By Nathan Jones
How does the Gog and Magog War indicate the timing of the Rapture?
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.
Indicating the Rapture
Vic Batista: Nathan, you made a very good point about the focus being moved away from the Church and instead put on Israel. The reason for that change is because we don't believe that the Church is going to be here for these events.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! The Rapture of the Church, revealed in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and John 4, all talk about how the Church (those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior) will be taken off this earth before God's wrath comes. When we see such a shift from God's focus of evangelism through the Church to His direct confrontation with the enemies of Israel, and using Israel as a conduit for His testimony again, we know that the shift we're seeing today will have finally taken place. The Gog and Magog War indicates that the Rapture of the Church happens before this battle happens.
Vic Batista: Excellent point! People should pay attention to the fact that the Church, meaning believers in Jesus Christ, are not going to live through any part of the Tribulation, right, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: Exactly true, we are promised throughout the Bible, especially in Revelation 3:10 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and other verses, that we are not destined for the wrath of God. The wrath of God is for the Tribulation. The Tribulation is kind of like the Flood, for it's God's judgment upon Man for their sins. It also serves to get Israel to turn their hearts back to Him. And, it is also serves so that Jesus Christ can defeat evil and set up His Kingdom on earth. We know then that the Tribulation is not meant for the Church. We are promised to be taken off this world, and that is where we get the term "Rapture" — to be caught up, to be snatched up, as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says — and be removed from this earth before the horrors of the Tribulation come. I believe the Gog and Magog War qualifies for that rescue as well.
Our Hope Is Found
Vic Batista: Of course, our hope is found in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone. That's our prayer for anyone. Our prayer is that people would turn to the Lord now while there is still time. Nathan, maybe you can speak to that person who hasn't give themselves to the Lord. What would you say to that person right now?
Nathan Jones: Look at the signs of the times. We are living at the pinnacle of the end of the Church Age. We are finally getting to the climax, the end of the movie, and it's the big scene. Jesus is coming back. And so, you have to ask yourself, is your heart ready? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?
Have you prayed in your heart, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior?"
God promises to do just that. He promises to forgive you of your sins, because the sins are now placed on Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the penalty for you. He also promises to take away your guilt, give you a while new life, and rescue you from both the Tribulation that is coming and from eternal judgment in Hell.
Vic Batista: That is the Good News. That's why we call this the Good News, because Jesus Christ came and died and paid for your sins. He has made a way to escape His judgment and this wrath to come through His Son's death and resurrection.
Vic Batista: Ezekiel 39:7 again declares, "So I will make my holy Name known in the midst of My people Israel." God is also not through with Israel, right, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: Not at all. I watched a little bit of Gary Burge on Phil Vischer from his Veggie Tales podcast. Burge just drives me insane. He's a Christian Palestinian, meaning he believes that God has wiped His hands of the Jews and there's no need for them. Basically Burge believes the Jews need to shut down their country and leave those "poor Palestinians" alone. That's so messed up theologically.
You don't take a nation that hasn't existed for 1,900 years, bring it back, make it the center of the world's attention just like Zechariah 12-14 prophesied, and then declare it's all a historical aberration. Israel's not just some nation. Have we heard of the likes of the Hittites or the Mayans ever rebuilding again? No! But we have the Israel of the Bible becoming a nation again.
God still has a purpose for the Jews. You'd have to be absolutely blind, just like Gary Burge, to not see the fact that God still has a purpose for Israel.
Vic Batista: If only people would recognize this truth and open their eyes, they could see the miracles that have taken place in 1948 and 1967 surrounding the creation and preservation of Israel. Israel is still a miracle today, as we're seeing hundreds of thousands of Jews returning back to their land, and that's all part of what the Bible had to prophesy about the future, a future here today.
In the seventeenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how the burning of the weapons points to a timing for this war.