By 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.
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!
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.