Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: The Precursor War

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What will God do so that there's not an Atheist left in the whole world?

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

Islam, ISIS and the End Times

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I Will Be Known

Vic Batista: Can you give us a brief recap of the ending of Ezekiel 38 before getting into Ezekiel 39?

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38-39 is the longest described end time war in all of the Bible. It is even given more detail than the Battle of Armageddon. It is a war where God entices Russia's leader, Gog, to come down and want to take all the wealth of Israel. We see today that Israel's wealth has dramatically increased since they have found the natural gas buried deep in the Mediterranean Sea. Russia wants those gas lines, so they will plot and plan to come and take out Israel.

Gog will gather a coalition of nations, which interestingly are all Islamic. They're named and consist of Turkey, Iran, Libya, the Sudan and Ethiopia, and some other nations such as all those 'Stan nations. They will come against Israel like a great horde. Combined they will comprise such a tremendous army that there is no way that Israel, even with their effective and technologically advanced army out there, can deal with such a force because it'll be too big to handle.

This is the point when God steps in to defend Israel. He throws everything at Gog and Magog. An earthquake shakes the world. He throws down hail. He throws down fire. The armies turn against each other and start killing each other. This entire horde will be supernaturally destroyed.

The purpose of the Gog and Magog War is contained in verse 23 of Ezekiel 38. God says, "I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I AM the Lord."

Through the Gog and Magog War, God is stepping back into human history. He's taking the focus off of the Church and moving it onto Israel. I believe this will happen just before or during the very beginning of the Tribulation, which is that seven year judgment coming upon the whole earth when God will punish the worlds' sins.

Vic Batista: Verse 23 is indeed a very important topic and crucial to the whole purpose of the Gog and Magog War.

Nathan Jones: There lies the beginning of the sanctification of the Jewish people, as well as the magnification and the glorification of God Almighty. The world today is thinking that God has checked out. He is out there somewhere doing His thing. Or, they don't believe in Him whatsoever. The churches and other religions are running a muck as if He isn't there.

But, there is a God of the Universe. He has sworn to fulfill His promises for the people of Israel, the Jews. He has regathered them from around the world, just like He promised. God has made them a nation, just like He promised. He will lead a remnant, a third of them, back to knowing Him as God and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. And so, the purpose of this Gog and Magog War not only is to wipe out Israel's enemies, but also so that the world will know there is a God.

I think after this war there won't be a single Atheist left on this planet, well at least a single credible Atheist left on this planet!

Vic Batista: That's one of the reasons why I really love this message here in the Word of God, because at the end of the day God wants people to know who He is and how much He loves them. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die at the cross. In John 1 it tells us that God walked among us so that people would know that God really cares and that He has a plan for them.

God as to give people a wakeup call, and the Tribulation is going to be the biggest wakeup call ever! In the meantime, we also see that there are signs that are pointing to Christ's return right now, and that also serves as a wakeup call for those who really want to see it.

Nathan Jones: Exactly! Jesus in Luke 21 gave us ten different signs that point to the soon return of Jesus Christ. The signs will come more frequently and intensely like birth pains. We are getting closer and closer to that end time, and an event of that end time is what we call the War of Gog and Magog. It's this end time battle that brings Russia and the Islamic world against Israel. God will step in and defeat them.

I believe the God and Magog War sets up the beginning scenario for what the Tribulation will look like.

The Precursor War

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 39 brings us forward through this incredible movie, in a sense, that is being played out here.

Nathan Jones: Chapter 39 in part recaps chapter 38, but giving us more details as to what has happened so far. So we start with verses 1-5:

"And you, son of man," in other words God is addressing Ezekiel, "prophesy against Gog," this ruler of Russia, "and say, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh," which is Russia, "Meshech and Tubal," which are the old names for parts of Turkey.
"And I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken," says the Lord God."

Chapter breaks and verse breaks didn't come until about 2,000 years after Ezekiel wrote this, so there wasn't a break between 38 and 39. These breaks have been added for ease of finding and referencing Scriptures. So, obviously, chapter 39 is just continuing the thought of 38.

God is reiterating destroying these nations because they want to destroy His covenant people, Israel. You'd think these nations are attacking Israel on their own, but God is enticing them so He can gather them together and destroy them and show the world His power. God gathers them from the farthest north, which is Russia, and He brings those nations down and He destroys them. These nations cannot destroy Israel no matter how hard they try, because the Lord is with Israel.

The text says that the invaders will fall on the mountains of Israel. There are a number of mountains that run north to south through Israel. The invaders come up these mountains, and that's where these armies are destroyed.

Vic Batista: God is really in control. Nothing really happens without God knowing. It isn't like God goes, "Oops! I didn't know this was going to happen." He is setting up the stage, right?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. God is sovereign. He knows what's going on. We sometimes think that the world is spinning out of control, but it's not. God is just patient. He is waiting for all who will become saved. He works towards His own end. He takes what man means for evil and He turns it good for His purposes.

When we see the Gog and Magog nations coming against Israel, they're just a precursor. When we read about the end of the Tribulation, it's not just Russia and this coalition of nations coming to destroy Israel, but every nation under the Antichrist comes against Israel. This war is kind of just a precursor of what will happen later when the entire world tries to destroy Israel.

Vic Batista: Absolutely. God is patient and He is in control. He is allowing all these events to take place because He is trying to get our attention. God loves us. He has a plan for mankind, and that plan starts with a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Nathan Jones: To really know God, you have to know Jesus Christ, His Son. Jesus gave His life on the cross — a perfect man dying for us. He is not just a man, though, for He is God and man combined. He purchased our salvation by dying on the cross, so that when you and I accept accept Jesus in faith, the punishment of our sins falls on Jesus Christ. Our crimes are off us. That frees us to have eternal life with God, where we can be forgiven and loved forever.

Knowing Jesus Christ is so important. This Gog and Magog War is a stepping stone in the process of getting the Jewish people and others in the world to know that God is here, and to accept His Son, Jesus Christ.

Vic Batista: Good point. We cannot lose sight that this is also God's purpose for the nation of Israel. God is not through with Israel, right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Yes, that Israel came back as a nation 1,900 years after the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD, that shows God has a purpose. That rebirth has meaning. We need to take it seriously. Israel's return is not an accident or an aberration of history. No nation comes back to life after 2,000 years. As a matter of fact, Ezekiel 36 and 37 prophesies the return of Israel coming back from the dead and becoming a nation once more. So, for this Ezekiel 38-39 to happen, Israel had to have become a nation again. This is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy in our day and age.

With Israel back in the land, we know that this Gog and Magog War is coming. Then, if you look at Ezekiel chapters 40-48 which follow this Gog and Magog War, they are about the Millennial Kingdom. They're all about Jesus ruling and reigning for 1,000 years on this earth. So, it all fits together chronologically.

Vic Batista: Anyone who is new to the Bible could simply start in chapter 36, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes. Just read it right through. Ezekiel doesn't address the Tribulation exactly. There are other passages and other books of the Bible that do that. This war is in or around the Tribulation, but it is not related to Armageddon.

When the nations of the world look and say, "Hey, wait a minute! Russia is making all these alliances with Turkey and Iran. That doesn't make any sense. Why are they doing that? All these countries that hate each other are uniting in their Islamic hatred of Israel. Why?" We can see that finally the scenario is fulfilled, the scene is set, and the stage is ready for this war to happen. That's why.

In the thirteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will marvel at a dramatic shift that will utterly change the world geopolitically.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: A Great Shaking

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

In what epic way will God defeat the Gog and Magog invaders?

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

Islam, ISIS and the End Times

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A Great Shaking

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 38:18-20 reveals that during the Gog and Magog War God will cause a shaking, a great earthquake. The passage reads:

"And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," says the Lord God, "that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: 'Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.'"

Some people are asking if we are going to be here to also experience that. Are we going to be alive through that? Your thoughts.

Nathan Jones: As Gog's Russian and Islamic armies come down to attack Israel, God in His anger comes again on the global scene, though not physically, because we won't see God until we're in Heaven. God in this passage reveals that He personally is going to destroy the nations that come against Israel. The earthquake is just the beginning of God's attack against these hordes that will be coming against Israel.

Will we be alive during this war or not? I don't believe so. The reason is that in this chapter we are reading about a fundamental shift of God's divine attention off of the Church, which currently is this Church Age, and back onto Israel. We are kind of seeing a transition even now happening as the Church fades from the scene and eventually will be raptured off this earth. After the Rapture, then Israel will become again the sole focal point of God's attention, looking towards the Millennial Kingdom. And so, I believe the Rapture of the Church will happen before this Gog and Magog War primarily because, as we are reading here in the last part of Ezekiel 38, God is coming back to the world scene again so blatantly in Israel's favor.

As these armies come against Israel and are ready to attack, God lets loose an incredible earthquake. The earthquake is so incredible Ezekiel says the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the fields, all that creeps, and all the men on the face of the earth shake. Whatever this earthquake is, it must be like a 9.0 plus on the Richter Scale, for the whole earth feels it. Ezekiel says it actually crumbles some mountains, the steep places it says, and every wall will fall down. This earthquake will be so big that it will rattle the entire planet!

Vic Batista: I am with you, Nathan, because I too believe that the next great event in the prophetic chart to happen is the Rapture of the Church. There's no timeline for that as the Rapture is an imminent event, meaning it could happen right now even.

Nathan Jones: Jesus compared His return to being like a thief entering a house. You never know when to expect a thief. If you did, you would have your gun ready when the thief came through your window. Likewise, Jesus will come like a thief, for you never know when He will come back. That is what imminency means.

When the Rapture happens, that great event when Jesus comes back and takes all those who believe in Him as Savior off this planet, it will likely soon after be followed by a terrible time that will befall the earth. This time will be the worse time in human history, which we call the Tribulation. The Tribulation is seven years of God's judgment upon the people left behind on the earth.

I believe that the Gog and Magog War that we read here in Ezekiel 38-39 timing-wise happens just before or at the very onset of the Tribulation. The earthquake kind of falls in line with the initial judgments, such as the Sixth Seal Judgment, that we read about in the Tribulation as well.

Vic Batista: Exactly! From Revelation 6 and on there is a sequence of earthquakes, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, we know there are quite a number of earthquakes during the Tribulation, three to be exact. Whether this earthquake happens before the Tribulation, or during the Tribulation making it four quakes, that's a tough one to put a finger on. There are quite a number of earthquakes that are described during that time period.

Rise in Earthquakes

Vic Batista: I know you have some great earthquake statistics, Nathan.

Nathan Jones: As we get closer to the Tribulation, the birth pains as Jesus called them, which are the signs of the end times, will come more frequently and more intensely the closer we get to the Lord's return. Earthquakes are one of those signs, and they've certainly been happening more frequently and more intensely in our day.

In the last 20 years, the world's experienced an increase by four times the amount of earthquakes. We are averaging 500 per year now, while there were only 240 back in 2006, so they are doubling.

Back between '85 and '94, 174 million people were affected by earthquakes each year. In 1995-2004, 254 million, so that is a 70% increase in earthquakes. There are indeed quite a number of earthquakes shaking the planet.

4 Prophetic Quakes

Nathan Jones: There are four prophetic earthquakes that happen in the end times. One is the one we just read about, which is the Gog and Magog earthquake, which will rattle the earth.

We also read in Revelation 6:12-14 about the Sixth Seal Judgment, when a great earthquake shakes every mountain and every island is removed from its place. Many students of Bible prophecy believe maybe that's the earthquake that coincides with the Gog and Magog earthquake, though I believe they could be separate.

Revelation 11:13 tells about how there will be a great earthquake in Israel halfway into the Tribulation. A tenth of the city will collapse. It even gives the number of how many will be killed. Some 7,000 people will be killed, and the survivors are terrified.

Then, when we get to the end of the Tribulation, the end of those seven years, the Sixth Bowl Judgment of the seven Bowl Judgments occurs. Revelation 16:17-21 says no earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth. So tremendous will be the quake that the great city, Jerusalem, split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapse. Every island will flee away and the mountains could not be found.

So, Pastor Vic, think about it. We are reading about the Gog and Magog earthquake which levels mountains and shakes the walls around the planet, but then we read about the final earthquake of the Tribulation that says, get this, that no earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on the earth. So, if we are talking about a 9.0 plus earthquake that shakes the earth during the Gog and Magog War, just think about how devastating the earthquake will be like at the end of the Tribulation!

Vic Batista: Wow! We've had some major earthquakes. After the Haiti earthquake, I took a team down there and the level of destruction was incredible. And now here the Bible tells us that was nothing compared to what's coming, right?

Nathan Jones: You know firsthand the tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti. Now picture the whole earth being devastated like Haiti was, or like the tsunami that destroyed the cities in northern Japan. Goodness!

Throwing the Mountains Down

Nathan Jones: When the Gog and Magog hordes come down to attack Israel, God will use a tremendous earthquake to shake the world. God attacks those armies as they are about to attack Israel.

Vic Batista: How amazing! Ezekiel 38:20-21 says, "So the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens and the birds of the field all creeping things and creeping things of the earth, and all man who are on the face of the earth shall shake at my presences. The mountains shall be thrown down. The steep places shall fall and every wall shall be fallen into the ground."

Nathan Jones: When Russia and the hordes come against Israel, the whole world will pay for allowing it to happen.

Vic Batista: We also see a number of these types of destructions that are going to be happening in the time of the Tribulation itself. In Revelation 8 and so forth, we read about similar destructions.

Nathan Jones: Yes, the Tribulation is filled by the 21 judgments of God. By the time the Tribulation is over, most of the world's population will be destroyed. Most of the earth ecologically will also be destroyed. The whole world will be reformed politically under a one-world ruler. Then Jesus comes back at the end.

Israel is in the Antichrist's crosshairs throughout the entire second half of the Tribulation. God protects Israel for seven years, first by a peace treaty the Antichrist makes with them. He breaks it halfway through, so the Jews flee down to what is now southern Jordan, where God will continue protecting a believing remnant the remaining 3.5 years.

Ezekiel tells us that Israel has to live in a time of peace without walls and bars before the Gog and Magog War occurs, and peace clearly isn't a Tribulation scenario. Therefore, we know that this Gog and Magog War is coming before the Tribulation.

I also believe the war will most likely arrive after the Rapture. Some have speculated that when the Gog and Magog earthquake happens, maybe the Rapture coincides with it. All of a sudden, with the people disappearing, those left behind can claim the earthquake got rid of the people, or some such delusion. But, maybe those left behind will say God is in this and He took His people off the earth. Either way, there is a great judgment by God coming to the world through the Gog and Magog Battle.

All this heating up of Islam's hatred against Israel is just the beginning. More Antisemitism is growing around the world each and every day, to the point it will eventually boil over. Its end result is to destroy Israel. We are seeing the beginnings of Gog and Magog today!

Epic Weaponry

Vic Batista: Nathan, lets continue our discussion with verse 21.

Nathan Jones: Verse 21 picks up the epic battle.

"I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the Lord God. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord."'

Vic Batista: That is an exciting passage!

Nathan Jones: It is the return of the Old Testament fire and brimstone. What is brimstone exactly?

What this passage is saying is that when these armies lead by Russia come against Israel, and Israel's defenses are not ready to deal with so many of these nations coming against them, God steps in to defend Israel. God attacks the armies with an earthquake. He turns the armies against each other. All of a sudden, Russia starts attacking Turkey, and Turkey starts attacking Iran. He drops on their soldiers pestilence and blood. He pummels them with hail and rain and fire and brimstone, which are like meteors. This army comes ready to attack and God lets loose everything in His arsenal down upon the invaders and absolutely annihilates them.

For the Glory of God

Nathan Jones: We read in Ezekiel 39 what the end result of this war will be. The purpose of this is also told to us in Ezekiel 38:23. The purpose is so that the nations will know that, "I am the Lord." God's winning this victory for His own glory.

Vic Batista: I don't know what is going through people's minds today when they read this account. Some don't recognize that God loves them. God has a plan for them. God at times allows certain troubles to happen to sort of shake us up so that we will wake up and see how much He loves us. In the Gog and Magog War, the world will be shaken up so that Israel will know that God still loves them.

In the twelfth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will move on to the exciting events of chapter 39.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: The Religion of Death

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How does Islam and ISIS play a role in the Gog-Magog War?

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

Islam, ISIS and the End Times

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The Religion of Death

Vic Batista: We've been talking about a very important subject matter — the Gog and Magog War. Our hopes are that by learning how God is in control that we encourage people as let them know more about the end times that we are living in. You and I started talking about the Gog and Magog War in Ezekiel 38 & 39 and we've been taking a verse-by-verse approach to the chapters. We stopped at Ezekiel 38:17. I want to pick up with verse 18 and move forward.

Nathan Jones: For a little background information, one of the most detailed end time wars described in the Bible, covering two complete chapters — Ezekiel 38 & 39 — is called the Gog and Magog War. The players are Israel on one side against the overwhelming armies comprised of nations that are led by Russia. Russia leads those 'Stan countries like Kazakhstan, as well as Turkey, Iran and Libya. All those nations are going to come against Israel with the desire to plunder Israel and destroy it. That is where we have gotten to so far. Let's pick up with Ezekiel 38:18-19.

"And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," says the Lord God, "that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken. 'Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.'"

Vic Batista: Wow! If that doesn't get people's attention, I don't know what will.

Nathan Jones: Yes, and that scenario causes a lot of folks to wonder if we are going to be alive through all of this. That's a whole different topic right there, and we can look through the different time scenarios in a later segment.

What this passage basically is saying is that that Gog will come against the land of Israel. God is the designated leader of Russia, we read in earlier verses. We don't know if Gog is his designation, or name, or a demon, but he's enticed to come down and form a coalition of nations, though not the nations directly surrounding Israel like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Egypt. This coalition is an "outer ring" of Islamic nations.

These nations also desire to gather to destroy Israel and plunder her. This is why the armies of Gog the Bible calls a horde, for they are so large and so massive that even the Israeli Defense Forces, one of the most powerful militaries in the world, cannot possibly stand up against the sheer numbers of troops that will be heading towards them.

As the horde heads towards Israel, they are in truth being gathered against Israel by God Himself. God does this because of instead attacking the countries separately, He lets these combined nations come against Israel for the purpose of destroying them all at once. God plans to step back into human history with this battle. Sure, He's always been there and He's always sovereign, but by the end of this war, the whole world will know that there is a God of the universe and He protects Israel.

Vic Batista: That's amazing! People today need to understand that there is a God. There are people out there who claim to be Atheists, or Agnostic, or whatever the case may be, yet we see evidence that God is all around, and yet people keep rejecting that evidence. But, a time will come when everyone will know that there is a God, right?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. As a matter of fact, as we read through this chapter, we'll find out that is really the purpose for why God is gathering these nations. Sure, God wants to punish all those Islamic nations who call for the destruction of Israel every single day, and build nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel, and attack them mercilessly both on the battlefield and in the UN. God is tired of that antagonistic condition.

Another reason for this war is that God has given His promise to the Jewish people that He will restore them as nation after regathering them from around the world. We have seen this fulfilled in our lifetime. God will protect Israel. The Jews will believe in God by the time this war is finished, though not necessarily His Son, Jesus Christ.

Later, by the end of a 7-year time period known as the Tribulation, that's when God will take a remnant of the Jewish people and bring them to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Those saved Jews will then become a priestly nation serving Christ throughout His thousand year kingdom, called the millennial reign of Christ.

So, we are getting to that point, but God has some things He needs to finish up here on earth in this age first. One of those matters is to deal with the intense hostility of the Islamic world against Israel. Now, I say the Islamic world because obviously Ezekiel 38 doesn't say the word Islam. Ezekiel 38 was written by the prophet Ezekiel some 600-700 years before Jesus' first coming. Islam didn't come about until near 600 AD, so we are looking at about 1,200 plus years before Islam was on the scene.

Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, and Sudan and those other listed nations have never in the history of the world been joined together like this alliance. What unites them is both Islam's hatred of Israel and Russia's desire for national wealth. We are seeing that today. Those alliances exist today! I believe the Gog and Magog war will be a judgment against Islam for its constant desire to destroy Israel.

Vic Batista: That's a very good point. People don't understand what Islam is really about. Hal Lindsey and some others have been sounding the trumpet for many years that Islam is not a peaceful religion. I guess people must just listen to parts of the news to gain their views that it is somehow peaceful and ignore the daily slaughterings.

Nathan Jones: Anyone who thinks that Islam is a religion of peace has their head in the sand. I have studied it extensively and read many books and I even teach on it. I have a sermon called "The Fall of Islam" on our website at Islam's founding belief is that God, whom they call Allah, is totally distant. You cannot be assured of salvation. It is a very works-based salvation. The only way to guarantee you going to Paradise in Islam is the destruction of the infidels, particularly the Jew and the people of the Book, IE the Christians. That is why we see so much hostility from Islam against Jews and Christian,s because the only way they can be assured of going to Heaven is to die a martyr in the cause of destroying Israel and the Christians.

Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of death. It is very satanic in origin. I don't have any qualms in saying that. I know that isn't PC whatsoever to say, but it is what it is. Until the world wakes us and realizes that the mission of Islam is to destroy Christianity and destroy Judaism and take over the world, then our nations are going to be weak and fall against their onslaught.

I believe Islam will not take over the world, because Ezekiel 38 & 39 will happen. Bible prophecy always is fulfilled 100% of the time, so at some point, and I believe soon, God will deal with the Islamic problem on this planet.

The Role of ISIS

Vic Batista: Absolutely! That is why the world has the issues with ISIS. One of the questions that came up this week concerned if ISIS is in Bible prophecy. Your thoughts on that?

Nathan Jones: ISIS is an Islamic terrorist group that is so radical that even Al-Qaida, which has been the number one terrorist group that the West has been fighting for some 14 years now, has terrified everybody globally. They desire to rebuild a caliphate, in other words, an Islamic empire across the planet.

ISIS initially poured out of Syria and then went into Iraq. Once the U.S. army pulled out of Iraq, the nation became very weak. The Iraqi troops just couldn't handle the ISIS invasion. ISIS has taken over much of Iraq. Their desire is to conquer not only Syria and Iraq, but then go down through Jordan. They've got groups in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt utilizing smaller terrorist organizations that have now proclaimed that they are going to fall under the ISIS banner.

The ultimate desire of ISIS, and they've made it public, the main religious leader of this group who calls himself al-Baghdadi has proclaimed their desire to conquer Israel. Islam wants to conquer Israel because they believe that it is affront to Allah for Islam to lose any Muslim lands. For many centuries Islam dominated the land that was called Palestine. When the British took it in WWI, and then Israel afterwards became a nation, Muslims saw the loss as an affront to Allah. They won't rest until 100% of the land of Israel is back under Islamic control. So, do you think that there can be a peace process through that view?

Vic Batista: This is very eye opening. People really need to understand that part of this hatred of Israel is all part of Bible prophecy being fulfilled. All the nations' ultimate purpose will be to come and try to destroy God's people, but for now, the Gog and Magog War only deals with Russia and this Islamic ring of nation. That's exactly what Ezekiel 38-39 is showing us here.

Possibly ISIS will play a role in this war, and possibly it won't. It could unify the Middle East by conquering it, or it could be setting the stage for Ezekiel's prophecy. We will have to watch and see what comes of them.

In the eleventh segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will discuss the incredible earthquake that will shake the world during this battle.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Illusion of Dwelling in Safety

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What will cause Israel to dwell in safety, unsuspecting of a Russian attack?

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

Gog & Magog

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Dwelling in Safety

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 38:14 reads, "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord God: "On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?"'" You touched on Israel dwelling in safety in an earlier segment. We believe we can see clues of the Gog and Magog War happening before the Tribulation because there will be a time when Israel will fully be at peace when a covenant is signed between Israel and the Antichrist.

Nathan Jones: Could be. The idea that Israel is living at a time of peace it is believed could be due to another war that should happen as a prerequisite to this war. Psalm 83 lists the exact nations bordering around Israel that are missing from the Gog and Magog War interestingly. That gives us the theory that Israel through their own defense forces subdues the surrounding nations. That means that Israel will finally deal with the terrorists coming out of Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt. They will finally have subjugated these countries and can finally live in peace.

Many people who study Bible prophecy are starting to believe that there must be a Psalm 83 War that happens as a prerequisite to the Gog and Magog War. If Russia said it was leading an overwhelming force against Israel, you can be sure that Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas down in Gaza, and all these different Islamic groups would be more than willing to jump in and help Russia defeat Israel. But, these bordering nations are just silent. So, something happens beforehand to give Israel peace.

The peace could come about because once Israel subjugates the nations surrounding them, they would now be dwelling in peace and safety. A victorious Israel would think nobody would dare attack them. So, they are unsuspecting of another attack, like this verse says.

Out of the Far North

Nathan Jones: Though Israel believes it's at peace, Russia will lead a coalition against Israel. Unfortunately, that is the case. Russia will lead a coalition against Israel as we can read in Ezekiel 38:15, "Then you will come from your place out of the far north..." That's as far north as you can get. Directly far north of Jerusalem is Moscow, so it again is pretty clear that we are talking about Russia.

Verse 15-16 continues, "You and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days," the end times, "that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus says the Lord God: 'Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?'"

We are now at the end of this section concerning what God is saying to Gog. To paraphrase what God's saying, "I am going to bring you down, Gog. You think you are attacking Israel on your own? No, I put the idea in your mind. I'm going to drag you down and I'm going to beat you, and then the people will now that I am God."

God then makes an interesting statement. To paraphrase, "I've been talking about this all the way back since the times of the prophets like Joel and the other prophets, now over 2,500 plus years ago." The result is that the world will know that this prophecy came true and know that God does live and He does rule.

Vic Batista: That is almost exactly what Nebuchadnezzar had to come to understand. He had to learn the hard way that God rules. Often man thinks that they are in control, but that is an illusion, right?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. Psalm 2 states that the nations plot in vain, but God laughs. He laughs. We think we are so tough with our nuclear bombs and our armies, but those are nothing compared to God's power. If Satan and all his angelic armies can't take God down, why do we think with our tanks and our machine guns we can prevail against God?

Vic Batista: Absolutely! All God is going to say as recorded in Revelation 14 at the end is it's over.

Nathan Jones: Yes, that's true. We are talking about a different war there called Armageddon. When Jesus returns to this earth and He fights the Antichrist who is the one-world ruler and all the armies of the world, Jesus doesn't have to fire a shot. He doesn't need His angels fighting people. We who are the Church, we will be following Jesus, but we won't be throwing any karate attacks or brandishing swords. Victory will come though Jesus speaking.

Vic Batista: So, Nathan, I won't get to use my smooth fighting moves?

Nathan Jones: No, Vic, sorry. Even with all your mad skills, you're just going to be a watcher. Jesus alone wins the war.

Most people over the last 100 years have feared Russia and her armies. They fear Iran now as it tries to build nuclear weapons. The Gog-Magog coalition is going to have a huge army. Little Israel with only a few million people will have to deal with millions of enemies coming down to attack them. The rest of the world will have no interest in defending them. You can see a picture can't you? God is trying to get Israel to depend on Him and Him alone.

Vic Batista: Yes, absolutely! Isn't that the same thing God wants from every person, whether we currently have a relationship with the Lord or not. For those who don't have a relationship with the Lord, you need to understand that Jesus Christ is the only hope. We need to depend and trust in Him, because things are not going to get any easier. Some people think that we are American and we can depend on our might and power, but America is changing for the worse. Only God can help us, and that's only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus needs to be our source. Right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. God doesn't just provide salvation nationally. He does so personally. Jesus kicks out all the supports under our lives. He allows trials and tribulations to come into our lives when we are not in a right relationship with Him. In doing so, Jesus is saying, "Come back to Me. Trust in me and Me alone. Give your heart and life to Me and I will be your defender. I will be your Savior. I will be the lover of your soul."

Paid the Ultimate Price

Vic Batista: Nathan, how would you encourage someone who doesn't have a relationship Jesus Christ. Can you tell them how they can begin a relationship even right now?

Nathan Jones: All you have to do is pray from their heart, something like, "Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior." Jesus then promises to forgive you of your wrongs that you have committed. He has promised to forgive you of your rebellion against Him. He promises to give you a new life, a new hope, and eternal life with Him in Heaven forever.

That promise Jesus made is an amazing, amazing thing, because do you know what? To fulfill that promise, God had to send His Son Jesus Christ to die in your place for your sins. This gift is free for you, but it cost God everything He held dear.

Vic Batista: I'd like to encourage people to know that Jesus is coming soon. He is the only hope for the world. Salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. There is no other way. We want to encourage you to trust in the Lord.

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: An Evil Plan

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What is Russia's evil plan?

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

Gog & Magog

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An Evil Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Young Lions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Role of the United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nathan Jones: Great advice, Pastor Vic!

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: The Latter Years

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

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

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

Gog & Magog

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The Latter Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Jacob's Return

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

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

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

Gog & Magog

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The Spectators

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

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

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

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

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

Jacob's Return

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

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

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

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

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

Turning Israel Into Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

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

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

Gog & Magog

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Hook in Russia's Mouth

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

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

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

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

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

Ezekiel 38-39 Nations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timing the War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Miracle Nation

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

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

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

Gog & Magog

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Prophecy Provides Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miracle of a Nation Reborn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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