July 26, 2009

 Hello,

 I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

 It has always intrigued me that the focus of the Middle East, and really most of the world; has been on the State of Israel. A piece of real estate geographically approximately the size of Rhode Island has arrested the attention of the world. There are certainly geopolitical and economic reasons for this. It is not as important for commerce and troop movement as it once was, but strategists in Russia and those working for al Qaeda know that the conquest of Israel, the West’s most reliable Middle Eastern military ally, would deliver the whole region into their control.

 Whoever controls this region, and the vast oil supplies of the Persian Gulf, can pretty much set the agenda for Europe and Asia, including the rapidly growing economies of Japan, China, and India. Israel in a way is kind of like the last piece of the puzzle that completes the master plan for world domination, which explains why this land is sought after by both Islamists and the government of Russia. Because of Israel’s superior military strength a world power such as Russia is needed to ally with the Muslim armies in order to successfully invade Israel. I will have more to say on this in a moment.

 Not only are there geopolitical and economic reasons for the world interest in Israel, but this land and this people’s connection with God also has made it the focus of world attention. God chose this land to place His Name there. [See Deut. 12:11] He chose this people, the Jewish people, as His special people. [See Deut. 7:6] God also declared through His prophet Ezekiel that he had set the city of Jerusalem at the very center of the Nations with countries all around her. [See Ezek. 5:5] Make no mistake; Satan hates this land and this people! This is why it has faced attempts down through the millennia to wipe it off of the face of the map.

 This land and people faced cruel slavery in Israel, banishment and captivity to Assyria (the Northern ten tribes), 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Judah & Benjamin), and domination from Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. In 70 A.D. Titus and his armies invaded Israel, destroyed the city of Jerusalem and razed the Temple to the ground, not leaving one stone standing upon another. [See Matt. 24:1, 2] They remained in Diaspora for over 1,900 years until in 1917 when after the British wrested control of the city of Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks, a small remnant of Jews returned to the land. What is known as political Zionism was born in 1897 with the Balfour Declaration. During that same time period the League of Nations granted the United Kingdom the British Mandate of Palestine, specifically with instructions to establish a Jewish homeland. We know from history that Israel declared it’s independence on May 14, 1948.

 They were attacked by neighboring Arab states the very next day, and hence Israel’s modern history has been as fraught with struggle and heartache as its ancient history was. As we pointed out last time, ancient Israel dealt with six major world empires, and since their re-establishment as a Nation in 1948, it has entered conflicts with the first three prophetic nations from the past. The next nation on the war list will be the Persians, or the Iranians. As we pointed out last time however, they will not be alone. They will join forces with other Islamic nations in confederation with Russia. Is this mere speculation? Not at all, this was foretold in approximately 580 B.C. by the Prophet Ezekiel. He prophesied,

 1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you. [Ezek. 38:1 – 6 NKJV]

 The prophet mentions Gog. Who or what is Gog? There are several schools of thought on this. One suggests that Gog was and is the ruling principality, ruling in the immediate atmosphere over this region of the world. Others suggest that Gog is a reference speaking of a ruler, kind of like the title czar, Prime Minister, king, or president. Others suggest that what we see here is possibly a reference to both by law of double reference. Finis Dake in the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible puts forth some fourteen proofs that Gog is an actual person, and states that this individual is none other than the Little Horn, The Beast, the son of perdition, the man of sin, the Assyrian, or the antichrist. While this certainly is a possibility, I definitely believe that Gog is a ruler of Russia who will lead an Islamic coalition against Israel in the near future. Why do I say this?

 We can study ancient history and pinpoint these nations mentioned by Ezekiel. We know by the writings of historians such as Herodotus and Flavius Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews, tell us where most of the tribes ultimately settled. Based on what most Jewish and Christian scholars believe, I offer the following list of ancient nations as listed by Ezekiel, along with their modern names.

 

  • Magog – Russia
  • Meshech and Tubal – somewhere in Russia (possibly Moscow & Tubalsk)
  • Persia – Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan
  • Ethiopia – Ethiopia and Sudan
  • Libya – Libya
  • Gomer – Eastern Europe
  • Togarmah – Southeastern Europe and Turkey
  • “Many people with thee” – Various other nations allied with Russia

 Interestingly, Arab writers confirm that in the Arabic language, the name for the Great Wall of China is, “the wall of Al Magog,” because the wall was built to keep out the invading armies of Magog (Russia). Magog is a real nation occupying a territory that was known to Ezekiel and his Jewish readers in the fifth century before Christ. I believe that evidence supports that this land is occupied by modern-day Russia.

 When will this invasion occur? There is some difference of opinion on this. We will explore the answer to this and much more next time.

 The Weekly Word is found in Ezekiel 38:8, 9. Here the Bible says,

 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. [Ezek. 38:8, 9 KJV]

 Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.

 Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

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