejected Christ and His salvation.

Very specific events that we are watching in the news right now undeniably show that the nations of the Middle East are near or at their end times positions of readiness. Though alarming, that should encourage people to realize that we could very well be on at the very end of the timeline in respects to the awful prophetic events that must occur.

So, you don't think the Church will be here for Ezekiel 38-39. I believe the only way the Church wouldn't be here for that event would be if we were raptured out prior.

14 comments:

friend said...

How is Greece and the economic issue interwoven in all the Middle East prophecy etc.? I am so intrigued that the political and economics are all falling into place at the same time. Is Greece the beginning of this 'snowball' effect and is it in the Bible?

Thank you so much for any and all insight.

Nathan Jones said...

@Friend, I'd say Greece is more of a symptom than a "snowball" of what's going on in the European Union that will eventually engulf the world according to the Third Seal Judgment. It shows the EU is "partly strong and partly brittle" (Dan. 2:42). At that point we're talking Tribulation in timing, so these events should postone for now.

Rodney said...

Nathan, sorry there will be no postponement, the global economic collapse precedes the Tribulation, making way for the globe to be divided into 10 regional spheres or kingdoms prior to the rise of the AntiChrist to power! The European Union is but a failed experiment doomed from the start, the larger nations had to continue to bail out the smaller nations within the European Common Market.

Rodney said...

It is my belief that the prayer for divine intervention of Psalm 83 and the prophecies of Ezekiel 38/39 as well as Isaiah 17 (Jeremiah 49) referencing the destruction of Damascus, will be fulfilled in one singular event! While some believe Psalm 83 is an actual prophecy depicting a battle, I hold the opinion that is a call for divine judgement against those enemies currently surrounding Israel.

While many scholars suggest the nations of Psalm 83 are not included in the Battle of Gog/Magog, I suggest they are indeed included! "And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains (borders of Israel), saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother"-Ezekiel 38:21. The same occured during the time of Gideon mentioned in Psalm 83 and recorded in Judges 7:22.

As far as the Destruction of Damascus, it is not hard to recognize that during the Gog/Magog battle, the primary force from the north will gather against the northern borders of Israel. I frankly believe Damascus being reduced to a ruinous heap is a result of the great earthquake recorded in Ezekiel 38:19,20. Though this devastating quake will shake the Land of Israel, the epicenter will be located at the assembly point of the Gog/Magog invasion force.

"At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel"-Isaiah 17:7. This passage identifies that it is not a nuclear weapon being deployed that causes this destruction, it is the hand of God Almighty! In addition, with current strategic arrangements, any nuclear weapon deployed by Israel on Syrian territory would surely enlist a Russian response in like manner.

"In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation"-Isaiah 17:9. Witnessing the mighty hand of the Lord God against the mighty and the Princes of the earth (Ezekiel 39:18), will convince the Syrian people that the Lord God fights for Israel and that being anywhere near the borders will be risky lest they provoke the Lord more!

That is my take on these prophetic subjects!

Rodney said...

We must also understand the reason the current nations surrounding Israel are not named in the Gog/Magog prophecy is that the Lord God is stretching forth his net drawing in fish from afar bringing them to the borders of Israel, that he might eliminate all the enemies of Israel in one singular event!

The other question I have for those that continue to carry a belief in Psalm 83 as a distinct and seperate battle, How is it that the Lord God would grant Israel victory over all their surrounding enemies and then turn around and gather an even greater coalition against his people Israel for profaning his Holy Name (Ezekiel 39:7)? There seems to be a definite problem with interpretation in such a scenario tht is being embraced today!

Rodney said...

The collapse of Europe is only the beginning of the coming Global Economic Collapse documented in James 5:1-7 as the rich weep and howl looking after the miseries that have come upon them, having heaped up treasures for the Last Days!! This passage of scripture also declares for believers to be patient during this time that the Lord is seeking to gather a harvest prior to our exit! When there is no more security found in this world your hope and trust can be placed in no better hands than the Lord!

Rodney said...

By the way, the Church will also be here to witness not only the global economic collapse of James 5:1-7, it will also be here to witness the battle of Gog/Magog of Ezekiel 38/39! The Tribulation is known as the time of Jacob's Trouble it will be at that time when the full attention of the Lord God is upon his people. The Church however will be removed prior to this time of appointed wrath or Day of the Lord! Our exit as I continue to believe will coincide with Ezekiel 39:29 in which the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the house of Israel in the aftermath of the Gog/Magog battle.

Rodney said...

On Mark Hitchcock's website I predicted over two years ago that Israel would not attack Iran in a comment listed under the category of Iran/Ezekiel. I also included the fact that Russia would enter the region in a defensive posture to defend Syrian and Iranian assets. It is certain that as long as a Russian nuclear deterrent remains present in the region, Israel will continue to only pump up the rhetoric as they have for over three years!

It is also certain that Russia will not allow Western intervention or their proxy terrorist militia's such as Al Qaeda to overthrow the Assad regime. Russia is following the prophetic pattern declared by the Prophet Ezekiel to arm and guard those of the alliance! Israel and the West are now between a rock and a hard place yet soon, neither for the sake of the West or Israel yet for the sake of his Holy Name the Lord God will intervene in the affairs of men!

Barry said...

Nathan, The only "he" that I can find that Ezekiel 38:17 is talking about is the Antichrist. Now I know that Ezekiel is talking about Gog, but the prophets have only prophesied about the Antichrist coming against Israel. This is telling me without a doubt that Gog is the Antichrist. Also we all know that Zechariah 14:13 is talking about Armageddon. The word tumult in this verse means confusion. This is what happens in Ezekiel 38:21. Also, Ezekiel 39:28 is a complete regathering. According to Mattew 24:29-31 this complete regathering will not take place until the second coming, thus putting Gog and Magog battle at the end of the Tribulation. Making Armageddon the same battle. If the Lord God hid His face because of their uncleanness and their transgressions, 39:24 then according to verse29 the transgressions must be finished(Daniel 9:24) which puts this at the end of the Tribulation Period. God Bless

Nathan Jones said...

Barry, for a detailed response as to why Gog and the Antichrist are not the same, and that the timing for Ezekiel 38-39 is most likely just before the Tribulation, check out my article Timing Gog-Magog.

Anonymous said...

According to the book of Daniel, the church will still be here when the antichrist takes residence upon the temple mount.

11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Anonymous said...

The discussion at hand in 2 Thess. 2 concerns the rapture:

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him." 2:1

The rapture cannot occur until the antichrist is revealed:

2:3 "... for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

Nathan Jones said...

Michael the Archangel is the protector of Israel, not the Church, and Israel is what Daniel is saying Michael will be protecting.

Daniel 9:26-27 tells us the Antichrist will be revealed when he signs a peace covenant with Israel at the beginning of the seven years, not the middle.

For more proofs on why the Rapture will happen before the Tribulations, see Why I Believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Barry said...

Anonymous, The words "falling away" is a mistranslation. The first 7 English Versions of the Bible says "departure" which fits the context better in 2 Thess. Daniel 12:2 I believe is a generalized statement. A deeper study of Gods word shows that these two resurrections are 1000 + years apart. Also any time the words my people or thy people as in Daniel 12:1 states, mentioned in the Old Testament it always refers to Israel. The Church(ekklesia) wasn't born until Pentecost in the book of Acts. God Bless