August 2, 2009

 Hello,

 I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

 We are sharing of late on Israel & the coming war. The tiny nation of Israel is in the news almost daily as world attention seems riveted on this land and on the Jewish people. As we stated last time, whoever ends up controlling this land will end up controlling the vast oil supplies of the Persian Gulf region. At the very center of the world’s focus, especially her Middle East neighbors, is the city of Jerusalem. In fact, the Prophet Zechariah declared of this city;

 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. [Zech. 12:2 KJV] This city and this people are of great prophetic significance. The very plan of God for the ages will come to fruition in this land. It would behoove every one of us to pay special attention to the events affecting this land. As Americans, we have a direct spiritual connection with the Jewish people. As believers, we are grafted into the olive tree as “wild branches.” [See Rom. 11:17 – 21]

 As we stated two weeks ago, there are three wars that stand out in Bible prophecy and seem to have gotten much attention from students and teachers of the prophetic Word. These are the war of Psalm 83, the war of Ezekiel 38, 39, and the utter destruction of Damascus as prophesied in Isaiah 17. I am of the position that the war of Psalm 83 occurred back in 1967 at the Yom Kippur or six day war, also known as the Arab-Israeli war in which the control of the city of Jerusalem came back into Jewish hands.

 The utter destruction declared by the Prophet Isaiah of Damascus has not occurred as yet, but will at some point in the future, possibly in connection with the war of Ezekiel 38, 39. I believe that this war is the next event on the prophetic calendar for the goyim, or nations. This war will be lead by none other than Russia. In the prophecy Russia is identified by the ancient name of Magog, which speaks of the descendants of Magog, who was the grandson of Noah; who ultimately gave birth to a nation according to Genesis 10. The name Magog was well known to every Jew who studied this passage yearly as part of the Sabbath schedule of reading through the Torah each year. The Prophet named Magog with other specific allied nations, such as Libya, Persia, and Ethiopia. I submit to you that this strongly suggests that Ezekiel expected the name Magog to be understood by his Jewish readers as a real nation, not as an abstract symbol of evil.

 I will not take the space to demonstrate historically that the land currently occupied by Russia is indeed ancient Magog. There are many sources that one could look to. For anyone who might be interested, I could suggest some resources to study this in greater depth. Our focus presently however is on the coming invasion of Israel by Russia and its Islamic allies.

 The Prophet described an invasion that would come without warning in which the enemy invades like a “storm” or “cloud to cover the land.” [See Ezek. 38:9] I believe it is possible that the Prophet saw in a vision an airborne invasion force, like D day, and used the best words he had available to describe such an event. Notice the words that the leader of the invading force will use to describe the military action, And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. [Ezek. 38:11 KJV]

 That may not have much meaning to the 21st Century person; however we need to understand that the Prophet Ezekiel was describing something he had never seen. During the lifetime of Ezekiel, and in fact up until 1900, virtually all of the villages and cities in the Middle East had walls for defense. Again, Ezekiel had never seen a village or a city without defensive walls. Yet in our day, Israel is indeed a “land of unwalled villages.” Why do I say that? Simply because modern techniques of warfare (bombs and missiles) make city walls irrelevant for defense. I believe this is one more indication that his prophecy refers to our modern generation.

 Aside from Russia, it would be very difficult to name any other nation to the north of Israel capable of leading such a huge confederacy of Arab and North African nations. It is a fact of history that for the past five decades Russia has trained the military officers and intelligence staff of all the nations listed in Ezekiel’s prophecy. The phrases “prepare for thyself” and “be thou a guard unto them” in Ezekiel 38:7 could indicate Russia’s future role in providing arms and military leadership to the confederacy of invading nations. The armories of the nations that oppose Israel, without exception, are filled with AK47 assault rifles, surface-to-air missiles, RPG7 antitank weapons, and massive amounts of other Russian-manufactured arms – exactly as the Bible foretold.

 The war of God with Magog will signal the unfolding of God’s plan for the last days. When will it occur? There is much debate about the timing of this war among prophecy scholars. Scholars disagree as to when the war will occur in relation to the seven years of the Great Tribulation. They also disagree on the relation of the war of Gog and Magog to the battle of Armageddon. Some believe the two wars refer to the same battle. Others insist that they are two different wars, separated by at least seven years.

 Next time we will look at each of the most prominent views and then explore which interpretation has the most biblical warrant.

 The Weekly Word is found in Daniel 9:24 – 27. Here the Bible says,

 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. [Dan. 9:24 – 27 KJV]

 Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.

 Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

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