Friday, May 29, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Missing Nations

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Why are the countries that border Israel missing from the list of Ezekiel 38-39's invading nations?

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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Events Coming Together

Vic Batista: We have been looking at Ezekiel 38-39 concerning the Gog and Magog War. Could you recap the details about this war?

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38-39 reveals one of the most detailed end time prophetic wars in all of the Bible. It's even more detailed than the Battle of Armageddon. It talks about how Russia will lead a coalition of nations including Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, and all those 'Stan nations like Kazakhstan. Gog, the leader of this incredible coalition of armies, will march against the little nation of Israel for the purpose of plundering and destroying it.

God then steps directly into world affairs and He destroys those armies. God annihilates them on the mountains of Israel by earthquakes, fire, hail, and turning the armies against one another. Then God sends back fire on the countries themselves that had sent those armies. So, we are talking about the end of Russia and pretty much most of the Middle Eastern Islamic nations that are in power in the world today.

The end result of God's victory is that the whole world knows that there is a God and that He defends Israel. We are talking about an entire shake-up of the geo-political structure of this world due to the outcome of this war.

Vic Batista: Wow, incredible! God is getting the nation of Israel's attention. They've turned their back on God like Gomer did in the book of the Minor Prophet Hosea. God loves His people, but they are going to go through a chastening process until they eventually recognize their Messiah, right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Exactly. The end result of this war is that Jews across the world will give their hearts to God. They return to God and are excited to start returning en masse back to Israel. They haven't given their hearts to Jesus Christ as Savior yet. During the time of the seven-year Tribulation that follows this war, only a third of the Jews will be left left alive after the one world ruler, the Antichrist, starts murdering them all. By the time they see Jesus Christ return from the clouds to defend them one last time, that's when they will turn their hearts to Jesus Christ. The whole Tribulation process is in part to get people saved.

It's amazing to think that the whole world will know that there is a God. Think about it. There shouldn't be an Atheist left on this planet after the Gog and Magog War.

Vic Batista: That's a good point. It's amazing that even today, with all the events we see going on all around us, that there are so many people who think what we are talking about is a fairytale. People take what the Bible says as a fairytale. These are events coming together right now. We are seeing the signs of the times all around us.

Nathan Jones: Russia forming a coalition with Iran and Turkey and Libya and all those other nations will be a first in history. Such a coalition has never happened before. Even having Turkey as one solid country Ezekiel prophesied. Iran and Russia today have this ridiculously strange alliance between the two of them that seems to defy reason, especially as Iran builds nuclear weapons. And now with Israel finding one of the biggest gas reserves in history, they have become a direct threat to Russia's dominance in the gas trade with Europe. And so, we are seeing all these geo-political maneuverings starting to come together.

Russia is supposed to be led by a character who is identified in Ezekiel 38-39 as Gog. I don't know if God is their actual name, or designation, or a title. Gog might be the name of a ruling demon. Regardless, we are seeing that Vladimir Putin's star is rising up as he's been recently declared the most powerful man on the planet. He is worth more than most countries have economically. People are drawn to a man with power. Whether Putin is Gog or not, I cannot tell you for sure, because the Bible doesn't say. But, Putin's incredible rise to power it is just unheard of, so we seeing all the players in this war coming together.


The Psalm 83 Prerequisite

Nathan Jones: One caveat to this war beginning is that the nations directly surrounding Israel — Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Gaza and Jordan — they are not mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy concerning this Gog and Magog War. You've got to wonder why. And so, Bible prophecy scholars know that something else has to happen before the Gog and Magog War starts to remove these players.

Many Bible prophecy scholars who run in our ministry's circles now believe that Psalm 83 answers this mystery. The conclusion is that Israel will have to subjugate the nations surrounding them beforehand. That's why Russia needs such a massive army to attack Israel, because they've become scared of them all of a sudden. Israel will have grown in dominance and power. Israel may have even risen as a super power. Israel may have become so powerful that the idea is that they need to be destroyed. Gog needs an army so huge that it encompasses many nations in order to get rid of mighty Israel. That seems to be the cause of such a massive attack.

Later we read how at the end of the Tribulation all the countries of the world, every single one of them, not just the few from the Gog and Magog War, but all the nations of the world gather to destroy Israel. How could Israel possibly stand against the world? God rescues Israel at Gog and Magog, but Jesus comes and He defends Israel from the armies of the whole world. Then the remnant of the Jews will accept Jesus as Christ.

Vic Batista: We should touch on the Psalm 83 War, because that's another end times war I believe individuals need to be aware of.

Nathan Jones: Exactly. A Psalm 83 War could break out at any time. The countries directly bordering Israel are always ready to attack. The littlest thing could set them off. We are always watching the Middle East waiting and expected a Psalm 83 War to erupt.

Vic Batista: There are a lot of wonderful events portrayed here in the Word of God that just excites and encourages us. But, they also turn us to pray for the world in which we are living and to pray for Israel.

Look at Russia. Look at what's happening with the Muslim nations. All this the Bible is talking about is being prepared for right now!


In the twenty-second segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will marvel at the blessings God has in store for the "captives of Jacob."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: God's In Charge

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How did God deal with Israel for her rebellion, and will do so again?

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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Proof God's in Charge

Vic Batista: Going back to Ezekiel 39:21-24, is there anything else in this passage that you want to bring to our attention, Nathan? The passage again goes:

"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."

Nathan Jones: It's interesting that not only does God stand up as the Defender of Israel, but in doing so all the nations of the world sees God's judgment. There's no way that they can explain the destruction of Gog's armies. When you are talking about destruction by fire, giant hail, earthquakes and then all the nations that comprise these armies like Turkey turning on Iran's army and Russia turning on the Sudan's army — it will just be mass chaos! You don't usually have all these terrible events happening at one time. There's nobody who can explain these events away. God wins this war in such a way as to make sure that the world knows that God is real and that God is in charge.

When we look into the Tribulation, which is that seven-year time period that will come on the earth following the Gog and Magog War, we know that God will make it so that people will know that there is a God. They will have to choose Him, or not. They will have the choice to choose God, or Satan through the Antichrist. The world will get to the mid-point in the Tribulation when Satan requires people to take a mark of loyalty for him, called the Mark of the Beast. By the middle of the Tribulation, the world absolutely knows 100% that there is a God and they have to choose Him, or not. God makes it so difficult for humanity that they have to choose Him, or not. This I believe may be the beginning of that process, because the whole world will enter the Tribulation knowing that there is a God.

Vic Batista: Wow, that's amazing! That's why we see such an amazing parallel concerning much of what is happening today to how Israel behaved in the Old Testament. God is trying to make Himself known through media, television, evangelists and whatnot, but we find today there is still a rejection of God. With all the evidence of God around, people are still rejecting Him.

Nathan Jones: Yes, most people choose not to see the evidence because they want to live their lives the way they want to live them. Unfortunately, when we live our lives apart from the Source of life, we are like walking zombies. We are dead spiritually, and we make stupid mistakes and we hurt ourselves. Again and again our sin and our rebellion against God destroys us.

God doesn't want that for us. In fact, He loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son so that He could be the replacement for our punishment. The wrath of God was moved from us and onto His Son, Jesus Christ. If we put our faith and our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, God's wrath moves onto His Son so that it's no longer on us anymore.

But, as John 3:36 says, for those who still reject His Son, God's wrath remains on them. They are still under that sentence of guilty and they will continue on to Hell one day. Hell's a terrible punishment, but it's a punishment that we deserve. We want God out of our lives, and He obliges.

Vic Batista: This is a serious matter that we are talking about. God does love you. He does have a plan for you. Nothing happens by coincidence, but by divine appointment. That you're reading this isn't a coincidence. It's not, right, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: Not at all! The Lord has a plan for each and every one of us. He created us because He loves us and He wants to have fellowship with us. You and I were created to have fellowship with God forever. That is our purpose and the reason for living. While we live on this earth, our lives are meant to be dedicated to doing good works and to share the Gospel of Jesus with others. That is our purpose. People will ask, "What is my purpose in life?" Your purpose is to have fellowship with God forever.

If you are living in rebellion against God, then you are not living up to your purpose. Your life is empty and meaningless because you are not living out your purpose, which is to have fellowship with Jesus Christ. God gave us His own Son to make that fellowship possible. What a sacrifice! Christ's death shows just how much He loves each and every one of us.

Vic Batista: When it comes to the study of Bible prophecy and the end times, we read there are going to be horrible events that will transpiring during this time and will be ongoing into the future. But, in the midst of these events, God is saying how much He loves you. There's still a chance for you to come to know Jesus, while there's still time. Those who do not accept the Lord now by rejecting Him and His salvation, while we do know that millions will be saved during the Tribulation, will then accept at the cost of their lives.


Rapture Timing

Nathan Jones: One of the other events that comes sometime around the time of this war is the Rapture of the Church. We can read about that event in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and in John 4. Jesus promises to return, to catch-up, to snatch-up, His Church. The word Rapture comes from the Latin rapio, meaning to take believers in Christ up to Heaven to be with Him forever before the wrath of God comes upon this earth.

When it comes to the timing of the Gog and Magog War, it could happen just before or at the very beginning of the Tribulation. That seems to be the best timing based on prophetic events. Likely the Rapture will happen beforehand, so we are talking about those who are left behind and who are still in rebellion against God will be living through these horrible, horrible times that are coming up ahead, including the Gog and Magog War.


A Remnant to Salvation

Vic Batista: Nathan, you highlighted a lot of wonderful things in Ezekiel 39, for God wants the nation of Israel to know how much He loves them. They've turned their backs on God and so judgment is going to come.

What else do we see unraveling here in the following verses in Ezekiel 39?

Nathan Jones: For the last 2,000 years or so, the Jewish people have been totally at odds against God. There remains a remnant of course. There are Orthodox Jews who follow the Torah. Of course there are Messianic Jews, which is a growing remnant of Jews who have accepted Yeshua, meaning Jesus, as the Messiah. But, overall, I can't give you exact figures, but I've read it's about 85% of Jewish people are Secular Humanists. They believe there is a God and they follow their traditions, but they are as liberal as can be. They have no desire to really know the Lord God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

When the Gog and Magog War happens, then the Jews of the world, and even some of the Gentiles, will see this miraculous defeat of such an amazing army lead by Russia against tiny Israel. Then they will know that there is a God. They will give up their Secular Humanism and they will turn to God. Imagine all the Jews of the world turning to God as their Father. But, they still won't accept Jesus as their Savior.

Throughout the seven years of the Tribulation, God will be using that carnage to bring a remnant to salvation. We read in various prophetic verses that only a third of the Jews will survive the Tribulation and accept Jesus as Savior, and that happens when Christ returns at the end of those seven years.

Vic Batista: Amazing! I do have to say that I agree somewhat with those numbers. I live in the Aventura area of Miami which is very Jewish. Those statistics you gave regarding their relationship with God, from my experience I agree with those.

Nathan Jones: I used to live in Philadelphia where every third person is Jewish. I had many Jewish friends, but they were very Secular Humanists. They kind of followed Jewish traditions. They celebrated Hanukkah, but that was about it. There was no love of God there.

After this Gog and Magog battle, and this is absolutely amazing, the heart of the Jew will turn back to God. That miracle I think is greater than God's defeat of the Gog and Magog army.

Vic Batista: It's just amazing when people open up the Bible and they study it. Be dedicated to reading the Word of God, and not only that, but stud Bible prophecy. It's sad that so many Christian pastors and leaders put Bible prophecy on the back burners like it's not that important. But, Bible prophecy is so crucial that people need to understand it.

Nathan Jones: Bible prophecy is indeed relevant for today, for it's what's happening out there right now.

Vic Batista: It's more relevant than the iPhone 6 even?

Nathan Jones: Yes, and Bible prophecy is more long lasting, too, because we are talking eternal repercussions. The iPhone will come and go, but the Word of the Lord will last forever.

Vic Batista: Yes, absolutely! There are so many avenues today which provide the freedom to be able to proclaim the soon return and the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yes, we can use iWatches or iPhones or iPads to study Bible prophecy, but the idea is that we want people to recognize prophecy is not about a technology. No, it's about a relationship with Jesus Christ.


In the twenty-first segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will begin covering the final points in this study.

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.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Bring Out Your Dead

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

What massive efforts are taken to clean up the dead from 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 Retaliates

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Bring Out Your Dead

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 39:11-16 continues explaining the aftermath of the Gog and Magog War. It's not just the weapons that were left behind by the invaders being destroyed, but a massive amount of dead people are left lying around as well. God wipes out the entire invading army, though we do read in Joel a verse that indicates that maybe a sixth of the army does escape and they go to the furthest northern regions, which would be Siberia. So, some of the invaders escape, but overall most of this massive coalition army will have died.

Israel cannot have dead bodies lying all over the place. So, we get to verse 11, "It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel." From that verse we know the leader of this invasion, Gog, dies in Israel as well.

"'The valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,' says the Lord God. 'They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land.'"

That's very descriptive of the cleanup that's going on, isn't it?

For the Jewish people to have dead bodies around them it is to be ceremonial unclean. So, for seven months Israel is considered ceremonially unclean.

All of the people, and I mean all of them, go out and start burying bodies. They bury them en mass. They set up a valley as a mass grave. The area hasn't been located because it hasn't yet been named yet, but it is a generally believed that the valley lies around the Dead Sea area. They will name it the Valley of Hamon Gog, in other words, the valley where Gog is buried. Hamon Gog can also be translated as the multitude of Gog. In that valley, there they will be buried.

There will also be search parties assigned as their job to go out and look for bones, and when found they will send the remains down to Hamon Gog for burial. Because there would be so many bones to bury, the Jews actually build a city next to the valley in order to facilitate this work. It's kind of like the old gold rush towns when everyone was running out to California. Literally a town would grow up overnight because all of a sudden all that industry would be there looking for gold. Similarly, the town of Hamonah will be set up because there will be so many people finding the dead and burying their bones and dividing up the weapons for fuel. They will have to create an entire city to handle all of the cleanup, and that will be the town of Hamonah. When verse 11 says the burial place will be by the sea, it means by the Dead Sea.

This will be a tremendous cleanup effort, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Europe spent the decades after World War I and II cleaning up the dead that were littering the battlefields. Israel will have to do the same.

Vic Batista: Ezekiel talks about the Jews employing people. So, this cleanup is going to be a huge thing, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, this will be really massive in scale, because Israel's government will have to actually hire people to cleanse the land. Once the entire population has pretty much moved the dead out, then Israel will hire people to take the piles of dead bones lying around and clean the land up in order to purify the country. It will take seven months just to do all of that.

Vic Batista: Look at World I and II and what massive cleanups had to happen to clear up the resulting mess. In our day in 2005, the United States had Hurricanes Katrina come through. There have been quite a number of hurricanes and flooding across the states as see on television. The cleanup process that it takes for just one of these catastrophes is astounding in scope. And yet, here we are in Ezekiel talking about a cleanup that will happen on even a greater scale, right?

Nathan Jones: The scenario would be like if all the northern states decided to come down and beat up on your city of Miami, Vic, and then God stepped in and He destroys those armies. All over Florida there would be weapons, there would be fuel, and there would be dead people lying around. The dead people can't move themselves, so everyone is going to have to go out and lend a hand. They are going to have to gather up the dead people. Then the state of Florida will come out and assign people to pick up the dead bones and put them in a burial place, a giant mass grave. After the Gog and Magog War, the mass gave be the Valley of Hamon Gog and they will have to set up a city to deal with the processing, and that is Hamonah.

Vic Batista: Of course, we are bringing this scenario into our era so that folks can see how this might take place. Although this prophecy was written over 2,000 years ago, we know absolutely what this scenario will look like. This will be the cleanup of the Millennia! The people will have to clean up the area so that life can continue.


Bird Food

Vic Batista: After this war, reading the following verses in Ezekiel 39:17-20, how does this continue to unfold?

Nathan Jones: Verse 17 begins a sort of poem.

"And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, 'Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field. Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you, A great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, That you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, And drink blood till you are drunk, At My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table With horses and riders, With mighty men And with all the men of war,' says the Lord God."

That poem calls the carrion birds of the area down to the battlefield. So, it's not just the Jews who are picking up the dead bodies and throwing them away, but the vultures are picking the bones clean. This scene reminds me of an old western where you see a dead cowboy and the buzzards are circling around. Here, too, the buzzards are circling around. God is saying this is a huge sacrificial meal and all the birds are invited to the feast. The birds are actually a sign of humiliation, for here this mighty Gog, ruler of Russia, who came down with all these nations by the time God is done with him has turned Gog into bird food.

Vic Batista: Notice during the time of the Tribulation other similar events with more corpses that will be laying around. Birds are going to come and feast on them as well.

Nathan Jones: When we look down to the end of the Tribulation, which is culminated by the Battle of Armageddon, there we read the same thing. When Jesus returns there will be a similar battle to the Gog and Magog War, but this time all the nations of the world will be against Israel at Armageddon. Jesus will destroy all of them and the birds will be there feasting again.


In the nineteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at the restoration of all Jews back to Israel.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Burning Weapons

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How does burning weapons point to the timing of 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 Retaliates

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Burning Weapons

Vic Batista: Let's continue on with Ezekiel 39:9-10?

Nathan Jones: That verse gives us more detail about the aftermath of this war. Bear in mind that we have this giant coalition of nations that come down to plunder and destroy Israel. God steps in and He destroys these armies and their nations. Now we get into the aftermath of what happens.

"'Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years. They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them,' says the Lord God."

Vic Batista: So, as we get into this next portion of Scripture about the burning of the weapons, we know that there's going to take a certain amount of time to clean up after this invasion.

Nathan Jones: In this war, we have an army of gargantuan size that has attacked Israel. This army is greater in size than the World War II Nazis marching across Europe. This is an army that's come against Israel from all directions. It's so massive, made up of the most powerful nations in the Middle East and including Russia. They have come to plunder and destroy Israel. So, you can imagine that they are carrying a tremendous amount of armament.

Ezekiel is a guy from the BC's, so he's equating weapons from his time period like arrows, shields, javelins and spears. He doesn't understand what a tank is, a jet is, a gun is. He's listing weapons that he would understand.

When the Lord destroys those armies, all their weapons are left there sitting on Israel's mountains, because this invasion is where it happens. Ezekiel says that for seven years Israel will go out they will take those weapons. Maybe they will drain the tanks of their fuel and burn the gas. Maybe some of the weapons will be wooden and they will be burned. Some have even proposed that Russian tanks are made of lignostone which is a burnable material.

What the Israelis will be doing is using all this fuel and weaponry for what? We don't know. What we do know is that the Lord says that Israel will be plundering their enemies who had come to plunder them. It takes seven whole years to burn through all that fuel and all those weapons that had been left on the battlefield.


Burning Points to Timing

Vic Batista: Because it takes seven years to burn these weapons, that's why we believe that these events transpire before the Tribulation, correct?

Nathan Jones: I think there's a lot of good arguments for why this would happen just before or at the very beginning of the Tribulation. One of the main arguments for this timing is, like you said, the seven years it takes to burn the weapons. The Tribulation is seven years in length.

Another result of this war is that the world will see Israel becoming a prime nation in world affairs. Russia and Islam are no longer world threats, so the whole political structure of the world changes. It will be a perfect time for the Antichrist to come in and make a treaty with Israel to protect him as he goes off and conquers the rest of the world. Then mid-way through the Tribulation, we are told that he turns his attentions back on Israel.

Concerning the timing of the Gog and Magog War, there are two main trains of thought. One is that this war happens at just the beginning of the Tribulation, hence the seven years to burn the fuel.

Two is there are others who argue at the midpoint of the Tribulation the Antichrist comes in and he forces many of the Jews to flee down into Jordan and the Petra area. If you've ever seen the third Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones was coming out of a building where the knight lived. That was Petra. That is supposedly where the Lord will keep the Jews protected during the remaining 3.5 years of the Tribulation. So, some say the Jews are not going to carry all this weaponry and fuel with them, so therefore this event has to happen 3.5 years before the Tribulation begins, giving the Tribulation 3.5 years more years before the Antichrist kicks the Jews out of their country. That is one views, and that's actually the view our founder, Dr. David Reagan, holds. The Gog and Magog war therefore could happen 3.5 years before the Tribulation, but definitely after the Rapture.

Personally, I don't see why the Jews couldn't carry the weapons and fuel with them to their hideout. I could see them using the full seven years of the Tribulation to burn the fuel. Having 3.5 years between the Rapture and the Tribulation while the Lord's restraining influence has been taken off this earth allowing the people to go wild and release their passions and destroy everything, I don't know if the earth could survive 3.5 years before the Tribulation in that condition. So, I tend to think that this war happens at just the beginning or just before the Tribulation begins.

Vic Batista: There are indeed certain nuances that point to a specific timing. We're not 100% of the timing, but the main point is that we do know the Church will not be here to endure the Gog and Magog War, and that can bring us some comfort. We do our best to bring the Scriptures meaning, for you have to read it in its context. When you do that, a pre-Tribulation timing kind of makes more sense.

Nathan Jones: Exactly. Bible prophecy is like a 100 piece puzzle and the Lord has given us 75 pieces. We have to imagine what the final picture is going to look like because some pieces for now are missing. We can kind of fill in what the 25 other pieces are while we wait for them to be given to us by prophetic events happening. When they do occur, we can then plug them into our puzzle and see. For now, there are going to be some disagreements on the minor details, such as the timings of when these events take place.

What we can agree on is when Ezekiel 38 places this invasion in the Latter Days, or the Last Days. These general timing makers always revolve around the Tribulation, so we can know when it is happening — the Tribulation. We also know God will shift His focus from the Church onto Israel, and that too is Tribulation related. We can therefore be sure that this event is Tribulation related. When exactly in relation to the Tribulation, and how many years or months or days beforehand, the Bible doesn't tell us.

Vic Batista: That is why I like to encourage people to become good Bible students. Study Bible prophecy utilizing so many of the study materials out there. Get better acquainted with the whole big picture of Bible prophecy and the Bible. See how exactly events are going to line up. Sure, there are some prophecies that we are not 100% sure about, so ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Scriptures to us. One of the things we don't want to be as Christians is divided, right?

Nathan Jones: Perfectly said! You hit it dead on. Bible prophecy is secondary doctrine. There's no reason to divide the brethren over timings and whatnot. Sure, if we are talking primary doctrines, like Jesus was born of a virgin, He died and He suffered for our sins, He is both man and God, the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, the Resurrection happened, and salvation is through Christ alone — those are primary doctrines. Those are worth fighting for. But, what time the Gog and Magog War happens, well that's up for debate. I'm not going to stop talking to you if you think differently. That'd be crazy!


In the eighteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at the massive efforts Ezekiel says will be taken to clean up the dead.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Indicating the Rapture

Nathan JonesMP3By 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.

God Retaliates

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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.


Deluded Saints

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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Setting the Stage

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

How does the Gog and Magog War set the stage for the Tribulation?

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 Retaliates

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That the World May Know

Vic Batista: Ezekiel 39:6 reads, "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. And they shall know that I am the Lord." I love that verse! This is how the Lord responds to the invasion?

Nathan Jones: As Russia takes this incredibly large army, a coalition of many nations who are all bent on plundering and destroying Israel, they finally make it to Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces are one of the best armies in the world, but even it cannot stand up against the sheer numbers and power of this huge section of the world coming against them. And so, Israel is facing pretty much its demise.

Then God steps into the scene, not physically mind you, but His power can be felt. God personally destroys the armies with the typical Old Testament hailstone and fire and brimstone. The earth opens up from earthquakes and devours the invaders. Their armies panic and turn on each other, and they actually start killing one another. All this happens on the mountains of Israel.

Not only does God destroy those armies, but He then sends fire to rain down back on those nations that have attacked. Whatever that fire is, I don't know. If it's God's fire, or a reversal of missiles, or some kind of weapon or whatnot, we're not told. What we do know is that God obliterates most of Russia, Iran, Turkey and those other nations. He almost completely destroys them.

The result of this supernatural victory, and the purpose for why God is doing all this personally, is that the whole world shall know that, "I am the Lord."


A Change in Focus

Vic Batista: That is really the whole idea behind the Bible. Sometimes people don't understand why certain events happen, but God is trying to get people's attention. It seems today that everyone is so consumed with themselves and the minor events going on around them that they are not paying much mind to God, including the Jewish people, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, it's a sad state that we spend so much time focused on ourselves. There's really a satanic purpose in this, to get us sidetracked from what is really important in life. There are certainly things to worry about, of course. We have to pay bills, we eat, we live, our kids go to school, and we worry about our local politics. These are just some of the many different things that we have to deal with.

But, we need to understand that we are all part of a bigger picture. It's a picture where we are components of God's bigger plan. As we see these alliances of nations come together already in this day and age, we can know that the Lord has something really big coming up, and we need to be prepared for that.


Setting the Stage

Vic Batista: Absolutely! Ezekiel 39:7 really sums up what you just said. Verse 7 reads, "So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." Any more thoughts on that?

Nathan Jones: That's the purpose for why God is instigating all of this. Basically God is marching out and declaring, "World, I exist! I'm in charge. Don't mess with my people Israel."

Because of God's refocus back on Israel, I believe that the Gog and Magog War is a post-Rapture event. In other words, God's focus is now off of the Church. It's been on the Church for the last 2,000 years, but now God's refocusing on Israel. That God comes back in such a dramatic fashion, the whole world will know God is real.

The Jewish people in Israel today are supposedly 85% Secular Humanists. They don't give a thought about God. But, they will, for the whole nation Ezekiel says will give their hearts and minds over to God, though not necessarily to His Son, Jesus Christ, yet. That will happen at the end of the Tribulation. So, that's the purpose, that the world will know there is a God.

The Gog and Magog Wars perfectly sets up the Tribulation scenario, because we know that the Antichrist comes on the scene and makes a peace treaty with Israel. People historically have thought that treaty was to provide Israel peace, but I think it's made to protect the world from God. The Antichrist will be asking for a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, now that Israel will have become a super-state nation. The world will know that God is protecting Israel and will be afraid to touch her.

Another result of this war is that Islam will finally have been taken out of the picture. Russia has taken out of the picture. As a result, the whole geo-political schema of the world will be changed. It also grants the European Union the opportunity to rise to power, like Daniel 9 said would happen, for the Antichrist will rise out of Europe.

We wonder why the West is quiet during this war. It could be the Rapture of the Church will have caused a lot of problems for the West and they can't get involved, and maybe too Asia by this point.

The world will change dramatically because of this war. The purpose of the war will be known to the world — that the nations may know that God is in charge.


In the sixteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how this war helps indicate the potential timing of the Rapture.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Gog and Magog War: Recapping the Nations and Motivations

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Why does God restate the players of the Gog and Magog War in Ezekiel 39?

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 Retaliates

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The Gog and Magog Nations

Vic Batista: We are living in exciting times, right, Nathan? These are not really times to be fearful, for as Christians these are exciting times.

Nathan Jones: No doubt. I used to while growing up as kid think we were living in such a dull time. Wouldn't it be cool to be living back with the Medieval knights or some other time period. Now I realize we are living in one of the most exciting time periods in all of human history, because we are the generation that is living when Israel has become a nation again. The Lord said in Matthew 24 that when Israel is a nation again, when the fig tree re-blossomed, that would be the generation that would see His return. That's us!

Vic Batista: That's right. And that is why I believe that we are living in such an exciting time. What a privilege and opportunity we have to be alive, for such a time as this. We are here to encourage people to recognize the opportunities that are right before you, so that you don't let them pass by.

We have making a journey through this incredible battle called the Gog and Magog War. We have been working through this topic, taking a verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter approached, because there is just so much information in Ezekiel 38-39.

Let's pick up in Ezekiel 39:1-6. Could you read those for us and lead us through this journey?

Nathan Jones: I'll give a tiny bit of background on Ezekiel 38-39 to catch us all up. These two chapters describe a future war. Of all the battles that are portrayed in the Bible, Ezekiel 38-39 is the most descriptive of all the end time battles, even more than Armageddon.

Ezekiel 39:1 in the New King James reads:

"And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; 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. "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.'"

Vic Batista: Incredible passage! Nathan, once again, for those who are not familiar with these terms Gog and Magog, what are we exactly talking about here?

Nathan Jones: Ezekiel wrote this some 2,700 years ago. So, when we try to understand the countries that he is listing here, obviously he's putting them into the names of his own time period. All we have to do is fast-forward to today, for history has proven what the modern versions of these nations are.

When we talk about Magog, Magog is the lands that constitute what we call the 'Stan countries today. That would be Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and possibly Afghanistan. Magog is made up of those countries.

Rosh is the ancient name for Russia. They descended from the ancient Scythian people. Gog is their ruler. Whether he's a man named Gog, we don't know, and probably not. More than likely Gog is a designation for a demon who is behind their government.

Gog is the leader of Russia, and so Russia will make an alliance with Magog, which are those 'Stan nations. Gog will also make allegiances with a number of little nations that today comprise Turkey, who in Ezekiel's time were named Meshach, Tubal, Gomer and Beth-togarmah. They are all parts of what is modern-day Turkey.

Persia is also listed, which is modern day Iran. Ethiopia is the Sudan. Put is Libya and possibly Algeria and Tunisia.

All in all, what we are talking about is a massive amount of territory. These nations comprise an outer ring of what is comprised now of all Islamic nations, except for Russia.


Russia's Motivation

Nathan Jones: These nations form a coalition that combines into a horde, a massive army, whose purpose is to come against little Israel in an attempt to plunder and destroy it.

Vic Batista: We are seeing right before our eyes what is happening in Russia with their leader, Vladimir Putin. Much of what is being said here are events that are using different country names, like you mentioned, because this was thousands of years ago. And yet, today we are starting to see what is going on in Russia with the development of alliances with all these very same countries.

Nathan Jones: It is interesting. We read in Ezekiel 38-39 about how God Himself will put hooks in the jaws of Gog. In other words, God drags him down. He makes it so that Israel is so irresistible to Gog that Gog wants to come and plunder Israel for its wealth.

It was only five years ago or so when people wondered why in the world Russia would be interested in Israel's wealth. Sure, Israel has a good economy, and they are a center for diamond trade. They are good business men. But, they really don't have a lot of wealth.

Then Israel found two tremendous natural gas finds in the Mediterranean Sea, in their territorial waters. Now Israel is poised to begin production and become a huge competitor in selling gas to the world.

Russia dominates the natural gas trade up north, for all of Europe is dependent on the natural gas that flows out of Russia and through the Ukraine, interestingly enough. We wonder why Russia is attacking the Ukraine, well it's because they want to control the gas supply lines that run through that nation. Eventually Russia will turn south, for they will want to plunder Israel and remove Israel as a competitor. All these other invading nations are simply fueled by their Islamic hatred of Israel. These Islamic nations will join with Russia and attempt to annihilate Israel.

God feels the need to reiterate in Ezekiel 39 these two aspects about the Gog and Magog War like He already had in Ezekiel 39 almost as if He's providing a double-warning against these nations and their leader, Gog.


In the fifteenth segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at how the results of this war set the stage for the socio-political landscape of the Tribulation.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Film Review of Fifty Shades of Grey

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Ah, it's that age-old love story. Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl to sign consent form. Girl agrees. Boy takes girl up to bedroom where he proceeds to remove her undies and then whip her with a...

Whoa, whoa, hold up there! That can't be right. What happened to boy gives girl flowers, fine dining, romance and respect? What about time to get to know each other? Love even? Marriage?!? Well, you won't find any of those outmoded forms of courtship in the modern-day "romance" novel that has swept the world by firestorm — Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey


Shades of a Sensation

Okay, I'm a guy, so even watching anything as tame as Sleepless In Seattle or reading Jane Austen (universal male groan) is quite beyond me, so I'm not about to tackle a book and movie series aimed at 30-something married women. It's just not in me. But, I did read the Wikipedia cliff notes, so consider me an expert as much as a guy can be concerning chick flicks.

What's Fifty Shades of Grey? In a nutshell, it's a story about a 21-year-old college student, Ana Steele (played by Dakota Johnson), who falls in "love" with a handsome but mysterious young billionaire named Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) after she interviews him for a newspaper. In almost no time he's pulling out a contract and a pair of handcuffs and... well, it's got nothing to do with CHiPs.

What Fifty Shades has everything to do with is what sociologists call "intimate partner violence" (IPV). That's when one partner in a relationship resorts to utilizing methods of bondage, discipline, dominance and submission (BDSM) to control the other partner in a relationship. Some think it's about kinky sex, but in reality it's all about control. It's also what therapists label as domestic abuse.

The 3-book series was written in 2011 by E. L. James, a British fan of the Twilight vampire novels. She wrote the books under the pen name, Snowqueen's Icedragon (no, seriously, I'm not making that up), as "a classic redemptive story of a very good, virginal woman taming a deeply flawed man."1 And what a deeply flawed man Christian is! (Did she really have to name him Christian?) But anyway, Christian is somewhat of a sympathetic character in that you learn he was abused as a teen by his mother's pedophiliac friend, but that's the only thing about him that will bring a tear to the eye. After all, who needs love when you're a rich stud with your own helicopter? The girls, all 15 of them, just swooned over his lavish gifts; you know, the expensive bracelets that hide all the bruise marks earned in the Red Room of Pain. Tantalized yet, Ladies?

You'd think such smut would be read in hiding, and well, distribution began that way as women in secret began downloading the e-book only version. And did it catch on! Once printed by Vintage Books, Fifty Shades sold 100 million copies and was translated into over 50 languages, making the New York Times bestseller list three months in a row. All this success despite the fact that the critics derided the book as "dull and poorly written," "depressing" and "a sad joke."

James made Time magazine's 2012 "100 Most Influential People in the World." The R-rated movie version came out just in time for Valentine's Day 2015, smashing records globally in grossing $248 million the opening weekend. There is no doubt that the book has become a mainstream cultural phenomenon.2


Shades of a Counterfeit

"But, Nathan," you say, "it's just a harmless bit of 'Mommy Porn' meant to spice up the old love life. What damage can it really do?" Well, you used the word porn right there, and that's exactly what Fifty Shades of Grey is. It is wholesale, unrepentant, in-your-face pornography, packaged and delivered mainstream through your friendly, local bookstores and movie houses. When did a "gagging dose of onscreen sex, nudity, domination, and sadomasochism," as columnist John UpChurch calls it, become okay for a Christian to meditate on?3 Whatever happened to Philippians 4:8's admonition to meditate only on what is true, just, noble, pure and lovely?

Okay, for those of you who want to justify the guilty pleasure, forget the Bible for just a second and consider the results of a recent survey. The University of Michigan did a study of Fifty Shades readers and discovered 25 percent were more likely to have an abusive partner, 34 percent were more likely to have a partner who stalked them, and 65 percent were more likely to engage in binge drinking.4 People who indulge in graphic porn novels, the study discovered, then gravitate towards abusive relationships and eating disorders. Like Mom used to say to us kids, "Garbage in, garbage out."

Men, tear your eyes away from the game for just a second and look at your wives. Why are they reading this garbage? Gentlemen, we're dropping the ball here in our marriages. And, look at your daughters. Who's the role model in their lives? Do we want our little girls aspiring to becoming mindless sex slaves because we've been neglecting our wives?

The books sell fantasy, not reality, for money. Lots of money! The devastation that lays in the wake of Fifty Shades is a tsunami of broken, dysfunctional and sexually unfulfilled people. They've traded the lie of Satan for the real thing — marriage — as it was meant to be, the 1 Corinthians 13 way. Safe. Protected. Honoring. Covenantal. Selfless. Loving. Now doesn't that sound like what Jesus Christ created for you to enjoy?


Notes

1K.S.C., "Fifty Shades of Grey: The Money Shot," www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2015/02/fifty-shades-grey.

2J. Lee Grady, "Let's Call 'Fifty Shades of Grey' What It Is: Perverted," www.charismanews.com/opinion/48064-let-s-call-fifty-shades-of-grey-what-it-is-perverted.

3John UpChurch, "Fifty Shades of Grey—What are Christian Leaders Saying?" www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/fifty-shades-of-grey-what-are-christian-leaders-saying.html.

4Grady. Ibid.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Willful Ignorance Concerning ISIS

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

While Muslim terrorists continue to launch assaults all over the world, President Obama continues to deny that their actions have anything to do with Islam.

At a press conference in February, Obama refused to describe the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda as groups motivated by "radical Islam" because the term grants them a religious legitimacy they don't deserve. "They are not religious leaders," he stated, "they are terrorists." He then added, "We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."

Obama on ISIS

It would certainly be a laughing matter if someone were to try to tell the ISIS fighters that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not their religious leader. You might as well tell the people of Iran that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is not their religious leader.

But the President's comments were not as laughable as those of the State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, who tried to convince Chris Matthews on his MSNBC television program that ISIS is motivated by poverty and the need for jobs. Even the super-liberal Chris Matthews was stunned, and keep in mind that he was the one who said in 2008 that every time he heard Obama speak on the campaign trail that he got goose bumps up and down his legs! Matthews responded to Harf with a barrage of blistering criticism, claiming the White House is "allowing America to be humiliated."

The stroll through Alice-in-Wonderland continued a few days later when Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before a Congressional committee and declared: "Our citizens, our world today is actually, despite ISIL, despite the visible killings that you see and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally..."

What? Is he in the same world the rest of us are in?

Thankfully, the next day, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper tried to get us back to reality by telling the committee that 2014 was "the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled."

Although willful ignorance is characteristic of liberal minds, it is not exclusive to them. Take President George W. Bush, for example. After the terrible 9/11 attacks, he hosted a White House reception during Ramadan to honor the Islam religion and its American leaders. Furthermore, he persisted throughout the rest of his Administration in calling Islam "a religion of peace." One observer said the President's behavior was equivalent to President Franklin Roosevelt giving a banquet following Pearl Harbor to honor the Shinto religion and Japanese leaders.

All of this bizarre denial of reality is, of course, an exercise in political correctness. It is an effort to avoid hurting the feelings of American Muslims.

It is a very misguided effort, as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani demonstrated recently during an interview on Fox News. He pointed out that when he became mayor in 1994, he immediately called a press conference and announced he was declaring war on the Mafia.

He said that before the day was over, the leaders of the Italian community were in his office protesting, claiming that any reference to the Mafia was an embarrassment to them and a slur against Italian-Americans. His response? He told them in no uncertain terms that he was not backing down, and if they wanted to look good, they would give him their public support. And sure enough, at his next press conference, the Italian leaders were there, standing behind him in support.

That's what President Obama needs to do. Rather than playing footsie with Islamic leaders, he needs to tell them to put up or shut up. He needs to insist that they start speaking out publicly against Islamic terror.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Does the Rise of ISIS Point to a Muslim Antichrist?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Absolutely not! The idea of a Muslim Antichrist is both un-biblical and illogical. I have written extensively and in detail about The Muslim Antichrist Theory, but I will dispense of it here with four brief points.

1. The concept of a Muslim Antichrist is unbiblical because Daniel 9:26-27 says that the Antichrist will come from the people who will destroy Jerusalem.

The devastation spoken of in this passage took place in 70 AD, and it was done by the Romans. So, the Antichrist will come out of the area of the Roman Empire and will be Roman by descent.

The leading advocate of the Muslim Antichrist idea did not even mention this verse in his first book! Either he did not know about it, or he simply decided to ignore it. When it was brought to his attention, he and his followers responded by claiming that the Roman armies that destroyed Jerusalem were conscripts from the Middle East, where Islam developed some 500 years later. First, this is not true, and second, even if it were true, it would be irrelevant. The fact is that the armies were under the control of a Roman general who was taking orders from the Roman Senate in Rome.

Later, the proponents of the Muslim Antichrist theory began arguing that the destruction of Jerusalem referred to by Daniel is the destruction that will occur during the Tribulation at the hands of the Antichrist. There are two problems with this argument. First, the context of Daniel's prophecy clearly indicates that the destruction of Jerusalem he is talking about will occur at the end of 483 years of his 490 year prophecy — and that would place it in 70 AD. Second, the Antichrist is not going to destroy Jerusalem during the Tribulation. Zechariah 14:1-9 says that just as the armies of the Antichrist start to close in on Jerusalem, the Messiah will return to the Mount of Olives and will supernaturally destroy both the Antichrist and his military forces.

2. The idea of a Muslim Antichrist is illogical because the Scriptures say that the Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a treaty with Israel that will guarantee that nation's safety.

What Muslim would guarantee the peace and safety of Israel? What Israeli leader would put his trust in a Muslim leader, knowing that Muslims make "peace" treaties only for the sake of convenience?

3. The Muslim Antichrist concept is absurd when you consider the fact that the Scriptures teach that the Antichrist will go to Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation, enter the rebuilt Jewish Temple, and declare himself to be god.

No Muslim would ever declare himself to be God. This would violate the most basic tenets of Islam. And if he were to do so, he would be immediately killed by Muslims!

4. The rise of a Muslim Antichrist would be impossible because no Muslim armies will exist in the Middle East when the Tribulation begins.

The war of Psalm 83 between Israel and its surrounding Arab nations with whom it has a common border will result in an overwhelming victory for Israel (Zechariah 12:6-8), and will likely result in the total devastation of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1-14 and Jeremiah 49:23-27).

The subsequent Russian invasion of the Jewish State, together with a coalition of Muslim armies from the outer circle around Israel — portrayed in Ezekiel 38 & 39 — will result in God Almighty destroying all the invading forces upon the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 38:18-23 and 39:1-6).

I believe the Scriptures indicate that both of these wars will occur before the beginning of the Tribulation. Thus, when the Tribulation begins, the Muslim nations of the Middle East will be in shambles, devoid of any military power.


Conclusion

When the Roman Antichrist takes over, he will launch a military campaign to conquer the world. The Bible says that in the process one-half the world's population will die in the first three and a half years of the Tribulation as the war morphs from a traditional one (Revelation 6) into a nuclear one (Revelation 8-9).

The people most likely to strongly resist the European Antichrist and his one world religion would be the Muslims outside the Middle East — the Muslims of Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan — who constitute the majority of Muslims in the world. Thus, I believe God will use the Antichrist to pour out His wrath upon the Muslim world — another reason why I do not believe the Antichrist will be a Muslim.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ISIS: What's It All About? (Part 5 of 5)

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

As we finish up my series on what ISIS is about, I'll make some present-day conclusions and points on how we can remain positive during these dark days.


Conclusions

  • Islam is not a religion of peace. It never has been and it never will be.
  • We are involved in a World War against Islam, and we need to face up to it.
  • Our war is not against terror. That's like saying World War II was a war against U-Boats and Kamikaze planes. No! It was against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
  • Our war is not against "Fundamentalists who have hijacked a peaceful religion." That is nonsense. The Fundamentalists are simply doing what the Quran commands them to do.
  • Islam at heart is a religion of intolerance and violence. Consider this incredible sign displayed by a Muslim at a rally in London:

Muslim Behead Sign

That's why President Obama's comment at the recent prayer breakfast was so outlandish. He said:

Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique [ISIS barbarity] to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

That ridiculous statement ignores the fact that the Quran commands conquest, war, terror and murder, whereas the New Testament commands Christians to love their enemies and pray for them.

Muslim Spirit


Remaining Positive

We live in perilous times, but we need not despair for the Bible clearly proclaims that "We will win in the end!" And that will occur when Jesus returns in majesty, power and glory to reign from Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

In the meantime, as we await the Lord's return, don't allow anyone to try to deceive you into thinking that:

  • Islam is a religion of peace.
  • Muslims believe in the Jesus of the Bible.
  • Allah is the same God that Christians worship.
  • Islam and Christianity can be compatible.

These are lies I hear daily, and they are straight from the pit of Hell.

As you look to the future, keep your eyes on Jesus, stay in His Word and trust in His promises. He will be there with you, constantly encouraging you and sustaining you.

And when you get up each morning, look to the sky, and cry out in your heart, "MARANATHA, MARANATHA, Come quickly, Lord Jesus!"


Notes:

1) Mark Ellis, "Head of ISIS - "the new bin Laden" - was held by U.S. for four years and released," Godreports, June 13, 2014, http://blog.godreports.com.

2) Ian Hanchett, "Harf: 'We can't kill our way' out of war against ISIS," www.breitbart.com.