Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: The 30,000 Foot View

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What's the 30,000 foot view God's giving concerning the purpose for the Gog and Magog War?

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

God Defends

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Ezekiel's War

Vic Batista: We are continuing our teaching about that incredible topic — the Gog and Magog War — as revealed in Ezekiel 38-39. We have been going through the Bible verse-by-verse through those chapters. In our last segment we stopped in Ezekiel 39, and so now we are going to pick it up from there. So, we encourage everyone to get your Bibles ready and go to Ezekiel 39.

Nathan, before we dive in again, would you mind giving us a quick recap of the events of the Gog and Magog War? And, could you share when you think it might occur?

Nathan Jones: So far we've covered a lot of material, so it's a good idea to recap before getting into the rest of chapter 39.

Ezekiel 38-39 give us the most detailed end time war in all of the Bible. There is more detail about this end time war then there is even about Armageddon. Most people at least recognize the name Armageddon, but this war is called the Gog and Magog War.

Ezekiel wrote this 2,700 years ago prophesying a time when the Lord would pull different nations down to Israel so He could destroy them and show the world that He protects Israel. The invading nations are led by an entity called Gog. We don't know if it is actual man or a demon, or a designation, for Bible scholars are not sure. Magog is the ruler of Russia, so some people are wondering if Gog could be Vladimir Putin. We don't know. Currently, Putin is listed as the most powerful man on the planet, so he would be a good candidate frankly.

Russia will lead a coalition of Iran, Turkey, a number the North African nations, and the 'Stan nations. These nations will come together and combine their armies in unity we now can recognize through Islam. Gog wishes to come down and plunder Israel. A humongous army comes down against Israel, so massive it's like a storm. Because the invading army is so huge, Israel's Defense Forces which are one of the best armies in the world, cannot possibly handle the amount of troops coming against them.

As Israel is poised to be invaded, this is when the Lord God Himself steps in. Just like we saw in the Old Testament, God sends down fire on the invaders, He opens up the earth in earthquakes, and there is a massive hail storm. The armies even turn against each other. God almost totally destroys the armies. Then God sends fire onto the countries that sent those armies. God will knock out Russia and most of the Middle Eastern Islamic nation's right out of geopolitical interaction. These nations are so damaged they just can't function anymore. God knocks them out for the rest of the time period.

The devastation is so great that it takes Israel seven months to bury the amount of dead that are laying all over the land of Israel. It takes seven years to burn the weaponry and the fuel and everything that they've left behind. So, it's a massive invasion and cleanup.

The Lord reiterates His purpose of interceding on Israel's behalf is that the world will know that God is the protector of Israel. As a result, the Jews all over the planet will start accepting God. They won't accept Jesus as their Savior just yet, but they put their faith back in God. The Jews will immigrate out of all the nations of the world and return back to Israel. The final fulfillment of the regathering of the Jewish people back to Israel will commence.

And that is where we left off.


Timing Ezekiel's War

Vic Batista: We know that this event is one that we could possibly see begin during our time, therefore we need to be ready. We need to have our eyes open. We need to understand the signs of the times because we are living in very exciting times, right?

Nathan Jones: We are. For one, the context that Ezekiel gives us is the "latter days" or "last days," and those designations always revolve around the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the seven-year time period when God will pour out His wrath upon the earth. We read about the Tribulation particularly in the book of Revelation. Therefore, we know that the Gog and Magog War happens around that time.

There are also alliances in this text that we read about that have never existed in history. We have never had Russia and all those 'Stan countries, along with Iran and Turkey and others combine for the sole purpose to plunder and destroy Israel. Israel had no wealth until they recently found a major gas find. That find will make Israel a major gas competitor against Russia. Today we are seeing all these alliances coming together. So, yes, I believe we are getting very close to this war scenario happening.

Vic Batista: We are seeing events in our times like never before. Sometimes people question Bible prophecy, and they question whether these events are really going to occur. We don't really need to question. We just need to open our eyes and look what is happening right before us.

Nathan Jones: Exactly! The Apostle Peter foretold that scoffers would come in the last day scoffing and saying that everything is the same as it always was. We hear a lot of that today, that there have always been wars. But, no, the Bible lays out very specific end time events, and one of them is this Gog and Magog War.

I believe that the destruction of God's enemies sets up the scenario for the Antichrist. He's the one-world ruler who'll rise up in Europe and make a peace treaty with Israel to basically protect himself from Israel because he knows that God is protecting them. We are living in the days that are setting the stage for the Tribulation. We are not in the Tribulation yet, but when you look at the signs of the end times, we are getting really close.

Vic Batista: Very, very close, absolutely! Thank you for that recap and for sharing that background so anyone folks can catch up and have a better idea about what we are going to be looking at.


The 30,000 Foot View

Nathan Jones: Let's start back with Ezekiel 39:21-24 with God's declaration.

"I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward. The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them."

Vic Batista: What a wonderful passage! I noticed a number of items as you were reading through that passage that jumped out at me. The reason and the purpose for this war are given right here. We now know why all these things will be happening, right?

Nathan Jones: God's giving us the 30,000 foot view. It's where you go up real high and then look down and you can see everything, like when you are in an airplane. I remember flying back from Kentucky. From that vantage, I could look down and see the cars on the ground. They looked really tiny. Even all the towns were all tiny. At that height you get the big picture view.

You have to return to that big picture view when it comes to understanding the Bible. After you have read through that Bible, go up to that 30,000 foot view and look down. Then you'll realize there's a big pattern or big theme that runs throughout the 66 books of the Bible and 43 or so different authors. There is a unity of theme in the Bible, and the theme is that there's a great rebellion against God, but the Lord provides redemption and salvation.

Israel as a nation is a living example of what we are as a person. What I mean is, we've rebelled against God and turned against Him. So, the Lord hid His face from us as we lived our lives in rebellion against Him. The separation has caused our lives to fall apart and become a mess. Then Jesus stands and He defended us and He provides salvation. When we accept Christ and put our faith and trust in Him, we are saved.

Israel as a nation is a living example of that redemption. They were the Chosen People of God. They were to walk and talk and be God's example around the planet, but they choose to rebel against Him time and time again. The Lord exiled them back in 586 BC, but brought them back to Israel. Then they still rebelled against God, so in 70 AD the Romans destroyed Israel and scattered the Jews across the planet, but with a promise to restore the Jewish people and bring them back. For the last 2,000 years, just as God said here in Ezekiel 39, "They were unfaithful to Me so I hid My face from them." And that is what God has done.

But now, when all those nations want to come against Israel, God will return, though not physically. God's protection means that both Jew and Gentile — the whole world — will know that God defends Israel. He's back in the picture, and that sets the stage for the Tribulation.

Vic Batista: You make a very good point there, because when you look at the nation of Israel it is indeed so very much like us. We know God's promises, and He's done so much for us and blessed us so often, and yet we like Israel turn our backs on Him.

It's interesting that in my church I started teaching the book of Hosea as I'm making my way through all the Minor Prophets. Hosea brings to light the reality of how the nation of Israel has treated their relationship with God.

Nathan Jones: Yes, Hosea was a prophet whom the Lord told to go marry a prostitute. He obeyed and married a woman named Gomer (which is an unfortunate name). The purpose of Hosea marrying Gomer was knowing that Gomer would cheat on Hosea and be unfaithful to him. She would party and live hard and neglect her children, then finally she'll end in slavery to her sin and become destitute. Hosea, her husband, then buys her off the auction block, and he restores her. He redeems her and brings her home. He reinstitutes Gomer as his wife.

Gomer's life was a living example of what Israel was to the Lord. The Lord had chosen them as a people group to be His people, but they continually rebelled against Him. They committed spiritual adultery and harlotry with all the other false gods in the world. By the end they'd become destitute and were almost destroyed. But, God will come again and redeemed the Jew back. The Lord hasn't taken them home, so to speak, as in the example with Hosea taking Gomer home. But, through His Son Jesus Christ, the whole world now has salvation, if they accept it by faith. We are waiting for that day when the Lord returns and brings a remnant of the Jews into a saving faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ. This Gog and Magog War is the beginning of that process.

Vic Batista: That's God's grace. He extends grace and He gives people the opportunity to accept Him. But, there's also that period of discipline, for those that God loves He chastens, the Bible says, and He corrects.

Maybe some know they are going through a chastening process. In some ways that is a good thing. This difficult time means that God loves you and He has a plan for you, but you need to get yourself ready because the Lord can come at any moment.


In the twentieth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how God will prove He's in charge.

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